Learn how to read guitar tabs. Guitarists have their own system of music notation called guitar tablature, or guitar tabs for short. The basic idea is to look at each line in the "staff" of the tab in the same way you look at your guitar. Each line corresponds to a string, and each number tells you which fret to hold down when plucking that string. For example, to play this tab-notated lick from the Lynyrd Skynyrd song "Sweet Home Alabama," you would play two notes on the open D string, the B string at the third fret, the G string at the second fret, etc.[10]
Hold your guitar correctly. When you are sitting down, there are two main ways to hold your guitar. For a casual playing style, lay the guitar over your dominant leg. On the other hand, the classical method has you set your guitar on your non-dominant leg. In both instances, make sure that the guitar is held close against your body. Holding your guitar properly makes it easier to play and prevents you from becoming fatigued. Play around with both styles and figure out which one is most comfortable for you.[2]
Learning to play the guitar is a life-long process; it will not happen overnight despite what many of the hucksters on the internet may tell you. As such, you are best to develop some reasonable expectations of how quickly you will progress. There will be challenges along the way (yes, your fingers will hurt!) and too many budding guitarists have given up prematurely, slid their brand new guitars under their bed, and walked away in disappointment… not realizing that they were oh-so-close to a breakthrough that would have taken them on to the next level. Having a mindset that allows for setbacks here and there will really help you in the long run, because you will find that through every challenge you come out a stronger player on the other side.

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.


Acoustic: I recommend a Yamaha solid top acoustic guitar. This guitar plays just as good as some that are many hundreds of dollars more expensive. It can be difficult to manufacture quality acoustics at low prices due to the importance of a solid top finish. When I was in college I scratched together the cash to buy a handmade acoustic guitar that was over $1,000 (I won’t mention the brand) but that guitar was nowhere near as good as this Yamaha.
Position your fingers on the neck. The dots on the chords represent where you should hold down your fingers on the neck. For instance, an A major is played by holding down the string on the second fret on the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th string. An E minor is played by holding down the second fret on the 5th and 4th string. Hold the strings down until they are pressed against the neck of your guitar.[6]
Determine the guitar riff that you want to learn. Listen to acoustic guitar songs that you enjoy and choose one that you'd like to learn. When finding your first song, try to find a song that has an easy chord progression. Listen to the song and determine how many chord changes it has and the speed in which the song is played. If there aren't that many chords or the song seems simple to play, you should choose that song as your first song to learn.
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Age can’t hinder you – Working off of muscle memory and visual assistance, ChordBuddy is designed for players of every age. In fact, ChordBuddy is well-suited for those looking to play guitar with arthritis, offering a pain-free method of playing your favorite song. Utilizing ChordBuddy also allows you to learn the guitar on your own, eliminating the need for long guitar lessons with an instructor, which can result in prolonged joint pain.

Our private lessons in guitar, bass, keyboards, and drums are available in 30 and 60-minute sessions with flexible scheduling, so you can progress at your own pace. Maybe you'd rather be the instrument - in that case, come learn more about our singing lessons. And those are only scratching the surface of the unique services at Guitar Center Lessons in Dallas, which also include jam sessions, recording lessons, group lessons and more. Want to know what it's like to be in a band? Ask us about our Rock Show program, which connects you with other musicians at your skill level to get the full experience.


The reason I gave you Em and Am first was because those two chords are among the easiest for a beginner to wrap their fingers around. However, the three chords we’re going to look at now, G, C, and D are all incredibly important chords on the guitar, and together they are the three major chords in the key of G major. If you want to learn to play guitar, you need these chords!
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
Use tabs instead of sheet music. If you don't already know how to read music, it can take a lot of time to memorize and proficiently read sheet music. Tabs are an easier and more intuitive way to write music for beginners that doesn't require any formal education. Tabs will simply tell you where to put your fingers on a fret board and how to generally play a song.[8]
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]
You’ll need to press the strings down firmly to ensure they ring out well. One of the toughest parts for beginners is ensuring you aren’t “muting” the strings that you aren’t fretting (credit natasha at www.dresshead.com). These small touches get programmed in to your fingers after hours of time, so don’t worry too much about it. Just focus on getting the best sound out of your guitar.
As a beginner, it is best to avoid making a pawn shop, flea market, or yard sale purchase unless you are shopping with somebody who has experience in purchasing a guitar. Having never purchased a guitar, you may not know what to look for in terms of damage or guitar quality. With that being said, a local music retail shop is your best bet. You may also shop online with a reputable company, although be sure to review the business’ return policy.
In 1977, I studied at the Guatemalan National Conservatory of Music with Professors Alejandro Herrera and Rene Abularach on Classical guitar. I also studied harmony and composition with Igor de Gandarias, Juaqin Orellana and Jorge Sarmientos. In New Orleans, I took private jazz guitar courses with steve Masakowski and Hank Mackie. In 1983 I started my own Jazz band, “Acoustic Ensamble”, a band that I shared with well known international musicians like: Carlos Gomes, Fernando Perez, Bryon Sosa, Miguel Angel Villagran, Igor Sarmientos, Alfredo Caceres, Antonio Cosenza, German Giordano, Rolando Gudiel, Roberto Abularach, Auri Ruiz, M ... View Profile
If you are practicing regularly, like you should be (at least once a day) be sure to change your guitar strings once a month. You will be amazed at how much of a difference in sound quality a fresh pack of strings will make. You don’t need super expensive strings. When I was starting out, I got by quite happily on my local music store’s house brand of strings that cost about $4 a pack.
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!

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Music has been the cornerstone of my work as a teacher and mentor. Through music, I have found a career, a life path, and a passion to give back to the world. I have survived as a musician overseas in Belize and I learned a lot about the world from my experience in the Caribbean. I have been a professional performer in Dallas since 1999. I have a wide range of influences and since I play drums, guitar, bass, piano and sing... I feel I have a very well-rounded grasp of music that can enhance anyone's style even if you're more experienced than I... I was awarded: John Phillip Souza Leadership Award- 1998 Louis Armstrong Jazz Award- 1998 ... View Profile
Minutes 30-60. Practice making the basic 5 shapes. This is probably the hardest part. You gotta put your head down for 30 minutes and remember the chords that are demonstrated below. Once you start getting these shapes down, adding to your portfolio will be easy. You can even experiment with adding and removing fingers– you’ll find a lot of cool sounds here and you’ll continue to discover these for years to come.

Play the song with the audio recording. Once you've mastered the individual portions of the song, you're ready to play the song in its entirety. Play the song and strum your guitar along with the song. Try to keep up with the tempo of the song you're covering. Follow the tabs as you play. If you mess up, follow the music on the tabs and come back into the song when you're ready. Once you've become proficient at playing the riff, continue practicing until you don't need the tabs anymore.
After you have selected a style and a teacher, you may want to keep some extra questions in mind for your first guitar lesson. An in person lesson can be very valuable, if you show up, and if you do the work that the instructor gives you for when you are not meeting. One of the greatest methods of improving is to consistently play. Play multiple times a week, get those practice repetitions in.
Practice fretting the strings. The frets are the metal strips that run perpendicular to the strings that mark each note. To play a note, press your finger down between the metal strips, not on them. To say that you're playing the third fret means that you place your finger on the string in the gap between the second and third fret. If you hear buzzing, move your finger away from the lowest fret and closer to the higher fret. Hold the string down firmly so that it only vibrates between your finger and your strumming hand, with the tip of your finger doing the pressing.
Minutes 60-600. Pick up the guitar everyday for 20 days for 30 minutes or so. You can do this while you do other things like watch TV or chit chat. Get your fingers used to moving around on the fretboard. Start jamming out some John Denver baby. Please do sing along. Eventually try to keep up with tempo of the changes in the actual song. Once you can change your chords on time, focus on improving your “touch” with your right hand. Strum the chords in a way that it adds texture to the recording (if you are playing along with the man himself.)
Play Guitar! turns your Windows 8 machine into a virtual guitar. You can press and strum strings, just like a real guitar. Play Guitar! helps you learn what notes lie on the frets of the guitar. It is a very useful tool for every aspiring guitarist. Now, there are available an advanced chord editor and the possibility to use guitar capo (only for PRO users, In-app purchase) The app is easy to use and light.
A few years back, I dusted off the ol' Takamine I got in high school to try some 'music therapy' with my disabled son, who was recovering from a massive at-birth stroke. This reignited my long dormant passion to transform myself from a beach strummer to a 'real' musician; however, as a single mom, taking in-person lessons was financially difficult. Then I found Justinguitar! Flash forward to today; my son is almost fully recovered (YAY!), my guitar collection has grown significantly, and I'm starting to play gigs. None of this would have been possible without your guidance and generosity, Justin. Thank you for being part of the journey!
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