Is playing guitar something you have always thought about but never got round to, or have you started to play at one point but put the guitar in the corner to just gather dust.
Then you are certainly not alone, but learning to play guitar can be such a rewarding experience, its well worth you giving it a go, or picking it back up if you got a bit rusty.
It’s important to approach learning in the correct fashion, and if you have doubts, then you must try hard to overcome them.
I considered myself too old at first to start playing, a lot of my friends had been playing for years before I even picked up the guitar.
Looking back it seems stupid that I would even think that, age is certainly no obstacle if you are a beginner guitar player.
People put learning the guitar off for a number of reasons, and most of the time the reasons can easily be overcome.
Tip 1 – Having the Right Mindset
Have you ever told yourself one of these things to stop yourself from playing.
- You’re just too old to play, and old dogs don’t learn new tricks.
Well that’s just not true, and it really doesn’t matter how old you are, you are certainly not too old to learn to play the guitar.
- You have no natural talent, and you are just not musical in the slightest.
You never know if you never try, but the fact that you are reading this means you have an interest in wanting to play, so the next step is to actually give it a go.
Nothing ventured nothing gained.
- I just don’t have any time to play.
Learning the guitar does require time, you do need to practice consistently, but there is a flexibility with the guitar that lends itself to practice.
Most of us lead busy lives, but you owe it to your self to have some downtime, and playing the guitar is a great way to pass the time, and relax.
So if you have more time in the morning, then that may be the best time for you to practice.
If you have time in the afternoon, then make the most of it by practicing.
Figuring out when the best time is for you will make scheduling the time for practice much easier.
- My fingers are not long enough, or strong enough.
Children play guitar, so you can too. And strength in your fingers comes with time and practice.
So there is really nothing you can’t overcome to play, you have to put the doubts out of your mind and pick up that guitar and get started.
Now we have talked about the doubts, what about the benefits of learning to play.
- Playing the guitar is a great way to relax and unwind.
And the great thing is you don’t have to be an expert to get those benefits, once you have learned some basic chords, then there are a world of songs to be played.
And you can literally spend hours on end learning to strum some of your favourite tunes.
- You are not alone on your quest to be a better player.
Once you commit to playing the guitar, then you are part of a community who love to help.
The amount of free guitar lessons, tutorials and guitar forums available to you as a beginner is unbelievable.
YouTube is an amazing resource for guitar players of any level of experience, you just have to do a search for one of your favourite songs, plus ‘tutorial’ or ‘guitar lesson’, and there will be a number of people out there who will have filmed an acoustic version, or a tutorial for you to learn from.
Which Guitar to Play
So now you have overcome your objections, its time to decide which guitar to play.
Is it going to be an electric guitar or an acoustic guitar?
There are pros and cons for both types, if you start learning on electric guitar, then it may be easier from a physical point of view, as they tend to have a thinner neck and lighter strings.
But to practice you would need additional equipment such as an amplifier.
And that’s where things can get expensive if you are a beginner.
My advice would be to start out with an acoustic guitar, and then you are self-contained from a playing perspective.
The only additional expense would be guitar strings and a tuner, an acoustic guitar is more portable, and the fact that you don’t need an amp means you can start playing immediately.
If you shop around you can get a good deal online, or you can look at the local music shops, if you do choose this option then it may be wise to take someone with you who knows a bit about guitars to help you out.
The guitar needs to be in a good condition to play, make sure the body looks good and there are no scuffs or marks on it.
Check the neck is not loose where the heal meets the body, and most of all check the tone of the guitar before you buy.
If the strings rattle and buzz then it may not be a good purchase.
I would advise you to buy a brand new acoustic guitar if you can afford it, there are some great models out there, which are reasonably priced, so make sure you shop around.
Tip 2 – How to Inspect a Guitar
Then once you are the proud owner of your new guitar, its time to learn some chords and get cracking.
Tip 3 – 5 Basic Chords
To play the guitar you are going to have to know some basic chord shapes, for me the best place to start is with the five I consider to be the most useful as beginner to know in order to play some songs quickly.
The G Chord
The C Chord
The D Chord
The A Chord
The E Chord
You really have to commit to 30 mins a day practice to make progress as a guitar player, but if you do then you will reap the benefits.
It’s a great feeling when you feel the fluency as you switch between chords. And when you start learning to play the songs you love then there is nothing better.
I found one of the best ways to learn guitar chords was to just sit with the guitar as I was watching T.V.
And you can just practice switching between chords as you watch a movie, you don’t have to strum, you just practice the shapes.
It’s a great way to build up the strength in your hands, and when you come to practice fully, you will really feel the difference in your progression as a guitar player.
So now for the strum
Once you have learned some chord shapes, its time to learn some songs, but its good to get some practice in how to strum.
Learning some strum patterns will really help you to develop by finding your rhythm and tempo.
TIP 4 – Strum Patterns
Its great practice for learning how to hold a pick, and playing to a certain tempo, learning to strum will really help you develop your timing as a player.
Remember its not going to sound great at first, it takes time to get the right tone as you begin to strum.
It’s about learning finesse and applying the right amount of pressure from the pick to the strings.
But concentrate on getting the correct tone, its not a race, take your time to make sure your position and hold is correct, and the rest will come with practice.
It will feel strange at first but you will get it.
And when you feel you are ready, then its time for a song.
Tip 5 – Easy Songs to Get You Going
The Animals – House of the rising sun
Bob Dylan – Knocking on Heavens Door
Bob Marley – Three Little Birds
Chuck Berry – Jonny B Goode
The Beatles – Love Me Do
So well done, if you have gotten this far then I have no doubt you have the commitment to go on and be a great guitar player.
Its not an easy ride, and you will definitely get out what you put in, the more time you have to practice then the better.
It will be slow progress at first, but you will find it easier the more time you spend holding the guitar and strumming along to your favourite tunes.
And then it will be no time at all before you are performing in front of friends and family.
The other bit of advice when it comes to advancing as a guitar player is to seek out other players, most towns have an acoustic open mic where you can go and meet up and watch local guitarists.
Seek out fellow guitarists to play with and you will really advance in not time.
So enjoy the ride, practice lots, and have a lot of fun on the way to becoming a great guitar player.