Guitar for Beginners….

Posted by: Daniel R. Lehrman Posted in: Guitar Lessons for Beginners

To define what “guitar lessons for beginners” means presents a challenge. The term guitar for beginners can be assumed to mean, a way of learning to play the guitar, which is not at all age specific or talent related. This article tries to cover young people and mature people who have little or no knowledge of guitars or of playing them.

Guitar lessons for beginners

Guitar lessons for beginners

Did you miss out on playing the guitar as a kid? Were your plans to become a rock star put on delay because you had to go to school and worked tirelessly on your homework, played a different instrument in the school band instead, enjoyed playing with your friends, tinkered with cars, or learned about the other sex, all of the above, or maybe you didn’t plan to become a guitar player? Perhaps you did at one time, but went to college, and or work, fell in love, got married and had kids, leaving no extra time or money to pursue your side interests.

Questions abound from parents who want to buy a top acclaimed self study learn at home course starting with guitar lessons for beginners for their kids. They are trying to sift through the bogus claims that one can learn to play a guitar in two weeks, to find a reasonable starting point for the learning process. Not surprisingly, adults over 35 make up almost half of the people who want to know how to choose a guitar for beginners, perhaps for themselves, and frequently for their children, and quite often both at once. Many parents will start learning to play guitar when their children do in order to share an activity with them.

It helps a lot to know what genre of music you want to play. In many cases the genre or type of music will dictate the guitar you want to buy, and the instructor you hire. For instance, I play the electric guitar, my first electric guitar was a Fender Stratocaster. I like to play high energy string bending blues like Jimi Hendrix or Stevie Ray Vaughan. If that is the direction of your musical interests, then an acoustic guitar won’t cut it. If you want to play the Robert Johnson, R.L Burnside or Ben Prestage, fingerpickin’ style of blues you will most likely want an acoustic guitar, either electric or not. Classical Guitar is also a finger picking style of guitar using different timing and more diverse scales than the blues. You would need a nylon string acoustic guitar for that. All styles of guitar playing have the same music theory base, and then go off in different directions from there.

With the stage set now, lets get to heart of the matter, how to choose a guitar for beginners. The first thing I recommend is to find a guitar that fits your body style. It is important to have a comfortable to hold and play guitar. It is not an issue of age or talent, it simply means that the correct size and body style guitar will make it easier and more fun to play. For instance, a Baby Taylor guitar is a great instrument that is a bit smaller than a full sized acoustic guitar. If, for that matter only, it is important to know that if you are not a big person, or just don’t like a big guitar, quality manufactured, wonderful sounding guitars come in smaller sizes too. And quality smaller models are more affordable than ever now.

When I watch children or people with small hands struggling to play an overlarge guitar, my first though is, are you enjoying this struggle? If the guitar is too heavy, big and bulky or the neck is too thick or wide, or in general is not the right body form, your enthusiasm may wane, because it is a less gratifying experience fighting to hold onto your axe. Learning to play guitar is not easy and you should want to remove the obstacles that make it even more difficult by fitting you with a comfy guitar. By now you may be thinking If it is that difficult why bother? Each time I try something that was too difficult yesterday, and find it sounds more like music today I feel like I am flying. It propels me to the next hurdle with renewed enthusiasm. I think every player would agree on having that propelling experience. It is a tangible show of improvement and in all things human the most gratifying type of experience.

Lots of the smaller adults who play guitar are women. The fact that the industry is catering to girl guitars, does not mean that girl guitars is an accurate term (except for the pink ones). It would be better to call them smaller guitars. Lots of girls guitars are perfect for anyone who needs a little smaller guitar, including average and large people who prefer a smaller instrument. Finding a really good one is easy. Martin, Taylor, Tacoma, Gibson guitars all make smaller sized instruments that are of the best quality and sound as good as the full body models.

Much of deciding what guitar for beginners is the right one surrounds how much you want to spend. If cheap is your goal than perhaps a ‘guitar for beginners pack’ is the best choice. Basically the packs include all of the ingredients you need to play the guitar. Cost runs two to three hundred dollars for most entry level packs. This is a good introductory package to see if you or your child will stick with playing the guitar. With the technology used in building guitars and related equipment, the beginner kits are far from junk.

Here is what you should get in an electric guitar kit:
1. electric guitar
2. electric guitar amp
3. instrument to amp cable
4. guitar pick
5. guitar stand
6. starter music book and or DVD
7, guitar strap
Here is what you should get in an acoustic or electric-acoustic guitar kit:
1. electric-acoustic or acoustic only guitar
2. amp if it is electric acoustic
3. instrument to amp cable, if necessary
#4, #5, #6 and #7 are the same as an electric guitar pack.

Learning to play a guitar for beginners is not quite as easy as buying one. Finding the right teaching method is the difference between success and failure. I think feeling good about yourself fast is a very important concept, especially for kids. I’m generally cautious of any “learn to play fast” courses. The internet is flooded with them, so how do you know what teacher or lesson plan to choose?

Personally, in most cases finding a professional guitar teacher is the best way to begin your new hobby. It is real important to have a teacher who is patient, and interested, that is a priority. You need structure and a veteran teacher to be a success, and plenty of undisturbed practice time. There is an abundance of onlineĀ  guitar lessons on dvd available for home study that teach basics well.

I think it is paramount to learn a few really easy songs or tunes relatively early in the process to build some gratification. One thing that really stands out for me as a kid was that my classical guitar teacher, George Yeatman held a recital every month. He would put it together and all the students would come over to the designated “host of the month’s” house and play a piece they have been working on. I loved every second of it. Mr. Yeatman and I often played duets. I am told that while playing recitals I chewed gum to the beat of the music.

After a while, practicing will become more and more fun. I mean to say, as one learns more about the guitar and music, you start to improve and maybe you can play a song or two using essential beginners guitar chords. You feel good about yourself, because your hard work and dedication shows. Feeling good and being confident are the two most essential ingredients in the recipe for success and fun. Having been trained classically, doing recitals, I have no confidence issues, in fact I usually have to be asked to step down. Practicing is fun for me, I could do it all day if I could get paid for it!

Actually, as you learn and grow as a guitar player and understand a little bit about music, your world starts to open up, the fretboard becomes an open matrix of notes from which you can select from. As you build muscle memory and the chords, scales, scale and riff patterns start to be remembered and instinctive. Boom, you take off and begin to see your development hit the sky. Repetition is the key to muscle memory.

At a certain point of knowledge, I do feel it is important to add some variety to your education. Perhaps a different teacher or jamming with some other folks will help. The online guitar DVD lessons recommended above are the bomb for intermediate guitar players too, the cool thing about a DVD or is that you can rewind it or loop a certain section to repeat itself so you can really nail it down. I can wear that type of stuff out!

Jamming with people is a great way to learn fast and have a ball. Jamming allows you to put your tools to use with other musicians.

Briefly, I want to touch on the subject of reading music. Reading music is a definite benefit. Both Tablature and Classical notation are good languages to be able to read. Understanding theory is not essential at all unless you are so inclined. While being able to sight read music is a good thing, it is not mandatory. Plenty of guitarists and musicians don’t read music. Many players go by ear and tempo. It is your choice.

Recently, we did a post on “Chords for Children or People with Small Hands”, which are really some easily playable basic chords for beginning players with smaller hands. Keyword is beginner, not age. Expect to get involved with more complicated chords and fingering as your hands learn to manipulate and become more flexible.

To repeat myself, muscle memory is the beginning of playing more complicated music, so practicing a lot, meaning working up to an hour a day, at least in one sitting will give you plenty of time for your fingers to get their muscle memory going. Generally speaking, about an hour or so per practice session is enough time playing the guitar. You don’t want to over use your muscles and have an injury. If you practice more than an hour, take a 15 minute break before going beyond that first hour.

After you play the guitar for a while and your world of music grows, you will learn that in reality you will always be a student, much like when you got your first guitar for beginners. As one progresses, usually it is found that there is no limit to learning and playing the guitar, simply put, the more you learn, the less you realize you know. In essence you are always a beginner at the guitar, every time you reach a new plateau, you become a beginner at your next challenge.

Although I say that learning to play the guitar is not a race, it is a challenge though. Don’t be in a rush, learn your lessons slowly and permanently. It is a big commitment, and it takes time to build your knowledge base, taking on the challenge and succeeding is the goal here. Choose the right guitar lessons for beginners on dvd, and the challenge of playing can be one of the most pleasing and fun things in your life, it takes me away from any bad thoughts in my head while I’m in the zone playing. Sorta like a therapist!!

Pleasing the masses of people with only one method is impossible, people will always look for the easy way out. Being a beginner guitar player, it important to know what really works for you. Knowing that this is not the easiest method of learning may not interest you, but the methods suggested here work for the majority of people who really want to make playing the guitar an integral part of their life. Enjoy.

12 Responses to Guitar for Beginners….

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  3. As a parent of budding musicians, this is soooo helpful! Thanks, Danny!

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