Useful information about learning how to play guitar
I thought that it would help you if we provided an insight into the process of learning how to play guitar and what to expect as progress is made.
Playing guitar is quite challenging as it requires a lot of co-ordination from both left and right hands. Notes are held down (fretted) on the fret board and a string is strummed or plucked to sound out the note or chord.
Along with the physical activity there is also the actual mechanics of the guitar to consider.
1) You have probably purchased a small scale guitar for your child, maybe a half-sized or three quarter sized guitar which is ideal for youngsters, however it also provides some extra challenges. On small guitars the strings can be quite difficult to press down onto the fretboard because they tend to lay quite a distance from the fretboard. This is known as the guitar’s ‘action’. With a high action you have to press down harder so this can lead to sore fingers for a period of time, but with a little practice this subsides quite quickly.
***If your child says that their fingers are hurting then they probably are! Make practice sessions short initially and gradually increase them.
2) The good news is that the discomfort felt whilst playing does clear up quite quickly as the finger tips begin to toughen up.
***This toughening process is essential for playing guitar because without having hard skin on the tips of the fretting fingers notes and chords can sound dull and maybe even muted.
3) Chords – Let’s take a chord such as A Major (Andy Ant without his spade). It requires 3 fingers to be pressed onto 3 strings all on the same fret (the 2nd fret). It also has 2 open strings (the A string and the open top E or Ellie string).
It is quite difficult even for beginner adults to press the 3 required strings down on a full scale guitar and make them all sound out. It is probably even harder for a child on a small scale guitar with a poor action, but here’s some more good news…
***Chords do not necessarily need ALL strings to sound out clearly, in fact only one or two notes are required.
With the A Major chord, if your child can make sure that open A string (the Andy Ant string marked with a STAR) and the fretted note below it on the D string (the red big finger) sound out cleanly then this will sound just great!
*** The same applies to all chords. Just 2 clean notes will do to begin with.
So to sum up…
1) Playing guitar can cause mild pain initially – don’t over practice.
2) Notes and chords will sound better as fingers toughen up so be patient
3) Make sure that chords are formed correctly but don’t worry initially if all the strings do not sound out. 2 clean strings make a great sounding chord.
For more information then visit Guitar Tots – Guitar Lessons for kids and young children