It’s very easy to become frustrated or upset when you’re starting out playing the guitar and you can’t do all of the things that you want to do which only come in time. Unfortunately practicing is the only way to get to where you want to be, so it’s a catch 22 of sorts. The most important thing to do is to make it as fun as possible for yourself every time you sit down with your guitar so that you’ll be motivated enough to stick with it as long as it takes until you can really stand on your own. Here are some ways to spice up your practice sessions and make guitar more fun for yourself.
Play Songs that You Know – This one is pretty obvious, but important none the less. The reason that most people pick up the guitar is to play songs that they’ve heard and enjoy. That’s not only the main reason, but it can be your main motivation for continuing to play and strive to get better at the instrument. Rather than trying to learn a number of songs at once, focus on one in particular and focus on just learning the basic chords behind the song. No matter what special effects or solos are put on top of a song, the vast majority of songs can be broken down to a few simple chords and changes. By playing something that you enjoy you’ll be much more motivated to continue working at it until you get it perfect as opposed to trying to play a “classic” like Yankee Doodle (unless that’s what you truly want to learn, of course).
Play With a Capo – A capo is a tool which automatically bars or presses down on every string on one of the frets in a row. The idea is that you can vary the tuning without having to re-tune the guitar at all, and you can move the capo around to whichever row of frets you like to keep raising or lowering the base key/sound. Capos are used in all kinds of music by all kinds of different artists as they help to easily give your guitar a varying sound when you play the same chord no matter where you put it.
If you can learn open chords, even just the basics like A, D, or G, you can play them all on different frets by raising or lowering the capo and give it a totally different and fun sound. A capo runs for about $10-$20 for standard models, so if you get a chance I recommend picking one up and experimenting with it to open a number of different sounds.
Use a Slide – Like the capo, a slide is another inexpensive tool which you can use to enhance your guitar playing even if you’re brand new to the instrument. This is a hollowed out cylinder which you put your index or middle finger through to guide, then you simply touch (not press) down on the strings at any point and it gives the effect of actually fretting or pushing down on that string at that fret, but it gives you the ability to freely roam about the fret board with the slide.
A slide can be either metal or a light glass in material. A metal slide is recommended for electric guitar (try it plugged in for some awesome solo sounds), and the glass capo is more recommended for an acoustic guitar to give you a bluesy, country kind of sound, like a slide guitar.