Justin, first off I just wanted to say thanks for all the advice and instruction. You make playing guitar easy and understandable and fun. You explain very well the hows and whys when presenting a new song to learn and walk it through so that anyone can learn. I have played guitar for 20 years now and have learned more from you in the last five years than the previous 15 by myself. You have also been a tremendous help to both my son and my daughter in learning to play as well by making playing fun and interesting. I have a couple of pictures of me and my children all doing what we love. Many Thanks to you Justin
If you are practicing regularly, like you should be (at least once a day) be sure to change your guitar strings once a month. You will be amazed at how much of a difference in sound quality a fresh pack of strings will make. You don’t need super expensive strings. When I was starting out, I got by quite happily on my local music store’s house brand of strings that cost about $4 a pack.
Hold your guitar correctly. When you are sitting down, there are two main ways to hold your guitar. For a casual playing style, lay the guitar over your dominant leg. On the other hand, the classical method has you set your guitar on your non-dominant leg. In both instances, make sure that the guitar is held close against your body. Holding your guitar properly makes it easier to play and prevents you from becoming fatigued. Play around with both styles and figure out which one is most comfortable for you.
There's an abundance of guitar information out there on the web, some good, some not. I stumbled across Justin Sandercoe's site a year ago and now tell everyone about it. The lessons are conveyed so clearly, concisely and in the most congenial way. The site is laid out logically as well so you can to go straight to your area of interest... beginner, blues, rock, folk, jazz, rhythm, fingerpicking... it's all there and more. Spend ten minutes with Justin and you'll not only play better but feel better too. From novice to know-it-all, everyone will learn something from Sandercoe.
This article was co-authored by Ron Bautista. Ronald Bautista is a professional guitarist and guitar teacher at More Music & Los Gatos School of Music in California. He has over 30 years of playing experience and over 15 years of teaching experience. He performs mainly as a jazz musician, but also teaches Jazz, Rock, Fusion, Blues, Fingerpicking, and Bluegrass. As an instructor, he focuses on understanding the fretboard and applying music theory to any genre of music.
You do not need long fingernails to play guitar. In fact, it's best to keep your fingernails short! As for the callouses, these may be unavoidable. If you would like to avoid them as much as possible, ask your guitar instructor about lowering the action of your guitar (the action is the distance between your strings and your frets) so that the frets are easier to press down on.
Dallas Guitar Academy offers class lessons, private guitar and bass instruction, master classes, and artist clinics in North Dallas, Texas. All DGA instructors are experienced music teachers with confirmed references and degrees and/or certification in their chosen fields of expertise. Written letters of recommendation for all DGA instructors are available upon request. The DGA accreditation process means that you can be confident your DGA experience will be positive, with the highest standards of professionalism and customer courtesy.