Strum your guitar with a pick or your fingers. Hold down the strings with your fingers in the appropriate shape and try to strum with your other hand. Acoustic guitar strings often have higher actions than electric guitars, so you may have to press down very hard to get a good sound. If the chord comes out muted, try holding down the strings with more force. If your string is buzzing, move your finger further away from the metal fret on your neck.
Try out different strumming patterns and rhythms. Once you're able to produce a good sounding chord, try strumming it at different tempos and rhythms. Rhythm is based on your strumming pattern, and how long you're holding your notes. Try a basic 1-2-3-4 beat, otherwise known as a 4/4. The number on the top represents how many beats there are in the measure. Try strumming up and down in different progressions to create a different sound for your rhythm. Once you get a basic rhythm down, you can start to incorporate quicker or slower strumming.[7]
Practice at least 20 minutes 6 days a week. Consistent practice will allow you to improve your guitar playing skills over a short period. Taking long breaks and not staying dedicated will wear away your muscle memory and delay the development of your skills. Instead, dedicate 20 minutes to an hour of practice throughout most of the week. During practice, you can either run different drills or you can try covering a song.[14]

Okay, so if the diagram had O’s across the whole thing, then you wouldn’t even have to touch the fretboard at all, you would just strum it. However, this diagram has a couple of other marks on it, and those indicate where we need to place our fingers. In this case, they are on the 2nd fret of the 4th and 5th strings. The frets are the metal parts running perpendicular to your fretboard; they are what the string makes contact with when you press your fingers down. On the diagram, the frets are the horizontal lines. So count up to the second fret, and put your fingers down just behind the fret, like in the diagram.


Learning how to play the guitar is an exciting skill that will impress those around you. If you have a passion for music and the acoustic guitar but don't have a lot of time or the patience to learn how to play, you may want to do it quickly. Although mastering the guitar can take decades, there are techniques and methods that you can use to rapidly learn how to play the basics on acoustic guitar. By learning simple open chords, playing guitar tabs, and practicing regularly and correctly, you'll be able to play the acoustic guitar in no time.
C-chord: Place your ring finger on the third fret of the fifth string. Place your middle finger on the second fret of the fourth string, and your index finger on the first fret of the second string. Strum all but the sixth string. Then, go back and play each string individually, while still playing the chord. Make sure each string rings out clearly.
Learn the difference between chords and single notes. Chords occur when you play two or more notes on different strings simultaneously to create one unified sound. These are what make up the "rhythm" portion of acoustic music. Single notes are used more for solos and occur when you play a single note at a time. Both are skills that you must become proficient in when learning to play the acoustic guitar.[4]
While there are in fact a number of songs you can play with simply the Em and Am chords, I know you're going to want a little bit more than just that. If you're still working on those first two chords, that's okay, they might take a bit to get comfortable with. Bookmark this page, work on the chords for a bit, and come back when you're ready for a few more. I'll still be here!
I have heard how giving you are in so many respects of music schooling and I must say that I am impressed. You remind me of the pure idealism that we had in starting Apple. If I were young, with time, I'd likely offer to join and help you in your endeavours. Keep making people happy, not just in their own learning, but in the example you set for them. 

Alright, now you know five chords. But what’s next? How do you keep moving forward and improving on the guitar? If you’ve made it this far, I highly recommend joining my free email newsletter. As my thanks for signing up, I’ll send you a free ebook with all the best chords for a beginner to learn to play guitar with. As well, you’ll receive a free video lesson once a week that will dig into a particular technique or idea on the guitar. It’s tons of fun, and you’ll learn lots along the way! Sign up below…
You do not need long fingernails to play guitar. In fact, it's best to keep your fingernails short! As for the callouses, these may be unavoidable. If you would like to avoid them as much as possible, ask your guitar instructor about lowering the action of your guitar (the action is the distance between your strings and your frets) so that the frets are easier to press down on.
Practice at least 20 minutes 6 days a week. Consistent practice will allow you to improve your guitar playing skills over a short period. Taking long breaks and not staying dedicated will wear away your muscle memory and delay the development of your skills. Instead, dedicate 20 minutes to an hour of practice throughout most of the week. During practice, you can either run different drills or you can try covering a song.[14]

Brent Bassham began playing guitar at the age of fifteen as a self-taught until he began his studies as a freshman at Tyler Junior College. His talents were recognized by his instructor Frank Kimlicko who awarded him with scholarships and twice as the Outstanding Guitar Student of the year. He has been taught by master teachers such as Brian Head (president of Guitar Foundation of America), Miguel Antonio, Grammy Winner Maestro Pepe Romero, and Grammy winner William Kanengiser. He has also been selected to perform in public master classes with: Pepe Romero, Angel Romero, Enric Madrigera, and David Russell. He learned a wide range of ... View Profile
Beginning Guitar Class - Open to all beginners age 13 and up, or intermediate players who want the review. Begins with holding and tuning your guitar, names of guitar parts, and quickly progresses to chords, scales, tabulature, and playing basic songs. A variety of styles are introduced to encourage students to explore and find the styles they like best. Classes are organized according to age and skill level, so it's an easy way to make new friends too. Classes start every month and may be repeated as often as you like. Cost is $70 per month (4 hours).
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