Hey Paul here,
In this post I’m going to reveal to you the Top 5 Tools Every Guitarist Must Have In Their Toolkit (Hint: The 3 Best Ones Are Free)….
Tool #1: Songsterr
My favorite tool at the moment (and it has been for a while now), is a website called songsterr.com
Weird name I know, but it’s a fantastic site.
If you’re a tech-savvy guitar player, you’ve probably heard of Guitar Pro.
It’s a desktop application that improves on standard guitar tabs, turning them into midi-playing note sheets which show the exact duration of each note as well as its position on the fretboard.
If you want to learn how to play a song exactly to the last note, there’s no better way to do it.
Well Songsterr is the online equivalent, or you could say competitor of Guitar Pro.
The thing I love about Songsterr is that they have both a FREE and paid option; unlike Guitar Pro which will set you back $59.95.
I could spend hours writing about Songsterr…. what it is, how it works, how to get the most out of it, etc… or instead, you can watch a short video I made when I started using songster by clicking here.
Trust me when I say you’ll love it as much as I do.
Tool #2: Guitar Tuner
Unless you’re a gifted musician who can already play other instruments such as the piano for example, you must have a guitar tuner. No ifs, buts or maybes.
The great news is… Is that you do not need to fork out much of your hard earned cash to get a tuner these days.
A tuner I highly recommend getting is the Snark Sn-1 Clip-on Tuner. This tuner has had over 997 5-star ratings on Amazon, and costs less than $10.
It works for both Acoustic & Electric guitars. Woo Hoo!
Another option is… if you have an iphone, ipad, tablet, or other smart phone thingy, you can download a free guitar tuning app.
On my Android phone, I use an app called G-strings. If you have an apple device, check out n-track Tuner.
Surprisingly these apps are extremely accurate.
Check out this video I made where I put my expensive Boss Guitar Tuner against the free tuning apps on my phone and Ipad.
Tool #3: Metronome
A metronome is a device that produces regular, metrical ticks (beats, clicks) – settable in beats per minute.
The metronome is used by musicians to help keep a steady tempo as they play, or to work on issues of irregular timing, or to help internalize a clear sense of timing and tempo.
A big challenge many guitarists face when starting out , is being able to change from one chord to the next chord in a song fast enough to avoid creating a hole, or awkward pause in the song.
An exercise I recommend trying is picking a song you want to learn, and doing one downstrum per chord change.
For example, if I was learning Last Kiss by Pearl Jam, what I would do, is one down strum per chord on the 1st count of the metronome.
1 2 3 4 1 2 3 4 1 2 3 4 1 2 3 4
G Em C D
With a metronome you’re counting it lots of four. Eg. 1, 2, 3, 4, 1, 2, 3, 4, 1, 2, 3, 4 etc… As a guitarist you don’t need to be able to count past four. Yahoo!
Set the metronome to something nice and slow such as 60 bpm, and practice your chord changes for the song you want to learn.
When you’ve nailed it a 60 bpm, increase the metronome by 10 bpm and rinse and repeat.
Tool #4: Chord Library
A chord library is a collection of guitar chords that are available at your finger tips.
When learning a new song, if you see a chord you haven’t played before, or can’t remember how to fret, turn to your trusty chord companion to show you the way.
Now a big mistake I see people making, is thinking that they need to learn every chord in the library.
Don’t do this because firstly you’ll get overwhelmed, plus most of the chords you’ll learn you’ll never use again.
It’s like writing down every word in the dictionary… Boring!
The resource I usually turn to is chordbook.com
Our final tool every guitarist must have in their guitar playing toolkit is… (drum roll please)…
Tool #5: Backing Tracks
A fantastic online resource you need to check out is http://www.guitarbackingtrack.com/
These guys have over 10251 free guitar backing tracks (BTs) for popular songs as well as jam tracks.
The backing tracks can be played onsite or downloaded in MP3 format.
This is a must see resource.