All tips from this article are suitable for both children who picked a guitar for a first time, and for adults who decided to learn how to play the guitar. In any case, we wish you success in this initiative. You can read more about guitars, guitar gear and equipment reviews on https://guitarsrating.com
In the first months of learning to play the guitar many beginners face a big problems like:
- fingers hurt from the wrong grip;
- the notes do not sound properly;
- the right and left hands are completely uncoordinated,
- instead of music, the guitar produces a complete cacophony.
All of this does not increase the morality of aspiring musician at the first steps – so in this article we will help not to lose that spark. That vary creative spark that makes a beginner guitarist take his desired instrument every single day to become a rock star. But before we start listing all guitar tips for kids, a few obvious points must be mentioned. For training, you will need a guitar. For aspiring guitarists, a classical guitar is the best choice. But you can also learn on the electric guitar. Don’t forget that an electric guitar will require an amp and later a pedal effects. The ground rule here is that you should not buy an expensive guitar at the beginning. You can read more about guitars, gears, equipment reviews and accessories on the web.
Take time to work on the correct grip
Excessive haste is one of the main mistakes of aspiring guitarists. Trying to impress everyone around, trying to learn all their favorite songs in a month, young guitarists do not have time to work out the correct positioning of the right and left hand. At the same time, it is the grip that determines how fast you can play, how clean and thrifty the play will be from a physiological point of view (will not be accompanied by overstrain).
How to learn the correct grip: find a credible teacher or watch video of famous guitarists who have the correct hands positioning. Compare your hand position with other guitarists (this is convenient to do with the help of a mirror), slightly adjust it to take into account your anatomical features in order to play the guitar as relaxed and smooth as possible.
No overstrain with the guitar
Put your hands and play the guitar so that you don’t feel overstrained. Naturally at at the beginning it will be a very difficult task: a new instrument, physiologically uncomfortable poses and movements. But wait a month or two – and you and the guitar will begin to become one. But only on on condition — when you will do everything gradually and correctly.
Overstrain is common mistake of aspiring guitarists, which with a fairly high probability can lead to injury or the fact that a beginner will throw the instrument and music completely. Why do beginners overstrain themselves:
- Wrong tuning. When an aspiring guitarists tunes an instrument by ear, he is wrong with a 100% probability. And very often it turns out that the beginner’s instrument is tuned higher that it should be – this creates excessive tension of the strings and the need for more force to press the string.
- Soft finger pads. Corns on finger pads and rough skin are the only pain that should accompany the training process of aspiring guitarist. And let’s be honest – it’s hard to name it pain, rather a pleasant tingling, the cause of which is the process of changing the soft skin to a rough one. In case of newcomers, before their finger pads gonna start roughening, the sound will be muffled, due to the anatomical features of the finger. And an inexperienced musician makes the erroneous conclusion that he simply does not hold the string tightly enough. Don’t fall for the bait: just wait a couple of weeks until your pads get stronger and don’t overexert your finger joints.
- Improper pose when playing. Heretofore, we only talked about the fingers, but many guitar players’ injuries are associated with overexertion in the forearms, shoulders and even back. Try to pick the most comfortable position for the play, use comfortable guitar straps, keep relaxed and straight and try to look less at the neck. You should not forget that all the best guitarists play naturally and relaxed, there is no grimace of pain and overexertion on their face – make sure by watching live performances of favorite musicians.
Listen and hear
During playing the guitar and even more during composing your own music, you will need not only well-trained hands. Your main instrument and assistant will be your hearing – pay attention to it’s development at the proper way at the very beginning. Train yourself to determine the pitch of your favorite music, and one day you’ll start recognize intervals and chords. Deepen the tonal canvas: try to hear in your favorite music something you haven’t heard before. Try to find similar songs by listening to the radio or on TV shows, and when you’ll feel more or less confident with the guitar — try to play up different music by ear. To train your hearing, you can also use special programs, such as «EarMaster», which will teach you to distinguish sounds by pitch, accurately determine the sounding intervals, chords, and even keys.
Haste makes waste
For kids or beginners in any business, the desire to achieve everything at once is distinctive feature. But, as in the gym, while learning to play the guitar, it is impossible to become a fast and clean guitar player in one or even two months. A couple of signs that gonna tell you that you need to slow down:
Noticeable lack of synchronization in hands — a clear feeling that one hand is in a hurry, and the other does not keep up with it. Play some phrase comfortably at 100 bpm tempo, but want to play at 150? Start from 90 bpm and increase the tempo every few days by 5 bpm – this approach will not only help you to achieve the goal faster and more efficiently, but also to attain a better develop coordination along with the mobility of muscles, joints and tendons;
Increased tempo, where there is a lot of «dirt» indicates that you are getting ahead of yourself. Play more at your usual tempo, let your hands get used to it.
Right hand overstrain when playing at a fairly high tempo in some cases can also indicate that it is worth wait and strengthening the forearms muscles – light physical exercises will also help perfectly.
Haste will not let you to become a cool guitarist faster than anyone else – this has been proven more than once. Do not rush, do everything gradually – so you succeed earlier than those who are engaged in haphazardly and try to learn everything in a week.
Have fun playing the guitar
The most telling sign that you are doing right is a feeling of constant moral satisfaction, buzz while playing the guitar. Enjoy playing your desired instrument, constantly learn new favorite songs and reach new heights in the play– this will help you always be on your guard, always have a spark and a desire to be better than others. Become a little more experienced every day — try to find your wave. In sound, in sound production, in acting – in anything, this will significantly increase the amount of emotions when playing and will not allow you to abandon your own hobby. Because everyone needs inspiration.
Surprise the drummer with your sense of rhythm
For sure, the backbone of the rhythm section in the band is the bassist and drummer – but it doesn’t mean that the guitarist should be indifferent to the rhythm. Have you ever seen a child trying to dance and not getting into the rhythm? That’s seems to you easier than simple. This is how an aspiring guitarist looks in front of an experienced musician when playing under a metronome or with a rhythm section. The good news is that the sense of rhythm develops and develops easily than the ear – all you need is a metronome and the daily desire to become a better guitarist. Play all the exercises, your favorite songs, and even your own composed riffs under the metronome – don’t be fooled by the idea that you’re already playing quite smoothly. Do you want to evaluate your sense of rhythm? Just open any music sequencer, connect your guitar to your computer, and then play some well-known phrase under the metronome and listen to it under the metronome. We guarantee that in 9 out of 10 cases you will hear a lot of rhythm issues. When you’ll feel confident in straight rhythms, try «broken» rhythms like odd sizes or syncopation. You don’t have to apply all this stuff in your own music, but your musical thinking is very effective when working with complex rhythms.
Learn to note your own music and read someone else’s
We are absolutely sure that a guitarist should know the notes, should be guided by their location on the neck, should know the basics of building keys and the initial musical theory – this will help you think musically, learn songs faster and compose your own music. But the debates about reading music from sheet has not subsided to this day among guitarists: delegats from the classic school, who spent hours on solfeggio, are confident that only servants and dabbler do not read» from the sheet». Self-educated students do not forget to remind music schools graduates that many well-known guitar virtuosos do not know how to quickly and correctly read notes and use guitar tablature.
Guitar tablature – a simplified type of musical notation, which indicates not the notes, but the numbers of individual frets and strings of the guitar. So if you have minimal knowledge about the notes durations, even an aspiring guitarists can read the tablature. For more convenience in learning tablature, we recommend all beginners to install the»Guitar Pro» software, allowing you to quickly and conveniently listen to, create, change and learn tablature on the computer. Learning process of guitar music noting and reading in real time is a very painstaking, complex and prolonged process. In fact, nowadays in guitar music, musical notation is prevalent only in classical schools and orchestras.
Tune your guitar. For heaven’s sake
Drivers don’t drive cars that have only 2 tires out of 4, and pilots don’t pilot planes with curved wings. It’s the same in case of the guitar: you could be an experienced guitarist, even a guru. But if you have an unbuilt set of wooden elements, electronics and accessories in your hands, then you will not be able to give out meaningful sounds on it. First, make sure that each string is properly tuned (let’s remind that the standard tuning from thin strings to thick ones is EBGDAE). Secondly, make your playing as comfortable as possible and rich the right sound from the guitar.
Find your own guitar and love it
The guitar, like any other kind of equipment, requires a respectful attitude and constant services. We’ll not gonna tell you again about how cranky guitar wood can be, how easy it is to «kill» your strings if you do not protect them from dirt and moisture. On you can find a lot of articles on caring the guitars. In this article, we will provide some brief tips for beginners that will help protect the instrument from premature breakdown and rapid aging:
- Wash your hands before playing the guitar. No one eats with dirty hands or from dirty dishes – treat your tool with the same respect. Nothing so pollutes the winding of the strings, the fingerboard and the body of the instrument as the dirt and grease that remains on the fingers. And it’s not just a matter of being careful about the appearance of the instrument: the habit of washing your hands before playing will help you save a lot of money on buying new sets of strings and tools for cleaning the guitar neck and accessories.
- Take care of the guitar wood. Have you ever seen leather shoes that, due to dryness, dust and dirt, began to crack, shrink and lose their shape? The same, but on a smaller scale, happens with the wood of your guitar. Clean the soundboard, neck and fingerboard from dirt, use special conditioners and oils that protect the wood from drying, apply wax if there are scuffs and scratches on the varnish. Today, these chemicals are cheap, and they are enough for at least a year.
- Get used to changing the strings regularly. There is nothing worse than a guitarist who talks about his extraordinary technique and talent, and then takes out an instrument with black and dirt-deaf strings from the case. The frequency of kit change depends on how many hours you play per day. On average, it is better to replace strings once every two or three months, if you use the kit without a protective coating. Strings with protection serve several times longer.
- Protect your instrument from adverse environmental impact:
- Do not place the guitar in a draft, which can cause the soundboard to dry out early and cause cracks on the wood;
- Do not place the instrument near by heating elements: warmth pleases only humans and cats in winter time. Wood, on the other hand, near batteries or heating devices dries very quickly, it can begin to crack. Over time the guitar will resonate and sound worse.
- Protect the guitar from direct sunlight, which will also make the guitar wood drier.
- Do not wet the guitar wood, even if it has lost a lot of moisture for some reason. To gently maintain the moisture of the wood, special conditioners and oils should be used. But not the ordinary water, which could «swell» the wood.
Knowledge is no burden. So practice regularly
As in the case of physical training, playing the guitar should be regular. Decided to take a long break? When you return, reduce the workload: you will not have to start from scratch, but at the beginning you will feel that you have lost your skills. Most of the famous guitar virtuosos practice 5-6 hours a day, because this is a job. For a good play and achieving the progress of technique, a sense of rhythm and musical thinking, two or three hours of playing for four or five days a week is enough. Plus, knock-up before practice. At the same time, you should not practice monotonously, but diversify the lessons. For example, use the following pattern: warm-up, warm-up exercises, technique exercises, listening exercises, composing your own music. Each exercise should take half an hour and be accompanied by the sound of a metronome. Five or ten minutes is enough to warm up.
In the thick of things
If you want to reach really great heights and keep up with the times, then follow the news from the guitar and music industry. Listen new artists, follow new trends on the field of recording and guitar gears. It worse to periodically visit guitar forums and travel to guitar exhibitions, where you can not only see and try new guitars and gears, but also get acquainted with good experienced musicians in the industry.
Don’t be afraid of the new
The music industry is developing at a frantic pace: new equipment, new accessories and more modern technologies are constantly being developed, new genres are emerging and new guitar playing techniques are invented. Use new approaches! Here are a few directions in which experimentation is appropriate:
- Experiments with sound. Today, to get good sound processing, you no longer need to spend thousands of dollars on expensive analog gadgets. Companies like «Line6», «Boss», «Vox» etc. offer guitarists dozen processors on wide price range and with different number of effects. If your budget is tight, you can always use your computer in conjunction with an external sound card and various VST plugins — many of them are completely free, yet they provide quite acceptable sound for home practice, studio work and even for demo records.
- Use gears. They will make it easier to play the guitar, make the process more interesting and vivid.
- Learn from the best. Watch your favorite musicians videos and those musicians who are popular nowadays: many of them use interesting and unusual guitar playing techniques, have their own unusual vision on music that you can learn from.
- Knowledge is power. Study music theory and follow its development. The times when every musician was sure that there were only 7 notes have already passed – not everyone today sure that there are 12 of them. Today the popularity of microtonal music is growing. In many music genres, more and more daring experiments with arrangements and accompaniment are being carried out. All this can help you develop your musical taste and ear – use this knowledge and follow the development of music.
A friend in court is better than a penny in purse
Playing alone or accompanied by Guitar Pro will quickly get boring. A step forward for every aspiring guitarists is the first experience of playing in a band or in a pair with another guitarist. Get your friends interested in playing the guitar or other instrument, look for friends among the musicians around and feel free to start sharing your experience.
Don’t know where to start the play: in a duo or in a group? Try a simple improvisation: let one guitarist play a few simple chords and the other play notes in the same key. Even such a simple improvisation strongly develops musical thinking. Another option that is perfect for bands without a vocalist is to use a solo guitar instead of a voice. Let one guitarist play the lead and the other play lead vocals. After the first well played song in such way, you will be overwhelmed by a new wave of strong interest in the guitar music. And an excellent bonus to positive emotions from playing in a band is the fact that such a process strongly develops a sense of rhythm.
Look for inspiration with the guitar
Don’t think that great musicians are constantly overwhelmed with the desire to create new hits. Inspiration is a special, unique sublime state of the human mind that does not arise on schedule. Look for inspiration around you. How to find inspiration as quickly as possible:
- Do not limit yourself to music — attend theatrical performances, exhibitions, learn dancing. After all, just watch nature.
- Do not miss emotional outbursts in your daily routine — many of the most famous world hits were createв by musicians precisely at the time of certain emotional upheavals. Bring your mood to music!
- Look for inspiration in the music of other artists — take the best from them and do not make their mistakes.
Take a break from the guitar
In addition to excessive haste during training, many musicians forget about the most important stage of skill development – rest. It should be regular and timely — the principle of supercompensation works here, similar to physical activity. What is its essence?
The guitarist has been studying for several months to improve a certain skill: it could be simple developing finger speed, or improving hand coordination, or even studying music theory. All of this greatly burdens the body and the brain — and after a few months musician need to take a break. The best option is a complete distraction from playing the guitar for at least a week. During this time, your body and brain adapt to the workload that they faced — and after rest, your skills will grow. This is where the principle of supercompensation works, when during the rest period there is a greater development of physical or mental abilities compared to the level that was typical for the period of active training. This pattern also works for shorter periods of practice: it is not necessary to arrange an overload in the form of daily activities. The right decision here is to study with a «day off» every two or three days. During the exercises, also avoid monotony and overexertion: take a short break every 20-30 minutes.
Let’s summarize. Learning to play the guitar is a fun and mesmerizing process. It takes a long time to learn how to play the guitar well. At the beginning pick a cheep guitar. Later, the aspiring guitarists will realizes what he likes and will choose the guitar that suits his playing style best. No need to practice all days long. It is important to take breaks to rest and seek inspiration. You should never stop improving your knowledge in playing the guitar and in music theory. The main fun begins when playing in a duo or band. After all, try to have a good time and get the most out of it. Because music is about good time and fun.