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How To Play The Guitar
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You may be new to playing guitar, you may be thinking of buying a guitar, have just bought one, have one gathering dust in your attic/junk room or you may be someone who already knows how to play the guitar and simply wants to improve their technique.

What I want to look at is a broad view of the subject of how to play the guitar before going into the details.. If you are a total beginner and you want to learn to play the guitar there are a couple of  questions you need to ask yourself-

• Have I got a good quality instrument to learn on?

• How much time am I prepared to commit to practicing and learning?

Having a good quality instrument to learn on initially is really important. People often (parents especially) tend to say “it will do for now to learn on” and give their kids the most appalling guitars that are often old and worst of all difficult to hold down even the simplest of chord shapes, the neck can be warped, the strings often so far from the fret board that only a really experienced player would be able to squeeze a tune out of it!

This can be extremely discouraging for the absolute beginner who will almost always blame their playing abilities (or lack of) because they do not know that the poor quality instrument they are struggling with is hampering their progress. You don’t have to spend a fortune on your first instrument but I do recommend that you team up with someone who does know how to play the guitar as soon as possible, if you don’t have a guitar playing buddy then seek out a professional guitar tutor and call them up and ask straight away if they will help you find an affordable decent quality to instrument to get started on.

For a nylon strung Spanish/classical guitar (which I always recommend my students to get started on) a reasonable amount to spend in my opinion is between £50- £75 and you should have no problem finding one in a guitar shop. Always ask to hear the instrument being played if you don’t feel confident trying it out yourself in the shop.

How much time you are prepared to commit to practicing and learning how to play the guitar is definitely worth thinking about  - as a guitar tutor myself I always advise my students to practice for a minimum of 10 minutes a day which is not a lot to ask really but it’s surprising how few people are able or willing to do this. It is better, in my opinion, to pick up your guitar and practice for a short time every day than to play for and hour or two every weekend for several reasons – Firstly, in order to build up the strength in your wrists and fingers, a daily workout is much more effective, and secondly that when you are starting out you will find that  you will get some pain in your hands from the effort involved in stretching and holding down chord shapes and the best thing to do when that happens is to stop and have a rest, do something else.

If you try to play regardless of the discomfort you will build up a negative association with practicing and quite naturally not want to do it any more. This is one of the reasons many beginners quit so try to stick to a daily routine of playing and avoid overdoing it at the weekends to make up for not practicing during the week. Also you will be having to remember chord shapes and this is so much easier if reviewed and practiced daily.

I hope this short article is of some help to anybody who is thinking of learning how to play the guitar and I will write and publish more on the subject very soon.

Other topics relevant to how to play the guitar :

Posture Holding the guitar Tuning Open chords and their importance One hand at a time Strumming Finger picking Chord charts and tablature


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