10 Surefire Steps to learn great songs from scratch.
1. What to buy, whether to buy?
First things first, Don’t buy an outrageously good guitar like a Taylor or Martin Acoustic or a Gibson Les Paul electric unless you have been playing for at least 2 years. If you are beginning, just starting out and don’t know whether you will stick to it or not, don’t buy something outrageously expensive. I’d recommend, when starting off, to buy an acoustic fender pack for approx £150, they can be bought at any good acoustic guitar store. Whatever you do, don’t go over £300 on your first guitar because even if you have the poets spirit and musicians’ soul, it may still lie in a lonely corner gathering dust.
2. Once I have my Guitar? What do I do?
Well, like anything in life, learning the guitar wont happen overnight, it is a long and tedious process. However, you can learn a few basics in less than a week to impress your mates with a real good song and then use that confidence you have built up to start the ball rolling on your emerging guitar career.
3 What do I Learn first?
The first thing I learned was the intro to a song called “Nothing Else Matters” by “Metallica”it involves picking the first, fourth, fifth and sixth strings of the guitar and not fretting at all. When you begin playing, you will learn chords more than anything, learn every chord you can until you get bored, they will stand to you when you get more and more experienced. Check out the site www.ultimate-guitar.com it has every chord imaginable for any song and diagrams on how to play each chord if you hover your mouse over the chord itself. Its a great starting reference site.
4. Do it yourself ?
This step really depends on what sort of person you are, if you are, for example a D.I.Y sort of person then get your head down and start motoring away learning easy songs like “Bad Moon Rising” “Wonderwall” “Time of your Life”, they are all great for a party and will get everyone going.
5. Get help?
If you need in depth step-by-step training, then you will need to find a package on the net that teaches you everything, most sites on google will ask you to pay money for lessons, however i have searched some good free links and have included the only good pay site for it from my own honest personal experience. The two free sites are the first two google searches on “learn basic guitar”, which is a testament to googles’ rating systems.
Jamorama.(This one requires the least time and effort and teaches you concisely what you will need to know in a short time. It is run by an old friend of mine and he is seriously cool and seriously easy to chat with.)
About.com (A great free site that will give you some great insider tips and clear and crisp beginner knowledge)
6.Don’t give up.
When I first started to play, I learned the basics and then I gave up, but if you really want to begin to get proficient at the guitar and to eventually have the ability to write your own music and to add great riffs to your poetic lyrics You should stick to it. If you are into acoustic artists who are chilled out like Clapton, or Damien Rice or Josh Ritter or somebody like that, then learn all of their tabs and keep banging away on your little music machine.
7. Rhythm is the Key.
O.k, so you have a few easy songs under your belt, but you may be out of time, have a bed sense of where you are in the song, or generally have the tempo of the song completely wrong. If you ever want to tie your playing of guitar in with a rhythm section of a band a drum player, bass player etc, you will need to be in time. Here is a site which works entirely on learning rhythm and timing.
Daniel Laberge has a good site on rhythm here: www.daniellaberge.com/music/rhythm/rhythm1.htm
This article on guitar noise really helped me when I began playing. www.guitarnoise.com/article.php?id=184
Personally, I love acoustic guitar, and guitar artists like Ray LaMontagne, Jose Gonzalez and Roderigo Y Gabriela. One thing I will say is if you are ever feeling like you are bored with music, or bored with learning the guitar, then take a days break. Before you begin your next guitar session the next day, listen to some new artists, you , or other people like and recommend and your entire outlook on music might change again in a second. That is the beauty of music, it is so dynamic and always surprises.
9. Buy a Capo
When, after two or three weeks of first learning guitar, you have learned a lot of songs and are getting frustrated and really aggravated at the tedious learning process, Treat yourself to a CAPO, a small clip for the fret board, costs about £15 max. It changes the key of the guitar as it is moved up and down the fretboard and can just give you the most beautiful tone. Apply it to a song you already know and bang it out, it feels great the first time you use a Capo.
10 You will succeed.
If you have had the patience to read down this far, the chances are you are a thorough and determined person, these two traits will stick to you as you learn the guitar. I am certain you will succeed. Yes, it takes hard work, yes, it takes love for your instrument,(give it a name, make it your baby, make it an extension of your arm, make it a part of you, eat, sleep, drink and shag guitar and you;ll be the envy of all your mates and be playing pubs and concerts before you can say “10 steps are Great”
Forgive any modesty, and thanks for reading. Best of luck with your music career.