This is a question that I am always asked by people who are thinking about starting to learn how to play guitar.
“What do I need to start playing the guitar?”
For me the most important thing that you need even before you buy any guitar stuff is how you get yourself mentally prepared for the challenge.
Your approach to learning to play guitar is just as important as the physical things you need to buy.
So now that we are up for the challenge and cannot wait to get started ! Here is the gear you will want to get when starting out learning how to play guitar.
A guitar will be needed…obviously!!! Should you get an acoustic guitar or electric? Read below to get an idea of the differences and what you should be thinking about!
An acoustic guitar produces sound without the need for any electrical amplification. When you play the strings the sound resonates through the hollow body of the guitar to produce the sound.
Sound is energy which is forced out of the hollow chamber of an acoustic guitar, through the sound hole and into our ears.
An acoustic guitar is “voiced”, is the perfect volume, to support a singer in a small venue or at home.
The acoustic guitar is the perfect guitar for a party at home, in the garden at summer or around the campfire on a camping trip.
The acoustic guitar is a mobile instrument – you can take it and play it anywhere with out the need for power.
The acoustic guitar is the perfect instrument for anyone who loves singer/songwriter music (Ed Sheeran etc), Irish traditional, country music and everything in between.
You can both strum and pick chords on an acoustic guitar which makes it a very versatile instrument regardless of the music that you love.
Many people starting to play guitar prefer to learn on an acoustic instrument simply because you don’t need to worry about electricity to be able to play and hear your guitar.
An electric guitar requires power and a speaker or amplifier to produce a sound. The electric guitar has pickups which are magnetics that “pick up” the sound wave when you play a string and converts that into sound which you will hear through your amplifier.
An electric guitar is a very versatile sounding instrument due to the positioning of the different pickups on the guitar. Most electric guitars will have bridge, middle and neck pick ups which lets you create different tones or sounds on your guitar.
The electric guitar is used in pop, rock, heavy metal and country music. In actual fact the list of styles of music that can be played on the electric guitar is endless.
With the electric guitar, you will need an amplifier, which in turn needs electrical power.
You will also need a guitar cable which runs from your guitar output to the amplifier.
It is always a good idea to have spare strings at the ready. Strings do break!
A guitar pick or plectrum is used to pick or strum the guitar.
A guitar stand
A guitar stand is essential to protect your guitar. It will be safer on a guitar stand.
Guitars can and will fall over if propped against something like a chair risking damage to or breakage of parts of the guitar which might be costly to replace. Leaning a guitar up against a wall can bend the neck making the guitar more difficult to play or not sound a s it should.
From a practice perspective, having the guitar out of a case or gig bag means that you can get to it and play it quickly.
A guitar tutor
Do you need a guitar tutor? Not everyone will need a guitar tutor. However, some of the benefits of going to a guitar tutor are:
- You will get a plan on how to best make progress
- Supervised instruction of the relevant techniques suitable for your ability
- Guidance when things are not going to plan
- Inspiration when the going gets tough
“It is the supreme art of the teacher to awaken joy in creative expression and knowledge” – Albert Einstein
Online guitar lessons
The internet is an amazing resource for guitar players to learn songs and improve technique. From You Tube videos to learn guitar membership sites, online guitar tab and chords to practice backing tracks, there really is something there for us all.
A practice log
It is a good idea to keep a log of your progress. Record what you have done – both the things you have done well and what needs further improvement. By doing this, you will have a system that you can plan and monitor your practice and mark your improvement.