Guitar Lesson Materials
Below you will find links to all materials I recommend my guitar students have for their guitar lessons.
Having these materials on hand will help to ensure each and every guitar lesson is productive and well organized.
Learning to play the guitar requires not only a well-maintained guitar, one that is easily playable, but also being organized so that practicing is made fun and effective, with goals and priorities easily identifiable.
Please take a moment to make sure you or your child has access to these materials. This will help to ensure their guitar lessons are a positive experience from the very first lesson.
Having the right guitar pick is crucial for every guitar player playing their best.
When a pick is too heavy or thin it can cause a beginner guitarist to not have an accurate sense of the effort truly needed to make the pick move across the string. This can also cause the guitar player to not develop the necessary sensitivity needed to develop good control when it comes to dynamics, speed and rhythm.
Choosing the correct thickness of pick is largely determined by a handful of factors.
- Level of ability
- Style: Rock, Blues, Country, Jazz, etc..
- Are you playing more acoustic or electric?
- Focus (flatpicking vs. more rhythm playing?)
In many cases the best pick thickness for a beginner to start off with is a Medium. This provides just enough resistance for the new guitarist to feel the string with the pick while also developing the necessary strength and sensitivity in their picking hand to learn to pick well.
Clip on Guitar Tuner
A "clip on" guitar tuner is an essential for every guitarist.
The biggest value of the clip on tuner is its ability to allow the guitarist to tune the guitar while preventing external noises from affecting the tuning process.
The tuner reads the vibrations of the string being plucked, translates those vibrations into frequencies that the tuner can read, which allows the guitarist to tune the guitar to the appropriate note accurately, every single time.
Long gone are the days of not being able to hear what pitch your strings are tuned to, and having to guess if you're "close enough" to the correct pitch.
I love the D'Addario clip on tuners. They're very accurate and have a very small footprint on the headstock of the guitar.
Bass Guitar Tablature Book
Bass Guitar Tablature is the Universal Notation System for bass guitar players of all ages to be able to read Bass Guitar Music on their instrument.
Learning to read Bass Guitar TAB is the perfect way to start learning bass guitar music because it clearly shows the bassist which strings are being played in the music, and in what order or combination. It provides the beginner and intermediate level bassist with a basic visual understanding of "how" music is played on the bass.
Over the years this particular book has come to be my favorite book for introducing all of my bass guitar students to learning to read Bass Guitar Tablature.
Guitar Tablature Book
Guitar Tablature is the Universal Notation System for guitar players of all ages to be able to read Guitar Music on their guitar.
Learning to read Guitar TAB is the perfect way to start learning guitar music because it clearly shows the guitarist which strings are being played in the music, and in what order or combination. It provides the beginner level guitar player with a basic visual understanding of "how" music is played on the guitar.
Over the years this particular book has come to be my favorite book for introducing all of my guitar students to learning to read Guitar Tablature.
Ukulele Tablature Book
Ukulele Tablature is the Universal Notation System for Ukulele players of all ages to be able to read Ukulele Music on their ukulele.
Learning to read Ukulele TAB is the perfect way to start learning ukulele music, because it clearly shows which strings are being played in the music, and in what order or combination. It provides the beginner level ukulele player with a basic visual understanding of "how" music is played on the ukulele.
This particular book is my favorite book for introducing all of my ukulele students to learning to read Ukulele Tablature.
One of the best ways for any guitar player to learn to play all over the guitar, in many different keys, is to use a Capo. Plus, one of the added benefits for a beginner is that is gives them a way to take a little bit of the tension out of the strings by lowering them just a little closer to the fretboard. This reduces the finger pressure required to press the strings down enough to get good sound.
My favorite Capo is made by Shubb Capos.
Though I have used these capos for a very long time, I am proudly endorsed by them.
Shubb Capos is a wonderful family owned and operated company.
Music Manuscript Book
Every student of music needs to have a Music Manuscript Book (Music Notation Book) on hand.
It's important for every aspiring musician to be exposed to the way music is notated (written) and read. This doesn't mean one must learn to read music from the very beginning of learning to play the guitar. It just means that having music notation paper on hand during your lessons allows for the opportunity to begin taking those steps when the time is right.
Any serious guitar player can you tell that one of the best purchases you can make is to buy the right set of strings for your particular guitar and hands.
Having strings that are too heavy can not only cause problems for your guitar but it can also cause unnecessary problems for your hands.
Choosing the right set of strings for your guitar is a personal one, so make sure to find out which set of strings is right for your guitar before putting a new set on your guitar.
(Keep in mind the type of guitar you have: Steel String, Classical (Nylon Strings), Electric)
String sets are broken down into these basic categories:
There are also combinations of these basic string sets in which the different string sets are combined in various ways to provide different string thicknesses to different strings within the set.
A light set of acoustic guitar strings will typically include the following string thicknesses throughout the set:
- .12 (High E String)
- .16 (B String)
- .24 (G String)
- .32 (D String)
- .42 (A String)
- .52 (Low E String)
These thicknesses will vary according to whether or not the strings are for an acoustic guitar or an electric guitar.
I recommend D'Addario.
A simple College Size Spiral Notebook is a great way for any student of the guitar to keep their practicing, and their thoughts about their lessons, organized.
One major benefit of keeping these notes and thoughts in one location is that it keeps one from spending precious amounts of time and energy wondering what they should be practicing, and when.
Folder with Pockets
A folder with pockets is essential for your music lessons.
The best way to have productive lessons is to be prepared. There will be some lessons where I will give you individual pieces of paper that cover core concepts that I've already prepared and created. These papers need to be filed away someplace safe where they won't be lost.
This is why it is so important to have a dedicated folder to bring with you to all of your lessons.
Being prepared for your lessons makes learning that much easier, and that much more enjoyable.
I look forward to our first lesson!
- James "your guitar friend" Scott