Like has been said, "scatch" the rod like a kitchen match, As far as beginner welding goes,A BASE LINE start for your heat.... Convert your rod diameter to decimal and set your heat a little lower and start from there. Make a few beads and adjust heat and arc gap accordinlgy. One more piece of advise; welding arcs should sound like bacon and eggs. More of a sizzling than ripping raspy roar.....Unless your using 6010 that and practice practice, practice.