Keith Richards, Jimi Hendrix, Eddie Van Halen… We all want to be guitar Gods and rock out on the stage like the legends that inspire us but how on earth we can get that good? Well they’ll be the first to tell you they started at the very beginning just like you. It’s no use sitting at home and just wishing to be that good, you’ve got to warm up those fingers and pick up your guitar because it is time to shred. Here are key guitar tips for beginners.
Pick the Right Tools
The best can play anything but you need to start off with simple equipment perfect for a beginner. There’s a lot of equipment that you don’t need to worry about just yet, so forget the pedals and capo because they’ll only confuse and make learning difficult at first. All you need is a simple lightweight guitar, 15W amplifier and set of different sized plectrums. All the big brands such as Yamaha, Epiphone and Fender offer guitars aimed at new starters but still have premium quality to give a crisp sound. There are even plenty of tuning apps available for phones now to keep the costs down. Once you have your gear you’re ready to start.
Warm Up Those Fingers
Playing the guitar takes a lot more hand and wrist articulation that you initially think so before diving in you need to limber up those fingers, not only to improve your coordination but also to stop any potential injuries or aches. Practising some simple stretches daily can make the world of difference to your playing ability. Place your palms together like a prayer and hold them close to your chest and then push your palms forward but still together as far as you can until you feel a stretch then rest and repeat. Then do the same but rotate your hands as they go forward to increase flexibility.
Similarly, using the palm of your hand stretch each finger back towards your forearm individually and hold for five seconds and then move onto the next. Do these stretches each time before you play, and even on days you don’t to keep them nice and flexible.
A simple technique to help coordination is to lay your hands on a flat surface in front of you and spread your fingers and give each one a number from 1-10 – then say a number out loud and lift just the corresponding finger, this sounds simple at first but it helps enforce coordination between your brain and fingers. Repeat until you get faster and you can make it more difficult by asking a friend to say the numbers, or rather than counting a simple 1-10 mix the numbers up for example starting with the left hand’s little finger go 7, 3, 2, 5 etc. That can make it fiendishly difficult but the more you practice the quicker you’ll be. Pair the stretches and coordination practice and once you have your hands on a guitar you’ll be infinitely more comfortable and in control.
The Most Important Lesson
This may sound stupid but practice, practice and more practice. Guitar tips and lessons are good but it is also key to know how to effectively practice so you’re not just wasting your time. You have to accept you’re starting at square one just like everyone else did so don’t give yourself any expectations or goals yet, simply get to know the guitar. Repeat each and every chord until you can do them without even thinking, practice on the guitar and off the guitar by forming your hand as necessary. Don’t move forwards until you have mastered the first step, getting ahead of yourself can lead to frustration and quitting and that counts for both practical and also musical theory.
If you hit a brick wall don’t beat yourself up and keeping running into it, take a step backwards and think why is it happening and what can I do to improve? It’s also important to enjoy learning too, take some time to ‘noodle’ which is a term guitarists use that basically means having fun and free styling. The learning process doesn’t have to be entirely strict and regimented, take some time to have some fun with what you’ve learnt so far.
Get Some Help
Being self-taught is entirely possible, just ask the likes of Eric Clapton and Jimi Hendrix who are two of the indisputable greats, however, it makes the process harder than it needs to be and often you need a natural talent for music to thrive. Getting some professional guitar tips and lessons can be a massive help to your learning curve. A second pair of eyes can see what you’re doing well, or what needs work and can lay out plans for what you need to do to progress.
Whether you need very regular lessons to guide you, or if you just need sparse lessons as a check-up on your progress there’s options and different styles of tutors available to you. With Mammalo you can find the perfect tutor for you, pick a local verified professional suitable by checking out their profiles.
If all else fails and these guitar tips can’t help then here’s a playlist of guitar Gods and some of the most famous riffs and solos that’ll be sure to inspire you and light a spark for you to pick up your axe and rock out!