Learning How To Play The Guitar

There are many challenges with learning how to play the guitar, even holding it seems odd at first but provided you have got over that minor problem where do you begin?

Deciding exactly what kind of music you want to play is the first thing you must decide. This may seem obvious but it is strange just how many people start to learn to play the guitar, go for lessons from a local teacher but then give up a little while afterwards just because they wanted to play, for example, jazz but their teacher just taught them some tiresome classical piece.

Learning how to play the guitar should be a challenge, but also great fun. You are wasting your time if your trying to play music you hate. Don't forget that all the world's famous guitarists started at the beginning and had trouble with sore fingers and awkward shapes for chords. The only real difference is that they stuck at it and kept practicing.

For beginners there always is the question that is reading music for guitar necessary or not? The truth is that it really depends on the player themselves and what their final goals are. For a classical player hoping to make a career from their playing then I would advise them to start studying music notation - for everyone else it isn't necessary.

There is obviously a great help if you can sight read music and have an education that allows you to understand all the markings on the page but for most guitarists - that's what they want to do.

Learning how to read tablature or tabs takes only a few minutes to understand and then any piece is available to the student to learn, provided he has a recording. This is what all music readers constantly bring up when they extol the benefits of reading music for guitar. Tablature doesn't contain any information on the timing of a piece - so what. If any musical piece is worth listening to then someone somewhere has already recorded it. With the recording and the tablature all the information is available for others to play the piece.

With modern computers there are several programs available that not only can play the traditional musical notation but also produce the equivalent tablature. With these tools, even the most complex classical or jazz piece can be learned by someone with no knowledge of reading music for guitar at all.

So it really is just a question for the individual player to answer. There is no real need to learn in order to play even to a very advanced level but if you want to go ahead.

Many newcomers, when they start learning how to play the guitar cringe when their teacher informs them that they are going to have their first guitar scales lesson. It is understandable for without knowing scales you cannot appreciate their importance and value and they can seem just like a boring pointless exercise.

It is still vital for guitar beginners to start learning some music since that is what it is all about and being able to play some tunes encourages people to work harder to learn more. Once a student has been learning for a short time it is important to introduce a guitar scales lesson for various reasons.

There are so many advantages to learning scales on the guitar that it is impossible to cover them all here but one of the main benefits is that it is a great exercise for both the hands. Being able to move easily up and down the fretboard while employing different plucking / fingering techniques with the other hand guarantees that the student will be able to learn a musical piece much earlier.

Learning where the notes are on the fretboard will help with the understanding of chords and how to play them in alternative positions over the fretboard. This leads to probably the most important benefit that occurs after a good understanding of guitar scales has been achieved - the ability to improvise. Whether you want to play exciting heavy metal riffs or complex accompaniment to a jazz rhythm it is impossible to improvise unless you have a solid grounding in the playing of guitar scales.

by: Ben Frank

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