While some may think it too big a challenge, a few simple tips can clear away the clouds of doubt and confusion and prevent you from getting discouraged quickly. A little preventive medicine can save time, money, and much disappointment down the line. Here are a few guidelines to help any new guitarist get started:
What Do You Want To Play?
This may be the biggest single question you answer, as it’s the basis for all your future choices. What-or who- you want to sound like will determine your choice of instrument, where you get lessons, where you play and even what other types of musicians you play with. Pay attention to the things that you listen to – which songs or licks inspire you to become a guitarist? How do you envision yourself once you’ve learned to play? This all leads to:
Choosing Your Instrument
Based on your choices of what you want to play and the sound you want to achieve, the next step is of prime importance – what kind of guitar do you want? If you’re a blossoming singer-songwriter or fan of soft rock, you’ll want an acoustic or acoustic-electric so you can eventually plugin and maybe present your songs onstage. Depending on your style of music (i.e.- country, folk, rock, etc) you’ll want to pay some attention to the body style and selection of wood. Harder woods give more sustain, lighter strings are better for fast fingering. Take a look at the guitars played by the people who inspire you. With the help of the Internet, it’s easy to find great deals and product reviews.
If you’re dreaming of being the next rock guitar god, you still have choices. A blues-rock man ala Eric Clapton or Stevie Ray Vaughn will lean towards a Fender Stratocaster (or some of the excellent and less-expensive copies) while a heavy-metal hero may want a flying-v or it’s equivalent. There are also additional choices to consider: prices are all over the spectrum, and you’ll need additional equipment such as amplifiers, effects pedals and the like. Consider your budget restraints, shop around, and spend time trying out the different combinations. Whatever your choice of style, be sure it’s something worth owning and something you’ll feel comfortable playing. You absolutely must like the way it sounds or you’ll get discouraged before you know it. Oh, and get something that stays in tune- you want to spend your time playing your guitar, not tuning it. Got your guitar picked out? Great! Now it’s time to –
Learn Your Art!
Music lessons used to conjure up images of stodgy piano teachers and long hours after school away from your friends, but not anymore. Thanks to the Internet, finding guitar lessons is easier than ever, from free lessons to get started to advanced instruction for the would-be pro. High-quality video lessons are readily available, but if you prefer the personal touch, check with your local music store(s) and find out who’s teaching what you want to learn. Be sure to find someone comfortable with the style you want to play. Someone specializing in death-metal probably won’t help you learn finger-style flamenco! After you have a few chords in your repertoire, you’ll have a lot of fun learning by playing with other guitarists, so get over the embarrassment and get in the groove.