Tools : Guitar Stuff

Started an article that hopefully will become a useful resource for people, like me, just starting out on the guitar.

Want to learn how to play guitar but don’t fancy going for lessons? Well, here’s how I’m doing it.

The Instrument to Start Out With

The trick is to buy a guitar that cheap enough for you to not feel intimdated about playing it, but not so cheap it sounds terrible. The best guitar to start out with is the Squier Strat. For about £200, it’s possible to get everything you need in one purchase – guitar, amp, leads, strap, video and instruction guide. And once you’ve got all that stuff laid before you, you need the best help you can to get you started.

The Help

The Complete Guitar Player by Russ Shipton

Starting out, this book is absolutely essential. It gets you straight into the heart of the action, learning chords and playing classic rock anthems (well, Mull of Kintyre anyway). It’s the perfect launch pad to learning tab and getting cracking with the fabulous toy that is…

Guitar Pro

I have to admit I was sceptical about Guitar Pro at first. It looked like a program for viewing tab on the computer, something that could be easily achieved by opening the tab .txt files in Notepad or something similar. Then I tried it. Once you’ve got to grips with reading tabulature (click here for a handy how-to guide on reading tab), Guitar Pro is the perfect playground. Through the website mysongbook.com it’s possible to access tab for over 30,000 different tunes (and new tunes are added every day by its users) and run the files in Guitar Pro. There you can adjust the tempo, play along with backing, and even attempt to sing along if you’re feeling brave. *Update:* Be wary of mysongbook.com – it’s a mass of popups, and we’ve just had problems with it attempting to install unpleasant software without asking us too – best avoided. Once you’ve got Guitar Pro going you can try just about anything. If you want to go into the theory more, there a books, flash cards, chord dictionary programs all designed to fill in the gaps in your knowledge. However, if your the impatient, impulsive, easily bored type like me, you’ll be wanting to get stuck straight in with learning songs rather than chord names, and you might be in the market for a new instrument to pose with.

The Instrument to Make Your Own

Once you’ve picked up the basics you may feel like you want to buy a guitar to live with, rather than learn on. A tried and true instrument that never lets you down. And that instrument is…? Well, it’s different for everyone. As I got into playing (and I am still very, very much a beginner) I wanted something with a bit more clout than the Strat. I ended up with an ESP M-50. A gorgeous, black, cheaper relative of the signature series of a certain guitarist of a certain ‘veteran’ heavy metal band. OK, I admit, I bought it because I couldn’t afford any of the guitars from the KH series, but after trying it in a music store, it was love at first strum. The only other instruments that caught my attention that day was an ESP Viper and a Fender Telecaster. Maybe I’ll expand the collection again with a Tele in a few years’ time. Hopefully I’ll expand on this article again in the not-too-distant future. This is a subject I’m still learning myself, so as I pick up tips, tricks and useful tools, I’ll post them here

Any comments/suggestions/tips, let me know. 🙂