You can learn how to play electric guitar in quite a few different ways. Some guitarists get started by trying to copy the licks and solos of their favorite guitar players and some take a more structured approach by investing in an electric guitar method. This could be a series of books, online lessons, a series of DVD lessons, or even a guitar teacher.
As a beginning guitar player, you might be eager to learn to play some of your favorite songs. This is a good idea and can be a great way to develop your playing skills, but before you attempt to play songs, it’s a good idea to get a basic understanding of playing techniques you’ll encounter. Electric guitar techniques include string bending, sliding, double stops, and harmonics. These are all tricks of the trade that will add color to your playing. You can find plenty of information about these techniques online. Additionally, you will want to learn how to read music, whether you choose to learn standard notation or tablature. I’m not suggesting you have to learn to read because there are plenty of great guitar players who play strictly by ear, but learning to read can enhance your learning experience and give you a leg up on your competition.
Chords are an important element of music, and learning how to make chords on your guitar is going to be an important part of your learning process. On the electric guitar, in addition to the typical chords you might play on an acoustic guitar, you’ll want to learn barre chords and power chords. These chord forms can be played on an acoustic guitar, but they are more suited (and frequently used) to the electric guitar. Make learning these chord forms a priority when you’re learning how to play electric guitar and you’ll find yourself using them more often than not. Below are four important barre chord shapes for electric guitar. The “R” is the root note and will tell you the name of the chord you’re playing. These forms are movable and change chords as you move the shape up and down the neck of the guitar.
If you decide to use a DVD guitar method to teach yourself to play guitar, or even video lessons you find on YouTube, pick out lessons that focus on the skills you need to work on rather than a video that tries to teach you everything at once. For instance, if you need to work on playing techniques, try to find a video that teaches only playing techniques as opposed to one that tries to lump chord structure, scale exercises, and techniques all into one video. Most of the good instructional videos break these topics up and focus in detail on them one at a time.
Learning how to play electric guitar shares some commonality with learning how to play an acoustic guitar or how to play a mandolin, but the electric guitar is an instrument that has a personality all its own, so be sure the lessons you choose take into account the individuality of the electric guitar.