When you first downloaded Real Guitar, the guitar simulator app, onto your Pixel, it was a fun and quick way to hammer out grungy solos like your heroes. Now the novelty’s worn off and tapping away on your phone doesn’t quite hold the same appeal. You can’t fool yourself any longer — you aren’t a true musician until you leave your Android behind for a real instrument. Electric, acoustic, or mixture of both, there’s a guitar with your name on it: all it takes is the following 3 steps.
- Pick Your Guitar
Intimidating though it may be, choosing your guitar is a necessary step towards becoming a bona fide guitarist. While you may be tempted to choose an instrument at random just to speed up the process, you’ll want to investigate what each brand and model offers — if not for sound, for budget. Each brand has a specific tonality and price tag you’ll want to get familiar with before you take the plunge.
Don’t worry — if you’re overwhelmed and aren’t quite sure where to start, the Internet is your friend. Within minutes you can read up on what other players like to use, subscribe to online guitar magazines, or search out an online music store. Online stores like Long & McQuade will also have physical locations in cities like Waterloo, where you can ask their sales reps for help. These experts will be happy to take you through your options.
- Find a Teacher
Some people swear by YouTube and A–Z Guitar Tabs when they first start learning about frets and chords, but self-directed learning isn’t for everyone. It takes a certain A-type personality who can wear both the hats of teacher and student simultaneously. As you can guess, it doesn’t work out too well most of the time, as the average person will run into issues with their instrument or playing style that they don’t know how to fix.
A qualified music instructor has trained extensively so they can offer you advice at these key times. They’ve developed lesson plans that help outline the basics, like fingering and posture, to more advanced concerns, like timing and style. If you’re already getting help from the reps at Long & McQuade for your guitar, you should ask them about beginner guitar lessons. With locations all over Canada, you can find music lessons in Waterloo or most other cities in the country.
- Practice, Practice, Practice
You’re on the right track with a great guitar and a qualified music teacher, but you aren’t personally off the hook. In order to play like one of your heroes, you’re going to have to practice like your heroes. Your favs didn’t magically get where they are now without devoting considerable time to their instrument. Some professionals say as many as 10,000 hours of deliberate practice are needed in order to call yourself expert.
While the exact number of hours you need is up for debate, the point still stands: you need to set aside time each week to go over your lessons and familiarize yourself with your instrument. Try to stick with a consistent schedule so you aren’t tempted to skip a practice.
Eventually, you’ll laugh through the songs that stumped you at the beginning, and you’ll take on increasingly difficult solos every day. Until then, delete your simulator app off of your phone. Trust that you’ll get to that point with enough practice and the right teacher on your side.