How to start your guitar studies
First of all, congratulations for starting your musical journey through the guitar. As far as guitar studying methodologies, there are some helpful considerations for starters:
- NOTHING replaces consistent practice. And consistent means every single day.
- Non-consistent practice and no practice whatsoever are the same thing. It’s simply do it or don’t. There is no in between.
- There is no need to rush or overload yourself trying to practice 10 hours a day. It will get you stressed out and frustrated.
- Do not compare yourself with others. Yes, there’s always an 8-year old asian that plays prog metal better than you ever will. Fuck it. Forget it. Keep playing.
- There is no silver bullet guitar or music course. Any good material will cover the fundamentals for becoming a good musician.
- Being a good musician differs radically from being “just” a great guitar player. Guitar players may play alone a lot and with great technique, etc. Musicians know well how to play and sound great among other musicians.
- The most important musical instrument of them all are the ears. And you should take really good care of yours. Louder is sometimes fun but being too loud all the time will fuck you up.
- If you sound bad, it’s not your guitar’s fault. Even if the guitar sounds bad because it is badly intonated and maintained, if it’s your instrument, it’s your fault. And that’s perfectly OK. You’ll learn and improve.
What is more important when you’re starting
The single-handedly most important objective you have to keep in mind as a beginner is:
PLAY YOUR GUITAR EVERYDAY
Thats’it. NO fucking scales, NO pentatonic shapes, NO alternate picking stupid exercises, NO speed building, NO THEORY. You need to learn to love having your instrument on your hands before anything else. Start learning the songs you like and you think that are not TOO hard for you.
Common misconceptions about musical learning and development
Music is a gift for a few chosen ones
No it’s not. You practice consistently and progressively, you get really good and learn even the most advanced musical concepts and pieces. You don’t, you keep being really bad. That simple.
(Many courses advertise this): “PLAY GUITAR IN ONLY 45 DAYS/3 MONTHS/6 MONTHS”
Forget this kind of idea. This is complete bullshit. Everybody learns differently and somethings might take you a couple hours to learn and take months for other player to get it down, and vice-versa. The fact is that learning music is a lifelong commitment, it takes YEARS to develop your musical identity (because it goes right along with developing your own personality) and this course-directioned mentality is misleading.
Sample week schedule for a beginner (first 2-3 months)
- Schedule ONE HOUR per day for practicing. You have less time available? Do at least 30 minutes. Less than that and you’re fooling yourself, not me.
- Use a metronome (buy one, use a free app, even Google has a metronome built-in its search).
- Set a small goal (ex: learning a riff you can’t play in a week/learning chords for a song you want to play and trying to play the rhythm part in a week/15 days).
- Do not make your objective “deadline” much longer than a week.
- Practice in 3 speeds relative to the song (10 minutes each):
- Way too fucking slow (50% original tempo)
- Confortable but with some challenge (60-80% original tempo)
- You will fail (100% original tempo)
- With your 30 minutes left, PLAY WHATEVER YOU WANT. HAVE FUN, PLEASE. IF YOU DON’T HAVE FUN, YOUR MUSIC WILL SUCK AND YOU DON’T WANNA SUCK.