How to start playing guitar

So you maybe have thought of buying a guitar and start rocking out like Michael J. Fox in the Back in the Future scene?

 

One of the best things I ever did was start playing guitar at 16. It taught me a lot of about discipline,dedication and how to use my imagination. It was the perfect tool to express myself without words when I couldn’t. For a loner it was awesome to rock out in my room, music was and is my best friend.

me playing guitar in my room
Eighteen

It’s also a good way to impress people especially the girls. I didn’t

Starting out

I did the worst mistake that many who start out will do :I bought the cheapest guitar I could find in my local music shop. Only good thing about was its color blue. On top of that, I bought a small bad quality amp. I didn’t have enough money.

Practicing wasn’t that fun, my playing sounded awful.Months after learning to play something I finally had saved up enough money and bought Epiphone Les Paul model, Slash style. I still have that guitar, love it.

When you are going to buy your first guitar, you need to ask yourself: How serious I m about playing & what are my musical influences?

Maybe you want an acoustic guitar?

Maybe you want to be a bass player instead of a guitar player?

Maybe you are better buying Ukulele?
Just kidding.

my guitar & bass
My babies

Are you going to dabble in this or seriously going to practice and develop your skill?
There is no point spending lot of money on expensive guitar if you are not going to practice regularly and are not serious about it. You will be just throwing your money away and wasting good guitar.

What are your influences?

My idols were 70 & 80s bands like Guns N Roses, The Clash, Skid Row, Kiss, Ratt, The Stooges, Mötley Crue was my favorite band and inspired me to start playing guitar. I also idolized bass players Duff McKagan and Nikki Sixx. If I would join a band now, I would be a bass player.

Picking guitar is extremely hard,they are expensive, there is so many of them and them almost all sound good.Which one to buy?

Slash from Guns N Roses is my favorite guitarist,he uses Gibson Les Paul, so I bought Epiphone Les Paul model. Ace Frehley from Kiss who is a cool player in my book also uses Les Paul. Les Paul is all around great guitar.You can play blues,hard rock,metal with it. Beautiful, amazing sound, comfortable to use. Ever see Slash doing his solo on his Les Paul in November Rain video ?

Nikki Sixx from Mötley Crue was my favorite bass player,he uses Thunderbird so I bought Epiphone Thunderbird model. Thunderbird has a badass sound but its so damn heavy! Now I would definitely look for Fender Precision basses, Duff McKagan from Guns N Roses used them through his career. Looks stylish and sounds very good.

Nikki Sixx & me in Helsinki
Me and my friends with Nikki Sixx in Helsinki in 2005

Fender Stratocaster guitars are classic.They are perfect for blues,soul, and funk. Jimi Hendrix used Stratocaster guitars through his career.

Ibanez is great for metal and rock .One of my favorite players Dave Navarro used Ibanez guitars when recording Janes Addiction first two records. If I buy another guitar I will get Ibanez.

Go the music shop and play guitars and feel what is the best for you. Do not listen to your friends or experts, everyone has their own taste, you have your own.

I knew exactly what kind of music and what sound I liked so I just emulated my heroes when buying music gear. Do it too.

me playing acoustic guitar on the couch

Start small

Learn basic G , C , D, A, E major chords. They are the basic chords every player must know. From there you can play tunes and have fun.

When I got my guitar I printed out guitar tabs from ultimate-guitar.com and started to learn my favorite tunes. I did mistake on that one,I should have played along songs and learn songs by ear instead of looking at tabs. But I was impatient.

Don’t go right into Progressive rock and beat your head against the wall when you can’t play complicated structures. I tried to play Guns N Roses material without any success. Start small. You can’t become Eddie Van Halen over night unless you are a prodigy.

Take easy songs, check bands like Sex Pistols, Ramones,  The Stooges,old rock n roll 3 chord tunes.
I learned guitar by playing Ramones songs like “I wanna be sedated” & Blitzkrieg Bop”. Ramones really was a huge help and inspiration when starting out. They have easy and cool songs that you can learn fast.

Mötley Crue songs were fun to play, the first album Too fast For Love is easy and fun to play if you are a beginner. Live Wire which is one of my favorite songs was first song I ever tried on guitar.

I love this site:  all guitar chords.You can check chords there, scales and much more! It is a real gem.

I also love Justinguitar. Very down to earth guy and is a very good teacher.

This was the first guitar book I ever bought back in 2005 when I was thirsty for knowledge:
The Complete guitar player:

I still have it. Brings back a lot of memories reading that book.

Complete guitar

Most important thing is to have fun and focus on the emotion of playing rather all on theory. When you play easy and fun songs,you will learn much better than sitting all day practicing scales that you hate.

Most popular musicians use basic Major & Minor pentatonic scales. To this day, I still mostly use this minor pentatonic scale pattern 1 when soloing or playing licks.

guitar scale

I watched Dave Navarro instructional DVD back then and he mentioned only knowing the basic pentatonic scale. Another good example of guitar player who is not a theory guy but a feel guy.

Watch your favorite bands live performances, learn and get inspired. I would watch Guns N Roses Live in Tokyo 1992  DVD over and over. Study songs structure.

Study songs structure. Learn their playing styles.

Conclusion

First and most playing has to be a fun and enjoyable experience. Don’t try to impress people by learning how to play as fast as you can.

Playing must come from your heart, that’s what elevates a song to the next level. When I go to see an artist I could care less how technical he is, I want to see real emotion and heart. I don’t care if they fuck up, I don’t pay attention to that. I want to see the raw energy and excitement.  To me, that is real music.

Rock on

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