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Top 5 Tips for Playing Acoustic Guitar

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There are different types of guitars for different types of music. If you love to play classical music, then there is a classical guitar. Classical guitar has nylon strings. An acoustic guitar is played without electricity. It has steel strings, and it’s good to play it in a room when you’re alone or with friends and family. 

An electric guitar as the name suggests it requires electricity. It has magnetic pickups. It is loud and good for playing rock-n-roll. It is good for stage performances for a large audience. 

Besides these, there are other guitars such as bass guitars, resonator guitars, and alto guitars. There are also guitars with different strings such as 2-string called Punk rod, 4-string, 5-string, 7-string, 8-string, 9-string, 10-string, 12-string, and 18-string guitar.

My first guitar was an acoustic guitar. I had a Seagull Guitar (You can check my Seagull Guitar Review here). It is a versatile instrument that is much brighter and louder. You can play a variety of music like jazz, rock, folk, and country. You can learn different variations of music and to play acoustic guitar is a joy.

Learning a music instrument requires passion and love for music. If you love music and your favorite instrument is a guitar, then choose the right size and guitar for yourself. Since acoustic guitar is more versatile than other guitars, many of us choose the acoustic guitar. Below are a few tips on how to start playing the acoustic guitar. 

Posture

If you’re a beginner, the right posture is very important in playing the guitar. Sit slightly angled towards yourself, your knees should be straight and at an angle of 90-degrees. Your arms while holding the guitar, should be free and without any obstruction. If you’re using an acoustic guitar, you should avoid slouching or slumping down on a sofa that is low, avoid chairs with arms as it will obstruct your arms, and also avoid high stool as your thigh will slope downwards. It is important while playing acoustic guitar that it is placed securely and comfortably.

Knowing your instrument

Once you are comfortable holding your guitar, the next step is to know the parts of your guitar. 

Head stock - The headstock is where the keys are to tune the strings. It is also called the machine head as it is used for lowering or raising the pitch of the strings. An essential part of playing the guitar is also learning how to tune the instrument. There are tuners available in the market to help you tune the instrument. These tuners come very handy and are quite helpful to a beginner as well as to a professional guitarist.

Fretboard – The fretboard has frets, fret markers, and strings. The fretboard is where you use your fingers to press the strings. This is where you play your chords or notes using your fingers of your left hand (if you are a right handed guitarist). Acoustic guitars have more than 20 frets depending on the type of acoustic guitar. The fret markers help you to know where to place your fingers on the fretboard to play chords or notes.

Body – The strings from the machine head go down till the bridge. The bridge is where you will find all your strings are fixed in place using pegs or bridge pins. Before the bridge is the sound hole, and this is where you strum the strings to get the sound from the guitar.

Lastly, you will require a plectrum to strum the strings. The plectrum is also known as a pick; it is a flat small tool used for plucking the strings to play the music. 

Metronome

In the first 2-days of your guitar lessons, you would be familiarizing yourself with how to play the strings and place your fingers on the frets. This is where your fingers will start aching and boy! It gets painful. You will have marks of strings on your fingers.  To get efficient and comfortable with the strings, most guitar teachers will introduce you to a tool called a metronome. A metronome is a tool for practice which helps you understand the rhythm accurately. The pulse or beat produced by metronome is measured in BPM (beats per minute). When you practice with a metronome, it can help you to increase your speed from 35 beats to up to 250 beats per minute. It’s a good tool to get your rhythm and increase the efficiency of your fingers on the fretboard and while strumming.

Learning notes and chords

While you’re getting comfortable with strumming and using your fingers on the fretboard, you should also start learning notes and chords. By now, you should know your strings. The thinnest string is the first string and is the E string (high), and the thickest string is the last and 6th string also known as the E string (low). So if we go from first string to the last string, we have E, B, G, D, A, and E. 

A note is a sound of plucking one string whereas chord is playing a group of different notes at the same time. As a beginner, it is quite overwhelming to learn different notes and chords. There are so many of them, so I would advise going step by step and practicing every day to get it right. I would also recommend concentrating more on chords if you’re learning to play on an acoustic guitar. It is easier to learn chords. 

Correctly fret the chords

This is the most painful part of playing the guitar. Use your fingertips on the strings. Avoid using the fingerprint part or the fleshy part of your fingers. Your fingers shouldn’t touch other strings. So, pressed down the strings using fingertips keeping the rest of the hands up and away from the fretboard. Touching other strings will lead to muffled sound. When you practice, ensure each note is clean and clear. Your finger should not be on the frets but in the middle of each fret. The gap between each fret mark is where your finger should be placed. This is one of the crucial things to remember when you’re learning with an acoustic guitar. 

When you’re learning any musical instrument; relax and enjoy playing the instrument. With acoustic guitar, it is important to relax your hands and fingers. Practice is key, so keep practicing and learn a new chords or notes each day. Enjoy!

Olivia Moore is a guest blogger, an avid traveler and has a quest for music, adventure and is a coffee junkie. She co-writes at Best Beginner Guitar Today and  Fourth Estate Coffee. She loves to travel and explore and can never say no to a well-made cup of coffee while strumming her guitar. 

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