According to one estimate, around 50 million people around the world can play guitar. With the universal nature of music, it’s a popular hobby, and there’s no reason why you can’t start learning today (except, perhaps, the lack of a guitar!). If you’re just starting to learn this brilliant instrument, here are some top tips to fast-track your progress!
This is the most obvious tip you will ever find, but there are no shortcuts to playing the guitar. If you want to get better at anything in life, practice. Too many people want to click their fingers and become Eric Clapton or Ed Sheeran. In reality, all the superstars you see on TV have thousands of hours of practice behind them. Stop looking for shortcuts and magical solutions.
Learn a Little Each Session
We said you won’t become Eric Clapton overnight, but the good news for those who want to avoid lessons is that he is actually self-taught – as is Jimi Hendrix. As experienced players will tell you, the best way to start is to take everything systematically. With so much to learn, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed with the guitar. Just start by learning the strings and the chords, and the interaction of these chords with a capo. How does the position of chords change when you add a capo?
From here, you can learn scales, strumming patterns, and just keep progressing. Why not buy a special notebook so you can see your progress and look back over your notes when you’re unsure of something?
Don’t Compare to Others
For some people, they like to join a forum or community to speak with others who are also learning (another top tip!). If you’re going to do this, please don’t feel the need to compare yourself against others. It’s natural to feel jealous when others progress faster, but don’t let this put you off. No matter who you are, there will always be another guitar player who is better, so why let this affect you?
Instead, compare yourself to you. Try recording a short video or audio playing a song every week. As you progress, you’ll notice that everything improves from strumming to finding the chords to timing. This is all the comparison you need because it shows you’re a better guitar player than the previous week.
Shape Your Practice and Goals
Learning the guitar should be great fun, so shape your practice and targets around the things you want to achieve. Do you want to play your wedding song in front of your partner? Do you want to join a local band? Do you just want to strum along to your favorite artist? If you don’t have huge ambitions to become a global megastar, focus your practice on learning your favorite songs. If you do have these lofty ambitions, then you can spend more time on the theory, scales, and minute details.
Avoid the Death Grip
For many new players, they hook the thumb over the fretboard for leverage. It might seem easier, but what you’re actually doing is using the flat of your finger rather than the top for chords. Suddenly, movement is restricted, and changing chords is difficult. On the same note, you should practice sitting down and standing up – we know of plenty of singers who practiced exclusively sitting down and then couldn’t play while standing for the actual performance.
Other tips include:
- Learn the correct technique and chord shapes
- Practice chord finger positions while watching TV (no strumming necessary)
- Embrace the tricky chords
- Have lots of fun