If you don't have a metronome, use the free one over at www. Listening is a highly under-rated skill. More than just about anything else it will help you become a great player. Listen to others playing, both live and on albums. What sort of guitar are they playing? Are they strumming, picking, or playing single notes? What sort of tone are they achieving, and how? Carefully listen to yourself as you practice. Can you hear when you do something wrong? Is your guitar out of tune?
Are all of the strings sounding clearly?
Do the notes and chords you are playing sound even? How can you improve your tone?
And listening is most important once you are playing in a band. What are the other instruments playing? What can you play to compliment them? Should you play more or less to fit in with the sound of the band?
What rhythm are the drums and other guitars playing? What can you play to enhance the groove? When I was at school a lot of kids complained about math. I loved math and didn't understand the question. Music theory is the same. Some love it and some hate it. But it always helps to know some. Especially when you can see how it improves your playing. Consider learning some sort of music notation. Every guitarist should be able to read a chord chart. And the Internet is full of guitar tabs, so you may want to learn how to read it, especially if you'd like to learn riffs and melodies.
You should know the note names of each string. It is worth learning the notes for each fret along each string. You might want to learn scales and how chords work. In the Open Mic, one commenter said, "Buy a guitar. It's hard to practice regulary unless you own a guitar.
I recommend that you buy the best guitar you can afford, keeping in mind that you can always buy a better one down the track as you improve. And obviously if you are learning electric guitar buy an amp as well. What you want is a guitar that sounds good when you play good, and sounds bad when you play bad. Some people have guitars that sound bad no matter what they do. I can't imagine they will improve very quickly.
For the same reason, make sure that you keep your guitar in tune, or it will sound like you are playing something wrong even when you aren't. Regular practice can become boring without variety. Your fingers learn better with consistent routine, but keep your mind happy too by adding something interesting and enjoyable. Try something challenging from time to time, even if there isn't a chance in hell you can do it right.
Play songs that you enjoy. Enjoy the portability of the guitar and play in different locations - get out of the house! In the Open Mic, Jake gives this advice: When learning anything new, it's always a good idea to become aware of the risks. And Jake points out the biggest risk: Playing at excessive volume can damage your hearing. I know, I live with ringing in my ears every day - probably caused by listening to music too loud in headphones. Of course, there is minimal risk of this unless you are playing your guitar through an amp, or listening with headphones.
If you'd like more information about tinnitus and other health concerns, Guitarsite. And finally, remember why you are learning the guitar. One or two short songs should provide more than enough opportunity for the sound engineer to set up a decent mix. Taking liberties won't do you any favours with the other bands on the bill. Leave your pedals running with the input plugged in for long periods of time ahead of the gig if you're using nine-volt batteries with your effects pedals - it drains the power unnecessarily.
Get bogged down with your onstage sound if you're playing outside. Put even more trust in the sound engineer's front of house mix - the nature of the external environment means your concern is playing in time, and the sound engineer's is making sure the audience get a good mix. Lose sight of the bigger picture - it's about attitude as well as the rig you're setting up. And remember that you get back what you put out. If you're confident, professional and polite, that's what you'll get back from the engineer and other bands. Write a setlist for the show. Unless you're playing free jazz, you'll need a list of the songs you're playing and the order in which you're playing them.
Demand the audience's attention. The general rule of thumb is to open with a song that makes an impact. Take a drink onstage with you - especially if you're a singer. You may be surprised to find your throat can get as dry as the Mojave desert onstage, and you'll soon be begging for water. Realise that things can go wrong - it's just part of gigging. Have contingency plans in your head in case the worst happens, including an instrumental piece the rest of you can play to fill time if one of the musicians has a problem they need to sort.
Look people in the eye while you're performing - engaging with your audience is more than just about sound. Signal to the engineer if you need to communicate with the desk mid-gig: Relax, listen to the sound engineer and remember that, ultimately, it's about the audience, not the band. Nobody cares that much about your tone except you, so stop stressing about it.
Amplify your guitar when you're tuning up. You should tune quickly and silently between songs. Buy an electronic tuner with an easily visible display. The audience don't want to hear you tuning and it gives a sloppy, amateurish impression. Forget to say the name of your band between songs. Instead, they lean the guitar neck against the amplifier or prop it on a stool. This is the best recipe for your precious guitar to slide sideways and usually snap off a machine head—if not the neck itself—when it hits the floor. The same goes at home.
Do you lean your guitar against the wall?
Many people believe that possessing talent alone is enough to guarantee an artist success in the music business. Nothing could be further from. A spare guitar is not a luxury item – it's an essential. Things can, and WILL go wrong at some point during a gig, it's just a fact. Amps will break.
Drop it on the floor where someone might step on it? Guitars of any kind are really badly designed to stand by themselves. Avoid the risk and invest in a solid guitar stand.
But a guitar case serves a more important purpose than just protecting your instrument on the road. Guitars are made of wood—and wood is very susceptible to temperature and humidity changes.