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.
A child as young as 4 can begin to learn if they are really motivated and have a patient, creative, and devoted teacher. However, we've found almost all kids under six are too young to benefit from formal guitar lessons, as they require dexterity and levels of concentration children their age can't provide. That being said, lessons do not need to be formal right off the bat, and can just provide a fun introduction. Also, your child may benefit from using a ukulele to start, as it's smaller and easier to learn, but very similar instrument.
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.
There's an abundance of guitar information out there on the web, some good, some not. I stumbled across Justin Sandercoe's site a year ago and now tell everyone about it. The lessons are conveyed so clearly, concisely and in the most congenial way. The site is laid out logically as well so you can to go straight to your area of interest... beginner, blues, rock, folk, jazz, rhythm, fingerpicking... it's all there and more. Spend ten minutes with Justin and you'll not only play better but feel better too. From novice to know-it-all, everyone will learn something from Sandercoe.
Wow! This post really seems to have helped a lot of folks get started with the guitar. It has been read by – I kid you not – millions of aspiring guitarists. Thank you! As many of you have noted in the comments below, no, I’m not selling anything here related to playing the guitar. My motivation to write this post was that musicians, and especially guitar teachers, can often make learning the guitar sound way too hard. It’s actually easy.
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!
Your recordings and your custom chords are stored as buttons which can be dragged around to shift position. You can save all your buttons as a text file to your hard drive and then load this file later. Each button can be renamed and configured to be triggered by any key from the computer keyboard. You can program your computer keyboard so that each key plays a custom chord or a playback recording and then save the layout for later. The ready-made chord buttons can be dragged and dropped onto the area for user buttons to be further edited there.
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.
Manage the finger pain. There'll be a point at which things will seem bleak: you can't quite get to each chord as fast as you want, your fingers are killing you, and it seems easier to put the thing back in its case. The reason most guitar players stop playing a few weeks in is that it hurts. After a couple of months and years of playing, callouses will build up on the fingers of your fretting hand that will greatly reduce the pain of pushing down the strings for long periods of time. Everyone who learns to play the guitar has to deal with sore fingers at the beginning. Learn to love the pain and associate it with everything that you love about music and the guitar.