Guitar - Introduction and Tips

“It is the most delightful thing that ever happens to me, when I hear something coming out of my guitar and out of my mouth that wasn't there before.” - James Taylor 

No doubt, guitar is one of the most popular musical instruments in use today. Whether its rock music or country music or flamenco music, all use this wonderful instrument to create wildly different sounds. In the recent past, the use of electric guitar has added a new dimension to the popularity of guitar. Though there are multiple varieties of guitars available in the market, guitars may be broadly classified into two types – acoustic and electric.

An acoustic guitar is hollow, and mostly  has a round hole in the face of the guitar. All acoustic guitars mostly have six strings. Mostly folk singers and western singers use this type of guitar. The sound generated from them can be heard only in a small enclosed area unlike the electric guitars.  An electric guitar is a type of guitar that needs to be plugged into an electric amplifier so that the sound can be amplified and heard by large audiences. It is widely used by rock or pop singers. There is a third variant - which is a mixed type of Guitar. In mixed type, the quality of sound is same as acoustic Guitar, but there is provision to connect it to an amplifier.

You will find that more types of music can be played on the acoustic guitar (such as the folk, country, jazz, and blues etc.) than the electric guitar. On the other hand, an electric guitar is easier to learn on than an acoustic one. But practically speaking, if you see yourself as becoming a serious musician in the long run, then choose acoustic guitar to learn on.

Some tips for budding guitarists:

1.             Emphasise on basic skills: Master all the basic skills of playing guitar – right from the correct way of holding the guitar to learning the chords. You should know what notes are consonant and what notes are dissonant in any given situation. Develop enough physical technique on your guitar so that your hands cooperate when you want to experiment and do creative things.

2.             Think positive and stay motivated: Don't allow other people's comments to demotivate you. Even when things don't seem to go right, keep your enthusiasm high...it will take you places. Read biographies of famous guitarists, take tips and advices from adequate sources and just go about  thinking positively!

3.             Practice and persistence: The finger memory you need to develop will not come without daily persistent practice. Though it is true that practice and persistence cannot give results without real talent, it is wise to accept that they play an important role in bringing success to talented people.

4.             Learn to play in time with a metronome: This is a very special tool that can prove to be very useful to overcome various problems that a budding guitarist may face. A good guitar teacher will guide you ably as to which practice strategies and tools will work best for you. You can log on to www.metronomeonline.com to use a free one.

5.             Find a good teacher: A good teacher has a fun way of teaching and his determination will go a long way in sustaining your interest in learning guitar. A good guitar teacher will not only teach you to organise practice materials and sharpen your technical skills but also time management. Managing your practice time effectively will play an important role in your success. A good teacher will be happy to see you well versed in technical skills, will see to it that you understand what you learn and encourage you to ask questions.

6.             Be creative: It is essential to understand that it is important to master the  fundamental skills of playing guitar in order to be creative. Only a skilled guitarist can delve into the creative aspects of music and produce inspirational and recreational music. Always find new ideas to get creative and original. Inspite of so much music being created in the world, there are many more melodies that are yet to be discovered from the wonderful silence around us.

7.             Be aware of the health risks: Playing guitar at excessive volume can be damaging to your ears. Many people complain of a ringing sound in the ears as a result of careless use of headphones and playing/listening at a high volume.