Thursday, May 22, 2014

10 Things People Don't Tell You About Playing Guitar

In the vein of my previous post on running, here is one on guitar playing. Here are things people never
I track my practice as I
work on new skills.
told me about learning to play guitar.
  1. You'll need to pick a style of play to learn. There are a lot. There is lead guitar. Rhythm guitar. Blues, Jazz, Rock, Metal, Classical, Funk. Hell, there are a lot of different styles. You'll want to narrow it down a bit and concentrate on some specific styles you enjoy.
  2. You'll obtain a guitar addiction where you want more guitars. Take it easy on yourself. Just pick your favorite electric and if you want to play acoustic or campfire stuff a reasonable acoustic guitar.
  3. You'll need lessons to progress faster. Most likely since it will impress upon you the need to practice. You will also know when you have it and get faster feedback on when you suck and need to adjust something. It helps. It costs money, but it speeds up learning.
  4. You'll need to practice regularly (like daily or every other day) to get better. This is a no brainer but until I really started to practice regularly I did not see reasonable gains in proficiency.
  5. If you want to sing and play then learn to play, then start singing, and sing regularly. You can not sing the song if you can not play it on autopilot. You can not sing in front of others unless you are singing by yourself while you practice. This means a lot of practice time singing and learning the song. Having a place to jam without driving loved ones crazy helps.
  6. A regular (weekly) jam or song night with a friend will improve your skills. You will be playing regularly. You will teach each other things. You will motivate each other. You will learn to play with someone else, to keep playing even when you make a mistake, and to work harder. It is worth it to find someone to play with regularly. You don't have to be a band, you just have to love playing.
  7. You will start to dislike simple songs and guitar songs in particular. If it is repetitive and has nothing interesting to play in the song then you will start to dislike songs you thought were great until you learned to play.
  8. You will start to hear more in the music. As your ear begins to learn to hear the nuances in music you will hear more happening in the music you listen to. For some songs this will ruin them. For others, the joy of listening will be increased.
  9. You will fret over gear. Which amp? Which pedal? When to get a pedal? Which mic? Which pickup for my acoustic? You'll spend too much time researching and spending money on this crap. Just get the basics and play. Save the pedals, different amps, and other stuff for when you can play, sing, and improvise off the cuff. You don't need all that extra stuff to play. It is just icing on the cake when you are really good.
  10. You will realize there is more to learn than you can imagine. Back to item 1. Pick a style, learn it, and then learn it some more. Then decide from there what to do next.

No comments: