How to Learn Guitar in 10 Easy Steps
Google ‘How to learn guitar’ and you will be greeted with tons of results that claim that you can learn to play like an expert in span of days. We even saw one that boasted that you can start playing in 10 hours. Huh!
The fact is that learning to play the guitar is going to take a lot more than 10 hours. That’s one of the reasons why millions of people start and then quit midway because they realize that it is not as easy as it seemed.
However, with the right amount of planning and practice, you can learn to play the guitar sooner than most others do. It is crucial that you are aware of a few things before you jump head over heels into it though.
Things to Know Before Learning the Guitar
One of the reasons why most people fail at learning the guitar is because they come unprepared. They expect it to be a walk in the park and then discover that it’s worse than doing one handed pushups in the desert sand. Ok, that was an exaggeration but we think you get the gist.
Here are a few things that you need to know before you even plan to learn the guitar.
– You don’t need to spend a bomb to buy a guitar. Even a barebones beginner’s model will suffice to learn.
– Your fingers will curse you, literally! There will be days when you will feel like just putting the guitar down and going back to playing video games. That’s when perseverance will be needed the most.
– You will be miserable at playing for a while. That’s only until your finger movement becomes fluid and you get used to the fret board. Most people get stuck at this point and quit.
– You need to spend more time practicing. Even if you are done with your mandatory two hours of practice, take a break and practice again. And then practice some more and some more.
Learning in 10 Steps
Because people love to know an exact number of things to do to achieve something, like ‘learn how to fly a helicopter in 5 days’ or ‘learn how to burn belly fat in 2 weeks’, we thought of compiling a list of things to do to make your guitar learning experience easier.
So, sit back and enjoy reading through these 10 steps of learning the guitar. By the time you are done with this, you will be armed with enough information to build a strong foundation that will help you immensely in your early days.
1. Acoustic vs. Electric: A lot of people face this conundrum when they start. However, it completely depends on your interest. What type of guitar most excites you? What kind of music do you prefer to learn? If you select the right guitar, you will be spending a lot more time practicing and will avoid procrastinating. Electric guitars are a tad easier to learn. But not everyone likes to learn on an electric. Some prefer the firm fingering that comes with an acoustic.
2. Know the guitar: Take some time to know the guitar anatomy. What is the fret board? What is the bridge? What does the tuning peg do? What is a position marker? If someone tells you that this step is not needed and it’s for kids, slap him with the guitar.
3. Learn how to hold the guitar: Depending on whether you are right handed or a lefty, you will need to sit down in a comfortable position and learn how to hold the guitar. The idea here is to ensure that there is minimum strain on your back, shoulders and your wrist. There are many commonly used positions. You will need to spend some time experimenting with various positions to know what works for you.
4. Exercises: As much as you’d like to jump straight to learning chords, you need to spend some time learning finger exercises. Think of it like acclimatizing yourself to moving fingers on the fret board and toggling between strings. The more time you spend on exercises, the easier it will be when you progress to chords and leads. Scale patterns or exercises are a terrific way to get started.
5. Hold and Listen: Every time you play a note on the guitar, it must sound right. When you are starting off, you are likely to encounter a buzzing sound because your fingers are not pressing on the frets firm enough to produce a clear sound. Noticed that we mentioned ‘firm’ and not ‘hard’? The idea is to learn to play the guitar not to hurt yourself. An easy technique is to hold every note and listen to how it sounds. Proceed to the next one only after you get it right.
6. Learn to read Tabs and Chords: Tabs and chords may seem like gobbledygook especially if you have never learnt music before. But it is very important to learn how to read them to be able to play any kind of song just by looking at them.
7. Chords: Chords are the cornerstone of playing music with the guitar and you will eventually be spending a lot of time mastering these. However, to begin with, start with open chords which do not require you to press down on all the strings at one time. ‘G’ is one of the easiest open chords to learn. Once again, the hold and listen technique works well here. Hold down on the chord, play it and listen for a clean sound. Take your fingers off and place it in the correct position again until you perfect it.
8. Transitioning: Transitioning is when you can move from one chord to another seamlessly. This is an advanced technique and when you have reached this stage, you are almost done with your beginner lessons.
9. Strumming: Strumming is relatively easier to learn as compared to transitioning between chords. You will have to learn the various strum patterns to accompany different types of songs. Also, if you are playing with a percussionist, you will have to learn to strum in rhythm.
10. Songs: Last but not the least; once you have completed the 9 steps mentioned here, it is time for your first song. Start off by learning to play easy songs with two to three chords and a slow strum pattern. Your first song will be a memorable experience. So spend some time learning it.
That’s it budding Jimi Hendrixes. We hope that this sets you off on the right path in your guitar learning crusade. We would love to hear from you how it goes for you. So feel free to chime in with your experiences.