There is lots of misinformation out there on how to learn the guitar. This of course, makes even more difficult for the beginner guitar player. Here are 5 things that every beginning guitarist needs to know…
1. There is no such thing as an overnight guitar success. Sorry, but you cannot learn to play the guitar like a virtuoso overnight! The good news is you can learn your first guitar chords, guitar scales and possibly even your first song on your first night.
However, there is a catch. Even though you may be able to play the notes in the song, it will still take focused practice for you to play guitar and sound like a pro.
2. The “free” guitar tab sites are not always accurate. Some of the free tab you find on the Internet is okay, but unfortunately, a lot of it is wrong. I am sure you do not want to waste your time learning a song only to discover later that the tab is wrong.
Remember, anyone can put up a website or post to a site. This means that someone who has only played guitar for a month could have done the tab you are about to learn! I recommend getting started with real, professionally published songbooks. Once you have been playing for a while you can explore the free tablature.
3. Spend some time learning guitar songs. This might seem obvious, but I still see beginners that think they have to learn a ton of things before they can start playing songs. Unfortunately, a lot of these beginners end up quitting out of sheer frustration or boredom before they get into the fun stuff: playing songs.
Remember the reason you decided to play guitar: to play your favourite guitar songs. If you never spend any time working on fun songs, how long do you think you will continue to play guitar?
4. Spend time learning guitar chords, guitar scales and guitar theory. If you spend all of your guitar time learning and practicing songs, it will actually take you longer to learn songs than it should. Chords, scales and theory are the building blocks of songs. Once you know how these building blocks work you will be able to learn songs faster.
5. Set aside a specific amount of time each day that is just for guitar practice. Imagine you decide that you want to get into good physical shape. You join a gym and start to workout. Let us say you do this once a month. How long do you think it would take you to get into good shape? Now compare this to working out 3-4 times a week or even daily. What do you think your results would be?
It is obvious. If you workout daily, you will get into better shape quicker than if you were to workout only once a month.
It is no different when learning to play the guitar. Playing the guitar once a month does not give your brain and fingers enough practice for you to learn the guitar in a reasonable amount of time. As a bear minimum, you should practice at least once every week. If you want better results, you will want to practice at least every other day. If you want to learn the guitar fast, practice every day.
I know what you are thinking. You have all kinds of time commitments. There is not enough time in the day to do this. For some ideas on how to get more time for playing guitar check out my article: 17 Ways to Get More Time to Play Guitar. Now here is the important thing to keep in mind:
You will progress at a faster rate if you practice thirty minutes each day as opposed to playing for an hour every other day. Think about this: if you cram the night before an exam, you may still be able to do reasonably well, but you will find that the information will not remain in your long-term memory for very long. A few days or weeks after the big exam, most of the information that was “crammed” will be forgotten.
Research has shown that distributed practice (learning spread over many sessions) is far superior for recall than massed practice (cramming everything into one session).
Consistent daily practice will improve your motor skills exponentially. Mastery of the guitar requires that you not only memorize chords, scales, songs, etc, but you must also fine-tune your motor skills.
The good news is that you do not have to practice for hours and hours every day to learn to play the guitar. Once you understand how to practice for maximum results, you will be able to get great results from every practice session. Whether your practice session is 20 minutes or an hour, when you know how to practice you will get great results.