So you have decided to take the committment into learning guitar! It is something that is incredible to do after you've gone through the rough of learning the basics, but the results are well worth it. But, before you do actually pick up a guitar and play or if you have started already, it would be very helpful to know these few things and make the experience as easy as possible!
1. Do you REALLY want to learn?
This is an incredibly common issue when it comes to beginners playing guitar. Their reasonings for playing may be different from why they really want to play.
My story is a perfect example : I have had my dad's electric guitar in my house since I was born and I never knew about it or cared much to find out about it. Time went by and in 8th grade, I knew people that were in bands and I wanted to be like them, popular and attract girls, so I tried to play. I picked up the guitar and picked a few strings and I put it away for years, I just wasn't interested in it. Years went by without playing or thinking of it, then out of the blue, my best friend had decided he wanted to learn to play and he did. After months of him starting out I would hear him play and I knew I had a guitar and wanted to be doing the same thing. I took it out and again I was just not feeling the desire to play or learn. Fast forward 2 years from that time, one of my good friends had passed away from a car accident and out of no-where I had the strongest desire to learn and play. I say it is because he didn't have the chance to do so and I did now. So ever since that day I have been playing guitar and realized it is my passion and can't go a day without playing
So you need to ask yourself one of these questions before playing, because if you begin without knowing your full intention for doing so, the experience will be harder and you may find yourself giving up easily. What made you want to play? Friends, girls, popularity, inspiration, creativity? With that answer, ask yourself , Do I want to express, impress, or entertain? This is the most important idea to consider before playing . If you wish to express, you will love the entire experience and getting to the level where you can write songs yourself. If you wish to impress, you will most likely wish to entertain too and that will lead you to practicing and practicing constantly. If you couldn't decide on any of the three, maybe guitar just isn't right for you!
2. Picking The Right Guitar
Now that you have hopefully decided on the reason you wish to play and if you have a genuine desire to learn, it is time to decide on what guitar you will buy. There is basically two options when it is watered down and that is acoustic or electric. I'll briefly go over the pros and cons to each and give you a better idea of what to start with.
Pros : • Amplifed Sound , • Smaller and More Comfortable, • Incredible Sound Using An Amp, • Easier to Play and Learn With, • Looks Cooler
Cons : • Little Volume With No Amp, • Not Convienant/Transportable, • Heavier , • More Expensive, • Makes Learning Acoustic A Little Harder
So an electric guitar is a great choice if you plan to play at home by yourself and love the loud vibrations from an amplifier, as well as making the learning experience a little easier as opposed to an acoustic. If you are to spring for an electric, don't buy the cheapest one you can find! You want a good quality guitar that will keep the tone and have great playability, there are hundreds for $100 or even under that price. Very good quality brands of electric guitars are Fender, Gibson, Ibanez, Epiphone, and Gretsch
Pros: • Beautiful Sounding, • Voluminous Sound, • Very Light • Extremely Portable and Convienant, • Cheaper, • No Amp Required, • Makes Playing Electric Incredibly Easy, • Very Nice Looking
Cons: • Harder to Play and Begin With, • Limited Sound Capability (Unless It Is Acoustic/Electric), • Large Size and Harder To Comfortably Hold
An acoustic is the way to go if you are looking for a more 'pretty' sound, and being able to play both at home and easily transport to a friends house, college, or hiking somewhere . It will also give you a bit of a challenge due to strings being thicker and harder to press down. A good quality acoustic should be around $100 , but a used one you can find for cheap and have it be very good quality! Some brands to keep in mind for Acoustic guitars are Martin, Gibson, Yahmaha, Ovation, and Taylor.
What did I start with? When I began playing guitar I only had one choice and that was electric. My dad had played in bands and kept the guitar, and it is a very nice one , so I started with that electric guitar and bought a small, cheap amp . I love playing 'Led Zeppelin', 'Blink-182', 'Red Hot Chilli Peppers', and 'Nirvana' to name a few, and electric is the way to go to play those band's songs. If I had the option to choose I would still go with the electric because that is more my style and preference, though I wish I played acoustic more as it is tougher to play an acoustic after playing an electric always.
3. Finding YOUR Best Learning Methods
This is another major aspect towards learning and getting better. Everyone has a different way of learning and prefer to be taught in different manners than others. Some people prefer visual, verbal, watching and repeating, or a combination of them all. In my opinion, the absolute best way to learn guitar is to have someone else with a guitar and have them tell you what you are doing, how to do it, correct improper technique, and answer your questions. Having them also play themselves what it is they are teaching you, so that you have the visual plus the explaination. There are a few ways that are the best options to learning.
Have A Friend Teach You !
This is the one of the best, if not the best way to learn guitar, being taught by a friend having them tell you what to, what not to do, taking their time with you, and helping you nail chords and songs. I know from personal experience that anyone who play guitar would be more than happy to teach you to play, so don't be afraid to ask! Also, don't be intimidated and distraught when you have a hard time doing simple things and they are able to do everything with ease. They were in your position at one point too and stuck with it through the struggle. I know many people may not have the privilage of knowing a friend that can play guitar, but if you do I highly suggest you ask them!
Watch YouTube Lessons !
I can't say how greatly YouTube has made an impact on my learning experience, it is a god-send when it comes to learning music! There are hundreds of videos of people explaining and showing how to do the most basic things, as well as lessons on how to play a certain song step-by-step! Having the ability to watch a pre-recorded video on what you want to learn is something you should not take for granted, you have the ability to pause until you accomplish what the video is teaching, rewind to parts you didn't quite understand or hear, and watch the video over and over. Utilize YouTube as much as possible, even if a friend is teaching you, watch videos when they are not able to teach you, you will learn twice as fast.
- I HIGHLY suggest watching all of Marty Schwartz's videos, I personally beleive he is the absolute best teacher when it comes to guitar and giving lessons. Novice to expert, he takes the time to explain each next step and has the patitence to go slow enough so you don't miss a beat!
Find a Tutor or Teacher!
Personally, I have never taken this route and went out looking for a teacher/tutor that you can hire. It would be a great option to take this route if you don't have any friends that can teach you in person, but if you do have someone I would suggest to save your money for something else. The reason for this is, though they are extremely helpful and teach you a lot, they generally go by the hour. Each session, I belive, is an hour and in an hour when you first start playing won't accomplish much. So there goes money you could have used for something else when you were better off watching YouTube, a friend, or someone you met online to teach for free. As I said, they can be INCREDIBLY helpful and I am not saying they aren't, I would simply not suggest doing so if you have other options. It can also be very easy to find tutors if you are lost!
Read and Post Guitar Forums!
Litterally, there are hundreds of music/guitar forums that exist for the sole purpose of collaboration, advice, suggestions, and generally anything that has to do with helping others become better. I would suggest a website such as 'ultimate-guitar' due to the massive forum, the video tutorials and written guides to different guitar techniques.
- So when it comes to ways to approach learning guitar, there are quite a few and you shouldn't just utilize one, but all of them! The more the better, the more you will learn and the better you will get faster! Personally, my way of learning guitar was through my best friend that luckily had been playing for 2 years at the time. He taught me basics, things to do and not to do, and when not with him I would watch YouTube videos , read forums, and look at tabs to songs.
4. Never Get Discouraged ! Keep Playing!
There is no doubt that learning guitar is one of the most frustrating, aggrivating, annoying things to learn. You will constantly be hitting the wrong strings, struggle with making chords and needing to take time to put your fingers in the correct place, remember what chords are what, hitting sour notes or not pressing down enough, and muting strings by accidently touching them with another finger.
It can be very discouraging in the first month or so. But don't get distraught! Don't think of and look at others playing and think ' Why can't I just do that!? ' , you will inveitably do so , but you can't compare yourself to others. You are at a far different skill level and it is to be expected that you will struggle, but I can say without a doubt in my mind that the self-satisfaction you receive from finally nailing chords and songs is incredible and one of the best feelings.
So just know that you will go through a phase of extreme aggrivation, but keep going through it! As a perfectionist and competitive person, I was extremely upset constantly when I couldn't play songs or couldn't do something right and messed up. But I thought of it as, I will do this , I will through it and I did ! Just keep playing and play every day and you will easily notice your improvement each day.
That's it! Those are the necessary things to take into consideration BEFORE playing guitar and learning and once you first begin. If you know all of these, it will make the learning experience as painless as it possibly can and you will enjoy playing in no time! Just think of you being able to play your favorite songs after you get through this beginning stage!
I hope this article helped a lot of people wanting to learn guitar and not knowing where to start or how to do it. Even better if I inspired someone to start playing! I will be more than satisfied if just one person benefited greatly from my advice or I had inspired one person.
Have fun and good luck!
First Acoustic Guitar Suggestion
Amazon Price: $499.99 $154.98 Buy Now
(price as of Oct 4, 2015)
The reviews for this are almost all 5 stars and is all around incredible first guitar to buy, you won't be disappointed with the playability and sound of this.
Even better you get EVERYTHING you need! Extra guitar picks, guitar strap, extra strings, and most important A TUNER!
This is the best deal I could find for the best quality guitar
First Electric Guitar Suggestion
For a Twangy / Hendrix Sound
This is absolutely the best one to buy as it comes with everything you will need: A carrying case, guitar to amp cable, numerous picks, a tuner, guitar strap, even a DVD instructional video! Most importantly, an amplifer! Because it isn't electric without an amp :).
First Electric Guitar Suggestion
For That Robust, Voluminous Sound
Amazon Price: $282.00 $129.99 Buy Now
(price as of Oct 4, 2015)
Though this does not come with an amplifier, tuner, picks, etc. For the price, it is worth it to spend a little extra getting the other items.