It’s Not Too Late To Learn Guitar


Brandon Granite, Staff Writer

Have you ever wanted to learn guitar but felt it’s too late in life to start learning? Are you looking for someone to teach you how to get started? Look no further – I’ll guide you as to what you need to start playing the guitar in these simple steps. The steps include buying a guitar and an amp, learning different starter chords/tabs, and knowing what websites to use while practicing. I’ve been playing guitar for about six years now, and I’ve been self-taught the whole time. I haven’t received any lessons and don’t plan on doing so! I feel like teaching yourself is better because you can do it at your own pace, and I personally find it more motivating.

First, you’ll need a guitar. Some questions to ask yourself are which kind do you want, and which one will you enjoy playing? There are many great guitar options out there, especially for starters. I bought my first guitar at Guitar Center and one of the workers recommended a brand named “Schecter.” To be specific, the full name of my first guitar was the “Omen Extreme-6 Electric Guitar Green Burst.” Even though it was $500, it’s hands down the best guitar I’ve owned to date, and it’s also my favorite guitar to play when practicing.

I highly recommend for you to do your own research when choosing your first guitar. Figure out what bands or songs you want to learn, and maybe even see what type of guitars your favorite artist or guitar player uses and research that. Set a price range for yourself. If you’re willing to spend a lot of money on a guitar, I would highly recommend the Schecter or any Les Paul guitar. There are cheaper options out there, of course. However, the more expensive the guitar the better quality it is, and you’ll have a wonderful experience with it.

Matthew Timmons, a 21-year-old business major from Monroe, said, “My first guitar was a Les Paul Gibson, and it’s my favorite guitar ever. My father bought it for me when I was about 8 years old and signed me up for lessons. I took lessons for a while then I stopped because it got in the way with school and sports, so I picked it up again at the age of 11. And I’ve also been self-teaching myself ever since. I love self-teaching because it saves you money, and it’s at your own pace.”

Next, you’ll have to choose an amp. An electric guitar’s sound comes out of an amp with a connection through its cable. You can get any cable you’d like, as long as it’s an XLR cable. As far as amps go, there’s only one option I’d consider. That’s getting an amp from the Marshall brand. Marshall is used by a ton of heavy metal artists. There are cheaper Marshall amps out there at around $200, which is a great starter price. The amp that I have is called the “Marshall MG15GFX 15W 1×8 Guitar Combo Amp,” which cost me $250 and made my guitar sound amazing. It made me want to keep playing and practicing.

Guitar Center and many other places that sell instruments will offer an insurance plan, just in case your guitar breaks or your amp craps out and you need a replacement. If you decide to get the insurance plan, Guitar Center will charge you an extra fee for it. The fees can range from $100 to $200 for two years. In my opinion, I wouldn’t worry about the guitar insurance plan. I would get the amp insurance plan only because there’s more of a chance of the amp breaking. If you take care of your guitar, you’ll be just fine.

There are a couple of beginner songs that cover all the basic chords. The basic chords for beginners are barre chords and power chords. The first song that I learned was “One Step Closer” by Linkin Park. It has an awesome guitar riff in the beginning and chorus, which made me want to pick up guitar in the first place. The song consists of the barre chords and power chords, which last throughout the whole song. It’s extremely easy to understand and read on a tab sheet. Once you get those chords down, you can play any other song you want because those chords are in a majority of metal and rock songs.

“When I first started playing guitar, I started off by taking lessons,” said Mike Florentine, a 24-year-old audio engineering major from Sayreville. “Once I started taking lessons, my guitar instructor Bill showed me the proper way to hold a guitar pick and how to play basic chords. After that, with the knowledge he gave me, I started to learn songs from my favorite bands. After I did that, I eventually started writing music for my band Generation Underground. Five years and three albums later, my band went on tour, signed a record deal and been played on terrestrial and satellite radio.”

Finally, in order to read tabs, you’re going to need a website that gives you directions on how to play the songs you want to learn. There are websites such as songsterr and ultimateguitar that will help beginners look at sheet music and tabs. I personally recommend the website ultimateguitar because there’s more of a selection and they have interactive tabs so you can play along with the song and get feedback on your performance.

I hope this helps and encourages anyone willing to pick up and play guitar.