Foundations of How To Play Good Guitar

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Playing Good Guitar is possible for everyone. It’s the myth to think of the guitar as a hard instrument to play well. I think its more because many people do not start well that they very quickly come to a dead end in their journey.

Well to me playing good guitar has 3 key foundations. Instead of all the other things to focus on, I believe if we start off with these 3 principles and get them right in the beginning, we will have greater satisfaction in music making down the road. You will free yourself from many obstacles that is not necessary. Stuff like the negative energy that comes from comparing yourself with others, from being impatient and other roadblocks in playing can really be eliminated if we focus on just 3 things.

As we just want to zoom in to play good guitar (as oppose to great showy acrobatic kind), let’s get started.

Foundation 1: Find A Good Guitar, Because It Is An Extension of You
Because the guitar is going to be a part of you as a player, take your time to find a good one. You may not have a choice of your biological instruments like your vocal chords, your strumming hands or your lung capacity, but you can have the a choice what is the musical instrument you play. One of the joy of playing guitar is to find one that represent you and is able to bring out your song. The wrong guitar for the beginner can really mean discouragement to play and giving up too early. Hence missing out on what could be a lifetime enjoyment. This foundation focuses on many things like choosing #1 the right type of guitar, #2 the right strings & setup & also #3 the right accessories & guitar extensions

Foundation 2: Connect With Your Guitar & Playing, Because You Are Making Good Music Together
Because good connection with your guitar helps you makes good music. We make sure we have the right relationship with the guitar, or else we may end up fighting it rather than playing it with joy. In this foundation we focus on #1 first your body before the guitar body, #2 Your inner script about yourself as a player of your guitar and #3 the chief reason for playing.

Foundation 3: Play Only Music, Because Ego and Perfectionism Does Not Satisfy      
Find out what is music and play only music. Many things (that sadly has nothing to do with music) have the potential distracts us in our quest. This principle focuses on #1 The fundamental tone & its variation #2 the harmony or chords or tone collections and #3 silence, space and right timing. These ‘musical’ elements may not be as sexy as exotic scales or choice of clever note intervals, but it is fundamentally what makes the sound we play, music. It’s important to know what makes good music in your playing, so there’s enjoyment in every practice session.

With these 3 foundations in place, we bring out our first song. Once we play our first song with the right foundations, I believe it will very quickly bring out our 2nd, 3rd and 50th song with greater ease. I discover these 3 foundations over many years of trying to play good guitar.

Don’t believe me, try my ‘play good guitar’ meditation and tell me what you think.

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7 thoughts on “Foundations of How To Play Good Guitar

  1. Chris

    I only recently took up the guitar and I have to admit I am slightly baffled with it…I’m wondering if the advice a freind gave me is a little…off key???
    He seemed to think that I should start off on a nylon or acoustic string guitar as it would help my fingers/hand playing develop. From this point he says that an electric guitar would then be easier to play…what do you think about this and is it the right way to go?

    Reply
    1. ht Post author

      Thanks for sharing your journey. I understand why your friend would give such advice. But with due respect, its a sincere advice. Just its not necessarily a very ‘sustainable’ one. I’m afraid of choosing an instrument to accommodate your fingers may result in your trying to play something you don’t love.

      Most people don’t quit because of pain of doing something they love, they quit because they don’t love what they do. If they don’t sound good the way they think playing guitar should sound and they quit thinking guitar is not for them. Anyway if we avoid the pain, our fingers don’t develop the callus that strengthens the fingers for long term playing.

      I will suggest you stick with the kind of guitar you want to play. What type of guitar sound inspires you, stick with it. Real love makes you persevere through a little pain. But believe me, you’ll develop stronger finger tips in no time.

      You should consider the playability of your guitar also. Most of the time, guitars are hard to play because its not setup properly, most of the time the effects is that the action of the string is too high and hence you need to press harder. I’ve setup guitars for people who when they received it back say it feels like a completely different guitar. It’s so much more enjoyable to play. A lot of beginners begin with an instrument they don’t like or that is hard to play or even unplayable.

      So in short. So go for a guitar that inspires you whether its nylon, steel or electric. Then makes sure its properly setup. Pay a good luthier to do it if you need to because a properly setup instrument makes such a difference. It may will mean success in developing a real connection with you instrument. Love it and develop a connection with it because a good guitar is really a part of you musically.

      Sorry for the long reply. I’m just excited to received my first comment on my site :-p Hope you success in your journey to play guitar.

      Reply
  2. John Rico

    100% reality. I am guitarist for not so long now probably like 3 years. I had an old guitar that my father used to hav e. I tried to practice with that guitar and I feel that I am not satisfied with the guitar and the sound of it. After I learned the basics I bought my own guitar and I really love it. We have the connection of the sounds I want to play.

    Reply
    1. ht Post author

      Thanks for the comment. I agree with you totally about how a good guitar makes a big difference to us being inspired to play

      Reply
  3. rags71

    This is a very thoughtful process to play good guitar. Can it be that less in more in our playing? I often feel like I play too much when what is needed is to play more intentionally. Thank you for this post

    Reply
  4. Mithra

    I first started learning guitar when I was 14 after years and years of convincing my dad after which he agreed to find a tutor for me. But it was short lived. I gave up within the first year.
    I’ve been watching lot of arpeggios guitar videos lately and I was thinking about picking up my guitar again.But I was not sure.
    Your post opened my eyes. It explains why I quit in the first place. I got all 3 foundation wrong. I had a crappy guitar (I still have it in my room), whose pegs broke very often. I forgot why I started playing in the first place and I was trying to teach myself to play songs, before even learning to play the chords.
    I’m definitely gonna start over and this time setting all the foundations right. Thanks HT!

    Reply

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