So now you have purchased a guitar. Maybe you picked up a tuner and some guitar picks but, what do you do now? Well, now comes the fun and probably most frustrating part of it. It’s time to get to work and learn the craft.
When I started learning to play, it was during the glorious hair band days and guitar players were getting more and more ridiculous. The speed of players from the mid 80’s through the 90’s seemed to just get faster and faster and although it sounded really cool, it was impossible to play just starting out.
Equipped with an acoustic, 1973 Yamaha FG-201, I neither sounded like, nor did I have the skills to pull off those licks and runs. The guitar was not properly set up and on top of the difficulty in making chords, it was just damn hard to play. It was very frustrating and probably why I hate listening to hair bands to this day.
So what do I wish I would have known then that I know now? Patience is the first thing you need to get a mindset of. It’s going to hurt to play, it’s going to take time to figure it out, it’s going to be daunting. Stick with it and make small gains and build on them.
I suggest starting by sitting down in a chair, tuning up the instrument, and running through a few exercise to warm up. Guitar playing is a thing you are trying to get good at just like running, or weight lifting and you need all the muscles, (fingers/wrist/arm) warmed up and in shape in order to get your best out of it. The more comfortable you are with the guitar, the easier it will be.
I don’t care what kind you use but the simpler the better to start. I’ll post a video below that will show some that I think are beneficial.
You are not only warming up your muscles but also working to perfect your technique. My opinion is every time you pick up an instrument, you are learning and perfecting your technique. Make it count each time and you will get control of it before you know it.
Another thing I wish I would have done early on is find a group of songs that I liked and learn the chords. In 2018 that’s easier than ever because of the many website that have the chord breakdowns to pretty much every song you could ever want to learn. Back in my learning days you had to buy the books for the entire album and while that was great, you could end up broke trying to buy all the books for the songs you wanted.
My opinion is that, getting a couple of songs under your belt will give you tons of confidence and you are more likely to continue learning and playing. You will start to pick up the skills and technique to make those songs come alive. You will start to see how songs are structured and how the chords play off each other to make the music that you hear and now, can play.
One of the most beneficial thing I’ve picked up lately that I think would be a huge benefit is learning the CAGED system of playing chords. It’s playing the basic chords in a variety of positions and once you learn your basic chords, that acronym will make sense. I will attach a link that shows a great overview of the caged system.
Here are a couple that I found that are helpfull. Remember there are millions that you can chose from but these are a great place to start.
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