Monday, January 10, 2011

If you buy a kid a guitar, don't forget the tuner.

Korg Digital Tuner.. $15

Yamaha Acoustic Guitar $200

If the kid wants to learn to play guitar and you want to support that effort a bit of simple advice.  Get a decent guitar.  The really cheap ones aren't even worth the bargain price.  But regardless how much you spend, be it $200 or $1,000, don't forget to buy a digital tuner as well.  Without the tuner, your kid will find it more difficult to learn how to play.  Its not good enough to have the store or the guitar instructor tune it for you, a guitar needs to be retuned every time you pick it up to play.  The fine tuning of a guitar will drift a bit due to swings in temperature, humidity, and who knows what else, and unless the strings are tuned correctly, they won't make the right note and if they don't make the right notes the chords won't sound right either.

I have met a few people who could tune very well by ear, but its a rare talent.  Lots of people can get it close, but close isn't good enough.   Use a digital tuner and save on noise pollution please.

Its not that hard to learn to play if the guitar, but it does take a lot of practice to get the muscles trained and to build up callousses on the fingertips. Get the chord charts showing which fingers hold down which strings in which frets and memorize them in groups and practice strumming.  The child will be able to play simple rhythms right away.  Once they can play simple songs, they'll feel more enthused to keep practicing and learning more and more.  On the other hand if the guitar is not accurately tuned, nothing the kid plays will sound right and even if they were originally motivated, they will get frustrated and lose interest.

So, ignore anyone who says you don't need a tuner, spend the extra $15 and include it in the guitar package.   And skip the lessons at the mall or the music store until your child has shown they actually have the desire to learn how to play.. by teaching themselves how to play!   Once they know how, then they'll be ready for lessons..               

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