Self-Teaching: Where To Start?


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Kill Me Again
01-03-2007, 05:04 PM
Every guitarist has to start sometime.
Can you remember that day you were so totally inspired you sat down and thought "I'm going to be a guitarist!"
I can. It was four years ago and that moment came when I went over my friends house and he played me the video for Sweet Child O' Mine. I was absolutely spellbound and went home, immediately searching for my dad's old guitar.
Luckily my sister played the guitar for about three days and had bought a book of guitar chords. So that very day I sat down and, stupidly, played my way through every single chord in that book. My fingers were crippled and I gave it up for about a week! The guitar I learnt to play on was a hand-built Spanish guitar actually built, in Spain, before my dad's very eyes. It was top-quality and I still love that guitar.
Anyway, let's stop this story and get on with the article!

I'm writing this article assuming you have started out on an acoustic guitar with the ultimate goal of playing hard rock on an electric.


I played for six months on an acoustic guitar, without a plectrum which strengthened my fingers enormously. I would actually recommend this. However sometimes I gave up and used a coin for strumming.

But where do you actually start?

I would advise printing off some scales and chord diagrams, practicing those for about a week until it feels natural, then try and learn some simple songs and riffs, to enhance your musical knowledge.
I also play the piano and the experience that gave me helped me hugely as I had a relatively large musical understanding. But of course you don't need any other musical knowledge.

Once you've been playing for about a month, and have been learning songs, chords, riffs, and scales, you want to add some techniques to your armory of guitar tricks!

I started off learning bends and putting them into context with some licks. I wanted to play heavy metal music like I do now, but don't jump straight into the deep end. I started by learning blues and rock, licks based around the pentatonic scales. Blues is an excellent genre of music as it can either be dark, twisted and viciously technical, or mellow and soft.

Also practice sliding as it strenghthens your fingers, especially if you practice it on a steel-stringed acoustic.

Here's a simple (and I mean simple) excersise that I used to practice. It incorporates slides, bends and picking techniques.

E-------------- 9--------------------8--------------- 7
B------------------------------------------------------------
G-----8b9------ 9 (slide)--- 7b8---8 (slide) 6b7----7

Although it sounds wimpy it's not a bad excersice at all :p:

Next you should learn hammer-ons and pull-offs, which may sound appallingly bad on an acoustic but are absolutely invaluable when it comes to rock music, especially soloing. Try this little excersise which is fantastic for toughening up your pinky.

E- --------5 ------5-------5
B----5h8---5h8----5h8-------

Start it out slow then build up speed. You'll be suprised how smoothly you'll be able to play it with practice after time.

I would strongly advise you don't attempt tapping until you've purchased an electric guitar :P

I've left out powerchords here because I'm hoping when you learnt your chords in the first week or two of playing you discovered the whole new realm that powerchords unlock. I won't discuss them in this article as they deserve a whole one to themselves (which I am not intending to write!)

Right. Hopefully now you should be well aqquainted with basic techniques, chord knowledge, scale knowledge, and should have a small library of licks.

You can now officially call yourself a guitarist! (Although still a beginner!)

I'll write some more articles later, as this is only about starting from the very beginning. The next will be about your second month of playing guitar.

notoriousnumber
01-04-2007, 10:45 AM
Hmm, youve tried to incorporate several fundamental techniques into a page of writing. In other words, it isnt thorough at all.

Although its always nice to hear about how one picked up a guitar, and how one didnt know a chord from ones arse; this article doesnt really mean anything. Sorry mate, have another go.