Practising the guitar for beginners

electric guitar beginner player

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

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

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

How to get started

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

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

Don't only practise guitar by copying songs 

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

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

Practising your strumming dynamics

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

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

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

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

Practising finding notes on your guitar

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

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

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

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

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

Developing muscle memory for your guitar playing

Another good practice technique involves the development of muscle memory. 

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

To improve you can challenge yourself with different picking techniques.

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

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

You can even do this with your eyes shut!

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

Listening to the pulse of the music

Music is all about the pulse. 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Getting more help on practising and learning guitar as a beginner

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