The beginning of a new year is a great time to start learning a new skill, and for many people all over the world that means picking up a guitar. Playing an instrument is an invaluable skill – a way to relax, challenge yourself, take pride in an activity, and in some cases, even entertain those around you. And for many who didn’t grow up playing a given instrument – say, in band classes, pep bands, or orchestras – guitar can seem like the most appealing and accessible option. Particularly today, there are so many different ways to learn the basics, it’s almost a shame not to give it a try.
With that said, we wanted to go over some basic tips for beginner guitar players for the year ahead.
Tip #1 – Take A Few Lessons
This probably sounds like the most obvious tip in the world, but here’s the thing: you have a ton of options for learning how to play an instrument online. It’s not just about apps or programs that run you through your chords and teach you the basics. You can also find videos in which experienced teachers or even famous guitarists give you tips. It’s certainly possible to learn the instrument entirely online. Guitar Tricks or JamPlay, for example, are two awesome ways you can start learning how to play guitar through online lessons.
However, even if this is your ultimate plan, you should try to start with some in-person lessons. An online tutorial can be invaluable, but it can’t correct your errors if you aren’t being instructed over live video.
Tip #2 – Learn The Hard Chords
This is something you’ll have to do eventually anyway, and one article about beginner lessons made the interesting observation that a lot of difficult chords for beginners (the example given was F major) are very important to a lot of songs you might want to learn. Therefore, as the article stated, you’re going to have to grit your teeth and learn it. Skipping the hard chords until later might sound appealing, and it can keep your confidence up in the early going – but you may want to go ahead and tackle the challenges.
You’ll become a more complete guitar player in less time.
Tip #3 – Study Musical Theory
It may sound dull to some of you, particularly if you’re only hoping to pick up guitar as a casual hobby. However, music theory can and will make you better over time. Just imagine trying to learn how to organize your finances without knowing the basics about money, or trying to play a sport without knowing the rules.
This is somewhat like learning guitar without studying theory first. You might be able to manage in a basic way, but with a foundation of theoretical understanding, you can vastly improve your ability (and learn more quickly).
Tip #4 – Learn Relaxing Songs First
You can always play guitar for yourself, but it’s nice to have an audience as well – even if it’s just friends and family. And if you want to make a strong impression, you might want to start with relaxing songs. An article was written not too long ago about the science behind different kinds of music, and it stated that relaxing music doesn’t just sound mellow; it’s actually known to make us more likely to relax and enjoy ourselves. Thus, if you learn a few relaxing tunes, you can keep an audience happy and get a better chance to practice with people watching.
Tip #5 – Perfect Your Favorites
The previous tip addressed the idea of learning songs that you can play for other people. But you’ll also need to learn the songs you’ll want to play for yourself! While it’s a good idea to keep trying challenging material and learning new things, you’ll want to make sure that you can enjoy yourself when you simply sit down to play music. Thus, if you perfect a few favorite songs, you may ultimately be more likely to keep practicing on a more regular basis.
Check out our complete list of 100+ easy guitar songs for a great place to start looking for song suggestions.
- How to Play Guitar (an EASY Beginner’s Guide)
- Mastering Guitar Chords – 15+ Experts Share Their Advice and Insights
- 5 Ways to Build Better Habits For Learning Music