Guitar Tips for Beginners
Helpful information for guitar players, get the most our of your time when practicing guitar. Check out this proven practice plan. Guitar Tips for Beginners has many tips and suggestions to help any beginner guitarist improve their skills and knowledge.
1. Practice Plan / Practicing Guitar
If you are serious about learning the guitar – you must design a practice plan that you will be able to stick to. Don’t plan to practice 4 hours a day if there’s no way you can stick to the plan (be realistic). Make sure that you understand that the more time you put into practicing, the more you will see results. If you don’t practice on a consistent basis – you will not improve your skills as fast. You must practice correctly – this means that you must practice using correct techniques, fundamentals, and always stay focused! The more time you put in to practice, and practicing correctly will get you faster results. Even these tips cannot help you if you do not practice, and practice correctly.
I hear this question all the time – “I practice 2 hours a day, but it’s like I’m not making any progress.” Why? It depends. Are you practicing without any type of plan? What are your goals? Are you trying to go too fast – when you can’t even do the skill slow? Focused when you practice? Are you practicing incorrectly? Learning any basics? Are you ready to follow these Guitar Tips for Beginners (the list can go on and on).
Example: Guitar player #1 practices only 45 minutes per day, but uses technique, works on the fundamentals, and is totally focused on practicing to improve. Guitar player #2 practices for over 2 hours a day, but doesn’t work on fundamentals or techniques – he/she just jams and tries to figure out songs, no structure to the practice, etc. I would bet that Guitar player #1 will show the most improvement.
How long should you practice?
The very least you should practice is 30 minutes a day – 5 days a week to get any results. In my opinion, the perfect practice would last about 2-3 hours a day – 5 days a week (or more) for any serious players that want to see results fast. How much should you practice? There’s only one answer to this question. It just depends on what you want to do, and how far you want to go with playing the guitar? Just want just play for the fun of it – 30 minutes a day is fine. If you want to play in a band – 2 hours will get you there. If you want to be a superstar – you will have to eat / sleep / shower, etc with your guitar (6-10 hours per day) and make it part of you!
Progress / Practice / Guitar Tips for Beginners Tracking Form
Use this form to track your progress, and how much you actually practice, etc. Sometimes it’s cool to see your hard work on paper so you can measure how much you practice vs. how much you are improving…Check it out!
Fingertips – What do I do when they start hurting?
In the very beginning (the first month or so) your fingertips are going to hurt. The calluses on the tips of your fingers will start to harden over time. This is a good thing. There is a limit to playing with pain – if you go too far, your fingertips could open up and it could take a while to heal them. Don’t play until you bleed – this will not be beneficial at this stage of your learning process. Your fingertips will start to peel (this is normal), but try not to pull the excess skin off (this could cause problems also). It will hurt your fingertips in the beginning stages of playing, but don’t overdo it! You may have to rest your fingers for a few days (take the time to allow your fingertips to heal and harden). This will get better over time…
What do I mean by convenience? I have my portable practice rig set up next to my chair in my den (where I spend most of my time at home). If I feel like practicing, it’s ready to go! I don’t have to go find cables or CD’s or whatever, it’s all set up and ready to go. Since it’s very convenient, I find time to practice more and more. I can practice while everyone else is watching TV without bothering them. It’s convenient, I am very busy, I find more time to practice because my portable rig is right there, ready to go…
2. The Basics / Fundamentals
It’s great to learn songs, pieces of songs, popular guitar riffs, licks, etc (this keeps things interesting). But without spending time on the fundamentals that’s all you will ever be able to do – just play pieces of songs, a few licks and riffs, etc. I cannot stress how important it is to learn the basic fundamentals! Make this a priority when you practice. In the long run, learning and understanding the fundamentals will make you a better guitar player… Design your practice plan to include both learning the fundamentals and learning songs (a good mixture that will keep things interesting).
3. Reading Music / Tablature (Tabs) / Teachers
I am not recommending that guitar players learn to read music (it’s not for everyone), but in the beginning stages of playing, it wouldn’t be a bad idea to get a teacher and give it a try. Reading music can also take your guitar playing to a different playing level (and fairly quickly). Having a teacher available can answer lots of questions and save you some time. Most players that can read music move on to become studio musicians, etc. It’s just another aspect of playing that you can choose to do (or not to do). I highly recommend that all guitar players learn to read tablature as soon as possible (see our section on tablature for more info). Tablature is everywhere, and is now the standard for guitar and bass players to learn songs, licks, riffs, etc. It is important to understand that reading tablature only shows you the notes / chords that are played in a particular song. This is a great tool for learning songs (and highly recommended). On the other hand, learning to read music would teach you why these notes / chords are used in the song and why.
Teachers / Lessons
If you are a beginner, I would suggest that you get a teacher for the first 4 months you are playing. Then, you really need to only see a teacher once in a while. It is not necessary to take lessons all year around, take a few lessons here and there just to identify areas where you need to improve and get some feedback on your playing.
4. Practice Tips / Guitar Tips / Suggestions
a) Tune your guitar before every practice session.
b) Practice every day that you can – stick to your practice plan!
c) Identify your distractions (such as the TV, Internet, Cell phones, etc) and find a way to work around them.
d) Practice correctly, practice with conviction (demand that you give it everything you have each time you practice) – Get the most out of each practice.
e) Fundamentals – Learn the basics first (the sooner the better) and read guitar for beginners.
f) Keep it Interesting – learn songs as much as possible (but make sure you learn the correct notes, etc).
g) Practice / Jam with other musicians as much as you can (this is fun, but very important). Also check out our chord progression section – it’s awesome…
h) Identify areas that you need to improve, work harder to improve…
i) You can’t do it Fast, if you can’t do it Slow! Start slow, speed will come with lots of practice (this is one of the most important guitar tips you can use).
j) Song List – Keep a list of songs that you’ve learned (write them down in a notebook, etc). This will give you a quick reference to recall when you need to.
Check out this useful handout with additional information on practice tips, etc.
5. Practice Gear / Trainers, Etc
There’s lots of practice gear and trainers out there for guitar for beginners that can help improve their playing skills. Here is just one of many…
The Tascam GB-10 is a must for every serious guitarist (from beginner to advanced). Load a tune, slow it down, add a track. Based on its acclaimed line of instrument trainers, TASCAM’s GB-10 is the ultimate tool for guitar and bass players to learn and record new music. Load up the SD card with your MP3 collection, then loop and slow down licks without changing the pitch. Plug into the 1/4″ input to play along through amp modeling, reverb and other effects. The GB-10 even records your music with an overdub mode to build up arrangements. The GB-10 includes a 2GB SD card for loading in your music collection. Variable Speed Audition allows musicians to independently change the speed and pitch of MP3 or WAV playback. The tabletop design is perfect for practicing almost anywhere. A tuner and metronome are also built-in for precision playback, and a footswitch input allows hands-free control. The TASCAM GB-10 is the ideal practice tool and a great guitar for beginners tip for musicians to build their technique.
Hopefully the information in this Practicing Guitar Tips for Beginners section has been helpful. Remember – Practice is the key to your success on the guitar – think about it – make the commitment, but most of all have some fun! Good luck to you…