12/04/2024

Best Beat

Setting the Rhythm for Your Music

Play Acoustic Blues Guitar – 5 Basic Tips for the Beginner

Play Acoustic Blues Guitar – 5 Basic Tips for the Beginner

It’s easy to learn anything if you see it being done, you hear it as it is being done and you get a chance to experience it or feel it for yourself. This is my philosophy for learning and experiencing new things; likewise with learning to play the acoustic blues guitar. Following is a quick overview of what I consider to be the 5 key ingredients for learning to play acoustic blues guitar for beginners.

Tip One: you need a guitar
Sure you could borrow one to kick your playing career off; but you really need to have your own. It doesn’t matter whether it is a used guitar or a new guitar; you need to have your own starter acoustic guitar. There is a lot to consider when purchasing a used guitar such as: the sound, the action, lifting between the neck and fretboard, the condition of the fretboard and the wear and tear of the frets, the headstock and condition of the keys, the alignment of the neck, the condition of the body and bridge, the sound of the guitar, the right size for you and the cost.

Tip Two: the absolute basics
If you did your homework before you purchased your first starter guitar you should already know the basic parts of the guitar. The absolute basic lesson is how to tune your guitar up and how to keep the strings and body clean and in good condition. Grime builds up on the strings from oils in the fingers and dust from the air, so it is imperative to clean the strings after a playing session. An out of tune guitar is a depressing sound whilst a well tuned up and clean guitar is a pleasure to play and will motivate you to continue playing.

Tip Three: your basic chords, strumming and shifting
Chords are fundamental for all guitar songs. As a beginner you will need to know at least three simple major chords, such as D, C and G major, to play easy and well-known songs on the guitar. Framing chords requires practice to build up strength in the muscles and memory in the hands. Once you have learnt the chord shapes you need to learn how to strum. Timing, rhythm and coordination are all part of good technique requiring consistent practice. Finally, shifting between each chord is also an important technique a beginner needs to master.

Tip Four: easy songs to play on the guitar
There are a number of easy songs which even a beginner, who has mastered three major chords, the art of strumming in time and the ability to shift between chords, can play. These include: Sweet Home Alabama by Lynyrd Skynyrd, Blowing in the wind by Bob Dylan, Bad Moon Rising by Creedence Clearwater Revival, and Wild Thing by the Troggs to name just a few well-known songs that a beginner can play with just a few basics under the belt.

Tip Five: basic guitar maintenance
The better your guitar is set up and maintained the more you will want to play and practice. As a result of consistent practice you will improve your skill level and the quality of the sound you make as a budding guitarist will be polished. Learn to choose good strings and how to re-string and properly clean your guitar. Protect your guitar from extreme moisture, heat and direct sunlight and use a guitar stand when not in use. Always use a case when you are travelling with your guitar.

The above five tips are fundamental for learning to play acoustic blues guitar for beginners. My philosophy for learning to play any instrument is to learn songs that appeal to you; this will add value to your learning as long as you first master the basics set out above.