I can think of no finer pursuit than to learn how to play guitar. It really is the king of instruments, and its versatility and flexibility are unmatched by any other instrument.
If you are contemplating how to play guitar, then I do hope that this article will give you some useful pointers to enable you to get started. There are basically three aspects to consider if you are going to learn. Click Here-
1.Firstly, you need to consider the specific equipment that you will be using.
2.Second, you will need to think carefully about the styles that you may want to play
3.Lastly you will need to put together the material you will need, and work out a practical practice schedule.
The specific equipment to use
The very first choice that you will need to make is whether you are going to start on acoustic or electric guitar. This is a big and extremely important decision which needs to be made before you invest in any gear at all.
Although guitars these days are relatively inexpensive, nevertheless you don't want to make the wrong decision right at the start of your playing career! Take time to investigate the options available before you make a choice.
Although your eventual aim may be to become a rock god and play like Hendrix or Jimmy Page or Slash, don’t immediately assume that you need to automatically start on electric guitar. The reality is that all those players learnt their craft on acoustic guitar first, and I would strongly advocate you to do the same. There are a few good reasons for me saying this.
Firstly the outlay on your purchases is likely to be much higher if you go the electric route. A reliable amplifier, electric guitar, leads and effects will set you back considerably more than a modest acoustic guitar, which will cost little over £100 ($160) for a quality solid-topped instrument. And what do I mean by solid top? Well, most cheap guitars have a laminated top; whilst this is OK such an instrument will only deteriorate with age, whereas a guitar with a solid spruce top will simply get better with age, like a fine wine!
Without wishing to sound insulting, it is best to make your initial outlay modest, as the vast majority of would-be guitarists never persevere beyond the first few weeks. On that basis, I would strongly suggest that your first instrument should cost as little as possible!
For those living in the UK, the Vintage range represent excellent value for money, and their V300 solid top is one of the best bargains that you will find. When learning how to play guitar beginners should check this one out! There are loads of good makes on the market these days, but it is best to seek the advice of someone who really does know about guitars before you part with your hard earned cash.
Some basic things to look for are –
a)Action – make sure the strings are at a comfortable position above the fingerboard. If in doubt, ask the shop to set the instrument up ,before you purchase it. If they are unwilling to do that, go somewhere else!
b)Body size – make sure the guitar fits comfortable under your arm when playing – don’t buy a massive jumbo if you are of slight stature!
c)Fingerboard width – some fingerboards can be narrower than others – choose one that your hands feel comfortable with.
Also unless you have big hands try and avoid a guitar that has a deep neck (like a baseball bat!). Though these guitars will have great tone, they are much harder to play, and not advised for a beginner.
If you really must go the electric route then hunt around for a guitar and amplifier package – Fender generally have some good deals, and most self-respecting music stores should have one or more starter packages on offer. But as I said earlier, I would definitely NOT recommend the electric route for a beginner. Most electric guitars these days are pretty well built, but again the comments I have already made about action and fingerboard width still apply.
Other equipment to think about – spare strings are a must – you are going to break some and they wear out quickly if you play a lot. For acoustic guitar choose phosphor bronze wind. The string should be .011” or .012” gauge – no heavier. For electric I recommend .010” to.46” gauge. Don’t go lighter or heavier – it will only cause problems further down the line – certainly DO NOT be seduced by ultra-light strings – they will let you down badly with certain styles of music.
To change strings you will need the aid of a good pair of pliers or wire nippers, and preferably a string winder, which makes changing strings so much quicker.
The last bit of gear you will need is a tuner. Please get yourself an electronic tuner – they are no longer expensive and they ensure that your guitar is totally in tune. There are 2 main types – the ones that plug into an electric guitar AND have an internal mike, and the type that clip on the headstock of your guitar. Go for the latter – they are cheaper and less likely to get trodden on!
2.Styles to Play
Right at the outset you need to be totally clear about the styles of music you want to play. Best not to be too ambitious right at the start. My advice is to pick music that has reasonably straightforward chordal accompaniment. Most country music is fine from this point of view, and the various folk and acoustic styles are fine for the beginner.
When you first start it is good to set yourself a goal of learning a few chords so you can then learn a song to sing along to. Please DO NOT attempt to play “Stairway to Heaven” on your very first outing on the guitar!
With regard to style, you have a very important initial choice to make – do you play with a plectrum (pick) or do you play fingerstyle? Again, some advice – although fingerstyle may be your ultimate goal I would strongly suggest that you start with a pick. The initial challenge will be to master chords with your fretting hand, and you really do need to minimise the time you spend thinking about what your picking hand is doing. At the start content yourself with simple downstrokes, for which a pick is ideal.
Putting Together the Material
Now you need to assemble the material you need to start playing! As a bare minimum you need a book that introduces basic chords involving use of open strings. Most beginners books should cover this, however I would strongly suggest getting advice from a competent player as to what is good, bad or indifferent.
This really is the toughest part – your fingers will get sore, your wrists will ache, and you will get hopeless buzzing from the strings! Persevere my friend – this is the pain barrier where 90% of aspiring players give up, and you don’t want to be one of them do you? A few intensive weeks of learning basic open chords will pay huge dividends. G, C and D should be your first targets. Then onto the dreaded F (first finger over TWO strings at once!), A (bit of a squeeze), E, B7, then the minor chords – Ami, Dmi, Emi for starters.
Learning to move effortlessly between chords is vital – in the end you should be achieving an absolutely even flow between chords. Then you can start to concentrate on your picking hand. Learn first to “strum” with your pick with an up and down movement. Play from the wrist, not from the upper arm or shoulder – this is EXREMELY important. If you don’t learn this flexibility you will NEVER play fluently.
Beyond this stage, fingerstyle and plectrum style players will diverge, and here I would sincerely advocate the use of a good teacher to ensure that you are pointed in the right direction. Well – good luck and I really hope you make it!