7 Quick Tips for Beginner Guitar Players
Let me give you some simple tips that will really help your progress as a beginner guitar player. You can watch the accompanying video to this article by clicking here.
- 1. Keep Your Fretting Hand Nails Short
This is one of the most simple and obvious tips, but it is important to keep the nails on your fretting hand short for every occasion that you play guitar. If you see a little bit of white showing, I would get rid of that. See how good and easy it feels to play guitar with short nails, as opposed to when you have let them grow too long. This makes playing chords so much easier for example.
- 2. Sit Properly to Practice Properly
Before you start playing or practicing, ensure that you are sitting properly. I know many self-taught guitar players out there will sit on their couch as they watch TV and play at an angle that not only makes playing guitar difficult, but can actually hurt your back. On this point, please do not practice with a sheet of paper on the floor with you bending down to see it as you play! This is also a very bad way to sit. Find a good chair that makes you sit up straight.
- 3. Know When to Change Your Pick
When playing guitar, you want to give yourself the best possible chance to play with ease and comfort. A good pick or plectrum is essential for this. I really like to use Jim Dunlop Tortex and Sharp picks. Another essential part of this is that your pick is fresh and sharp. I have seen people use the same pick for years, and it is completely worn out and flimsy. I do not recommend this personally as I find it will hamper your playing and make strumming and picking more difficult.
- 4. Have a Low Action on Your Guitar
Many people will often quit guitar because they have been learning on a low quality instrument that actually makes playing guitar much more difficult than it really should be. I advise that whatever guitar you have or whatever guitar you end up buying, that you check how low the action on it is. This means how close the strings are to the fretboard. This will determine how easy or difficult it is for you to push down and play your chords. Check at a music shop or look for a guitar luthier.
- 5. Tune Your Guitar Before You Play
A very good skill to develop early on in your guitar playing career is to when your guitar is out of tune just by the sound of it. If you have ever heard the term, “a good musical ear”, or something like this, knowing whether a guitar sounds out of tune or not proves that you have a good musical ear. All this means is that you know when something sounds good or bad! Please, for everyone’s sake, ensure that you have a clip on tuner or download one of the many tuning apps to keep your guitar nicely in tune.
- 6. Practice With Goals in Mind
When you sit down to practice, ensure that you have some goals you want to achieve. This can be as simple as improving your change from a C to a D chord. Don’t just sit down to mess about and not really have anything in mind. This will actually lead to building up frustration in the long run because you will likely focus on the things you can do well, and completely ignore the things you can’t. If you get a little frustrated when practicing, just call it a day for that session and walk away. You can always come back later.
- 7. Record Yourself Playing
If you want to really improve your playing, recording yourself is a great way to help. I recommend recording yourself with a camera so you can see and hear how you play. You will see and hear things that you wouldn’t otherwise be able to because your brain is focused on other things whilst actually playing. However, when you look back at what you have played on video, you can analyse the things you are doing more easily and then find out the areas that you need to improve in.
About the author – Michael Hanna is a professional guitar teacher living in Larne, Northern Ireland. If you are looking for the best guitar lessons in Larne, County Antrim, you can find him by clicking here.