Welcome to The Ultimate Guide to Guitars! This primer to all things guitar will be updated continuously, so please check back regularly.
Why Would You Want to Play the Guitar Anyway?
Are you a beginner who’s wondering if the guitar is right for you? Or are you already playing one, but with a nagging doubt on your decision to do so? If yes, then below are the top reasons to play a guitar. If you’re still on the fence on doing so, they’ll likely convince you to finally dive into it. And if you’re already into it but second guessing yourself, they are reassurance that you’re right on track.
To impress girls or boys. What girl would not like a guy who can serenade her with her favorite song? And if you’re a girl who can wield an axe, you are guaranteed the attention of guys (reminds us of The Iron Maidens).
To be the go-to life of the party. What’s a campfire without the sing alongs? Or a beach evening without groovy music? Or a simple hang out without background sounds? Play the guitar, and you’ll likely get invited to the coolest get togethers.
Personal satisfaction. Impressing people is one thing, but impressing yourself is a whole different level. We can’t tell you enough how awesome it feels to be able to slay the masterpieces of so-called guitar gods. You just have to try it to believe it.
To express rebellion. Nothing says “f*ck the norms” better than a hard rock song and the guitars that come with it. But don’t get us wrong, you can actually be as defiant with an acoustic guitar (a la Tom Morello as The Nightwatchman).
How to Choose a Guitar
Among the questions sent to us, the most popular is “electric vs. acoustic, which is the better guitar to learn on?”
Much as we hate spoiling passionate debate, it really just boils down to musical preference. Yes, there are other stuffs you can consider, as discussed below. But still, the type of music you’re intending to play is the most important. For example, if you love progressive metal, you’ll be greatly dissatisfied that you can’t “Djent” an acoustic guitar. On the flip side, you’ll unlikely be rewarded with a vibe like Jason Mraz’ if you use an electric.
That said, let us nonetheless look at the other things that could be factored in when choosing a guitar.
The Acoustic Guitar
Most people choose an acoustic as their first musical instrument because they are generally cheaper. For the best acoustic guitars for the money, see the Random Life Music blog (reviews of under 500 dollar options can be found there).
Acoustic guitars have larger bodies, thicker necks and heavier strings. Thus, they are relatively more challenging to learn on. But then, you only need the acoustic itself to get started (accessories aren’t essential). You can just pick it up and play right away.
The Electric Guitar
Beginning with an electric guitar usually costs more since you also have to buy an amplifier and other accessories. If you can’t afford but you really want one, it’s better to just save first than to make do with an acoustic.
Electric guitars are somehow easier to hold and play. They have thinner necks, smaller bodies, and lighter strings. However, it’s inconvenient to play — you’ll have to plug in every time you do, otherwise, you’ll hardly even hear yourself.
How to Learn to Play the Guitar: Quick, Easy and Cheap Ways
How to Tune a Guitar
First things first — spare yourself and your neighbors from noise pollution by learning on a tuned guitar. There’s just no use in using a guitar that’s out of tune, period. You’d think that’s obvious, but it’s actually quite easy to miss for complete beginners.
There are different methods to tune a guitar, and below are 5 easy ways:
1. By tuning with an online guitar tuner
2. By using an electronic tuner
3. Tuning with a piano or keyboard
4. Tuning with harmonics
5. By making use of octave intervals
Among such methods, the first is the cheapest and also one of the easiest. You probably already have the things it require — an internet connection and your gadget of choice (PC, tablet or phone). As for the process itself, it’s just a matter of matching your axe’s sound with the tuner, as shown below:
Songs With The Same Chords
Here at DG, we love talking about guitar playing as much as we love actually doing it. It’s a common thing with other hobbies — for enthusiasts, discussing theoretical aspects is as fun as applying them. For beginners however, a theoretical approach to playing could be a tad too technical and overwhelming.
The quickest and easiest way to learn, we believe, is to immediately try to play songs. The advantage is that you’re practicing with something you relate to (the song). And so, it’s easy to tell if you’re doing it right, and it’s very motivating if you did do it right. The trick is to practice with songs that share the few chords that you can already pull off.
With the same 4 chords, you can play a myriad of songs like “Let It Go” (from the Frozen movie) and Fall Out Boy’s “Alone Together.” It might not seem much, but remember that great things start from small beginnings. Just keep at it, and sooner or later, you’ll be taking on the most complex of masterpieces.