5 Useful items for the beginner learning to play guitar
1 Guitar Tuners
As a guitarist we must be able to tune our instrument. Years ago the only method available was to tune by ear. This would entail using a tuning fork, or a set of pitch pipes. Both items where incredibly hard to use and very time consuming. Something you wouldn't like to use while playing on stage at a busy venue.Thankfully today we have numerous options available when it comes to tuning the instrument. Lets have a look at the various types.
- Foot pedal or Rack Mount Tuner. These devices were the earliest type of electronic tuners on the market. It is now common place to see a tuner on a musicians pedal board. Notable makes are the Boss TU-3 and TC Electronics Polytone. Both are excellent tuners and an essential part of a pedal board. Most multi effect pedal board also come with a built in tuner.
- Hand Held Tuners, are slowly being phased out by manufacturers. They now come bundled with a metronome, making them more useful and better value for money. The higher grade models can be connected directly to the guitar through the guitar lead, enabling the guitarist to tune there guitar in a noisy environment.
- Head stock Tuners: are probably the most popular type of tuner available in the marketplace today.They clip on to the head stock and can be adjusted so you can see the display as you pluck the stings so you can adjust accordingly. Prices vary depending on the make and model. A nice feature of these tuners is ability to be left on the head stock even while playing on stage.
- Downloaded Apps for your mobile Phone: can be easily obtained by conecting with your IPhone or Android apps store. The majority of these apps are free to download but tend to charge a fee if you want additional features. They function similar to the hand held tuner but of course being on a phone, are much handier to use. Some of the apps come with a metronome. Most people are happy with the free versions.
2. Grip Master
This excellent piece of equipment, first appeared on the market in the early 80’s. Sadly its not promoted nearly as much as it should be. It's ideal to help you build strength in your fingers. I would strongly recommend any aspiring guitar player to get hold of one of these. Amazon.com carries this item.
When learning to play in time, or improve your speed picking then you need a metronome. Seen by many students as old school. The metronome is essential for discipline and accuracy. More time should be spent using this device rather than just noodling away with no control on timing or tempo.
You can now purchase with a hand held tuner, or they can be downloaded as a App on your phone. I don’t have a preference, just get one and use it.
As a guitarist you will have to decide how you learn and progress. I can’t emphasize enough on the use of a teacher, and that isn’t because I am biased. I say this because it’s true.
As a beginner you need information and direction. Using books and YouTube is fine, but the one thing that you can’t do is ask questions if you don’t understand something.
An experienced qualified teacher can show you what to learn in a structured format. This doesn’t mean you must study a curriculum, a good teacher will make the lessons both informative and fun.
5. Guitar Pro 6
Last but certainly not least, this wonderful piece of software is part of guitar culture. When used with sites like Ultimate-Guitar it gives you access to 1000’s of songs in both notation and tablature.
It allows you to isolate tracks, so you can clearly here the part being played. You can mute track's allowing you to play the guitar parts in the song. You can slow track's down, and place in a loop so you can slowly learn the section you want to play.
This list of features is endless. It isn’t Free, but GP6 is probably one of the most useful item you can spend your money over the years. Their website address is: www.guitar-pro.com
I am sure there are many items that you may feel i have missed. You might even think some items shouldn't be on the list. Please feel free to add to the list in the comments section.
Article by Geoff Sinker