54% of households in America have at least one person that can play a musical instrument. This unique skill not only boosts happiness and creativity; it has also been shown to improve long term memory, improve brain function, and even reduce the risk of getting dementia. The guitar is the second most popular instrument to learn to play after the piano. It is such a versatile instrument that lends itself well with all styles of music — from classical to heavy metal. It can be used to accompany other musicians or you can simply play solo. When you are first learning the guitar there are plenty of ways that can help you improve your skills and playing technique quickly. You will soon be on the road to making great music.
Mastering basic chords
It is important to learn the basic major and minor chords on the guitar if you want to play pop and rock songs. When you are practicing these chords, make sure that you use the correct fingering — it will help you out in the future when it comes to adding in extra notes, like sevenths. Don’t try to play the chords too fast at first, just be patient. Make sure that you aren’t trying to hold the strings down too hard either (known as the “death grip”), or you will just end up with very sore fingers. Often an acoustic guitar is easier to use when you are learning guitar. With the acoustic you can really get to grips with the basics. You don’t need to always play the chords out loud — you can even just practice the shapes on the guitar whilst you are watching television.
Practicing your chords
Learning music in styles that you enjoy is one of the best ways to practice chords — you will be more motivated to play if it is music that you like. Head to websites like UltimateGuitar.com or Chordie.com, where you can get the chord symbols and tablature for a vast catalogue of music in different styles. You can even find songs that have been transposed into different keys, making it easier if you are just starting out learning. It will help you to learn the chords quicker if you play along with the original tracks.
Do some online tutorials
Even if you are not having formal guitar lessons, there are plenty of online tutorials that can help you improve your playing and technique quickly. There are also apps like Fender Play that guide you through learning the music, with plenty of backing tracks that you can play along with. Online tutorials are an inexpensive way of picking up basic skills and you can even interact with other learners at the same level as you.
See other guitarists play live
What do Hank Williams, Dale Watson, and Johnny Smith, all have in common? They all came from Alabama. There is a rich music history in the state, particularly in country, rock, and blues. If you want to be inspired to practice your guitar then go and see some guitarists playing live. Birmingham is a great place to see some live acts, there are some really diverse venues including The Nick Rocks, Tin Roof, Iron City and Rogue Tavern. You can go and see bands every day of the week into the early hours of the morning. Muscle Shoals is also a great place to see other guitarists playing live, head to Bayou Blue or Swampers for an acoustic jam every night of the week.
Learning the guitar can bring you a great sense of accomplishment and joy. With a little practice every day, you will soon be on your way to playing some great music.
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