Getting Started – Playing Guitar Part 2

This is the second of three posts each containing 2 steps. These steps are designed for beginners or anyone thinking about learning the guitar. Getting Started – Playing Guitar Part 2 – Steps 3 and 4 are as follows:

Guitar Tips For Beginners – Part 2

Step 3.  Buy a metronome.  This may be the most crucial step of all.  A metronome is a device that you can set to create a pulse, either audible or visual, at a desired rate to establish a steady tempo.  The metronome is similar to a click track that keeps the beat as you play along.  It will help you to focus on playing at a steady tempo which is a very important part of learning to play guitar.  There are many people that have problems with tempo and using a metronome at the very beginning should help anyone to master this at the very beginning.

Another benefit of the metronome is that it can help you to learn scales or rhythms at a slow speed and then slowing increase the speed to enable you to play not only faster but also correctly faster.  For example, say that you heard an interesting lick by one of your favorite musicians, but they play it pretty fast.  You listen to it or find the notes printed somewhere and you try to figure it out.

Once you figure out what notes to play, you begin to try and recreate the lick.  Most people are going to try and play it immediately as fast as they heard the lick or in real time.  First of all, they currently probably don’t have the chops to play the lick correctly at the real time speed.  So, if they try to play it fast, the lick will be played either incorrectly or just sloppy.  The answer is the metronome.

Take the notes that are in the lick and listen to the phrasing of the lick.  Now set the metronome at a tempo or speed that you are comfortable with, and play the lick at that speed.  Practice the lick at that speed until you can play it perfectly.   Next, you increase the speed of the metronome by one click and continue to play the lick.  You repeat this again and again as you practice the lick, increasing the tempo each time.  Depending on your desire to achieve this, you will over time be able to play the lick in real time, with the added benefit of playing the lick correctly and building your chops in the process.

Now realize that this doesn’t happen overnight.  This process will take some time and will require patience.  You will know when you have mastered the lick at a certain tempo and to move the metronome to the next speed.  The overall result will come down to the question we asked before “How much do you want to learn guitar?”

Step 4.  Keep it fun!  If learning the guitar becomes a chore, you will never stick with it.  Of course you will need to learn a lot of new things like chords, scales, timing, ear training, theory, etc…  But keep it enjoyable.   One thing that I would do is to listen to my favorite bands or artists and try to pick up some things that they are playing.  So, during my practice regimen, I would make this a part of my routine.

This had a great effect on my playing and on my motivation.  First, it allowed me to play something that I liked very much.  This made me feel good about my playing and helped me to persevere.  Secondly, I could apply some of the chords and scales that I was learning to an actual song or lick that I enjoyed while getting some real world experience in the process.  Having a productive enjoyable part of your practice will keep you motivated and give you the confidence that you will need to continue each day.