So you’ve finally got your hands on a guitar that you’ve dreamt about getting for years! It could be lent to you, bought as a present, bought it yourself off your first ever working wage. Whatever the circumstance, you’re here and ready to rock to your favourite tunes! Or start a band and conquer the globe? Who knows. Here’s 5 valuable tips when learning acoustic guitar without a teacher!
Only Fools Rush In
Yes, don’t fly into this at a hundred miles an hour and expect miracles. It should be as relaxed as possible. Panicking about it will make you quit it quicker.
The first phase of guitar is holding it properly believe it or not. And positioning your plectrum between your fingers in YOUR most comfortable way, and still being able to strum the guitar. And just ghost play the guitar. You don’t really need a chord right now, but feel free. Just strum up and down the strings, get a feel for it.
Keep It Simple When Learning Chords
I found that the most simplest way of learning chords was learning the note each string represents.To remember it easily I used “Every Alsatian Dogs Got Big Ears”. Those highlighted letters are the strings EADGBE from top string to bottom string. You’ll need that information!
And for chords I would be relentless at finding pictures of the basic beginner chords – preferably close ups, with dots highlighted where to place your fingers, or better yet – pictures of actual fingers on the chord you’re trying to play! It might sound stupid… but knowing what finger to put where on a chord can seem daunting for a beginner. So try searching for easily explained chords.
For example, here’s a picture of the top section of your fret board. The clear circles mean these strings are open and to be played with the chord. The X means you miss the string when playing the chord. The numbers are your fingers from 1 to 4. Number 1 being your index finger, you can work out the rest!
Your Plectrum Will Fly Out Your Hand Too Often.
When you begin your journey to becoming the next Hendrix, it’s all too easy to throw yourself into the deep end. By that I mean you want to play your favourite song and chances are the chord structure will be quite difficult. If the chords aren’t difficult, the strumming pattern will be. Find your songs done acoustically, search tutorial videos giving you breakdowns of each section of a song. Learning strumming patterns will be ALOT easier when you can copy from a tutorial video. And during this phase you will catch strings you didn’t mean to and your plectrum will go flying! Your guitar also loves to swallow your plectrum. But don’t be put off by that, it still happens to me.
Getting Through The Sore Finger Phase.
You’ll quickly notice that your fingers are becoming agony from trying to play chords. But this is only temporary, after a while, the string dents on the tips of your fingers will develop a layer of tough skin over them, and then it’s absolutely pain free! You need to be determined at this stage of learning, but take a break for 2-3 days. You can always purchase finger protectors. Don’t let pain beat you, you’re on your way to success if you make it through this phase!
Muscle Memory & Guitar Maintenance.
Learning guitar creates muscle memory. It’s a bit like driving a car. You’ll be terrible to start with, but then you’ll get so good you won’t need to think about it. You’re on auto-pilot, your fingers will be going straight to the learned notes, moving from chord to chord and strumming like a pro in no time. Well I say no time, you’ll get out of this what you put into it. Don’t worry if you break a string after a while, you can pick up more for really cheap and restringing the guitar is EASY! Here’s a 2 minute video of it here. Also it’s good to keep your strings sounding gig ready, after a while they can become dull and playing it isn’t as great! https://youtu.be/YAGe8dMUPrQ
That’s pretty much all the tips I can give you without charging you £30 an hour. I hope you succeed at this and become the rock star you’ve dreamed to be. If not, then you can use your guitar as an ornament in your house you absolute failure.