If you enjoyed my original article- 5 Guitar Playing Myths, here are 5 more myths that will change the way you think about learning to play the guitar.
You need to know a lot of chords– there are thousands of guitar chords. Encyclopedias of chords have been published. I guarantee throughout your guitar playing journey, you use less than 10% of the chords out there. And you know what? That’s ok! There is no sense in learning a bunch of chords that you will never use. Generally, each genre of music has its own fundamental chords and shapes that are used in that type of music. For example, in blues guitar, you will use 7th and 9th chords a lot. If you pick up Nate Savages Blues Guitar Blueprint, Nate will focus on the primary chords used in blues. Metal players need to learn their power chords. Are you a campfire strummer? Learn your basic open position chords. A course like Guitar Zoom’s Learn Acoustic Guitar in 7 Days will show you those primary open chords. Look at the type of music that you want to play and focus on the chords that are most common to that style. Of course, as a beginner, you will learn a variety of different chords as you explore different styles of music. And a good beginner guitar course will teach you a bit of variety. For example a course like 6 Minute Guitar or Beginner Guitar System will teach you the fundamentals of open chords, power chords and say barre chords. As your focus narrows a bit, this foundation will help you hone in on the rhythm tools you will need for that genre.
You have to have natural talent to play guitar– FALSE. Nobody is born with natural talent to play the guitar. Do you think Eddie Van Halen was born with a guitar in his hands? We all have our strengths and areas of improvement but it really comes down to hard work and consistent, quality practice time. Do a search through Six String Madness for “practice” as I have written a number of great articles on how to maximize your practice time.
I’m a beginner so I don’t need good gear- I hear this from my beginner students and parents as well. The truth is, cheap gear is harder to play and can sound so bad that the student is uninspired by the lack of good tone they are getting from their guitar and amp. I’m not saying that everyone should race out and by a $5,000 Les Paul and a $3,000 Mesa Boogie amp but stay away from the guitar and amp in a box packages or if the guitar has a Hello Kitty sticker on it, it may not be so good. Craigslist is a great place to buy good guitar gear cheap. On average 50% of people that set out to learn the guitar, quit within 1 year. You can find virtually brand new guitars and amps on Craigslist for ½ of retail a lot of the times. Buy the best gear that fits in your budget and you will be much happier.
Faster = Better So many people think that the faster you can play, the better you are. Look at some of the greats like BB King and T Bone Walker. They didn’t play with great speed or flash. They played with heart. I always tell my private guitar students, “Squeeze every last bit of emotion out of every note.” Don’t get me wrong. Flashy, high tempo legato runs, sweep arpeggios and two handed tapped licks are great but you don’t have to play like that to be good.
Beginners should always start with an acoustic guitar– I hear this all the time from potential students. I don’t know where this myth came from but actually it is just the opposite. Acoustic guitars are generally harder to play as the action is higher, strings are thicker and the body of the guitar is bigger. Decent acoustic guitars are considerably more expensive than an electric as well. I personally wouldn’t touch an acoustic guitar that is less than $600-700. On the flip side, there are some great electric guitars in the $300 range. Play the guitar that you enjoy but don’t think that you have to start with an acoustic guitar.