Category Archives: Beginners

Fingerpicking Basics

Fingerpicking basics

Once you have learned your basic chords on the guitar, it's time to try new techniques. One of the most common techniques is called fingerpicking. This might seem intimidating for new players, but it is easier than you think.


What is Fingerpicking?

Fingerpicking involves using the fingers and not a pick. In some cases, you may use a pick, and we refer to this as hybrid picking. Your thumb and the first three fingers of your hand will pluck the strings when you fingerpick. Here is how this works:

 

  • Thumb plays 6th, 5th, and 4th string bass notes
  • 1st finger plays 3rd string
  • 2nd finger plays 2nd string
  • 3rd finger plays, 1st string
Fingerpicking basics


Basic Chords

To understand the concept of finger-picking, let's look at a common example using the D major chord. 

D Major

  • Thumb plays 4th string
  • 1st finger plays 3rd string
  • 2nd finger plays 2nd string
  • 3rd finger plays 1st string


We can also think of this using the following formula, which makes it easy to play the strings.

  • T(bass) 3, 2, 1 (strings)


Depending on the chord that you are playing, the thumb plays the bass note of that chord. In this case, the thumb is playing the 4thstring. You then play the rest of the strings in the chord with the corresponding fingers. Just remember that the numbers above refer to the strings and not your fingers.


Full Arpeggio

Let's take this basic concept and play a full arpeggio.


  • D Major = T(4),  3, 2 ,1, 2, 3


Play the 4thstring because it's a D major chord. You then play the 3rdstring, then 2nd, 1st, 2nd, and 3rd.  This would give you a full D major arpeggio.  Let's look at another chord and see how this works.


G Major Arpeggio

  • T(6), 3, 2, 1, 2, 3

If we look at the G major chord, the bass string is on the 6th string. We play the 6thstring with the thumb, and then we play 3, 2, 1, 2, 3. This gives us a full arpeggio on the G major chord. Let's look at a full chord progression and see how this would work.


G, Em, C, D

  • G = (6), 3, 2, 1, 2, 3
  • Em = (6), 3, 2, 1, 2, 3
  • C = (5), 3, 2, 1, 2, 3
  • D = (4), 3, 2, 1, 2, 3

 

You may be wondering why the G chord and the E minor chord are the same. This is because the bass note for the G and the E minor are both on the 6thstring. You simply change chords, but the strings for the arpeggios stay the same. The only thing that will be changing will be the chord position.

 

This simple pattern can be followed for every single open position chord. There are many different fingerpicking patterns, but this is a great one to start out with. It is a simple arpeggio that goes down the strings and then up the strings. The thumb is playing the bass note of the chord, and your fingers play the treble strings.

Fingerpicking basics

Fingerpicking and Calluses

When you start fingerpicking, you'll be developing calluses on both of your fingers. You'll be developing them on the picking hand because you were plucking the strings with the tips of your fingers. You’ll also develop them on your fretting hand because you are fretting the chords. Some people like to use plastic fingerpicks, but you should stick with the fingers at first as the plastic fingerpicks are harder to use.


Play Slowly

Play these basic arpeggios slowly to start with. You want to build up speed, but to do this, you have to play the chords slowly before you can speed it up. Try to keep an even tempo through the arpeggios. You could use a metronome to help you accomplish this. Once you start to get good at playing smoothly at a slower tempo, then you can start to speed it up slightly.

 

Fingernails

Fingerpicking will be easier if you grow out the nails on your picking fingers. You don't want them too long, but you want them to be a reasonable length. You should round them as much as possible and take care of your fingernails while you are fingerpicking. Some people don't like to play with their fingernails and instead use the tips of their fingers. You can do this as well, but you won't get a sound that is as loud as the fingernails produce.

Fingerpicking basics

Conclusion

This is a basic introduction to fingerpicking. Try the simple pattern above and see how you do with it. Fingerpicking does take time to master, but it is not as difficult as it seems. Feel free to try other fingerpicking patterns. The number of patterns you can play are almost limitless!

How To Learn The F Chord

How To Learn the F Chord

One of the hardest chords to learn as a beginner is the F chord. New players struggle to play this chord effectively. This guide will show you how to master the F chord, so you don't struggle with it.

 

Your Strings

The first thing you should do is to ensure that you're using a light gauge string. This will make it easier for you to press down on the strings, and your hand won't get fatigued. If you're using an electric guitar, I recommend the 009 set. This is a lower gauge and easier to play. If you're playing an acoustic guitar, go for the light set and not the medium set.  If you have a classical guitar, the nylon strings you already have will be suitable. A lower action on the string height will make it easier to play the chord. You can have this set up by a guitar technician. If your string height is too high, pressing down the chord will be more difficult.

How To Learn the F Chord


Warmup

You should always warm up your hands before you attempt the F chord. Play the guitar for 10 to 15 minutes to get your hand loosened up. You can do this by playing finger exercises or running through scales. The F chord takes a lot of effort from your fingers, so you want to have your hand warmed up if you want to master it.

 

Learn the Basic Open Position Chords First

It’s best to learn the basic open position chords before you attempt the F chord, leaving this one till last. If you try to attempt it in the beginning, you will just get frustrated. You will build up finger strength and stamina by learning the basic open position chords first. By learning these chords before you attempt the F chord and other barre chords, you will strengthen the calluses on your fingertips making the harder ones easier to press down and hurt less too.

 

1st Fret basic F Chord

First F chord you will learn is the basic F chord at the first fret. You will bar the first two thinner strings, which are the B string and the E string.  The first finger needs to be flat against these two strings. You'll have to press down quite firmly on the notes, so they ring. You want to put the second finger on the 3rd string at the second fret. The third finger will go on the 4th string at the third fret. This gives you the basic F chord.


F Barre Chord

The basic chord for F can give some players problems. It's easier to play the full F barre chord at the first fret. Here is how you do that:

 

  • First finger bar across all of the strings 6 through 1
  • Second finger 3rd string 2nd fret
  • Fourth finger on the 4th string third fret 
  • The third finger on the 5th string third fret

 

The second, third, and fourth fingers underneath the bar make up an “E” shape. The F major barre chord is based upon the E chord. You make the E chord and place the bar across the strings with your first finger.

How To Learn the F Chord

 

Try the Barre Chord Higher Up

If you struggle with the F chord at the first fret, try making the bar chord at the 3rd fret or the 5th fret. At the third fret, this would be the G major chord. At the 5th fret, this would be the A major chord. Once you can master these two positions, move it back up to the first fret, and that would be the F chord.

How To Learn the F Chord


Hand Fatigue

When you try to learn the F chord, you're going to get hand fatigue. It takes a lot of time and practice to master this chord. This is the basic, or do you need to learn for all of the other barre chords. Once you can do this, the other barre chords will be a lot easier. You can expect to have some hand fatigue when you are learning the chord. Try playing for around 5 minutes and then relax your hand.

 

If you have hand pain or finger pain, stop what you're doing and give yourself a longer time to relax. You may have to struggle with this chord for several weeks. Every player goes through this process as the F chord and the related barre chords are the harder chords on the instrument to learn. 

 

Buzzing Strings

When you are learning this chord, the strings may buzz. This is a common experience many guitar players have. You need to press down firmly on the strings to stop them from buzzing. You should also ensure that the action is low enough and that you're using light strings. If you continue to play and practice the chord, the buzzing will go away. Also, have a look at your fingers and make sure you have proper finger placement. 

How To Learn the F Chord

Conclusion

You can master the F chord. It will take some time, but it opens up a lot more chords on the guitar once you can Master it. You will find the other barre chords a lot easier once you learn the F chord. Your guitar teacher will be able to help teach and train you on these chords so that you do them with the correct hand placement and minimise any risk of injuries and less frustration too. 

Basics of What You Need to Know to Play Blues Guitar

Basics of What You Need to Know to Play Blues Guitar

Lots of people want to learn how to play blues guitar, but they don't know where to start. Playing blues is a lot easier than you think. It's an easy style to play, but like most musical styles, it is difficult to master. Here's how you can get started playing blues guitar and what you need to know.

 

12-Bar Progression - The Foundation

The foundation of blues guitar playing is the 12-bar progression. There are variations on this progression, such as 8 bars, 16 bars, and so on, but the main progression is 12 bars. Here is how that would look in the key of E using 7th chords.

 

X = bars

E7 4x

A7 2x

E7 2x

B7 1x

A7 1x

E7 1x

B7 1x 

 

In blues, we usually use 7th chords because they have a bluesy feel to them. You can use whatever chords you want, but seventh chords sound pretty good. There are plenty of songs written with major chords as well as minor chords. These chords come from the major scale. They come from the first degree, fourth-degree, and the 5th degree. Progression is also referred to as the one, four, five progression.  There are thousands of blues-based songs that use this type of progression. 

Basics of What You Need to Know to Play Blues Guitar

The Turnaround

The last four chords of a blues progression or what we call the turnaround. This does what it says. It turns the progression around to the top again. The turnaround is usually quite pronounced in the music. It has a distinct flavor to it, and it gives blues music it's bluesy feeling. The turnaround can be quite simple or complex. Try playing to the chord progression above and then the turnaround. Which is:


B7, A7, E7, B7

 

A lot of times the turn around is a guitar lick at the end of the progression, which turns the progression around to the beginning. Your guitar teacher can teach you many blues turnarounds.

 

Pentatonic Scale

Blues music makes liberal use of the pentatonic scale. It uses both the major pentatonic scale and the minor pentatonic scale. A lot of music is written in minor pentatonic just because it sounds so good next to blues-based chords.

 

The Pentatonic scale also allows for a lot of string bending, hammer-ons, pull-offs, vibrato, and other guitar techniques, which are common in blues-based music. To become a proficient blues guitar player, you need to master the Pentatonic scale.

 

Some blues music will also make use of the major scale and the modes of the major scale, but this isn't as common. You should concentrate on learning the Pentatonic scale first before any other scales if you wish to play blues music.

Basics of What You Need to Know to Play Blues Guitar

 Feeling the Music

Blues guitar focuses a lot on feeling the music, not how many notes you play. Blues guitar is usually not played at a lightning-fast speed. Although there are some songs that are played quite quickly, it's a style that is slower than others.

 

To get the feeling of blues music, have a listen to lots of blues records. I would recommend listening to all of the old artists. This would include Muddy Waters, Buddy Guy, Howling Wolf, Albert Collins, Robert Johnson, and similar artists. This is where true blues music comes from. To play the style in a proficient manner, listen to these artists to hear how they play, and get ideas from them.

 

Soloing

Guitar soloing is a large part of blues music. Many blues songs have several solos throughout the piece. To get used to playing blues music, have someone play a blues chord progression. You can then practice playing the pentatonic scale over the progression. For example, if the progression is in the key of E, play the E Pentatonic minor scale over that progression.

 

Try to listen to the chord changes and feel the beat of the progression. It will take quite a while until your soloing sounds the way you want. You should practice playing over progressions as much as possible because this will help train your fingers to play the right notes at the right time. Try to incorporate bends, slides, vibrato, hammer-ons, pull off, and so on in your playing.

 

Don't focus a lot on speed. Focus on playing clean and articulate notes over top of the progression. A lot of blues players don't play a lot of notes. You can get a ton of mileage out of the Pentatonic scale.

Basics of What You Need to Know to Play Blues Guitar

Conclusion

This has been a very basic look at the first steps to blues guitar playing. If you want to play blues, talk to your guitar teacher, and they will teach you the progressions and scales that you need to know. Playing blues guitar is a lot of fun, so try a few songs today and enjoy the power of this classic style of music. We would not have rock and roll if it wasn't for the blues.

Blues Soloing Tips for Beginners

Blues Soloing Tips for Beginners

You need a few skills if you want to play blues guitar solos. Many players approach blues in the wrong way. This guide will help you get used to playing these sorts of solos, so they sound amazing.

 

Slow Down

The first thing you should do when playing a blues solo is to slow down. I see many players trying to play blues at a fast pace, but most blues solos are not fast at all. You should try slowing down and creating more space between the notes allowing the music to breathe.

 

By slowing down, you'll get more in touch with the music. If you find yourself playing too fast, slow down a little bit, and you'll find that your blues playing sounds better.

 

Master the Pentatonic Scales

You should Master both the minor Pentatonic scale and the major Pentatonic scale. These are the two scales that are used the most in blues playing. Another useful one to learn is the blues scale. This one is also common. Once you have mastered these three scales, you'll be well on your way to playing great blues guitar solos. 

 

Try to learn all of the various positions of these scales and not only one of them. Your solos will sound better when you are moving all over the guitar neck. Remember that once you learn the positions in one key, all you have to do is move them to the new key. There are no new finger positions that you need to know.

Blues Soloing Tips for Beginners

Phrasing

One thing that makes a blues guitar playing unique is the phrasing. You want to play short phrases when you are playing this type of music. Play a short phrase, give the music a pause, and then play another phrase.

 

This sounds a lot better than playing a million notes. You can still play some longer phrases but try to break them up. You can say a lot with a few notes. Listen to players such as B.B King. He was able to do a lot with his music but only playing a few notes. You can add things such as slides, hammer-ons, pull-offs, bends, and so on. This makes your playing more interesting.

 

Vibrato

One of the key aspects of playing great blues guitar is your vibrato. You should work on this a lot. This is what gives the music so much feeling. You don't have to play a straight notes all the time. You can add vibrato to different notes while you are playing. Vibrato makes the music sing and gives it a personality. 

Blues Soloing Tips for Beginners

Bending

String bending is found throughout blues guitar playing. This is a skill that you need to master to become a great blues soloist. Bends add a lot of dynamic to blues guitar playing. You should work on your string bending as much as possible. 

 

Guitar Licks

Learn a lot of guitar licks and put them in your solos.

You want to avoid being tiresome in your guitar playing. This is where guitar licks come into play. Try to learn as many blues guitar licks as you can. This way, you can put them in while you are soloing. The more licks you know, the more interesting your solo is going to be. Try not to stay on the same lick for too long. You want to mix and match them as much as possible. 

 

You could play a lick in one position, and then move it to a different position and play the same thing. This can make the music sound more interesting. Try to learn licks from all of your favorite artists and then meld them together into your own style.

Blues Soloing Tips for Beginners

Turnarounds

Pay attention to the last four bars of the 12 bar blues progression. You want to create exciting phrases during the turnaround to bring the music back to the top. There are many different turnarounds that you can learn. Ask your guitar teacher to teach you some blues turnarounds.

 

Listen to Many Artists

Listen to blues masters to learn from them.

Spend a lot of time listening to different blues players, and analyze what they are doing. Most blues players use the same scales and the same chord progressions. It's how they play these that make them unique. You will gain a lot of knowledge by listening to different blues players and figuring out exactly what they are doing. 

 

Conclusion

This guide will help you get started playing blues guitar solos. Try listening to blues artists as much as possible. You will gain a lot of knowledge from studying blues music. Work on your phrasing bends and master the scales. Before you know it, you'll be playing amazing blues guitar solos.

How Guitar Playing Improves Your Mental Health

How Guitar Playing Improves Your Mental Health

You may not think that guitar playing can impact your mental health in a positive way, but it can. Playing guitar has several positive impacts on how you feel. Here is how the instrument will improve your mental health.


More Confidence

When you play guitar, you'll have more confidence and self-esteem. You may end up playing for people in a live setting. This can do wonders for your well-being. You will feel energized and have plenty of confidence after playing the instrument. When you're practicing at home, you may play something that you really enjoy. This can help you feel better, and you're less likely to suffer from depression. If you want more confidence in your life, try picking up the guitar.

How Guitar Playing Improves Your Mental Health

Great Therapy
Improve your well being by playing guitar.

Think of all the wonderful songs that were written about life. When you play the guitar, it's great therapy. It can help you deal with a lot of stress in your life. For example, perhaps you're going through a bad relationship or breakup. By writing a song about that situation, you can deal with it in a positive manner. Music helps you express your innermost emotions. You may not let those emotions out normally, but they come out when you write a song.

You will feel better about the situation when you play your guitar. It doesn't even have to be a song that you wrote. You can pick up your guitar as a way to cope with the situation. Playing music helps you to express your feelings so that you are better able to deal with them.


Makes You More Creative

Playing music gets your brain working. You're able to tap into your creativity when you play guitar. You have to think about the chord progression you're playing. You then need to come up with something to go over that chord progression. You're always looking for new ideas when playing the guitar. It keeps your brain engaged and allows you to tap into your creativity.

You may be doing a regular task you normally do, such as working, going to school, or shopping. In those moments, you may have an idea for a song pop into your head. Once you get home, you can then expand upon that idea by picking up your guitar. You're always thinking creatively when you play an instrument.


Better Social Life

Connect with others when you play the guitar.

When you play guitar, it's normal for you to connect with other individuals. These people enjoy playing the guitar as much as you do. You can find them on forums, guitar sites, guitar lessons and so on. If you play live, you're always meeting new musicians. You will spend time with them as you play or discuss music. 

This can help expand your social network by a wide margin. You will have more friends in your life when you play the guitar. You can use the guitar as an outlet to meet new people. When you connect with people that think the same way you do, you're going to reduce your stress. Think of how fun it is to get together with friends for a camping sing-along or barbecue. 

How Guitar Playing Improves Your Mental Health

Better Productivity

When you play guitar, you end up being more productive. You have to learn songs, scales, and chords. All of this takes organization and effort. You may have only a certain amount of time to practice your guitar. If you want to get better during that time, you have to be more productive.

By playing the guitar, your productivity increases as well as your organizational skills. You have to take the things that you were learning and organize them in a specific way to see results when you practice. Playing guitar teaches you how to organize your time. You get your brain engaged as you work through your practice session.


Connect with Yourself

Playing the guitar helps you connect with yourself. You may be extremely shy or not know how to express yourself. The guitar brings out the person inside of you. When you play, you get good feelings about yourself. You can dig deep into your emotions and let them all out as you play.

This self-expression is one of the best aspects of playing the guitar. It allows you to be you, and you do so through music. A lot of musicians use music to write about their lives and things that have happened to them. You connect to your emotions when you play the guitar.

How Guitar Playing Improves Your Mental Health

Conclusion

Playing the guitar is one of the best things you can do for your mental health. The instrument can reduce stress, enhance your creativity, help you be more productive, give you a better social life, and enhance your well-being.

How To Get Used To Playing Barre Chords

How to Get Used to Playing Barre Chords

One of the hardest things to play, especially for new guitar players, is barre chords. These need a lot of finger strength as well as patience when you are first learning them. This guide will show you how to play barre chords and make it easier for you to learn them.

How to Get Used to Playing Barre Chords

Learn Open Position Chords First

You should learn open position chords first. The reason for this is that these chords form the foundation of barre chords. You will learn all of the basic chord shapes by learning open position chords first. Your hand will also get stronger when you learn these chords.

 

The tendons in your fingers will start to stretch as you learn the chords. This will make it much easier in the future to learn barre chords.  It's essential that you learn all the open position chords before you move on as it will be much easier.

How to Get Used to Playing Barre Chords

Warm Up First

You will need to warm up your hands before you start learning the barre chords. Try playing a few scales up and down the neck of your guitar to warm up your hands. Once your hand is warm enough, you can start to practice your barre chords. You will notice a lot of pain in your hand if you try to play a bar chord when your hand is cold.

 

Play Them Slowly

You can't rush into barre chords. You should play them slowly and only play them for a few minutes each practice session. For example, take a common chord progression and play it as barre chords. Your hand is going to get quite fatigued at first while learning these chords as barres, so go slow.

 

If you try to rush the process, you may end up with an injury, or your hand will be too sore from playing other things on the instrument. As you get better at playing them, you can add more time to your playing session.

 

Keep Your First Finger Flat

One of the hardest things people have is keeping the first finger flat. This finger has to be as flat as possible because it is recreating the nut of your guitar. Lie the finger flat across all of the strings. Once the finger is flat, you can put the rest of the chord shape down.

 

For example, if you’re playing a G major barre chord, You play this at the third fret. Put the first finger down at the 3rd fret and the E major shape underneath it. Keep the finger as flat as you can as you put the rest of the fingers down to form the chord.

 

Don't Tighten The Grip

A lot of players will try to tighten their grip when playing barre chords. They think that a tighter grip is going to make the chord easier. If you tighten your grip too much, your hand will get tired, and you won't be able to play the chord at all. You'll get better results with the chord if you keep practicing it as relaxed as possible.

 

Some of the notes won't ring at first. This is common when learning barre chords. You should keep your hand as relaxed as possible. Place all the fingers in the right position and hold a gentle grip. You still have to press down enough on the strings, but don't press down and strain your hand. Have a relaxed grip, and then try playing the chord.

How to Get Used to Playing Barre Chords

Evaluate Problem Areas

When learning in these chords, you may come into problem areas. Some of your fingers may not be sitting on the strings correctly. This will create a situation where the string starts to buzz. You can usually get rid of this buzz by changing the angle of your fingers. make sure they are not interfering with any of the other strings. If your hand is resting on some strings it shouldn't be resting on, you'll get buzzing strings.

 

Play the chord one string at a time and notice where the buzzing is coming from. This allows you to locate the problem areas so you can adjust your fingers. If it’s still buzzing after you do this, you probably just need to practice the chord more.


Patience Is Key

You are not alone if you have problems with barre chords. This is one of the major stumbling blocks that all guitar players face. You have to give the process enough time. Try using lighter guitar strings. These are easier to press down and won't tire out your fingers as much. Practice barre chords every day if possible, but only for a few minutes. As you get better, they will start to ring out clearer and sound a lot nicer.

 

Conclusion

Learning barre chords can be a frustrating process. It will take time before you can play these chords. Be sure to practice some each day but only for a few minutes. Allow your hand to rest if it gets tired. Don't try to rush it when learning these chords.

How to Have a Successful First Jam Session

How to Have a Successful First Jam Session

If you've been playing guitar for some time, you might want to get on stage and start jamming. This can be intimidating for a first-timer, but it doesn't have to be. This guide will show you what you need to do to be successful in the jam session.


Find Out What Is Going On In Your Local Area

The first thing you need to do is to find out what is going on in your local area in terms of jam sessions. Many clubs and bars have jam sessions. In normal circumstances and not much is required of you. All you need to do is show up with an instrument and be ready to play. 

Most players will be allowed between two and three songs. Often, you'll be playing with the house band. These are musicians that play at these clubs or bars. These musicians know a wide variety of different songs so you shouldn't have trouble finding something to play.

How to Have a Successful First Jam Session

Practice a Lot

You should be practicing quite a bit if you want to jam. You want to know your songs backward and forwards, and not have any difficulty playing these songs. It should be natural for you to play them. If you know the complete song, it's going to be easier to play on the stage.

If you only know certain parts, such as the rhythm for the solo, this is fine. The musicians on stage can give you these parts to play when it comes time to play them. The more you practice, the better you're going to sound on the stage. Since you're going to be nervous, you don't want to hesitate with the song, so constant practice will eliminate this hesitation.


Pick Your Favourite Guitar

You don't want to bring a lot of equipment with you to a jam. You should only bring one guitar with you. In most jam sessions, there is not a lot of room on the stage for multiple instruments, so take your favourite guitar with you to the jam and use that one.

How to Have a Successful First Jam Session

Know How to Improvise Somewhat

If you have some improvisational skills, this will help you on the stage. In many Jam sessions, the song is often played note for note. If you're able to solo over the chord progression, this will help you on stage. You'll be able to play the song without having to know the solo note-for-note. It’s a good idea to have it the feel of the solo down, but you don't have to memorize it note for note.


Avoid Alcohol and Other Substances

If you're going to get up on stage, refrain from taking any alcohol or other substances. You want to have a clear head while you're playing. You may be intimidated at first, but alcohol will only make the situation worse. It's fine to have a drink or two after the jam session, but don't make alcohol a priority when you're playing. It's far too easy to consume alcohol in excess and this won't improve your playing while you're on the stage.

How to Have a Successful First Jam Session

Help Out After The Jam

It's stick around for the entire jam if you can. Once the jam is over, you can help move the equipment off the stage. This also gives you an opportunity to talk to the other musicians. If you're looking for a band, they may be able to direct you to people who are interested in other guitar players.


Jamming When Younger

Even if you're not in an adult and going to clubs, you can still jam. Get together with your friends and decide what you're going to play. For example, one person can play the chord progression of the song while the other person can do the solo. You can do this as an adult as well.

Make sure the song is something that everyone knows how to play. This is how bands get started. Everyone picks a song that they like, and you start playing it. You shouldn't focus on your technical ability while you're jamming. The idea is to have fun and to let out your musical creativity. Your first jam sessions are not going to sound all that great. You have to get used to playing in time and keeping the rhythm. This takes a lot of practice.


Conclusion

When you jam, the idea is to have fun. Getting on stage for the first time can be intimidating. A few songs that you know and jam on those.  Once you have jammed a few times, the process gets a lot easier.


How to Help Young Children Practice Guitar

How to Help Young Children Practice Guitar

Many young children want to play guitar. The problem is that a lot of them have difficulty practicing their instrument once they come home from their lessons. As a parent, you can do a few things to ensure that they practice and get the most out of their music lessons. Here are some tips to help your children practice their guitar.

 

Make Sure They Want to Play

As parents, we sometimes pressure our children into doing things they don't want to do. We get them involved with sports other extra-curricular activities after school. In some cases, your child might not want to do what do you think they want to do. You should ensure that your child is enthusiastic about their music lessons. Ask them if they enjoy playing the guitar.  It's going to be a waste of your time if your child is not interested in the instrument. Many students end up quitting because they're not interested as much as you think they are.


Personal Practice Space

Make a room dedicated to their practice if you can.

Many students practice in their bedrooms, but this is usually a poor place to practice. There can be lots of distractions in the bedroom. There may be a stereo system, television, or they might have easy access to their phone. You could decorate this room with some music themes.

It makes more sense to have a dedicated room if you possibly can for practice. In this room, you should have a music stand, comfortable chair, and all of the learning materials that your child is using within easy reach. This will make it a lot simpler for your child to practice when they have everything that they need, and there are fewer distractions.

How to Help Young Children Practice Guitar

Let Them Choose When to Practice

Your child is capable of making their own decisions. Let them decide when they want to practice their guitar. You should not pressure children into playing guitar. You can gently remind them that they should be practicing, but don't pressure them into doing it. The activity of practicing their guitar should be something fun for them, so they should not feel like they are being forced to practice.


Make it Fun

One way you can encourage practicing is to make it a fun activity. For example, you can design a board that has stickers or stars. Perhaps the music stickers could be guitars. You could have a book made up where you can place each one of these stickers from the board when your child finishes practicing. This way, they have a record of their practicing.

This gives them a little bit of reward after they finish practicing the guitar. It can give them that little push or incentive to play their guitar more often. You could try other incentives such as making them their favorite meal, or some other type of small reward. As your child gets used to practicing their guitar, they will probably want to do it more often.

How to Help Young Children Practice Guitar

Have Them Pick Out Their Favourite Songs

Another trick you can use is to have them pick out their favourite songs. Ask them the songs that they would like to learn. You can take this to their teacher and tell them that this list is their favourite songs that they want to learn. As a former music educator, this was one of the first things I used to do when a child came to me for music lessons.


I would have them write down on a piece of paper their favourite songs. This was a homework assignment that I gave them the first day. Most children do not want to learn the boring beginner songs that you find in many music books. Those are old ancient songs that no one today really cares about. By having children learn something that is exciting to them, they will have more motivation to play the guitar.


Encourage Them

You should become the cheerleader for your child. Make sure you are always encouraging them when they practice, and try to always give them positive reinforcement as much as possible.


Your child will pick up on this positive reinforcement, and they will want to keep playing guitar. Take as much interest as possible in their guitar playing. Perhaps you can go together to a music store for books, guitars picks, or to get a fancy new guitar strap for their instrument. 

How to Help Young Children Practice Guitar

Conclusion

These are just a few of the things that you can do to help your child practice guitar. You should never pressure them to practice the instrument. Let them learn on their own, but encourage them to practice. Give them some small rewards after they have finished their practice session and take an active role in their lessons.

How to Write Your First Song Using 12 Bar Blues

How to Write Your First Song using 12 bar blues

Once you have learned a few guitar chords, it’s possible to start writing your first songs. It may seem like it's a complex process, but really it's not. This short guide will show you how to write your first song.

How to Write Your First Song using 12 bar blues

Why Write a Song?

It’s a lot of fun to play other people’s music, but writing your own song is a huge step up. When you write your own song, it’s something that you created. It doesn’t matter how simple the song is. Many popular songs are quite simple, but we don’t realize that they are. Songs can sound complex but only have a few chords in them. Writing your own song is a milestone when you play guitar. Try writing one and see what you can come up with.


Song Topic

The first thing you need to do is to pick the song topic. This can be anything, but here are a few suggestions:

 

  • A past love
  • Heartbreak
  • Life in general
  • A past historical event
  • Tell a story about something going on in your life
  • Faith or spirituality
  • Coming of Age
  • Friendship
  • Something you like or don’t like

 

The list of song topics is virtually endless. You can write about anything you want and turn it into a song. All you need is an idea in your head. You should walk around with your smartphone or some scraps of paper and jot down your ideas. Whenever an idea comes into your head, write it down, or record it into your smartphone. You never know when you might come up with a great idea for a song. If you don't write it down right away, you're going to forget it.

 

Create a bunch of ideas and then pick from your list to write a song. You should pick something that inspires or moves you. It doesn't have to be a positive emotion. Some of the most memorable songs are written about things such as heartbreak or loss. The song should move you in some way. If it does, then you know you are on the right track.

How to Write Your First Song using 12 bar blues

Chord Choice

The easiest way to write a song is to limit it to three or four chords. You should do this at the beginning when you are not used to writing songs. For example, in the key of G major, you could use the three major chords, which are G, C, D. There are countless songs written with these three chords in the key of G major. You could throw a minor chord in there for some variety, but try to stick to the three major chords.  Other chords to use include 7th chords, but feel free to use whatever chords you like.


Structure

There are many ways to structure a song.  One of the simplest ways is to use the blues formula called the 12 Bar Blues.  Here is an example of a verse using the 12 bar formula.

 

My hound dog is barking

And I am lonesome too 

C

Said my hound dog is barking

G

And I am lonesome too

D

Rain keeps falling down

C                                    G   D

I don’t know what I’ll do

 

Of course, this is a simple example, but it shows you how easy it can be to write some lyrics and then make a song. All you need is a chord to match the first line of the lyrics, and then you can build from there. Listen to some of your favorite songs and see what the artist is using for the chords. Make a note of how the chords are arranged. Many songs follow the same formula.

How to Write Your First Song using 12 bar blues

Don't Worry About Singing On Pitch

Your first song isn’t going to be on the pitch for the most part. It takes time to develop your singing voice. Take some vocal lessons along with your guitar lessons, as this will help you a great deal. As you practice, your voice will get better.

If you can’t get your vocals on the exact pitch you want, use a capo. You can slide this up and down your fretboard until you find the pitch that works for your voice the best. Many guitar players use the capo to match their own vocal range.

 

Conclusion

Don’t be afraid to write a song. You will gain experience as you write more. It’s a big step on the guitar to write a song, so get started now and see where it takes you. Have fun with the creative process, and you never know what you’ll come up with.

The Basics of Learning How to Strum

The Basics of Learning How to Strum

This short guide will get you used to strumming your guitar. When you strum the guitar, you rake your pick across all the strings to sound the notes.  Strumming is one of the key concepts you need to learn on the guitar. Here is what you need to know while you practice strumming.


Practice Chord Changes without Playing

One way to get better at strumming is to practice chord changes without strumming at all. Let's take three popular chords. Let's play G, C, and D. Start by fingering the G chord, then move on to the C chord. Finally, move on and place your fingers on the D chord. Practice moving your fingers and back and forth to each one of those chords. Say each chord name out loud as you move your fingers. When you are strumming, you have to be able to move your fingers quickly from one corner to the next. 

 

Practice this on chords, you know already. If you don't know these chords, try some that you already know. The idea is to make quick chord changes while you are strumming.  Make sure you don't stop strumming as you change chords, keep strumming through the chord changes. This is why the chords change has to be a smooth process. Try changing the chords without a strum and then add the strum in once you can make the chord change smooth.

The Basics of Learning How to Strum

Simple Strumming Pattern One

Let's do a very simple strumming pattern.  We are going to play each chord once as we count to four. This is typical 4/4 time. Each chord will get one beat. you want to practice strumming each chord once and then changing to the next chord. This chord progression, we are going to use all pick downstrokes.

Strum G, Strum C, Strum D, Strum G

Count: 1 2 3 4

Try tapping your foot on each chord change and count. One, two, three, four. Once you can do this say the chord names out loud as you play them G, C, D, G.


Simple Strumming Pattern Two

This next strumming pattern is a little bit more complicated. We're going to play a G chord for four beats, but we're going to add in an upstroke. It will look like this:

1 2 3 + 4

The + means “and” or play an upstroke. Play G for three downstrokes. When you get to +, you want to play an upstroke, which will be followed by another downstroke to complete the rhythm. As you play tap 1, 2, 3, and 4. Once you can do this change to C and do the same thing, move to D and finally, back to G.


Simple Strumming Pattern Three

This next strumming pattern is going to be continuous. We're going to play a G with down and upstrokes through one bar of music. It looks like this:

1 + 2 + 3 + 4 +

1 and 2 and 3 and 4 and 

Down, up, down, up, down, up, down, up

Do the same with C, D, and back to G.


Strumming Tips

Stay relaxed.

When you strum your guitar, you want to keep your hand and arm relaxed. Move your arm in an up and down relaxed motion as you are strumming up and down. Think of your arm like a pendulum. It goes up and down the same way a pendulum moves. You want to keep the movement of your arm steady. It's this steady movement that will keep the rhythm going. You don't want to make jerky movements with your hand as you're strumming. The key to rhythm playing is keeping that movement going.

The Basics of Learning How to Strum

Tap the Beats

You may notice people on stage tapping their foot as they're playing. This is a great way to keep the pulse. You tap your foot to the pulse, and this helps you to keep in time. Try tapping your foot as you play a simple rhythm - you can also do this with a metronome. You can have the metronome play at a slow pulse, and then you play the chords on the beat.


Slow Down

Play everything as slow as you can, to begin with. You don't want to rush the process as you learn how to strum. Get used to strumming a few chords and then add in a more as you learn new chords.  Once you can play something slowly, you can start to speed it up a little bit. You want to keep a nice and relaxed rhythm.

The Basics of Learning How to Strum

Don't Stop

Don't stop during the strumming. Keep your strumming hand going even if you happen to fumble around with the chord. Keep the strumming hand going as much as possible. As you get better, you'll find changing chords, and strumming becomes seamless. It takes quite a bit of effort to be able to play chords, change them, and keep the rhythm going at the same time. You need to get used to keeping the rhythm going as this is what will drive the music forward.


Conclusion

This guide should get you started with basic strumming. Start as slow as you can and work your way up. Make sure you keep your strumming hand going as you play. That is the key to getting a good rhythm. Work on it as much as you can until it is smooth and seamless.


Tips to Help You Master Open Position Chords

Tips to Help You Master Open Position Chords

When you first learn the guitar, open position chords are some of the first chords that you'll learn. A lot of beginner guitar players struggle with these chords. Here are some tips to make it easier for you to play them.


Play Slowly

Try not to think of guitar playing as a race, you want to play each chord slowly. You will only increase your speed once you can play chords slowly. If you try to play too fast, you will end up with sloppy playing that doesn't sound good, so slow down your playing until you can do it correctly. This is one of the top tips for learning open position chords. Make sure that you can do something slowly before you speed it up.

 

Use The Correct Fingers

Many beginner guitar players try to use different fingerings for the chord they are learning, which is not a good idea. You want to try to use the exact fingering required to play the chord. The reason for this is that the standard fingering makes it easier for you to change chords. Unless you have some sort of impairment that requires you to use different fingers, I would learn the chords with the recommended fingering. You will find it much easier to learn chords when you use the right fingering.


Use The Finger Tips

You should be playing the chords with your fingertips. Look at the angle of your hand on the fretboard. Your hand needs to be comfortable on the back of the neck. You should curl your fingers up until you can reach the chord.

 

Watch the spacing in between the strings. If your fingers are leaning on an adjacent string, you will get string buzzing. You can eliminate this buzzing if you arch your finger and use only your fingertips. You don't want to be laying parts of your finger down on any other strings. You only want to play the strings that are required for the chord.

Tips to Help You Master Open Position Chords

Practice Without Playing

Practice changing your chords without strumming them. This technique helps to build your muscle memory.  For example, finger G, followed by C, followed by D. You want to place your fingers in the right position for each chord. Practice moving back and forth between the three chords, just using your fretting hand.

 

This technique helps to train the fingers. Try doing this with your eyes closed. Once you can move to the next position with your eyes closed, you're probably getting used to fingering that chord. As you get used to moving the chords around, you can start strumming a chord progression.


Don't Break Your Strumming Pattern

As you play through a chord progression, you don't want to break your strumming pattern. Make sure you keep a nice relaxed and even rhythm as you play the chord progression so that it sounds musical and the sound doesn't stop dead. One common mistake guitar players make when they are first starting out is that they stop between chords. Try to keep the strumming going as much as possible.

 

If you stop between chords, it means you don't know the fingering as well as you should. Try practicing moving the chords back and forth without strumming for a little while so you can get used to the fingerings, and get it into your muscle memory. Once that starts to feel easier, try adding the strumming back in.

Tips to Help You Master Open Position Chords


Master a Few Chords First

Don't be in a rush to learn a lot of chords. It takes time to master chords, so just work on a few at a time. I recommend mastering G, C, D, E, A, Am, Em, and Dm, first. They are some of the easier chords. Once you master these, you can move on to the other ones.


Play Songs

Find a simple song that has the chords you are learning and try strumming along with the song. You don't necessarily have to get the strumming pattern exact. To start with try changing chords to the beat of the song. This will help you learn the individual chords and it also teaches you timing as well as the correct rhythm. Make sure the song is a simple one. If you try to do something that is too advanced, you're only going to get frustrated.

 

Once you can master a simple song, try one that's a little bit harder. Your guitar teacher will be able to help you in this area. They can suggest songs that you can learn based on the chords you already know.

Tips to Help You Master Open Position Chords


Conclusion

These tips should help you master open position chords. Take your time while you're learning them and make sure you use the correct fingers. Try playing them all along with songs, and don't try to overwhelm yourself with too many chords at first. With consistent and dedicated practice, you'll master the open position chords in no time at all.

Tips to Sing and Play Guitar at the Same Time

Tips to Sing and Play Guitar at the Same Time

Many guitar players want to learn how to sing and play guitar at the same time, and some think that this is impossible. The truth is that most people can learn to sing and play the guitar together. Your voice will get better the more you sing with your guitar. You take guitar lessons, so you can take vocal lessons as well. Here are some tips to help you play the guitar and sing at the same time. 


Strumming and Singing

When you sing as you play guitar, your strumming has to be in sync with your singing. It's important that you start out with simple songs. This will allow you to strum the chords and sing along as you're playing them. You will fumble all over the place if you try something that is too complex, so I would recommend that you start with a simple blues song. This is normally three chords, and the pattern is quite easy to follow.

Don't worry too much about your vocals being in tune with the music. You need to practice getting the strumming and singing in sync with each other. This process will take some time so try not to get frustrated.


Know Your Chords

To sing and play guitar, you have to know your chords. You should have a foundation in at least basic chord playing before you try to sing. You need to be able to change chords in a smooth and rapid fashion.

Try to practice your chord changes without singing. Once you can make the change without any effort, add in the vocal part and see how it sounds. Get the chords down first before you try to sing anything.

Tips to Sing and Play Guitar at the Same Time


Metronome and Strumming

Use a metronome to get your rhythm down.

You have to be able to play rhythm guitar well if you want to sing. Get yourself a metronome and practice your strumming, and make sure you can strum in an even and smooth fashion. This will make singing along with the music a lot easier. You want to improve your timing and rhythm before you start singing. Practice the song along with the metronome as much as possible, so you get the feeling for the song.

Using a metronome is the best way to improve your rhythm guitar playing. Once you can master the rhythm, you can add in the vocals. The metronome helps you keep the beat and is the best way to improve your timing. 

Tips to Sing and Play Guitar at the Same Time


Know the Vocals

To play and sing a song, you need to know the chords as well as the vocals. One of the first things you need to know is where the vocals land in terms of the chord that is being played. Try singing the song without any vocals - an easy way to do this is to listen to the song and try to sing along with it. Don't worry if your voice matches the song or not.

The idea is to get used to singing in the song. You will more than likely end up singing the song in your own style. For example, you may have to change the key to get the song into a vocal range that you're comfortable with. This is easy to do if you use a capo on your guitar.

Tips to Sing and Play Guitar at the Same Time


Hum the Melody

One trick that makes singing easier is to hum the melody as you play the chords on the guitar. You don't want to sing the actual lyrics, just the melody of the song. This will get the feeling of the song in your brain. You will be practicing the chord changes of the song as you hum.

Once you're able to hum the song successfully, try adding in the actual vocals. Try to master the song one verse at a time - once you're able to master the first verse, add in the second one. You can then add in the chorus and the rest of the song. Play the song as slowly as you have to. You may not be able to play it up to speed for some time. This is where working with the metronome can help you.


Complex Songs

Some songs are quite complex. They may have intricate finger-picking patterns, and you'll find these songs quite difficult to sing if you are a beginner. Simplify the process and play a simple strumming pattern over the finger-picking portion of the song. This will still give you the general feeling of a song, but it will be easier for you. You don't want to complicate the process of singing and playing the guitar.


Lots of Practice

You'll get better playing the guitar and singing at the same time with lots of practice. Singing and playing do not come naturally for most people, so the more you practice it, the better you're going to get. Start off slow and work your way up.

Tips to Sing and Play Guitar at the Same Time


Conclusion

You do not have to have a masterful voice to sing and play guitar. You can take guitar lessons to improve your playing, and vocal lessons to improve your voice. Pick up your instrument, find an easy song, and start singing. The more you work at the process, the easier it will be for you.

What I Learned Taking Guitar Lessons

What I Learned Taking Guitar Lessons

I began taking guitar lessons at age fifteen. There were several things I learned while taking guitar lessons. Here is what you can expect when you take lessons. 


Patience

When I took lessons, I learned how to have patience. When you first start playing, you can struggle at times. This is normal when learning how to play the guitar. You have to build up your skills slowly over time. Playing an instrument is not something that happens overnight.

Most people tend to forget that it takes quite a bit of skill to play an instrument at a professional level. You need to have patience while you were practicing and allow yourself time to develop your own guitar skills. I learned to have patience and enjoy the process of learning the instrument.


Organization

As a young guitar student, I learned how to be organized. I had a lot of materials that had to be covered, and I kept a detailed and notebook with me where I wrote down everything I needed to do. When you learn how to play guitar, you have to keep yourself organized so you don't get overwhelmed.

As I got older, I kept a filing cabinet with all of my learning materials. I organized my music according to scales, chords, songs, and so on. This helped me keep track of everything that I was learning. This also came in handy when I started to teach guitar myself. I kept all of the materials for my student in my filing cabinet, and it made it easy to refer to the materials when I needed them.

What I Learned Taking Guitar Lessons


Confidence

One of the best aspects of learning how to play guitar is it taught me to have confidence in myself. Like most teenagers, I was quite shy. As I got better on the instrument, my confidence started to soar. I felt confident in my own playing abilities. This confidence gave me what I needed to explore other areas of music, such as music theory.

Playing guitar is one of the best ways to gain confidence in yourself, and I saw this in many of my own students when I started teaching. I would have students come to me that didn't have much confidence whatsoever or were quite shy. They were able to overcome this shyness and gain confidence as they learned how to play guitar.


Motivation

Learning how to play guitar taught me a lot about motivation. I knew if I didn't practice, I wasn't going to get any better and I found that the more I practiced, the better my playing was becoming. This gave me the motivation to keep going. I was motivated by the end result and what I could accomplish with practicing and knew I couldn't play my favorite song unless I practiced. 

Most guitar players that are not motivated don't want to put in the effort required to play guitar. The thing you have to understand is that it takes a lot of practice to get good. You should be motivated by what you can accomplish in the future. If you want to play like your favorite rock star, you have to practice the scales, chords, and so on. This is what motivated me to get better.

What I Learned Taking Guitar Lessons


Coordination

I learned how to be more coordinated by playing guitar. You have to be able to sync your hands together to play an instrument. You have to get it this coming down as well as chord changes. You have to move your fingers up and down the fretboard in sync with your picking as you're playing a solo. You learn to be better coordinated when you pick up an instrument. This takes time to develop, but it will over time as you put in more practice with your guitar. 


Communication

Playing the guitar helps you to be a better communicator. If you want to play live with other people, you need to be able to communicate with them. You need to share the language of music with them so you can all make music together. If you end up teaching guitar as I did, you need the ability to communicate music to your students.

What I Learned Taking Guitar Lessons


Conclusion

You will learn a lot of skills as you practice guitar. It's a great way to build confidence in yourself. You will have more coordination, and you'll be a better communicator. You will learn how to motivate yourself and how to stay organized. Learning music is one of the best gifts that you can give yourself in life. It will stay with you forever.

What to Do If You Feel Like Quitting Guitar

What to Do If You Feel Like Quitting Guitar

Many guitar players end up quitting the guitar. 

Some of them do this after taking a few lessons. 

Others have been playing for a few years and put the guitar away in the closet. 

Here is what you should do if you feel like quitting the guitar and why you might want to give it a second chance.


I Wanted to Quit Too

When I was learning how to play guitar, I wanted to quit too. It was very frustrating for me to try to learn certain things on the instrument. My fingers are smaller than average. It was difficult playing. I wanted to throw my guitar away in the garbage.

 

I didn't end up doing this. What I did was focus on areas of guitar that I had a lot of skill in it. While I struggled a lot with chords, I found playing scales to be easier on my fingers, so I concentrated on them.  I worked on my scales as much as possible. This allowed me to developed great lead guitar techniques. It became my main focus on the instrument.


You Can't Learn It All

You can't learn everything on the guitar. There is no way for you to master every aspect of the instrument. There is always something to learn on the guitar. You will end up failing if you think that you can learn everything. A lot of people want to learn things fast. This does not occur when learning an instrument. 


It takes time for you to master certain aspects of the guitar. You may have a weakness in your playing like I did, but you probably have strengths as well.  There is no need for you to try and master everything all at once.


Take a Break

Sometimes you need to take a break from the instrument. I did this for several years. I didn't play my guitar for quite a while. When I finally pick the instrument up again, I had a new passion for it.


I ended up teaching guitar because I was so passionate about it. The guitar can be a part of your life; there's no reason for you to quit because you find some things in the instrument to be difficult. You have to understand that playing the guitar is difficult. It takes a long time for players to become proficient on the instrument. 

 

No one is born with great guitar skills. This is something you have to learn. There are very few people that are naturally gifted. For most of us, it's something we have to work. We have to put the time and effort into playing the guitar.

What to Do If You Feel Like Quitting Guitar


Play What You Love

You probably have music that you love. You'll get more enjoyment out of the guitar if you focus on music that you like. You could sit down and learn the songs of your favorite artists. This will give you a passion for playing the guitar. I did this myself, I learned the songs of my favorite artist, and this helped me strive to get better. 


What to Do If You Feel Like Quitting Guitar


Try Something New

Another way you can rekindle your love for the instrument is to try something new. Perhaps you could analyze a new guitar style. If you enjoy playing rock guitar, try playing country guitar for a while. Maybe you could try a different guitar tuning than standard.

 

When you try something new, you need to learn all over again. This can rekindle your love for the instrument because it gives you something else to strive for. Perhaps you might end up becoming quite skilled in that new thing that you tried.


What to Do If You Feel Like Quitting Guitar


Play With Others

If you're frustrated playing the guitar, try to get out and play with others. It is exciting and beneficial for you to play with other people. You will learn a lot about timing, rhythm, and how to make music. It's difficult sitting in your bedroom trying to learn.

 

The thing is, you don't need a lot of guitar skills to play with other people. You can make great music knowing a few chords or scales. You don't have to be a master at anything to play with others. Many of the most famous songs we know are quite simple. To get out of your rut and to rekindle your passion, find others to play with. 


Conclusion

There is no real reason to quit playing guitar. It takes time to learn the instrument, so you have to accept the process. Take time off if you need to and do something else. Try to get together with other people and jam for a while. You will find that you will rekindle your passion for guitar if you approach the instrument in a different way.

 

You Can Learn Guitar At Any Age

You Can Learn Guitar at Any Age

Many people think they are too old to learn the guitar. Some of these individuals are still young. They may be in their late twenties or early thirties. The truth is you can learn guitar at any age. Here is what you need to know about playing the guitar and age.

 

Children and Guitar

As soon as a child is able to hold a guitar, they can start taking guitar lessons. Any child can learn how to play the guitar. They will learn faster and gain the most knowledge when taking lessons from a qualified teacher.  When learning, children pick up a whole bunch of different skills. They learn skills such as increased dexterity, sight-reading, and they gain a lot of confidence.

Children that are quite young might have decreased attention spans when it comes to learning the guitar. They should be taught at their own pace. They should never be rushed into the instrument. Children will start out with simple songs, notes, and other beginner guitar lessons. They will be taught a lot more once some progression is made. I recommended that children start out with a nylon string guitar. It’s easier for them to press the strings down. The nylon strings won't dig into their fingers as acoustic strings do.

For younger children that take lessons with us. Some of them were extremely shy when they first took lessons. As they learn to play, their confidence grew. They are excited to come to their guitar lessons each week. They are learning something that’s fun, and it’s something what they want to do. 

You Can Learn Guitar at Any Age


Teenagers and Guitar

Playing the guitar as a teen, boosted my confidence in myself.

I started playing the guitar as a teenager at around age fifteen. I didn't have a lot of confidence at that age in myself. I wanted to play the guitar because I was interested in rock music. Playing the guitar improved my confidence by a wide margin. I had an excellent teacher, and he taught me a lot about the instrument. I also ended up taking some music theory lessons from a piano teacher.

I learned the basics of the instrument, and this boosted my confidence in myself. Any teenager can learn how to play the guitar. It's an excellent instrument for them to explore. I had great fun learning. It's best if teenagers take lessons from a qualified teacher. They will learn the basics of the instrument, how to hold it, and, more importantly, they will reduce bad habits. These bad habits crop up more often when you try to teach yourself. This isn't to say you can't teach yourself, but it's easier with a good teacher.

You Can Learn Guitar at Any Age


Adults and the Guitar 

I want to focus on adults and playing guitar. Many adults feel that they're too old to pick up the instrument. This couldn't be further from the case. You might have had visions as a teenager of being onstage, but you never picked up the guitar. You can still pick up the guitar as an adult and go on stage.

There are many places in your local town or city where you can join a jam session. At our school here, we even hold our own jam sessions and Open Mics for our students. 

Performing gives you the thrill of playing on stage and help fulfill those teenage dreams. You might think that you can't learn how to play guitar when you are an adult, but you can learn at any age.

You Can Learn Guitar at Any Age


My Guitar Student Rick

I want to tell you the story of my guitar student Rick. He was in his late fifties when he started taking guitar lessons from me. He had no experience with guitar whatsoever. His dream in life was to learn how to play the guitar.

Rick became one of my best students.

He was one of my best students. He was always on time for his lessons, and he never missed one. He dedicated himself to playing the guitar. He did this in his spare time even though he was working. After several months of lessons, he was capable of playing a wide range of songs. He was having a lot of fun learning the guitar. As long as you have some faith in yourself, you can learn the instrument. It doesn't matter what age you are as an adult; you can learn to play the guitar.


Conclusion

You are never too young or too old to learn an instrument. You'll have a lot of success with guitar playing if you take lessons with a qualified teacher. You will learn all the basics, and this will give you the foundation that can help you move forward with your playing. If you have a guitar that is sitting in your closet and you've always wanted to play it, now is the time.

Practical Tips To Playing The Electric Guitar For Beginners

choosing electric guitar to buy

Playing the electric guitar is easier than playing an acoustic guitar for beginners.

Why does a beginner find an electric guitar easier than an acoustic guitar?

There are lots of reasons why.

The strings on electric guitars are thinner. The electric guitar is slimmer and more portable as well. So you don't have to lean over so far to reach the fretboard.

If you are still deciding on your first guitar, then read our "Ultimate guitar buying guide"to help you.

 

Here are a few tips to help every beginner on their journey of learning the electric guitar.

 

Getting An Electric Guitar

The first step in your journey of learning to play the guitar is to own one.

It is almost impossible to learn the instrument without it being available to practise at home.

I know it sounds silly. But we do get students who think they can just come to the lessons and not have a guitar available at home to practise.

What if inspiration strikes?

You want to be prepared.

It's useful to get time to practise the guitar away from lessons whenever you can. This will help you progress faster.

For children, buying an electric guitar is different from adults. Be sure to go with them in person to the shop to measure up the size of the electric guitar. Making sure it's comfortable for them and not too heavy.

 

Getting Picks And Straps

You can use a guitar pick with your electric guitar to create a specific sound. It's different from playing with your fingertips.

We would always recommend learning to use a guitar pick when playing the electric guitar.

For all guitarists, not just beginners. It's useful to have a guitar strap, for a couple of reasons:

  1. Electric guitars can be less comfortable to sit on your leg. (This is definitely true if you have a flying V guitar). Having a strap means you can have some of the weight on your shoulders instead.

And if you do lose feelings in your leg from the weight of the guitar, and start getting pins and needles...

  1. You can stand up.

Also - if you are ever going to play standing up at any point, you want to have already practised this before.

As a beginner, when buying a strap, you should stick to something that makes you feel comfortable.

Though leather straps look awesome, they often crack and look old quickly.

Woven/polyester straps have much better durability. Pick one that isn't too thin and feels comfortable.

 

Know Your Guitar

Another important point to take note of is learning the parts of the electric guitar.

The Fret: These are the metal pieces which you use in playing notes
Tuning Nut: The nut holds the string in place across the fingerboard
The Neck: The neck contains your fretboard, which you press down to create a sound.
Pickup: It picks up the vibration from the string and converts it to an electrical signal.
Bridge: The bridge regulates the position of the strings to the fingerboard.

 

Parts of an electric guitar


Practice

The importance of playing regularly is very useful for your progress on the guitar.

A lot of beginners have this false belief that they can learn the skills to play the electric guitar by learning for only a few months.

As a beginner, it's important to manage your expectations. It may take a little while for you to get the hang of how to practise. And your guitar playing may not sound pleasant from day 1.

But with time, practise, and appropriate instructions and feedback, you will get better.

 

You Do You!!!

As beginners who are training to gain mastery of the electric guitar, one golden rule is to do you.

Play the music you enjoy, buy the guitar that makes you excited about playing it.

Get a teacher that you get on with that inspires you to play and improve your guitar playing.

And if you have big goals for your guitar playing, that's great too! Work towards them with your guitar teacher so that you can achieve what you want with your guitar playing.

 

Introduction to learning to play acoustic guitar

choosing classical guitar to buy

Introduction to the introduction

Getting started with learning the acoustic guitar doesn't have to be overcomplicated. It should be fun and be an exciting journey to explore

And while playing the guitar takes a certain level of patience and commitment. However, it pays off in the long run. 

learning to play guitar London guitar lessons

The awesome thing about the acoustic guitar is that, it's really accessible. And it's used for so many different genres of music too. 

Being able to play the songs you love is going to be motivating and inspiring. Not to mention more fun.

It is also useful for singer-songwriters, actors or just anyone who is passionate about music. 

A few things we are going to take about in this introduction: 

  • Choosing the right acoustic guitar 
  • Getting to know your new acoustic guitar
  • Getting started with learning to play the acoustic guitar 
  • Posture position with your acoustic guitar 
  • Learning the basics of playing the acoustic guitar  

Let's get started!

Choosing the right acoustic guitar

Acoustic comes in various body shapes & sizes ranging from small to bigger ones sometimes called "Jumbo size". 

It's fair to say that it's not always easy getting the right guitar for you.

Nonetheless, here are some factors to consider while choosing your acoustic guitar:

Size of your guitar

Depending on your age, you should choose a size that fits perfectly well and stays within your arms reach. And you should be able to reach the top of the guitar. 

Budget

Make sure the guitar stays within your budget and remember to think about getting guitar lessons, and accessories on top of just buying the guitar. 

Durability

One other important factor to consider when picking out a guitar is durability. Many guitars take a fancy look on the outside but are without quality materials.

If you can go to the store with an expert or professional. They can help you to examine the acoustic guitar before making a purchase for your first one. 

You will probably be taking your guitar to different places too, so make sure you get a good quality one. 

If you need more help, read our "Ultimate Guide to buying your guitar" to help you. 

sizes and shapes of acoustic guitar

Budget

Make sure the guitar stays within your budget and remember to think about getting guitar lessons, and accessories on top of just buying the guitar. 

Durability

One other important factor to consider when picking out a guitar is durability. Many guitars take a fancy look on the outside but are without quality materials.

If you can go to the store with an expert or professional. They can help you to examine the acoustic guitar before making a purchase for your first one. 

You will probably be taking your guitar to different places too, so make sure you get a good quality one. 

If you need more help, read our "Ultimate Guide to buying your guitar" to help you. 

Getting to know your new baby

After purchasing your acoustic guitar, the next thing on the line is identifying the various parts of the guitar.

Having a better understanding of the functions of each part helps your learning process go smoothly.

Different parts of your acoustic guitar

Let's check the parts of the acoustic guitar out:

Diagram of Acoustic Guitar

Introduction parts of an acoustic guitar

The main three parts:

Head 

On the head of your guitar, is your headstock. Which has your tuning pegs on. The tuning pegs are what you will use to adjust your strings - and tune your guitar with. 

Neck

The neck of your guitar is the fretboard. 
On your fretboard are metal ridges that separate individual frets. 

Most guitars will have markers on your fretboard so you can easily count which fret you are playing.

Body

The body of your guitar is where the sound hole of your guitar is. 

And be careful.... the sound hole will swallow up your picks whenever it can. 

You've also got the bridge of the acoustic guitar.  Which is what your guitar strings attach to. 

You might also have some electronics on yours to amplify your guitar. And some even have a tuner included. 

There is also a pickguard most acoustic guitars. Because you are going to be strumming a lot, it's good to have something to protect your surface of your guitar. 

strumming guitar learning to play guitar

Getting started with learning the guitar

As you proceed in with learning to play the guitar with the help of your guitar teacher or instructor. You will begin to get familiar with how to tune the guitar and get started with strumming some basic chords. 

The main trick about the guitar for a beginner is to keep to the pulse of the music. 
Every-time you drop a beat, it will really disrupt the groove of the music. 

pulse of the music learning guitar

To aid your lessons on the guitar, you should get an instructor acting as a guide on your journey as a guitarist.

Postures and sitting positions to help you

Also, there are certain postures you need to aid your finger movements and body balance. Some steps to these postures are:

  • Make sure the chair is not too high or too low to balance the guitar well on your lap
  • Ensure that your fingers are able to pick each string and notes well and easily.
  • Maintain a comfortable arm posture, ensure it's not too high.
playing guitar posture position

All things have been said, here are basic steps you need to follow as a beginner when you want to play the acoustic guitar.

Understanding what you are playing 

In the beginning

In the beginning, the whole guitar will seem like a massive puzzle. And might feel very overwhelming. 

When you first start, it's okay to just experience the instrument, learn some basic chords. And get playing. 

If we had to understand every single thing before we do it. That would take the fun out of things. 

For example. If you had to understand all the rules of football, and how a ball is made. Before you kick a ball around the field. That would be a lot less fun. 

When to introduce music understanding ?

Understanding music is an important part of learning to play guitar. Because it makes it easier for you to progress in the long term. 

If you have a great guitar teacher, they will be drip feeding you this understanding every step of the way. 

repertoire of songs learning guitar for beginners

Coming up on your own, try reading our "Understanding music for beginner guitarists". This will be useful for you if you have no previous music lessons. 

What to do about practising the guitar?

In the beginning, practising the acoustic guitar can feel uncomfortable. Especially when you are learning on a steel string guitar, because it hurts to press down on the strings. Slowly and surely, you will start to build callouses on your finger tips. 

And you will get used to have your wrist and arm in a strange position. 
Changing chords might seem like the hardest thing in the world in the beginning, but it does get easier. 

Read more about tips on practising guitar for beginners

What to get started with?

There are so many things you can tackle first. 
And if you are learning on your own, I would recommend picking some easy chords that are used often in songs. Such as Em, A, G, D. And don't worry too much about understanding what they mean right in the beginning. 

Find songs with these chords in and start playing. Focusing on keeping with the pulse of the music. 

If you have a guitar teacher, then they should be able to help you get a good head start. And to avoid getting bad habits along the way. 

The beginning of learning the acoustic guitar can be frustrating. But having someone to guide you along the path will help. 

I would like to find a guitar teacher

If you are looking for a guitar teacher in London, come speak to us to find out how you can get a free guitar lesson. To find out how you can get over this tricky hurdle in the beginning. And to have a tonne of fun playing guitar in a fun and supportive community. 


Top 10 Accessories You Need as a Beginner Guitar Player

As a beginning guitar player, there are several accessories that you should pick up.

These accessories will make playing guitar easier for you.

Many of these accessories are perfect for your guitar case. Have them on hand before practicing as they will save you a lot of time.

Metronome

One accessory that you should have is the metronome. 

accessories guitar metronome

This helps you keep time and is perfect for practicing. 

There are many different metronomes that you can buy. You can find ones that are small enough to fit in your guitar case. 

There are downloadable metronomes apps onto your phones. But the trouble with that is you could get distracted picking up your phone. 

Peg Winder 

The peg winder is another accessory that will save you time.

This guitar accessory makes it easy to put strings on your guitar as well as take them off. The winder goes on the guitar tuning pegs.

Peg Winder accessory for guitar

If you change strings a lot, this accessory will be very useful for you. 

Staff and Tab Paper

When you're learning a guitar, you'll be taking a lot of notes. Try to have some staff paper and tab paper on hand. You can buy these in notebook form. You’ll always have a piece of paper or notebook ready to go when you need to take some notes, jot down a chord, and so on.

If you are really modern, you can download apps that have guitar tab on. 

We like Goodnotes on the iPad Pro with the pencil

Here's my notes from my own personalised template: 

ipad goodnotes guitar tab

Guitar Picks

You can never have enough picks. 

Make sure you have plenty of these in your guitar case. You can buy a bag of pics for super cheap. Try to not get the super thin ones. Medium and thinner picks are our preference. 

Single Guitar Strings

Another accessory you should have in your guitar case is some single strings. Try to have or three sets of full replacement guitar strings as well.

The single strings you should have on hand include the G string, B string, and the small E string.

Single guitar strings guitar accessory

The reason for this is that these strings tend to break the most often. The larger thicker strings don't break as often as these do.

Try to have a couple of these strings on hand as replacements. You can get replacement strings in bulk to save the money.

Strap Locks

You should have some strap locks. These buttons keep your strap in place on your guitar. They prevent your strap from falling off your guitar.

The regular strap button on your guitar isn't strong enough to hold the strap if you've got your guitar upside down. Or if you decide to do any rockstar moves.

Strap Lock for guitar straps

 A strap lock will keep the strap in place on the strap button so it doesn't fall off and damage your guitar.

Guitar Capo

accessories guitar capo

Another accessory to consider is the capo. This allows you to play songs in a different tuning. 

If you want to sing along while playing your guitar, the capo is ideal.

 It puts your guitar in a range that is comfortable for your voice. While not a complete essential, it will help you if you want to be a singer.

It doesn't have to be expensive, but we do love this G7th Capo

Guitar Multi-Tool

The guitar multi-tool is an excellent accessory. This often includes Allen wrenches, screwdrivers, a string cutter, and so on. You can use these tools for minor guitar adjustments.

They are also super small, and can save a lot of room in your guitar case by having this type of multi-tool on hand. You won’t have as many tools taking up space in your case.

Guitar Tuner

your first guitar tuner

Make sure you have a tuner on hand.

It is important to tune your guitar every time before you play. Just like you wash your hands before you eat.

There are a whole host of different tuners that you can buy.

Some of them are small enough that you can click them onto your headstock. This makes it easy to tune your guitar using the vibration of your guitar.

The right chair & Music Stand

Tiger music stand

Another accessory to have is a solid and dependable guitar stand. You don't want one of those cheap flimsy ones. Pick up a decent guitar stand that has a heavy base so it doesn't move around.

You also need to be comfortable while playing guitar.  

Make sure you have a comfortable guitar stool or chair. You can get chairs designed for playing the guitar.

Make sure the chair doesn't have armrests. If you have armrests, they can get in the way while you were trying to play. 

In summary

These accessories make practicing guitar easier. By having them on hand you'll save yourself a lot of time. Make sure you have picks, extra strings, a tuner, and other accessories before starting your practice session.

A bonus accessory that I want to mention is: Nail clippers. Keep a set in your guitar case. And whenever you nails feel a little long, you've got them ready to trim your nails. 

Don't want those nails digging into your beautiful fretboard.

Haven't bought a guitar yet?

If you haven't got your guitar yet. And want to know what else to consider when buying your next guitar. Read our "Ultimate guide to buying your guitar" to help you. 

Want to learn to play guitar?

Whether you haven't gotten started at all. Or you can already gotten started but want to improve faster. 

Find out more about our beginner guitar lessons on how you get help you build a solid foundation. So that you can keep advancing on the guitar, but more importantly. Have lots of fun while learning. 

Should I get a guitar teacher?

Guitar lessons for adults with guitar tuition east london

As a new guitar player, you may be wondering whether you should take guitar lessons.

Fine... we are biased. We teach guitar. But really, I tried learning guitar without a guitar teacher, and when I had one. Wow. Did it help my playing.

So you might like one too.

Hope this article shows you the benefits of taking guitar lessons from a qualified teacher. While you can teach yourself, there are lots of benefits to learning from someone who knows what they are doing. 

Having a guitar teacher to teach you the basics

A lot of people think - oh I can teach myself the basics, and then go to a teacher. And while you definitely can. And some do pretty well. You might end up wasting a lot of time. 

One thing a qualified guitar teacher  can do is teach you the basics with a strong foundation. Without a strong foundation, you might find yourself struggling in the future. 

This includes basic chords, scales, music theory, songs, and so on.

This might sound simple, but it's not when there is so much information out there.

The basics are what's going to help you advance on the instrument.

If you don't know these concepts, you can end up spinning your wheels. A good teacher will give you the foundation you need and make sure you don't have any holes in your learning. 

Confidence and Motivation 

The teacher will install confidence in you. There's something about knowing that you have someone looking out for you. For your progress, and what you are learning. That fills you with confidence. 

The teacher will also motivate you to do better. Helping you to stay accountable, if that's what you need.

You will have a set path to follow that helps you with what you need.

And with a good guitar teacher, you will learn at your own pace that's right for you.

The teacher won't give you something that you're not ready for. If you teach yourself. It's easy to pick things that are too hard and get disheartened. I've seen it time and time again.

And you might feel a lack confidence in your own abilities. And if you don't have a path to follow, you can feel lost. Which is demotivating and make you not want to practise. 

No bad habits

It's easy to develop bad habits when you teach yourself.

For example, you may finger chords in the wrong way.

You may play things out of position.

Your guitar teacher will show you the best way to play chords, scales, and other musical concepts.

They will help you avoid bad habits.

This makes you're playing better.

You will learn music in the correct way. If you do develop a bad habit, the teacher can help you work out of it.

Sometimes we get students who have been playing for 20 years who come in. And it does take a good while to train some of the bad habits out, and restart again. 

Songs and repertoire

A great guitar teacher will help you be able to learn songs that you never thought you could.

Whether that's developing the skills required to play them.

Or maybe changing them up so even as a beginner, you can play some of your favourite songs.

By being able to play these songs, you will have more confidence. Not only that, you're going to have a lot of fun.

If your teacher self, you may find it difficult to learn certain songs because you lack the ability to play them.

Learning guitar techniques

Many guitar techniques require a lot of practice and dedication.

A guitar teacher can show you many different guitar techniques. You will learn these in the correct manner.

You will have a wide range of skills in your toolbox and at your arsenal.  

For example, you'll learn rhythm guitar, lead guitar, strumming, finger-picking, and so on.

A lot of these guitar techniques are difficult to learn on your own. And a guitar teacher can teach you from the very beginning. This gives you a solid foundation. And be able to teach you the skills you need to play the music you love. 

Having help with practising guitar

When you take lessons with a teacher, you will have consistency with your learning.

You will have certain things that you will want to practice at home after the lesson.

This helps keep you on track and gives you something to work towards.

If you teach yourself, you may have unproductive practice sessions. Not knowing what to work on and how to move forward.

The teacher will give you something specific that you must learn when you go home. These learning materials build upon the last one. Helping you to constantly keeping building on your previous skills. 

Having other people to play guitar with

One of the best things about a guitar teacher is other people to play guitar with. 

Whether it's just your guitar teacher, or maybe you even get to learn with some other people in the room. 

It means you won't get up as a bedroom guitarist. 

Playing in with and in front of other people will give you more confidence. And as you get better, you can play in front of friends and family.

It's a lot of fun playing guitar with other people. And it's nice to have supportive people to do it with. 

Be around people who love music as much as you do 

Your guitar teacher will be someone that loves music as much as you do.

If you would like more people who love music around you. You'll be able to discuss music and understand it better with a quality teacher.

Your teacher will be the expert that can guide you through the process of learning music and playing guitar. 

Conclusion

While you can teach yourself guitar, you'll get more out of it with a guitar teacher. You won't be learning bad habits. And you will learn all of the basic concepts that you need to know.

You'll be working with a professional that loves music as much as you do. Consider getting a teacher and enjoy playing the journey of learning to play guitar. 

If you live in London and want to find out how we can help you to learn guitar. You can meet our guitar teacher in person to find out how you get on with us first. 

Should I buy an Electric or Acoustic guitar – quick guide

Size shape of acoustic and electric guitar

If you're starting out on your journey to becoming a guitar player, you might not know what guitar you should buy to get started.

This is a quick guide will show you the main differences between an acoustic guitar and an electric guitar. It should help you decide what guitar is the right one for you.

If you would like a comprehensive guide. Head over to our "Ultimate guide to buying a guitar" for everything you need to know to buy your next guitar! 

Choosing an Acoustic Guitar

There are two main types of acoustic guitars. The two types are the steel-string acoustic and the nylon string acoustic. Both of them have pros and cons when it comes to learning to play acoustic guitar. Here is what you need to know about both of them.

Choosing a Nylon String Guitar

If you have never played guitar before, the nylon string is the easiest guitar to play.

This is often called a classical guitar.

You won't get finger pain when you play nylon strings because they are softer.

This type of guitar is often the first choice for younger players. Student nylon string guitars don't cost that much.

choosing classical guitar to buy

If the student decides they want to keep playing, they can move up to a regular steel-string acoustic or an electric guitar.

The downside to the nylon string guitar is that they have a neck that is a little bit wider than a regular steel-string acoustic. This is so the guitar can accommodate the nylon strings. The problem with this is that it's harder to play chords on a nylon string.

This usually isn't much of a concern as most beginners will only be learning a few single notes to start. As the player develops, they may want to switch guitars.

Choosing a steel-string acoustic guitar

The acoustic guitar tends to be the main choice for adults. the reason for this is that it allows them to play a lot of their favourite songs.

choosing acoustic guitar to buy

Plus sides to Acoustic Guitar

You can find acoustic guitars in various price ranges to meet all budgets. Along with different acoustic guitars and body shape and sizes

You don't need any extra equipment like an amplifier, which is required for an electric guitar.

Acoustic guitars are also great options for parties or camping. 

Downsides to Acoustic Guitars

The main downside to the acoustic guitar is the strings. The strings on the acoustic are thicker when compared to a nylon-string or an electric. They are harder on the fingers. This can be a problem for some players has he might not want to practice as much If their fingers are hurting. To reduce this problem, put a light gauge of strings on the acoustic guitar. This will eliminate a lot of finger pain for beginners. 

The other trouble with acoustic guitars is that sometimes they have a large body. Which means a beginner who is constantly looking over to check whether their fingers are in the right place. End up with back ache and poor posture. Electric guitars or a smaller shaped acoustic will help with this. 

Choosing an Electric guitar

If you enjoy rock/metal/punk music, you will probably start playing on an electric guitar. The electric guitar is a lot of fun. 

It allows players to learn their favourite rock songs. They come in a wide range of prices, so they are suitable for most budgets. Almost every teenager is going to want an electric guitar because they seem "cooler". And I don't blame them!

choosing electric guitar to buy

Plugging in an electric guitar with some gain and even playing a simple scale  sounds really awesome. 

Plus side of Electric Guitars for beginners

As mentioned before. Electric guitars have thinner strings and also a thinner body. This means for beginners, it won't hurt their fingers as much. And allow them to practise for longer. 

And reduce neck and back pain from leaning over the guitar to look at the fretboard constantly. 

Also electric guitars are quieter to play unplugged. Useful if you don't want to disturb any neighbours in a London Apartment. 

Downside of Electric Guitars for beginners

The mean downside to the electric guitar is that you have to spend a little more money. The electric guitar plays best with an amplifier.

Most decent amplifiers will cost you about a hundred pounds.

While some guitar kits come with amplifiers, these are usually not that good. If you plan on getting an electric guitar, the amplifier is extra. If that's something you want to wait for, you can get a headphone amp. 

A headphone amp allows you to listen to your guitar "plugged in" through headphones. 

We like this one Vox Headphone Amp. Click for Amazon link. 

Vox headphone amp for electric guitars

And it's useful for London apartments where you want to stay quiet for the neighbours too. But still sound awesome practising. 

Children Sized Guitars

kids guitar lessons guitar tuition east london

Our student Uche with his bright blue Nylon String 3/4 size guitar. 

It’s important to remember that all three of these guitars come in 3/4 sized. This is a smaller version of the full-sized guitars.

These are excellent options for younger students. The smaller bodies are easier for them to hold.

The neck isn’t as wide, and this will accommodate their smaller fingers as they grow.

Best choice for you 

The guitar you buy is going to be up to you. My recommendation as a guitar teacher is that younger beginner guitar players start with the nylon string. The reason for this is that this guitar is easy to play.

A lot of guitar students stop playing because their instrument is too difficult for their fingers.

Younger guitar players don't have the hand strength for acoustic guitars. Adults can get by with either an acoustic guitar or an electric guitar. You will have to make this choice yourself based on the type of music you like. 

Want more help on buying a guitar?

Read our "Ultimate guide to buying a guitar" to help you with the specifics of what to look for when buying a guitar. 

On top of that, find out how to buy a guitar, how much to spend. And find out what to look out for as well. 

And we talk about different accessories you might want to make sure you have too. 

Going to a guitar store

It's a good idea to go to a music store and talk to one of the store clerks. It will show you the various models for all three guitars. The most important thing is that you want one that feels comfortable.

visiting guitar store to buy guitar

Many beginners don't realise how much a guitar can weigh. And it's a good idea to try it out in person.

If you already have some guitar skills, you're going to want a guitar that meets your growing needs.

Want more help in person? Or want to speak to us about learning guitar?

Find out more by contacting us about our guitar lessons in London. We can even help you pick the right guitar for you based on the type of music you like. And the guitar techniques you want to focus on. 

For you if you are feeling awkward or struggling with playing barre chords

beginners learning to play barre chords

Feeling awkward or ending up in pain
when playing barre chords?

Are barre chords holding you back from playing your favourite songs and playing the guitar the way you want to?

A lot of people struggle to play barre chords the way they want.

This can be very frustrating.

For some guitar players, it stops them from progressing further on the guitar. For others, they give up guitar altogether.

It can seem really embarrassing when you have been playing the guitar for a while and still can't comfortably play barre chords, changing between chords, or going from open chord to a barre chord.

It feels awkward, your wrist is hurting and you wonder if you are ever going to get it.

Feeling this way is completely normal, and lots of people who try to teach themselves struggle with barre chords as well.

Having had experience helping hundreds of beginners get over this challenge of learning barre chords so that they can start feeling confident about their guitar playing. Be able to jam with other people.

Being able to play barre chords separates between mediocre guitarists and an actual guitar player.

Being able to play barre chords allows you to be able to jam with other people, get excited about approaching new songs.

You will be able to play 90% of the popular songs out there with ease.

I get that not all of you can come to our guitar lessons in London 

"The Complete Guide to Improving Your Barre Chords" is here to help you so that you can:

-Overcome your current challenges with barre chords
-Learn how to play barre chords and understand the theory behind them so you can feel confident approaching any song
-Understand the right technique and the biomechanics of playing barre chords
-Learn how to prevent injury so that you can play barre chords for hours and still feel great

 

 

 

 

 

80/20 of learning guitar for beginners

goal plan learning guitar

There are certain skills you need to be proficient at the guitar.

And while we have the rest of our life to learn guitar. Sometimes it's good to put our efforts in the places that counts. 

This guide shows you several important skills that will help you to get started on the path of learning guitar. 

Know what you what to do

If I wrote the term "goal setting", you might start thinking about work.

And while it might seem like a dull term to use.

Knowing where you want to go with your instrument is important. Because it will help you to know what to practise. And goal setting for the guitar is a skill that requires learning. 

goal plan learning guitar

You have to be willing to sit yourself down and practice your instrument. Having that drive and passion to practice, working towards what you want to do. Rather than just practising random things.

Practising the right way towards what you want to do is one of the best skills you can have.

If you put in the time, you get rewarded with results.

Sometimes this is tricky to do as a beginner, or even when you've been playing for awhile, and you feel stuck. That's what we are here to help you with as guitar teachers. Find a guitar teacher that is able to help you set some new goals and help you practise in the right direction. 🙂 

Play Basic Chords

As a guitar player, you need to be able to play the basic chords.

These are the chords in the open position. A lot of popular songs use these open chords.

You will be on a good foundation as a guitar player if you can play these in this position. Once you learn these basic position chords, you can move on to other chords. 

And it doesn't matter if they are "easy" chords. Making them sound good is what's going to make you stand out as a guitar player. 

Learning scales

There are different theories on which scales you should learn, major scales, pentatonic scales. Which ones should you do first... And how many positions to play them in... then it's, how do you actually use them? 

And it really depends on the type of music you want to learn, and what you want to do on the guitar. 

Pentatonic scale position 5

If you are into metal, then you will need to learn all 7 modes and positions at some point. 

But if you want to play some general pop music, then probably focusing more on triads and your right hand technique. With some basic knowledge of the major and minor scale will be great for you to start with. 

Sound great strumming

To be great guitar player you have to be able to strum. Even if you want to play lead. You still need to know how to play rhythm. 

When you learn first learn to strum, part of that is keeping time.

You will develop your rhythm guitar playing skills by focusing on your strumming ability.

strumming guitar learning to play guitar

Focus on the up-and-down motion of your strumming. It can be beneficial to use a metronome, or play with other people. And even a backing track. To help you really listen out for the pulse of a song. 

Learning barre chords

Once you have mastered basic open position chords, you should at some point learn barre chords. When you learn on your own, these chords are a steep learning curve, but they open up the guitar in many ways for you.

beginners learning to play barre chords

This will give you command of the entire guitar neck. Having the ability to play open position chords and barre chords means you can play 90% of popular music. 

It also allows you to be able to jam with other people too. 

We've got a guide on playing barre chords coming soon that might help you with this if you are on your own. If you are having guitar lessons, your guitar teacher should help you to build up strength appropriately. With proper stretching exercises and theory that will help you learn barre chords easier. 

Playing some lead guitar

You should have the ability to play at least some lead guitar.

It's a lot of fun learning how to play lead guitar. It's not as difficult as it sounds. Guitar solos don't have to be complex.

In fact, some of the most memorable guitar solos are very short. 

And even if you are playing acoustic guitar, it's surprising how many little melodic phrases are in popular music. So it's useful to know how to make them sound great. 

Learning some music theory 

Having a working knowledge of music theory will help you learn the guitar.

Otherwise what ends up happening is you are just copying and replicating music without understand. And that can hold you back from things like jamming. Or being creative with the music you want to play.  

You need to understand the language of music. Just like learning English. Without this language, you're not going to understand what you are playing. 

We've made a "Understanding music for beginner guitarists" that are designed specifically for guitar players. Which covers a lot of the very basics to help you learn the "alphabets" of music theory. 

Understanding music for beginner guitarists

Repertoire of songs

Most people pick up the guitar because they want to play the songs of their favourite artists.

And other guitar teachers are going to hate me for saying this. But a lot of this, you can actually learn on your own. There are lots of tutorials and tab online for these songs. 

And having a list of songs under your belt means if your friend asks you to play something. You can.

repertoire of songs learning guitar for beginners

Learning songs you like are not only fun, but they also teach you valuable guitar skills.

You're playing will improve each time you learn a new song that challenges you.

You can also use the opportunity to improve your memorisation techniques.

And your guitar teacher should be there to teach you the skills to be able to tackle your favourite songs. And how to be creative with them. More important, make your songs sound good. Rather than just "copying" - which you can do from copying youtube. 

Be willing to experiment 

One thing that will make you a better guitar player is the ability to experiment.

While experimentation isn't a skill, it can help you get out of the box or rut you might be in.

For example, if you play electric guitar, you can try an acoustic guitar.

girl playing ukulele guitar

If you play guitar, try picking up a bass or ukulele. This can help spark your creativity. You may come up with things you never thought of before.

What to do now?

If you are venturing out on your own. I would really consider making sure you are considering each of these skills going forward.

Covering each of these areas will help you improve on the guitar. And become a more rounded musician. 

You might get stuck along the way, and that's okay. If you want to learn quicker and get less frustrated. Consider getting a guitar teacher. 

If you are feeling stuck, and want to find out how to get a free guitar lesson with us in London

Setting up a practise area to play guitar even if you don’t have much room

learning songwriting guitar lesson

Many people pick up a guitar and just start playing anywhere. And leave their guitar lying around at random places around the house. 

But if you want to have somewhere where you can really focus, then it's useful to have a few things set up. 

You see this guide to help get your practice area organised and ready for learning. 

Have everything you need ready 

Before you set up your practicing area and sure you have everything you need.

Such as your guitar picks, guitar strings, music paper, guitar stand, books, and so on. 

You don't want to be fumbling around trying to find things while you're trying to practice.

Make a list of everything that you need. This will save you time as you are practicing.

If you need something for the next practice session, have that ready to go.

Dedicated Room or Area

If you can, try to have a dedicated room for practice. This could be a spare room or office in your home. It's fine to practice in the bedroom, but you can get distracted. The living room has distractions, too. A dedicated room gives you a place where you can go on your own to practice your guitar. And the benefit of being able to try things out without worrying what other people think about your guitar playing. 

If you live in London, this can be a luxury. So I would recommend having a little area where you've set up your guitar things in a corner. Where you can't see your distractions. Whatever those might be for you. 

Or this could be somewhere in an office where you've got space to do so as well. 

Remove obstacles and clutter

You don't want to be bumping into things or climbing over furniture while practicing. This could be difficult in a small apartment, but you need the room to practice. Remove is things away from your practice area to keep it clutter-free.

And I don't know about you but I can really struggle to focus if I'm always thinking about tidying up things around me. So it's best to keep it clear. 

Dedicated guitar chair

When practicing the guitar, you need a chair that does not have armrests. The reason for this is you want your arms to be free while playing. You can buy dedicated guitar stools or chairs for this purpose.

You can get these at most guitar stores. You can also use a regular office chair that doesn't have armrests.

Make sure the seat is comfortable and that it has a good back. Your feet should rest on the ground. Some players like a footstool, so you might want to pick one of those up and try it out.

guitar-footrest practise room set up

Or some huge books can work as well. 

Desk or table 

You may want to have a desk or a table in your practice area. This makes it easy for you to reach for something that you're using for the practice session. if you don't have a desk or a table, a small bookshelf is suitable for your paperwork.

The key point is to keep things organised before you begin practicing.

And the more you play, the more collection of books, papers you might come to collect as well. 

Music Stand

This is where you'll put your paperwork while you were practicing. you can get different music stands, but you want one that has a solid base and enough space for your books. 

Tiger music stand

Some stands are quite flimsy and small, so you want to avoid these. There should be small pieces of metal on a stand that you can flip up to hold your books in place.

We like this one: 

Here the link on Amazon: Tiger Music Stand

Getting away from distractions 

Set up your practice area away from the television, video games, or anything else that is going to distract you.

It's important to concentrate on your music and not anything else.

Turn off your cell phone if you have one while you practice. Let others know in a household that you plan to practice guitar and don't want to be disturbed.

Folders or a filing system

You may want to invest in a filing cabinet or a good folder system. This is a good way to organise your music.

For example, you can have folders for songs, scales, chords, different techniques, and so on. This gives you a central location where you can find all your music. You might get lots of loose papers in the cause of learning guitar. And it's good to have a system to organise them. 

You could use the filing cabinet to store music books as well based upon what they are about.

Motivational Posters

Guitar practicing takes a lot of work. You should motivate yourself by putting some posters on the wall. These can be pictures of your famous players, famous music quotes, and so on. These will give you added motivation when you play. you could also put pictures of scales, chords, and other things you can refer to them.

If you don't have wall space. You could have images on your phone and follow inspirational guitar players online to help inspire you. 

Set up a schedule

You could put this on your wall if you want.

This is where you can write down what's your plan to do during the practice session. You could make a poster out of this, so it's large and easy to read. This gives you an incentive as you practice.

Check off each thing that you practice. This lets you know that you have accomplished something.

Or you could write it down in a notebook when you are planning on practise. It doesn't have to be a lot of time. But every little bit will help you build up a habit. 

Conclusion

By following these tips, you should have a great practice room. this keeps you organised and gives you the space you need to practice your guitar.

If you would like help on what to practise during your time. Whether you are getting a bit lost on what yo do. Or want to avoid practising the wrong things and wasting time. Find out more how we can help with our Guitar School based in Stratford, East London.

How to look after my guitar

changing guitar strings looking after your guitar

Your guitar requires some basic maintenance and care.

If you neglect your guitar, you may develop problems with it. Which would be a shame after buying something.

Here are several steps to help you take care of your guitar. Following them will help your guitar play well and look good for years to come.

If you have bought a guitar yet and would like to, read our "Ultimate guide to buying a guitar" to help you. 

Changing Guitar Strings

Whether you have an electric or an acoustic guitar, you need to change the strings often.

Strings get corroded and this transfers debris onto your fretboard. Your hands also sweat when you play.  This sweat reduces the strings life. If your hands sweat a lot, you’ll need frequent string changes.

You are always leaving tiny skin particles on your strings every time you play it too. Sounds gross - but that's why it's useful to change your strings. 

changing guitar strings looking after your guitar

How often should I change my guitar strings?

If you have the time and money. Then it would be great to change the strings once per month.

The longer you leave them, the more they lose their tone.

You’ll notice this more on acoustic guitars. Electric guitar strings have a longer life.

That's why it's a good idea to get good quality strings. You can find coated guitar strings last longer. And these need changing less frequently.

To preserve string life, wipe them down with a cloth after you play. Wash your hands before you play to reduce grime build up.

Clean the finish on your guitar

Use guitar polish and a polishing cloth to clean the finish.

Don’t use household cleaners.

You can buy these supplies at a guitar store.

Use a few drops of polish on a cloth. Clean the back, sides, and top of the guitar.

Take the strings off before you do that as it’s easier. Polish your guitar about once per month to remove smudges and debris.

wiping guitar down looking after guitar

Cleaning your fretboard

Your fretboard can build up with grime and debris.

Before you put fresh strings on, you should clean in the fretboard.

Take a credit card or another thin piece of plastic. You can gently scrape the grime off of the fretboard. There may also be debris by the frets themselves too.

You need to scrape this away. You should only do this if you noticed debris. Usually you only have to do this once every couple of months. 

If you're not sure how to clean your fretboard, talk to a guitar technician.

Watch the humidity

If you have an acoustic guitar, watch the humidity.

If you live in really humid climate, a dehumidifier might be useful.  This will help maintain the quality of the wood of the guitar.

Keep the guitar out of extremely cold or hot conditions.

hot cold weather for looking after guitar

Don’t leave your instrument overnight in a car in case of extreme weathers.

Leave your guitar away from radiators and AC units in the house. 

Electric guitars don’t need humidifiers. But may be worth getting one, if the guitar is quite expensive.

Using strap locks

Guitars have strap buttons, but straps can fall off of these easily. If you’re standing up, your guitar may fall and suffer serious damage.

Use strap locks that keep the strap secure on your guitar. These don’t cost you a lot and can be a lifesaver for your instrument.

Strap Lock for guitar straps

Especially if you want to look cool and have your guitar around your back or do cool stage moves.

Use a Guitar Stand

When practicing, ensure that you use a guitar stand.

Don’t lay your guitar on the bed or against a couch as it may fall over.

A good guitar stand will help keep your guitar secure. And are a good investment.

Keep your guitar in a case when you leave the house

When you’re not using your guitar, keep it in the guitar case. If it’s lying around, it’s easier to knock to over and damage it. You can also buy guitar hangers to hang it on the wall, so it’s out of the way.

Get a good quality Guitar Case

strong guitar case

Getting a good quality case to hold your guitar is important too. 

There are a number of things to watch out for with a guitar case. For example, are the straps going to last? 

Is the case padded that it will protect your guitar if it gets knocked? 

Does it have a good quality zip that won't break?

When you put your guitar in. Make sure both your zip closures are near the top of your guitar. This is to reduce any weak points at the base where the guitar might fall out. 

(Trust me - I've seen it happen) 

 Getting your intonation checked

You may want to have your guitar's intonation checked. This ensures that the guitar is in tune up and down the fretboard.

This is best done by a qualified guitar technician. You can do it yourself, but it takes time to learn.

You don't have to do this, but it can make a difference in how the guitar sounds. Beginners may not notice the difference in the tuning, but you will once you've played for a while.

Be careful with your belt buckle

If you wear a large belt buckle, this can damage your guitar. If you're standing up and playing, the guitar body can bang into the belt buckle. It's best to avoid wearing large belt buckles when standing as you play. If you do wear them, you have to be careful to ensure you don't get any scratches on your guitar.

Periodic Check-Ups

Take your instrument to a guitar technician once per year. Do this to ensure that everything on the guitar is working as it should be. Your guitar technician can do simple checks on your instrument to rule out problems. Just like an MOT for a car. 

Conclusion

These are some simple ways to look after your guitar. With a good quality guitar, if you take care of it. A guitar can last more than a lifetime. 

elderly man playing guitar

Getting the most out of your guitar

If you would like to improve your guitar playing and you live in London, England. Head over to our homepage to learn more about our guitar lessons.

We can teach you how to look after your guitar. But more importantly, how to have fun and enjoy the learning experience of playing guitar. 

How to get started with “Jamming”

Women playing music together at home

Jamming with friends is a fun and social way of improving your guitar skills and becoming more creative.  

What's Jamming?

No, it's not spreading strawberry jam. 

Strawberry jam in a glass jar.

Jamming is playing with another musician. 

This might involve just two guitars or it could be more.

And it sounds really cool when  you play with other musicians with other types of guitars. Like the electric guitar with an acoustic guitar. 

A bass guitar is a good addition to spice up the pitch range as well.

How to have a good jam session  

Some of the key tips to having a good jamming session is knowing how you can fit in with the other players. (Normally someone is play more of a lead part and the other as the rhythm player).

jamming guitar players

The rhythm player may be more focused on rhythm and good dynamics, while the lead guitarist may be playing around on a different area and range of the guitar's fretboard. The difference in their playing styles is what brings about an interesting jam session. 

Including other instruments in your jam 

Jamming can also be in the form of a band where other musical instruments like the piano and the drums are added.

Women playing music together at home

And when this happens, it's important to know how to communicate with other type of musicians. This is where a lot of guitarists fall short. 

Even if they have been playing for years, they might not understand fully what they are playing. 

And it is also useful to be able to have a basic understanding of other musician's instruments too. 

If you would like to improve your musical understanding, and have lots of opportunities to play with other musicians and even other instruments too. Contact us about our guitar lessons for adults to find out more. 

Ideas to help you progress learning guitar

choosing electric guitar to buy

Making progress for your guitar playing can be quite easy, when you feel inspired, you've got music you want to play, and you know the methods and path you need to keep getting better. 

Learning to play a song in a way that helps you progress

One way you can do this is by asking your tutor to teach you to transcribe the song in a way that will help you improve your playing.  

With the song designed specifically for you by your guitar teacher.

You can progress to learning new chords, strumming or picking technique that goes well with the song and starts practicing these new skills.  

You can also use this as a learning opportunity to help you train your ear to identify rhythm and melody in the songs as well. 

The better your ear becomes, by practising different variations of your songs, the more you will be able to be learn songs faster in the future. 

Constantly be challenging yourself

Challenging yourself is another way of progressing in guitar.

Repetition is good when you want something to stick. But giving yourself challenges and getting out of your comfort zone is going to help you get better at the guitar. 

Use your understanding to help you progress

Some ways you can challenge yourself is by using what you have learned in music theory to come up with your own melodies and chord progression.

Play those new chords with basic strumming patterns and use other methods like fingerpicking, bending, tapping and others to make it more interesting and challenging.

You can also challenge yourself by learning to play a harder song instead of sticking to simple songs.

Improving your confidence on guitar

A lot of people think progressing means similar improving technique. But guitar is multi-faceted animal. 

Improving your performance and confidence on guitar is one form of progress. 

How to do this?

One way you can progress confidence is by performing in front of an audience.

This builds up your confidence in contrast to keeping what you have learned to yourself.

Musicians feed off the energy of their fans and that's why they work hard to become better at what they do.

You don't have to start big, you can simply start by performing in front of your tutor, then advancing to friends and family and then later you can try out a bigger audience like a church.

Doing this helps you find which areas you have not perfected and allows you to polish up on those areas.

More opportunities to progress on guitar

If you would like more opportunities to jam and play in front of supportive people, then get in contact with us. We have lots of extra-curricular activities for our students to help them develop into well rounded musicians. 

Find out more by contacting us about our London guitar lessons, where lots of beginners and even more advanced performers come to us for more guidance on how to progress on the guitar. 

Basics Music Theory for Guitar

ipad goodnotes guitar tab

Before diving into playing the guitar, it is essential to understand the music theory for guitars.

Understanding music theory for guitar

Music theory is like a language for music.

Similar to a language where letters form words and words form sentences, music theory adopts the same principle.

This article will cover the very basics, but for a more thorough run through of beginners guide to music theory. 

Check out this article: 

Okay, let's get back to a few of the basics that we will cover including: 

The musical alphabet

  • Creating a scale on guitar
  • Circle of Fourths
  • Circle of Fifths
  • Triads in music
  • Chords in scales

The musical "alphabet"

A great place to start is the music alphabet which is composed of twelve letters.

The base letters or natural notes are seven and they include; A, B, C, D, E, F, and G. Then we have five other notes that are known as sharps and flats. Sharps represent a higher form of the natural note while flat represents a lower form of the natural note.

A

A#

B

C

C#

D

D#

E

F

F#

G

G#

Bb

Db

Eb

Gb

Ab

These notes are also the basic guitar chords.

The distance between notes

It is also important to define the distance between notes. 

There are two forms of steps, the half step which is the smallest distance between notes.

e.g. from B to C and the whole step which is two half steps apart e.g. from C to D. 

What does this mean on guitar?

Interpreting this to guitar language, every single fret on a guitar is a half-step, so if you play the sixth string of the guitar, at standard tune its E when open.

Pressing on the first fret makes it an F and this is half step movement form E, moving on to the second fret raises the pitch by another half a step making it an F sharp and so on.

Creating a scale on guitar

Having understood the music notes, we can select several notes in an orderly manner and come up with what is known as the major scale, which is a set of notes that are commonly used in music.

The major scale is set up in such a way that if you start with a particular note, you will end up on the same note.

The formula for this is given by WWHWWWH where W represents the whole step and H represents half step.

A clear example will be starting from G going through A B C D E F# about the formula then back to G again.

 The standard major scale only accommodates seven notes at a go.

The circles of fourths

Another thing to take note of is the circles of the fourths.

It's known as the circle of forth because the guitar is tuned in fourths.

The circle of forth is a simple tool that organises all scales in a neat graph that can be easily interpreted.

The circular graph starts with a C note at the 12 O'clock position and moves anticlockwise.

With this movement to figure out the next position on the circle, we move to the fourth note of our C scale which was F.

The next note would be the 4th note in the F scale, which is Bb.  

You keep going with this pattern, and it creates a circle is arranged in such a way as you move down you generate more flat notes, making the next letters be Bb, Eb, Ab, Db, and Gb. 

When you come up with the other side of the circle you encounter natural notes B, E, A, D, and G.

Circle of fourths music theory

In scales, flats and sharps do not exist in the same scale. 

So when looking at this circle, remember that: 

The Db is the same as C#, the F# is Gb and the natural B is same as Cb. 

These notes are identical and sound the same when played on a guitar.

That's why writing out the circle of fourths, you end up just with flats instead of a mixture of sharps and flats.  

When you take the circle of fourths and move in anti-clockwise direction it becomes the circle of fifths where you will encounter sharps instead of flats.

Circle of Fifths

With the circle of fifths, the next note is of the C scale will be the fifth note which is G. And if you keep going, we will end up writing up writing some sharp notes instead of all flats. 

Music theory seems confusing?

These show how music theory can be an abstract language to learn but the more you understand it, and is able to apply it, the easier it is to understanding playing guitar and music. 

In our acoustic and electric guitar lessons, we would be able to apply these concepts into music. So you aren't just trying to understand these concepts, but actually know what this means for you. 

Understanding basic triads

The other important subject to learn in music theory basics for guitars is basic triads.

 The word triad is another name for a three-note basic code.

So basically it's just taking the major notes and cramming them together in different combinations to get a different type of chords.

The three basic triads found in the major scale include; the major chord, the minor chord, and the diminished chord.

Creating an emotional effect on your listener

These chords have different emotional effects on a listener, for example, major chords in a song create a happy or triumphant scene, and the minor chords create a sad and somber scene and diminished chords which are used to create tension. 

In our guitar lessons, we can help you understand more about how to use triads all over your guitar, in playing, and songwriting to create more expressive music. 

Chords in your scale

Finally, another important subject to take note of in music theory basics for guitar is the chord scale. Chord scale basically allows you to take a scale in a particular key and figure out what chords you can play on that scale and will sound good together.

The process is simple, we start by building a triad which is a group of notes, we then compare these group of notes to get to their own major scales, and by comparing it to its key, we determine what type of chord it is whether major chord, minor chord or diminished chord.

Building a chord scale helps a guitar player discover which set of chords sound good together and makes it easy for a guitarist to come up with interesting music.

To see a better illustration of this, go to our beginners music theory guide. We even have downloadable content so you can have references sheets that help you learn to use these in your own guitar learning as a beginner: 

Practising the guitar for beginners

electric guitar beginner player

Beginners in guitar playing may be overwhelmed by the many things available to practice.

This is because guitar playing cuts across many music genres. Such as country, jazz, rock, a soul among others.

To avoid this confusion in your guitar practice sessions. It's best to break down these sessions to small manageable tasks that can be accomplished.

How to get started

As a beginner, you don't have to start with composing songs. You can start by copying songs that you enjoy listening to. And then start your practice session by reminding yourself of the basics. This might include the chords and strumming patterns in the song. 

Practicing a song you love makes it easy and quick to learn guitar.  And once you get to play the song in full. It really brings a sense of satisfaction motivation that helps you carry on.

Don't only practise guitar by copying songs 

Besides just learning songs for motivation. It's important to consider the make up of the song too. 

When thinking about guitar chords in the songs. We should always keep in mind that the quality of sounds the guitar produces. This might depend on how hard you are pressing the string down. Or where on the fret you are placing your fingers. And how you are transitioning in and out of your chords.

Practising your strumming dynamics

The pressure required on the strings can vary depending on whether you are playing an acoustic and electric guitar. 

For electric guitars, you don't need to press the strings as hard as on acoustic guitars. 

This is because the strings of the electric guitar are thinner. And often the strings are closer to the fretboard depending on the set up of your guitar.  

On acoustic guitar, it might hurt to hold the chords down in the beginning. This is only while you build up callouses on the tips of your fingers. And this is completely normal.  

Practising finding notes on your guitar

In addition to learning how to hold chords correctly. We need to practice identifying guitar notes on the fretboard. 

Joe Satriani is a famous guitarist. He once wrote in a magazine for practicing musician in the 1980's a simple concept. 

To play like this, you've got to know the notes on your guitar

His exercise was picking a note and trying to find every single one on the fretboard.

This method can also be used for triad chords as well. Trying to find each type of triad chords all over the guitar. 

Developing muscle memory for your guitar playing

Another good practice technique involves the development of muscle memory. 

Guitar playing requires very specific muscle memory. Especially for your right hand. 

To improve you can challenge yourself with different picking techniques.

You can start simply by picking the strings in a systematic pattern from top string to bottom string. Keeping it simple and in a way where you can hear each string individually.

Later you can vary this picking pattern and jump some strings. When you are good enough you can move on to playing the individual strings randomly. 

You can even do this with your eyes shut!

As you do this through each level, you will start improving your speed. And you will get to the point where your right hand will get used to picking different strings without looking down at your strings all the time.  Which makes you look a lot more confident. 

Listening to the pulse of the music

Music is all about the pulse. 

When you practice, you should train your ear to listen to the pulse. And make sure you are keeping to the groove of the song.

One of the ways you can do this is by using a metronome.

This is a device used by musicians and guitarists to mark time at a selected rate by giving a regular tick.

The metronome can be set faster or slower as well depending on the exercise.

For beginners, a slower pulse is used to give time for our brains to figure things out. 

Whether they are practising chord progressions; strumming or plucking style. After some practise, they can slowly increase the speed. Until they are able to play the song at its actual speed.

Using a backing track is a nice way to add more flavour than a plain metronome. 

Here's a backing track in C that can help you keep time. And also make you feel like you are playing music while practising chord changes.

Getting more help on practising and learning guitar as a beginner

If you need help with how to practise effectively. Or you want to progress quicker learning the guitar. Then get in touch with us and schedule in a free introductory guitar lesson for beginners in London

Guitar techniques…where do I start?

elderly man playing guitar

There are numerous ways one can play the guitar. As a beginner guitar player, the most common and easy technique for you would be strumming. 

This is where you hold your chord and strike all the strings, and you can do different ups and downs depending on the song. 

And vary this with how loud or quiet each strum.  

Going beyond that though, there is a whole world of guitar techniques we can work on.

Other guitar techniques include:

  • Fingerpicking 
  • Hammer-on
  • Hybrid Picking
  • Vibrato
  • Pull-offs
  • Legato
  • Bending
  • Thumb muting
  • Tapping
  • Harmonics
  • Scratching
  • Muting
  • Slapping 
  • Slides
  • Palm muting 
  • Percussion

And many more...

Does this list seem overwhelming? 

Where to start?

Maybe if you've been playing for awhile, you've already given most of these a good go. 

But there's a difference between knowing how to do them, and being able to pick them out of your tool box at any time. 

For beginners, this might be the first time you are seeing some of these names.

What we would recommend for beginners guitar players

How are you getting on with your strumming? I would make sure that you are doing okay with your strumming and keeping with the pulse of the music. 

Then I would have a look at the type of music you like and want to play on guitar. Maybe it's more acoustic fingerpicking, or maybe it's more rock and punk. 

The techniques that will be more relevant to you will stand out and I would start by practising those techniques on its own. This way, instead of copying just the song, you will be able to use that skill in other new songs that you like. 

What we would recommend for intermediate guitar players

I would write a list...

Write down all the techniques that you already know. Go through them, and see which ones you are really comfortable with and which guitar techniques you are less sure about. 

And then every time you across something new, add it to the list for you to practise in isolation. 

Soon you will have an array of guitar technique and tools at your disposal. 

You might find there are even sub-categories of certain techniques .

Eg. muting. 

You can use different fingers on your right and left hand to help you mute. 

So it's important to find out what works for you and the type of music you want to play. 

Do I need to learn all of these guitar techniques?

If you only want to play a certain type of music then now. But there are definitely several genres of music that require a high level of competency to be able to play. 

So I would assess what it is that you need and focus on those first. Going through your list and make sure you stay rounded with your practising. 

What if I'm worried about developing bad habits or not playing them right? 

That's a common reason why people will find a guitar teacher to help correct them and give them feedback. If you live in London and would like someone to guide you in the right direction. Learning the right guitar techniques for you to play music you like. Or making sure you aren't developing long term bad habits. 

Or even just making sure you are definitely learning what you need and haven't got any missing holes in your playing. Then get in touch with us below to find out more about our guitar lessons and how we can help you. 

Common Guitar Tunings

keith richards rolling stones

Standard guitar tuning exists, so that we can transition easily between simple of chords. On top of that, be able to play scales with ease and minimising the hand movement. 

A standard guitar has six strings named E, A, D, G, B, E from top to bottom.

The main ways to tune a guitar  

Some people are able to tune their guitar by ear. This does take some ear training and practise to be able to do this.  So don't worry if you are just starting out and can't do this. 

You can use an electric guitar tuner, or download a guitar tuning application for your phone if you are a beginner.

It's useful to use an electric guitar tuner that clips onto your guitar. Because  the tuner uses the vibration of the guitar to detect the tuning. Meaning that you will get a more accurate reading. Even if you are surrounded in a busy environment. 

Getting more creative with your guitar tunings

If you want to get extra creative, it is useful to know options of alternative guitar tuning.

Black Key Tuning

Some of the popular alternative tunings out there include the black key tuning. This was made popular by Curtis Mayfield a famous guitar player in the 1960s.

Mayfield was so good that he inspired famous musicians like Jimi Hendrix and Funkadelics.

The black key is the black keys on a piano translated to a guitar. It starts with F#, A#, C#, F#, A# and finally F#. This tuning fits with R&B songs.

Open G Tuning

The next tuning is open G. And was made popular by Keith Richards of the Rolling Stones.

keith richards rolling stones

The open G is a five-string guitar tuning. However, it will be tricky to tune your low E string to a G. So what makes sense is that we tune the top and bottom E string to a D. Tune the rest like a banjo: D, G, D, G, B, and D. 

Open D Tuning

Another tuning is the open D and its spelled D, A, D, F#, A, and D. And is used a lot by fingerpicking guitar players on the acoustic guitar. 

This tuning has been used by famous artists players like Joni Mitchell and Eric Johnson.

Violin style tuning

The next tuning is the new tuning created by Robert Fripp of King Crimson. The tuning spells C, D, G, A, E, and G.

This tuning has the potential to break your guitar strings. But when done correctly can produce music like another instrument like a violin.

The tuning has a wide range of harmonic possibilities.

Nick Drake Tuning

The Nick Drake tuning is more complementary to acoustic guitar. It is a very good tuning for a chord progression type of strumming.

And the tuning is: C, G, C, F, C and E.

Nick Drake guitar tunings

Try out different tunings and see how you get on. We've got another article about this. Written by a friend of ours with more about opening guitar tunings and DADGAD if you are interested: 

If you would like to get more creative with your guitar playing then get in contact with us about guitar lessons in London

We can help you understand the guitar and the fretboard, so that you can create your own music and songs.