Playing The Guitar

 

Playing a musical instrument can be one of the most satisfying and at times excruciatingly frustrating activities of all time. But, once it has been mastered or at least reached a certain level of competence, the feeling is quite amazing.

One of the most common and perhaps easiest instruments to play is the guitar. But then again, “easy” is a highly subjective term! Mastering the guitar is a relatively long and arduous process. As is the case with anything, the theory part of it is quite boring. It is only when you actually take it in your hands and feel the wood, the strings, the frets against your hand that you are able to truly understand and remember why it is you want to play it.

Rishab Patel, 21, has been playing the guitar for 3 years. But it wasn’t easy! He had one aborted attempt when he was in the 8th std. The monotony and complete and utter boredom he felt with the theory, which is what is always taught first if you go to a teacher, completely put him off the idea and in a little more than a month he was out of there! His guitar was left to gather dust and finally given away. About three years later, the itch was back. He went out and bought a guitar, a book of scales and a book of guitar chords. “That’s all you really need”, he says. “But you also have to have an ear for music, which cannot be taught…you either have it or you don’t!”

Being able to control what he was doing and when he was doing it made the whole experience a lot more fun. He remembers that he got so obsessed with practicing that he used to play for upto 3 hours a day and at the end of it the fingertips on his left hand used to bleed! Being self-taught is a drawback as well. You don’t have access to all the technical information necessary to become a really good guitarist. There is a lot you can learn from books but there is a hell of a lot more to know that can’t be found in them! His advice is “Only go to a teacher after you are comfortable with the basics and have a certain amount of control over your guitar.”

How to get started:

 

  • Buy a decent acoustic guitar. Things to look for would be good tone, good finishing and an easily accessible fretboard.

 

  • Get a couple of books on scales and chords. These should be learned by heart and should become automatic actions.

 

  • Allocate a definite amount of time for practice and make sure you keep to it.

 

  • Don’t get disheartened. In the start it will be really frustrating. Once your hands are coordinated, the rate of improvement will be fast.

 

Maintaining Your Guitar:

 

·  Always keep it in a case or covered with a cloth to prevent dust from getting at it.

  • Never leave it out in the sun or let it get wet. It will warp if this happens.

 

  • Do not smash on ground in frustration.

 

  • Do not smash on ground while pretending you are a rock star!

 

  • Change the strings when they get rust or old.

 

Treat it well and it will treat you well!!