Learning to Play Guitar: Gear, Practicing, Lessons & More

Updated

At Equipboard we get asked this over and over again - what are some tips and tricks to getting up to speed on learning the guitar quickly?

Well first, while we can appreciate the want to learn guitar quickly, know that being a great musician is a lifetime pursuit.

Having said that, we get it - it's like working out at the gym, where some amount of external validation from your peers will motivate you to keep going. So how does one go from the idea of wanting to be good at guitar, to being able to pick up the instrument and play a song in front of some friends?

GEAR

In terms of guitar, spending around $250 should do the trick to start off with. You can have an extremely good quality instrument these days for around that price. Look at offerings from Squier and Epiphone.

As far as an amp goes, initially it's best to get something with headphones so you can practice anywhere at anytime without 1) being self conscious and 2) bothering anyone. Something like a Yamaha THR series amp will do the trick, or even a VOX amPlug.

At this point don't worry too much about effects pedals. The only thing you need to get going is a tuner, and it's up to you if you want a guitar tuner in pedal form, or a headstock clip-on. We recommend the latter when just starting out - it's cheaper and easier.

PRACTICING

Getting decent at the guitar takes discipline above all else. We like the idea of tricking yourself. Commit to something like 20 minutes three to four days per week. In reality, that's not a lot of practice time. The beauty of this "trick" is that, since learning to play guitar is actually a fun process, 20 minutes will easily turn into an hour or more. So before you know it, a commitment of 20 minutes turns into three or four hour-long sessions.

And if you can only play for 15-20 minutes one day? So be it! Don't beat yourself up about it. Flex that discipline muscle, and pick up the guitar for as long as you can. Now, what should you do in that time? Great question. That brings us to...

LESSONS

Musical instrument lessons - and specifically guitar lessons - have changed significantly in the last few years. The best way to learn used to be finding a guitar teacher close to your home or work, and to go see them one or more times per week with your guitar in hand.

These days, online guitar lessons have taken over. There is SO much material online to help you learn and improve your guitar chops, and many websites have established themselves as the go-to places to sign up for lessons. Even Fender - a legendary name in the guitar industry - has entered the game with Fender Play lessons. Their CEO Andy Mooney has said:

> "About 45% of the guitars that we sell every year are bought by an absolute beginner ... Somebody who has never touched the instrument before, 90% of those players abandon it within one year."

Those are powerful statistics, and we hope as much as anyone that 90% figure decreases as online lessons get better and better and these services are able to retain more users who have made the initial commitment to learn guitar online.

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