Guitar Lesson for Complete Beginners: Common Questions About Getting Started (BC-101)


Hi, how you doing? Justin here. Welcome to BC-101 which is: “Common Questions About Learning The Guitar That Beginners Usually Ask”. So in this quick little video clip, I’m going to try and explain a couple of the questions that came up time and time again on the website and e-mail and on the forum and stuff. Of course I’m only going to do a few questions that are really common ’cause I probably don’t know every question that you’ve got, but if you want to ask it, there’s a link at the bottom of this page’s website, so if you and look up BC-101 on the justinguitar.com website, you’ll see the video atop and then you see the questions as text and I’ll make sure I’ll put any new questions up there. Then underneath that, you’re going to find a little question mark with a direct link to the forum. So if you’ve got some other beginner’s questions, that I haven’t answered here, then please go and hit that link on the forum and it’ll take you to a little place where you can leave your question and then I might do a Part 2 of this if I’ve got enough questions. Either that or I’ll just answer it in the text below this, on the website. So, Really Common Questions. Let’s get some out of the way and get them going. Most people really want to know: “How long is it going to take me to learn to play guitar?” Well unfortunately, how long is a piece of string? It’s different for everybody. There’s not really one kind of set time frame for people. I generally find that within six months, most people can kind of play some tunes. I tend to think of it in terms of hours of practice, so it tends to be about five hours of practice and then people can usually play some songs. Now I don’t mean like five hours all in one go right, that isn’t going to work. I’m talking about doing, say, 15 minutes a day, four times a week or five times a week, for four, five weeks. That kind of thing. And you should be able to kind of play some tunes, you might be still struggling with your strumming and stuff. It really is different for different people though, unfortunately. There is such a thing as natural aptitude and some people do pick it up a little bit quicker. But generally, it’s about how much time you actually spend practicing depends on how fast you get kind of good. The other differential there is kids, children under sixteen or eightteen or whatever tend to learn two or three to ten times faster than adults. So if you’re fifty and you’re learning guitar for the first time, it’s going to take you a lot longer than if you’re fifteen. That’s just the truth, I don’t know exactly why that is. You’d think that older people would learn stuff faster but they don’t, I don’t know why that is. Young kinds just totally lick it. So, next question: “How often do you need to practice?” Well, what I would recommend is that you try and practice four to five times a week, for about fifteen minutes. That’s kind of what I reckon is the optimal amount for a beginner guitar player. If you practice too much more than that, you’re going to get: your hands are going to kind of get sore and you risk burning yourself out a bit. So in the early stages, you’re better off not going over the top and practicing loads, just try and get a nice, regular amount of practice in. Fifteen, twenty minutes, maybe a bit more if you’re really digging it, whatever. But that kind of amount is the amount I think you should be practicing. It’s a lot, lot better to practice a little bit every day than to try and hit it all in one go. So, if you were doing, say, 15 minutes a day, 4 times during the week, that’s going to be loads better than trying to do, not doing any all week and then do two hours practice on a Saturday, right? So, I know a lot of people have work commitments and stuff, and school or whatever. But if you can try and find a little bit , like ten, fifteen minutes of practice every day, that would be wicked. That’s a great amount and then you can start to up the amount that you practice as you get into it more and more. It’s also a good idea if you have trouble finding practice, or time to practice rather, then it’s a good idea to try and do it at a set time. So, like every day after you’re home from school or after you’re back from work or in the morning. A lot of my students have practiced in the mornings before they go to work, you know, it’s up to you. But if you struggle then it can be a good idea to try and find the same time every day to have a little bit of a practice session. Um okay, another really common question: “My fingers really hurt, should I stop?” Yeah, if your fingers really hurt, then you should stop. Everybody, including me still, after having played guitar for, I don’t know how long it is now, twenty-five years or something? I still get lines in my fingers and sometimes I play so much that it hurts. So, when you start off, remember that you’re putting your nice, kind of fleshy, soft skin down on thin pieces of metal and you’re pressing them down really hard. It’s gonna hurt, right? So it just takes a little bit of time for the skin to kind of callous up a little bit and get a bit tougher. So, yeah, don’t be that bothered if your fingers hurt. If it’s really hurting, stop. Take a break. I’m not saying you should kind of push yourself through so the guitar becomes some kind of torture thing. You know, but if it’s sore, just deal with it, keep going. It’ll be fine, you’re not going to do yourself any damage. But yeah, if ever something hurts, like painful, then stop and take a break. If it’s just a bit sore, that’s usual I think. It’s okay to keep going. Okay, another really common question from the Beginners Course last time was, you know, “Oh, I wanna learn rock guitar, what do I have to learn all these open chords for” Or, “I only wanna play jazz guitar, I don’t wanna learn rock power chords”. Now, in the course of the, ha, in the course of my Beginners Course, you’re going to learn a whole heap of different techniques. Open chords, strumming, power chords, fingerstyle, and probably you’re not going to want to do all of those different things in your general guitar playing career, but they all help each other a whole lot. For example: power chords. If you want to play jazz, right, but you don’t really want to learn rock power chords. But what you might not realise at that early beginners stages is that the formation of that power chord is really, kind of preparing your hand to play barre chords. So it’s really important that you do that, you know. If you’re looking at open chords because you want to play metal and you want to play power chords, I mean, loads of metal songs have open chords in it as well. So, what I’m trying to show you in this Beginners Course is all of the basic kind of foundation skills that you need to play guitar. After you finish that, you can start to, you know, choose this bit or I wanna do that or I want a little more of this thing or whatever you like. But I’d really recommend that you just start off with, you have a good go at doing the course all the way through and make sure that you can master all of that stuff. I think that’d be a really good plan. Another question: “Why isn’t there very much rhythm guitar at the first part of the course?” Well, that’s a really good question and this is one of the kind of slightly different things I guess, about the way I teach guitar, and rhythm is a really, really important part of playing guitar. And it’s really important that the rhythm is consistent. If you watch people strumming, usually you’ll find that their hand moves kind of continuously so you’d have . . . My hand is kind of moving that same way all the time and I then get kind of a pattern going, a strumming pattern or a rhythm pattern, which is kind of what makes rhythm guitar work. If in the early stages you’re struggling to change between your chords, which is very likely, in fact it’s almost certain that everyone who does this is going to struggle a bit. If you’re learning guitar for the first time, you’re going to struggle changing chords. You’d train yourself to stop strumming. So you might go like . . . Stop. Change your chord, there we go, and then . . . And I think this is the worst thing that you can possibly do. Because you’re training your rhythm hand that it’s okay to stop. And it isn’t okay to stop for your rhythm hand. Your rhythm hand has to learn to become completely independent. So, what I try and do is: introduce you to the chords first, then a bit of the chord changes, speeding up your chord changes and really working on that kind of thing. And then once you got to the point where you can do your chord changes fast enough, then we introduce the strumming. So, it’s just a slightly different way that I teach it and I think it really works and I’ve seen people really improve on their rhythm guitar because they’re not having to stop and muck around with the chords. So, I do recommend this as being a good way around. Okay, lastly: if you got any questions through this, please, please, please, please, please don’t e-mail me. I get too many e-mails, I just can’t answer them. But I’ve got a forum which I go to very regularly and I answer on. So, and especially in this early part of the release of the Beginners Course, I’m going to be on the forum a whole lot and taking questions, helping you guys out doing the course So, please check the link at the bottom of BC-101 which will link you directly to this particular lesson’s forum page. Have a look around the forum, there’s loads of people there to help and I’ll be there to help as well. So, go and check it out! There’s loads of places to get help, I’m sure you’re going to enjoy this Beginners Course, ’cause it’s loads of fun. So, I think that’s all we’ve got time for in this lesson so I’ll see you for another one, some time soon. Later, bye bye!