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How to learn guitar well!

Welcome to the June edition of my blog, Guitar Artistry. For this entry I'd like to start off by saying that I had a very well written email from an editor who works in New Zealand on the site:, talking about an article that he'd recently worked on.

The article had several famous 'shredders' and other legends mentioned. He especially had been doing research on Yngwie Malmsteen, one of many Rock Guitar Legends. A couple honorable mentions not listed in the article would be: Steve Vai and Richie Blackmore.

Gentle Haven Music, Teach, Guitar Artistry, Web Design

As with any good writer,

he was doing his research.

Now, I don't know too much about Yngwie, but I do know about 'shredding' the strings.

Typically the term shredding has come from players who are lightning fast and hopefully musical at the same time. The reason I say hopefully is that sometimes faster is not better. For example: Al Diemola is an excellent guitar player, but if you listen to his early recording days, all you would take away is that he plays fast and 'shreds' not in a good way.

In all fairness, shredding can be exciting to the player, but may not be as pleasing to the listener.

The article that the editor sent me a link to is titled: "How to play like famous guitarists". What starting player doesn't want to do that?

It's a well written discussion of many famous guitarists who you may or may not have heard of.

This begs the question: How do I start?

Well, that's where this blog is going to journey.

Ever since I started playing guitar, I've always been fascinated by the coolness of an electric setup. It started when I first listened to SoCal surf music by the Ventures and got more robust when I heard that beautiful 'Strat' sound in James Bond movies.

I wanted to be able to do what the guys I listened to did, but where to start?

Gentle Haven Music, Teach, Guitar Artistry, Web Design

Here's where the good news-bad news reality comes in.

First the good news: If you like to learn and you have your heart set on learning the instrument, then you've already got what it takes to get going.

The next ingredient you need is a desire to work at it no matter what and some simple, yet challenging math ability.

Yes, math ability! No one ever learned an instrument without analyzing how it works and how best to make it work.

The third thing you need to learn this beautiful stringed-wonder is a good guitar teacher (Hopefully private), and time to practice.

Now for the bad news: It's going to take time, perhaps a long time, to play well. You can learn how to play somewhat fair in a matter of months or even weeks if you practice enough.

But, and here's the big but, you need to PRACTICE! Forgive me for shouting, but there's no easy way around it.

All of those legendary singers, keyboard players, brass players, and yes guitarists, have spent countless hours working on and improving their craft. That means time, sweat, and sometimes tears. But, it will be worth it when you finally get to do that gig you always wanted to, play for your relatives or friends at a party, or just entertain your significant other.

You now have a reality check for learning guitar. Guess what - I've played guitar longer than a lot of people have been alive, and I'm never really satisfied with it.

I always feel like I can do better. That's what drives me and it can you too!

If this sounds interesting to you, let me know in the comments section below.

And remember to tune that guitar before you play it!

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