It does not matter if you’re studying the instrument with the thought of a professional career in mind or simply for fun. Tips always help.
1# Learn to change your own strings
This way, you won’t have to wait around with worn-out strings on your guitar until someone takes the time to replace them for you.
You can learn how to change the guitar strings easily by searching on youtube.com
2# Wash your hands before playing and clean the strings afterward
Particles of dust and tiny amounts of fat are invisible to the naked eye, but they’re right there on your fingertips and they are making strings wear out faster.
3# Keep your fingernails trimmed
Especially girls! Long nails (on your left hand / or right hand, if you’re left-handed) are a real pain in the… arpeggios if you’re playing guitar.
You have to trim your nails, otherwise it will be difficult to press down the strings and get the chords right.
4# Tune your guitar without help
It’s not as complicated as it seems!
And nothing is more embarrassing than a guitarist playing with his/her out-of-tune instrument. Basically, you only need a tuner or a trained ear to tune each string.
I’ll write a detailed article about guitar tuning soon enough – until then; you can install guitar tuner app into your smart phone, it works really well, more than I expected.
5# Your fingers hurt? Keep practicing!
Beginners often complain that the pain is hard to bear throughout the first few lessons and home rehearsals, because the skin on their fingertips is not thick enough… yet.
The only solution is to practice as much and as often as they can, to make it stronger.
Pain is part of the process – and it will go away after the first few weeks of lessons and constant playing. Don’t worry; you’re not breaking your fingers.
6# Protect your fingers and keep them in shape
I’m not into standard warm-up exercises before playing – instead, I’ve come to see that accessories like the Grip Master can really help develop the flexibility and coordination of your hands.
Also, I think it’s crucial to keep your fingers protected from sudden temperature changes, especially harsh cold: if you feel you need to, wear your gloves even in September.
7# Find a guitar teacher
It’s essential to get some guidance when you make your first steps towards learning to play an instrument.
Books meant for self-taught musicians and free online lessons such as Youtube, can only get you to a certain level.
However, nothing compares to a real person who explains things in a proper way, …
… proves you wrong and helps you to make it right, follows your fingers until you play the chords in the best positions and, more than anything, encourages you to be better.
8# Play with your fingers and with a pick, too
Learn and practice both ways and when you feel confident enough in your playing, alternate between picking techniques and the use of your fingers for certain fragments of the song.
This will make your playing more versatile and expressive.
9# Don’t fear theory
I agree that there are artists who play wonderfully and have huge careers without being able to read a single note, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t learn the theory behind the music if you get the chance.
The theoretical aspects are not as boring and difficult as they might seem: once you’ve learned the basics, further study will only become easier and more efficient for you.
10# Play with a metronome
Rhythm is an essential element in music, so you should “feel” it and master it in your career/study as soon as possible.
Your current manner of playing will shape your future style. If you don’t want to face rhythm and phrasing issues later on (which you might have), always practice with your metronome.
Note: There are several metronome apps, you don’t need to buy a physical one.
Stay tuned. I’ll soon publish the second part of the guitar beginners tips series, where you’ll find out what a guitar capo is, why you should cherish feeling more than technique and how to practice more efficiently.
Until then, if you have any questions about learning guitar, you can send me a message at contact form or comments at the end of this article.
Have fun learning, enjoy your guitar and don’t forget that in music there are no mistakes, only bad timings! Good luck.