Friday, January 4th, 2013 at 7:30 am
I spend a lot of time with my in my hands but I’m not always focusing on learning or practicing. Most of the time I’m just playing stuff the pops into my head while I’m watching the TV.
The thing is I learn more in 20 minutes or a half hour of focused practice than I would learn in hours of just playing my guitar. The thing is concentration is needed when you want to really learn something.
Most Newbies Don’t Last Long
I really couldn’t tell you how many people I’ve seen start learning guitar only to give up shortly after and I’ve been playing for more than 10 years now. Most couldn’t handle their fingers hurting long enough to continue but the big killer is the mind. They tell themselves they can’t learn and they are usually right.
The thing is it’s not all learning all the time. It’s more about learning one thing and practicing it until you can do it without thinking about it. I practice while the TV is going, but only once I’ve learned first.
When I started learning guitar I was able to go to some guitar jams where I learned new things I could practice once I was back home again. Today we can use the Internet and specifically Youtube to learn things. I love seeing and hearing so I go for videos over books.
You can also learn through Jamorama and Jamplay.
I will learn a new lick on my guitar and focus on getting it right. Once I have the lick in my mind I then practice it any time I get the chance until it’s automatic. This usually means, like I said, in front of the TV.
Note that the time you spend really focused on learning something new on your guitar will make it easier when you begin practicing with less focus. As time goes on each new thing you learn becomes easier.
Playing Guitar For The Fun Of It
When I started learning guitar the plan wasn’t to spend my life learning, even though I still learn new things all the time. My goal was to be able to entertain myself and playing guitar with friends. So when I am practicing I focus on getting it right before I begin practicing without paying attention.
It’s like so many other things in life. The brain learns and after some time things you learn come together in the brain and actually makes it easier to learn easier in the future.
Find A Quiet Place To Practice Guitar
This is so important to me as I get easily distracted and distractions are what make a 20 minute quality practice time into a frustrating 2 hours. Also I only take on one thing to practice at a time. That’s when I’m actually in practice mode.
So keep in mind that it’s the quality of your practice time and not how long you practice.
Just Let It Go, For A Bit
It might sound strange but it’s a good idea to just stop practicing for a few days. I do this all the time when I’m learning something new. I practice it until I know it and then I might not practice that particular thing for a couple of day.
I have done this countless times in the 10 years I’ve been playing guitar and it always amazes me that I get better when I give myself a break.
Now I don’t mean don’t practice other things, just leave that new lesson you’re learning for a couple of days and come back to it. This really does work so be sure to give yourself the chance to see just how well it works.
Clear Your Might Before Practice
If you can clear your mind before you begin practicing as well as any distraction such as TV or family. It can take just a minute to go clear and put things out of your mind. For me a little meditation does the trick. I think about a great day of fishing actually and it works for me.
Even taking the time to close your eyes and slowly counting to ten can help clear your mind and help you focus. If there are any distraction you may have to start over, so try to find a placed to practice where there are no distractions.
When we were still living in an apartment I had to resort to practicing guitar in our bedroom and even then it was tough to train my son and wife to leave me alone but eventually they got the idea, but not before I had to put a big note on the door saying NOT to come in.
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Saturday, August 4th, 2012 at 8:48 am
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.
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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Tuesday, July 10th, 2012 at 9:49 am
Realistically, you can’t expect yourself to be a genius playing guitar chords if you’re just learning how to play the acoustic guitar. Everyone who plays the guitar, even the famous ones like B.B. King, Eddie Van Halen, Jimi Hendrix, and Slash all had to start with basic, simple, and easy acoustic guitar chords for beginners.
The truth is these basic chords lay down the foundation for all succeeding lessons. So once you have mastered the easiest chords, you’ll be well on your way to learning intermediate and then more advanced chords.
You may find that you breeze through the basic chords which is great however if you want to be really good at learning guitar chords, you need to acquaint yourself with the basic anatomy of an acoustic guitar.
You need to keep in mind that the chords are usually show in a pattern that’s printed making it important to learn how to read chords charts.
The main component of an acoustic guitar that you will be working closely with are your guitar’s strings and the fingerboard of your guitar.
Your acoustic guitar will most likely have 6 strings, although I have a few guitar playing friends who have 12 string guitars.
A right handed guitar player holding their guitar facing away from them will have the six strings starting with the top as Low E, A, D, G, B, High E. Just like in the image to the right.
Going down the neck of your guitar you will have metal bars that cross the neck at specific locations. These are called Frets and allow you to change notes while you’re playing.
If you play or pluck each individual string without placing any fingers on the strings they are called open strings. When you place a finger on one of the strings at a fret it will give you a specific note.
Example: When you put your finger on the first fret holding the low or high E string down it will produce the note F. If you move that finger down one more fret so that it’s on the second fret and pluck it you will hear a F# or F Sharp. Holding the string down at the third fret will produce a G note.
The diagram on the left shows a G chord. The black dots show where to place your fingers and the blank circles at the top of the chart show which strings to play open. Open means you don’t put a finger on that string. So this combination will product a G chord and is just one of many ways to play a G chord and is the most basic.
Now if you wanted to play a D chord you would use the finger positioning shown in the diagram on the right. Again the black dots are where you place your fingers and the blank white dot is played open.
The other two strings in this case don’t get played at all. So when you see a chart like this one and it has no black dots on a string or no white dot above the string it doesn’t get plucked.
Here is a diagram of the basic chords I learned first. Learning these simple chords allowed me to learn dozens and dozens of songs I have loved over the years.
Do you feel overwhelmed already. Don’t fret, ‘pun intended’ it’s not as hard as most people tend to think it is. Although the ends of one’s fingers can get a bit tender when first learning but you can soon get over that as you practice.
There are hundreds of combinations that make up chords at various positions along the fret board but concentrate on the basics and you’ll find it less frustrating or overwhelming.
There are options for learning how to play guitar today. I started with books and chord charts I picked up at a local guitar shop. I also learn a ton of cool stuff at local guitar jams but where I learned the most is from online sites such as Jamorama.com, Jamplay.com and YouTube.com.
I do prefer the online methods of learning as I do so much better with show and tell than learning from books, but that’s just me. I also tried hiring a guy to teach me but he was an ass and it cost me more than I wanted to pay.
If you’re keen on learning acoustic guitar chords for beginners, you will find these tips indispensable:
- Take advantage of the power of the Internet. It’s rife with online tutorials and instructional for learning chords. Just be wary of choosing the right website, as there are those that require payments so you can access the lessons. Patience is the key to finding sites that provide free lessons.
- When it comes to acoustic guitars, it pays to spend time studying the instrument and familiarizing yourself with its different parts. You don’t just play the guitar. Instead, you need to know it like the back of your hand. This is important as it lets you understand how each component of the guitar works together to produce sound.
- Rather than just strum the strings on your acoustic guitar, try to understand how the tension in the string affects the sound emitted by the guitar. You’d be surprised to find out that the sound differs depending on the length and size of each string.
- You need to know that there are different ways to play acoustic guitar chords. This allows for versatility. In addition, once you’re able to play chords in various ways, it would be easier for you to transition from one chord to the next.
- It may be cliché, but practice makes perfect. Hence, devote 20 to 30 minutes each day in practice. Don’t try to learn the chords in one go, or you’d end up frustrated and overwhelmed. It’s impossible to learn everything in one sitting, so make do with the pace you’re most comfortable with and don’t rush yourself.
By following these simple tips, you’d be reading chords like a pro in no time.
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Wednesday, July 4th, 2012 at 8:34 am
Every guitar player I’ve known has been impatient and want to play songs before they are ready to. I’m one of them as well, so it’s not uncommon at all.
It’s just such a cool thing to be able to sit down and play a song you love. For me it’s a great stress reliever, although at the beginning, well I’m not so sure that it wasn’t a stress builder.
You don’t have to actually master the basic chords in a song to play it but it sure sounds better when you do. All those I know who were beginners started the same way. They were at a jam, got interested, learned how to form a few basic chords and then went out and bought a guitar.
That’s exactly what happened to me, although a friend loaned me an extra guitar from his collection until I had one of my own, but I learned a few simple chords. I think they were C, G and D. Then they played songs using those chords for most of the night. It was great fun and I was hooked.
Both my guitars have been used Yamaha acoustic guitars that were within my budget but now I think I’m ready for a brand new In all the years I have been around other who love music I would have to say that the acoustic guitar is among the preferred musical instruments, maybe even world-wide. It really doesn’t matter your age, heck I didn’t learn to play acoustic guitar until I was 47 and I’m now 59 and still love playing every single day.
My advice, if you’re a newbie to learning guitar is to get lessons. The fact most of us today have Internet access I would suggest you look at Jamorama.com when learning to play guitar.
Should You Use A Guitar Pick?
When I started I chose not to use a guitar pick and I believe it actually held me back as my fingers would get sore when I was trying to strum. I was fine while learning to finger pick specific songs but not so much when hitting the strings with the back of my nails or using my finger nails to strum.
Once I started using a pick I was able to play much longer and get a better sound as well. The thing is there are times I want to play without a pick as I like the sound I can get but not all the time.
Flamenco guitarists for instance will rarely use picks because it doesn’t produce a sound OK for their kind of music.
Playing Fast Lead And Doing Scales
The times I have the hardest time playing without a pick is when I’m learning or playing faster lead or practicing scales in order to play faster. It starts out great but soon my finger tips and nails start to hurt and it’s time to switch to a pick again. I have bruised myself under my finger nails at times and it takes days before I can play with my fingers again. Using a pick more often helps avoid this.
When you are just strumming slow acoustic songs it doesn’t hurt to make use of your fingertips but for faster songs it might basically make your fingers bleed or feel like they are going to.
I have learned which songs I can use my fingers and others where I should be using a pick and I do fine. It took me a while before I was even willing to use a pick but it has really made a difference in my strumming and picking ability.
I am not sure if everyone has a problem holding a pick at the beginning but I had a real problem with the pick moving around between my thumb and forefinger at the beginning. Eventually I got it right but perhaps it was due to me only using my fingers for the first 4 years of playing.
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