How to Play Beginner's Electric Guitar
Learning to play the electric guitar is something that's easy to do, lots of fun, and who knows: if you are talented and practice hard enough, you could definitely become the next six-string virtuoso! This article will show you how to get started!
Have your guitar set up properly.Getting your guitar set up correctly is one of the main keys to having a good learning experience. You can get this done by the guitar guru at the music store, a professional musician, or the owner of your local guitar repair shop. There are a couple primary benefits to having your guitar set up properly:
- Good intonation. This is maybe the most critical thing. Your guitar should be accurate so that when it's in tune (and you're playing the right notes), it will sound right. If your guitar has bad intonation, it may be in tune on the lower strings, but terribly out-of-tune when playing higher notes. This will be discouraging, and make it much harder to learn.
- Ease of playing. A guitar that's set up too high can be nearly impossible to play, as it can take an enormous amount of finger pressure to press down the string onto the frets. Not only will this cause intonation problems, it will hurt, and it will slow you down! In time you will develop calluses on your fingers to ease the pain, but it will still be difficult to play fast runs or switch up chords easily.
Listen and repeat.Virtually every song you like has a recognizable melodic pattern, some sort of memorable turn of notes. Don't limit yourself to just the guitar solos—though that's always good to learn—but also listen to the singer, to the bass lines, little fills and noodles from the guitarist. Anything that catches your ear will work—the simpler, the better, as you are learning.
- For example, the melody toLocked Out of Heavenby Bruno Mars is fairly simple, and has little vocal hooks and phrasings that you can try to imitate with the guitar.
- Call Me Maybefrom Carly Rae Jepsen has a catchy melody, but it also has a distinctive string backup pattern that would be a good challenge.
- Gangnam Styleby Psy has an insistent synth line that starts right at the beginning, and runs throughout the song. While you can't get all the "synthy" tone, you can get the basic lick down and then have fun with it!
- The key here is not to become a guitar legend by learning solos—it's to become a guitar legend by learning to listen and be able to play what you hear.
- If you have trouble catching part of a tune, try watching the YouTube video for it: often times, there will be shots of the band playing that bit.
Mix up the hard stuff and the easy stuff.Give yourself a "mental" break after working on something difficult by playing something easier, something you're comfortable with. This will keep your fingers moving, keep you improving steadily, and help keep you from getting discouraged.
- Make sure you always have hard stuff to work on! This is how you will grow as a guitarist.
- Work the things you have a hard time with more frequently than the things you have an easy time accomplishing. For example, if you find you are good at playing fast single-note solos, that's great! Keep practicing that skill. If you have a hard time with chords, then make sure you practice those atleastas much as you practice single-note solos.
Avoid stomp boxes when you practice.Sure, a stomp box will give you awesome shredding tone, and sustain forever, but it also does something else: it masks errors in technique.
- A pure, clean guitar tone will expose every flaw in your playing. Save the shred tone for when you're jamming with your friends, or just cutting loose on your own.
Learn music.As you develop as a guitarist, you will learn to appreciate the "shortcuts" music theory can give you.
- For example, Instead of having to fiddle around to find the right chords to a song, a knowledge of music theory will enable you to know what the likely chords are in any given key.
- It will also let you converse musically with other players—especially useful if you start a band. For example, a keyboardist will not be able to interpret your finger positions when you say "play this chord." A keyboard and guitar are not at all alike in how the notes are presented. However, if you say "Play an A7 then a B7 then back to E," he will be likely to understand you.
Taking Lessons from a Professional
Find a good guitar teacher.What makes a good guitar teacher will be different for everybody. Some people learn by watching, some learn by hearing. You may want to find somebody who specializes in the kind of music you like, or somebody who just knows how to get the best results no matterwhatstyle of music the student prefers. Find the best style for your way of learning.
- The style of music you like is only one consideration. For example, a guitarist who prefers the blues might take lessons in flamenco-style guitar. While flamenco and blues are not at all alike in style or substance, the techniques for flamenco guitar are much more involved, and could result in a guitarist with much more complex blues style.
Learn to read music.Whatever teaching style you prefer, make sure it includes reading music. Because there are six strings involved, and many notes that can be played on different strings, playing guitar by reading music is not easy. Training in this skill is very helpful.
Keep it fun.No matter what style of music you're learning, taking lessons involves a certain amount of tedium: repetition, difficulties, more repetition, and exercises that are much more about wiggling your fingers the right way than they are about actuallysoundinginteresting. This can lead to burnout if you don't keep it fun!
- Practice the lessons set out for you, and then when you're done, close the book and play what you like, any way that you like.
- When practicing scales or patterns and you think your mind is going to go numb from boredom, spice up the scales or patterns with embellishments. Make sure you work on theactualnotes so that you learn the techniques assigned, but also try things like using bends instead of frets for close notes; adding varying degrees of vibrato; turning on the distortion, reverb, and delays; playing the same music backwards. The idea is to do anything to break the routine and keep it interesting.
Practice.Whether you're learning on your own or taking lessons, the only way you'll get better is by practicing, or "woodshedding." This means practicing and playing as often as you can, for as long as you can.
- Learning to play the guitar involves many things: building strength and endurance in your fingers, learning where the notes are on the guitar, building "muscle memory," playing cleanly, and playing with feeling. These all take time to develop, and some parts will happen faster than others. Just keep at it, and youwillget the hang of it.
- Every single guitarist you've ever heard of or listened to on the radio or admired has been exactly where you are. They also have one other thing in common: they never stopped playing and practicing!
QuestionIs learning the scales a good way to start learning?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerYes, scales are a fundamental part of playing guitar and learning the notes. Scales will even help you in writing your own songs. Next, a good step would be to learn some basic chords.Thanks!
QuestionHow do I hold an electric guitar ?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerYou hold an electric guitar the same as any other guitar. If you play right handed, your left hand should be on the neck so you can form notes and chords. Your right hand rests near the body so you can pluck or strum the strings. If you play left handed, your hands will be reversed. If you are sitting, the guitar body will rest on your knee; it will be supported by a strap if you are standing.Thanks!
QuestionHow long does it take to learn the basics?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerThis depends on how hard you work on it, how good you are at learning, and how fast you can develop muscle memory. Expect at least a few months of regular practice.Thanks!
QuestionIf my guitar strings snap and I can't get new ones, what should I do?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerAsk around to see if anyone has spare strings, or save up to buy new strings. If you've just broken one or two, depending on the string(s), you may be able to still play it in the meantime.Thanks!
QuestionWhat is the minimum time it can take to learn to play a guitar?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerIf you're practicing at least an hour every day, you should be able to start playing simple chords for songs within a few months. To start relatively easy solos could take up to a year. To master complicated solos could take much longer, depending on your skill level. If you don't see results right away, don't be discouraged -- stick with it.Thanks!
QuestionDoes a brand new guitar come tuned?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerNo. You will need to tune the instrument yourself, or have someone do it for you.Thanks!
QuestionHow many weeks of playing the guitar is needed before I could play John Mayer's "Gravity"?wikiHow ContributorCommunity Answer"Gravity" is a tough song -- you may need a year to progress that much, but perhaps less if you practice hard and often.Thanks!
QuestionDo I need an amp to play electric guitar?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerIf you want to hear it, yeah, it would be best to have an amp. You can still play it without the amp just to practice, but it will be very quiet.Thanks!
in the video what is the amp set to?
- Having a good amp will make a difference in how much you enjoy the sounds you're getting. A low-wattage tube amplifier is a great way to go.
- Make sure your guitar is right for you. Some guitars, such as Les Paul-style guitars, are very heavy, while others, such as Strat-style guitars are much lighter.
- Stomp boxes can inhibit technique, but they can also provide a very nice environment for headphone practicing. If it's midnight, but time to shred, you won't wake the household!
Things You'll Need
Amp and cable
Head phones (optional)
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