Learning to Play the Guitar: 3 Tips for Complete Beginners

Sep 7, 2018 by

Playing an instrument, especially the guitar, is a rewarding experience. It allows you to build confidence and express yourself without having to say anything (unless you’re singing, of course!). It can also be overwhelming with everything you need to master. At times you may find it hard to motivate yourself to practice, or you may feel like you’re learning too slowly.

Don’t worry. It’s completely normal to feel that way, especially if it’s your first time learning an instrument. For beginning guitarists, it can be a challenge to make your fingers move to the right fret and make the proper chord shapes. Then there’s learning to play fingerstyle, which takes a lot of concentration. But when you get it – and you will – the feeling is just awesome.

Of course, it all starts with a good beginner guitar. The Seagull Original S6, Yamaha FG830 and Fender FA-100 are just a few examples of quality acoustic guitar models for beginners. These guitars are comfortable and easy to play, stay in tune, have a good sturdy build and are priced reasonably considering their qualities.

Whether you’re taking group or individual lessons or learning on your own, keep these tips in mind to help you get the most of your practice sessions.

Take it slow.

In everything you do when learning to play the guitar, it’s ideal to take baby steps. It’s easy to get frustrated when you think you’re not learning as quickly as you should compared to other beginners – shrug this off and focus instead on learning at your own pace.

Focus on accomplishing one goal at a time, like learning to play five chords effortlessly before moving on to the next set of chords. It can take you a week, or two weeks – whichever feels natural to you. Remember that nobody becomes a skilled guitarist overnight, so don’t rush it.

Practice properly.

Practicing regularly is important in order to improve your skills. There’s something more important than that, however: practicing properly. It’s imperative that you do things right the first time around than forming bad guitar playing habits that may take years to break.

Proper practice entails paying attention to things such as good posture, preventative stretching and warm-ups, proper hand positioning, guitar tuning and even taking breaks. Doing so will help you get the most out of your practice time.

Stay committed to regular practice time but don’t be too hard on yourself. When you’re feeling down, think about why you want to learn the guitar in the first place, and keep that goal in mind to motivate yourself.

Get some noodling time.

Noodling is term used to mean ‘just playing around’ with your guitar. It’s different from practice in that you’re not really focused on a particular skill. Think about noodling as playing freestyle – anything goes! This is the time for you to break away a little bit from the structured lessons and be more spontaneous with your playing.

Being able to do a bit of noodling will also help in you developing a more positive attitude toward learning to play the guitar. If you feel exhausted at the end of the day and you don’t find it physically or mentally possible to practice seriously, just noodle your guitar. It may not contribute directly to improving your skills but it sure will make you feel better!

Final Word

Learning to play the guitar is a process, not an app you can simply download and install. It takes time and you need to be patient with yourself. Take breaks and have some noodling fun. Most of all, you should know that half the fun of playing the guitar is learning something new every day, so just keep practicing!

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