- Beginner guitar
- Buying a guitar
- Guitar FAQ's
Yes, a good quality metronome is one of the most valuable tools a guitarist at any level can have. It is an invaluable aid for staying in time when you practise the guitar.
A truss rod is a metal bar that has been inserted into the neck of the guitar. It runs the full length of the guitar’s neck. Its purpose is to counteract the tension created by the strings of the guitar. A truss rod can be adjusted to compensate for movement within the guitar caused by seasonal changes and humidity levels. Most guitar brands use this system.
If you plan to play standing up, yes you do. A good-quality strap will keep the guitar stable while you play. Ensure your strap isn’t too narrow. A wide strap with some padding is far more comfortable than a narrow one without padding.
Consider buying a strap lock for your guitar, acoustic or electric. A strap lock will prevent the strap from departing from the guitar, often causing damage to the instrument.
Ideally, a private lesson with a professional guitar teacher heads the list. It might be the most costly initially, the cheapest method when you factor in the time saved because of the structured way a teacher would employ. Professional instructors will not allow you to develop bad habits which may prove hard to change once they become ingrained.
Another method is to join a learning group of people learning to play. The third method is you learn online, either privately or by buying an online course. The last option would be to learn from books, cheapest also the most challenging way to learn to play the guitar. Take the time to explore all the options available to you.
A guitar’s action refers to the height of the strings above the frets on the fretboard. A low action means the distance between the string and the fret in minimal. (A small gap) High action is the opposite of a low action where the distance between the string and the fret is great. (A larger gap). Experienced guitar players often make adjustments or even full setups themselves. Unless you are sure you know what your doing, seek out a professional to sort it out for you. When a guitar’s action is correct it is easier to play, it makes playing chords, partially Barr chords easier to grab when playing. The truss rod adjustment should be checked in the circumstance.
See string buzz.
The answer is it depends. Some professional guitar players change them for every gig. In general, for uncoated strings on average around every 1 to 2 months as a rough guide. For coated strings, players report wildly different time intervals between string changes, but certainly much more prolonged than uncoated strings.
You might be wondering why all guitarists don’t use coated strings. The answer is tone; some players detest coated strings because they dislike their sound. Others love them for their tone as well as there longer life.
Coated strings are more expensive but last longer. If you are one who hates replacing your guitars strings, coated might the best option for you? Particularly if you have a lot of guitars. It’s important to wipe your strings regularly as you play, especially if you’re playing in a hot environment and you have sweaty hands.
If you are just starting out, then a little buzz is acceptable, in time as your technique improves, the buzz should disappear. Are you strumming really hard, does the buzzing diminish if you strum easier?
It may be your strumming too hard in which case you need to play less aggressively or have the action of the guitar checked by a luthier. Raising the action a little might help. Back to basics; confirm your fretting hand is in the correct position and that the fingers are contacting the strings at the right angle and just behind the fret.
Do not press too hard, sometimes pressing can cause uneven pressure on the strings. Have your guitars set up correctly; an experienced luthier will set up the action of the guitar to suit your playing style.
The truss rod will usually be adjusted as part of the setup. The guitars action and correct truss rod adjustment with the proper amount of relief can make an enormous difference to guitars playability.
If you are a beginner, just starting out learning to play the guitar, your fingertips are likely to be soft. When you fret a single note or a chord, the string will sink into the flesh of your fingers. When this happens, another part of the finger may be contacting another string.
As you develop calluses, this occurrence is much less likely as the calluses develop, the string will not sink into the flesh anywhere near as much. Another possibility is that the fingers are not appropriately angled as they contact the guitar strings.
If they are leaning over rather than straight up and down, they will touch an adjacent string. If all else fails, you may need another guitar that offers a wider fretboard. This is not very common but may need to be considered.
Before taking such drastic action, consult a professional guitar teacher who will confirm if your fretting hand and fingers are correctly positioned.
More reading: small hands.
A barre chord is where the guitarist forms a bar across all 6 or 5 strings of the fretboard emulating the nut on the fretboard. It is effectively a movable open string chord. It allows the player to move an open chord up and down the neck. The technique opens up a whole world of tonal possibilities. Chord charts are graphical reparations of how to make a chord.
Barre chords are often very challenging for anyone learning to play the guitar. What about big fingers, does that hinder playing barre chords? No it does not.
There are only so many hours in a day. Divide your time into practice and to playing what you enjoy.
It is far better to practice a difficult section of music slowly and deliberately. It’s important to focus entirely for a few minutes, numerous times in one day than to play the peace end endlessly over and over in one session. The reason is that the brain is far more efficient when learning something repetitively for short bursts of time. Three practice sessions for 20 minutes each session is better than 1 hour a day nonstop.
Playing the guitar requires many skills which vary with playing styles. Determine which skills you need, and focus your practice times on learning those skills. Once you know a particular skill to your satisfaction, then move on to the next.
Begin learning a bunch of songs that you can play off by heart. Start with easy pieces that you enjoy playing. Only then, try something more challenging to add to your list. It’s essential to have some fun songs to play early on in your playing career. That will become your inspiration to learn more and keep going forward with your playing skills.
Find a reputable professional guitar teacher.
Seek out an experienced guitar teacher who can assess your ability and playing desires. They can design a personal practice routine for you. Having a professional teacher review your playing milestones periodically is invaluable.
In short, a good quality chromatic tuner is an excellent idea. An electronic tuner helps you tune your guitar quickly and accurately. There are many good quality tuners to choose from, the right one is the one that best suits you, its personal preference. Some accessories like the metronome are essential tools. If you are using special tunings like Drop D for example, a tuner is invaluable.
It’s not unusual to experience some form of discomfort when start playing the guitar as a beginner, especially your fingers. As you continue to play you will develop calluses on the fingers of your fretting hand which will lessen the discomfort considerably.
If for any reason you stop playing regularly for a time, it’s likely that you will lose those calluses.
Don’t be disheartened, your calluses will re-develop in no time. If you have any persisting pain, it would be advisable to have the setup of your guitar checked. Particularly the action of the guitar. (The height of the strings above the frets.) Of course, if you have any doubts about the cause of your pain, seek medical advice immediately.