There are many misconceptions about playing guitar. In some cases, a misconception can be an insurmountable barrier, turning away potential new players. Obviously that is a shame, because learning to play an instrument can enrich your life in several ways. So, in this article, we’ll take a closer look at some of these misunderstandings.
1. “You have to start on a classical guitar”
While you are in the earlier stages of learning how to play the guitar, sooner or later someone will tell you that you should start on a classic (nylon-string) guitar. While playing a classical guitar does have some advantages for a beginner, such as softer strings to the touch, there is certainly no need to start on such a guitar.
Our motto is: play what you want to play!
Would you like to play solid rock or metal? Then feel free to start on an electric guitar.
Are you the new Taylor Swift? Then grab a (steel-stringed) western guitar.
That way you immediately get the sound you love and you will be more motivated to keep practicing.
2. “You need theoretical knowledge”
One of the great advantages of learning to play a guitar over many other instruments is that theoretical knowledge is not a requirement.
Some of the world’s best guitarists can’t read a single note.
Now you may be asking yourself how you will learn to actually play your favorite songs. This can be done by means of tablature, also called guitar tabs.
With this type of sheet music you see six lines, each line representing a string. There are numbers on the lines. Those numbers correspond to the frets on your guitar.
Very simple! As you progress and start jamming with friends and improvising, it is advisable to build up a theoretical basis.
Below you can see an example of tabs.
The notes above are for illustrative purposes only: you don’t have to be able to read them!
3. “My fingers are too short!” / “My hands are too small!”
The following applies to everyone: practice makes perfect. That is absolutely not a misconception.
Whether you have long or short fingers, the process is the same for everyone.
You will need to train your technique with regular practice.
Everyone will sooner or later hurt their fingers on a seemingly simple riff like ‘The Police – Every Breath You Take’.
One tip: take your time.
Don’t try to force yourself by exercising too much or for too long, as that can lead to injury.
Not convinced? Have a look at the younger Sungha Yung and his small hands just absolutely killing it.
4. “You don’t need lessons”
With the advent of the internet, a wealth of teaching material has become available, which guitarists can certainly benefit from.
Think of YouTube where people give tips and tricks, or tablature websites where you can look up the chords of your favorite songs.
However, it is strongly recommended that you take lessons with an experienced guitar teacher. You need someone who can teach you the correct basic techniques and who helps you to practice purposefully.
Playing the same boring exercise countless times in a row will not always lead to the desired result.
Alternatively you can go for trusted online guitar lessons, like Rock Guitar Mastery just to name one.
5. “The thicker the strings, the juicier the sound!”
This is a controversial point that not everyone will agree with.
However, guitarists like Tony Iommi (Black Sabbath), Brian May (Queen) and Billy Gibbons (ZZ Top) all use relatively thin strings, while having a sound to die for.
The most important point for beginning guitarists is that the feel of the strings is going to have a much bigger influence.
For a tight feeling in the standard E tuning, you can, for example, opt for a set of strings with the thickness .010 – .046.
For a looser feel, a set with the thickness .009 – .042 is recommended.
In short, when it comes to the thickness of the strings, there is no wrong answer. It’s about what you enjoy playing the most.
If you have any questions about guitar playing or if you have a myth of your own that you want to get rid of, please leave a comment below!
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