Are you interested in using your first guitar? Learning how to play guitar can be quite intimidating to a beginner. Learning how to play the guitar is not the real issue here, but just because there are a lot of ways and resources currently being made available these days, making it quite challenging to decide where to start. As such, it is quite normal for a beginner to have different concerns and questions as you start your exciting journey.
In order to be guided accordingly, we have compiled some of the most common FAQs related to playing guitar.
1. Am I too old to start learning how to play guitar?
At this point, it is very important to set things straight. You will never be too old when it comes to learning how to play a guitar. This is a common concern with some new players. Whether you are in your teen, or you are already in your 50s, there is no certain age restriction in learning a new skill. Playing instruments of any type can be worthwhile and rewarding which enhances creativity, self-discipline, confidence and coordination. While it is true that young players may quickly absorb learning materials, adults are more responsible, more likely to consistently practice as they have the attention and motivation which is absent among younger players.
2. What is the most common pitfall among beginners?
A lot of beginners think that ability and technique will happen overnight. However, this idea may lead to frustration and the eventual giving up of your learning project. Learning music, as well as any musical instrument, can be considered as a marathon, and not really a sprint. This learning experience is gradual which requires time, patience, as well as comprehension and understanding of concepts.
3. How do I maximize your practice time?
The more time you actually put into practice in learning guitar, the more you will get out of it. Consistent and regular practice is very important in improving your ability in playing guitar, even for individuals who are considered as natural learners. The most important thing, however, is practicing “the right way”. Making sure that you keep your technique in check will certainly avoid the formation of bad habits which may oftentimes take several years to break. As such, proper positioning of the hand, good posture, as well as preventative stretching, needs to be taken into consideration all the time.
Even though it may seem normal to feel a little bit of discomfort during the earlier days of your learning, you might have to be alert when it comes to feeling tension, as well as unnatural bending of your wrists and fingers. This means that it is very important for you to take a good break. Great playing does not necessarily stem from several hours of painful practice. Indeed, quality is part at the same level with quantity. You may want to have a breather after every 20 minutes in order to keep your mind very clear, with your enthusiasm and excitement piqued.
4. Where should I start?
The first thing that you have to do in order to know where to start is determining the type of learning that will suit your lifestyle. This depends on what type of learner you are. For example, if you are a disciplined person who can learn on your own, you can find the Internet as a good source of different instructional videos. They can be accessed easily, very easy to follow, and mostly free. A lot of professionals and experts offer guitar instructions for free, allowing you to learn how to play a guitar at your own schedule and pace. This is really advantageous for those who have complicated schedules.
Still, you may want to enjoy the benefits of one-on-one instructions if budget and time allows for it. By having a personal instructor, you can be encouraged to follow a schedule which will include various instructional materials, starting from finger exercises to coursework and related songs. A professional guitar teacher may also prepare lesson plans depending on your own skill level and pace. If you are the particular type of person, there are several in-demand instructors who may even give you one-on-one classes through Skype for an online and interactive experience.
Whether you are an independent learner, or prefer having a personal teacher, or even appreciates being in a group setup, there are a lot of options that you can have. The point is that it is highly recommended to identify your learning style which is appropriate to create a long term habit for playing.
5. Why do my fingers hurt?
Yes. They even say that you need to experience this pain before you ultimately see the results of your efforts. As a beginner in learning how to play guitar, you will improve eventually, not just on your skills, but the flexibility of your muscle strength. This can also involve forming those calluses on your fingers. The good news is that, those pains and uncomfortable aches are just temporary, particularly if you continue to regularly practice, which is also the secret to dealing with the pain.
However, there are also certain ways in which you can still continue despite the pain. For instance, you may want to use lighter strings, since it will lower your string action. At the same time, a professional can also help you in shortening the pressure amount that you exert while pressing down.
6. Should I also start learning how to play an electric guitar?
The question can depend on your preference, as well as the type of music you would like to play. Acoustic and electric guitars come with their own benefits. Electric guitars come with thinner strings. As such, they are often a perfect choice for starters because they only need less strength and pressure while playing. They can also be preferable for those with small hands, warranting a shorter reach and easier grip, thanks to an electric guitar’s slimmer neck.
On the other hand, learning how to play an acoustic guitar may turn out to be less costly since it does not need additional tools and equipment. It may also make it easier to expect a transition into playing electric guitar since the hands of a player will be used to playing with heavier acoustic strings.
7. How should I tune my guitar?
A guitar may be tuned in several different ways, highly depending on the music style. However, for beginners, you may want to focus first on standard tuning. If you tune using an LED display, it is very important to properly center the needle. You can adjust the tuning tools accordingly if you notice any flat or sharp sounds. You can take advantage of video resources that can give you step by step guide on how to tune your guitar.
8. What type of strings do I have to buy?
As a beginner, you may want to start with a lighter gauge for strings. Thinner and lighter strings produce less tension. For this, they are better for beginners to start learning with. It is recommended to use a string set with a gauge range between .009 inches and .042 inches, as well as .010 inches and .046 inches. This range is recommended for acoustic guitar players. On the other hand, acoustic guitar players may want to use a gauge range of .011 inches and .052 inches.
9. What is the difference between open and barre chords?
At this point, you may have already heard these terms as you start practicing. Open chords does not need fretting on each of the strings. Thus, they are left open while strumming. On the other hand, barre chords can be produced with the use of the index finger for fretting all of the six strings simultaneously while strumming. Various chords can be formed using different patterns using three other fingers while holding down on the other six strings. Since a barre chord may be played using any key, the keys can be quickly changed by moving the hand up and down through the neck simply. Barre chords may be challenging for beginners since they need more stretching and hand strength.
As you develop further in your skills, you may choose a certain chord over the other, depending on your preferences. By supplementing your skills with these types of chords, you can come up with more complex, full, and multidimensional tone.
10. What other tools are needed in order to get started?
Yes. There are several tools that you need to prepare in order to improve your skills and techniques. One, you need picks. Plastic picks are considered as the more general options by many starters. Another is a strap. This is very important when it comes to stabilizing your guitar, particularly if you prefer standing up as you play. A cable is also necessary because it can easily break the tone quickly. For this, make sure that you choose an instrument cable which is shorter as it minimizes signal loss and handling noise. Also, a tuner is also important to easily tune your strings.