If you have ever thought about learning to play a musical instrument, then the guitar might be a good choice for you. The reason that a lot of people, myself included, choose the guitar is because it is fairly easy to pick up on your own. Sure, you can take guitar lessons if you want, or you can take the teaching into your own hands and be playing a few chords on your own before you know it. If this this something that you are seriously considering, then let me share with you some tips that I picked up along the way as I taught myself to play acoustic guitar.
Before You Start
If you do not yet have yourself a guitar, then you’ll definitely want to get one. An acoustic guitar is a popular choice and you can check out our buying tips here. Some people prefer to learn on an electric guitar though, so it is a good idea to actually pick up a few in a local music store and see which feels better in your hands. Be sure to hold down the strings to see how they feel on your fingertips, since you will be doing a lot of that.
An important thing to remember is that you do NOT need to spend a lot of money on your first guitar. Not only can you get a great sounding guitar for a few hundred dollars, but it will prevent you from sinking a lot of money into something before you know if you really enjoy it as a hobby. I suggest you check out my list of the best beginner’s acoustic guitars.
Get To Know Basic Chords
Playing the guitar is all about knowing the chords. Once you know the basic chords, you can put together your own melodies or easily play those of popular songs. While you can checkout diagrams of the chords, I suggest checking out this blog post where there are actual pictures of some guy’s fingers doing the chording.
You’ll want to practice positioning your hands to make these chords since this is what guitar playing is all about.
It will hurt your fingers. In fact, they will get very sore, very quickly. While is to be expected, you don’t want to over-do it or you can end up with bruised or even bleeding fingertips. So do a little each day, gradually increasing the amount of time that you spend on it so that you develop some calluses on your fingertips. Once this happens, it will be not be quite as painful.
As you memorize the chords and it becomes natural to you, it will be easy for you to transition between them for songs.
Finding Songs To Play
While you can go to a local music store and purchase songbooks of music to play, I think that the easiest way is to just look for guitar tabs online. There are plenty of sites that offer guitar tabs for popular music at no cost. For me, I found that looking for songs with the smallest number of chords and chord changes was the best way to teach myself.
The important thing is to teach yourself only using songs that you are familiar with because you will be able to easily tell just by sound how you are doing and where the problem spots lie. This is a great way to learn to play by ear.
Get Help From Other Players
Even though I’m not a fan of lessons, I have found that just jamming with other players is a great way to pick up tips on playing the guitar. It gives you a way to help each other, and if the other player is better than you then you will definitely be able to learn a lot. Each player has their own style and tips, so playing with a few different guitarists can really help you learn.
You can also find a wealth of information on learning to play by checking out YouTube and other video sites. Plenty of guitar players record lessons and offer them up to people who want to learn – as these are completely free.