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So you want to learn how to play guitar do you? Well congratulations, because in my ever so humble opinion, learning to play the guitar is among the most rewarding things that you can learn. The goal of this article is not to turn you into some kind of overnight rock star, but rather to give you a bit of an introduction to the guitar, give you a couple chords to work on to get started.
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]
    I'm a performing guitarist in Dallas, TX.  I play jazz more often than not, but also have experience playing many other genres (including alternative/experimental rock, blues rock, progressive rock, 19th century classical, 20th century classical, and ambient music).  Some of the musicians I have played with have ties to jazz legends like Thelonious Monk, Wayne Shorter, and Miles Davis.          I lived in Denton for 7 years while attending UNT, where I gained tremendous experience learning from and playing with others.  Additionally, while at UNT, I took class ... View Profile
Justin Sandercoe has thought long and hard about how to teach people to play the guitar, and how to do this over the internet. He has come up with a well-designed series of courses that will take you from nowhere to proficiency. I tried to learn how to play years ago, using books, and got nowhere. I've been using Justin's site for just over a year and I feel I've made real progress. What's more, Justin offers his lessons for free - a boon for any young player who has the urge to play, but whose pockets are empty. I've seen and used other sites for learners: none of them offer as clearly marked a road as Justin does.
Once you have taken your lesson, you may want to look for free online resources to take a guitar lesson. From finding free guitar song tab sheets to watching YouTube of the best ways to learning guitar lessons, there is a wide range of free content when it comes to learning guitar lessons. Be sure to check back here on Lessons.com for free online guitar learning content.
There’s plenty of people with small hands who play the guitar. Nine times out of ten smaller people confuse the terrible awkwardness that comes with the first week of playing the guitar and mistakenly think it’s because their hands are small. Again, you’re teaching your hands to do really strange movements here. Imagine going to an advanced yoga class having never stretched before, that’s basically what you’re doing.
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…
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]
I've seen so many guitar lessons where the instructor simply dives right in and begins teaching chords. Unfortunately, that assumes that the student's guitar is already in tune! Guitars are made out of wood, and wood reacts to our environment, be it hot, cold, dry or humid. As such, guitars frequently go out of tune, and they must be tuned to make them sound good. If you begin learning to play guitar on an out of tune guitar, it will not sound good to the ear no matter how hard you try, and as such, it will become discouraging pretty quickly.

For those of you who play guitar, you might have noticed that some of my tasty licks aren’t so tasty. I’m no Stevie Ray Vaughn. You don’t need to be superstar to have tons of fun with this stuff. Despite not being the best guitar player, I’ve played my songs in front of 1000’s of people in live venues, had songs I’ve written and recorded played on San Diego’s leading rock station, and played in some super cool seedy dive bars to drunken hipsters. That’s just a few among a countless other memorable experiences. You don’t need to be a genius– half the battle is just showing up.
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]
Guitar Compass features hundreds of free guitar lesson videos. These online lessons are designed to teach you how to play guitar by covering the absolute basics up to more advanced soloing concepts and techniques. The lessons span different difficultly levels and genres like blues, rock, country, and jazz. Each lesson is designed to introduce you to a subject and get to know our instructors and their teaching style. To access more lessons and in-depth instruction, try a free 7 day trial of our premium membership.
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