The Musician's Room: Hints for Budding Guitarists

Here are some hard-learned ideas which could save you grief as you learn guitar.

1. Buy the best guitar you can afford, and buy used if necessary. Remember that like cars, new guitars loose an enormous amount of value as they leave the dealership. Your money will buy much more on a used guitar purchase.

2. Routinely pick a musical piece you can't play and try to learn it.

3. Try practicing your electric parts on an acoustic guitar to strengthen your hands.

4. Try practicing in a little-used stairwell. The ambience of the stairwell will reinforce your guitar's tone and familiarize you with natural reverb. The best-sounding stairwells have hard walls and an "open well" in the center.

5. The best foundation for an electric sound is formed by a good guitar and a good amplifier. Use effects pedals to tweak your sound for the final ten percent or to create special effects.

6. With electric gear, remember that your guitar sounds entirely different solo from the way it does in the context of a group. Don't allow yourself to get too wrapped up in your the sound when you are alone.

7. One short practice session per day will help you grow better than one long session per week. Try to play a little every day.

8. Always tune upwards, even if you must tune down first in order to finish tuning upwards. As you tune upwards, the natural slack between the gears in your tuning machine is taken up, and the chance of the string dropping out of tune is minimized.

9. Fingerstyle players: Nail problems? Click HERE.

10. Begin seeking your own style early on. Yes, learn other player's solos and learn some pieces note-for-note. But begin trying to play things your own way as early as possible and learn to express your own feelings and bring those feelings into a song.

11. Remember: This is supposed to be *fun*. Don't get so serious that you loose the joy of playing.

12. New to church praise playing? Click HERE.

13. Grappling with your latent consumeristic tendencies? Click HERE.

14. Tuning driving you crazy? Did you know there are a right way and a wrong to tune a guitar? Click HERE to see a reprint on the subject from the Society of American Luthiers.