Learning to play the guitar can be a daunting task, but fortunately, there’s no shortage or tools available to aid beginners. Utilizing these tools to help you learn to play the guitar will be essential in your growth as a guitar player.
Perhaps the greatest tool a novice guitarist can have is a good instructor, who can usually be found at your local music shop. Guitar lessons can be costly, but having a live person there to answer your questions and to guide you toward becoming the guitarist you’ve always wanted to be can be invaluable. There’s no substitute for a good instructor and a strong relationship between the teacher and the pupil.
Beyond the personal, hands-on assistance an instructor can provide, there are plenty of other tools for new guitarists. Magazines like Guitar World and Guitar Player, for example, can be very useful. Most guitar magazines include some combination of player features, gear reviews, how-to articles and fully tabbed songs. Check out several magazines before deciding which one best suits your needs.
If playing others’ songs is your goal, tab books can be very helpful. Many tab books are available. Some books feature all the songs from a particular album. Some feature a collection of songs from a particular band. Some feature a collection of songs in the same genre. And some feature “easy tabs,” which are simplified versions of popular songs.
For those more interested in creating their own music, a chord chart can be very helpful. This is usually poster-sized chart showing the most commonly used chords. Also, many books are available with information and charts on chords and scales, which can help a great deal when writing riffs and solos.
Two pieces of equipment that can be purchased rather inexpensively but that are both essential for playing guitar well are tuners and metronomes. A chromatic tuner will help you tune your guitar by displaying the note being played and whether it is precisely in tune or not. A metronome, which uses clicks to help you keep time in a given rhythm, can be invaluable when there’s no drummer around — or even if there is, if your drummer is as new to his instrument as you are.
The Internet might be the greatest tool of all for a new guitarist. Without much difficulty, one can find tuners, timekeepers, chord charts, scale generators and guitar tabs for free on the Internet. That might not be the best news for the sellers of such devices and information, but it can be a boon for the cash-strapped guitarist.
And when you find yourself struggling to maintain your motivation, there’s nothing like live music to snap you out of the doldrums. Seeing your favorite songs played live and in person is an exhilarating experience that’s always for a boost of energy when trying to learn the guitar. In addition to simply seeing first-hand what’s possible on a guitar, it can also be useful to see how a professional guitarist plays certain riffs and solos.