Once you make the decision to buy your first guitar, there are a few extra things you'll want to buy. These accessories will make your life a bit easier, help you out, or even save you money in the long run.

What a beginner guitarist needs

Here are my recommendations on what you need to get, and why. As you know, I've been teaching guitar for many years now, and these items are what I deem to be important for a beginner guitarist. Of course, you can go wild, and spend an extra $1000 on things you don't really need, but why would you.

All you need is the following. And your guitar of course.
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"Learning the notes on the guitar is a pain", said every guitar student I've ever met.

Yes, it's not the funnest part of learning guitar, but it's one of those things that you really need to do as you progress as a guitarist. Without learning the notes on the fretboard, you eventually get stuck at a certain level, and your progress will be impeded. This is especially true for people who want to learn improvisation.

While there are a few methods that make learning the notes a bit easier, like these 5 tips, and understanding the tonal relationship between the guitar strings, there are a few products that can help you learn those notes.

Don't Fret Note Map

I found this note map as I was searching for a way to help a student, who was desperate for some assistance in learning soloing. He was having a hard time remembering where each note was.

This is how I came across the Don't Fret Note Map.

dont-fret-note-map

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The guitar pick (aka plectrum) you use is one of the most overlooked parts of most beginner guitar lessons, so I want to share some guitar pick tips with you. Believe it or not, the guitar pick you use makes a huge impact on both the tone you get from your guitar, and the ease of which you can play a specific song or genre.

So many picks, so little time...

So many picks, so little time...

Your guitar plectrum is the main point of contact between you and the guitar (unless you are watching our fingerpicking guitar lessons of course :-)). A given type of pick might work better for a particular musical situation, depending on the tone you want to hear and the genre you are playing.

Of course, first thing's first, learn how to hold a guitar pick. Once it doesn't fly out of your hand on the third strum anymore, you can start experimenting with picks of different material and gauge, the results will be very audible and often lead to the easier playing of a given song.

Here are some tips on how to choose the proper guitar pick in any given situation:

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Once you've made the decision to start learning guitar, the first step will be to actually get one. At first sight, guitars have mysterious specifications and technical jargon that you won't be able to comprehend, so it can be a daunting process for a beginner who doesn't have a clue about anything guitar related.

To make things a bit simpler for you, here are some tips on buying the best first guitar.

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Learning how to tune your guitar, and keeping it in tune is one of the most important technical elements of playing the guitar.

If your guitar is not in tune, you simply won't be able to hit the notes you want, or play the songs you love, since it will all sound out of tune. Sort of like when an amateur singer performs at karaoke night 😉

No worries though, learning to tune your guitar is as easy as 1,2,3.

First of all, watch our video tutorial on how to tune a guitar, it will show you the basic technique with an electric tuner, and without one as well (if you want to tune by ear). To tune by ear, you'll need a reference note, for which you can use our online guitar tuner.

Once you learn guitar tuning, make sure you keep it in tune afterwards as well. Here are some helpful guitar tuning tips for you:

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I have always been a fan of Zoom products, as they have always made great things at affordable prices.

My previous digital multi-effects pedal was a Zoom G1X, and I have recently upgraded it to its new version, the Zoom G1Xon.

zoom_g1xon_beautyShot

At first glance, it seems like a trip back to the '80s. But trust me, it's the best budget-friendly multi effects pedals you can buy. Read more

One of the most common questions I get from new guitar players is to answer the epic question once and for all, and decide whether it is "best to learn on an acoustic guitar, or an electric guitar, and to start with electric guitar lessons or acoustic guitar lessons".

First of all, the second part of the question is flawed.

If you are a total beginner, you don't need to differentiate between lesson types yet, since at this stage, you are still just trying to learn very basic techniques, which are the same for both types of guitar (check out our free basic guitar lessons).

Electric or acoustic?

Electric or acoustic?

Now back to the original question of whether learning on an electric or acoustic is more suitable for beginners.

This is a very interesting question that causes many disagreements between us, guitar teachers as well.

There are advantages and disadvantages of learning on either type of guitar, so I will try to list them all, and after you get a chance to read the pros and cons of both sides.

I'll give my opinion as well, but don't skip forward, please. Read the article in full, I want you to see things objectively before you hear my subjectivity.

Let's start off with the differences between the 2 types of guitar, as the pros and cons derive from here.

What are the differences between acoustic and electric guitars?

As a newbie to the world of guitars, you may be wondering just how are electric guitars different from acoustic ones.

Electric guitar Acoustic guitar
Body Solid body which requires electric amplification to produce sound. Hollow body. The vibration from the strings vibrates the entire guitar. The resonation is passed into the air inside the body, where it resonates and is naturally amplified to become sound, which exits through the soundhole.
Size and weight Generally smaller, but much heavier than acoustic guitars. Larger than electric guitars, because the body has to be relatively larger for the sound waves to get amplified. However, they are usually lighter, since they are hollow.
Neck Usually slightly thinner, strings seem closer together. Usually a bit thicker, strings are further apart. Classical guitars have even wider necks.
Strings Thinner, lighter steel strings, easy on the fingers. Strings on electric guitars don't need to be heavy, because the sound is amplified. The thin strings make lead guitar techniques, like vibratos and bends easy. Heavy steel strings that need to vibrate stronger, therefore they are harder to hold down. Lead guitar techniques are difficult to carry out. Lighter nylon strings are also used on acoustic guitars, which are easier to play, but have a more subdued tone.
String action Since the strings are thinner than on the acoustic guitar, they don't need that much space to resonate. Because of this, the string action can be set lower, meaning the strings are closer to the neck. This makes them easier to fret. The thicker strings on acoustic guitars need more room to vibrate, so they are a bit further from the neck. This makes them harder to hold down.
Tone Thanks to the multiple pickups, the tone and volume knobs on the guitar, plus the effects you can apply with an amp, the tonal possibilities of electric guitars are endless. Acoustic guitars without amplification have a single tone. There are tonal differences between the different acoustic guitars as well, which depends on the materials the acoustic guitar is manufactured with and the size of the guitar.
Music Since electric guitars are amplified and effects are added to create a final tone, you can basically play any type of music with them (other than classical and folk). The lack of amplification limits the use of acoustic guitars to music where the clean acoustic tone sounds good. These include country, classical, blues, pop, folk.

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'Tis Christmas time again, stores start filling, people start shopping for gifts. Giving is a great joy, especially when you know that the gift will make the recipient happy, so Christmas shopping can get a bit difficult and stressful when you don't have any ideas. Luckily, guitarists will always be happy to receive guitar related stuff, no matter how small or large.

Here are a couple of guitar related Christmas gift ideas for you:

1. Personalized Picks Make a Great Christmas Present

personalized-picks-christmas-gift

Personalized picks

You can get totally personalized guitar picks, which make great Christmas presents for any guitarist. They are very very cool, your favorite guitarist will be showing it off to his/her friends, colleagues, people on the street for a long time 🙂

Make sure the pick really is personalized, meaning it has the recipients nick name, face, logo, or some other form of personal detail printed or engraved onto the pick.

If your favorite guitarist is into jewelry, you can also get silver guitar pick medals to put onto necklaces.

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Korg TM40 Guitar Tuner/Metronome

Korg TM40 Guitar Tuner/Metronome

We just posted a review of the Korg TM-40 electric guitar tuner and metronome to our guitar shop, check it out.

After changing guitar strings, you will find that your strings get out of tune very easily for about 1-2 weeks, depending on how much you play and how often you retune. This is due to the fact that new strings stretch, causing them to go out of tune very easily. I want to share a little secret on how to overcome this problem, to save you the constant hassle of having to retune often.

Stretch it baby!

Stretch it baby!

When you put on new strings, you need to stretch them manually, otherwise they will keep going out of tune until they stretch by themselves. There is a very simple and straight forward method of stretching your strings after changing them, which most beginners don't know about, and therefore have to retune almost each time they pick up the guitar.

So get ready, here is a short guitar lesson for beginners on one of the secret tricks of the trade you'll want to carry out after changing guitar strings:
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