By: Sanjay Johari
Learning guitar should be fun. Here are some ideas which will be helpful in practicing and mastering guitar.
1. Regular Practice – There is simply no substitute for practice. Even more important is practicing regularly. Half an hour practice every day is more effective than practicing for 2 hours every 4 days. The serious guitar players should keep aside some time every day for practice.
2. Make and Follow a Schedule – It is good idea to prepare a practice schedule and follow it religiously. The attempt should be to make definite progress in small steps. Every day achievable goals should be set and those goals should be achieved before moving on to the next goal. This approach forms a strong foundation and builds confidence.
It is tempting to try difficult pieces before mastering the initial steps. But what happens? The player is not able to play the piece properly, he will feel that guitar playing is difficult and will be discouraged by his failure. Therefore such temptations should be avoided.
3. Assume Correct Posture – Before starting the practice the guitar player should ensure that he is in right posture to play the instrument and both hands are properly positioned.
4. Visualize Finger Position on Fret Board – It is often helpful to the player if he can visualize the position of his fingers on the fret board. Initially he will look at his fingers while he places them on the strings. Gradually he will start playing by the “feel” of his fingers without looking at them. Particularly during a performance it does not appear proper if the player keeps looking at his fingers. The earlier he starts visualizing and playing without looking at his fingers, the more natural will his action appear.
5. Verify the Tone of Each String - The player should get familiar with the sound of each string when playing a chord. He should play the strings separately to ensure that each string is giving out correct note and tone. There are two mistakes which occur frequently and can be detected by playing each string individually. One mistake is that the finger does not really press the string fully against the fret. This will produce neither correct note nor the tone. In such situations the player should adjust his finger until the correct sound comes out. The second common mistake is that the finger, while pressing on the string, also touches the neighboring string. Again the player will have to adjust his finger position to press on the string “cleanly”.
6. Avoid Wounds – Fingers will hurt initially but gradually toughen up. An open wound should not be allowed to develop where the fingers press the strings. The fingers will naturally toughen up by regular practice.
7. Practice Accompaniment - Guitar is mostly played for accompaniment. Therefore the player should start this practice as early as possible. If he is not able to find a group to play with he can himself sing and play along.
8. Don’t Get Discouraged – It often appears that progress is not as fast as expected. But practice never goes in vain. Keep practicing and do not get discouraged by apparent lack of success. The body has its own system of conditioning its mind and muscles to develop new skills and habits. This takes time and persistence can speed up the process.