PHIL KEAGGY - Grammy nominated and seven-time Dove Award winner, is one of the world’s great guitar players and a pioneer in contemporary Christian music.
- August 9, 2016
- Guitar Lessons
Are you wanting to learn guitar? We’ve taught thousands of people how to play guitar in a variety of different settings. Along the way, We’ve come up with some do’s and don’t's that might prove helpful for all of you aspiring axe slingers.
The basics truths about mastering any craft apply here, but there is one big difference: guitar is a lot more awesome than any other skill or craft. We can only move forward once we agree on that fact, because, all kidding aside, playing guitar well can be a lot harder than it looks.
There’s not a lot of instant gratification, but the little breakthroughs make it 100% worth it. So if you’re ready to embark on learning the coolest instrument since the dawn of music, here are a few things that might help along the way:
1. To Learn Guitar You Must Find The Right Guitar
The right guitar can be that dusty old thing that you’ve had in the closet for years, or a brand new Gibson Les Paul with custom, hand wound, vintage hum buckers. If you’re buying a new guitar, the most important question is “acoustic or electric?”
The great thing about acoustic is that it’s so portable, you can take it anywhere and have a little concert, no power required.
The downside is that it is tougher to play an acoustic guitar; this is due to thicker strings and a higher action - the distance between the strings and the frets.
To learn guitar an electric guitar is a lot easier to play because of the thinner strings and closer action, but the campfire Cumbaya session can take a little more doing.
If you want to go electric for the campfire jam, you’ll need something like this:
That said, each guitar is definitely suited to its own style of playing and I’m sure you have an idea of what you’re into. I would suggest taking a guitarist with you to the music store because even an identical make and model of guitar can play wildly different. Every piece of wood is unique and has it’s own sound and feel.
2. Get Your Guitar Set-Up
Most local guitar shops do this for $50 to $75. It will include new strings that are the right gauge and style for the guitar, as well as making sure that the action and intonation are good.
If your action is off, then you will have to push the strings extremely hard, making a difficult endeavor darn near impossible. If your intonation is off, then it will sound out of tune even after you’ve got the open strings tuned.
Speaking of which, learning to tune your guitar is crucial and the guys at your local shop can point you to a cheap tuner (usually around $20), and give you a heads up on how to use it correctly.
Whatever your budget is, having a well set up guitar is the best thing you can do for yourself at the onset of learning how to play.
3. Find A Great Instructor or Website
We are firm believers in personal instruction. Many of Pro Lessons instructors have taught guitar this way for nearly two decades, it just feels right. One person showing another person a carefully honed craft, one lesson at a time. This is tradition, and not only do you learn guitar, it helps to develop character.
Maybe we’re waxing a little nostalgic, but there’s a great sense of honor and humility in learning this way. However, It’s undeniable that the Internet has revolutionized guitar instruction over the past few decades. Now you can take guitar lessons from the best guitarists in the world. https://www.prolessons.com is a great example of this. You can learn guitar and take lessons from Phil Keaggy… Phil-best guitarist in the world-Keaggy.
Seriously. That was NOT an option when we were kids. For one thing, to learn guitar the pro instructors were a few thousand miles away from most of us, but even if they weren’t, most professional musicians simply don’t have the time to sit down with students in a one on one setting. What we would recommend is to try both, find a great instructor in your town AND find an online instruction sight that feels right for you.
You may wind up gravitating towards one or the other as you progress, but at least you won’t quit or get discouraged because your teacher isn’t great at his or her job. Give yourself every opportunity to succeed.
4. Give Yourself Time
Expect it to not work out so well the first couple tries. It really helps to have a patient guitar instructor or find an online guitar course that will slowly walk you through the basics.
The simple truth is even with the best instructor, the muscles that you will use when playing guitar are not used for anything else in your life. Muscle memory is awesome once you’ve played a chord a few thousand times, but the first few times it will sound pretty lame. Stay the course my friend, know that every single time you play that open G chord, you are chipping away at mastering 10,000 of your favorite songs in G.
Speaking of time, I think it’s wise to commit to half an hour a day. You will make progress if you do this every day. No question, as I’ve seen it a thousand times. There will be those days that you pick it up and completely lose track of time, and a few hours later you find yourself crushing that song you’ve always wanted to play. Then there will be those days… those terrible, no good, wish there were more hours in a day kinda days where your guitar will be the last thing on your mind. Just be assured, progress will be made if you stay consistent.
Whether your goal is to de-throne Phil Keaggy as the best guitarist in the world or you just simply want to jam out a few classics fireside while your friends sing their ever loving hearts out, rocking out feels fantastic and can release some serious endorphins.
Playing guitar can be a great way to decompress after a long day, and it can even be super cathartic if you find yourself heart broken- just play the blues, man, such is life. Whatever your life’s season, whatever stroke of brilliance inspired you to pick up guitar, just know that music, like most things in life, should be fun. We’ll leave you with a couple real quotes from some of the greatest players to ever do it. http://takelessons.com/blog/quotes-famous-guitarists
Oh ya, one more thing. Remember we recommended that you find a great website to help you learn the right way from the pro’s. We’ll your reading this on one of those sites. Why don’t you give yourself that extra chance to succeed and click the link below. You’ll be glad you did.