Learning to Play the Guitar: Beginners Guide

A lot of people learn to play the guitar on their, or at least they make a start with playing the guitar on their own. It helps if you are disciplined and have will power. For this short article a few tips for those who like to do it on their own.

                           Use of Fingers:

Most people will dive in straight away with learning to play chords. Chords, because they have found them in their favourite songs, and most people like to play what they know. Playing chords is fine, and they will take time to sound good simply because you are fretting more than one string.
In the beginning you need to work on your fingers to get them to work for you. To get your fingers to work play simple single string ideas over just one string. You can play anything on the high E string. Just play a few notes with your index finger. Once you can press the string down with your index finger progress to using your middle finger. Play similar ideas as what you did before. Progress with this kind of approach until you have covered all four fingers of your fretting hand, including your little finger. Do not forget this finger as it is an important one and a lot of intermediate players of the guitar need to work on this as they have ignored using it right from the beginning.

                       Chords and Wrist of Strum Hand:

Once you can play a few single string ideas try your hand at open string chords. They are called open string chords because they are a mix of fretted notes and open strings. All the open string chords can be found in the first position of the guitar. Try to fret a G and Em and then move from one to the other one. In the beginning it will take time to move from one to the next chord. Strum each chord with a down stroke. You can use a pick or just use your thumb.
Once you can hold down your down strums try upstrums, look at your wrist of your strumming hand, try to get it relaxed and nice and easy. This will take time as the wrist of the strumming hand is stiff with most beginners. The movement of the wrist is quite specific for playing the guitar, hence your wrist not being used to the movement it needs to make. You can even use a mirror to see how your wirst looks like. Look at the wrist of experienced guitar players to get and idea how to use your wrist. Remember everyone does have a different body, so looking at other guitar player’s hands should only be used as a guide. There is no such thing as wrong body or hand, anyone can learn to play and use their hands accordingly, but you will need to work on getting your hands (and fingers) to work for you.

                     Chords: Picking and Strumming:

One you can hold down a few chords and strum these chords, try to pick those chords. Picking is where you play one string at a time. It is with picking that you will start to notice how important it is to play all those strings clearly. Your strings need to sound clear and not muffled. Againg you need to play and play to get your chords to sound clear.
A good song to learn for picking chords is “House of the Rising Sun”.  The song contains five open chords, once you can play this song you are on your way with using those chords to how you would like them to sound like.

                    Beyond Picking and Stumming:

The guitar can be played to fullfil many different tasks within the field of playing music. Most people will only cover the basics of playing, It may give them enough satisfacion. For those who are really keen there is a world of knowledge to digest: Look at as many guitar hand books as you can, read about your favourite guitar players, see what they used to learn how to play the guitar. Start reading books about guitars, find out why certain guitars play, and sound, they way they do. If you are interested in electric guitar, there is of course the amplifier and various effects you can use to make the guitar sound different. Playing with effects is a skill on its own, and again, it will take time and effort to master the use of it.
If you stick with it playing the guitar is for the rest of your life and as long as you keep yourself occupied there is plenty to be learned. Those who will claim “I know it all” may need to look, and listen, again at what it is they really know.

Happy exploring.