When it comes to learning how to play the guitar, many people’s stories are the same; I have always dreamed about playing, I have tried to teach myself, I love the sound of the guitar, It’s so cool…
Great, you have taken the first step – you have the desire to play the instrument. Now, let’s discuss the steps required to start learning how to play the guitar.
1. Buy a guitar.
Quite an obvious one! You need to practice, so having a decent quality instrument is essential. Check my other article on how to buy your first guitar. But in a nutshell:
Depending on the style you want to play, you may want to buy an acoustic or an electric guitar. I would suggest to start from an acoustic guitar. The size of the body, general feel of the instrument, no need for any amplification and cables, make the acoustic a pretty good choice. The electric guitar is also good to start from, but I have noticed that it is a lot easier for students to develop a good foundation and strumming habits on the acoustic. Remember to check my article on how to buy your first guitar.
2. Learn a few simply chords.
A minor, C major and E major are perfect chords to start from. As a beginner, these names may not mean much to you, however theses mysterious symbols are labels for the shapes we are going to play on the guitar. In the chords section on this website you will find theses shapes.
3. Learn a few simply songs.
At the end of the day, you want to play songs. Chords and strummings are just the ingredients required in order to play a song. A very easy song to start from is “Zombie” by The Cranberries. It has just four very simple chords and has extremely easy strumming (unfortunately the chords A minor C and E are not in this song, but the chords are so easy you will be able to play this song in no time – the chords from my point in #2 are really important because they are commonly used in many songs).
In the How To Play section of this website, you will find this song with chord diagrams and a full explanation. If rock music is not your thing, I would still suggest to try to learn this song. Think about it as a learning tool rather than me trying to turn you into a Cranberries fan. As soon as you can play this song, go the the next one – which is Oasis “I’m outta time”. Once you learn theses songs you will have a basic understanding of the guitar and you will know what it is all about.
4. Learn some more difficult songs
At this stage you may notice that if you are struggling you may have to go to step number 5, which is ….
5. Find a guitar teacher or invest in some kind of educational materials
Let me clarify something, I have never studied with a guitar teacher. Everything I have learned is a result of my own searches, studying and playing with others. So you will be absolutely fine on your own. But you may save a lot of time and frustration by having clear guidance.
Good guitar teacher can accelerate your learning process. What is important is he / she may help you get through difficult times. A lot of beginners quit because they reach a wall and don’t know how to break through it.
If you cannot afford a guitar teacher, try to find some beginner guitar books with accompanying ads or mp3s. Books can be a little dry, but if you commit to studying it, you will definite learn something from it! It is a little bit old school but skill a cool way of studying.
A more modern method is to study online. If you type “how to play the guitar” into your browser you will find thousands of results. The web can also be a little overwhelming, knowing where to start and also overloading you with information.