For music lovers, there’s nothing quite like the Grammy awards, and last night certainly didn’t disappoint. But it was one simple quote from Foo Fighters frontman Dave Grohl that really made an impression on us. In his acceptance speech for Best Rock Performance, Grohl said humbly, “To me this award means a lot because it shows that the human element of music is what’s most important. Singing into a microphone and learning to play an instrument and learning to do your craft, that’s the most important thing for people to do. It’s not about being perfect, it’s not about sounding absolutely correct, it’s not about what goes on in the computer, it’s about what goes on in [your heart] and it’s about what goes on in [your head].”
We couldn’t have said it better. Passion, inspiration, motivation – that’s what it’s all about. Forget flashy performances and shock value – you can do great things with just an acoustic guitar and well-crafted lyrics. Yet for some reason, many of us out there still think up excuses for not picking up the guitar. We say we’re too busy, it’s too hard, we don’t have any other musical training, and it hurts our fingers. In actuality, it’s really quite simple. If you want to learn the guitar, do it. It doesn’t matter if you’re ten years old or sixty years old – anyone can learn to play, and anyone can make time to practice.
As Grohl said, you don’t have to be perfect. Just start simply. Take it one step at a time. And for a little extra guidance, here are 10 guitar tips for the absolute beginner:
1 – Make sure you choose the right guitar for your size. Guitars come in different sizes from classic to jumbo. It is very important that you find a guitar size that you are comfortable playing.
2 – Learn how to change your guitar strings. The dirt and oil on your fingers and hands builds up on your strings over time and will ruin their sound. It is therefore extremely important that you learn how to change your strings. How often you change them will depend on how often you play.
3 – Build up those calluses. Many beginners complain of pain in their fingertips when first starting out. This is normal and will go away after you have been playing for a little while and start to form calluses. The more often you practice the faster you will build up calluses.
4 – Learn how to tune your guitar. Make sure your guitar is in tune before you start every practice session. Tuning your guitar is really quite easy. You can either purchase one of those small battery powered guitar tuners, or you can easily find a tuner online.
5 – Find a good guitar teacher. While it is possible to learn at your own pace at home using free guitar lessons online, books and guitar home study courses, nothing can really replace a guitar teacher. A guitar teacher will help keep you from forming bad guitar playing habits and praise you when you are making progress.
6 – Stretch and warm up your hands and fingers before each playing session. This is important. Proper warm up and stretching exercises are essential in helping you avoid injury and improving your guitar playing.
7 – Learn about the parts of your guitar. Spend as much time as possible familiarizing yourself with all the various parts of your guitar and how it is constructed.
8 – Don’t overdo it. If you are experiencing any pain or discomfort during your playing or practice session, stop and take a break.
9 – Try to learn something new. If you continually do the same thing, day after day, then your guitar playing will become stagnant and you will not progress.
10 – Go to live performances. This will give you a chance to get up close and personal with the musicians, enabling you to see first-hand how a professional plays.
See what we mean? Start out simple, and pretty soon you’ll be working your way up to the more complicated chords and songs. Do you have your own tips to share? Leave us a comment!
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