If there’s any musical instrument that’s been conferred with an uber-cool status by society at large, it’s the guitar. That’s why so many kids growing up want to learn to play the guitar today. There are many reasons for its immense popularity. Its incredible ability to suit any genre of music ranging from country, Latin and classical to blues, pop, jazz, rock and more, combined with its polyphonic nature and a small-form-factor makes the guitar an absolute powerhouse. The guitar is perhaps the best instrument for people who wish to set foot into the world of music due to its beginner-friendly nature.
How to choose your first guitar?
Have you made up your mind to learn to play the guitar? Then you would need to buy a guitar to suit your musical taste, assuming you don’t own one already. With so many different models of guitars available online and in local guitar shops, choosing one can seem like a really daunting task. So many questions come to mind when you think of buying a guitar, leaving us all the more baffled but remember, asking the right questions will only help. Let’s address some common questions that people have when they purchase their first guitar
- Acoustic or electric guitar? Which one should you choose?
It is recommended that you go for an acoustic guitar if you’re a first-timer as there’s no paraphernalia involved, unlike an electric guitar where you need additional equipment such as an amplifier and a cord just to get started. Playing an acoustic guitar is considered to be slightly more difficult than its electric counterpart as acoustic guitars are full-bodied and come with a set of heavier strings. You can also virtually play any style be it – Classical, Country, Pop or even Spanish or Latin music.
On the contrary, if you’re a Jimi Hendrix fan or a Metal-head, an electric guitar might be more ideal as it would not only better suit your music style but also give you control over the tone and volume of your guitar. Now, if you’re confused between the two or wish to have the capabilities of an electric guitar combined with the looks and sound of an acoustic guitar, a semi-acoustic guitar would be a perfect middle ground. You can also go for a semi-acoustic guitar. Rock it like Black Sabbath or weave magic with a smooth alto sound like Wes Montgomery! The choice is yours.
- How much should you spend on your first guitar?
Having a clear budget in mind will make it much easier to choose the right guitar. Anywhere between ₹ 5000 – 10,000 would be a sweet spot for an acoustic guitar. While it usually isn’t a great idea to overspend on your first guitar, you should also refrain from buying a guitar that’s too cheap as it almost always never sounds good. Generally speaking, beginner-level electric guitars are more expensive and cost anywhere between ₹ 10,000 – 20,000.
- Shop online or visit a local shop?
Both your local guitar shop as well as online stores have their merits and demerits. When you visit your local shop, you can try out the various guitars for yourself, see how they feel in your hands, how they sound. You can also get their expert opinion according to your specifications. On the other hand, online guitar stores give you access to an endless list of guitars from around the world but the only downside to them would be that you won’t be able to try them out before buying.
Useful Tips to help you select the right guitar
- Take a friend along who knows how to play the guitar
- Try out multiple guitars and examine their sound before selecting one
- Ask the local guitar store for their advice
- Shop online for the widest range of options
- Pay close attention to the size and design of the guitar
- Invest in the right accessories for your guitar
How to start learning the guitar
Starting your musical journey can seem a bit challenging at first but exciting nonetheless. It takes years of practice to master the instrument but a good tutor can make your journey easier. It’s never too early or too late to pick up an instrument, especially the guitar. While starting young surely has its perks as your cognitive abilities are at its peak, with constant practice, you can learn all the intricate techniques and skills required to play it no matter how old you are.
You can choose to take guitar lessons for beginners from a guitar instructor. The tutor will help you get all the basics right. Now, this includes something as fundamental as learning about all the different parts of a guitar and the terminologies to something more complicated such as reading music. You will also learn how to tune the guitar and use other accessories such as a capo, tuners, cables and others. While extremely rewarding, guitar classes can be expensive depending on where you live and who your instructor is. If you are looking for a more feasible option, you can turn to online guitar lessons.
To get you started, watch this Learning Guitar – Beginners video tutorial. Now, if you’re a self-learner looking for useful tips, you can watch these Learning Guitar – Intermediate and Learning Guitar – Advanced videos from our Cure.fit Talks section to get some fresh perspective and motivation.
Introduction to chords and their uses
If you’re expecting to learn to play the guitar overnight, you’re in for some disappointment. Practice is the only way forward and this holds true not just for learning the guitar but for virtually every skill on the planet. In addition to strumming and finger-picking, one of the primary things you will encounter as you delve into the world of music is chords. Ah! Too many chords to remember! People often complain as they try to memorize them. However, if you associate these chords with their shapes and learn to recognize them from their sounds, you will find it a lot easier to remember.
Chords can be mainly categorized into two – Open chords and Barre chords. An open chord, as the name suggests is any chord that’s played using open strings. On the other hand, barre chords are played by moving your fingers across the fingerboard. One of the common mistakes people make is that they jump into barre chords without learning the basic guitar chords for beginners first. An important thing to note is that a single chord can be played in multiple ways. Learning these chords is your gateway to mastering any song of your choice. You would actually be surprised just how many songs you can play with just a couple of chords.