Try listening to different styles of music for inspiration as you learn to play. If you're trying to learn to play by ear, listen to the blues and try to mimic that sound. Blues progressions are especially great for learning to play guitar because it's built on the basics of music theory. Once you learn those progressions, you can start practicing them in different keys, as well.

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.
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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.

If you just want to learn a few chords to strum along to some songs, then learning to play the guitar really isn't that hard for most people. Many students are able to learn a few chords and get a decent strumming pattern going after a few weeks. If you've had prior experience playing an instrument, you can expect to pick it up after just a few lessons.


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.
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.
Learn how to transition to different chords. One way to become proficient quickly is to learn how to transition between the various chords quickly. These transition periods are often the hardest for beginners to play when they are starting off. The more you practice between switching to different chords, however, the better you'll get at doing it in songs. Practice switching between open chords like G, A, E, and C. [13]
Strum with loose, relaxed motion.[7] Strumming consists of downstrokes and upstrokes in various combinations, striking all the notes of the chord evenly and rhythmically. Use your wrist to practice smooth up and down motions. Keep your elbow in tight towards the guitar and sweep the pick down all the strings. Your elbow should not move very much, as you strum mostly from the wrist.

The guitar is a remarkably hackable instrument for a million reasons that will be revealed to you as you spend more time with it. As you go along in your journey you’ll find a million shortcuts and fun ways to learn fast. I’ve rarely heard any of this stuff from guitar teaches, so beware, trust your instincts, and learn from people who can show you where you want to be.
Strum with loose, relaxed motion.[7] Strumming consists of downstrokes and upstrokes in various combinations, striking all the notes of the chord evenly and rhythmically. Use your wrist to practice smooth up and down motions. Keep your elbow in tight towards the guitar and sweep the pick down all the strings. Your elbow should not move very much, as you strum mostly from the wrist.
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!
Learning guitar is a lot easier when you have a step-by-step system to follow. Guitar Tricks lessons are interconnected and organized to get slightly harder as you progress. You watch a video lesson, play along, and then click a “Next” button to go to the next lesson. Lessons have multiple camera angles, guitar tabs, jam tracks and everything else you need to learn.
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