We are sharing some tricks and tips for beginner guitarists that no one really tells you about; these also apply to ukulele beginners! No, the tips won’t magically scale down (see what I did there?) the patience required for the process, but they will make it a lot less intimidating.
N.B. Some elementary knowledge on guitars, i.e., guitar parts, is required to understand this article.
You were very excited about learning to play the guitar but at this point, it’s really testing your persistence? No worries! We’ve got you covered (I did it again)!
Fingers and frets
The thin raised metal bars on the neck of your stringed instrument are called frets. A lot of us struggle with figuring out how to place our fingers on the fretboard to play a specific chord. This becomes a lot easier if you follow a simple rule. Use numbers 1,2,3, and 4 for the index, middle, ring, and little finger, in that exact order. Once you hold the instrument, use numbers 1,2,3, and 4 for each fret starting from your left; for most chords, you’ll need to work around four frets only. Now, number the strings of your instrument from top-down 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, and 6. The trick is to maintain the order of these numbers while placing your fingers.
For instance, when you’re playing a G chord on your guitar, first, use finger 1 to pin down the string on the fretboard between the first two frets that you’ll be using; maintain the order of your fingers with the order of the frets. You need to pin down the other three strings all between the same two frets, you’ll now need to maintain the order of your fingers with the order of your strings; use finger 2 to pin down string 1, finger 3 to pin down string 5, and finger 4 to pin down string 6.
Strive for progress, not perfection.
You do your best to play your instrument but you never really get through a whole song because, well, you make mistakes there if not here no matter how much you practice? IT’S OKAY! That happens to everyone! The trick is to not stop strumming even when you make mistakes. It’s more important to enjoy while you play, get through your song, than it is to perfect your performance. If you’re properly in the groove of your song, your audience won’t even notice the mistakes your making! And if it’s too obvious, and they do notice, just laugh it off!
Do you often lookup for the guitar tutorial of a song that you like, come across these very fancy chords that you’re not familiar with and have all your hopes shattered? Not anymore because transposing the chords will save the day for you! Transposition refers to moving the scale/notes of your music up or down. In guitars, you come across new chord progressions every time you transpose. For many songs, if you keep on transposing up or down, at some point, you will find chords for your song that you’re familiar with. Some websites such as Tabs Ultimate Guitar and Chordify, transpose chords of songs from their database for you. However, this can either solve the problem of differing pitches or create it. But even that’s often not a biggie! You’ll read how in the next paragraph.
Use a capo
A capo is one of the most common guitar accessories. It’s clamped onto the neck of a guitar to raise its pitch without transposing the chord progression that you’re using. If you’ve transposed your chord progression too far down and can’t sing along to it, you can always use a capo to bring the pitch back up to where it’s fit for you.
Just wing it!
You don’t need to sound exactly like the artist in your song cover. You don’t need to use the exact same chords, strumming pattern, or even style. All that’s important, at least as a beginner, is that your music sounds sorta okay and that it makes you happy; even if it changes up a whole lot of the song. If you just spend enough time with your instrument and enjoy it, nothing can really stop you from producing something beautiful.
You can’t really prevent your fingertips from peeling off or cheat past those speed and flexibility exercises. But hey! It’ll be worth it!