Category Archives: East London Guitar Lessons

The Birth of the Gibson Les Paul

You Can Learn Guitar at Any Age

You may have heard of the Les Paul. It's a type of electric guitar made by Gibson and named after a man -- Les Paul.


Les Paul (Lester William Polsfuss) was born in 1915, in Waukesha, Wisconsin. He was a prolific musician and an inventor. 


As a youngster, he did gigs at a drive-in restaurant, playing his hollow guitar and harmonica. One time he made an improvised amplifier by connecting the mouthpiece of his mother's telephone to her radio, and brought it to the drive-in. Then one of the audience from the back rows sent him a note telling him, "Your voice and harmonica are fine, but your guitar's not loud enough." This drove Les Paul to modify his invention. 


This marked the birth of the Les Paul electric guitar. 


But the first Les Paul electric guitar was far from whatever Gibson Les Paul you have held and played. The first Les Paul electric guitar was a regular hollow body guitar with a phonograph needle stuck to the wooden bridge, with the phonograph arm taped in place on the guitar body. The phonograph needle was wired to Les Paul's father's radio.

This did amplify the sound of the guitar -- the entire guitar.


Les Paul was quite unhappy with it because what he wanted to hear was not the sound of the whole guitar, but just the strings' vibrations. He needed to eliminate the vibrations of the sound box. 


He attempted to muffle the sound by filling the guitar's sound box with rags and socks, and an entire tablecloth. But this failed. Then he tried filling the sound box with plaster of Paris, a more solid filler made of clay-like material. This, however, took the life out of the poor guitar and broke it. 


Les Paul needed a guitar body that was solid. 


One day, he and a friend took a length of discarded rail about two feet, from the railroad tracks across the street from where he lived. He stretched a guitar string along the length of the rail and fixed it on both ends. To pick up the sound, he used the microphone (mouthpiece) from his mother's telephone.


Les Paul could now hear only the sound of the guitar string amplified by the telephone microphone. And the sound was sustained and went on and on. This was very encouraging.


But his mother pointed out to him that a railroad track would be too heavy for a guitar.


Back to the drawing boards...


Sometime in 1941, Les Paul went to the Epiphone factory, where he had friends. They allowed him to work on his invention when the factory was closed. He found a square piece of pine, fixed strings to it, pick-ups, a bridge, a Vibrola tailpiece, and attached the neck of an Epiphone guitar to this block of pine. 


Les Paul called his creation "the Log". And he was very happy with the sound it produced.


He later redesigned the shape of the Log's square body and gave it "wings" that looked similar to an Epiphone electric guitar.  When he played this remodelled Log at a nightclub, the people couldn't stop talking about it and the sound it produced. 


Les Paul would take this Log prototype to Epiphone and to Gibson, but the executives there thought the idea of a solid body electric guitar preposterous at the time. It will take ten years until Gibson decides to work with Les Paul to manufacture the first Gibson Les Paul Standard in 1952.


It was the Log, however, that gave birth to the Gibson Les Paul -- the first solid, single cutaway body electric guitar.

Two Legendary Les Pauls

You've probably heard about the Les Paul. 


The Les Paul is one of Gibson's popular trademark electric guitars. Eric Clapton's Les Paul was a 1959 Cherry Sunburst with a thin neck, twin black humbuckers on the bridge, and twin white humbuckers on the body. It's the axe (slang for electric guitar) he used when he recorded the album Blues Breakers with Eric Clapton, with John Mayall and the Blues Breakers, in 1966. 


Eric Clapton's Les Paul was nicknamed "Beano" because Clapton was reading a Beano children's comic on the cover of the Blues Breakers with Eric Clapton album they produced. This was the legendary Les Paul that Eric "Clapton is God" Clapton used -- the Beano. 


The Beano was stolen sometime in March 1966, after a Cream rehearsal, making it more legendary. Clapton later replaced the Beano with another Les Paul.


Rewind. There were only around six to seven Les Pauls in London around that time. One of them belonged to Andy Summers (he will join The Police a decade later). It was Andy Summer's Les Paul Standard Burst that first led Eric Clapton to buy one (the Beano).


Andy Summers was playing gigs with Eric Clapton at The Flamingo Club in Soho, London. This was between April to July, 1965. At the time, Summers had just bought a 1959 Les Paul Cherry Sunburst. When Clapton saw Summers' new Les Paul he immediately became interested and asked Summers where he got it.


Summers pointed Clapton to the store on Charing Cross Road in London, and told him they have another one on sale for eighty quid. Eric Clapton bought the 1959 Cherry Sunburst Les Paul from the Lew Davis' guitar shop on Charing Cross Road. 


In the meantime, with the Beano gone, Clapton borrowed Keith Richard's (Rolling Stones) Les Paul for Cream's debut gig at the Windsor Jazz & Blues Festival in July 1966. 


But he still needed his own guitar and was thinking of buying a Rickenbacker as a replacement.


But knowing that Andy Summers owns a Les Paul similar to the one he lost, Clapton started calling Summers asking him to sell his Les Paul to him. After some negotiating -- Summers was telling Clapton that the back pick-up on his Les Paul wasn't working -- Andy Summers sold his Standard Burst Les Paul to Eric Clapton. Clapton offered Summers something like two hundred pounds, more than twice its original price, for the Les Paul. 


Eric Clapton thought Summers' Les Paul was great, and played just like his old (stolen) one.


The Les Paul Standard Burst that Eric Clapton borrowed from Keith Richards is probably the most legendary Les Paul -- the granddaddy of all Les Paul Bursts. 


Keith Richards bought the 1959 Les Paul Standard at a popular second-hand guitar shop, the Selmer's Guitar Shop in London. The axe was originally owned by John Bowen, lead guitar of the band, Mike Dean and the Kinsmen. 


John Bowen had a Bigsby tremolo fitted on his Les Paul, and then some time later (1962) traded his Gibson Les Paul for a Gretsch Country Gentleman, at Semper's. When Keith Richards bought the Les Paul at Semper's sometime later, it included the Bigsby tremolo that they had installed for John Bowen.


The Les Paul Burst with the Bigsby tremolo was Keith Richards go to guitar, his main guitar of choice. He recorded many of the Rolling Stones hits with this Les Paul, including the chart buster, Satisfaction. This legendary Les Paul, nicknamed "Keith Burst", is what Keith Richards is seen holding in many Rolling Stones photos from the 1960's era. 

Where Is Eric Clapton’s Les Paul?

electric guitar

Have you heard the story about Eric Clapton's guitar being stolen? It was a 1959 - 60 Gibson Les Paul Cherry Sunburst. This Les Paul was one of the first guitars Eric Clapton owned.


It happened in late 1966 in the studio that their band, Cream, was rehearsing in. At the time, Eric Clapton had just formed Cream, with Ginger Baker and Jack Bruce, and were rehearsing secretly wherever they found fit. Because, at the time, each of them were still tied up with their respective bands, and so they had to do rehearsals secretly.


Apparently, Clapton left his guitar just laying around after band rehearsals, and some creep helped himself to Clapton's Les Paul, walked out and his Les Paul was gone... for good!

Eric Clapton loved that guitar. He remembers it well, long after it was gone. And he "never really found one as good as that".

The stolen Les Paul was nicknamed, Beano. It was the guitar Clapton used in his collaboration work with the Blues Breakers, in the album entitled Blues Breakers with Eric Clapton. The Les Paul was nicknamed Beano because Clapton was shown reading a Beano children's comics magazine in the album cover. Later on, fans and all would refer to Clapton's Les Paul as the "Beano Burst".


In the album Blues Breakers with Eric Clapton, Eric Clapton displays his prowess and versatility in playing blues on lead guitar. He was only 21 when they recorded the album in March 1966.


One cut from the album, a song entitled Have You Heard, shows what fireworks Eric Clapton can sizzle up on his Les Paul. Clapton "burns and bedazzles like a futuristic amalgam"of various influences in the Blues Breakers album, according to Guitar World magazine. He played his Les Paul through a distorted Marshall amp, creating his signature sound.


As if stealing Eric Clapton's Les Paul wasn't enough, it seems that the creep who stole the Beano Burst came back for more. A week later, at Klook's Kleek, the case of Clapton's stolen Les Paul Beano was also stolen.


Clapton was quoted by Record Mirror in 1966 as saying, "Whoever took the guitar must have come back for the case."  

The Beano Burst actually had distinguishing marks. It had a badly scratched back and had plenty of cigarette burns on the top (probably from putting out lit cigarettes, like you do on an ashtray). According to Eric Clapton himself, the guitar's thick leather strap had the names of Buddy Guy, Otis Rush, and Big Maceo carved underneath. These were Clapton's influences in playing the blues.


Where is Eric Clapton's Beano Burst Les Paul now???

Somewhere in the East Coast, USA. That is according to guitarist/collector Joe Bonamassa.

In a 2016 interview with Guitaristmagazine on the possible whereabouts of Clapton's stolen Les Paul, Joe Bonamassa said, "it's in a collection on the East Coast of America. That's all I can tell you, and that's all I will say."


Joe Bonamassa hasn't actually seen the recovered Beano Burst. He just has it "on good authority"that "it still exists"as he claims in the Guitarmagazine interview. Was he saying this to negotiate a price for its return? How much do you think Eric Clapton's Beano Burst would fetch today?!


Eric Clapton's Beano Burst Les Paul is considered the holy grail of blues guitars. It was the Beano that prompted Londoners to proclaim "Clapton is God" spray painted on the walls of London. And, indeed, Clapton is blues guitar deity.

"I do miss that one,"Eric Clapton said about his stolen Beano.


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.

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.

Ultimate Guide To Buying Your Guitar in 2020

Buying first guitar at guitar stores

Ultimate Guide To Buying Your Guitar in 2020 for beginners

beginner guitar player buying first guitar guitar store

This guide is NOT some article full of complicated jargon about buying a guitar that only a guitar sales person would understand. 

We created this guide for you from years of experience helping hundreds of our own beginner guitar students to buy their first or next guitar.  

This is for you if you are looking for ONE PLACE to find all your answers for you for buying a guitar as an adult. Then this is it. 


Chapter 1 

What type of guitar?
Acoustic or Electric Guitar?

Types of guitars to buy

There are two main kinds of guitars, electric and acoustic. If you're really into guitars, you will probably end up with both an acoustic and electric guitar in the future. 

In the meanwhile, this maybe your first guitar baby so let's look at which guitar type is right for you.

To find out, you need to ask yourself the question:

What sort of music do I want to play? 

acoustic guitar for beginners

If your dream is to play pretty, folky, classical, fingerpicking style music. Then an acoustic guitar is probably the right one for you. 

buying electric guitar for beginners

And if your dream is to play any type of rock, blues, punk, metal music. Then an electric guitar is probably the right one for you. 

“But… my friend told me that acoustic guitars are for beginners and electric guitars are more advanced?"

The above statement is a common misconception among guitar players. 

Learning electric or acoustic has nothing to do with being beginner or advanced, It's all about what music you want to play, and what you like the sound of. 

 

Even if you do still want to consider playing an acoustic guitar, I would recommend you get an electric guitar FIRST.

Why? 

Electric guitars are easier to play in the beginning and will help you to sound good sooner. 

But why is that?

Benefits of Electric Guitars Vs Acoustic Guitars for beginners

• Smaller body – easier to lean over and see – less croaky neck pain

• Thinner strings – easier to build up strength in fingers to play and strum

electric guitar vs acoustic guitar for beginners guitar players

This will help to make the learning process much easier for you. 

From our experience and research, if you play guitar past the first SIX MONTHS, you are way more likely to play for rest of your life vs giving it up altogether. 


listening to guitar music

Listen to the sound of acoustic guitars vs electric and see which you prefer and would inspire you play for your upcoming year.

Click here to skip ahead if you know you want your first guitar to be an electric guitar.

Acoustic Guitar - I Choose You

There are two kinds of acoustic guitars, 'classical' and 'steel string'. The biggest difference is the sound of the guitar produces. 

Classical nylon acoustic guitar

If you like the classical/flamenco guitar sound, which is more soft and mellow, then pick a classical guitar.

Steel string Acoustic guitar

If you like listening to country, rock, pop styles of music, pick a steel string acoustic guitar. These sound much brighter.

Classical guitars are slightly easier to play because they have nylon strings which are easier to push down. 

Steel string guitars take a little bit longer to get used to because all 6 strings made of steel. 

Sometimes people think "If nylon strings are easier to press down, should I just put nylon strings on my guitar, then change over to steel strings in the future?" 

While it's a great idea, unfortunately the answer is no. Each type of guitar is built differently, you need different guitars set up for each type of string.

Listen to both Acoustic Guitar options and see which one you like the sound of. Steel string acoustic is the more popular choice and more contemporary for modern music. 

Electric Guitar - I Choose You

Unlike acoustic guitars, the world of electric guitar is much larger! There are many different shapes, colours, styles. 

The big difference between the two is with acoustic guitars, once you've got it, it's very, very hard to change the sound of it if you're unhappy. 

With electric guitar, the opposite is true, they're much easier to customise and so getting one you like the look of is an important factor.

Blue electric stratocaster electric guitar

 (To make noise with your electric guitar, you will need to get some accessories with it too but let’s get the guitar first, then accessories in Chapter 7.)

I promise to keep it simple, so let’s go to the next chapter to see what the main things to look for when buying your new guitar!

Chapter 2 

Shapes and Sizes of Guitars

Size shape of acoustic and electric guitar

You want to like to look of your new guitar, and it also has to be the right fit for you. 

Let’s see what things you might want to consider when you're researching for your electric or acoustic guitar. 

Buying guitars online

Team Acoustic

Size and Shapes of Acoustic Guitars

For you, as an adult, there are two general sizes - “full size” or a smaller “travel” size. 

However, even with full size guitars, there are a bunch of different sizes. They are also named all different fancy names

Most popular size is anywhere from the Grand Auditorium to Dreadnaught. Though the “baby” acoustics are now getting more popular due to Ed Sheeran and other indie artists. 

Depending on which one you pick, the shape of the guitar also varies as well. Several acoustic guitars have cut outs such as the grand auditorium which makes them easier to reach higher up the fretboard.

Common sizes of Steel-String Acoustic Guitars

Baby parlour acoustic guitar

Baby/Palour

yellow orchastra acoustic guitar

Orchestra

purple Grand Auditorium acoustic guitar

Grand

Auditorium

torquiose Dreadnaught acoustic guitar

Dreadnaught

Blue Jumbo Acoustic Guitar

Jumbo/

Super jumbo

To find which size is right for you, go to a local guitar shop with a couple of different sizes in mind, try them out, and make sure it’s physically comfortable for you to play.


If you are after a classical guitar, then all classical guitars have the same general shape. They do come in different sizes, and for an adult, you would go for a full-size classical guitar (avoid 1/2 and 3/4 size as these are for kids)

playing guitar with dog

These are the general types of acoustic guitars, and of course there are a lot more out there beyond just size. But for your first guitar, let’s keep it simple. 

Team Electric

Size and Shapes of Electric Guitars

Generally, electric guitars all the same basic “size”. 

The two main styles of electric guitars are "Solid Body" and "Hollow Body". Hollow bodies tend to be slightly larger in size.

yellow electric guitar
brown hollow body electric guitar

At this point you may be thinking:

 "What's a solid body guitar?"

Solid body guitars are made from one big piece of wood.

or

"What’s a hollow body electric guitar?" 

Hollow body guitars are where the inside of the guitar has been hollowed out. 

An electric guitar typically has a solid body, however, a small selection of electric guitars have a “hollow body” or “semi hollow body”. 

The reason you may want a hollow body electric guitar would be if you like the sound it creates, and the type of music you want to play. They are very popular for blues, country and jazz music.

Some electric guitars have more frets and therefore the neck of the guitar is a little bit longer. 

For electric guitars, it’s the style that is the larger variable compared with size of guitar. 

Since the world of electric guitars is so large, we have kept it very brief, mentioning the general styles so that you can pick a style you like based on your favourite type of music, and what you like the aesthetics of and would be excited to play the most.

Common sizes of Steel-String Electric Guitars

Main Genre of Music

Popular Style Brands of Guitar Make

1 straight stratocaster rock and roll fender electric guitar

Stratocaster

Rock & Roll

Fender

2. telecaster country fender electric guitar

Telecaster

Country

Fender

3. super strat metal jazz fender electric guitar

Super Strat

Metal & Jazz

Fender

4. offset grunge jaguar mustang jazzmaster electric guitar

Offset

Grunge, Alt.

Jaguar

Mustang

Jazzmaster

5. les paul rock and roll gibson

Les Paul

Rock & Roll

Gibson

6. SG rock metal Gibson electric guitar

SG

Rock, Metal

Gibson

7. flyering V heavy rock metal gibson electric guitar

Flyer V

Heavy Rock, Metal

Gibson

8. explorer heavy rock metal gibson guitar

Explorer

Heavy Rock, Metal

Gibson

9. firebird modern rock gibson electric guitar

Firebird

Modern Rock

Gibson

10. semi hollow jazz gibson electric guitar

Semi Hollow/Hollow Body

Jazz

Gibson, Gretsch

Another contributing factor besides the shape and material of the guitar is the pick-ups of the guitar. 

These determine largely how the guitar sounds. When you try them out in the store, you can compare which you like the sound of more of a particular guitar or a range of styles. 

How to pick out of so many for your first guitar?

The easiest way is to choose one that you like the look of the most for your favourite genre of music. 

You may even have a favourite guitar player and want something similar to what he or she plays.

electric guitar beginner player

As a beginner guitar player, your ear will still be developing and your ability to tell and appreciate the sound and tone of different guitars will come later on in your guitar journey. And there are so many other factors such as strings, amps, speakers, pedals that determine the sound of your guitar.

Soon, you will be starting a whole collection of guitars along with accessories. For now, let’s get you excited about your first guitar! 

Chapter 3 

How Much To Spend On Your New Guitar?

How to much on new first beginner guitar

When it comes to getting your first guitar, an important factor isn’t so much about how much you want to spend, but what you can expect to get for the amount of money you spend on a new guitar.

And based on that, how much would you like to spend. 

Things to consider:

Style of Guitar

Build Quality

Company Reputation

What else do I need to get started with Playing Guitar?


As a rough guideline for buying a new guitar as a beginner:

If you are buying a brand-new guitar as a beginner, stay away anything below around £100. 

Why? 

At below this price point, the build quality is more inconsistent due to both low labour and material cost. 

What this means to you is that your guitar is more likely to go out of tune very frequently. It might be harder to play due to the strings being further away from the fretboard, and even break sooner due to the lower build quality (to name a few problems).

Investing a little more in the beginning means you can get a guitar that lasts a lot longer, be easier to play, and even if you want to upgrade in the future, you can sell it in the future. 

What if you can afford to spend more? 

If you can afford to spend more, anything up to £500 will get you a great starter guitar. Companies such as Yamaha, Squire and Epiphone have some great guitars in this price range. 

Some people will spend up to £1000 for a specific brand and style. Anything over that amount, you need probably be an experienced guitarist before truly appreciating the quality of the instrument. 

How much to spend on your first guitar? 

Between £200-500 is good unless you have a really particular style/brand you are going for that costs more.

Or you can go for less if you've had someone a lot more experienced test it out for you.

Tip: Remember to budget in accessories and guitar lessons too for after you get your guitar. 

Chapter 4 

Where To Buy Your New Guitar?

Buying first guitar at guitar stores

Once you’ve decided on the type of guitar, general style/look of your guitar and how much you want to spend. 

Next is to decide where you are going to buy your guitar. 

where to buy guitar online or store

Second Hand Guitar

Should I buy a second hand guitar for my first guitar?

Some of you might want to hunt for a diamond in the rough in the second-hand range. 

If you buy second hand, you definitely need a friend who knows what to look for. As a beginner, it's very hard to know what you're looking for, and it's not worth the massive gamble of getting a guitar that will hold you back. 

second hand guitar throwing dice

It's a bit like buying a second hand car, you could get something that's great and lasts you for years, or you could end up with something where you have to repair over, and over, and over again.

Going Online for my First Guitar

Should I buy a guitar online for my first guitar?

If you are after a new guitar, going online first is a good way to check out what’s out there. You might have already started doing this to find the look and style of guitar you are going for. 

There are some great beginner guitars that can be ordered straight from the internet.
going online to buy first guitar.

A great guitar teacher will be able to tell you which brands and particular guitars are reliable to buy straight off the net. They may even have some demos at their place that you can try out first. 

Tip: When ordering online, make sure it’s from a reputable guitar company (We like PMT online and Andertons) with a good return policy if the guitar arrives damaged or not as expected, you can easily return it. 

Buying a Guitar In Guitar Store

There’s nothing more exciting than going into the physical store and seeing all the choices of guitars that you can buy.

The price may be a little higher than online, but you are getting the experience and benefit of trying it out in store first. 

 

Going to a larger guitar store that has a wide range of guitars for beginners is better bet than going into a niche vintage store that holds expensive guitars. 

buying guitar in person for beginners

Each store should have friendly assistance that can help you choose a guitar out and they should ALWAYS let you play and test them out. 

Tip: If you have your eye on a guitar online, try calling ahead to see if they have it in store or can order it in for you to try before heading over to the store. 

 

Extra tip: Try to go during quiet times so you have more time to look around and help from the shop assistant to try guitars with you.

If they are not helpful, walk out. You deserve great customer service and do not be intimidated. Everyone has to start from the beginning. 

Chapter 5 

Picking Out Your Actual First Guitar

How to pick actual first guitar

Whether you're going into the store, or shopping online, there are some other Important factors to consider before getting your first guitar. 

This includes all the things we have spoken about previously as well. 

If you didn’t get a chance to research the guitars beforehand, then this would be the time for you to consider :

• Style

• Shape 

• Size of guitar 

Let's look at them in order of importance. . . 

Left Handed or Right Handed Guitar

Are you left handed trying to buy your first guitar? 

You want to make sure you are picking up the right one for you. 

For left handed guitar players, the selection of guitars there is a little less than right handed, but this doesn't mean you have to play a right handed guitar. Do your research, and find one that suits you.

Who knows, one day in the distant future, you could always get your own custom guitar made if you really want a particular guitar once you know what you want.

Weight of Your New Guitar

Ordering your first guitar online, it can be hard to determine the weight of the guitar. 

This is especially true for electric guitars. For example, Gibson guitars are pretty heavy, and so you may want to start off with a lighter guitar while you build up strength and stamina. 

weight of guitar

Brands of Guitars

Going for a reputable guitar brand will mean you usually have both better customer service, and also consistent quality of build. 

Some reputable brands also have cheaper versions of their guitars, most of them are great to play too!  

I’ve made a list for you of comparable cheaper versions of expensive iconic electric guitars that are generally well made and very much suited for beginners as budget friendly and good value for money options. 

Check out the list in Chapter 9, Bonus Tips and reference under the bottom of the guide. 

brand. Gibson guitar
Brand. Fender Guitar
Brand. Paul Reed Smith Guitar
Brand. Ibanez Guitar
Brand. Jackson Guitar

Characteristics And Features

Team Acoustic 

Electro-Acoustic Guitar

If you are looking at Acoustic guitars, there might be an electro Acoustic version of the same guitar. It might be a little more expensive but could be worth it. 

What’s an Electric Acoustic Guitar and why do I need one?

An Electro Acoustic Guitar means you can amplify the sound of your acoustic guitar. This is useful if you ever plan to perform and play live with your guitar. With a standard acoustic guitar, you would have a separate mic to amplify the sound of the guitar. 

Team Electric

A lot of beginners get confused by the features of electric guitars and hence why they opt for an acoustic as the “easier” option. I would not worry so much about the features about an electric for now. 

Just buy a electric guitar that you like the look of and sound of, and you can think more about the exact features you want once you are good at playing the guitar. 

A quick mention of the essentials that you might come across as a beginner is Pick-ups and Floyd Rose.

Pick-Ups On a Guitar

What is a pick up?

Pick Ups for guitars are little magnets placed under your strings that pick up the vibrations and converts them into sound. 

Pick ups on electric guitar

Different guitars have different pick-ups on them. Without going into the science of it: 

Single coils, found on telecaster or Stratocaster sound clearer, more detailed, brighter sound and has some excess noise or “hum”. 

Humbuckers, found on more heavier styles of guitar like Les Paul or SG creates a thicker, louder sound without a “hum” like single coil. 

different types of pick ups on guitar

Sometimes you will see both types of pick-ups on the same guitar and you can pick between the two depending on the sound you are going for. 

Floyd Rose 

You might come across a Floyd Rose bridge some guitars. Designed to lock your strings at both ends and reduce the chance of the guitar going out of tune and be able to perform some great whammy bar sound. 

bridge types of electric guitar

That sounds great!

Why wouldn’t you buy a guitar with Floyd Rose Bridge as a beginner?

Floyd Rose are cool and very popular amongst metal and rock players. The downside with them is that they are a lot more difficult to upkeep, set up and tune compared to the average guitar. 

In the beginning, I would recommend avoiding these guitars because you'll need to practice getting your guitar in tune, without the headache of setting it up all the time.

Colour of Your New Guitar

Once you’ve decided on the style, brand and made sure the guitar isn’t too heavy. Then you might want to have a look at the colours they have. Some stores will have more options than others. 

For some people, the colour might be MORE important than style. 

This really depends on you, and what you like that is available in the range. 

picking colours of electric guitars

If your dream multicoloured guitar with gold pick-ups isn’t available as your first guitar, you can always order one in the future as custom guitar. 

I would always say, don’t have your heart set on a particular colourbefore going to the shop, you might be surprised what you fall in love with when you are there. 

electric guitars picking for beginner

Chapter 6 

Testing playability of the guitar

testing playability of guitar

When you are trying out the guitar, what do you need to look out for? 

Whether you are trying the guitars out in stores, or you’ve just had your new guitar delivered. Here are some things that you can look out for. 

Things to Test For:

Action

Comfort

Build Quality

How Does It Sound?


How High Is The Action

What is action on the guitar?

'Action' is how far away the strings are from the fretboard of the guitar. If the action is too high, it can be difficult for a beginner to hold down the strings.

action of beginner guitar fretboard

This is more important to check on an acoustic guitar. You can get this changed afterwards if you have a preference, but generally, for beginners, you would pick one that is already comfortable for you. 

Tip:  Try placing your fingers on the string and pushing down. Feel how easy it is for you to hold down the strings. Compare between different guitars you like to see which are easier to play. 

playing your first guitar

Is The Guitar Comfortable To Play?

•  Does the body of the guitar feel comfortable for you? 

•  How does it feel leaning over to see your fingers playing it? (Even if you are pretending at this point)

•  Playing high up the fretboard, how does it feel? 

Some beginner guitar players like having cut outs on their guitars to help them play higher frets on the guitar. (This is particularly important for metal and rock guitar players.) 

Is The Guitar Built Well?

A small, but very important detail to check is whether or not the 'frets' are sticking out over the edges of your guitar. The frets on the guitar are the brass looking pieces of metal on your guitar neck

Tip: You want to run your finger along the top and the bottom of the guitar neck. If it feels perfectly smooth all the way up, you're okay. 

As your finger passes over the edges of the frets and it feels a little 'sharp’. Either look for a new guitar, or if your heart is set on this one, ask for the frets to be filled down on the edges.

How Does It Sound?

First thing – if you can’t play the guitar, then have someone else play it for you. Either the shop assistant, a friend or guitar teacher. Don’t let this from stopping you from hearing the different guitars. 

metal rock guitar player

Ask them to play the same thing on different guitars and use the same amp for electric guitars so you can compare between them. 

Do the same if you can play the guitar a little, playing the same thing on each guitar, feeling and hearing each one to find the one you prefer. 

So What’s the Main Things I’m Supposed To Think About When Buying My First Guitar?

• Do you like the look of it? 

• Do you feel comfortable and you like playing it? 

• How does the guitar sound to you? 

• How’s the price for you? 

This is your first baby, but no doubt, it won’t be your last. Have fun with your purchase. Have fun searching for your guitar and enjoy your shopping experience!

Tip: If you're buying a guitar In a shop, once you're happy with the guitar you want, ask for the guitar to be 'set up' before you go to get it perfect for you. 


Chapter 7 

Beginner Guitar Accessories

Beginner guitar player accessories

To best help you with your practicing, and with your general guitar playing, you will need a few accessories to go along with your guitar. 

There are some “beginner packages” that will automatically come with a guitar bag, tuner, capo. If it’s an electric, it will come with an amp and guitar lead as well, and maybe a few guitar picks and a strap. 

That’s a good start on the basics and it can impressive how much they pack into those little packs. 

If you are not getting a beginner packages, then these are the things you need to get and what to look for: 

Guitar Case

You will want a guitar case to protect your guitar, whether it’s at home or out and about. There are two types of cases; Soft cases, and hard cases.

accessories. guitar case

Soft cases are easier to carry around. You want to pick one that has strong straps with comfortable padding on the shoulders. The heavier your guitar, the more important this becomes. 

If you plan to do performances with your guitar, and you are travelling in a car, you might want a "hard case" to really protect your guitar.

Guitar Tuner

Tuners come in all sorts of sizes and shapes. The best one for a beginner is a clip on tuner that helps you tune the guitar with the vibration of the sound of your guitar. 

your first guitar tuner

The general rule is that the more you spend, the better it’s range of detection (If you have a bass guitar, some of the cheaper tuners won’t pick up the low E.) 

And also, the speed in which it responds. 

Guitar Capo

Capos come in all sorts of styles, and also ranges in price as well. The more expensive ones tend to have better spring action with nicer grip and cushioning for your strings and be less likely to damage your guitar and bend your strings out of tune. 

accessories guitar capo

I would recommend a spring action Capo rather than one that you have to turn to tighten up. 

Metronome For Playing Guitar

accessories guitar metronome

You can get these as mobile apps, but if you are someone who gets distracted by your phone, then it might be a good idea to get a little metronome. 

These are great for practicing staying In time and also measuring your progress too! 

If you have great self-control and then you can save a few pounds and use a free app on your phone instead. 

Guitar Strap

Getting a guitar strap is useful in case you ever need to play standing up, or start to get cramp sitting down and want to carry on practicing into the night!  

Guitar straps are pretty standard so pick your favourite colour and style that compliments your guitar. If you have a heavier guitar, I'd recommend looking at straps that are more padded around the shoulder, and wider. This helps to reduce any aches any pains from playing for too long.

Tip: If you plan to hang your guitar upside down on your back or spin your guitar for tricks, please buy strap locks that will lock your strap into place. I don’t want you to end up with a broken guitar because of your enthusiasm. 

Guitar Pick

We have specific picks that we like for our students. In general, I would recommend thickness between 0.71-1.2mm of either any shape will work fine for a beginner.

Common shapes: 

Teardrop red guitar pick

Teardrop

accessories. jazz guitar pick

Jazz

accessories standard guitar pick

Standard

accessories triangle guitar pick

Triangle

Footstool

Foot stools are great to help you sit with correct posture so you can be more relaxed when you play and play for longer too. You can either get a footstool or a stack of thick books for when you are practicing sitting down.

Alternatively, you can practice with a guitar strap sitting down or standing down to help you to be in good posture. 

accessories guitar footstool
accessories guitar books

Guitar Stand

You could prop your guitar next to your favorite chair, or you can have a dedicated place to stand your guitar proudly.

Leaving your guitar out will also help prompt you to pick it up to practice as well.

accessories guitar stand

Guitar Strings

You will need spare strings to replace yours if they start to get fluffy, worn, or broken. Breaking strings are nothing to worry about. 

The most important thing for you as a beginner to know is what type of guitar strings you need and how thick your new guitar strings are. 

The larger the number, the thicker the string. 

Guitar Strings for Classical Guitar: 

You want Nylon strings, Normal Tension

Guitar Strings for Acoustic Guitar: 

Light (.011) is good for a beginner

You can move on to Medium (.012) if you want a thicker, larger sound. 

Guitar Strings for Electric Guitar: 

9s (.009) and 10s (.010) are the most popular as they're easier to press down, especially if you are doing lots of bends. 

Some people will play 11s (.011) and rarely 12s (.012). 

Can I swap and change my electric and acoustic guitar strings?

As a general rule, no. They are manufactured differently so you cannot swap and change as it will affect the sound of your guitar and not in a good way. 

Guitar Amplifier (Amps)

This is for the electric guitar players. Buying an amp can be a whole guide of its own and can be a separate investment for you as a guitar player. 

accessories guitar amplifier1

That’s because based on the amp you purchase, it has the power to create a whole new range of sound and tones for your guitar.

 

I’m going to keep this super simple in this guide for you. 

2. telecaster country fender electric guitar

If you live in London, you may consider getting a headphone amp in the meanwhile while you ponder the merits of different amps to go with your new guitar.

And if you are determined getting an amp TODAY, the two types of amps I would recommend: 

accessories orange small guitar amp

A mini practice amp 

(around 10w)

Solid State

accessories guitar amp medium size

A small amp 

(20w-30w)

A mini practice amp (around 10w)

Pros: Very small, can be battery powered, very portable

You can even use it for recording if you mic it up well. 

Cons: You will need something more powerful if you play in a band or with an audience

A small amp (20w-30w)

Pros: It will suit a range of purposes, practicing, small gigs with less than 200 people. 

Cons: It might still be too loud for that London apartment of yours. Depends how friendly your neighbours are. 

Just like a guitar, try out the different amps to which you like the sound of paired with your guitar. 

Why pick a solid-state Amp over a valve amp?

With a solid-state amp, they are cheaper, lighter, more portable, and requires less maintenance than a valve amp. And 99% of people will not be able to tell the difference in tone where valve amps are known to be superior. 

accessories head amp speaker for guitar
Should I get a separate Guitar Head Amp and Speakers?

You can also definitely get separate Guitar Head Amp and Speakers, but as a beginner, it’s easier to have a combo together for ease of use and set up.

Headphone Amp

Headphone Amp is a little gadget that plugs into your guitar and headphones and can be useful if you want to practice in peace with the children running around and still visualize yourself playing a live gig with your guitar plugged in. 

accessories guitar headphone amp

Guitar Lead

You want a well manufactured lead that is durable, that’s all. Oh, and make sure it’s long enough and not too long (about 3 metres is good place to start).

accessories guitar lead
Can I use a speaker lead instead of a guitar lead?

You have to use a guitar lead to avoid risking blowing up your amp! They are not the same thing. 

Do I need to get everything right now for my new guitar? 

The priority would be: 

• Tuner 

• Guitar case 

• Guitar picks (Unless you are strictly learning fingerstyle or classical guitar) 

• Spare guitar strings 

Amps and leads can wait, though your electric guitar won’t sound as cool and loud in the meanwhile. And the others you can pick up along the way. 

Chapter 8 

What to do now ?

hat to do as beginner guitar player buying guitar

It depends if you have bought your guitar yet. 

If you haven’t bought your new guitar yet, and you are one of those people who like to do lots of research and know a lot more before making a purchase, then I would speak to someone who knows more about guitars. Like a guitar teacher or someone who has guitar store experience. 

They should have some great advice for you. 

Already have your new guitar? I would recommend going to get guitar lessons, if you are based in London, England. We would love for you to come visit us at Guitar Tuition East London.

If you want to see how far you can get on your own or live further afield, try our beginner guide to getting started on the guitar to help you. 

You can also learn how to look after your instrument, make sure you know how to tune your guitar.

If you want to get practising, set up your practise area and store your guitars when not playing so you can get the most of your practising.

Any other questions you have, please comment below and we will be happy to answer them for you. 

And of course, your downloadables, they are all in the next Chapter in references for you to keep forever and help you along your first guitar buying journey. 

Chapter 9 

Bonus Reference And Guitar Buying Decision List

reference of buying first guitar

Beginner Electric Guitar Dupe

6. SG rock metal Gibson electric guitar

Style

Cheaper Version 

Expensive “Equivalent”

Stratocaster

Squire Stratocaster

Fender Stratocaster

Stratocaster

Yamaha Pacifica

Fender Stratocaster

Telecaster

Squire Telecaster

Fender Telecaster

Super Strat

Ibanez Gio

Ibanez RG Prestige

Super Strat

Jackson Dinky

Jackson Pro Series

Les Paul

Epiphone Les Paul

Gibson Les Paul

Jaguar

Squire Jaguar

Fender Jaguar 

SG

Epiphone G-400

Gibson SG

Flying V

Jackson JS32 King V.

Gibson Flying V

Explorer

ESP LTD EX-200

Gibson Explorer

Firebird

Epiphone Firebird

Gibson Firebird

Semi Hollow 

EPIPHONE ES-339 PRO

Gretsch G5422TG

Buying My First Guitar List

Types of guitars to buy

Do I want an Acoustic or Electric Guitar? ____________ 

Size shape of acoustic and electric guitar

My favourite style of guitar is ____________________

How to much on new first beginner guitar

I’m going to spend around ___________ on my new guitar not including accessories and guitar lessons. 

Buying first guitar at guitar stores

I’ve had a look online at what I want and going to go into ___________ store to buy my new guitar. 

picking out first beginner guitar

I need a left/right handed guitar

☐ This guitar is a good weight for me. 

☐ I like the characteristics this guitar comes with. 

☐ I like the colour options. 

Testing playability of first guitar

☐ I like the sound my new guitar makes.

Guitar accessories for beginners

I’ve got all my accessories: 

☐ Guitar Tuner  ☐ Guitar Strap  ☐ Spare  Strings  

☐ Guitar Picks  ☐ Capo  

Electric Guitar only: 

☐ Amplifier/Headphone Amp   ☐ Guitar Lead

bonus tip reference playing guitar

☐ I’ve got a plan for learning the guitar so I can start doing what I would love to do on the guitar!

How to Motivate Your Child to Practise Guitar

Picture of our female guitar student

How to Motivate Your Child to Practise Guitar

Playing an instrument is very rewarding for both the child and the parent. To see the progress that they make over their guitar play journey and over a lifetime.

One of the essential elements to make them improve their guitar playing is practicing at home.

For children, it is not normal for them to want to practise.

And for the ones that do, it's because they will be more motivated at certain times compared to others. There will always be challenges and difficulties when learning new things on any instrument.

How to overcome these challenges with your child when it comes to learning guitar?

The key is overcoming those challenges with learning the guitar for a child is through determination and practice. This really helps the child build confidence.

Tragically, some parents threaten their children that they will cancel their child’s guitar lessons if the student does not practice.  While striking fear to the hearts of a child might get them to act, it is not the healthiest way to promote a new habit like consistent focused improvement on an instrument.

It is also difficult to explain to a child all of the benefits they will receive from regular practice.

When they work hard, they can get a result from it. Playing the guitar gives them a very clear example to reference from when it comes to using this mindset in any aspect of life.

kids guitar lessons at guitar Tuition East London

Our student, David performing at Guitar Tuition East London

Here is a nice list of MASSIVE benefits that children receive from consistent quality practice on their guitar:


-A means of self expression and emotional management

-Improve social skills, maths skills, higher test scores including SATs

-A sense of accomplishment through regular improvement

-Increased brain elasticity through creative application on the guitar

-Greater self-esteem and sense of accomplishment

-Improved coordination and motor skills

-Learn the ability to set and achieve goals (a massive life skill in it’s own right)

All of these benefits have been studied and verified time and time again by modern science, but how to explain that to your 9 year old?

Explaining it to your 9 year old

Here’s the thing, a child who signs up for guitar lessons can not possibly improve by sitting with a guitar teacher for a half hour a week alone.  

It takes a team effort on the part of the teacher, the student, and the parents, in order to set the student up for success.  

The child and parent can not go into guitar lessons with the attitude of “trying it out” because learning a musical instrument takes dedication over a consistent length of time.  Does that mean 12 years? No of course not, but it does mean more then 12 days or even 12 weeks or 12 months.

During those more difficult times when it comes to practising guitar. Let’s see what we can do to help motivate your child to practice the guitar.

Child learning guitar with Guitar Tuition East London

Our guitar student Leo, performing at our Open Mic at Guitar Tuition East London

Do they love their guitar lessons with their teacher?

It really helps when your child enjoys their guitar lessons with their guitar teacher.

They should be in a relaxing and fun, enjoyable atmosphere. There may be times when they get disheartened if they are finding something difficult.

But the teacher should be able to help encourage them and motivate them to help them overcome these challenges.

Your guitar teachers’ role is to ensure they do this by providing the right materials for them to use in the lesson and also to practice with at home.

Here are some steps that the guitar teacher can make to ensure healthy practice habits for the student.

  1. Have the student practice in front of the teacher.  Yes, that’s right.  It is for the benefit of the student that they not always receive new content but they actually learn HOW to practice.  If a child does not know how to learn, and retain information, it makes no different what they learn.
  2. Create practice schedules for the student to follow and explain to both the student AND the parent.  The parents must know what they child should be working on and for how long.  For children 13 and under, 15 minutes a day, 5-6 times a week will suffice.  The guitar teacher should spend some time each lesson breaking down WHAT to practice.
  3. Constant communication with the parents to see if the student has been in fact practicing at home and if the parents have been helping the student practice.

Try a 30 Days practice challenge

Having practicing guitar as a competition can help motivate your child to get over the hurdle of practising if they are having a lack of enthusiasm for practising. 30 days is a good timeline to get a routine. And they should practise for a certain amount of time per day depend on what their teacher has recommended.

Set the reward as something that the child wants and will look forward to. We suggest having a family activity. Or something small like chocolates to motivate them. Ensure they are praised for the extra effort and hard work they have put into practice.

Get practising guitar as part of a daily routine

Get your child into the mindset that practising isn’t optional. And that it is something they must do to do well and get praise for how well they are doing on the guitar. It is always much better to practise a little every day than for a long period of time at the end of the day just before their guitar lesson.

Doing daily guitarpractice really helps the information to set in and for them to progress the fastest way. And by doing it daily, it means they can see that progress quickly.

Try to make it as normal as brushing their teeth so that they expect to do it, rather than thinking of it as an extra thing they have to do.

Keep a record of their progress by videoing it

Use your phone or tablet or anything else to video the practice that your child is doing once a month.

This way you keep a record of the progress and improvement they have made over time. 

Playing the guitar, there will always be new challenges, which is great because it’s a sign that they are learning new things and progressing.

So having a record of how they have overcome previous challenges. And how much improvement they have made will help them remember how important practice is and how much the effort they have put in is worthwhile.

Have an understanding of what they need to do at home

There is a difference between practising and playing the guitar. For young children, it’s important for the parent to know the difference and know roughly what they should be working on at home.

Otherwise, it is easy for the child to play a little while and say that they’ve done their practice. When actually what they have done is not what the teacher has asked and so it will not help them improve as much as proper practice will. Therefore you're involvement in their guitar progress is really important.

In other words, having great communication between yourself and the teacher will ensure that you have an understanding of practise means, and so it gets you involved in the progress, the child knows that you have a level of expectation. This encourages them to practise the right things, which in turn improves their playing! It’s a cycle that helps to motivate them long term to play and practise.

child performing with guitar

Give them extra opportunities to perform in front of friends and families

Whenever there are friends and families visiting, coming round for a cup of tea or anything else. Get your child to do a mini performance for them.

You don't have to put too much pressure on them, just say something encouraging like “Your aunt/uncle would love to see what you have been practising.”. They can just do some practise exercises, or play a piece. The aim is to get them comfortable with playing in front of others.

In addition,  if you give them a few days notice, they may be encouraged to do extra practice beforehand as well because they want to make you proud.

Hopefully, some of these tips will help you encourage your child to do more guitar practice to help them progress and improve their guitar playing. If you are a parent interested in finding a guitar teacher or a new guitar teacher for your child and based in East London.

Remember, learning musicical journey over a lifetime

You should also help your child by remembering that Music lessons are LIFE lessons.  

They require dedication and consistent progress.  The parent should sit down with their child and monitor their practicing.  Help them through their frustration by explaining how this is going to make their lives better because it will.

Managing Practise Expectations for your child for their guitar progress

Help the student by giving them manageable goals as advised by the teacher.  An example would be “Can you play this 5 times in a row without any mistakes?”  That is a clear goal the child can understand.  However, “Play for 5 minutes” is ambiguous and not a clear goal in most children’s minds. 

So having easy to reach targets can help a child's guitar practise to appear for achievable for them. Therefore more enjoyable to complete. 

Help your child by helping them prioritise guitar in their life

Music should come much higher on the priorities list in the eyes of the parent.  

Many children today are busier than their parents and parents feel bad if their child is not involved in EVERYTHING.  This makes finding time for consistent guitar practice very difficult.  

Imagine you are a child, you get up very early, go to school and sit in a desk for 6-7 hours. 

You come home, do your homework, then you go to your brother’s karate because you can’t be left home alone, then there’s 90 minutes hours of soccer, then rush home, eat dinner and get ready for bed.  

After all of that running around, would you have the energy to sit and concentrate on a musical instrument?

Above all, try not to pile on too much on your child in the effort to give them every opportunity. Instead, concentrate on things your child enjoys so it helps them make more progress and enjoy their activities properly. 

kids guitar lessons guitar Tuition East London

Our guitar student Nina, performing with us, Guitar Tuition East London

Extra Incentives to help your child practise guitar

The last tactic that can be effective but is not ideal is bribery.  

For instance, you can tell them, if you practice for 4 days in a row, you will get a star each day.  

If you get 4 stars by the end of the week, you will get ice cream or candy, or whatever might motivate the student.

Scheduling in music in their lives

Music should be right behind homework on the priorities list and schedule if possible.  Another remedy is to have your child go to bed earlier and practice when they wake up before school.  Consistent focus for short periods of time regularly will greatly improve the students’ confidence and experience.


In conclusion, all these little tips can add up to a lot of difference. Especially when you use them at the same time to help your child with their guitar practise. 

And even if it doesn’t have much immediate effect, as long as they are enjoying the lessons and the teachers are being proactive with their learning in the sessions, they will still be getting a lot out of it.

Want to find out how we can help your child with their guitar playing?

Contact us to find out how we can help you. Use the link below to get a free introductory guitar lesson for your child, and find out how we can help your child have a load of fun playing guitar and progress fast and easily. 

How To Get Better At Strumming Patterns

rhona our guitar student performing guitar

Do you want to make your strumming sound better and more interesting on the guitar?

Do all your songs sound the same, or do you struggle to get your strumming to sound like the song at all?

This problem that you are having is very common and one I often get asked by students.

They say to me “How can I get better at strumming patterns?” or “Can you teach me more strumming patterns” on the guitar.

Most of the students who are struggling with this problem want the songs they play to sound better. And are sick of playing one chord at a time. Or they have one or two strumming pattern which they use for every song, so everything sounds the same.

They then diagnose the problem as not knowing enough strumming patterns. If this sounds like you – I can help you.

The first step is to acknowledge what your real goal is here.

Do you want to collect more strumming patterns?

Or do you want to make your rhythm guitar playing sound better?

If you want to go and collect strumming patterns, in that case, learning strumming patterns is the way to go. But that path will likely lead to you having to go and learn a new strumming pattern for every song that you go and learn. This requires a lot of effort to play each individual different strumming patterns. Because you’ll be only looking at the rhythm for each individual song you work on.

A better way to solve that problem would be training on your own ability to master rhythm playing on the guitar. Then you can pick up any strumming patterns based on what you want to play at any given time.

Try this simple exercise below.

Basic rhythm pattern:

BEAT 1 + 2 + 3 + 4 +
Strumming Down Up Down Up Down Up Down Up
  1. Begin by muting your guitar strings with your fretting hand (so that we don’t get lots of extra noise.
  2. Strum down and up with your right hand while also SAYING out loud the beat numbers at the same time.
    1. You should sound like this “One And Two And Three And Four And”
    2. All the beats should be evenly spaced in time. No gaps should be longer than another.
    3. Note how when you are on a 1,2,3 or 4 your arm is ALWAYS making a downward strum
    4. When you are on the “Ands’ or the ‘+’ you are always playing an up strum.

Pattern 2:

Now we are going to start learning how to play more interesting strumming patterns:

To create a new strumming pattern, all I need to do is remove downs or ups from the strumming key line.

BEAT 1 + 2 + 3 + 4 +
Strumming Key Down Up Down Up Down Up Down Up
Pattern 1 Down Down Up Down Up
Pattern 2 Down Down Down Up Down

I have put two examples here labelled pattern 1 and 2.

Make sure when you make up your own strumming patterns using the method above that you make sure that the Downs and Ups are in the right place.

Down always on 1 2 3 4

Up always on And (+)

When you practice it, you need to always be moving your hand as if it was playing down and up all the time.

Can you see how on patterns 1 AND 2 there is nothing on the AND (+) after the 1. Even though you don’t strum through the strings here, your hand is still going to move upwards – but it will do so without hitting the strings.

Creating Your Own Strumming Patterns

Practise doing this with new strumming patterns that you create for yourself, so your arm is used to moving in this motion, then it will become easier for you to learn any new strumming patterns that come across your way!

This is a great simple exercise to get you started working on your rhythm work, which will make a huge difference to your guitar playing.

If you are based in London and would like some more guidance and direction on how to improve your guitar playing. Contact us via the link below to find out how we can help you with your guitar playing so that you can master rhythm guitar playing and anything else you are after much quicker and easier.

Click on the button below to go through to our form to get started.

All Guitar Lessons Are Not Created Equal

Female Guitar Lesson student

It’s a mistake to assume that every guitar teacher offers the same value of lessons just because they teach the same subject. Choosing guitar lessons is not the same as choosing which carton of milk to buy from the grocery store.

Guitar Lessons Comparisons

All guitar lessons are not created equal and come in varying qualities. There are good guitar teachers, excellent guitar teachers, poor guitar teachers and everywhere in between. Learning guitar with an excellent teacher vs. a poor teacher can make a difference of years when it comes to achieving big things in your guitar playing.

“It’s unfortunate that so many guitar players fail to reach their musical goals because they waste tons of time working with poor teachers. The reality is: there are more poor guitar teachers than truly great ones. If you get stuck with a mediocre teacher, you're doomed to make very slow progress. This is why we chose to take a stand and give students a chance to really excel.”

learning to play guitar London guitar lessons

Choosing Your Guitar Teacher

It is very important to choose your guitar teacher wisely. And take the highest quality lessons so you can advance in your playing faster.

Reality is, there are many guitar teachers who have general music degrees, but this means NOTHING when it comes to guitar teaching! Why?

Learning music at university has nothing to do with learning how to teach music. Learning how to teach requires a whole new skill set compared to simply understanding the underlying concepts of how music works. The best guitar teachers train hard to get certified for these skills. Mediocre teachers improve their teaching through trial-and-error. Essentially turning their students into guinea pigs. Don’t settle for this. Do your research to make sure your guitar teacher is certified to teach.

guitar student guitar Tuition East London

Darryl with Rob during guitar lesson at Guitar Tuition East London 

Certified Guitar Teachers

In addition to seeing that your guitar teacher is certified specifically to teach guitar. (i.e. they don’t just have a general music degree). There are other things to look for to guarantee you’re getting the best guitar lessons possible.

For example: you know you’re on the right track when you see that your guitar teacher has already helped many other students achieve big accomplishments in their playing. This means the teacher knows how to help you reach your goals too. Additionally, it is important to make sure that the guitar teacher you want to work with has helped his students achieve the same things you want to achieve in YOUR guitar playing.

Learning Guitar In The Right Place

You’re learning in the right place here. We’ve spent countless hours training to improve our guitar teaching skills while helping other guitarists reach the exact same goals you want to reach. We’ve put ourselves on a never-ending quest to improve and offer the best guitar lessons possible.

We find this to be the best way to guarantee results for our students, and we take great pride in helping them become incredible players.

5 Ways to Kick Start Your Guitar Playing

Female Guitar Teacher In London

5 Ways to Kick Start Your Guitar Playing

Today we are looking at 5 different ways to kick start your guitar playing.

No matter where you are when you are watching this video – whether it’s January or the middle of July – if you want to give yourself a kick start, or if you are struggling with motivation because you haven’t played and practised guitar in awhile, then this article is for you.

Work Out What you Want to Do With the Guitar

What do I want to do
Are there any particular songs you want to play?
Do you want to play in a band?
Enjoy being able to jam with friends?
Do you want to enjoy improvising on the guitar by yourself?

Once you’ve written down what it is that you want to do, stick it up on the wall next to where you practise and play the guitar. There are so many things you could be working on while practising; this exercise helps you focus on the things that are most important for you to get to where you want to be. You don’t want to end up being an average guitar player – jack-of-all-trades, but master-of-none – not really being able to do exactly what you want.

Get Your Practice Environment Set Up

What I mean by this is, you want to minimise the time it takes for you to sit down and start practising guitar. If your guitar is in a case, get it out and put it on a stand. If you have music to practise with, put that on a stand, ready to read. Keep the area clean, and have a pin board – in which you can track your goals, theory charts and anything else you might need – somewhere close by. Make it easy and accessible for you to start playing and practising the guitar.

If your place is a little chaotic, just start with having the guitar out and ready. Don’t make the easy excuse of “this sounds like a lot of work”. Take it one step at a time and aim to make your practise as accessible to you as possible.

living room set up

If you are already quite organised, how can you make your environment even better? Do you have a tuner and capo ready? If you need a footstool, is it already out in the perfect position?

Any extra steps you’re forced to take before you can practise – such as getting the guitar out of the case, then hunting around the house for a tuner – these nuisances all add to the mental block that can discourage you from practising. Reducing this mental block will help you remain motivated to practise, and will save you a load of time too.

Get Some External Forces To Help Motivate You

guitar teacher london

Recall the goals that you previously wrote for the first point. If you know how to reach these yourself, then great! If you are struggling, then get someone to help you. That’s exactly what Guitar Tuition East London do; we find out what you want to do and help you achieve exactly that, and cut out the parts you don’t need to save you a bunch of time.

Other external forces that can help motivate you include being in a band. It might not be the most efficient way to power-up your skills, but you will always benefit from playing in a group with other musicians who share your enthusiasm and can help keep you accountable. This all adds up to helping you play more guitar and going in the right direction. Having positive people in your life who are supportive of you and your playing will help eliminate any mental blocks weighing you down or slowing your progress.

Practise More Than You Play – And Practise Before You Play

playing vs practising

If, when you begin your practise, you find yourself playing the same old stuff again and again, don’t worry. This is a really common situation that a lot of guitarists share. It is also a really big problem. You really aren’t getting better at your guitar if you merely repeat the same songs or exercises over and over again. You need to make sure you are working on things that are challenging you. This will mean making mistakes, and that is a good thing.

You want to keep pushing yourself. You can’t push yourself by just playing the same things over and over again; you’ll never be able to progress far with your guitar. Proper practice involves taking on new challenges.

Now we aren’t saying that you shouldn’t enjoy playing the guitar. You should. Playing guitar is all about having fun. Just make sure you allow yourself dedicated practise time before you let loose and play. By doing this, you resist the temptation to cut your practice short and miss out on any measurable results. If you practise more than you play, you are guaranteed to see much bigger improvements in your guitar playing.

Take The Little Victories

notebook

Keep a journal of the little victories that you have. Make a record of what was tough about the things you practised today, and write down the moments that made you feel good.

Finish up with any revelations that you may have. A lot of people waste time because they don’t remember where they left off after their last practise, and then have to practise the same things over before having the same revelations. Keeping a journal will help you remember the progress you’ve made, and help you stay motivated. It can also save you time when it comes to practising the guitar as well.

If you are struggling to motivate yourself and think you need someone to keep you accountable – or you don’t know how to get your guitar playing to sound the way you want it to – then get in touch with us. We are here to help you develop your playing so that you can do the things you really want to on the guitar.

Whether you are a hobbyist or a seasoned pro, we will have you progressing in the fastest, easiest direction while having loads of fun along the way.

Click the button below to tell us about your guitar playing today!

How to Choose Your Guitar Teacher

guitar student guitar Tuition East London

Figuring out who is the right guitar teacher for you

Choosing a guitar teacher makes the difference between succeeding and completely failing and never picking the guitar back up again.

The following advice could save you a load of time and money by helping you pick the right guitar teacher to help you learn to play the guitar.

guitar teacher london

What do you want to do on the guitar?

What sort of style do you want to play? What sort of guitarist do you want to become? These are the kinds of questions to think about when looking for a guitar teacher. Generally, you want to go for someone who is a specialist in what he does.

Anyone who says he can teach any style probably can but not as well as someone who is a specialist in a certain area.

If you want to be able to play rock music, then choose a specialist who knows how to teach rock music. If it is jazz, then choose a specialist in jazz. If you are a beginner, then find someone who knows how to teach beginners.

Not all teachers are the same, and not all musicians are the same. Everyone’s approach to teaching differs, and it is important that you find someone who will work well with you.

How much are the lessons?

This question is a common one that people ask, the answer to which is a part of one’s decision-making process when looking for guitar lessons. Generally speaking, guitar teachers who are good, who get you results, cost more because there is more value in what they do. Generally, cheaper guitar teachers are not as good at getting you results.

Make sure when you are choosing a guitar teacher that you make the decision based on what she can do for you. Even if it seems to cost more, you will actually save time and money in the long-term. You could do cheap lessons for five years, but a great guitar teacher could get you the same results in a year.

Watch and guitar with open book on old wooden table, vintage style.

Are you able to be coached by your teacher?

Can you see yourself being coached by this person? Will you take his advice, trust what he has to say, and actually do what he has asks you to do?

These questions are important to answer because if you question what your teacher is doing or are unsure of the method he is using or the path he is taking you on. You might double check on YouTube to see if what your teacher has told you is right. Doing this is wasting your time!

You need to be coachable and accept that your teacher is a master of his craft. On the other hand, you need someone who is not only a master but is also able to teach you, someone you have respect for and trust that he can get you the results you are looking for.

Will your instructor teach you how to practice?

Practising is one of the most important parts of becoming a better musician, even to just getting out of a beginner stage and going past barre chords. Practising makes such a big difference to the amount of progress you make. Generally, you will spend less time with your teacher compared to practising at home. You want someone who knows how to practice well and knows how to teach you to practice.

Many teachers drop the ball on this aspect, but there are great teachers who can help you with this. When you have learnt how to practice properly from your instructor; It will be like sticking a jetpack to your car, and it will propel your playing to new levels. This information will speed up your progress massively.

guitar tutor in london

Can you see results from your instructor’s students?

Seeing results from your teacher’s students is very important; maybe she can refer you to one of her students. Talk to these students about what their playing was like before they started lessons and where they are now. Alternatively, ask to see before and after videos of your teacher’s students to see the results the students have achieved.

When most people look for guitar lessons, they look at how good the teacher is at playing the guitar. However, this factor is one of the less important parts of a great teacher. (Also, it is hard for beginners to spot good players from great players). You need someone who can get results from you. One way to find that out is by looking at the results he or she has helped other students achieve. You instructor’s job is to turn you into a great guitar player.

Go and meet your guitar teacher

Get in contact with the teacher, sit down with him, and find out what he is like. See if you get on with him, if you believe that he can help you. If you do not feel comfortable, your results will be hindered. That confidence and certainty will help you progress faster.

What experience does your teacher have?

It is important to find out how long your teacher have been teaching. You do not want a beginner guitar teacher. It is great that everyone has to learn at some point; however, most people learn through testing on guinea pigs, and you do not want to be that guinea pig. If you want good results, find someone who has been teaching for a while and someone who has invested in educating themselves in guitar teaching. At least three years is a good benchmark.

You want someone who has taught many guitar students, so he/she has an idea of how to teach different types of people. Everyone learns in a slightly different way, but the more people your teacher has helped, the easier it is for her to help you with your playing. Looking for an experienced teacher should protect you from wasting time and money when it comes to learning the guitar.

When choosing a guitar teacher, there are many factors to consider. You want a guitar teacher that is going to get results for you and your playing. To do this, your need to trust the teacher, and this stems from having met him and feeling confident that he is going to get you results. Find out how much experience he has and whether he can get you results by looking at their other students. And remember, you can save money in the long run by getting the best guitar teacher for you, even if he costs a bit more in the meantime.

Free Introductory Lesson With Us

With all that, we hope this article helps you find the perfect guitar teacher for you. If you are based in London, we would love to find out if we can help you with your playing. Just click on the button below. It will take you through our contact form where we can find out a little more about you and book you in for a free introductory lesson. This lesson will allow us to find out a little more about how your playing is going, what you would like to achieve on the guitar, and how our teaching would benefit you. So click the button below to get in contact.

Why Do People Struggle To Improve Their Guitar Playing

Guitar Student In Lessons at Our School

Why Do People Struggle to Improve Their Guitar Playing

We are going to discuss some of the reasons why people do not improve at the guitar, some of the most common reasons that I have seen from students who have come to me for help or people that I have met. Watch out and see if these apply to you so that you can avoid them in the future.

Not Persistent Enough with Their Guitar Playing

The biggest reason I see why people are not improving is that they are not persistent enough. You have to keep going, and when you hit a barrier, you have to be persistent enough to get past it.

You need to find a way around it and to solve it, which means getting the right information and finding a professional to help you. Unless you do not like the guitar, there is no reason to stop. Just keep at it. If you love the guitar, you need to be persistent and going on even when it is tough.

Keep Playing the Same Things

People keep playing the same old stuff—they practise the same thing all the time, especially people who have been playing for a while. When people “practise”, they will play the same old thing that they are used to. This idea might mean different things to different people; some play the same songs, some people do the same exercises. Some people might play and jam with themselves to backing tracks. Doing the same thing is just playing and not challenging yourself.

Only Learning Songs

We have found many people who, when they learn the guitar, only learn individual songs. When you only learn songs, you do learn some things because you are learning the songs themselves. However, what is more important is how those songs are put together, the fundamental aspects of them, the skills that link all those songs together. You are not really studying those aspects. Rather, you are just copying and not creating.

It is like when you are writing a speech; instead of learning how to write your own speech and understand how the language and structure are put together to make a great speech, you just copy someone else’s great speech.

That strategy does not make you a great guitar player, and definitely not quickly. There are some benefits to learning songs, but there are many more things that you need to learn.

Get Too Content with Your Guitar Playing

It might be that at one point, you were really pushing yourself and learning. However, people sometimes get too happy with where they are and get out of the cycle of learning. It is great to have milestones and reach goals, but you also need to set new ones and get excited about reaching those. When you get too content, years can go by, and you do not get any better, which is because you are happy with where you are at, and you do not see a reason to apply yourself anymore.

Do Not Know How to Improve and Do Not Have the Right Information for Their Situation

People do not know how to improve and do not have the right information for their situation. I see many people just finding exercises online or from books. However, these exercises are not specific for the players and for where they are at, which is similar to learning some songs. Because these resources are not whole plans or strategies, they do not help the players very much.

Not Getting a Guitar Teacher

You would be surprised the amount of professional guitar players who have a teacher and a coach to train them and teach them guitar. However, you would probably not be surprised by the number of beginner guitar players who believe they do not need a teacher. This belief is a big fallacy. There are also people who think they are too good or do not think anyone can help them. With that attitude, you will struggle for a teacher who can help you.

You want to find someone who does know how to help you, and someone who can help you put it all together.  The reality is that you do not know what you do not know. Many people are so unaware of what else is out there and the amazing things that will help them progress so much faster. Not wanting to seek out professional is holding many people back.

Lack of Belief

People often lack the belief that they can become the guitar player they want to be. This mindset is common. Many people believe that talent is an innate thing, and that is why they cannot play. There are no babies who come out the womb playing the guitar. Zero. It is all learnt; it is all skill. However, there are different ways those skills put together from different aspects of life experiences. It is important that you understand the need to believe that you can do it. Only then can you work out how. You need to believe you can first, and the how comes afterwards.

People Hold Themselves Back

Some people hold themselves back because they are scared how much work it will be to learn how to play. However, if you really love the guitar, no amount of work is too much to do something you truly love. If it is important enough that you want to play the guitar for the rest of your life, then you are going to continue to gain skills, work on them, and develop your playing over time.

If it is one of those things where you just want to try it for a couple of weeks, then I would not bother; it is not worth it. However, if you want to give it some more time and keep going even when it gets tough, and you absolutely love music, then do it. Playing the guitar is so much fun. It will bring you a tonne of joy and happiness.

Are You Struggling to Improve Your Guitar Playing?

Are you struggling to improve on the guitar? Do you want some additional guidance to help you make massive progress in your guitar playing right now? Do you need someone to keep you accountable and help you stay persistent? Are you passionate about the guitar and music?

If this sounds like you, and you are based in East London, then contact us regarding how we can help you. We are so confident in ourselves that we provide a free assessment lesson. Click the button below, which will take you through to our contact form to schedule your assessment lesson with us where we can discuss how we can take your guitar playing to the next level.

Why might you be struggling with learning Guitar from YouTube or Books

learning guitar online on youtube

Why all this information and content doesn’t help you get better at making your guitar playing sound good.

There are constantly more and more resources to help you learn guitar online, whether they be apps, books, DVDs, or games.

On top of these resources is a fountain of YouTube videos with numerous people teaching a variety of topics about the guitar.

This vast amount of information often leaves people overwhelmed and struggling to make any real progress on their own. We have had many students come to us with these problems. So we thought it would be useful to address some of the common reasons for why you may be struggling to learn guitar from YouTube or books.

No Feedback

One of the most common problems with learning guitar from YouTube, books, or DVDs is that you do not get any immediate feedback or even no feedback at all.

This lack of feedback is a problem. Even though you think you understand what the lesson or app is telling you to do exactly, you cannot see certain things that you are doing wrong. It is difficult for you to know whether what you are doing is correct or not. Technique is an important element when it comes to learning guitar.

If a student learns the wrong techniques early on, it is much more difficult to correct that later. There is often only one way to do something correctly, and without feedback, it is difficult to know if you are doing it right. This problem is why you are often left wondering why you do not “feel” right when you play or why it does not sound right.

Is the Person a Good Guitar Teacher or Is the Material Appropriate For You?

Because of the easy access to the internet, it is very easy for people to start teaching guitar. However, they are not always good teachers even if they are good players themselves. Of course, we are not saying that all YouTubers are bad teachers. However, there are a lot of bad teachers out there.

The second issue is that the material they are presenting may not be appropriate or right for you. Even if the presenter is a good teacher, how do you know the information she is providing is what you need to progress in your playing?

Often, students who come to us who have been learning online—especially with less competent teachers, have many blind spots. Areas that they did not even know they had to learn to transform their playing. Once we work on those areas, their understanding and playing of the guitar accelerates.

Lack of Accountability

YouTube and books do not keep you accountable. It is easy to do something one day and give it up the next. Having a real teacher that you have to see person helps to ensure that you practise. When there is something hard to do, you can push through those challenges.

If you do not understand something, a teacher is there to help you whereas it is much easier to give up if you are struggling by yourself.

The Information Provided is Very General

Most of the videos online and even books are very general, even if they state they are for beginner, intermediate, or advanced guitarists.

The information provided is still for the general guitarist looking to advance. You are a specific person with your own goals and desires.

What you want to play, your level of understanding, your level of motivation, and your challenges are very specific to you, which is why you need specific information to learn the guitar.

Generalised information may get you somewhere, but it may not be where you want to be, and it will not get you the fast progress and results that you can get from specific information provided specifically for you.

guitar lessons london

Getting Answers to Your Questions

During different points of your learning, you will definitely have questions regarding your playing, and you may not even be able to describe your problems.

Being unable to articulate a problem is an issue that we commonly see with our students; they have to SHOW us their problems through playing, which is often very difficult to do with online resources. It is hard to get those specific questions answered, which then hinders your progress by ignoring problems that you may be having with your playing.

Online Guitar Lessons are Often Very Good at Producing Bedroom Guitar Players

When you practise your playing with a system/videos/apps, you do this most often in your bedroom or at home by yourself. That is understandable. However, if you have any long-term goals of wanting to enjoy music. Whether it is being able to play freely, like a musician. Whether that is by yourself or with other people. You want to understand the language of music to these things.

Jamming and playing with other people requires musical interactions with other people. There are many benefits from social interaction, such as gaining confidence, improving your rhythm, and understanding how communication works between guitarists.

YouTube guitar lessons, books, or DVDs for learning guitar tend to leave players struggling to experience these aspects. They can become shy and unconfident when it comes to playing in front of other people or playing at parties or gigs.

Finding A Great Guitar Teacher

Now that you know a few common problems with learning guitar from these various resources, we hope you can resolve these problems quickly. No matter where you are, we always suggest finding a good guitar teacher that can help you resolve these problems.

If you are situated in East London, we would love to hear from you and see how we can help you with your guitar playing. If you have been learning online and have experienced any of these problems, we can definitely help you progress much quicker and faster on the guitar.

Click the button below, which will take you through to our contact form so we can find out a little more about you and how we can help you through a free introductory guitar lesson.

How You Can Make Massive Progress With Your Guitar Playing

Guitar Student of our lessons with thumbs up in a lesson

What will make the biggest difference when it comes to making massive progress on learning guitar?

Do you think someone can learn to play the guitar if they are not talented?

How would you define talent?

Where do you think it comes from?

Where Do Brilliant Musicians Come From?

You will never find a brilliant guitarist who has not put in thousands of hours of playing and practising to get to where they are.

Playing the guitar is a learnable skill that anyone can achieve. What people perceive as talent has always come from hours of hard work, which has produced that brilliance.

Often, people who brush off trying new things by stating that they are not talented enough are subconsciously making excuses for not wanting to put in the time to achieve things themselves.

There are three components that come together to create brilliance and massive results with any skill.

These are practise, ignition, and a master coach.

In this article, we are going to focus on what practising guitar truly is and how it contributes to achieving massive results on the guitar.

the chemistry of learning the guitar

Are you "playing" guitar or "practising" guitar?

What is  the difference?

Let us imagine for a second that you are a professional tightrope walker. You are pretty good, and you perform every night for a small circus in front of half-terrified, half-excited audience members.

To keep your job at the circus, you must not make any big mistakes while performing. You have big dreams about being a world-renowned circus performer, but you know deep down that you are not good enough yet.

practicing or playing guitar

Playing Guitar Without A Safety Net

You know that you have to get better at your tightrope act. And you need to perform more daring stunts to further your career, but how can you do this?

You start putting in more time, going to the circus early and practising on your tightrope walk with just the net to catch you if you fall. However, you have a problem; whenever you try anything too difficult, you fall off the 50-foot high tightrope and land in the netting. You are not making enough progress fast enough because every time you fall off. It takes you a long time to climb back up to the 50-foot ladder to try the same stunt again.

You don't know what to do, so you seek out expert advice.

Then you find out that the fastest way for you to make progress is to go back to basics. You are told to set up a tightrope in your garden, two feet above the ground and start focusing intensely on your weaknesses to make improvements. With the rope being so close to the ground. Every time you fall, you just jump right back on the rope to try the same stunt again! No time wasted, and more repetition of the same stunt until you perfect it.

performing, recording or jamming

What is it like practising properly?

As a guitarist, performing, recording, or jamming is like the performance of the tightrope walker in front of an audience. You sound good when you are playing things with which you are comfortable. To keep looking good and sounding good, you do not want to make any big mistakes while performing. Instead, you want to ignore your weaknesses and focus on your strengths to look and sound good. This experience is called “playing the guitar”.

“Practising the guitar” is when you need to identify what challenges you need to work on. Then focusing on those challenges intensely and in minute detail. When you are practising the guitar, you have a different mindset. Just like the work of the tightrope walker, you are going to focus on your weaknesses and eliminate them.

Weakness in your playing are the biggest things holding you back. You should be looking at very short passages and bursts of music to increase repetition of practising these challenges. This strategy is like setting your tightrope very close to the ground so that you get lots of repeated practise at the same stunt over and over again until you get it right.

Are You Playing Guitar At The Right Level?

To judge if you are working at the right level of complexity, you should look at how many mistakes you are making. You will know that you are working on the right things if you are playing it correctly two out of five times. That means that three out of five times you are making mistakes! This moment is a sweet spot where you are striving to grow and failing as you go.

playing correctly or making mistakes?

How can you identify which challenges you should be working on?

The following exercise will blow out all of the cobwebs that were previously making you unsure of what to do when you practice.

  1. What do you want to achieve in guitar playing over the next 90 days?
    • Write down your answer.
  2. What are the top three things holding you back from achieving that goal right now?
    • Write down your answers.
  3. What is the solution for these three things?
    • Write down your answers.
  4. Put this piece of paper on the wall in front of where you practice and get to work on it right away.

Start working towards your goal every day.

Contact Us For Guitar Lessons in East London

If you would like help reaching these goals or if you are struggling to work out what the solutions should be for your challenges, we can help you by diagnosing your problems and putting a plan together along with the appropriate exercises to solve them.