Learning How To Play The Guitar

So you want to learn the guitar. You’ve gotten tired of sitting on the sidelines, listening passively to your favorite music, and you want to join in. Congratulations! Guitar is an amazing, versatile instrument, and playing guitar is an incredibly rewarding experience.

However, like any other instrument, the experience of learning how to play guitar can be discouraging at times. Many, if not most, of the people who pick up guitar end up quitting the instrument rather quickly.

This is a crying shame. Although not everyone who starts playing guitar is destined to become the next Jimmy Page, I think that most people who quit trying to learn do so because they have received crappy advice as beginners. For someone to stick with playing guitar, it needs to be fun, and a lot of guitar instruction forgets that. Here are some tips for how to learn guitar that try to maximize the fun:


1. Buy whatever kind of guitar you want!
The guitar instruction tradition that says that everyone needs to start with an acoustic guitar needs to go the way of the dodo. There’s no use trying to get a Slayer fan interested in practicing guitar if he or she is trying to play riffs on a nylon-string acoustic. If you’re shopping for your first guitar, go to a guitar store and try a bunch out to see what feels right for you.

2. Start playing the music you’re interested in right from the beginning.
Too many guitar teachers start every student out with learning simple folk songs and hits from the classic rock canon. While many students are still interested in playing this kind of music, it only scratches the surface of the variety of guitar music out there. If your teacher tries to make you play like this when you really want to be playing reggae or funk or metal, get a new teacher.


3. Get a teacher. Or don’t.
I started playing guitar on my own, and I know plenty of amazing self-taught guitarists. Especially with today’s amazing online resources (like the one you’re reading right now!) it’s easier than ever before to learn guitar on your own. However, lessons can be incredibly useful for self-motivation and for directing your efforts to learn guitar. A year after I started playing guitar, I signed up for lessons for the first time. I found them incredibly helpful. If everything seems to be going great for you on your own, you don’t necessarily need a teacher, but don’t discount the idea entirely.

With all this in mind, get that first guitar and start playing! You won’t regret it.

For all newbies out there, I recommend you to check out our:


How to play your favorite songs from the 60's & 70's on the guitar


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