Top 5 Tips for new guitar players

Welcome to my newest Beginner Guitar course. Now in its 5th incarnation, my beginner courses have been evolving for over 25 years and helped millions of people get started on their guitar journey!

Before we get into buying guitars and stuff I wanted to give you a few tips to help you make fast and fun progress on your way.

1. Keep it fun!

As a beginner that is your primary aim, so if to keep it fun you want to learn some songs by your favourite band that are way too hard but you'll love it anyway - then do it! I would recommend sticking to the schedules as best you can - as well! Which leads me nicely to my next tip...

2. Divide your guitar time into 2 parts - Study and Fun

I recommend people try to find 30 mins a day if they want to make steady and noticeable progress, and so I suggest you do 15 minutes of 'practice' (I'll be suggesting mostly 3 x 5-minute practice sessions!) and 15 minutes on whatever you like! Could be the same stuff, it could be one part of it that you're really enjoying, or a new song - whatever - as long as it's fun! 

3. Avoid finger pain

Everybody gets sore fingertips when they start out, you can expect them to be sore for a few weeks (at least) but NOT painful. If they're hurting you're pressing too hard, doing too much too soon - or you bought a guitar with the strings too high from the fretboard (which is why I'm mentioning it here!).

Take it easy in the early weeks of your journey and allow the skin to toughen up! I'll be giving you more tips to help this as we go through the course. If your fingers get sore then you could try:

  1. Adjusting the 'setup' so the strings are closer to the frets (check out the coming lesson with advice on choosing a guitar!)
  2. Only pressing when you need to! (loose grip over strings when working on strumming for example)
  3. Checking out some Music Theory
  4. Spacing out your practice blocks over a longer period (5 mins every hour)
  5. Read about the Guitar Greats
  6. Learn about visualization!

4. It's about practice time, not talent!

All the great guitarists I've met over the years play a lot. Like all the time. If you practice 3 hours a day you'll obviously progress faster than someone who practices 15 minutes a day - however, I don't think a beginner should do more than 30 minutes at least for the first few weeks. Playing the guitar is quite a physical thing and while playing until your fingers bleed sounds cool in Summer Of '69 [Bryan Adams], in reality, it really sucks (I've done it) and it can take weeks to recover.

5. Play more than think

Many students I've met over the years seem to spend more time looking at guitar and effects reviews than they do practising. They inevitably end up with "all the gear and no idea" and most feel frustrated and unhappy with their playing. New gear won't make you play better but practice will. And thinking about it generally helps less than doing it - so get that guitar in your hands as regularly as you can!

Here are some ways to get help if you get stuck and need to help!

As you go through the lessons you're very likely to have questions. If you don't understand something, then it's my fault for not explaining it well enough - not your fault for not "getting it". If I'm doing my job well I'll answer your questions before you have them ;) However if you're still not getting something please ask - it will help me improve the course for all those that follow!

1. Check out the page FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) tab on the lesson if there is one.

2. Read through any questions in the discussion and see if there are answers there.

3. If you don't find your answer using the above then please ask the question in the discussion thread (you do need to be logged in but it's free!) - myself or one of the regulars will answer your question and it will help me improve the course!

Please try to keep the discussions on the lesson pages on topic!

4. If your question is not answered or you need more help, your next port of call is the Community Forum, a really friendly and knowledgeable community of learners who are likely to have done the course already and can probably help!

5. Ask me on Facebook or Twitter (links at top of the page!), but try to keep it short, I am super crazy busy so I just can't read super long posts.

6. Watch out for YouTube Q&A Live sessions (be sure you're subscribed to both my Main channel and Songs channel and hit the bell icon to be notified when I'm going live!), there are often dedicated beginner sessions you might enjoy too.