When I was eleven years of age my mother took me to Classical guitar lessons. This would have been at considerable financial sacrifice and while I couldn’t fully appreciate it then I certainly do now, at the age of 54! My guitar teacher was a good looking nice young guy of about 23 years of age and was quite likely much more interested in his own musical pursuits than teaching kids to play. I don’t hold this against him of course. It wasn’t intentional in any way but because his heart really wasn’t in it as far as teaching goes, he left out a great deal of important information which would have been of great benefit to me. I subsequently learnt what I needed to know mainly by just being involved in the music industry for decades. I think my ex husband (also a musician) taught me most of it!! So in this post I’ll just start out with two tips which I consider to be Really Good To Know.
NOT ALL GUITARS ARE CREATED EQUAL. Yep. Let’s start with that. There are electric guitars, steel string acoustic guitars , nylon string classical guitars and various hybrids. This is not just good to know. It’s essential. I learnt to play on a nylon string classical guitar. It certainly had it’s advantages the main one being that I can finger pick like a classical guitarist. However, being a singer songwriter, it would have been nice to know that what I really needed was a steel string acoustic or even an electric. And that’s what I have now. I have a smallish Martin, A gorgeous Taylor (Jewell Signature) and a Fender Telecaster. I no longer have my original nylon string though these days I deeply regret that and have been considering buying one just lately. So, in a nutshell, classical nylon string guitars are gorgeous BUT they are not ideal for playing chords or any kind of lead breaks and riffs etc. They are made for classical music and if you get one, you’ll probably be going to classical guitar lessons in which case you will most likely learn to read music, finger pick and hold the guitar in a way that is specific to classical guitarists. If you want to write songs, get yourself a nice medium priced acoustic steel string guitar.
DON’T FALL INTO THE ‘I’LL JUST GET A CHEAP ONE NOW AND A BETTER ONE LATER’ TRAP. This is very common and very very wrong. If you get a cheap and nasty guitar it will make it SO much harder for you to learn that you’ll most likely give up before you’ve begun. I’m serious. If you really think about it, it makes no sense whatsoever to spend say, $400.00 (anything less is not worth considering let alone discussing) on a guitar because the likelihood of you giving up the ghost is so high trying to learn to play on something thats almost unplayable that you’ll actually be throwing that $400.00 away. The good news is that you CAN get some pretty decent guitars without having to sell your first born if you look around and get yourself informed. Gibson Guitars makes a cheaper but comparable brand called Epiphone and they are quite good value. You’re much better off spending say $800.00 and getting something good that you’ll enjoy not only learning on but playing for years to come. Ideally your first guitar should be one that you hang onto for many reasons but not the least because it’s a damn good guitar! Most guitar players have at least a couple of guitars but there is just no reason that makes sense why your first one shouldn’t be something you treasure possibly for a lifetime. You’re not buying a pair of jeans. This is an investment. Guitars are beautiful instruments made from organic materials and will in fact improve with age. Save your coins and get the best that you can afford. You will not regret it.
Okay so that’s it for my tips for today. I’ll try to write another post along the same lines soon!