how to play guitar Archives

guitar strings (3)Learning how to play guitar has been one of the best things I’ve done in my life. Well next to marrying Jenny and the birth of our son Stephen. I’ve found learning how to play my acoustic guitar has given me a great way to relax and relieve stresses in my life.

Personally I can’t stand being in front of a camera and especially don’t like being recorded. So for this reason you might understand why I don’t produce videos of my own. Heck before I can even play guitar with friends I have to have a few strong drinks, just to get over being so shy.

So today I am going to include a few learning how to play guitar for beginners videos as well as recommending Jamorama.com or Jamplay.com as a great place to start learning how to play guitar faster with structured lessons and videos.

Finger Exercises For Learning to Play Guitar

I found this learning how to play guitar video with Joseph Kim. He does an exercise I only learned a short time ago, after years of playing guitar, and it has helped my speed and accuracy. Just wish I’d seen this video 10 years ago but better late than never.

The key to learning exercises like the four finger exercise in the video is to start slow and be accurate. Speed comes as you get muscle memory. The phrase ‘practice makes perfect’ assumes you are practicing correctly and not practicing bad habits.

I’ve said it a hundred times but it’s always worth repeating for new visitors. I didn’t learn how to play guitar until I was 47 and I say this because you may need to know it’s never too late to learn how to play guitar.

I love spending time learning more about playing guitar on Youtube and I’m sure I visit at least a couple of times a day.

adult-guitar-lessons-125It’s been almost 10 years since I learned how to play acoustic guitar and the only thing I regret is not learning earlier. I wanted to learn back when I was just 27 but was a bit too shy to even play with friends and soon just gave my guitar away.

Twenty years past and I constantly regretted giving up just because I was afraid others would make fun of me but that’s life and at least I didn’t go any longer before learning to play guitar. It was kind of funny because I became a computer instructor and it was one, well two, of my networking students that got me started.

Now that we have the Internet and especially Youtube I have no problem because I never have to play in front of people, if I don’t want to. I’m still as shy and nervous as I was way back in the 70s but still learned because of online help.

There is a bucket load of online sites one can learn from and many courses, a few of them I have taken myself, and they are very affordable. And I don’t have to have some jerk that feels he’s better than I am make me feel small.

I was using CB Engine this morning to see what I could find for ‘Guitar Lessons’ on the Clickbank marketplace and found a site specifically for helping those of us who aren’t 20 any more, learn how to play guitar. It’s called Adult Guitar Lessons.

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Acoustic Guitar Tablatures or Tabs

playing guitarI didn’t learn how to play acoustic guitar to impress others. Instead I saw guitar as a great way to entertain myself and enjoy my favourite songs, even when the radio wasn’t available. I could head to my bedroom, pick up my and play without bothering others in the family.

Today I play my acoustic guitar right in the living room while we’re watching TV and not really bother anyone. Note that I don’t bang on my guitar like some of my son’s friends do. That would bother anyone trying to do anything, in my opinion of course.

Learning From Tablatures AKA Tabs

When you look at a guitar tab you are looking at the neck of a six string guitar. If you look at the Happy Birthday tab below you’ll see that it’s marked on the left with the names of the six strings, E B G D A E.

happy birthday tabs

If you flip your guitar over so the strings are facing you it’s easier to see how they match.

acoustic guitar strings

I don’t read music very well but I do find it pretty easy to read guitar tabs.

Most tabs I find today look very similar to the one I’ve shown above but these don’t give any timing, however I have found many tablatures that are broken into measures so it’s easier to get the timing right. Usually I have the song playing in the background while I’m learning the tabs, just so I have the right timing.

Finding Tablatures For The Songs You Like

When I am looking for song tabs I will do a simple search using Google. If I am looking for Margaritaville tabs by Jimmy Buffett I will type the following:

Margaritaville Jimmy Buffett tabs

Note: You will find that a lot of people will use the word tabs when posting songs lyrics and chords, just to get more traffic but it doesn’t mean that they will all have the tablatures. Most will be likely to have only the chords, so you may have to look through a few of the links in the listings.

guitar tab for margaritaville

Like the tab above it most often gives you that distinctive melody that sticks in your head but isn’t always so easy to figure out. Usually when you play a riff like the Jimmy Buffett Margaritaville everyone recognizes it immediately. So it’s nice to know them to give a bit of an intro to the song.

I don’t do so well at learning by ear. I can get some of the chords but then get so frustrated with it. So when I want to learn a new song quickly I look for the guitar chords and to learn the intros or riffs in the song I look for guitar tabs.

There are literally thousands upon thousands of guitar tabs available and I’m still finding them for songs I know that I had forgotten about for years. So much fun learning how to play guitar using tablatures.

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Simple Tips To Remember When Learning to Play Acoustic Guitar

acoustic electric guitarOne can learn many musical instruments, but when you learn to play acoustic guitar, it’s a completely different story. Something about the acoustic guitar makes it different from the rest. I believe it’s due, at least in part, to its versatility.

A Variety of Guitars

I’ve got a few friends who not only have an and another has a but by far it’s acoustic guitars that most start with. Unlike the solid electric guitar, the acoustic one has a hollow body and doesn’t make use of amplification to produce sound. Instead, it relies on natural sound produced by strings when its vibrations bounce around inside the guitar body’s hollow cavity.  So, there’s no need for an amplifier, well unless you own an .

Most people who are trying to learn how to play acoustic guitar often end up frustrated. That may be because they fail to pay heed to things that could help make the lessons easier. That’s not to say that acoustic guitar lessons are difficult. It’s far from it.

Start Simple And Hang In There

Today, with the Internet at your fingertips there’s no reason learning to play guitar should be difficult. There are just too many places online for you to learn to play a guitar that there really is no excuse other than you really don’t have your heart in it. My experience is that most who give up do so because their fingers begin to hurt. We all went through that so just hang in there for another week or two and they will toughen up and it will all be behind you.

My recommendation for two site where you can’t go wrong are Jamorama and Jamplay. Both are well worth the membership fee. Then you can add Youtube and learn just about any song by searching for it as a cover tune. I have learned so many songs there but it all starts with the two sites I mentioned first so that you can a good solid learning background.

The key to your success at learning to play guitar is to stay focused while practicing and to find songs that match the chords and stage you’re at right now and for me that’s where Youtube really shines.

As much as possible, you need to start with a song that has a simple chord progression. When I first learned I started with easy chords like C, G Am and D, which makes hundreds of songs available to learn.

I use Google to search for songs I like so I can find them with the chords included. That way I can download them to my computer and then follow along as I play the song on Youtube or from my collection of songs. But I do prefer Youtube over just having the song because so many people do covers for songs and use their acoustic guitars.

Keep Your Guitar Tuned Properly

The first thing you want to do before you ever start playing guitar is . This way you can be sure the guitar is tuned so that you are producing the right notes, otherwise something will not sound right. When a song doesn’t sound right it’s discouraging as well as frustrating because most people thing they are doing something wrong when it’s only the guitar not tuned correctly.

Example: Just yesterday the high temperatures and high humidity broke so the temp dropped and the humidity was gone. Almost immediately my acoustic guitar started to sound different. It had gone out of tune in just one hour and needed tuning.

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Acoustic Guitar For Beginners

Let me start by saying that anyone learning how to play acoustic guitar for beginners should pace themselves and complete one course before starting the next. I could say that you should give each course you take a week or maybe two but the fact is that not all people learn at the same pace.

Learn At Your Own Pace

For a long time I studied every day but found I was not learning as fast as I thought I should be, then someone told I should try studying every other day as it give the brain time to take in the lessons.

In the back of my mind I thought he was a bit off but tried it, just out of frustration.

I was actually amazed that it really worked. It renewed my energy for learning and even though it took me twice as long to do lessons I was learning faster than before. My learning pace increased in speed without the pressure I was feeling before.

Seeing Helps Me Learn Faster

I have to say I love using Youtube.com, Jamorama.com or Jamplay.com to learn more about playing my Yamaha acoustic guitar. I learn the most from the videos I watch, over and over. Watching someone play helps me learn much faster.

I’m on a limited budget so I can’t just go out and rent video but I can afford a membership at Jamorama and Jamplay. The fact that Youtube is free is just a bonus for my.

I know that when I am at guitar jams I learn to play songs so much faster. I’m pretty sure it’s because I can see finger position, strumming and the timing of each song. The timing is where I have the most stress for some reason and seeing it with my own eyes just makes it work for me.

For the riffs in songs I usually don’t play them unless I can watch someone playing them. Hearing it just doesn’t work for me, although I do better than when I started so maybe over time I will master playing by ear.

With a video tutorial, you would get a systematic instructional on how to read chords, locate the appropriate chords on your guitar, tune your guitar, and play an entire acoustic song. You can definitely learn a lot from these videos and video sharing websites.

Jamorama - Learn Guitar

Use Guitar Tablature And Chord Sites

Even if you’re a beginner, it’s safe to assume that you have your share of favourite acoustic artists. After all, it’s impossible to embrace a love for the instrument if you didn’t have inspiration.

Try to take advantage of the Internet by searching for a tablature (tabs) that your favourite artist transcribed. Nothing beats the feeling of having to learn the instrument from no less than your favourite artist.

One of the main reasons I like Youtube so much is because of those who cover artist’s songs using an acoustic guitar. Some artists even do acoustic versions of their songs to share with fans.

I have to say that I do find it quite frustrating when anyone plays an acoustic version of a song using a guitar but doesn’t show the hands for strumming and chord changes. I usually give them a thumbs down. Who cares if I can see your face, I want to see your hands.

Learning how to play acoustic guitar should be fun and with not too much stress. I get stressed a bit but that’s just me. When I finally find someone that can show me what I need to know I calm down.

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7 Reasons You Should Consider Buying a Used Guitar

learn to play guitarIf you turn your nose up at the thought of buying a , you really need to rethink things a bit.  There is no better way to stretch your dollars and get more guitar for your money.

When I was learning to play guitar, about 10 years ago, I bought a used guitar from a friend buying a new guitar. She learned on a used and was ready for that new one giving me the opportunity to get a good guitar, although used, for just $75.00.

Then it was a matter of money for me but even my second guitar was a used one and at that time I didn’t have money issues. I have been more than happy with them.

So, here are some reasons why a used guitar might turn out to be a better option that a new one in some cases.

Reason #1 – Really the design of the guitar hasn’t changed much over the past few decades so unlike computers or electronics which seem to be updated yearly.

Reason #2 – For The Price.  This is probably the biggest and best difference.  A used guitar be as much as 50% cheaper than the same model new and there are many used guitars that show so little wear or marks that you’d swear it was brand new.

Reason #3 – Guitars are made of wood and wood ages over time changing the sound.  This is especially true with acoustic guitars if you offered me a 30 year old Martin or Gibson acoustic in good condition or said I could have a brand new one for the same price, I’d take the old used guitar every time.

Now I’m not saying that ALL old acoustic guitars are a great buy.  The aging of the wood causes changes in the humidity.  If the guitar has been subject to drastic changes in humidity and/or temperature it could crack. 

Reason #4 – Bringing a used guitar to life and making it your own is very rewarding.  You bring the guitar home, remove the strings, clean the fretboard and vacuum the inside of the body out (if it’s acoustic), oil the neck, restring it and polish it and now it’s as good as new and it has some of your personality added to it.

Reason #5 – Many used guitars have actually seen very little use in the first place.  They get bought and then strummed every now and then before the owner decides they don’t use it enough and wants to sell it off.  This is where you swoop in and get a great guitar for a great price.

Reason #6 – Some older guitars are built from woods that either do not get used as much anymore or simply cost a lot more.  Wood such as Brazilian rosewood and bubinga are beautiful woods that create a rich and full sound but they are more rare these days so your best bet of getting a guitar built with them is to buy used.

Reason #7 – Construction techniques have become automated.  Some older guitars were handmade and there was a lot more attention to detail.  That’s not to say that there aren’t companies today using automation and building great instruments, it just that your chances of getting something unique are very low.

The days of a luthier hand selecting each guitar top based on the one it produced when he tapped it and listened to the wood are over for production line guitars and reserved only for the high and or custom handmade guitars.

In conclusion I really feel buying a used guitar is the way to go for those of us on budgets. I learned to play guitar from friends, Youtube and Jamorama and Jamplay. Take a look at them if you want to learn to play guitar.

Learn to Play Guitar With Seven Ways to Practice Efficiently

playing guitarFor a lot of years I have heard the practice makes perfect. Great so what if you’re learning bad habits on guitar which may be holding you back. Now you’d be practicing those bad habits until they were engrained on your brain which will most likely keep you from achieving the speed you desire.

I have friends who play guitar pretty well and for a long time they were way ahead of me. They learned to play many years ago but learned a few bad habits that have kept them at the level of playing they are at.

What happened, as far as I can tell, is that they learned from others who taught them the bad habits that had where I learned mostly from books and online because I was too shy to play in front of people for a long time.

Of course we have very fun guitar jams but their limitations keeps us from playing many many songs we all love.

Below are a few ways to practice effectively as well as efficiently so you can move to that next level:

Find A Good Plan And Follow It

I never had a plan for my life or anything in it, for about the first 30 years. Well actually the plan was to party hard. I tried to learn guitar way back in the 70s as I’ve mentioned in a few other posts but life got in the way.

If you want to be a quality guitar player you need commitment and a plan that will take you step by step through learning guitar.

Keep A Practice Schedule And Keep It

Now that you have a plan to learn to play guitar you need to practice the things you are learning. I practice every single day, unless I am not home, which isn’t often. I most likely practice guitar about 325 days a year.

I practice at least an hour a day and many days longer. It’s great having a work from home business. I am my own boss, other than my wife of course, and can stop what I’m doing if I get the urge to take a guitar practice break.

Learn And Practice Multiple Genres of Music

There are many styles of guitar playing in a variety of genres so don’t limit your playing and practicing to just the one you like the most. For me it’s country, rock, bluegrass and blues. It’s a great way to add some coolness to your guitar playing. I love it when I learn a new lick I can use at guitar jams.

Practice Where You Won’t Be Interrupted

I have a hard time concentrating on my guitar practice if others are around, so for me, again, it’s great I have a work from home office I can hide in to practice practice practice.

Before we bought our current home I didn’t have an office so I just used our bedroom. It’s just that in the bedroom we don’t have a computer so I would have to print out what I wanted to practice because I wasn’t hauling my computer up and down the stairs for practice.

Today I have a laptop that travels with me pretty much everywhere so I can have access to the Internet, Youtube, Jamorama and Jamplay. No matter where I am, as long as I can get a connection.

My Fingers Don’t Work So Well

I have arthritis so it can be tough getting started in the morning and without warning the arthritis can flare up and make it tough but with a few fingering exercises they loosen up so I can get on with my guitar practice or lessons.

I remember the early days when my fingers felt like they were going to bleed but I would suck it up and start practicing anyways. After a few minutes of tender fingers they started feeling better so don’t let sore fingers stop you from practicing.

Find yourself a group you can play guitar with and you will learn so much faster. I love going to jams where there are new players. I always seem to learn something new each time. Learning one new thing can take you to brand new levels of guitar.

I mentions Jamorama and Jamplay as two sites I belong to. They are worth the investment, so pick one and check it out today and get practicing.

The only downside of self-learning is the lack of motivation coming from another being. There are no tension nor rectifications, no appreciation and no merits. There is no one to improve your weaknesses.

This is a generation of empowerment; to learn anytime and anything without any cost. What one needs is a guitar, an internet connection and lots of patience, determination and motivation. Learn guitar online, it is free and fun learning.

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