Guitar for Beginners – Liverpool
The guitar is a versatile, affordable and fun instrument for beginners – including children and adults alike. Within a few weeks of starting to play the guitar, you could be playing along to simple versions of your favourite songs – and very quickly after that you could be playing in a band with friends, and making your own music.
If you’ve already bought, or want to buy, a guitar, you’ll know that there are loads of different types and options out there. These include electric, steel-strung acoustic, semi-acoustic, nylon-strung classical, 7-string, 12-string, and bass guitar – and that’s without going into the many different manufacturers and models that are stocked by music shops. Quite simply, without a bit of knowledge you could be caught out, and find yourself with a poor quality instrument that makes you not want to practice. While there are many merits to cheaper instruments, they can make things difficult when starting to learn since the poor build quality makes everything feels like a chore.
This blog post focuses on a few tips for beginners just getting started who are interested in the acoustic guitar, including buying your – or your child’s – first guitar, and fun ways to start learning quickly.
Read on to see some of our favourite tips for beginners on the acoustic guitar.
Buying an acoustic guitar
Buying that first instrument can be like stepping into the unknown, especially if you don’t play the guitar at all and are buying an instrument to learn on. Consider the same factors as you would when making any purchase – starting with a budget. Spend a lot of money on a high-quality instrument, or look for the best budget option available? It’s always a difficult balance to reach – what if you spend a lot of money, but a few months later decide learning the guitar isn’t for you? Or if you spend too little, you could find yourself with an instrument that doesn’t stay in tune, and requires a great deal of effort to play.
One option here is, before you decide to buy your own, spend as much time as you can playing a guitar – whether that’s through music lessons, at school, or maybe a generous friend or relative will let you try their guitar. Of course this isn’t always possible, but it can be a good way to see if you might want to spend more time learning. Being a music school ourselves, we would always recommend professional guitar lessons as a great way to start out – even before you’ve bought your own guitar and only want to see what it’s like. After this you’ll also feel more confident when you walk into the music shop, having had some more detailed advice from our guitar teachers.
Budget for your first guitar
The absolute minimum budget for a full-sized acoustic guitar with some accessories – such as a strap, guitar case, guitar picks and spare strings – would come to around £100-120. You’ll often see guitar packages being sold for less than this – and while it’s certainly possible to find a bargain, with musical instruments you often get what you pay for. This budget will be less for smaller guitars for children, and children’s guitars usually come in 1/4, 1/2 and 3/4 sizes. Most importantly, try to buy from a music shop in-person, rather than online – maybe taking a guitar-playing friend or relative if you’re feeling nervous or unsure. In Liverpool, there are lots of options for buying a guitar, both in town and local to different areas in the city.
It’s difficult to recommend online shops for first-time instrument purchases for many reasons. Most instrument purchases from shops come with warranties, and most competent shops will make sure instruments are set-up properly and are ready to play. The reason this is important is because any guitar in this price range will be factory-built – and almost always, a guitar technician will need to make adjustments to a guitar that has come straight from the factory. Reputable online guitar sellers will also go through these steps, but at least if purchased from a shop near to you, the option is there to have any issues resolved in person. For children, it’s almost always necessary to try a few different guitars in different sizes, in order to make sure the instrument is comfortable and accessible – again making bricks and mortar music shops an attractive option. While you will almost certainly find a better deal online for similar instruments, the advantages of shopping in-store may very well save you money in the long run.
Tips for beginners
Whether you’ve decided to buy your own guitar, or are playing a guitar owned by a friend, relative or school – you may very well find yourself holding a guitar in hand, and thinking to yourself: “What do I do now?”. We would recommend guitar lessons as an excellent way to make sure your technique is solid, from the first notes you play – but there are lots of free resources that you should also make use of. For adults, online guitar lessons can be a useful tool early on, especially videos made by respected teachers on YouTube. There are undoubtedly lots of high-quality resources and apps out there – many of them paid or subscription-based. Online resources can be great for beginners, but be wary of any services that appear to offer too much – eBooks or websites that claim to offer ‘1000 Guitar Secrets’ or ‘Tricks only used by the Pros’, for example. Along with the high-quality stuff, there also comes a lot of repetitive content with bad advice, that can ultimately lead to poor technique or injury.
Some of the more useful content includes ‘how to play’ videos, which are available for lots of popular songs, and there are websites that have chord sheets or guitar tab. Tab is short for tablature, and is a popular way of writing down music for the guitar without using traditional staff notation. If you’re someone who likes to learn and figure things out for themselves, this can be a great way to get started. At some stage, however, you might be unsure whether you’re doing something correctly – the way you hold the guitar, or hold the plectrum, or press down on the notes, for example. It’s almost impossible to concentrate on all these different things at once, while also playing a tune correctly, when you’re first starting. It’s at this point that guitar lessons would be extremely useful for you – helping you to develop the underlying technique that will allow you to progress, and enable comfortable and painless guitar playing for many years to come.
For children, we would certainly recommend guitar lessons from the very beginning. Any bad techniques or habits picked up early on can be really difficult to change, and could prevent progress being made. At its worst, using particularly bad technique could lead to strain or injury, which could impair their ability to continue playing the guitar comfortably. Guitar lessons at a young age can also help a child develop a strong knowledge of reading music notation and music theory – focusing on some of the ideas behind music, and building knowledge that can lead to a fulfilling musical education.
Having discussed some of the challenges and pitfalls that come with buying your first acoustic guitar, we hope you feel a bit more confident buying yourself or your child an instrument that they can enjoy for many, many years. Having read a few beginner’s guitar tips, you can also certainly feel more at ease if you’re ever handed a guitar and wonder what you’re supposed to do with it!