Beginning to learn to play guitar can be difficult, especially if you have never attempted anything like it before. How do you know how much progress you’re making? Are you learning quickly, slowly or at an average pace? What are the milestones you should be hitting? To put your mind at ease and keep you motivated, we’ve collected the top ten tips for beginner guitarists.
1. Always Start with the Basics: If you try too much too soon, chances are you might scare yourself off. Start with the basic chords and chord progressions – essentials in the world of guitar playing, simple to play, and they sound pretty good too!
2. Try Classical: Instead of the typical acoustic, you might want to start with classical guitar which uses nylon strings instead of steel and is usually much easier on the fingers.
3. Learn Songs You Love: Choosing a song you love means you have a good idea of what it’s meant to sound like and you won’t mind hearing it a hundred times when you’re practising.
4. Don’t Be Put Off by Feeling Clumsy: Messing up is a part of learning—a rite of passage. Accept the fact that you won’t know what you’re doing at first and there will be times when your music making doesn’t sound as great as you hoped. Even Jimi Hendrix probably sounded awful at first! If you stick it out, you are guaranteed to get better.
Image: Maria Morri
5. Don’t Be Put Off by Sore Fingers: Painful fingertips is another rite of passage. You need to build up a decent resistance in your fingers and pain is a part of that, so grit your teeth and just keep strumming.
6. Practice for 10 Minutes Every Day: This is an important lesson and where a lot of people fail. Forcing yourself to practice for at least 10 minutes a day means you will always be making progress no matter how small and will be more comfortable with your guitar a lot quicker than if you practiced for one hour a week.
7. Don’t Get Bogged Down by Theory: If you’re not interested in the theory of guitar playing, just don’t learn it. Instruments are for playing and there’s absolutely no reason to get caught up in the complexities of something that may not necessarily improve your sound; especially if it’s making you want to quit the instrument.
8. Use a Capo: Using a capo isn’t a cheat—many famous guitarists (including Keith Richards) use them. They can be especially helpful if you have small hands, so don’t be afraid to enlist the capo’s help when needed.
9. Learn from a Guitar Teacher: There is no doubt, having a guitar teacher will definitely speed up your progress. A tutor can bring new techniques, different songs and lots of encouragement to the table. From setting you tasks from week to week to building up your confidence, it’s definitely a great investment if you want to advance to performing in front of people or alongside other musicians.
Why not check out our other advice about learning something new?
Image credit: David Masters