Learning a new instrument usually seems like an overwhelming task. However we can guarantee you that with the right direction and guidance, it could also be a fun and enjoyable experience. Learning the guitar online too can be a journey worth exploring.
The guitar, a wonderfully crafted stringed instrument, is said to have probably originated in Spain early in the 16th century. Since then, it has evolved leaps and bounds to become one of the most widely played instruments in the world today. Almost every person across the globe today would be able to recognize the guitar just by looking at it. There are various different types of guitars, each having their own variations. However, the fundamentals for most remain the same.
Types of guitars
There are mainly 3 types of guitars globally today, with many different subcategories as well.
The 3 main types of guitars are generally named as Acoustic guitars, Electric Guitars and Bass Guitars. The look and feel of each of these guitars are different from each other but the fundamental theory for all are generally the same.
The Acoustic guitar
The acoustic guitar is the most popular and widely used guitar. One of the main reasons for this is the portability of the acoustic guitar. It is usually very convenient to carry and can be played almost anywhere without the need for electric amplification. It comes in various sizes that enables people across age groups to be able to learn the instrument. Dreadnought, parlour, classical, auditorium, jumbo etc. are a few of the various types of acoustic guitar sizes.
The journey of beginning an online guitar course generally starts with selecting the right guitar and guitar size. This mainly depends on the learner as well as the physical comfort that learner feels while holding and playing the guitar.
Parts of the acoustic guitar
The acoustic guitar is made up of 3 main parts - the head, the body and the neck - much like our human body ! The body of the guitar is the big and round part of the guitar that is kept on the player's lap. The body has a hole in the middle known as the soundhole. The neck is the long and narrow part of the guitar that has many lines on it which are known as fretlines and the space in between known as frets. The neck is also known as the fretboard and it connects the head of the guitar to the body. The head of the guitar is right on top of the guitar. Different guitars have differently shaped heads. The head consists of tuning pegs that are used to tighten or loosen the strings of the guitar and thus tune the guitar.
Generally, most guitars have 6 strings that are named E B G D A E from the bottom to the top string. However, there are a few guitars with 12 strings as well !
A beginners journey
While learning the instrument, everyone will not necessarily be learning at the same pace. This is largely due to the fact that different students have different expectations and reasons for learning the instrument. Some may want to become shredding guitar virtuosos whereas others may want to become a fingerstyle expert or blues lead guitarist etc. However, no matter the end goal, the beginners path for most is generally the same along with the fundamentals and concepts.
Music theory is an important part of learning any instrument. It helps understand the instrument better and analyze various music concepts with structure and detail. Learning the guitar could begin with learning to read Tablature or through reading Staff Notations.
Music is based on 12 notes, of which, 7 are alphabets A B C D E F G and the remaining 5 are symbols known as sharps (#) and flats (b). Understanding the 12 musical keys and their key signatures is one of the fundamental and important parts of learning music theory. Following are a few concepts that are essential towards learning the guitar effectively through the guitar online courses.
Scales are essentially a collection of notes in a fixed order. Learning scales well and correctly are fundamental to getting good at any instrument and developing technique. There are various scales ranging from major scales, minor scales, blues scales, jazz scales, pentatonic scales and more!
Chords are 3 or more notes played together at a time. As a guitarist, learning chords is very important. The most basic open chords that most beginners start off with are: C G F Em Am D E. Apart from these there are eventually barre chords, extended chords, suspended chords and much more that the student will then be introduced to.
– Strumming Patterns
Strumming is an important part of learning the guitar and playing rhythm patterns well. This can range from beginner to advanced patterns. Students generally start with simple common time strumming patterns and work their way up to advanced syncopated patterns.
Simply put, fingerstyle is an alternative to strumming with a pick or plectrum. Fingerstyle guitar involves using fingers to pick or pluck the strings to create soothing sounds. It involves a lot of coordination and dedicated practice as well.
– Music Theory
Many musicians, especially guitarists, end up ignoring paying attention to music theory as they learn. This sometimes leads to not getting an accurate understanding of the instrument and the various concepts that help you create and play good music. Music theory involves learning about all the above concepts as well as understanding how to practically apply them on the instrument.
Improvisation involves spontaneously creating riffs or melodies or passages of music without any preparations. This is a skill profoundly found among Jazz musicians who let their creative juices flow as they record tracks and pieces mainly based on improvisatory passages.
– Sight reading
Sight reading is the ability to read and play music on the spot, never having read it before. It is a difficult skill to master and takes a lot of practice and dedication. However, this skill is important for every musician, especially for session artists who wish to record tracks for composers and other artists.
People looking to learn the guitar always wonder if an online guitar course will be an effective way to learn the instrument. But if you have the desire to learn and are willing to work, then the sky's the limit! There have been so many children and students across ages who have started learning guitar during the pandemic and have progressed leaps and bounds with it. It’s not just a rewarding experience but also an enriching never ending journey as the learning never stops.
The initial stages of learning the instrument is almost always a little challenging. Getting used to the physical shape and size of the instrument as well as initial painful finger cuts while fretting may seem like a hurdle. However, with time, patience and regular practice, all these hurdles will seem too small a challenge in no time.
Guitar courses online may seem like a scary step to take, but once you begin, it will definitely be an experience unlike any other. Ultimately the most important thing to remember is that - It’s not about the destination, it’s about the journey.