Music Information

Your First Guitar

Congratulations, you just bought you first guitar! Now that you've met the love of your life and made that big commitment, you're probably excited about building a good relationship with your new partner. But where do you begin? You've just come home from the music store with this beautiful, mysterious stranger, or perhaps even rescued an abandoned orphan from the flee market or pawn shop. Cradling it lovingly in your hands, you admire it's graceful form and captivating voice.

Before you lay several items that you acquired along with your purchase- a case, strap, picks, and of course, that book or video explaining "everything you need to know in 10 easy lessons." You stare at it blankly, wondering what lanquage it is.

This is often the experience of a new guitar enthusiast. "Love at first sight" engenders high hopes of playing like a Rock Star overnight. Then reality begins to sink in and you reallize that it's going to require some effort and hard work to make this happen! But that doesn't mean it can't be fun. A positive attitude will go a long way in helping you meet your goals. In fact, setting some short-term and long-term goals is one of the first things you should do. Here are a few suggestions:


- Familiarize yourself with its various parts
- memorize the name of each string and how they are numbered
- Understand what type of guitar you have
- Learn how to take proper care of your instrument


- What type of music do you enjoy?
- Do you like to sing?
- Do you want to be in a band or play professionally someday?
- Do you just want to play for your own personal enjoyment?

I often receive calls for help from individuals who are frustated because they are having trouble understanding the book or video that came with their purchase. If this is the case for you, consider taking some lessons from a private instructor. It can be a great way to get moving in the right direction. If you set up a weekly guitar lesson, then you will probably begin to establish a regular practice routine too. This is because you will feel a sense of obligation and accountability to your teacher. A guitar teacher can also watch your progress and offer helpful advise and critique so that you will be able to develop good technique. This is an invaluable asset which you will be unlikely to get from a book or video.

Local music stores often have someone who teaches right out of their store, or they may be able to provide you with a list of teachers in your area. If there is a college or university nearby, be sure to check the bulletin boards and school newspapers. you could also contact the Music Department to see if they know of any instructors who may be offering private or class lessons during after school hours.

Most importantly, be sure to take the time to do a little "personal inventory" and get to know your instrument by answering the questions in this article. Then, you will be able to establish a good mental picture of where you are now and where you want to be in the future.

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Kathy Unruh is a singer/songwriter and webmaster of ABC Learn Guitar. She has been writing songs and providing guitar lessons to students of all ages for over 20 years. For free guitar lessons, plus tips and resources on songwriting, recording and creating a music career, please visit:

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