It never ceases to amaze me that nobody has ever really covered the huge gap in information that the aspiring Guitarist needs before even buying a Guitar. You see most people just go and on a personal desire, "I want to be the next rock god", " I want to be in a band", "I just want to have some fun with the Guitar" or whatever else inspired them, I know I wanted to be the next "rock god"!
I don't think I've ever met anyone yet who said they want to get a Guitar, spend weeks or months on theory, pay for lots of expensive Guitar lessons before they can really start to play, no they just want to play the damn thing!
So what are the eight things to start playing the Guitar?
We start at the very beginning!
1: About your Guitar!
Some good when buying your first Guitar is to buy it from a Music store that sell mainly Guitars, they will have a good range of Guitars you can try out with many to suit your . Smaller stores will not have the range and may be more expensive, but anyway you might just bag yourself a bargain! Whatever store you use NEVER be pushed into buying a Guitar the salesperson wants you to have, remember they are probably on a commission. What do you mean you've already got one! Then well done you!
Lets move on to the next stage.
2: Understanding the Beginners mindset!
Got my Guitar so now what do I do?Take some lessons?
I'm a bit radical here, NO not yet! They are expensive and at this stage you will only remember about 10 - 20% of what you are shown, take some lessons when you have mastered the very basics at least and you know what style you want to play, you see Classical Guitar don't know the best heavy metal riffs, and heavy metal guys don't always know great Country and Western, you getting my drift here!
3: Should you learn to read Music or Tab?
It's not really necessary to read Music or Tab to get you started but learning either will only help you later in your playing ability and understanding of song structure. Tab is written mostly for Guitars, they say it's easier than music? Well I'm not really sure,I will keep on the fence on this one!
4: So what do you need to learn?
How to tune the thing:
Best advice, get a tuner or pitch pipes, because playing an out of tune Guitar will sound like you are stroking a cat with a bag of very sharp nails - not pleasant!
The notes of each string starting from the top are E. A. D. G. B. E. Start by tuning the bass E string (the fat one) using the tuner or pitch pipes. Gently turn the tuning key (machine head) to the left or right until the string sound matches the note on the tuner or pitch pipe, loosening the string will lower the note, tightening the string will raise the note. When this string is in tune repeat the process using the tuner or pitch pipes through the other strings, when all are tuned you are now at concert pitch and are ready to play.
5: How to hold the Guitar: lefties remember change right for left etc.
This is easy!
Sit on an open sided kitchen or the of your bed, put both feet flat on the floor (mind the beer glass) cross your right leg over you left knee and sit the curved edge at the bottom of the Guitar over your right knee and pull the Guitar back towards your body until it feels snug. You should be able to let go of the Guitar a bit and it will stay put. Put your right arm over the Guitar and place your right thumb over the sound hole or pick up area of the Guitar, extend your left arm and gently cup the Guitar neck at the far end near the tuning heads, your left thumb should be in the middle of the back of the neck and your fingers are in front of the Guitar neck, done!
6:How to strum the strings.
Even easier! Who said learning to play was hard!!
While you are sat ready to play your right thumb is over the sound hole or pickup area so clench that hand into a loose fist, your fingernail knuckles towards the strings, now give me a thumbs up (stick your thumb up) and turn you fist 45 , to wards the strings and brush down through all 6 strings with the base of your thumb just under the starting edge of your nail, Yahoo! Well done, one strum!
7:How to keep time.
Wow, this all just keeps getting easier and easier!
Now that your seated and have strummed the Guitar, your foot that is flat on the floor comes into play (excuse the pun) tap that foot on the floor four times and at the same time count out loud 1 2 3 4 keep the counting at a very steady speed, now strum the Guitar with your thumb at the same speed and time as your counting and foot tapping and do four strums, there you go! Another bit of advice here, don't tap your foot to hard as it can p-off your neighbors and partners in the house, hey ho! How long will it take to learn these things 15 to 20 minutes tops, I just saved you loads on lessons there!
8: How to play all the basic open end OOPS!
No! This is really easy! Just goggle search "How to play Guitar chords" and at my there was 17,800,000 options (04/12/2011)! You should get what you want there! I suggest you start with the simple chords A, D and E.
So there you have it. The mystery revealed, all the very basics are here for you now it's down to you, do the work and you really can be the next "Rock God"! One last piece of advice, love your Guitar and it will love you back ten fold ! Good luck Guitarist!!
Call the Danville Blues Society and schedule your guitar lessons today.