Have you always wanted to learn to play the guitar? A wonderful instrument that once mastered will allow you to play beautiful melodies, it is a popular choice for those of all ages and those from all walks of life. If you are a beginner and you have always wanted to play (perhaps you’ve had a delay in learning because of parenthood or because of attending school), there are a few things to get sorted before you begin to learn.
Decide on what you will learn and purchase your guitar
First of all, decide whether you want to learn to play the electric or acoustic guitar. Once you have set your mind on either one, you have to work out how much you want to spend on the guitar. As a beginner, you don’t necessarily need to spend tons of money on your first guitar. It’s just a starter guitar after all and as you get better you can always upgrade.
Have a look online and read reviews on how they sound, the quality of the materials they are made from and compare the different brands/models (Yamaha for example, is a known brand that has guitars for all budgets). You don’t however, want to go for the cheapest option; simply find one that’s in the mid-price range if you can (otherwise you might end up wasting your money on several guitars). You will also have to see if the size is correct for you (guitars come in alternate sizes depending on what your age and what you’re looking for).
Stick to a strict schedule
Once you have your guitar, decide on when/where you will learn it. Learning an instrument takes dedication, therefore you want to set out a schedule that you know you can realistically stick to. If you lead a particularly busy life, with work and looking after the kids, you want to find a time that will work for you. You don’t want to have to learn late at night when your motivation isn’t at its best after all.
Work out what your learning style is
Everyone learns differently, therefore you need to work out what learning style fits you. If you are teaching yourself to play the guitar, you need to make sure that you can learn on your own. Yes, you will be following online tutorials to learn but you must be comfortable in your own company to be able to take in what you are learning. Many people that are learning the guitar are auditory learners. This means that they listen by ear to what chords they are playing and learn how to create a rhythm that way. You might be a visual learner, that will be able to master the guitar by looking at diagrams or from video tutorials.
The benefit of online tutorials
As mentioned above, when learning to play the guitar without a physical teacher present, online tutorials are an invaluable source. Using a knowledgeable website (such as Musician Authority) you can discover what songs are perfect for beginners to learn, how to master the guitar chords and how to improve as you learn. Perfect for visual learners, you will learn how to play at your own pace and will progress in your studies.
Tune your guitar
This may go without saying, but before you begin your guitar journey, you will have to make sure that the guitar is finely tuned. You can see if it is tuned if it plays nicely and there aren’t any poor notes. If you are unsure as to how to tune it, once again by watching videos online you will get a better understanding of what the guitar should sound like. When it is all tuned, you are good to go.
Learn all the chords
By watching and reading tutorials, you will learn what each of the chords is and how to position your fingers on them. There are five major chords – A, E, D, C and G. Once you have learned the major chords, you can start to learn the minor chords. By learning the chords you can learn rhythm and start to string together a song. Without the knowledge of the chords, you won’t be able to read music or adapt to play different genres/different songs easily.
Try to learn some of your favorite songs
A great way of teaching yourself how to play the guitar is by learning how to play some of your favorite songs on it. It is a great way to pick up the chords and adapt to how different they sound. One of the key elements of teaching yourself to play the guitar is to ensure that you practice every day and by listening to your favourite songs and learning them, it will help you to pick it up quicker.
Practice with chromatic exercises
Chromatic exercises can be used to improve coordination, picking dexterity, can help with your fretting and will help to strengthen your fingers. But what are they? Determining on which website you use to teach you how to play the guitar, the exercises can consist of playing the different frets with your fingers and then moving your hand down the neck of the guitar. This movement is defined as the chromatic scale.
As well as fretting exercises, try to find exercises that will add dexterity to your picking. For acoustic players, look to learn the basic finger picking patterns – these will be invaluable as you learn more complicated songs.
Learning the guitar will undoubtedly take a lot of patience and time. No one is a perfect guitarist straight away. But you need to remember that you will get there in the end, if you have the determination and motivation to learn. By practicing every day you will improve and by following in-depth tutorials you will learn the different chords and start to pick up a rhythm. A great way of gaining confidence in your ability is to play to family and friends – this will be a real test of how well you are progressing and how far you have come. No matter what your age you can learn the guitar if you have the willingness to do so.