If you are going to learn anything whether it is brain surgery or a new language there is a lot of effort involved. Now I am not saying that it is brain surgery but learning to play the guitar certainly takes a lot of time and effort and many of us will fall by the wayside in the process. But it does not have to be like that. If done properly learning the guitar can be a fun and rewarding experience. So here are my top tips for playing the guitar, taken from my own bitter experiences, on learning to play the guitar.
Choose Your Weapon Wisely
I know that this might be a bit of an odd one to start with. However, if there is any advice that I would give to someone who was wanting to learn to play the guitar it would be this. Make sure you choose your first guitar wisely. I remember the first guitar that I bought with absolutely no fondness whatsoever. It was a cheap acoustic guitar and it nearly ended my association with the instrument. To be blunt it was the biggest pile of…
…well you know what I mean. It would never stay in tune, the action was so high that I would have required the finger strength of Arnold Schwarzenegger to hold the strings down and when I did manage to play a note the tone was so bad it was unbearable. I really could not stand the thing and would have given up on playing the guitar if it hadn’t been for a friend giving me a loan of one of his. The difference between the two guitars was like night and day and made me realise what a blunder I had made in not buying a decent guitar to start with. So make sure you buy yourself a good guitar. Do your research, try out a few guitars before you buy but certainly don’t rush in and buy the first guitar that you see. I wrote an article on how to choose your first guitar which might be worth a read if you are looking for some advice.
Get a Good Teacher
When learning to play the guitar there is only so far that you can get on your own. Well in my honest opinion I think that statement is true. What many people find when they start learning to play the guitar is that they pick up a book or two, learn a few chords and perhaps a few scales, don’t really know how to put these together to form a tune and so don’t progress. I should know I was one of those people. I learnt to play the pentatonic scale and that was all I could play for years. I didn’t even know how to put chords around the pentatonic scale so that I could play a tune. I just kept using the same blues licks and it got rather boring and repetitive. Now this is an excellent recipe for dissatisfaction and ultimately to you giving up on playing the guitar. For me the best solution was to get a teacher. It doesn’t have to be an actual guitar teacher, although they are very good. I found that I preferred the on-line approach as you can take it at your own pace and it works out a lot cheaper. I have found that Jam Play is the best on the market and have written an article which goes through the benefits of learning with Jam Play which is well worth a read. I found that learning with Jam Play helped me to expand both my guitar technique and understanding of music theory very quickly. There are other learning products on-line but Jam Play comes with a complete money back guarantee and has nearly a quarter of a million happy users, which gives you an idea that they must be doing something right.
Join a Band
Let’s face it the main reason that any of us want to learn to play the guitar is so that we can be in a band and live the rock and roll dream! But I think that joining a band is an invaluable tool for learning to play the guitar. What I found was that when I joined a band I had to learn quickly. This was absolutely invaluable as my skill in playing the guitar increased at an almost exponential rate. Being around other musicians really helps to hone your skills, after all you play a bum note and your band members will certainly let you know. Now this can be quite a daunting thing for those just starting out but thankfully there are options available which provide you with the band experience without having to actually join a band. One of the latest developments, which I am really itching to try out, is the new “Session Mode” in Rocksmith 2014. The developers of Rocksmith suggest that this ground breaking technology allows the user to play guitar with a virtual band that jams along with them. We have written a pre-release review of Rocksmith 2014 which is well worth a read.
I know that this last tip perhaps goes without saying but it is true. If you don’t have fun then you just won’t progress and where is the point in that. Having fun while you are learning to play the guitar is the key to it all.
Well that’s it, those are my four top tips for learning to play the guitar. Of course there are others but I think that if you take care of those four then the rest will follow. Here’s to your continued happy strumming.
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