It is a challenge when you first start playing guitar, but these tips for acoustic guitar playing may give some insight to keep you interested in playing so you progressively get better and better.
Tip #1: Selecting a Guitar that is Right for You
When selecting a guitar, find one in your budget. Whether you are a new player or have been playing for awhile, the sound of a guitar can make a difference. If you prefer the sound of an electric guitar over an acoustic or classical guitar, you should purchase that, because you are more apt to learn how to play and keep playing if you enjoy the sound.
Tip #2: Picking a Pick
Always buy a couple of picks to get a variety of thicknesses. The softer ones are easier to start with, especially for strumming, but try other thickness to see what you prefer. Having a pick that feels good in the hand and offers a different sound will help you to experiment with sound.
Tip #3: Purchase a Guitar Tuner
A guitar tuner is a blessing. Learning how to use it might take a little while, but have someone show you how to use it, or look it up on the internet. As you learn what the strings should sound like, it will get easier to know when your guitar is out of tune. No one can enjoy an out of tune guitar.
Tip #4: What to expect from the start
Learning how to strum is hard and it is going to sound odd when you first start. Seriously, this is when you really need to keep going and accept that it’s probably not going to be easy going all the time. Which only makes it more satisfying in the end. Most people quit in the beginning because they don’t like the sound they are producing. It will improve over time.
Tip #5: Know your Guitar
Learn the notes on the fretboard of the guitar – get to know the letter names of the notes. The most important part of the fretboard in the beginning is the first five frets on every string. Concentrate on these first until you know them really well and forget the rest.
Tip #6: Lessons
Everybody learns at different speeds and in different ways. Lessons help players learn how to use proper technique, read music, play chords, and how to play in different tempos and rhythms.
Some people prefer to learn on their own – and don’t like having a real person in front of them teaching them – this is when online lessons might be best – but some form of structured lessons is key to learning properly and learning efficiently.
Some people need that push and real-time feedback from a real person in real time – for them in-person lessons will be the most fruitful.
Tip #7: Hand and Finger Exercises
It may sound funny, but giving your hands a work out will help you to hold the guitar and manipulate the way chords require your fingers to move into odd positions. Do finger stretches and work the fingers up and down portions of the neck.
Tip #8: Expect Sore Fingers
Sore fingers are the number one complaint when learning. After playing for awhile the fingertips will develop calluses and the soreness will go away, so don’t give up too early.
Tip #9: Learn the Chords
They say country music is made up of three chords and the truth. Pick three chords and search for songs that use only these three chords. A-D and E are good chords to start with. Then try the G-C and D combination. This will be enough to give you the opportunity to learn many songs. This can help keep you motivated if you are learning actual songs.
Tip #10: Timing and Timing Tools
When you start to learn how to play a guitar, you will literally start tearing songs apart. You want to hear the beat and tap your foot to it. This will help you learn strumming as you become more familiar with it. Hone-in and listen to the guitar part in a song you are learning to really get the feel for it.
Slower songs are easier to start with and then pick up speed as you learn.
It’s also a good idea to work on timing with a digital drum or a metronome. Try different timing tools to find what you think is the easiest to work with. This will help ensure that you develop good rhythm in your playing.
Tip #11: Practice Every Day
Take 15 minutes to an hour a day to practice but break it up into smaller increments when starting out. It’s better to practice consistently than to play for 3 hours one day, burning out and then not practicing for another week.
There will be times that you feel like your doing good and then comes the day you feel like you forgot everything. This is normal and don’t let it get to you. Instead of getting frustrated, use that day to really listen to music. Sometimes all you need is to hear something and remind your brain how to do its job.
Tip #12: Keep a Notebook of Songs
In the beginning, stick with three chords and have ten songs you want to learn. When you get those down, have ten songs picked out with the three new chords. If you hear a song that you want to learn, write it down in the book. This is a way to keep you working towards trying new things. You want to take it slow as you go, but when you learn the basics and then you add one new chord on a new song, you will keep progressing.
Tip #13: Learn the Basic Chords First
Some people believe this is wrong, but for some, if you learn the basic chords and can play a few songs, you will want to learn more. The whole idea is to try to keep advancing in your playing. If you get bored, you will not learn anything.
Learning scales and that kind of things are extremely valuable but can also be quite boring and lead to you giving up if you no longer find it interesting – you can incorporate scales in your practice, but make sure you spend a good amount of time doing things on the guitar that you find fun.
Tip #14: Jam with Friends
Start a guitar playing group and meet once a week to play. Make a list of songs to practice for the following week. The more advanced players help the new players and it is easier to learn when you see and hear new things up close and in person.
Tip #15: Keep Trying
This is one, if not the most important of all the tips for acoustic guitar players. Frustration can take over and make you feel like you are not advancing. Every time you pick up that guitar you learn something. A new note, a new chord, how to get a different sound, and more often than not, you may not notice your improvements until long after you’ve practiced them – but everything you are doing will lead to improvements down the line.
One day you’ll be playing fluently and wonder how you got there – it was that practicing you did weeks, months or even years ago, that is now taking hold.
Have you found any other tips for playing guitar that you have found really helpful for learning and improving? Would be great to hear them – just leave a comment in the comments section below.