Wednesday, 17 June 2009

So you want to play the guitar...

"I'd love to be able to play the guitar like you, where do I start?"  Well, about 30 years ago.  And I'm still a long way from being satisfied.  Grrr & humphf.

There is no doubt the kids pick up new things faster than us grown ups, including the guitar, but it's not a lost cause.  To adult newbie guitarists looking for advice on how to play the guitar I say "learn how to sing."  Huh?

It's about engaging an audience.  People like to hear what they already know.  Okay, this precludes any new material from ever entering the greater collective, but let's leave that out of the equation for now ;)

If you can play a three chord song and sing in tune, you'll get an audience.  Even if you keep that audience to your mate, your dog, or the bedpost, you'll get an audience.  If you can play the theme riff to "smoke on the water", you won't get an audience, in fact, you might get a smack on the back of the head, and you'll deserve it...

If you can sing, then playing & singing a 3 chord song is about as hard as learning the theme riff to "smoke on the water."  I don't need to remind you which I consider more valuable.

So, get a guitar, learn how to strum some chords, once you know three chords, you now have at your disposal approximately 1 million songs you can play...learn how to sing a few!

Most importantly, learn how to play the whole song, from go to whoa.  And play it from go to whoa everytime you play it.  The scourge of the guitar world is half-song playing guitarists ;)



  1. Glad to see we are still on the same page Roman (you shouldn't have stopped blogging...but I guess you just did here! ;))

    I wish someone had told me all this stuff years ago, I could have put my efforts into learning how to sing instead of trying to become a good instrumental guitarist!

    Great to hear from you Roman,

  2. It's true occasionnaly I miss writing on my blog, I'm still planning to start a new blog someday, but being more focused on guitar playing this time, and for that I still need to find my own path, and as you know, being able to dedicate enough time can be an issue.


  3. Hey V13J0 - correct, there are a few of us there that have been playing for a while and 3 chord songs with singing just isn't for us...but for the average punter who is just starting out, I think (generally) it is.

    If you follow a path similar to me then you will be happy playing just for your own pleasure for another 15 years before it isn't enough anymore :) I don't think any of us specifically start playing guitar for the stage lights, but there will come a time when playing quietly to your closest friend won't be enough. Until then, enjoy yourself, that is the primary goal of playing guitar!

    Thanks for your feedback,

    (English is my only language, it makes me feel a bit simple when I see how many people in the world speak two or more languages, but I'm "too old" to learn a new one!)