Little Things No One Tells You About Guitar
Because When You Learn Guitar, The Little Things Are Pretty BIG
This article is going to be a bit different than some of the others on our site. Well, it's probably going to be a bit different than most articles you'll ever read. Especially articles about guitars.
This article is going to be about the intangibles - the little things that many guitarists won't tell you about. Or don't even know about. Or don't even know are things to even tell.
Some may be obvious. But what's obvious to you may not be to me, and me to you. Some may just change your life.
Alright, let's get on with it then!
To Structure Or Not To Structure
There's two parts to this one. The first is that as a learning guitarist, you want structure. A structured regimen and beginning plan is really the fastest and most efficient way to learn guitar.
StringNinja is a perfect example of this - as it breaks down practice schedules, what you should be practicing and uses all of that to progress on to the next step. It's really the perfect way to learn.
If you don't want to do that, I still say you have to structure the way you go about learning guitar. Let me take that back you don't HAVE to. But if you want to learn how to play guitar fast and be GOOD you'll want a plan of attack.
We wrote a great article on How To Practice that you'll want to read. If you can combine that knowledge with a solid practice schedule and real goals you've set for yourself, then you're on your way.
So ... 1) PLAN OF ATTACK
But there's another side to the whole structure thing. You should try not to restrict your practicing time. You definitely, definitely, definitely want to make sure you're practicing A LOT at the beginning - but if you have an extra ten minutes here and there, don't tell yourself no to do it.
As we already told you, it will always help to keep your guitar in the open. Don't tuck it (and its stand) into a closet. Leave it out.
That way, if you're feeling impulsive, hell, pick up the guitar and play. You don't need to be a stickler for your schedule, just its principles.
So ... 2) JAM ON!
Start Slow & Hang On
You bring home guitar and you want to shred right away. I've been there. Believe me.
But you gotta take it a bit slower. You gotta put in your practice time. Even the best guitarists put in their practice time to refine their skill. No matter how prodigious you are in the way of music, you'll want to learn the instrument for real. And you want to that learning at the BEGINNING. Then you can rock the f*** out!
Those first few practice sessions may be painfully boring. OR they may not (StringNinja's certainly aren't!!!) Up to you.
Just remember that you'll have the rest of your life to play - and you want that great grasp of time to be spent playing WELL not re-learning what you should have in the first week.
If you don't know what to practice that first week, check out our eBook on Teaching Yourself Guitar and learn EXACTLY how you can break up those vital first few days.
But you gotta go slow. There's no way around it. You'll be a rocker, just not today.
It may not even be the pace that makes those first few lessons, weeks and sessions so rough. It's that they can get pretty repetitive. Scales, chords, practice songs. It ain't The Stones let's just say that. But that's truly the way to get there. That's the foundation. That's what tabs won't give you (as explain in "Guitar Tabs - The Dark Side").
The repetitive practice builds muscle memory. The more you get down, the less difficult it will be to play that same part in the future. FOREVER in the future!
3) PUT IN YOUR PRACTICE TIME 4) GO SLOW 5) REPETITIVE PRACTICE
The Ride Your Fingers Take
Next up: your fingers. They are the weapons here, the real warriors of the whole thing. You might get bored, but they get tired - and that's much worse.
But more than tired, your fingers are going to hurt a bit. A little pain. A little soreness. A whole lot of calluses. It happens. It's going to happen. You're just gonna have to remember its kind of a right of passage for all guitarists. You'll laugh about it someday. Just don't hate your guitar for 'em.
Keep your fingernails short. Keep picks around for when your strumming hand gets beat up a bit. Even if you don't like picks, it'll let you practice longer.
If you like picks, buy a bunch. Keep some near your guitar. Keep some in places you might play. Keep some in places you don't think you'll play. You may just start jamming there one day and need one. Help your future self out!
Back to your fingers though - if there's a lot of pain, Like A LOT, then you're doing it wrong. Watch the videos again. Read over the instructions again. If your wrist starts to cramp up, you're bending it too much. Remember, you should always be comfortable. Don't mess your body up, you'll probably need that someday!
6) FIGHT THROUGH THE PAIN 7) HAVE PICKS NEAR 8) BE COMFORTABLE/DON'T KILL YOURSELF
Getting It Right The First Time Okay, okay. One last one!
Play the right things. That is to say, when you learn something, learn it the right way. It may take you an extra ten minutes or maybe an extra hour, but it's SO worth it.
Because once you learn it the right way you'll never go back.
(or you can, maybe, when you're ready - but that's way down the road).
Learn it right and play it right. There's a reason it's the "right" way - and guitarists before you have struggled with it.
9) PLAY THE RIGHT WAY
So that's it. Well, for now. There are more tips out there - our "airplane" guide here will help. There are more things that people aren't telling. It's just how these things go. But you can always find out more in StringNinja and soon you'll be one of those people not telling your secrets!!