How to Get Started Playing Songs on Acoustic Guitar
For many people, learning to play a musical instrument seems overly time consuming and expensive. Between the cost of the instrument and lessons, and the time spent practicing, it is too large of investment. However, learning to play the acoustic guitar doesn’t have to be nearly as expensive or time consuming. Learning to play easy guitar songs can be a rewarding experience and lead to greater musical challenges. Here are some tips to help you get started.
Find the right acoustic guitar
Finding the right instrument to play can set a new musician up for success or failure. As with any new hobby, the body has to adapt to the new task which is often uncomfortable. Many people begin by trying to play a standard steel string acoustic guitar.
However, beginning guitarists haven’t developed calluses on their finger tips making steel strings painful to play after a while. Instead, a nylon string guitar or classical guitar has softer strings making them more comfortable to play. The less pain involved, the greater the likelihood that a new guitarist will keep practicing.
If you are planning on starting on a steel string guitar, it’s even more important to find the right instrument. The cheapest guitars in music stores often have very high action, meaning the strings are far away from the frets. This makes them harder to press with the fretting hand, causing more pain and difficulty. Using a slightly more expensive guitar like a Taylor or Martin with lower action can make playing easier and more enjoyable. Consider renting an instrument or borrowing another musician’s guitar until you can get the money to buy your own.
Find the right guitar teacher
As with learning any new instrument it’s important to find the right instructor to help you get started. The main question to ask when looking for an instructor is what style of music do you want to play. There is a big difference between country, rock, folk and blues guitar styles. Find a teacher who is willing to teach you the kind of music you want to learn. This will make practicing more fun and motivate you to keep playing.
Private teachers can be very expensive and require a lot of commitment. For those who want to learn at a more relaxed pace without the cost of a personal instructor, the internet is the place to start. There are countless instructional website, DVD series and online videos that can help a new player get started at a fraction of the cost of weekly lessons. For those who are more proactive and want to teach themselves, many websites offer chord charts and song tabs for free.
Getting to Know Chords
The most important aspect of learning any new song is knowing the chords. Chords create a song’s melody and rhythm allowing you to play it on your own. Beginners should focus on learning major, minor and 7th chords before moving onto barre chords. The F chord is especially difficult for beginners so many avoid playing it at all costs which is a big mistake. Learning it will make playing future songs much easier and more enjoyable.
In order to play guitar solos, it is necessary to know how to play scales. A scale is simply a group of notes in ascending or descending order. The most important thing to remember when playing scales is that they are repetitive. This means you can practice them over and over again until you have memorized the pattern.
Practice, Practice, Practice
Despite what many people believe, playing the guitar doesn’t come naturally to anyone. In order to master any new song or technique it’s important to practice daily. This may seem like a boring task but there are all sorts of things you can do when practicing that will keep your mind engaged and motivated.
Set practice goals for yourself and try to beat your previous day’s score.
Create a daily practice routine and stick to it.
Join an online community of guitarists and get feedback on your progress.
Take regular breaks while practicing to avoid boredom or frustration.
Find easy guitar songs to play
One of the biggest reasons people quit practicing an instrument is the lack of success they experience in playing. This doesn’t have to be the case with acoustic guitar. There are plenty of fun, simple songs that a new guitarist can play in just a couple of weeks. For instance, Tom Petty’s “Free Fallin'” only contains three chords. The easier the song, the more success you will have making the process more enjoyable.
Private teachers will often start students with exercises or scales to teach them the basics of the instrument. This is important in order to establish a good musical foundation for the future. However, if this is all you ever play, the guitar will quickly become boring and cumbersome.
If working with a private teacher or a pre-set program, ask for or find some simple acoustic guitar songs that you can play in addition to the exercises and skill builders they give you. Remember, guitar should be fun, not frustrating.
There is always a learning curve when staring a new instrument so even if it seems difficult at first keep at it and you’ll experience success. Finding the right instrument, the right teacher, and the right songs to play will make the difference between having an aggravating experience or an enjoyable experience.