For every electric guitar beginner that is unsure about the first steps to go through when you get your first electric guitar in your hands, you are in the right place.
How to begin learning guitar
When you begin to learn guitar you should follow the advice my teacher Mrs. Taylor use to say.
“Start at the beginning”.
When you get your first electric guitar you should follow the processes just like I did with the first guitar I brought home.
If you have bought yours from the internet and had it delivered you are definitely going to want to follow these steps:
1. Firstly check it is not damaged
Photo by Ryanniel Masucol on Pexels.com
Even if you paid for the best postage the worst still can happen. If that does happen to you, you must get straight onto the customer services of the seller etc.
I did this with the first electric guitar that I got for Christmas brand new, but that’s a story for another post. My first was borrowed though.
When I brought home the first guitar I ever played I walked into the house and my wife spots it straight away.
There was no chance of getting anything past her, especially a guitar and amp I had forgot to tell her about.
But this is the madness that she has come to expect out of me over the years.
2. If you have borrowed it from someone, check what the cost of replacement is.
Lets see what Google has to say about mine.
The one I borrowed from my friend Chris was A 1996 Charvel CHS1 in black and white pictured at the top of this page.
It was an eye watering £400!!! to replace I couldn’t believe it. Not only did it cost a lot but it was a rare import from America!
If I had been in a film it would have been like the camera zoom in from jaws at that moment.
Chris had said that the amp was only a 5w practice amp hopefully that would be easier to replace if I needed to.
Nope I was wrong. It was a Crate V58 5w tube amp and very rare.
There was no hope of replacing any of it, They were really high quality for a beginner to start with.
YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED.
Hopefully if you have borrowed a guitar, its not too much to replace.
The strap on the Charvel was covered in pictures of aliens too, which was apt really as the whole thing was totally alien to me anyway.
Just like any beginner whether you have bought or borrowed it I was sat there holding it thinking, I know what I want to do but how the hell do I do it?
3. Your new guitar will need setting up.
When a guitar company sends new guitars out they will more than likely send them out with no tension on the strings.
The reasons for this are many, but the main one is heat and humidity or even the lack of heat and humidity.
Your new guitar could be exposed to changes during transport or storage. Along the way the changes could twist and damage strings or even split the wood.
Before you set up your guitar leave it over night to get it use to the temperature and humidity.
It is also a good idea if you are not going to play a guitar for a long time, relax the string tension until the strings are loose. But this is more for neck bow reasons.
If you are very nervous of anything technical then I would advise taking your guitar to a local guitar luthier.
If you are going to use a guitar luthier check the reviews and prices of at least 3 in your area, so you can see which ones are the best and to see if the prices are fair.
Most good guitar repairers or luthiers will have price lists and examples of their work on their websites, some might have lists of the bands that they have worked with.
4.What you will need next is a guitar tuner.
Guitar tuners come in many shapes and sizes.
There are clip on guitar tuners
Line in guitar tuners
Multi function guitar tuners that a can also be used for bass guitars, cellos, ukuleles and violins.
I have some great examples on my recommended gear page
For me Chris had luckily given me a tuner which was an 80s Seiko one so very good and equally hard to replace.
But nobody tells you the first time you tune a guitar it is not that easy, you are unfamiliar with holding a guitar.
You’re balancing the guitar tuner on your leg so you can see it.
While also trying to strum and turn the tuners to get it in tune.
This does take a little time to master, clip on guitar tuners are better for beginners to help combat the problem but are not quite as accurate.
This is one of my videos on different guitar tuners.
5. How to tune your guitar with a tuner for the first time.
It is a great idea to lay your guitar down for this one if it’s strings have NO TENSION in them.
With strings that have no tension in them you must do them in stages, bringing them up to the right tension a bit at a time on each string.
1. The best process is to start with the thick 1st string and bring it up to a C, it does not matter if it’s bang on you will be moving it higher anyway.
Now go to the thinnest string (number 6) and smoothly bring the tension up to a C also.
Then the second string to an E,
The 5th string to a G
The third to an A
and the 4th string to a D.
It should look like this.
6. At this point it is the best idea to leave your guitar for a hour if you can, this will help the guitars wood settle further.
If the tension is ok then tune the guitar as follows.
Thickest string to E
The 6th string to E
The 2nd string to A
The 5th string to B
The 3rd string to D
and the 4th string to G
IN THAT ORDER
The guitar will have to settle and then it will stay in tune for longer up to a point.
7. The best way to remember the tunings from the thickest down is:
Once you have that sorted you are ready to go.
8. How to properly sit holding a guitar to avoid injuries.
This really simple technique was taught to me by a guy, who had seen my videos on my YouTube channel, He was really helpful and gave me loads of advice.
The best of the tips and tricks he gave me was that if you place the guitar on your left leg.
Believe it or not but it opens up the whole neck for you to play and makes it so much easier, no twisting your arm hand and back into all kinds of ways.
If you watch my earlier videos you can see that my arm is turned to the side to get the hand to play but after moving it the the other leg it is nice and straight.
As you can see in the left picture I am twisted and bending my wrist to play.
But in the right picture I am sat straight and I can easily reach all parts of the fret board.
This technique so I am told, will prevent ligament damages compered to the other.
9. Basic Guitar chords and songs to learn.
I started off with a couple of those “Here are some basic guitar songs type videos”.
With what I know now they don’t help anyone learn seriously on their own.
They do get you to sound like you are Learning but its just one finger tunes.
But I didn’t know any better, I did get some chords to practice here they are.
This is all on the 2nd fret then strum all the strings, placing your fingers in the numbered order.
Start at the 2nd fret and strum the middle four, placing your thumb in the middle of the chords at the back will make it easier.
Starting at the 2nd fret then strum from the 2nd string to the 6th.
For this one start at the 2nd fret and strum from the 3rd to the 6th.
Start at the 2nd fret and strum all the strings.
start at the 2nd fret and strum all the strings.
After playing those chords for at least an hour my finger tips where like a scene from.
Texas chainsaw massacre.
Chris didn’t tell me about that, I guess no pain no gain.
Even after all that, I still could not get enough!
10. Using normal headphones with a guitar amp
So I didn’t disturb everyone the crate v5 5w tube amp came luckily with a rather handy headphones connector socket.
Problem was it was a 1/4 jack and all I had was a 3.5mm connector on the headphones. Not to worry.
With a quick check in the trusty draw that has everything chucked in it, I found a convertor.
Before I tell you what happened next you need to know this.
11. The quality of headphones stuff can vary a bit, so the connector was not that great, It was little bit loose shall I say.
The headphones were not great either so I had to turn up the amp a bit to hear it, no problem though.
So I thought…..
My wife had gone to bed early, so I thought I know I will just pop the headphones on(Not very rock n roll I know).
Just as I had hit an amazing power chord….
The headphones connector fell out!!
Unleashing the loudest sound I have ever seen out of a 5w speaker.
it turns out 5w tube amps make the same level of sound as a 50w amp!!
My wife flew out of bed in complete shock, luckily she knew it wasn’t my amp else I think it would have been a different story.
If you liked this post, I have got more on the way soon.