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How to get started with online Guitar Lessons

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Zara, Staff Writer

Monday, 15th February 2021

Learning how to play the guitar can offer a great sense of accomplishment at any age. Traditionally, guitar lessons take place in-person. Though recently it’s become popular to teach them online. This makes them far more accessible, especially for those of us living in a remote location or with accessibility issues!

Ready to strum the sweet sound of success by learning how to play the guitar? Here’s our guide on how to get started with online guitar lessons. 

What you’ll need to get started

A guitar

Seems like a no brainer, but important nonetheless! The guitar type will either be electric, acoustic or Spanish. Check before you start lessons as your teacher may only teach a particular type. If using an electric guitar, you’ll need an amplifier and a cable to connect it to your guitar. Get everything set up beforehand so that you don’t waste time at the start of your lesson. 

Guitar tuner (or app)

Before your lesson can begin you’ll also need to tune your own guitar. Normally your teacher would help you with this, though learning how to do it yourself is a great skill to master! Guitar tuners come in the form of a device that clips to your guitar to ascertain the pitch, or you can download an app on your phone.  Alternatively, if you have a piano lying around, you can tune your guitar strings to each note - E, A, D, G, B, and E. Though for beginners/children this technique might be a little too advanced. 

Plectrum

It’s always good to have a variety of plectrums lying around to learn different strumming techniques. If learning classical guitar, the technique may focus more on strumming or plucking the strings with your fingers instead.

Sheet music

Your guitar teacher may require you to print out your sheet music in advance. If learning a grade, you’ll need the corresponding grade book from your exam board. 

Notepad

It’s always handy to take notes when you are just getting started! As the sessions are remote, you may find it helpful to jot down your teacher's observations or suggestions. 

What do Online Guitar lessons involve?

Similar to in-person lessons, your guitar teacher will also have a guitar. They will demonstrate particular techniques that you’ll need to copy and play back to them. Lessons involve your right and left hand. One is responsible for pressing the note down on the fretboard, while the other makes contact with the strings. 

A clear audio line and camera are essential for remote guitar lessons, as your teacher will need to inspect your playing in detail. For example, if you don’t press your finger up against the fingerboard properly, the note can sound fuzzy. So they’ll be listening out for any such imperfections to help you improve. 

Your lessons will cover aspects such as scales, chords as well as learning pieces of music. They’ll be looking to improve your timing, rhythm and overall guitar playing technique. 

Tips for success

When you first start to play the guitar, it can make the pads of your fingers feel sore. Don’t worry, this is normal! It just takes some getting used to, especially when it comes to pressing the strings down. 

On that note, be sure to trim your nails back and file them before your lesson. Long nails can prevent you from achieving a clean sound on the fretboard, and your teacher will mention it to you if you don’t.  

It can take several sessions to start to get the hang of it, even if the likes of Eric Clapton and Jimi Hendrix made it look easy! That’s why it’s important to start with the basics and slowly work your way up to more complex moves.

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