Guitarist changing strings

Getting started

There are a few things that you need before you can even play your first note as a guitarist:

  1. Have a guitar
  2. Be able to string up your guitar
  3. Be able to tune your guitar

Choose your first guitar

The chances are that you already have a guitar if you are reading this blog. But if you do not, (or if you are thinking of a little upgrade) then check out some of the options here

Learn to string your guitar

If you have an old guitar and you need to buy strings, then it’s probably good to get a light set of strings or “11 gauge strings” for your acoustic. You need to be able to put strings on your guitar so if you can’t do it yet, then bite the bullet and try.

The worst that can happen is that you make a total mess of it. You get confused or break a string. It’s ok. It’s the only way to learn how to change strings.  It’s worth suggesting that a beginner buys at least 5 packets of strings at least at the start. Some strings breaking as you string your guitar is inevitable. Being able to string your own guitar is a rite of passage – it means you are a real guitar player. The only way to become competent is to do it several times.

The video below gives a very clear tutorial.

Tune your guitar

There are a few different ways to tune your guitar.
The video below is probably the best I have seen on YouTube to get you up and running (and tuned) in the last time possible.

It’s worth mentioning that you are going to break strings while tuning as a beginner, that’s just a fact. Breaking a string while tuning is no big deal – as long as you have several packets handy (see above)

My Getting Started Hack

I give a little tip to my students all the time. In the store where you buy your guitar strings, it can work sometimes to ask the person in the store if they will string and tune your guitar for you. You can then walk out of the store with a guitar that is freshly strung and in tune.

Although it isn’t worth their time and effort to do this for the price of a sale of a set of strings – if they like you and you explain that you are a complete beginner and very excited to start learning – they might just help you.

It does no harm to buy a few things in the store at this time. If you need to stock up on capos, plectrums, tuners, cases or any other fun stuff, supporting your local music store and telling them that you appreciate them and have recommended them, sent other customers and will be back in the future to spend more money means they are likely to want to help you and may just do you this one good turn!

This doesn’t abdicate you from learning to string and tune your guitar. But sometimes you just want to play at the start and I wouldn’t blame you. If you want to get your guitar strung and in tune the first time around, try being an awesome customer of your local store and see how they may help you out.

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