We've all been there before … at the beginning. We all asked the same questions. For example, what should one learn first? Should we learn guitar chords, guitar scales, or songs?
The answer to the questions posed above is, it depends! I know this sounds vague, but hang in there with me for a second or two.
You'll need to build strength and endurance on the guitar. Trust me, without learning these fundamental elements on the guitar, you might as well become an accountant, doctor, or lawyer (please, not a lawyer).
Most great guitarists started out by learning simple songs. With a little help from your friends (other guitarists), you'll learn some of your favorite songs (riffs and all). This is a great way (and very normal) to begin to build strength and endurance on the guitar. The truth be known, this is what most of us did in the beginning … we wood-shedded! This is absolutely normal and natural.
Why would anyone jump into an advanced guitar course as a beginner? Answer … .not many! The advanced stuff could literally kill the enthusiasm for a beginner. Why? Too much theory, mechanical development, and not enough FUN. That's right … FUN! It's essential to have fun. Fun is learning to play songs that your peers are playing. Once one spends good quality FUN time, the rest (knowledge of theory, application, etc.), will eventually catch up to you (or not). The desire to progress as a player will hit you like a ton of bricks or you'll be satisfied as an individual who knows a bunch of songs and commercial licks. The choice is always yours to make.
The choice to excel on the guitar is as much mental as it is physical. Personally, I think the mental part is more important than the physical (at least in the beginning).
In the beginning, have FUN, FUN, FUN ,. That's what it's all about folks, fun!
Most professional guitarists will tell you (hopefully), that their good old days were spent on the front porch playing guitar with their friends (learning songs, figuring out solos, etc.). For those who pursue a professional career in music, the guitar becomes a way-of-life (very serious stuff folks). Why get ahead of yourself? Have fun in the early years.
I understand that you, along with most beginning guitarists, want to shred the guitar like a finely tuned chain saw. However, remember that willingness without action equals fantasy. Don't kid yourself. Shredding is an art. It requires mechanical ability that develops over time. Hard work and practice is the answer. Facility on the guitar is everything!
In the beginning stages of learning to play the guitar it's important to start with basic techniques. Learning how to properly hold a guitar pick, building hand and wrist strength, timing and tempo are all essential elements. Learning simple songs will deliver those elements. Learning how to play chords and chord progressions, in tempo, is another essential element of learning to play the guitar.
Whether one's goal is to become an accomplished guitarist or to simply play a few songs, the common thread between the two types of players is practice. If one commits to quality practice, one will progress. It's really that simple. Either way, it starts with one's passion for the guitar.