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Overcoming the Challenges of Learning Acoustic Guitar

It’s a new year and you’ve made a resolution to finally learn how to play acoustic guitar. Good for you! As you start your journey, there’s no doubt you’ll hit some speed bumps along the way.  It’s up to you to find a way to power throw and get over the hump. Here are some tips to get you there. 


 It Can Hurt

Before you develop calluses on your fingertips, learning guitar can physically hurt. But there are some things you can do to alleviate the pain. Try a light gauge of guitar strings and have the action on your guitar lowered (that’s the space between your strings and the fretboard). You may run the risk of having some fret buzz, but it should be easier on your fingers.  You’ll want to take your guitar over to your local guitar shop to have that adjusted.


It can also be helpful to start with a nylon string guitar, as those strings are easier on the fingers. And finally, you may think you need to press the strings down really hard, but actually you just need to press them enough to have them solidly connect with the frets. Try easing up a little and see if that helps with your discomfort while still maintaining a clean tone.


Smooth Chord Progressions

It can certainly be tedious to get your fingers to move smoothly from one chord change to the next, but there are some chord changes that can make you feel like a pro. Try just jamming on the C to Am chord change. You’ll literally only need to move one finger. Don’t be afraid to challenge yourself. You’ll get more difficult chord changes down, but once in a while just have a little fun with some super easy chord transitions!


Note Buzzing or Muted Notes

The trick to playing guitar notes clearly is to press the strings firmly at the correct fret while not to uching any other strings in the process. This can be quite tricky for new learners and often notes will sound muted and dull. Make sure that fingers on the fretting hand are curved at every knuckle and that the tips of the fingers are used to connect with the strings. Proper posture helps as well.


Tuning Troubles

Keeping your guitar in tune can be a challenge! While it’s great to learn the fundamentals of tuning by ear, don’t be afraid to purchase a simple clip on guitar tuner and you’ll be tuning in a snap. It feels and sounds so much nicer to play in tune!


The Right Sized Instrument

While many young guitarists are physically too small to play a full-sized guitar, size can be an issue for adults as well. Pay attention to body and instrument size and pick a guitar that feels good. Smaller adults may also find smaller body guitars more comfortable to play, easier on the arms and hands, and just a better fit. You might find that playing a guitar that’s too large for you can lead to fatigue or even cause your arm to “fall asleep.” So check your instrument size if you find your learning slowing down.


Learn the Music You Love

While it’s great to learn the classics, it’s equally important to allow yourself to learn songs that you connect with. That’s what it’s all about right? A good mix of lessons and fun are key to motivating you to keep it up.


Becoming good at anything is hard. Give yourself small challenges and enjoy your successes. 


Ok, let’s get started! Try a free online music lesson with ArtistWorks right now!



Other articles you might like:

Beginners: Electric or Acoustic Guitar 

5 Tips for How to Tune an Acoustic Guitar

How to Play Acoustic Guitar




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