Hints ‘n’ Tips

I’ve outlined below a few of the basics to help you get started – sorry if you know it already…

Guitar Tuning
keep your guitar in tune, it will never sound good if it’s not. It might be difficult to tune using your ear when you start learning so I would recommend that everyone buys one of those great little tuners that go on your headstock (they use vibrations to tune), they’re only about £20 – a great investment.
You can also download a cool little PC tuner here

Practice
Practice a little every day (or you can practice a lot) . There is nothing better than playing your guitar, except playing your guitar with some structured practice – play the scales over & over again, listen to records and transcribe your favourite songs and/or riffs and you will be a better player – I recommend at least 1 hour a day…

Slow Down
The biggest mistake made by beginners is trying to play things too fast. Don’t rush, take your time and get it right, speed will come in time. Try using a metronome until you are playing it perfectly at a manageable speed – then speed up if you have to, although it’s not easy playing with real emotion at high speed.

Pick Choice
Try using a thin pick for strumming and acoustic playing but a very thick pick for playing lead or single note stuff.

Chord Practice (VERY IMPORTANT)
It’s very easy to think your playing chords properly – play a C, now play it and listen to every note, are they clear, are you playing the the right strings? practice slow strumming of all chords until all the notes ring clear – pay particular attention to only playing the required strings, even I am often guilty of playing the wrong strings sometimes – you just have to pay attention and your chord will sound 100% better

Finger ‘on the fret’ position
Try to get your fingers as close to the fret as possible (the fret nearest the bridge, or right hand). It’s the easiest place to play a note as it requires the least pressure. Try it yourself. Put you finger in the 7th fret of the D string. See how lightly you can play with your finger next to the fret. Then try and apply that same pressure to the note when your finger is back toward the fret nearer the nut (and tuners). It will not sound. Increase the pressure until you get a good note – see how much harder you have to press!

Sore Fingers
Yes they will hurt, and no, you don’t have to pickle them in vinegar and bake them in the oven – have a day off till they feel better and start again – in a couple of weeks they’ll be nice and tough and ready for gauge 11’s

Finally
Get some lessons from me! joking aside, wherever you are, if you want to learn the basics and get a good solid grounding find a guitar teacher you like

Good Luck

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