I've learned a lot while studying the guitar. I'm writing these lessons learned so I don't forget them later on.
I have wide fingertips. My fingers aren't particularly wide, but my fingertips are too big to hit a clean A chord on a standard 1-5/8” neck electric guitar.
Tune-up before practicing. Your strings can go out-of-tune overnight.
Practice with a purpose. You'll grow faster as a guitarist if you have a plan.
Use a metronome or backing tracks. Both will greatly improve your sense of timing. And backing tracks have a reward all their own.
Use less muscle strength, not more. In the beginning, my finger muscles worked together as a single unit, so I tended to press down hard with all my fingers, rather than just with one. Some of this is a matter of coordination that is gained over time, but the rest is is conscious thought.
Warm-ups really help. Guitar playing is the only endeavor I've seen where warm-ups actually help–especially when its cold outside.
A modeling amp is a great investment. Modeling amps give you an inexpensive way to sound like you own a huge collection of guitars and effects. The variety causes me to play longer and try more styles.
Invest in a good electronic tuner. Cheap ones will get you “close” to perfect, but you'll still have to do relative tuning by hand. And if you're luck, your tuner will include a metronome.
My ear has improved over time. After a year or more, I was able to detect when I'd hit one note in a chord, and when a string was out of tune.
Knowing how to intonate a guitar is a good thing. Contrary to popular opinion, its not hard. If you can use a screwdriver, you can intonate a guitar.
Knowing how to adjust a truss rod is also a good thing. The same rule applies–you just need to be able to use an allen wrench.
Humbucker pickups are amazing. More signal, less noise, higher volumes, more useful volume controls. Everyone should have at least one humbucker.
Expensive gear does not make you play better. You can't become Eddie Van Halen overnight just because you bought a $2000 guitar. The only thing you can do is practice more, and with more variety.
/home/cfreyer/public_html/data/pages/music/lessons_learned.txt · Last modified: 2008/01/21 17:40 by Chris Freyer