I get a lot of letters from beginning Luna players asking for advice. This list, courtesy of http://www.learn-acoustic-guitar.com, has lots of good, overall sggestions. The main thing is to do what you love (and love what you do!)
1 – Learn how to play the acoustic guitar with both your fingers and your pick. Practice using both. This will make you a more versatile player.
2 – Learn how to use a capo. A capo is a clamp that you can apply to different frets of your guitar to change the pitch. You will definitely need to become familiar with this wonderful tool. If you do not already own one, head out to your local music store and buy one today.
3 – Make sure you choose the right guitar for your size. Guitars come in different sizes from classic to jumbo. It is very important that you find a guitar size that you are comfortable playing.
4 – Learn how to change your strings and change them often. If you do not know how to change your guitar strings yet, stop what you are doing and search for articles and videos online right now. This is very important.
5 – Wash your hands before you play and clean your strings after you play. Dirt and oils from your fingers and hands can wear down your strings.
6 – Build up those calluses. Many beginners complain of pain in their fingertips when first starting out. This is normal and will go away after you have been playing for a little while and start to form calluses. The more often you practice the faster you will build up calluses.
7 – Learn how to tune your guitar. Make sure your guitar is in tune before you start every practice session. Tuning your guitar is really quite easy. You can either purchase one of those small battery powered guitar tuners, or you can tune your guitar online. Just do a search at your favorite search engine using the key phrase “online guitar tuner” and you will find many helpful sites on this topic.
8 – Use YouTube to find free acoustic guitar lessons. They have a huge variety.
9 – Find a good guitar teacher. While it is possible to learn at your own pace at home using free lessons online, books and home study courses, nothing will replace a guitar teacher. A guitar teacher will help keep you from forming bad guitar playing habits and praise you when you are making progress.
10 – Stretch and warm up your hands and fingers before each playing session. This is important. Proper warm up and stretching exercises are essential in helping you avoid injury and improving your guitar playing. For more information on stretching and warm up exercises, do a search on Google using the key phrase: “guitar warm up”. You will find plenty of tutorials on this subject.
11 – Learn music theory. I know music theory can be boring and difficult, but it is essential learning if you want to become a good guitar player.
12 – Learn about the parts of your guitar. Spend as much time as possible familiarizing yourself with all the various parts of your guitar and how it is constructed.
13 – Learn how to practice. This may seem obvious, but you would be surprised how many guitarists are not practicing correctly. There is definitely a right and a wrong way to practice. Make sure you understand how to make the best out of your practice sessions.
14 – Keep your finger nails on your fretting hand trimmed. Your fingernails on your fretting hand must be kept short. If not, they will most certainly make playing more difficult as they will prevent your fingers from pushing down the strings properly.
15 – Don’t over do it. If you are experiencing any pain or discomfort during your playing or practice session, then stop and take a break.
16 – Try and learn something new. If you continually do the same thing, day after day, then your guitar playing will become stagnant and you will not progress.
17 – Join discussion forums online. Search for guitar discussion forums online and begin discussions with experienced and professional guitarists.
18 – Listen to a variety of different music. Not just your favorite styles either. You would be surprised at how much this can influence your guitar playing.
19 – Learn alternate ways to tune your guitar. Not every song is played in standard tuning.
20 – Go to live performances. This will give you a chance to get up close and personal with the musicians enabling you to see first hand how a professional plays.
(photo courtesy of Hugo Chisholm)