It can be frustrating when you first decide you want to learn to play guitar. If you’ve never played one before, you have no idea where to start or what you need to learn to even get more than a few unpleasant sounds out of the instrument. You can always get a guitar teacher, but not everybody can afford to pay a teacher on a weekly basis, and that’s the kind of dedication it takes if you want to learn how to play. You need to work on a regular basis to learn your instrument.
Learning to play guitar doesn’t need to be a chore. There are lots of fun ways to approach it. If you’re connected to the Internet, you’re already halfway there. Tons of guitar lessons are available. They range from beginning lessons that teach you how to hold and strum the instrument to chords, scales, and advanced playing techniques. You can find guitar tablature online for almost any song you want to play—everything from the latest rock hits to country.
DVD courses and YouTube channels are another way you can learn to play. A lot of companies that sell DVD guitar instruction also have channels on YouTube offering detailed lessons. Checking out these lessons on YouTube gives you the opportunity to start learning to play guitar right away, but it’s also a great way to get a sample of the kinds of lessons a company offers before you buy their products. Finding a company you trust and then building a personal library of DVD instruction you can use as often as you like is one way to develop your skills and make sure you stay sharp.
If you are lucky enough to be able to afford a guitar teacher, you’ll want to find one as close as possible to cut down the cost of traveling to and from lessons. Even if the teacher comes to you, chances are it will cost more for that reason. If you’re working with a guitar teacher, ideally you will try and have a lesson a week, so as you can see, the cost can add up pretty fast. Be sure you check credentials before you commit to that kind of money.
Learning to play guitar starts with the basics. Whether you’re playing electric or acoustic, you’ll learn these basic chords, shown below and which fingers to use to make them. Not only do these chords form the basic foundation for beginning guitar players by acclimating your fingers to the neck, they are basic chords that will let you play literally hundreds of songs you’ll recognize immediately.
One thing to remember while learning to play guitar is to focus on both your left and right hands. They each have a purpose. While one hand chooses the notes and chords you’ll play, the other hand is responsible for actually playing. Work on both simultaneously. You don’t want to learn a lot of chords and scales and then realize you have to go back later to work on strumming and picking techniques. If you pay attention to the whole package up front, you’ll have a better chance at ensuring both hands work together seamlessly.
Check out the simple strum pattern below. This is a very basic beginner strum. The included keys shows you indicators for downstrokes and upstrokes. Rarely is a song played with one or the other. It’s the combination of up and down strokes, as well as how hard or soft you play them, that create rhythms and textures. This is one of the earliest lessons when you’re learning to play guitar, and you’ll find that learning it as quickly as possible will make everything ele you do that much easier.