I love playing guitar and, although electric instruments certainly have their place, there is just something about the non-electric models that sets them apart for serious music. One known fact is that acoustic guitars are wonderful instruments and are just plain fun to play. They can be used in almost any style of music, and help accomplish almost any type of musical sound desired.
Many people want to play the acoustic guitar, but often give up during the learning process. If you really want to play the guitar or any instrument, it’s going to take lots of practice and perseverance. Here are 10 steps to being a success with your new found hobby.
1. Learn How Acoustic Guitars Work
When playing any instrument, first learn how it works to make the sounds and music. Study the names of the parts of the guitar and the functions of each part. Learn how various notes are blended to form chords and which chords go together.
Also, study how music is written and the main keys of the songs you love. Even if you plan to play guitar by ear, you’ll still need to be able to recognize keys and chords for songs. Or, you might desire to read classical guitar sheet music, which will likely require lessons.
You can learn using several methods: 1. Hire a music teacher. 2. Learn with a home study course. 3. Take interactive beginner guitar lessons online.
2. Toughen Your Fingers
Hurting fingers is one of the main excuses new guitar players give when quitting their lessons. Yes, it does hurt the fingers and cause them to become very tender when you first start playing.
But the good news is this doesn’t last very long. As you practice, you’ll notice them hurting less and less. If they are really sore, give it a break for a day, but don’t take too many breaks from practice.
Practice makes perfect… and much practice will cause calluses on your fingers so they won’t hurt any longer.
3. Practice Playing Acoustic Guitar without Looking
Sit and practice changing chords and hand positions silently while looking away from your hand. Try to memorize where each chord is located and switch from chord to chord without looking until you can play without looking at your hands.
This will allow you to read music or words to a song while playing without missing a note. Hint: Though you’re not actually playing during these exercises, still press the strings down as hard as you would while playing to help callous your fingers.
4. Build Hand Strength
Exercise your fret hand (the hand that holds down the strings) daily by squeezing a tennis ball or other similar object for at least five minutes several times a day. This will help build muscles in your fret hand so you can play those difficult barre chords.
5. Practice Your Acoustic Guitar Playing Skills One at a Time
You might be tempted to learn all acoustic guitar skills at once, but try practicing only one aspect of playing, one chord, or one song at a time until you master it. If not, you’ll end up very frustrated with it all by trying to busy yourself with too many things at once.
Learn a chord and learn it well.
Then add another chord with it and switch between the two until you master that. Add another task only after you’ve mastered the one at hand
6. Music CD Lifesavers
Use your favorite songs on CD for practice. Try playing along with the songs you like and rewind and repeat parts of the songs until you master a particular song. It’s a fun way to learn your favorite songs if you plan to play by ear.
7. Work on Your Singing
Whether you plan to play with a band, solo, or in church, you’ll be more versatile if you learn to sing along with your playing. You can take singing lessons through an instructor or even online if you want to maximize your skills.
8. Use Guitar Picks Instead of Fingers
Some guitar players choose to use their fingers and nails to play, but using a guitar pick will help you play louder and you won’t have depend solely on your nails for playing. Nails can break and cannot be replaced on the spur of the moment whereas many spare picks can be stored in your guitar case!
Hint: If you insist on using fingers instead of guitar picks, go to your local nail salon and have some tough fake nails applied. I have a lead guitar player friend who does just that. He’s a guy but he always sees other guy guitarists waiting in line at the salon. No need to have your own fingernails in the quick. This could set you back from playing acoustic guitar while in a healing process.
9. Get a Capo
A capo can help you switch to other chords for singing purposes on any song even if you only know how to play the song in one chord. The capo shouldn’t be used as a cop-out for learning new chords – it should be used, however, for emergencies when you need to switch keys at the last minute.
10. Add Your Own Musical Flavor
Don’t be afraid to experiment with your acoustic guitar playing. Add your own style and be creative in how you play the notes and chords. You don’t have to do everything exactly as someone else.
You’ve probably noticed how ten different guitar players will play the same chord ten different ways. That’s because musical ability is meant to stir the creative side of your mind – so let your imagination run freely and enjoy the music!