A little while ago I asked this question on my Facebook page:
“What’s the most confusing thing about the guitar?”
For fun, I thought I’d share some of the questions and my responses.
I hope you find some benefit from these…
“Which hand do you watch?”
Me: Ideally neither, but that takes time. To start with, watch only the fretting hand and play the piece five times in a row.
Get that good and do the same while only watching the picking hand.
Then, close your eyes and play it five times in a row.
Obviously, learning a big piece in this way is hard, so do the above on one or two bar chunks.
It’s challenging, but this process builds up spatial awareness and stops the dreaded pauses created by looking back and forth at each hand.
“Having too many possible avenues to go down. Lots of them leading to blind alleys.”
Me: Yep, I remember that feeling and I could go into much more detail on this, but some quick advice for beginners is this…
Start by learning five simple songs from start to finish. Practise them one by one and supplement the songs with extra practice on the things that are holding these songs back. That advice can really help you avoid blind alleys.
“Having a structured plan for an easier progression.”
Me: Similar to the above, I could talk for days about this sort of thing. But if you want to create some structure for yourself, you can do this each day.
- Technique – 5 minutes
- Practising your songs – 10 minutes
- Spot-fixing specific issues – 5 minutes (i.e., a slow chord change or poor transition in a song)
Of course, you can expand the amount of time you spend on the above things if you have more time.
Plus, any spare time after can be spent jamming, re-practising songs again, or doing what takes your fancy. The problem is a lot of students will get carried away working on one thing (often songs).
Yet a little structure like the above can go a long way.
“That’s a really really good question! I’m 55, started when I was 12, I think the most important thing is to find your own style, groove, and concentrate on putting emotions into it. Technique is very important for sure. But tell your audience “Who you are.”
Me: Good shout. It can be confusing trying to find your own style. There are so many things to learn, after all.
Once you’ve learnt your first five songs, learn another five and, if possible, try to make them a little varied. (i.e., fingerstyle arrangement, strumming, fingerpicking, Travis picking).
This will help you find out what excites you the most on the guitar. You can then go deeper down this rabbit hole and get on the path to finding out who you are on the guitar.
“As a total beginner at 62 it’s a moving goal post depending on what you are trying to get right. It starts with how to sit and hold the guitar. The huge amount of different techniques to achieve similar results on YouTube if you dare listen to other teachers or watch different musicians play. I realised quickly to stick with one would be the only way to progress or you would become totally confused as a beginner.
The best decision I made was to come on board here.
I am surprising myself so far. Only a week in and have no problem getting in 1hr practice a day and really enjoy it. Starting with your beginners course has been a good decision”.
Me: Very true.
There’s an infinite amount to learn which can be overwhelming. It all starts with the basics of good technique and building from there with focus.
I’m glad Rob is on board and enjoying the beginners course.
On that note, I’ll leave this email here.
I hope you found some good nuggets there. Re-read the email if you need to.
…And if you want to get the beginners course Rob is talking about, you can below.
I’m not 100% sure if he was talking about the 7-Day Transformation course or the Breakthrough Beginner course.
…But it doesn’t matter because on the following page, you can get both for less than the price of a few picks.
Find out more about the 7-Day Transformation (and Breakthrough Beginner) course
Have a great day!
P.S. This post was originally taken from Dan Thorpe’s private email list. To get blog posts like this sent to you which are full of great tips to make fingerpicking, strumming, and learning guitar more enjoyable (especially if you are over 40) join Dan’s list. It’s 100% free, HERE.
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