Advice for those planning to learn the guitar
If you’re planning to learn the guitar and have that inner guitar learning buzz, that’s absolutely great. Today I wanted to give you some advice and some things to think about before you embark on your guitar learning journey.
Don’t spend too much at the beginning
You may have seen your favourite guitarist using an SG, Telecaster, PRS or Gibson Les Paul. And so you may be thinking you want to learn the guitar just like them. Just be aware that at the early stages of learning it is important not to invest too much money into something you haven’t mastered yet. I have several guitars as a professional guitarist and teacher but these have been collected over the years. They all serve different purposes depending on what musical set up I’m in and what type of music I decide to play. Start with affordable guitars from companies like Yamaha, Epiphone, Fender etc and leave the Martins, Les Pauls and Strats until you feel competent with what you’re doing.
Your minimum outlay should be a cheap electric, acoustic or classical guitar. From there you may want to get a bunch of picks, a tuner, spare set of strings, capo and string winder. If you’re an electric guitarist then you’ll also need to get a lead and a small – probably 10 – 15 watt amp to begin with.
Be realistic about what you want to achieve
When you see a guitarist playing in a band you may think it looks pretty simple what they’re doing. You may have a notion that in 6 months time you’ll be shredding up and down the fret board and strumming your favourite songs around the camp fire. I would urge you to be realistic about what you want to achieve when you learn the guitar.
For the first six months or so you’ll invariably learn a bunch of chords and simple songs to apply these chords to. You’ll hopefully develop a handful of usable strumming patterns and if you like soloing you’ll learn some simple melodies and solos. Obviously if you want to achieve more than this, it is possible, but you need to put the time and practise in regularly.
Are regular lessons important?
This question can be answered by looking at your personality and how busy you are as a person. If you want to learn the guitar you’ll need guidance. Now this could come from a book, YouTube, CD, DVD or one on one guitar lessons. If you are someone who needs very little motivation to do something and can keep going regardless of hurdles then the self teaching path is probably best for you. As long as you keep asking questions and find mediums to answer those questions you’ll improve.
If you are someone who needs structure, if you’re busy and have little time to search for lessons and ideas, and need someone to motivate you when learning becomes hard then you’ll need a regular guitar teacher. Having lessons with a guitar teacher on a regular basis will keep you on the straight and narrow. Before you can pick up bad habits these will be ironed out. If you get easily frustrated or confused a guitar teacher will bring you back to the correct technique or chord position.
How much should you Practise?
The thing about learning the guitar or any instrument is you have to put the practise time in. One key reason for this is that you need to develop the muscle memory. Your aim as a guitar player is to get to the point where your fingers do the work for you and the guitar almost plays itself. It’s like when you’re driving on autopilot. In order to get to that level you’ll need regular daily, yes daily, practise. Even if you get 10 minutes in a day that’s better than none. This is why it is important before making the commitment to learning the guitar that you recognise how much of your free time it will take up. If you have a passion for guitar and want to learn then just be aware that some of your daily free time will need to be practising.
Follow Your Instincts
If you want to learn the guitar and have your mind set on it then follow your instincts. If regular weekly lessons with a guitar teacher appeals to you then go down that route. If more casual YouTube guitar lessons is your thing then start with that. Either way, welcome to the wonderful world of guitar learning. If you do need guitar lessons and would like to book guitar lessons in Borehamwood feel free to get in touch. If you live outside Borehamwood I also offer Skype guitar lessons.