There’s no set way to learn how to play guitar. People are different and everybody has their own way of learning. Maybe you learn better in a classroom setting or with a private teacher, and maybe you’re the type of person who works better on your own, reading everything out of books. There are certainly enough printed guitar methods on the market catering to those of you who want to read your way through it.
I’ve never been one to sit in a classroom or to page through books, and I could rarely afford a personal teacher, so DVD courses have always been my instructional method of choice when it came to learning how to play the guitar. Over the years I’ve managed to build myself quite an extensive library of DVD guitar instruction, and the great thing about that is, I can refer back to my DVDs any time I need to re-sharpen my skills or I forget something.
There are countless how to play guitar for beginners DVDs on the market, so it can be tricky choosing something that will fit your needs. After all, how do you know what your needs are if you’ve never played guitar before?
Learning how to play guitar for beginners is not a difficult task if you have a structured approach. If you’re like me and you want to build a DVD library of lessons you can refer to throughout your life, you can learn to play guitar by building a library that includes DVD instruction in the following categories. The order I’ve listed the topics in is the order a beginning guitarist should approach them. While I’ve suggested using DVD instruction, you can follow this same curriculum with a teacher or studying books.
Basic Information: Find a good beginning DVD method that teaches you how a electric and acoustic guitars work, how to properly string your guitar, and how to care for it. Other topics covered in a beginning course include basic strumming patterns, how to use your pick and your fingers, and how to make a few basic chords in the open position. The DVD should also touch on the basics of reading some form of notation, whether it’s guitar tablature or standard notation. Unless you want to pursue a more in-depth course on sight reading, a basic overview should do you good. A lot of guitarists like to play by ear anyway, and there’s nothing wrong with that approach.
More Chords/Introduction to Scales: This next step should introduce you to barre chords, extended chord types (7th, 9th, and diminished, etc), and start getting you familiar with playing major and minor scales, using actual songs to teach the concepts presented by the lesson.
Playing Techniques: This is where you begin to learn some of the different ways to play your guitar. Picking techniques, string bending, finger slides, and how to ply these techniques to some of the songs you learned previously. This is also a good time to explore more scales, particularly the pentatonic scales and the blues scale.
Advanced Theory/Composition: If you’re not ready to let go of your lessons and spend all your time playing, you might want to pursue a deeper study of music theory and song composition as it applies to the guitar. By the time you get here, you should already be playing fairly well, so there isn’t too much danger you’ll let theory interfere with your playing skills. Trying to learn too much theory early on is a sure way to turn a beginner away from music, or at the very least hinder his actual playing ability. Theory is good, but unless it’s put into practice, all you’ve got is theory. There’s no substitute for playing.
My last piece of advice for how to play guitar for beginners is simple. You’ve got to play guitar. Play it as often as you can. There’s no substitute for playing.