Learning guitar can be frustrating for beginners, with the finger and hand positions seeming unnatural and uncomfortable when you're new to holding a guitar. Adding to that, many different guitars have unfamiliar neck shapes and fretboard dimensions, which can add an extra degree of difficulty for those that are transitioning from one style of guitar to another. Although the beginner period of learning any instrument isn't quite as fun as having mastered it, it's easily possible to fast-track your progress and get the key skills under control without having to spend a massive amount of time on them. These three tips and tricks are designed to speed up your guitar progress and get you moving towards intermediate and advanced songs as quickly as possible.
#1 - Use tablature exercises to get your reading skills and finger movements to improve.
One of the hardest parts of mastering guitar is being able to read tablature effectively enough to make it truly second nature. While less complex than traditional musical notation, tablature can prevent a bit of a problem for absolute beginners, especially when coupled with fast musical exercises. In order to master finger movement and quick reading, lay down a couple of finger exercises on a sheet of tablature paper, and run through them quickly and in different keys. A good idea is to practice runs through the major and minor scales, using as many different keys, scale constructions, and string positions as possible. For example, run through the E major scale from the E string, from the A string, and from the D string, each time changing the scale shape and construction.
#2 - Learn from your favourite songs.
Half of the trouble for beginners is simply getting the motivation required to truly succeed at guitar. The problem comes down to the fact that most beginner guitar songs are pretty dull. Instead of focusing on the most basic songs possible, play the songs that you love to listen to, and alter the speed and complexity to make them appropriate for your playing abilities. You'll learn more from working towards difficult songs that you enjoy than you will from mindlessly playing the same beginner songs over and over. Find an artist that you love, get their songs through tablature or standard music, and work towards them over time.
#3 - Focus on the primary skills first.
Sweep picking arpeggios might look and sound cool, but it's rarely used in the context of your average rock song. The problem that faces most beginners is the illusion of real choice. With so many different techniques out there, it's easy to start away at the most complex and impressive without having a real understanding of the basic techniques that make those skills possible. Instead of going straight to sweep picking and string skipping, focus on the basic movements that make those skills possible. Alternate picking, rhythmic strumming and basic left hand scale movements are good places to start.
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