Being a musician who plays one of the best guitars, the best electric cellos or the best drums can be a wonderful dream, but we first have to learn how to do it well. You can become a good guitar player faster if you follow what more experimented musicians would have liked to know as beginners and we are going to give you some tips on how to become better.
The guitar is a glorious instrument. Guitar players are known to be among the most creative people in the world – they are very lucky to be able to express their emotions using such magnificent sounds. Why not try to do that in a flawless way? Why not try to have a flawless technique? If you use the advice we’ll give you, you will definitely be able to do it.
Even if you want to be a guitarist in a rock band or write your own songs or you just want to play the guitar in your garage, you first have to have a plan before starting to learn how to play. This way you can skip the ‘learning from your own mistakes’ part and you can start learning from others’.
The guitar has played an essential role in the evolution of music over time. Just think about the fact that historians discovered that its history goes back to 4000 years ago. Imagine how many people learned to play it over time and how many of them didn’t have the chance to read about how to do it better and just improvised.
Even though playing an instrument seems like an easy thing to do, it is very important not to get overconfident from the beginning. This kind of approach won’t get you very far when you want to learn well. Patience and knowing how to start are essential when learning how to play the guitar. So, this is what you have to do.
Practice makes perfect
This is the best tip for everyone who wants to learn something new. As Malcolm Gladwell said in one of his bestseller books, people have to practice for ten thousand hours to become a pro. This applies to musical instruments as well. The more you practice, the more you accomplish and the more time you spend doing something you love, the happier you will become.
Time spent practicing, in the long run, transforms into skill, and when you gain more skills day by day, you achieve a sense of accomplishment that gives you the energy to practice more. After you learn how to play your first song, you will get eager to learn another one, and another one, and another one, and you will polish your technique and, day by day, you will become better at it.
A well-kept secret all great guitar players have is that they used to practice until their fingers bled, exactly like ballerinas practice until their feet were full of blood. That takes patience and determination, but it will most definitely change you into a good musician who is willing to do anything to make his/her dream come true – becoming a pro.
Always practice slowly and increase speed with time
It would be very nice to be able to play the guitar at a rapid pace, but that might not be the best idea when you are a beginner. First of all, you wouldn’t be able to do it because of the lack of dexterity. Second of all, even if you could do it, it is not a productive way to learn, mostly because you have to take time to learn the moves.
The patterns of finger movements are developing as a skill if every note in a scale is played correctly and on time. Practicing slowly will generate reflex movement, depending on the scale’s mode and unique properties. Playing at a rapid pace won’t get you what you want to achieve, because the body can not learn fast and the movements won’t be done correctly.
You can start by using a metronome. A metronome is a device that makes a clicking sound at given intervals of time. Using one while you practice will imprint in your memory the rhythm and the pace at which you have to play. That way you will keep the skill even when you are not using one. You can also control the speed and avoid the tendency to go very fast.
Watch out for the correct hand position on the neck
Every instrument you play has a unique position you have to master before you become good at playing it. The guitar is no different. We know, it would be awesome to play it with our mind, but what can we do? Until scientists come up with other ways to enable us to play instruments by thought only, you will have to learn how to keep the perfect position to play.
The left hand’s muscle and joint structures will adapt to a correct playing configuration every time you play. If you get used to having a wrong positioning of your left hand while you play, it will be very difficult for you to regain the correct one, so it is very important to learn the good technique from the beginning.
The right position is to place all four fingertips on four consecutive frets after the neck bridge. This means that your index finger has to be on the first fret. If you do this, your hand will be automatically held in the right position and every time you practice like this, your body will remember it and it will become a habit.
Start with the chords and move up with the scales
As a future guitarist, it is essential for you to know the basics. You can not build anything without a solid foundation and the same applies to music theory. Let’s imagine you want to play Led Zeppelin’s Stairway to Heaven. Very few beginners will be able to play it without knowing the notes, chords, and scales.
Never underestimate the power of breaking a habit into small parts. Just like any other skill, you have to begin small. Perfectly master the notes first. They are essential. Then move forward to the chords and then start to study the scales. When you get to the scales you will have a fair share of dexterity, an important skill for playing the guitar.
The coordination between the left and right hand is improved by gradually developing skills. That is why it is very important that you first learn how to play the chords well. A good technique is to play them with sweeping motions. It is important to do that until you feel you have mastered it and, only after you feel that, to move forward.
Practice on quality instruments and quality strings
Imagine you want to master the art of sleeping well. You go and buy a new pillow. You are not interested in the quality, you just go and buy a random one. You arrive home and sleep on it the first night and the second and the third. By the fourth morning, you realize that you’ve been waking up tired and with neck pain for the last three days.
You will have the same problem with a low-quality instrument. In fact, almost every music teacher believes that a poor quality instrument will make students quit learning. Learning to play the guitar is difficult, but if you buy a good one, the tone will be better and you won’t get frustrated that the sounds aren’t perfect.
The wood a guitar is made of is very important, and so are the strings. Good quality strings improve the tone of a guitar a long way. You will have to change them often while you learn, but investing in good quality strings is essential to have a guitar that sounds as it should. It will help you spot your mistakes easier and enhance your experience.
The instrument found in almost every song we hear on the radio is the guitar. Most of the contemporary composers are guitar players – Eric Clapton, for example, is a well-known songwriter who also wrote a lot of songs like Layla and My Father’s Eyes. We can’t wait to start hearing about you on the radio and we hope to have managed to help you learn more productively.