Have you decided to learn to play the guitar? Well, first of all, I want to give you my warmest congratulations, because, among all the hobbies that a person could undertake today, I am convinced that playing the guitar is one of the noblest and intelligent.
The problem is that those who approach the guitar for the first time could be lost, making the wrong choices or take the wrong directions for their own musical taste. This is normal, as the guitar world is a very large world and we all need help at the beginning to not have to start over after a few months of study.
In this article, you will find a complete guide that will direct you to the right choices to learn to play the guitar. This will allow you to start immediately on the right foot without going through a series of mistakes that all beginners make at the beginning
First off: Am I Too Old to Learn?
So you are wondering, “Am I not too old to learn to play the guitar?”
The answer to this question is NO. You are NOT too old to learn the guitar!
Anyone can learn to play the guitar at any age. I know this truth because I have seen it many times.
But If you think you are too old to learn the guitar, you are probably right! The belief that it is too late to learn is often the real obstacle. So if you think you are too old to learn the guitar, you are. Or you can change that mentality.
Scientists and music education professionals agree that there is no age to learn to play the guitar and develop its musicality.
So, no matter how old you are you can learn to play the guitar.
What’s the first step?
The first thing you need to do when you begin to learn to play the guitar is to find an instrument that suits your desires and an instrument that makes you melt.
You will spend several hours alone with your guitar, it must make you vibrate.
Just because you’re starting out doesn’t mean you shouldn’t aim high in the choice of instrument, quite the contrary. A good instrument will be: easier to play, will produce a better sound, therefore, more sensations, more pleasure, etc. It will also allow you to progress faster.
We tend to believe that as a beginner you shouldn’t be playing with a great instrument. It is not so.
Certainly, you may not have the budget to invest in a $2,000 guitar, but don’t aim too low either.
A good guitar will be your best friend, especially since it will never lose value compared to an “entry-level” guitar. You can always resell it at a good price if it no longer satisfies you.
Check out this guide on how to choose a guitar as a beginner.
Electric guitar or acoustic guitar?
When you start to learn to play the guitar you will need to choose the type of guitar to start playing with.
Although there are three types of guitars (classical, acoustic and electric), the competition of choice is usually between the acoustic guitar and the electric guitar.
The first thing to do is to choose the one that is best suited to you according to its specificity and its sound.
As a beginner player, your experience with your first instrument is essential to your long-term success. Choosing the right guitar is choosing the type of guitar that you personally find exciting and that will motivate you to play the most. What kind of music would you like to play? What type of guitar catches your eye? Which one can you imagine playing? This is the one you will be most looking forward to practicing and playing. If you just want to play the guitar but aren’t sure which type of guitar to choose, budget, and work within those parameters.
Another important thing when choosing the guitar to learn to play with is to respect the parameters of your budget.
Ideally, your choice between electric guitar and acoustic guitar should be determined solely by the desire of one over the other. However, the choice may be realistically limited by your budget. Getting started with an electric guitar is usually more expensive than with an acoustic guitar because of the need for an amplifier and other accessories. If the electric guitar is what you really want but is out of your budget, then a little more time and savings will be worth the wait.
The easiest guitar to play is the one that interests you the most.
Often times people want to know which type of guitar is easier to play. There are physical differences between electric and acoustic guitars that can be considered. However, we believe that the type of guitar you “want” to play is the easiest to learn, as you will be more likely to establish good habits early in the process.
It is easier to learn to play electric guitars.
Electric guitars are physically a little easier to play, as long as they are well adjusted because they have a smaller body, a thinner neck, and lighter strings. The microphones and amplifiers do all the work of projecting the sound, so a lighter touch and lighter strings make the game easier.
An electric guitar should be plugged into an amplifier, which should be turned on before playing. For some, the extra effort it takes to plug an amplifier in and turn it on may be enough to keep them from playing that often or to take advantage of a spontaneous moment to pick it up and play it.
Acoustic guitars have heavier strings that require a little firmer grip and fingering.
The wooden table of an acoustic guitar must vibrate to project the sound. This requires larger strings and a slightly firmer grip and fingering. The body of the acoustic guitar is much larger than that of the electric guitar, and usually has a thicker neck to support the tension of heavier strings. However, some people find the immediate accessibility of an acoustic guitar on a tripod attractive, which makes them more likely to pick it up and play more often.
What strings do I need?
This is an excellent question that deserves an excellent answer. It depends on the type of guitar you are modifying. Whether you play the acoustic, electric or classical guitar. The rope gauge and the material are different on each.
Since you have just started to learn to play the guitar and your hands are not as strong. The best thing to do is to go with a lighter gauge guitar string. This will make it easier to read notes and maintain chords. If you want to know more about the “gauge” of the strings and what it means. Take a look at How to Choose Guitar Strings
When you start to learn to play the guitar, you will be needing some equipment.
These small pieces of plastic (or any other material) of triangular shape stand between the thumb and forefinger and are used to scrape the strings. They offer power and precision of attack impossible to obtain by playing with the fingers.
A pick is a small flat tool used to pluck or strum a guitar
To be able to play the guitar standing comfortably, you must have a strap! They are found in all materials, shapes, and colors. Prices vary between 5 and 60 dollars, depending on the design and quality.
Better to choose a strap designed in a noble material even if it costs a little more expensive because it is a good investment in the long term.
THE COVER / CASE
To protect your guitar from shocks and bad weather when traveling, you must acquire a good carrying case.
The stands (or tripods) are used to place your instrument when you are not using it while avoiding any risk of falling.
This guitar accessory is absolutely essential!
Often called “capo” in the jargon of guitarists, the capo comes in the form of a metal clip that is placed across the neck.
These pliers act a little like a third hand which would make a perfect strikeout! By shortening the tuning fork of the guitar, the capo allows you to play in different tones.
Biggest Beginner Mistakes
People who have just started to learn to play the guitar make a lot of mistakes. The chief among them is self-doubt. Beginner guitarists often feel they do not have a good ear, do not have a sense of rhythm, they think they do not have the gift or the talent to play a song or just to play the guitar.
However, there is no guitarist in the world who has successfully mastered his instrument without having spent thousands of hours practicing it, making mistakes, training, playing false notes, not playing in rhythm, or to doubt him.
We must, therefore, accept that learning the guitar is a journey, sometimes easy, sometimes full of pitfalls, and gain confidence in our ability to obtain really encouraging results in our practice of the guitar.
Some other mistakes often made by beginners include:
- Watching what they do with their hands and fingers
- Having bad posture
- Focusing on speed
- Hoping for immediate results
How often should I practice?
This question is common among people who have just started to learn to play the guitar. There is no generic answer to this. It depends on certain factors like, how much time you can spare, how fast you learn etc.
But ideally, as a beginner, you should practice daily for about 20 minutes at a time. This practice should be focused and have a goal in mind. So that you know what you are going to practice. You should keep track of what you are practicing. In addition, to see your progress, you can record what you are doing. Then you can read it at a later date and see how you have progressed.
Or listen to what you have practiced and see where you need to improve. The tape never lies!
How to Tune a Guitar
Just like owning a car or a bicycle, there are some things you need to know how to do when you start to learn to play the guitar. These things will help you maintain your instrument.
Knowing how to tune your guitar is one of them. There are two ways to tune your guitar. One is old-fashioned and it’s by ear. The most modern way is to use a guitar tuner. Which is faster and more precise. although I recommend learning to tune your guitar by ear. And then with a tuner. That way, no matter where you are, even if you are without a tuner. You can tune your guitar.
Helpful Hint: Tune your guitar each time before playing it. Also, tune your guitar after using a capo. The capo tends to detune the guitar.
You can also check out this video on how to tune a guitar
How to Hold a Guitar
First of all, as a beginner who has just started to learn to play the guitar, you should practice sitting down. When sitting, most people have the guitar sit on their lap. If you are right-handed, place your guitar in position on your right leg. If you are left-handed, the guitar would be on your left leg.
Keep both feet on the ground. You want to make sure you keep good posture. Keep your back straight and straight. The back of the guitar body should be against your belly.
The neck of the guitar should be tilted about 45 degrees upward. This will make fretting easier for you. Your right armrests on the upper part of the guitar body.
If you’re going to be playing the classical guitar, try this. A classical guitarist will move the guitar to the left leg and play the guitar. The minute you do this, you will notice that the neck of the guitar automatically goes higher. This makes it easier to play. The downside is that you sit upright and get tired more quickly.
Or If you have shorter arms, you may want to play the guitar like a classical guitarist.
It is always a good idea to use a guitar strap. Even if you are sitting, it will help prevent the accident. Like dropping your guitar. A good strap will help keep it in the playing position.
You can also check out this video on how to hold a guitar
How to Care for Your Guitar
Just because you call it your axe doesn’t mean you have to treat your guitar as such. When you start to learn to play the guitar, you need to treat your guitar properly and this will make it sound better. Here are some tips on how to take care of the guitar
- Clean your guitar regularly. Remember to wipe the neck and body of a guitar or other string instrument with a soft, dry cloth, flannel cloth, or towel after each use. Quick and regular small cleanings are much more beneficial for your instrument than polishing from head to toe once a year.
- Polish your guitar. When it’s time to polish your guitar, don’t rush onto furniture polish; many contain oils that can build up on the finish of the guitar and make it dull over time. The best way to polish varies from model to model. Consult the guitar manufacturer or an experienced luthier in your area for the best way to clean your guitar.
- Do not play with dirty strings. The frequency with which you change the strings on your guitar is actually a matter of personal preference, although a new set of strings will provide better sound. Generally speaking, it’s time to change the strings when they start to lose their tone. So at least twice a year if you play the guitar regularly.
- Loosen the strings to put them away. If you don’t plan on playing the guitar or other string instrument for a few months or more, loosen or remove the strings before storing them. This will prevent the body, the bridge, and the neck from deforming or breaking under the constant tension of the strings.
- Dislodge dust out of the soundbox. While changing the strings on your acoustic guitar or other string instruments, be sure to remove dust from the body of the instrument. Just pour about 125 grams (1/2 cup) of uncooked rice into the soundbox, gently shake the instrument and then empty the rice (and dust).
There you have it. Now that you know all there is to learn to play the guitar, are you ready to learn?