Top 5 Beginner Guitar Questions Answered!

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As a guitar instructor for many years now, I have encountered a number of different questions asked by students learning guitar.
Of these questions, I have compiled a list of a few of the most common questions asked of me, and the answers I would give for them.
Question 1:"My fingers hurt when I play guitar.
Is this normal?" Answer: Unfortunately, yes.
When you begin playing the guitar, your fingers are most likely not used to the pressure of holding down the strings, so you may experience discomfort ranging from a mild ache, to full on pain.
You may also notice little indentations on the ends of your fingers.
I assure you that all of this will go away given the right amount of time.
The pain will eventually go away after many practice sessions, so keep going with your studies.
Unfortunately, I can't tell you how long this will take, since every person is different.
There are a few things you can do to help, such as getting your guitar "set up" with the strings closer to the fret board, or using slightly less pressure when pushing down on the strings.
It is surprising how many students exert far too much pressure on the strings when they first start out! Many people will tell you that you will build callouses, and this is true, but this will take longer with nylon string guitars.
However, nylon string guitars are usually a bit easier to play for the beginner, since the strings are a bit more forgiving.
Question 2:"How much/how often should I practice?" Answer: The more you practice the sooner you get better.
I always recommend trying to practice every day to build up "muscle memory" and to keep things fresh.
As for how long, I usually recommend at least fifteen minutes a day to start, and as things progress add more time in small increments.
Question 3:"What kind of guitar should I get?" Answer: This all depends on what your goals are and what you want to do with guitar.
If you want to play a few chord-based songs at parties or campfires, maybe look into an acoustic guitar.
If you want an electric guitar, get one.
It is really up to you, since you can play the same songs (within reason) on electric, acoustic or classical guitar.
I would suggest going to the local music shop and trying out a few different guitars in your price range to find the one that you think sounds and feels the best.
Question 4:"Tabs, Chords or Music Notation?" Answer: Again, this has to do with your goals on the guitar.
If you are a young beginner who has no previous musical experience, music notation is a great way to introduce the fundamentals of music on the guitar.
If you are bit older or don't want to learn "Twinkle, Twinkle" and the like, perhaps tabs are the best for you, since they are a bit easier to learn, and you can start playing songs you recognize sooner.
If you just want to play sing along type songs, perhaps starting out with chords is the best thing for you.
I recommend learning all three, since the more you know, the easier learning will be for you.
Question 5:"Should I take lessons or learn on my own using the internet?" Answer: Well, this is a tough one.
There are many, many good resources for beginning guitarist on the internet.
Some good websites with tips, videos or courses are http://www.
youtube.
com
, http://www.
ultimate-guitar.
com
, and many more.
All of these resources can be used to help you learn the guitar, but lack some of the important aspects of having a private guitar teacher helping you along.
A guitar instructor can help explain things that often times are confusing for beginners, or answer questions that a student may have.
A constant source of feedback is a great tool to have, as you can correct any problems you may have quickly with the help of your instructor.
Also, there are many times that I have had students come to me after learning on their own that lacked certain musical elements in their playing that are not explained when using tabs alone.
(ex.
Rhythms are not usually notated in standard online tablature) These mistakes were easily and quickly corrected, but may not have been addressed without consulting a teacher.
Although there are many other questions that could be asked, these are just a few of the most common I get as a teacher and music store owner.
I hope these may have answered some of your questions, but if you have more I urge you to research them thoroughly, or perhaps meet with a good guitar instructor to help you along the way.
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