When I first started learning the guitar, I learned the hard way. So based on my experience, I want to give you my top 9 tips for learning to play the guitar faster and easier.
I picked the most valuable tips that will make your guitar learning journey easier and more fun.
Top 9 Tips to Learn Guitar Faster and Easier
1. Get the best instrument that you can afford
Some people don't want to spend a lot of money until they know how they will do as a guitarist. So they pick up a cheap guitar that they find at a flea market or garage sale and then they end up with a guitar that won't stay in tune or buzzes when played.
My suggestion to you is to get a good instrument that works right, has reasonable action on the neck, and when played correctly, it sounds as it should. Give yourself some credit - you are worth spending at least enough money to be successful at this. An additional benefit is if you spend a little more money than you think you are worthy of, it can motivate you to practice harder to reach that goal of learning to play the guitar.
2. How to make your guitar easier to play
There are several ways to do this. Do you have an acoustic guitar? You can try putting lighter strings on it like the Silk & Steel. You will find it is much easier on the fingers, and you can then move up to heavier strings as you get more experience.
Get your guitar set up so that it has the best action. Make sure the strings are as close to the fretboard as possible without them buzzing or muting out. Unless you know how to do these types of modifications, be sure to get a professional to do it for you.
3. Make it easy to practice
A great way to motivate yourself to practice is to have your guitar out and ready to go. If it's in the guitar case, it's that more of an effort for you to get it out and practice. That extra step can dissuade you from wanting to practice.
Try using a guitar stand or some kind of wall mount to keep your guitar easily accessible. Another method is to set up a small practice space for yourself. It doesn't have to be elaborate, even a corner of a room will work just fine, and you will see how quickly it will make a big difference in your practicing.
4. Learn and practice warm-up exercises
This can sound pretty boring at first but it will make your guitar practice more fun. After you warm up you will find that you play things much easier, which makes it the experience more enjoyable for you.
Do something very simple like my finger developer exercise. which can help you to pay attention and get your fingers in the right place. Also, I recommend stretching exercises, which are especially helpful for older musicians.
5. How Long Should A Beginner Practice Guitar?
A little EVERY DAY is the best way to develop the habit of practicing. Even if it's only 5 minutes a day. I've found over the years that the habit is more important than the time in the beginning. Then, as you get used to practicing, you can escalate your practice time each day.
6. Practice with a beat
The most obvious way to practice with a beat is to practice with a metronome to improve your timing. You can also use the metronome to play some games when you practice, or you can use it to help yourself slow down and practice something till you get it right.
However, a metronome is not the only way to practice with a beat. Drum machines are great too! If you have a Mac, you can use the program garage band. Have a PC? Get Cakewalk software! It's free, has a bunch of drum beats, and has recording software.
If that doesn't work for you, you can also find drum beats or backing tracks on YouTube. With a little research, you can find something that will liven up your guitar practice.
7. How to Learn Guitar Chords Quickly
It is very important to not just power through your chord mistakes. Practice the movements between problematic chord progressions. Do that a little bit every day until it gets easier.
I created a whole system called the Chord Switching Game, which is a guided practice I developed to help you better practice the chords that you need to work on. You can create your own practice system based on the chords you need to work on. Focus on the chords you are going to use most often on the guitar.
There are particular keys to learn as a beginner and within those keys, specific chords to learn. Start off with the key of D, A, and G. Their chords are D, G, and A7. Find some simple 3 chords songs that you can practice with those chords. Practice little by little and build up your success with small wins.
8. Best way to learn songs
Instead of focusing on just learning songs, put more attention on learning simple chord progressions. They act kind of like templates that you can then use to learn different songs.
For example, I - IV - V or the D, G, and A7 chords that I mentioned earlier. Start with the simpler 3 chord progressions, then build up to 4 chord progressions. You will find that many popular songs are made up of those 3 and 4-chord progressions. Then start looking for the chord patterns in songs that you like.
9. Listening/repetition vs intellectualizing
As adults, we like to intellectualize, but that's not how music works. Don't try too hard to think out all the nitty-gritty specifics, when you just need to focus on the simpler steps.
Music theory is helpful but let it take a back seat to listening and doing repetitions. Learn some chords and repeat them. Listen to see if you got them right.
Don't make the mistake of trying to think everything out first or figure it out before you actually make the effort in terms of listening and doing the repetitions and practicing until it sounds good. Thinking and understanding will become more useful after you do the repetitions.
Want some help?
Feeling frustrated by your lack of progress in learning the guitar? If you're a RGS Academy member, check out my course Beginner's Journey for a great starting point.
Not a member yet? No problem. Sign up here FREE for 14 days. I’m hoping you stick around… but if not, the 2 weeks should be enough time to get the benefit from this lesson.