Guitar pro offers advice on how to learn to play

Head of electric guitar on blue background

By Molly Congdon
Gazette Reporter
CLIFTON PARK — Many people would love to master a musical instrument … not as many are willing to put in the work needed to accomplish that, but the desire is present.

We watch YouTube videos of talented individuals jamming out on guitars or we listen to a song with some radical solo and we long to be able to replicate the killer sound.

Jon Tario, who gives guitar lessons in an office on Barney Road, has been playing the guitar for over 20 years. “There’s no one right way to play it,” he said. Currently he has 70 students under his wing.

Tario has some advice if you want to pick up the guitar and start plucking the strings:

Dig what you do: “So many kids come to me and I say, ‘What do you want to learn, what are you interested in?’ and they say, ‘I don’t know,’” Tario said. “Really try to dig into your musical ambition.”

Invest in your passion: “When they come to me, a lot of people are like, ‘Do I need a guitar?’” Tario said. “Yes, you need a guitar. Of course you need one, how are you going to practice at home without one? You actually need to make an investment and do some research to see what kind you want.”

Wait for it: “You have to prepare yourself for the mindset that it’s a long journey,” Tario said. “You have to be realistic; you’re not going to learn everything overnight. Some people pick up things quickly but often people tend to get frustrated and you have to understand that you’ll learn faster by going slower.”

Snip, snip: “Make sure you cut your finger nails; that’s a big one,” Tario said. “I have people come with claws and you can’t play with that; that’s the worst.”

Set your goals: “The biggest one is that you have to define your own goals,” Tario said. “Because I can’t make them for you.”

Slow it down: “It’s important not to go too fast,” Tario said. “If you had a button that I could push to slow people down, it would put me out of a job because that’s what I have to correct all day, everyone goes too fast.”

Focus on the notes, not your fingers: “Try to keep your eyes on the page as much as possible instead of watching your hands,” Tario said. “You have to lean how to play with feeling; you’re so much better off that way.”

First chord: “A D-minor chord would be the basic to start,” Tario said.

Take your pick: “There are so many different makes and models,” Tario said. “I definitely recommend kids starting with an electric; it’s an easier place to start.”