Guitar For Beginners: What You Need To Know To Get Started

I was watching Marty Friedman's "Electric Guitar Day One" Video, and I thought I'd summarize it and make an article out of it for those of you who don't have the video. This is really important stuff to take into consideration, unfortunately I found out about most of this stuff pretty late but now you can start your guitar journey knowing a thing or two!

Ultimate Guitar
Step 1: Choosing Your Guitar Since you're starting out, probably the guitar you have in mind is the one your favorite guitar player owns; That guitar's usually pretty expensive and's expensive! So aiming for a budget guitar is a good thing to do, because depending on your commitment to guitar, who knows you might quit playing from the first week or you might keep on doing it forever. There are a lot of knock-off guitars that are available at very decent prices, and you don't have to buy the first one you lay your eyes on, shop around and try to get the best deal out of it. Guitar shapes are endless, try to pick the most comfortable for you, I'd suggest Les Paul or Stratocaster shaped guitars, they are very comfortable and since at first you're mostly gonna play whilst sitting down, you don't want something like a V shaped guitar, it's not that comfortable unless you're standing up. A lot off well known guitar companies make a starters package for beginners; they include a guitar, an amp, cables, a strap and a tuner so this could be a really cool thing to buy! Step 2: Your Strings Preferably start out with a light gauge set of strings (a set of 9's for example) till your fingers develop calluses and work your way into sets of 10's or 11's depending on the music you're playing, whether you're gonna be down tuning your guitar and stuff like that. String Maintenance is also important, you should change your strings when they don't stay in tune anymore or if they don't sound as good anymore. You should always clean your strings after you play, wipe off the strings with a cloth to get rid of the sweat and all the crap that gets stuck em, and they'll definitely last for a longer period. Step 3: GET A TUNER! This is crucial for any guitar player especially for beginners. Your guitar should always be in tune if you wanna develop a good ear and to be able to hear the right sound when you hit a certain note. Step 4: Your Pick If you're into rock/metal music, start off with a heavy gauge pick like the Fender Heavy, this is the most fitting pick for that purpose. You can experiment till you find what you like best. Step 5: Your Amp Practicing at home doesn't need more than a 15W practice amp, there are many types; some of which have gain built in them, others have other effects like reverb, delay and chorus. Get the one you like and don't go for huge combo amps or anything of that sort because it's just too early for that. Step 6: Your Effects You'll find yourself wanting to add some color to your sound, you have an endless variety of stomp boxes to choose from, shop around and get what you like. The other alternative for stomp boxes is multi effects units, which are basically a collection of stomp boxes jammed up into one unit. They're not as easy in their interface as stomp boxes, but they'll save you a lot of money instead of buying like 10 different boxes one for each effect. Extra tips! -Guitar String Brands that I use and recommend: Ernie Ball and D'Addario -Guitar string/fretboard cleaner: GHS Fast Fret -Guitar Straps: Levy's Straps -Guitar Picks: Dunlop Gator Grips: Your pick will never slip from your hand...EVER!

8 comments sorted by best / new / date

    pretty good article, the only thing I really would change is that I usually recommend using medium picks till they decide since it it pretty much in the middle and gives them a feel for a pick.... and honestly for a beginner a multi effects pedal is ideal since you get to experience many different form s of effects for much cheaper...
    I strongly recommend begginers stay wawy from effects till they get reasonably proficient, way to tempting to cover up erros and bad playing underneath a bucketload of effects, and so many players end up sounding rubbish witout effects cause they are only used to playing with them. Overdrive yeah and some reverb, but aside from tat leave effects alone for at least the first year I think, Otherwise very good article.
    I've been playing with a little VOX 5w amp since I started 3 years ago. I'm thinking of upgrading now. I play mostly rock music and would like some ideas on what to purchase.
    I have to disagree with step one, flying v's are actually very comfy to be sat with and its probably better to buy a guitar you like the look of so you're more likely to pick it up... Apart from that good lesson
    !-twisty-! wrote: I have to disagree with step one, flying v's are actually very comfy to be sat with and its probably better to buy a guitar you like the look of so you're more likely to pick it up... Apart from that good lesson
    you might find them comfortable but they slide off your lap pretty easily, there are plenty of shapes that don't (les paul, strat, sg, warlock, mockingbird etc... just to name a few)... weather or not they are comfortable is not the point being made, V's were made to be used standing up because it is easier to angle the guitar and hook it over your knee for a difficult solo....
    Get a tuner? No thank you. There are lots of tuners on the internet, no need to buy one! Lots of metronomes too! It is all available on the world wide web nowadays.
    Bog Wraith
    For you Mac owners, nothing can beat GarageBand. It has almost everything in the way of effects and is outstanding for recording and composing using the many loops that are available. You can even play along with There is a built in tuner & great lessons for beginners. There is feature called Magic GarageBand that let's you play your instrument with a band in a pre recorded song. Each Magic GarageBand song also includes My Instrument, which you can use to play and record your own original part together with the instruments in the song. I can not recommend GarageBand highly enough, it is simply incredible whether for beginners or anyone else of any skill set!
    I have been a musician since I was 7. I play the piano, guitar and drums. My parents sent me to music school for it. And one thing I consider in choosing new beginner guitars for people who ask me for advice is the action. Make sure the action is not too high or difficult to grip. And if you really want to be a good musician, learn how to read notes first. This site might help you choose new beginner guitars: