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Electric Guitar Preparation

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Points to note before learning to play the guitar

Playing the guitar involves changing the sound – or pitch – of the strings by pressing down on the frets with the left-hand (if you are right-handed) and brushing or plucking the strings with the other hand.

The first point to note about the guitar is that it normally has to be tuned before each practice or playing session. In the early days of learning to play, the use of an electronic tuner can assist enormously; although those who buy used guitars with a good pedigree - or new guitars at the top end of the range - may find that the strings have ‘settled’ into an approximate, almost tolerable tuning.

The second important point is that pressing down on the strings can at first become slightly painful in just a short time. Given time and with a little practice however, the skin on the tips of the fingers will thicken slightly and the pain will disappear.

It can also be difficult at first to stop one or more of these fretting fingers from touching and muffling the sounds of the other strings. Again, with practice, the fingers will become stronger and it will be much easier to raise them clear from the other strings.

One of the unusual and much appreciated aspects of a guitar is that, unlike many instruments, it can be used to play both tune and accompaniment, known as melody and harmony respectively.

A tune or melody will consist of a series of single notes; the backing or harmony will involve playing groups of notes – known as chords. It is good practice from the start to try and practice both melody and chords on the guitar, as these will form the two foundations for a lifetime’s playing.

If you are new to the instrument, you should consider buying used guitars then invest in an expensive newer model when you get better. The most important requirement is still practice – and patience.

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