Make Your Life Easier With These Tips For Learning Guitar

tips for learning guitar - man playing acoustic guitar

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Learning to play the guitar isn’t always easy! When you first sit down, it can seem overwhelming – all those notes and chords to memorize! The key is to take it slowly and use the resources you have available to you to learn the guitar, such as online videos or even an online guitar learning course. You can also make sure you know all the helpful tips for learning guitar, which will make the process easier.

Keep Your Fingernails Trimmed to the Right Length.

On your fretboard hand, typically your left hand, you should keep your nails short and neatly trimmed. Long nails make it difficult to play on your fingertips, and you’ll end up playing on the pads of your fingers instead. That makes it more difficult to press down with enough strength, and it can dampen your sound.

On your picking hand, longer nails are fine because you can use them to pluck the strings. However, make sure to file off your nails or at least trim them, so you have smooth tips. Otherwise, the rough edges may affect your sound.

Tune Your Guitar Every Time You Sit Down to Play.

Tuning your guitar can be a pain. However, it only takes a few minutes to do. It’s important because it helps your mind solidify the correct pitches while you’re practicing. Plus, it makes it easier to hear if you’re playing the wrong note! If you’re not ready to tune by ear, you can use a tuner. In fact, you’ll find many free apps available just for tuning, such as GuitarTuna or Yousician. Then, all you do is play the string and twist the tuning key on the head for the correct string to make the note flatter or sharper. Watch the tuner to see how you need to adjust.

Loosen Your Grip.

This tip may seem counter-intuitive, particularly when you’re trying to get a good sound. When you start playing, though, you tend to place your thumb on the top of the fretboard to make sure you can press the strings down. The problem with this grip is that it tilts your hand so you’re not playing your fingertips. Instead, put your thumb behind the fretboard. It won’t feel as natural, but it will allow you to use your fingertips to play.

Watch Online Videos.

Online videos are a great way to learn about the guitar. You can see how to properly handle the guitar, how a chord should look, and what proper posture should look like. Videos can teach you chords, songs, how to read music, and a wide variety of other things about the guitar. Plus, videos are just a great way to get started. You can find a variety of videos just for beginners in this online course, so you won’t be lost when you’re just starting out!

Slow Down to Learn New Music.

When you’re practicing something over and over, you tend to speed up just because it gets a little boring. The problem is you start making mistakes if you speed up too soon. Instead, practice at a slow, steady pace, making sure you get each note or chord correct while staying in time with the beat. Use a metronome if you’re having trouble staying on the beat. Speed will come naturally as you perfect each new song.

Practice as Often as You Can.

People say, “Practice makes perfect!” for a reason[1]. You can’t get better if you’re not practicing often. It doesn’t have to be a lot of time, but you should practice frequently if possible. For instance, try 15-30 minutes a day if you can. Maybe that’s not feasible for you. In that case, aim for at least 2-3 times a week. The more often you play, the better your dexterity and hand strength will be.

Don’t Play Your Fingers Raw.

While it is important to practice, you also need to know when to stop. That is, your wrist and fingers can be really tender when you’re first starting out. If you want to practice hours every day, you need to work up to that. Start out slowly, and when you start feeling strained or in pain, don’t be afraid to take a break from the guitar!

That being said, make sure your posture is correct while you’re playing as incorrect posture could be leading to wrist pain. In fact, if your wrist is twisted or you’re putting too much pressure on it, you can end up with a wrist injury. Watch videos to see the best way to hold your guitar to minimize this risk.

Challenge Yourself to Learn New Music.

You don’t want to jump into something super complicated as a beginner, as that can just be frustrating. However, you should be constantly working to learn new chordsnotes, and songs. If you’re just doing the same thing over and over, you’re not going to grow as a musician. That being said, don’t try to learn something new until you’ve done well with the last thing you tried. Only learning things halfway won’t get you anywhere.

Work on Hard Chords, Too.

While it can be tempting to just skip over those bar chords, you really should work on mastering them. When you first start out, yes, they are difficult to play, and they will sound awful. However, you have to sound bad before you can sound good, and you won’t sound good if you never try playing those hard chords! Start tackling them one at a time, and you’ll find you’ll slowly build up hand strength and start to sound better.

Did These Tips for Learning Guitar Help You?

These tips for learning the guitar should help you on your musical journey. Of course, you can’t learn everything from one article, so making sure you’re exploring our website, reading books, take an online course, and doing all you can to learn everything about the instrument! In time, the guitar will get easier as you build up hand strength, memorize chords and notes, and work on your rhythm and improvisation.

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Rick is the founder of All Stringed. He started playing with a classical guitar when he was 10, but changed soon to electric guitar and later also to an acoustic. You can find more about him here.