My Top 3 Tips For Adult Beginner Guitar Players

I wanted to share with you here, my three best tips for adult beginners to get started playing guitar.

When you are very starting out, there are a lot of things to learn. I want to keep this very succinct, and very short to give you a couple of ideas to move forward quickly.
Tip No.1
Your guitar pick. What I recommend is a Jim Dunlop 0.60mm Nylon guitar pick. They are very, very flexible. The reason for this is, when you get going with your strumming patterns, it's not going to get caught on the strings. Especially when you strum up.
You'll find a thicker pick, until you get your strumming mechanism, complete and developed, it's going to get caught on the strings. And you will strat developing a very limiting 'sewing-like' strumming motion, that will quickly turn into a habit.

So when you strum down and up, these picks will flex across the strings and allow you to develop the strumming motion correctly.
Tip No.2
Don't worry about scales. Don't worry about boring exercises. Just purely work on songs! That's it!

Now, with songs, there is always an easier way to get into them, for your level. So pick songs that you want to play.

And then get a tool like the, Amazing Slow Downer app, or something similar, where you can loop parts of the song. Why I recommend this is because, you want to break the songs down into small, manageable chunks.

And this is like, the verse. The chorus. The bridge sections etc. It might be just a couple of chords to start with. It doesn't really matter, but you can set that up into a loop. And that is going to be able to set on repeat. You'll be able to hear and play along with it.
Tip No.3
This is the big one! What I recommend is, when you're just getting started with your chords, like your open chords, strum them once. Every time the chord is played you will strum it on beat one, and count 1, 2, 3, 4.

You can set up the song you want to learn (or just a drum pattern) and play along with it using this one strum for each chord strategy.

if the song uses a chord progression like, G, Em, C, D, with each chord lasting for 4 beats each, you just let it play while you strum each chord on beat 1.

There's a couple of reasons why I recommend doing it like this.

1. It's not going you stress you out, thinking, "you got to get to that next chord". When you strum it once, there is plenty of time to change from one chord to the other. It helps with getting you fingers in position for each chord when you don't do a lot with your strumming hand.

You could even choose not to strum and just change the chord shapes. Doing this helps you to work on your chord changes and you can focus without the strumming getting in the way.

2: The other benefit is, when you only do one strum, it gives you time to notice, where your pick is hitting the strings. When you strum the G chord and the Em chord, that is played by strumming across all 6 strings. The C chord is 5 strings. And the D chord is 4 strings.

What I see and hear a lot of adult beginners over 40 do, who are just getting started with guitar, what they do is, they strum all 6 strings, all the time. 

Of course their ear is not developed at this stage, and that is perfectly fine. But it doesn't sound great. And when you don't know what it sounds like, and you've got nothing to reference it to.

So if you slow the drum pattern down, or slow the song down, and you strum it once and make sure you are strumming the correct amount of strings, that will develop!
Even if you can only do these 3 tips for 5 minutes a day, you're going to get there. Small bits, done over a consistent amount of time, will get you there.

Alright, so that's my top 3 tips for adult beginners.

If you like what I have said, and you are interested in learning more, fell free to look around this blog for other tips to help adults play songs for fun.

Of course, if you are interested in guitar lessons, you can schedule a free 60-minute, introductory session to see if this might be a right fit for you. Simply click the link in the author section below.

Author: Allen Hopgood
Allen Hopgood has been playing guitar since 1983. He founded Gold Coast School of Guitar in 2011. It's a fun, warm and supportive environment where he helps adults to play songs for fun.

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