So You Wanna Learn To Play Guitar ... Where To Start?
After all, wanting to be a musician is a matter of expressing yourself, right?
Either by going through the MAGICAL PROCESS that could lead you to become an expert guitarist, or by learning to play guitar to accompany your voice if your passion is singing … or maybe by playing background chords for your own tunes if being a songwriter is what turns you on... or, just by using the guitar as a reference if you want to BE an arranger or musical producer.
In each case, the amount of effort required (and the number of hours needed) to meet some of these goals will vary. At one end, virtuoso musicians are people who have a huge appetite for acquiring as many skills as possible – and it's clear it could take hundreds of hours of learning and practice ... Are you willing to spend such a huge amount of time? ... It depends on you, depends on your goal and depends on your own plan ... Have you already imagined HOW YOU WANT TO PLAY? ... Do you already know WHERE YOU WANT TO GO?
How Do I Learn To Play Guitar? The First Steps
Obviously you should start by having your OWN GUITAR with new strings – preferably an acoustic guitar in good condition which isn't hard to play (which has low action) and CAN BE TUNED properly.
I recommend you to get a chromatic guitar tuner and if you also have a metronome, the better (there are even useful devices that do both and cost the same), replacement strings, a package of picks, a flannel to wipe the sweat off the strings and prevent rust formation ... a guitar stand, something to take notes, air, a relaxed place to play for a while.
Overview – Theory, Technique and Feeling
Think of the music theory and guitar technique as if they were materials and tools. Certainly they both can be developed through methodical learning and repetitive practice - and by following a consistent plan that feeds your enthusiasm. On the other hand, ART and MUSIC come from a different source and are more related to the emotional side, the feeling. I know it sounds a bit mystical at the moment and we'll not think much about it yet ... maybe later... By now, let's move on to something more specific.
Don't Be Afraid Of Music Theory
The theory consists of materials with which the music is built – like houses' bricks, cement and steel ... It's the musical (and other) skills you'll need when it comes to building scales, chords and chord sequences ... TO CREATE melodies, guitar leads, rhythmic patterns and musical arrangements ... to write, produce and record at home your own ideas ... and to understand the trilogy on which the songs are put together: Melody, Harmony and Rhythm.
You should try to acquire the most advanced knowledge on music theory. Knowing the notes which you are traveling by makes you able to guess what comes next...able to "hear" the future. Mastering this information will help you achieve a clean and intense, no mistakes, no gaps and no doubt relaxed interpretation or improvisation ... the audience doesn't esteem unconfident musicians. The theoretical part is fed on the formal training and the music you hear, so you have to know how to choose.
A Solid Guitar Technique
It comes from the body physics involved in note generation. Technical development means to get to use both hands articulately, EFFICIENTLY and quickly – learning to fight muscular fatigue and injury, as if you were an athlete ... you must try to understand how the mechanics of the guitar and guitar parts work in order to properly train your fingers, hands, arms, and your entire body ... and even your mind, you must be ready for whatever comes.
You can picture the technique as the toolkit you always carry with you, such as the wings and the engine in A SUBLIME PERFORMANCE ... A good technique makes your creativity flows freely, almost effortlessly, an outstanding technique makes your art shines with own light and is the result of a careful process of cumulative practice over time, more practicing hours = more technique ... repetition, repetition, repetition - like all great guitarists, until achieve the EXCELLENCE.
Your Own Feeling To Enrich All This Knowledge
The "feeling" is the SPARK that can turn a good creation into something great. Feeling is the atmosphere, the environment, "the color palette I decided to use this time". It's the MOOD in every situation, the song essence, the mighty emotional factor, the autopilot that leads when you let yourself go.
"This should sound nostalgic, rebel, soft, powerful, retro, stylish, a bit dark" ... Whatever, there are just as many shades as imaginable adjectives ... Feeling is the color of the glass through which you'll look at and develop your music.
Just the planned practicing can get you free from the invisible chains that don't allow you to fully enjoy or reach a state of mind where you enjoy listening yourself as if it were another guitarist who was playing – because you're not worried about your lack of control … simply because you are having a great time and wanting to go on. At the end of the day it's a relief to know all that's left to polish and improve is "workable" and "solvable" ... There's no drama and no problem, just take it step by step.
No More Thinking ... JUST PLAY
Especially early on, a very important part of your job will be to keep the SPIRITS UP until the first encouraging results begin to appear. It's just a process to be carried out in an orderly way, so that things don't happen slowly and then you get bored - and then you quit ... you must KEEP ON TO BEAT ALL THAT LIMITS YOU and bothers you so much ... you must have perseverance, patience, persistence and tons of inner energy. Remember that when you learn to play guitar, HAVING FUN while doing the process IS AS IMPORTANT AS actually LEARNING.
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