The guitar is not an easy instrument to learn, although I do think it would be worth it. Some of the best guitarists that ever lived were talented beyond measure and continue to influence music around the world. Jimi Hendrix, BB King, Jimmy Page, to name a few. Certainly, the guitar is beautiful instrument. I attempted to learn once, a long time ago but I gave up too quickly. Personally, I think it is pretty cool to be able to play the guitar and play it well. Actually, it’s pretty cool to play any instrument well. But the guitar is particularly versatile. So you can sit and jam with your friends, impress a girl or boy maybe and in general bring people together.
Few Famous Guitar Solos
- Jimmy Page/Led Zeppelin – Stairway To Heaven
- Jimi Hendrix/The Jimi Hendrix Experience – All Along The Watchtower
- Prince/Prince And The Revolution – Purple Rain
- Don Felder and Joe Walsh/Eagles – Hotel California
- David Gilmour/ Pink Floyd – Comfortably Numb
Other than the definite social advantages of knowing how to play the guitar, this skill has numerous personal benefits too. In fact, learning how to play any instrument and read music opens up different neural pathways. For one, such a skill can help improve your memory and ability to concentrate. According to a study done by researchers at the University of St Andrews, musicians are quicker to recognise and correct mistakes than non-musicians. The study also showed an increased ability to do the same.
The results of the study were not surprising, researchers claimed, given that musicians are constantly aware of their performance, often having to quickly correct slight errors and mistakes without the audience noticing.
Psychologist Dr Ines Jentzsch, who led the research, said,
“Our study shows that even moderate levels of musical activity can benefit brain functioning“Dr Ines Jentzsch
Architecture of the Brain
Further recent research shows that playing an instrument regularly changes the ‘shape and power of the brain and may be used in therapy to improve cognitive skills.’ The areas of our brain that control motor skills, hearing, storing audio information and memory become larger and more active when a person learns how to play an instrument. Moreover, the study suggests that it could potentially improve one’s day to day actions- like, being alert, planning and emotional perception.
Lutz Jäncke, a psychologist at the University of Zurich, said
The parts of the brain that control hearing, memory, and the part that controls the hands among others, all become more active. Essentially the architecture of the brain changes.Lutz Jäncke, The Telegraph
Language and Emotion
Something that I thought was an especially interesting finding from this study pertains to our ability to learn foreign languages and our perceptive capacity to interpret the emotions of other people.
And this has to do with the benefits of one’s ability to store audio information. Because you have to learn about tone and scores when learning an instrument, your ability to store audio information becomes better. Basically, the study shows that this makes it easier to learn different languages and gives you a better verbal memory in your own language.
Here’s the bit that I thought was really cool- apparently musicians are able to detect exactly what others are feeling based on the tone of their voices. Empathy and disappointment were the examples in given the article. Now to what extent this is possible or true I don’t know. But I thought it might be interesting to share in case you wanted to look more into the various cognitive benefits of learning how to play an instrument.
Well, with that mind, I would say dive into learning how to play the guitar. It might be hard at first but obviously the benefits and outcomes are really great. Plus, it’s really fun and you can impress your friends- or your girlfriend/boyfriend.
Guitar Learning Apps
1) Perfect Ear
Perfect Ear is not solely a guitar learning app but is nonetheless helpful for anyone who wants to play the guitar. The app helps you develop two critical musical skills- namely, rhythm and tone. Perfect Ear has a whole bunch of interval, scale, chord, and rhythm training exercises to help you understand music. It also has trainers for sight reading, absolute pitch, and note singing. Moreover, Perfect Ear also contains articles on music theory, which is useful for those who plan to write their own music. The app caters to both, amateur and professional musicians.
Key Features Include:
- Customizable interval, scale, chord and rhythm training exercises
- Ability to create custom scales, chords and chord progressions for exercises
- Beginner friendly theory articles
- Melodic dictation exercises
- Sight reading trainer
- Absolute pitch trainer
- Note singing trainer
- A full-fledged scale dictionary
smartChord is treasure chest for learning the guitar, primarily with a focus on chords and fingerings. It is great for when you need to recognizse a chord, change tuning, train your ear, practice scales or rhythm and perhaps write your own music as well. The app proves to be a rather comprehensive tool and guide to the guitar- it has a ton of helpful features like the reverse chord finder and hundreds of predefined tunings. In fact, the list of their features are rather long, so I’ll only mention a few here.
Key Features Include:
- Tone determination
- Dozens of different scales
- Basic metronome
- Virtual guitar
- Precise tone generator
- Millions of songs from the best internet song catalogs like ultimate-guitar, azchords, chordie, e-chords, guitaretab
- 30 different scales like Mixolydian, Dorian, Pentatonic, Chromatic
- Musical notation, formula and fingerboard
- 1000 additional scales (+)
- Diatonic chords (+)
3) Real Guitar
Real Guitar is more for beginners and those who don’t already own a guitar. Essentially, it a guitar simulator that can simulate both acoustic and electric guitars. You can use this app on your smartphone as well as on a tablet. However, in order to play chords, your device must support multi-touch.
The app is pretty cool, you can play along to any song out of a list of 16 and record your work too. Sounds like a good deal of fun.
Key Features Include:
- No latency
- Studio-quality audio
- Range of customised chords
- 3 types of acoustic / electric guitars
- 3 playing modes
- 16 loops to jam along with
- More than 1500 chords
- High-fidelity guitar sound
- Recording mode
- Export your recordings to MP3
- Works with all screen resolutions – Phones & Tablets (HD images)
GuitarTuna is, apparently, one of the best mobile apps that help you tune your guitar. The app also helps you tune bass, ukulele, violin, cello, banjo, and a bunch of other popular string instruments. This way you don’t need to worry if you switch from guitar to another string instrument.
The app works but listening to through your phone’s microphone. So you pluck a string, and it will show you which note the sound registers as. Thus, you can adjust your tuning easily as a beginner or an expert.
Key Features Include:
- Chord library
- Auto mode tuner (for super fast tuning, hands-free, string by string) and a chromatic tuner
- Metronome: set at any tempo, change the beat manually or by tapping at the desired speed
- 6 Ultimate Chord Learning Games: learn, practice and master chords, and develop the ability to recognize them by ear
- Alternative tuning sets
- 4 songs with guitar notation (tabs) to play along and test your skills
- Over 100 tunings available
This app is for when you have moved on from the basics of metronome and need something more advanced. Apparently, Metronomerous is the best metronome app for Android users. It is comprehensive, which is reflected in its interface. The app can go as far down as eighths, sixteenths, triplets, quintuplets, and septuplets. And apparently it can accent on any note down to the sixteenth or triplet note, amongst other perks- it comes in three different languages, for instance.
Key Features Include:
- Mute during bars to make sure you’re on tempo
- Program complex beat sequences
- Set different volume for each subdivision or accent
- Set your tempo by slide, tap, numeric input or tap-in
- Italian tempo names
- Visual and vibrating tempo feedback
- Silence: mute the playback for several bars
- TempoIncrement: gradually rise tempo during playback
- Metronome has lots of sounds, some are editable
- Save your different settings in the BeatList
- Program complex beat sequences (arrangements)
- Share arrangements with other devices
- View metronome in portrait and landscape layout
Guitar Learning Websites
Guitar Tricks is popular website with thousands of video lessons, inbuilt applications and a number of dedicated teachers. The site offers a two-week trial so that learners can experience and test the features out before committing to a payment. Guitar Tricks has lessons that are interconnected and organized so that they get slightly harder as you progress. You watch a video lesson, play along, and then click the “Next” button to go to the next lesson. Lessons have multiple camera angles, guitar tabs, jam tracks and everything else you need to learn.
My Dear Instruments is a German website with tons of guitar lessons, practice tools and some good instructors. They have video tutorials as well that can be accessed through the gitarre lernen section of the site. They cover lessons on acoustic guitars, base and electric, so you should be able to find the necessary information you need to start playing. The website also comes with a few built-in apps to help make your learning experience smoother.
The Basics of Guitar is an Indian website and while it ins’t free, it is affordable. But they do have a section with free guitar lessons that should be sufficient for a general overview. They offer lessons in both Hindi and English, which is good. Of course, look at the free lessons before you commit to making a payment.
Justin Guitar allows you to access lessons based on your preferences- that is, videos, books, audio, mobile apps and so forth. They have a range of lessons for different levels. So you can expect to find stuff for beginners, experts and everything in between. They also have a little sections dedicated solely to techniques, guitar tips, practice guides and more.
5) Jam Play
Jam Play has a library of over 450 on-demand courses, offering over 6,500 lessons. Yes, they have a lot of lessons, with step-by-step tutorials for a range of music genres. From beginner to advanced, acoustic to electric, blues to country… they have a ton of courses and guitar lessons you need to help you move forward with your playing. Jam Play also features over 100 guitar teachers, spanning across 20 different genres, and have spent the past 14 years building one of the most comprehensive resources of guitar content. A JamPlay Membership will give you access to all lessons from every teacher they have.
Guitar Learning YouTube Channels
For a little bit of extra help, here is a list of YouTube channels that you could check out.
- Dolphin Street
- Justin Guitar
- Guitar World
- ArtistWorks Guitar Campus
Stressed about funding your education? No worries! Download StuCred now to continue jamming with your best friends.
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