5.1 Beginner Guitarists FAQ
- What's the best way to learn the guitar?
- Should I learn the electric or the acoustic guitar first?
- Should I practice sitting or stand up?
- My hand hurts while playing chords, is this normal?
- How often should I change the strings?
- My strings buzz when I play the guitar!
- Where should I buy my guitar?
- I have more questions!
Well obviously this would be to get 1 on 1 guitar lessons. However if you don't have the time and/or funds to do this then a systematic approach to practice is advised.
Go buy some music theory and guitar lesson books. Work your way through these books and try to practice the guitar daily for a minimum of an hour. Also learn scales as this will give you a better understanding of music (important for improvisation) and will help your coordination for both hands.
When practicing scales make sure you use a metronome. Set it to a slow speed and play the up and down the scale. Once you've got the hand of that, increase the speed of the metronome slightly and practice at that speed. Repeat this over and over until you can play the scale fast and accurately.
You may also find it useful to keep a record of your progress as this will be a useful motivation tool.
This is again totally up to you. If you like metal then you'll obviously find it more satisfying to play the electric, whereas if you like spanish guitar then go for the acoustic.
Some things that will be very evident to you when you switch between the 2 is how hard you need to press on the frets, the thickness and width of the neck and the way mistakes get amplified on the electric.
This really is just a matter of personal preference and it's totally up to you which you choose. You may however find it easier to sit down when you're starting off as you will find it easier to look at the frets and coordinate your fingers.
Yes it is. It'll take you're hands some time to get used to playing chords as you're using your muscles in an unusual way for an extended period of time. If your hands start to hurt then make sure you take regular breaks and don't over do it.
Ideally you should change them every month or so on an electric guitar. The reason being that if you leave them on there too long then the sound of the strings will become dull. You'll also notice that dead skin will start to collect under the strings (between the string and the neck), so when changing strings make sure you give your neck a quick wipe down. If the neck is considerably dirty then try giving it a clean with "Murphys Oil Soap" as this will clean and protect the fretboard.
This could be due to one of two things. The first and more likely situation is that as a beginner, you are not pushing down on the strings with the correct amount of force or are pressing it in the wrong place. Make sure you place your finger as close to the fret as possible (nearer the bridge) and also with enough pressure.
If it still buzzes then it could be due to incorrect setting of the guitar (truss rod, bridge and nut hight etc...) so try taking it to your local guitar shop to get a specialist to look at it.
I would strongly recommend that you buy your guitar from your local guitar store. The reason behind this is that they can give you advice as to which guitar would best suit your needs. On top of this it is really important to "test drive" your guitar before you buy it. Make sure you sit down and play the guitar. Do you like the sound? The way it feels in your hands? The weight and balance?
You may think, "Ok. Well I'll go to the guitar store, check out the guitars and just buy the model I like best from the cheapest online store". The thing you should remember is that even if they are the same model, each and every guitar is slightly different. You may try out an Ibanez RG1570 in a shop and love it, but hate the one you bought off the internet.