Learning Guitar

August 27, 2008

Nope, not another video game post. Today I've decided to discuss my little journey of learning to play the guitar.

Ever since high school I always wanted to learn how to play the guitar. For some reason I was reluctant to really give it a try as I had a few misconceptions about playing the guitar. First of all I thought that I needed to have long fingers in order to be a good guitar player, but it turns while having longer fingers may help, all it really takes is practice. I also thought that guitars and guitar equipment was really expensive, and while it is expensive, you can also find good beginner equipment or used equipment which is perfect for someone getting started.

Around last Christmas, I got into playing Guitar Hero III for the Xbox 360. I had never played any of the Guitar Hero series before and it turned out to be a lot of fun. I had originally stayed away from it, figuring the game for a silly DDR-style rhythm game, but the guitar peripheral really made it a lot of fun. After getting good on the hard and expert difficulties, I had a renewed need to learn the guitar. I figured it was time to stop being a Guitar Hero poser and learn to play for real. No sense spending hours getting good at something "fake" when you can spend the same time to learn becoming a real guitar player.

I did a bit of research online first of all to decide how best to go about learning. I found a few different resources that helped a bit, but by far the best one was Justin's site helped immensely with a great beginner course with detailed explanations and videos to help get started. I decided I would learn on an electric because they are a little easier to learn on in the beginning and there are plenty of cheap electric guitars and starter amps to be found.

My Gear

Epiphone Les Paul Special II

The guitar itself has great sound for whatever type of music you want to play. I've been using it primarily for learning different metal songs, but it has a very nice clean sound as well. With tweaking my amp a bit on the "crunch" channel, I can even really get a nice punk or grunge feel out of the guitar as well. If you are interested in this guitar or how it sounds, there are tons of people messing around with this guitar on youtube to give you a good idea. For the price, you really can't go wrong with it, great sounds, and excellent for the beginner.

Line 6 Spider III 15w

This amp rocks. Another great beginner item, this amp doesn't have too many complicated features. It's simply great for quickly making music the way you want it to sound, dial in one of the preset buttons and you are good to go. You can also tweak the sounds a bit by adjusting the gain, bass, mid, and treble as well as adding 2 other simultaneous effects. For 15 watts this amp can wake the neighbors, I've never even pushed the main volume past 1 on the dial. My next amp will probably be the 120w or 75w version of the same amp as they have hundreds of pre-set sounds which gets you more time playing and less time trying to dial in sounds when switching songs.

Both the guitar and amp are very solid beginner products. They aren't too expensive and if you purchase them separately you can basically build your own beginner starter pack that you often find around at Guitar Center or Musicians Friend.

Great Learning Guitar Resources
Essential Guitar Guide
Fretboard Guitar Trainer
Ultimate Guitar Tabs

My next Amp :)