Top 10 Tips for learning to play the Guitar

Want to know the secret of how to be a great guitarist? We asked one of our Guitar Teachers to list his not-so-secret top 10 tips to improve your playing:

1. Practice

Make time to practice regularly. Little and often is best: three or four 20-minute sessions is better than a 5 hour non-stop cramming session on a Sunday night!

2. Know what you’re playing

Know the names of the notes and chords you’re playing; don’t just copy parrot-fashion.

3. Scales

Don’t just learn how to play scales, learn to use them. Scales are the building blocks of music and can be used when trying to figure out a riff or melody, as well as improvising and composing your own songs.

4. Show your Guitar some TLC

Replacing the strings regularly (every few months if not more often – of course this depends on the string type, brand and how much they get used!), checking the condition of the frets and generally keeping the Guitar clean and dust-free will keep it sounding and playing at its best. Look after your Guitar and it will look after you!

5. Don’t limit yourself

Listen to as much music as you can and don’t limit yourself to one style/genre. This is a great way of developing your ‘musical ear’ and getting ideas and inspiration for your own playing.

6. Explore

This one’s similar to the tip above. Learn to explore a variety of different playing styles and genres – don’t limit yourself. The Guitar is a very diverse instrument – playing Blues or Rock is a whole different experience to playing Classical Guitar, even down to the way you hold it! As a guitarist, you want to be able to tap into these different styles and techniques.

7. Theory is your friend

Don’t be afraid of music theory. It’s often the case that many guitarists tend to shy away from wanting to learn music theory and how to read traditional notation (maybe because words like “semibreve” and “cadence” don’t exactly scream out Rock’N’Roll…). Learning as much as you can about how music works (which is essentially what music theory is!) is the best way to make sense of what you are playing, and it also makes things like working out songs, composing your own songs or lead guitar solos so much easier.

8. Posture

Be conscious of your posture, hand position and general technique at all times. As tempting as it is to lie slouched on the sofa strumming away at your favourite tunes, this is not necessarily the best position for your hands to be in and will limit your playing ability. Correct posture and hand position is a tried and tested way of making you play both with comfort and minimal difficulty.   

9. Enjoy it!

Music is a form of entertainment and should be a source of enjoyment. So if your Guitar-playing ever feels like a chore or is causing frustration and pain, put it aside and do something else for a while then come back to it later. The most important tip for playing Guitar is to enjoy it!

10. Practice (some more!)

PRACTICE PRACTICE PRACTICE!!! (We know this one’s been said already, but we really can’t emphasise it enough!)

If you reckon these tips could work for you, what are you waiting for? Let’s get you started! Take a look at our Guitar Lessons page, or if you’re ready to jump straight in then head over to our online booking page where you can view our current availability and book your first lesson. We’ll see you in the Studio real soon!

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