The first thing I can tell you about learning guitar is don’t quit just because you cannot master all songs or strums off the top of your head. If you think like that, then you might never become great guitarist (even after years of hard work). It takes time for any new skill to develop into something usable.
Also, stop thinking only about what guitar chords are easy to learn. Why? Because we need more than just being able to memorize everything. We also need to understand what chord patterns sound best together and which ones do not.
So, let me ask you – with which type of music do you usually listen to your favorite artists? Do they mostly use major pentatonic scales OR minor pentatonic scale? If you are a bit lost about guitar scales, take some time to learn about them. They will help so much with music theory.
Obviously, most people would say yes to the former choice. That means those melodies were made using mainly major triads and their variations. Therefore, it is much easier to learn major/minor pentatonics instead of full open chords. Once again, why? Well, try looking up these phrases online and see how fast you can pick them up without a metronome. Or maybe you would prefer to start by picking out every single note within each chord.
Now imagine doing that over hundreds of songs! These are called exercises and they are very important for beginners. They are used to test our ability to form chords. After all, forming chords is basically another way of saying “melodies”. In fact, forming chords is almost similar to creating riffs. Just take notes and remember these basic rules:
Don’t Think Only About Chords & Scales When Practicing Music
We know how difficult it can sometimes be to learn how to play different tunes. Of course, knowing scales is helpful so we can improvise later on. But learning to play along to existing popular songs is where real mastery comes from. Start by focusing solely on the song itself. Make sure you really feel comfortable hearing yourself play before moving onto other parts of the tune.
Speaking with Dan at Sound Check Music Blog, he suggests having a smaller, low-watt tube amp can help a lot as it will allow you to practice at home without annoying your neighbors. In addition, by being able to drive the tubes, you will be able to hear the dynamics of your performance better and make necessary adjustments.
Lastly, don’t be shy to take online guitar lessons or watch video tutorials on YouTube. There are plenty of great instructors out there (including myself) and they can definitely help you with the basics.
Even though we all know how beneficial daily exercise routines are, many musicians still neglect them. Remember, you don’t have to go running around outside to sweat it out while listening to loud metal music. All you need is to sit down somewhere where you won’t disturb anyone, put on headphones, hit shuffle button and start jamming away. You’ll soon find out whether you’re ready to move forward with lessons yet.
Learn How Your Instrument Actually Functions
It’s true that you probably already know quite a lot about guitars since you’ve been playing for several years now. However, just because you’re familiar with certain details doesn’t mean you actually know how your instrument functions. Take the frets for example. Most beginner players focus too much on numbers and forget that each individual finger has its own unique fret height. As mentioned above, once you begin playing along to songs you shouldn’t spend too long trying to figure out exactly what fingering pattern fits perfectly until you’ve gotten accustomed to your particular setup. Instead, concentrate on getting comfortable with your fingers resting on the correct places.
Use A Metronome
If you haven’t started training with a metronome yet, there isn’t a better moment than now. Even experienced guitarists recommend starting with a click-based tempo track rather than relying on their ears alone. Yes, it seems counterintuitive especially if you’re used to having a steady beat under your fingertips during practices. Yet trust me, even though it feels strange at first, eventually it turns into second nature.
Not using a metronome is definitely a bad habit that needs fixing quickly. If you keep going back and forth between slow and fast tempos, your brain learns nothing. Eventually, your ear becomes confused and starts confusing you further. It’s kind of like moving from a poor sound system to a good one. Before long, you will hardly ever hear such a song correctly unless someone else plays it through a speaker. Beginners tend to rely heavily on themselves rather than a tool designed specifically for helping them progress faster. Trust me, if you want to become a pro musician, you must constantly seek improvement.
Know Which Strummings Work Best Together
This is perhaps the most important point to consider regarding learning guitar. One key factor behind successful execution is understanding which combinations of chords fit together naturally.
Some examples include G7(b9) CAGED or DmG(diminished seventh flat six) AmC#dim. Other types of songs will require you to combine various chords together e.g. DmG(diminished sixth flat seven) AmC#dim. Keep in mind that these suggestions aren’t set in stone. By experimenting with various patterns, eventually you’ll discover what works best for you personally.
Another tip is to always pay attention to your left hand whenever you execute certain chords. This is because it often carries the melody. Sometimes it sounds weird since it’s the opposite of what happens for most other instruments. Nevertheless, it does happen due to the special role played by strings. Here’s a short video showing you how to hold your hands properly for both rhythm and lead sections:
Never Stop Improving Yourself!
There are so many aspects involved in becoming a professional guitarist. With that said, it’s vital for us to realize that everyone gets stuck here and there. Everyone makes mistakes. No matter who you are, you should never stop seeking improvements. The worst thing you could possibly do is giving up altogether simply because you failed to achieve something spectacular. Always stay focused on your goals. Be persistent and positive. Let failure inspire you rather than discourage you. Lastly, never compare yourself to others. Comparing your abilities with other people’s results is pointless. Focus on taking small steps towards greatness. Soon enough, you’ll notice your journey transforming into something magical.
Now that you know the basics of how to learn guitar, it’s time for you to get out there and start practicing! Remember to use a metronome, focus on your left hand positioning, and find chords that work together. And most importantly, never give up on yourself! With enough dedication and hard work, you’ll be playing like a pro in no time.