Learning to play guitar can be fun and overwhelming at the same time. You are finally going to achieve your dreams – that’s the fun part.
But the process from where you are currently to where you want to be in your guitar skill level is one heck of ups and downs.
For most wanna be guitarists, the realization of the sheer amount of work required to master playing the guitar can be overwhelming. And, because they don’t want to go through that, they give up.
Hopefully, you are ready to go the whole length.
In this post, you will learn seven things you should know about before learning to play guitar.
1. Learning a new skill is hard – in the beginning, at least
Except you are a child prodigy with a natural knack for picking up new skills quite quickly, you will struggle to get into your stride when learning new skills, including how to play guitar.
Understand that the struggles and difficulty you experience while learning to play guitar are all part of the process. It can only get harder before it gets easier.
Get your mindset right and focus on the long-term, which is becoming a proficient guitar player, than wanting to score cheap wins at the beginning.
It is also vital you know that at some point in your learning, you will hit some plateaus – at this all right too. During these moments, when you feel stuck and not making any progress, ensure to keep going.
2. Focus on mastering the basics
You may think the fundamentals are boring, I get it. Chances are you will want to jump right into playing those cool sounds and using those techniques you see other more experienced players do.
But, the fact is, mastering the basics gives you a solid foundation on which every other skill and technique you learn later on is built.
Your first couple of lessons should focus on helping you master how to use the right fingers for picking and hitting notes correctly while the lefthand steadies the guitar properly.
Use simple melodies and sounds to practice this. While practicing, your focus should not be only on playing the melody correctly, but also be sure your hands are in the right position and that you are using the right fingers.
3. Your fingers will hurt
You might not know this, but your fingers will begin to hurt the more you play. You see, before you started playing guitar regularly, your fingertips are soft. But as the playtime frequency increased, they get sore.
To stop the pain, you will need to build up some callus on those fingers. The callus on the fingertips helps you hit a note effortlessly without any pain.
Though the calluses on your fingertips will grow naturally as you continue to play, you can make a couple of changes to help manage the pain.
But first, let’s debunk a prevalent myth you may hear: “Play until your fingers bleed.” While, the underlying message is to be consistent, which is a piece of excellent advice by the way. You will need to tweak your routine in the meantime if you start experiencing too much pain.
You see, pain is a good thing. It is our brain’s way of telling us something is wrong in the body, and for us to stop whatever behavior is causing the pain.
So, while you don’t want to stop practicing till your fingertips heal completely, you can focus on other aspects of your learning. You can learn the basics of music theory or train your right hands until the pain on your lefthand stops.
4. Play with more experienced guitarists
We become those we spend the most time with. As a beginner guitar player, you want to be around more experienced players.
The thing is, the more you play with experienced guitarists, the better you become. Through osmosis, you will begin to pick up some techniques and styles you would never have learned otherwise.
Also, been around experienced players means you can have your questions answered more quickly. And, when you feel stuck, there’s someone you can always turn to.
Here’s where working with a teacher or signing up for online classes where you can be around experienced players come in handy.
If you can’t afford to work with a teacher, consider signing up online for guitar lessons.
GuitarTricks is one such website where you can learn how to play guitar for a fraction of the amount it cost offline. You can even get full access membership for free for 14 days using their GuitarTricks coupon.
5. Focus on mastering one skill at a time
Learning to play guitar involves mastering several parts. It is not just enough to know which string to strike and what chord to press.
You will have to develop your ears for music and understand music theory to become a proficient guitar player. Memorizing the notes on the guitar fretboard and mastering the barre chords will also make your life easier.
While you may want to learn as much as you can in the shortest possible time, you must focus on one aspect of your learning at a time.
Focusing on one skill at a time helps you avoid distractions and the danger of shallow learning, which can result when trying to achieve too many things at a time.
6. Familiarize yourself with several genres
Ok. We get it, you love punk and would not mind playing it for the rest of your life.
But, you see, when you focus solely on one genre or listen to songs from only a handful of niches, you will be restricted in what you think is possible and what you can do with your guitar.
However, by expanding your horizon and listening to and enjoying songs from diverse genres, you not only enrich your creative bank but also begin to hear different sounds you can bring to your own style.
7. Put in the work
Finally, no matter how skilled you dream of becoming without putting in the hours, if you don’t grind, all your dreams, goals will just be that.
Even if you have the best gear, the only way to make beautiful music with them is to practice – the guitar wouldn’t learn how to play themselves.
Practice, practice, and practice some more, that’s the only way to become better.