What’s the best way to learn the guitar?

Well, this would obviously be to get 1-on-1 guitar lessons. You’ll be able to have a teacher take you through everything you need to know at your own pace. They can pick up on bad habits you’re picking up and answer any questions you may have.

The downside of 1-on-1 tuition is the cost, and possibly the fact that you need to schedule a time that works both for you and your teacher.

The next best alternative is to use online video guitar lesson websites. These inexpensive membership sites provide structured courses that you can go through at your own pace, within the comfort of your own home.

Some of the sites I personally like are:

Should I learn the electric or the acoustic guitar first?

This is totally up to you and your preference. For example, if you like metal then you’ll probably find it more satisfying to play the electric guitar. Conversely, if you like spanish guitar then acoustic is suitable for you.

Some things you’ll notice when you switch between the 2 types are how hard you need to press on the frets, the thickness and width of the neck and the way mistakes get amplified on the electric.

Should I practice sitting or standing up?

This really is just a matter of personal preference and it’s totally up to you which you choose. You may however find it easier to sit down when you’re starting off as you will find it easier to look at the frets and coordinate your fingers.

My hand hurts while playing chords, is this normal?

Yes it is. It’ll take your hands some time to get used to playing chords as you’re using your muscles in an unusual way for an extended period of time.

The important thing is to not push yourself too much. If your hands start to hurt then make sure you take regular breaks.

How often should I change the strings?

Ideally you should change them every month or so on an electric guitar. The reason being that if you leave them on there too long then the sound of the strings will become dull. You’ll also notice that dead skin will start to collect under the strings (between the string and the neck), so when changing strings make sure you give your neck a quick wipe down. If the neck is considerably dirty then try giving it a clean with “Murphys Oil Soap” as this will clean and protect the fretboard.

My strings buzz when I play the guitar!

This could be due to one of two things. The first and more likely situation is that as a beginner, you are not pushing down on the strings with the correct amount of force or are pressing it in the wrong place. Make sure you place your finger as close to the fret as possible (nearer the bridge) and also with enough pressure.

If it still buzzes then it could be due to incorrect setting of the guitar (truss rod, bridge and nut hight etc…) so try taking it to your local guitar shop to get a specialist to look at it.

Where should I buy my guitar?

I would strongly recommend that you buy your guitar from your local guitar store. The reason behind this is that they can give you advice as to which guitar would best suit your needs. On top of this it is really important to “test drive” your guitar before you buy it. Make sure you sit down and play the guitar. Do you like the sound? The way it feels in your hands? The weight and balance?

You may think, “Ok. Well I’ll go to the guitar store, check out the guitars and just buy the model I like best from the cheapest online store”. The thing you should remember is that even if they are the same model, each and every guitar is slightly different. You may try a certain guitar in a shop and love it, but hate the one you bought off the internet.

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