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!
Start off figuring out what style you are looking for. Is it acoustic or electric? What music styles are you looking for? From country and bluegrass all the way to heavy metal and rock, there are so many different styles of guitar music. If you are just starting out and are not sure what to begin with, this is okay. Some instructors are very good at teaching beginners and helping them find out what they are passionate and good at. If you do know what you are interested in, the best thing to do is to find an instructor that teaches that style. On Lessons.com you can do this by reading through the teacher’s description.
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.
Practice playing individual notes. Holding down a string and producing a decent sound can sometimes be more challenging than it looks. If you don't hold down a string hard enough, you'll get a muted note and if you hold down the string too close to the fret your guitar will buzz. Practice picking in an up and down motion on your string with the other hand. Continue doing this until you feel comfortable moving up or down the neck to a different note. Practice playing the notes back and forth until you become comfortable strumming.
The simplest answer and the one that no student that ever wants to hear is practice. Changing chords is the process where many beginners fail, and quit. But after that, the rewards will be simply impressive. There are a few tricks to get a chord transition to happen faster. Use a metronome: Set it on four beats and set it as fast or as slow as you want. Then get a chord in your mind, say D. When the metronome reaches its last beat, press down the strings. When it happens again, strum it and let it free. Then again. Do this 10 to 20 minutes a day and in less than a week, the chord progression will begin to sound much better.
Now many people are going to ask about other brands, like why don’t I suggest Gibson guitars? It really is a personal taste thing, and it’ll ultimately depend on yours. Perhaps by the style of music you play or the artists you admire. For me, Fender guitars represent the best in quality and feel. Many Gibson style guitars have fatter necks, bigger frets, are heavy, and feel and sound “muddy” to me, whereas the feel of a Stratocaster– light, slender, classic– feels, plays, and looks fast. :)
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
My teaching approach: I tailor my lessons to fit the students goals. Beginner students want to learn songs, not theory. So I get the student playing /singing before I focus on scales and theory. I want to teach the student what they want to learn as well as giving them the skills to be a good musician/vocalist. I also determine what your learning style is, so that I can effectively teach you. I have over 14 years teaching experience in guitar and voice, and I teach songwriting and ukulele as well. I've been performing locally and internationally for over 7 years. My influences are: The Beatles, the Killers, Patty Griffin, Ray LaMontagne ... View Profile
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.
I know that for me, I enjoy getting to put the spotlight on my students. I also like haveing concerts for my students to be able to demonstrate their skills for their friends and family. I also can work with students of any age, starting at about age 5 through age 100+. My experiences with teaching children gives me the ability to teach even very young students.
Though this decision can be based on preference, we think the best guitar for a beginner is the acoustic guitar. Classical guitars have a wider neck, which can be hard for younger students or physically smaller individuals to handle when learning guitar chords. Meanwhile, the electric guitar is designed to be played with an amplifier, which comes at an additional cost. Acoustic guitars are simple and require little to no additional equipment, making them ideal for beginner guitarists.
Electric guitar: Well the world of electric guitars is in some ways more complex, as there are all kinds of different looks and technologies. And it’s not good enough to just have a guitar, you need to buy an amplifier as well. I will just recommend mid-level stuff that’s worked for me based on my preferences, but if you like “stuff” and collecting gear, you’ll find playing the guitar to be a deeply satisfying hobby :)
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.
I've started off a new series with the awesome Ariel Posen, The Captains Privates series is popular as ever and I've also been filling in some beginner lessons of things I get asked about all the time... I'm about to re-kindle the Blues Lead 3 series which fell off the wagon somewhere and also get the gear videos rocking again... so lots in the works, lots going on and still loving it!
These beginner guitar lessons cover everything you need to know in order to get started playing the guitar. You'll learn the basics like how to hold the guitar, how to tune a guitar, and what all the parts of the guitar are called. Then you'll move on to learning essential guitar chords, strumming techniques, and how to put everything together to play your first song. These beginner guitar lessons are essential for anyone that has always wanted to play the guitar, but never knew where to start.