A Newbies Guide to Learning to Play Guitar Online

7/15/2014

You've been saying it for a while, but now you've just about decided that you want to learn to play the guitar. Whether your dream is to enter Julliard or simply to entertain friends around a bonfire, it’s never too late or too early to learn guitar. But how to learn to play the guitar? Here are a few tips and methods that beginning guitarists should know.

learning guitar

Picking the Right Guitar 


When it comes to picking the right guitar, price is not always the best guide. With many things, such as TVs and cellphones, you often get what you pay for. But with guitars, choosing should be more about the feel and tone than the price tag. Sometimes, a guitar that costs between $150 and $250 will actually be better than a guitar that is $800-$1000. As a beginner, you might not know what the right guitar would feel like, but here are a few basics that anyone can do: 


• Test multiple guitars 

• Strum the open strings and find the tone you like 

• Make sure the strings are not too high off of the fret board 

• Turn the tuners to make sure that they all work 


The very first thing you must decide is what type of guitar you want to play. There are three choices which all have their own set of advantages and disadvantages. They are acoustic, electric and classical. 


Acoustic guitars are most popular for beginners for a few reasons. First, they have natural amplification and do not need an electric amplifier. This means that acoustic guitars are easily transported and can be played anywhere. However, acoustic guitars use thick, steel strings which are quite painful to play until callouses are formed. 


Electric guitars, on the other hand, use steel strings that are thinner than acoustic guitars, which makes them much easier to play. Since electric guitars are not hollow like acoustic guitars, striking the strings will produce a very quiet sound. Thus, a guitar amplifier is needed. While this adds an extra expense and can limit immovability, guitar amplifiers can be adjusted to make a variety of different sounds. 


Finally, classical guitars differ from both acoustic and electric guitars in that three of the strings are made of nylon with the other three being nylon wound in steel. As far as play ability, classical guitars find themselves squarely between acoustic and electric. However, classical guitars are rather specific for playing classical music only. If you are learning to play the guitar for the long haul, the techniques learned from a year or two of classical training will definitely translate to acoustic or electric styles. 


The Basics 

all major chords

Now that you have the guitar of your choice, you want to spend some time getting familiar with the instrument. Guitars are basically divided into three parts: the head, the neck, and the body. In addition to these three, the strings are anchored to the bridge on the body, run across the frets on the neck, and are then tied to the tuners on the head. 


Because acoustic and classical guitars are hollow, they have a sound hole cut into the body of the guitar, which is used to amplify the sound. In contrast, electric guitars have pickups under the strings on the body that transfer the sound to the amplifier. 


Once you actually pick up the guitar, practice using each of your fingers on the neck. The goal is to find a comfortable hand position. Just be careful not to wrap your hand around the neck too much to where your thumb comes over the top. The thumb should be used to pinch the strings to the fret, even though using your palm might feel more natural at first. 


Learning the Guitar Through YouTube 


You, like countless other people, are now asking the Internet how to learn to play the guitar. Whether you are looking for how to play a certain song, you want to learn scales, or just basic beginner instruction, there are more videos on YouTube than you could watch in a lifetime. 


Since learning to play the guitar takes patience and practice, YouTube is an invaluable tool. Find the video you want and re-watch it as many times as you need to in order to match it perfectly. Pause and rewind it at the difficult points and be sure to focus on both the left and right hands. The best types of videos to use are ones that have a split screen that focus on each of the hands at the same time. 


YouTube is also great for online guitar tutorials. Many up-loaders will have playlists that cover all the basics and move toward more advanced lessons. While YouTube cannot offer the personal instruction that one-on-one guitar tutoring does, it’s a real help to find a channel that can teach beginning techniques, such as scales, chords, and strumming. 


One-On-One Guitar Tutoring 


If you cannot find what you are looking for on YouTube, there are other ways to find guitar tutors online. Finding a specific website that hosts guitar lessons can also offer other resources. However, if you want one-on-one instruction, there are guitar teachers everywhere. Again, the Internet becomes a great tool for finding and contacting guitar tutors in your area. 


In-person guitar tutoring will build a newbie’s ability in a short time, but at a cost. For basic beginning instruction, you should plan on spending about $20-$30 for a half-hour with a private guitar tutor. This may sound like a lot, but the feedback of a trained guitarist is worth it. That said, you cannot rely simply on the tutor’s skill. You must be willing to put in the practice needed outside of the time with the tutor. If you feel like you aren't having the success you hoped for after a few months of private tutoring, consider finding another instructor that takes a different approach. 


There are many ways to learn to play the guitar. Some people with natural musical ability might be fine using only YouTube to learn while others might need one-on-one instruction. Learning to play the guitar is a commitment and won’t be picked up overnight. Any way you learn to play guitar will involve three things: practice, practice and practice.

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