5 tips to ease your guitar learning journey

 

The guitar is a fun musical instrument to play, apart from its wide octave melodic range, it’s also lightweight and easy to carry around, doesn’t contribute to noise as much as drums or a saxophone (your neighbours will appreciate it), and you can play and sing along to your favourite song.

 

This is why you don’t see a guy playing a trombone to a girl in a romantic movie.

 

So if you’ve set your mind on learning the guitar, where should you start?

 

Below are 5 tips to help with your learning process:

 

  • Choosing the right guitar

  • Enrolling in an online course, and why you should

  • Go easy on yourself in the beginning

  • Pick the RIGHT songs to practice (simple chords)

  • Setting up a habit to practice

 

1. Choosing the right guitar
 

Picking the right guitar is like finding the right pair of shoes, you won’t go very far if you’re not comfortable in it.

 

  

 

So first you need to determine the size. If you’re a girl with a medium built, then a 41” Dreadnought can be a little too big for you. Whereas a travel size guitar, usually around 36” might be a better fit.

 

 

The next thing you look at is playability. You want something that has a lower ‘ACTION’, which refers to the space (or height) between the strings and the frets.

 

Too often beginners struggle with playing the chords not due to the fact that they’re a beginner, but because the action on a ‘low-priced’ guitar is too high.

For more information on choosing a guitar, check out our post on A beginner's guide to buying an acoustic guitar.

 

2. Enrolling in an online course, why?
 

There are hundreds of free lessons and self taught materials on the internet so why should you enroll into an online course

 

 

Well, the simple answer to that is you’d save a lot of time on figuring out what to do and how to do it.

 

  But the truth is, a professional instructor can provide you with a structured plan to help you achieve your goals much quicker. 

Another important key is you will have accountability. You will be truly committed to not just yourself, but to someone else helping you every step of the way.

 

Besides, many of these online courses offer free trial lessons so that you can see if it’s something that fits you and there’s no harm trying.

 

3. Go easy on yourself

 

One of the biggest pitfalls you as a beginner can experience is expecting big results in a short time. To be more precise, having an unrealistic expectation. 

 

 

Let’s be honest, you’re not going to attend your first gym class today and do backflips the next day. The same is with learning to play the guitar.

 

However, if you set up realistic goals and stick to them, I promise you, you’ll be playing many of your favourite songs in no time.

 

Which brings us to the next tip…
 

4. Pick the RIGHT song (simple chords)

 

When I first started out learning, I was so eager to jump into songs by my favourite bands like Metallica, Bon Jovi, Greenday, etc. (yes, I’m an old fart I know), but trust me, you’ll quickly be met with a wall so high you wish you’d just throw your guitar over it and be done with it.

 

Problem? I picked the wrong songs that have way too many new and complicated chords I can handle. And naturally that demoralized me from my learning.

 

 

Be strategic and pick songs that are made up of all the simple chords like G. C, D, E, etc. And don’t worry, you’ll be surprised at how many popular songs share the exact same chords, G, C, D and E. 

 

Once you’ve picked out your songs, it’s time to PRACTICE!

 

5. Setting up goals and a habit to practice

 

Practice is the only way you’ll ever get better at anything. Period! 

 

 

However…

 

there are ways to make practice a little easier to help with your momentum in learning to play the guitar.

 

  There are 3 things you can do:

#1. Find yourself a list of all the chords you need, they can be easily found on the web and most of the chord list contains all the chords you’ll ever need (some you won’t even use).

 

  

But I want you to just focus on the chords you need for your songs. This makes practicing much easier and faster when you have all the chords readily available.

 

#2. Pick more than 1 song, preferably songs you’d really love to play. The reason is you’ll have the motivation to keep practicing with songs you love, and not some ‘Mary had a little Lamb’ from a course book.

 

Having a second or third song is also helpful with keeping your mind fresh by switching between songs, which helps with memory retention (trust me, you WILL get bored with just 1 song). 

 

Switching between songs can also help train your finger through different chord progressions (even if they’re the same chords), which helps build muscle memory.

 

#3. Take your guitar out of the bag and LEAVE it outside. Let your guitar be readily available to you whenever you want to pick it up to play. Reduce as many obstacles between you and your precious guitar. 

 

I hope you find the above information useful. Please stay tuned for more tips on how to make your learning easier and check out the other posts to find more useful information to help you on your learning journey.

 

Rock On .nn/