Start playing the different notes and hold the different shapes. Once you have a basic understanding of how the notes are played throughout the song, you can start to hold each of the chords. If the song consists of chords that you're used to playing, it will make the process easier. If the song uses different chords, it may take some time and adjustment to get used to them. Practice the chords separately if they are unfamiliar to you.[11]
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.
Once you have made it to your first lesson, there are some questions you should consider asking. Ask the guitar teacher about their experience. How long have they been playing? How long have they been teaching? What are they best at? What styles do they teach? What is their method of teaching guitar lessons? What extra resources can you use to further your learning? It is key to ask these questions and listen.
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]
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.
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’m not going to walk through each of these chords individually with you, because you should be able to figure out where to put your fingers by looking at the diagrams. Once you’ve got each chord sounding nice and clear, then you can begin working on changing between the chords. You can switch between all five of these chords in any order you please and they will sound good together. There’s a reason for that, but we won’t get into that just yet.
Dallas Guitar Academy offers class lessons, private guitar and bass instruction, master classes, and artist clinics in North Dallas, Texas. All DGA instructors are experienced music teachers with confirmed references and degrees and/or certification in their chosen fields of expertise. Written letters of recommendation for all DGA instructors are available upon request. The DGA accreditation process means that you can be confident your DGA experience will be positive, with the highest standards of professionalism and customer courtesy.
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