As a beginner, it is best to avoid making a pawn shop, flea market, or yard sale purchase unless you are shopping with somebody who has experience in purchasing a guitar. Having never purchased a guitar, you may not know what to look for in terms of damage or guitar quality. With that being said, a local music retail shop is your best bet. You may also shop online with a reputable company, although be sure to review the business’ return policy.
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.

Learning to play the guitar is a life-long process; it will not happen overnight despite what many of the hucksters on the internet may tell you. As such, you are best to develop some reasonable expectations of how quickly you will progress. There will be challenges along the way (yes, your fingers will hurt!) and too many budding guitarists have given up prematurely, slid their brand new guitars under their bed, and walked away in disappointment… not realizing that they were oh-so-close to a breakthrough that would have taken them on to the next level. Having a mindset that allows for setbacks here and there will really help you in the long run, because you will find that through every challenge you come out a stronger player on the other side.
When you play the right note or chord, you will hear it. It will be a pleasant sound, it will be clear and won't have any blocked string sounds (unless it needs to, but you'll get to that later). To play a note or chord correctly, you have to get your fingers in the right position and press as hard as you can on the frets; it will become a habit if you practice enough.
I adapt my teaching style for each student to better fit your needs! I know firsthand the frustrations of wanting to get better in a certain area and feeling like a teacher is holding you back. You tell me what your goals are and I will adjust our learning so we can start heading towards that goal. For piano, we can work on classical, chord theory, or by-ear playing! We'll set the music theory foundation together and then I'll take you learning as fast as you like so you can get to playing stuff that you actually ENJOY. For vocal lessons, I like to focus on understanding the structure of the voice in the body, resonation placement, and breat ... View Profile

I would especially like to stress the gentle approach Justin takes with two key aspects that contributed to my development as a musician - music theory and ear training. Justin has succeeded in conveying the importance and profoundness of understanding music both theoretically and through your ears while maintaining a simple and accessible approach to them, all while sticking to what is ultimately the most important motto: 'If it sounds good, it is good'.
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 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!
Private in person guitar lessons with a skilled instructor that is focused on you, your interests, and your progress is the most sought after experience and hard to replicate online. Plus, you tend to learn faster in person. On the other hand, online guitar lessons are quickly becoming popular. The selection of teachers is not limited to those in your geographical area and you can communicate via video in real time with your teacher in the comfort of your home. When filling out your request on Lessons.com, we recommend you select both online and local options, then compare your options and see what works best for you.
Electric tuners are easy to use and very accurate. Hold it to the guitar and pluck the high E. The tuner will tell you if the guitar is "sharp" (too high) or "flat" (too low). Pick each note and tighten the string to make it go higher, or give it some slack to lower it. Make sure the room is quiet when using a tuner because the microphone on the tuner can pick up other sounds.
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.
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.
PPS, a lot of the links to the product recommendations above will give us a small commission if you purchase through them. That does not influence the price or my recommendations. Here’s the disclosure policy: Tropical MBA is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com. Amazon and the Amazon logo are trademarks of Amazon.com, Inc. or its affiliates.
Practice at least 20 minutes 6 days a week. Consistent practice will allow you to improve your guitar playing skills over a short period. Taking long breaks and not staying dedicated will wear away your muscle memory and delay the development of your skills. Instead, dedicate 20 minutes to an hour of practice throughout most of the week. During practice, you can either run different drills or you can try covering a song.[14]
Practice fretting the strings. The frets are the metal strips that run perpendicular to the strings that mark each note. To play a note, press your finger down between the metal strips, not on them. To say that you're playing the third fret means that you place your finger on the string in the gap between the second and third fret. If you hear buzzing, move your finger away from the lowest fret and closer to the higher fret. Hold the string down firmly so that it only vibrates between your finger and your strumming hand, with the tip of your finger doing the pressing.

Justin is an instructor with that rare combination that encompasses great playing in conjunction with a thoughtful, likable personality. Justin's instruction is extremely intelligent because he's smart enough to know the 'basics' don't have to be served 'raw' - Justin keenly serves the information covered in chocolate. Justin's site is like a free pass in a candy store!


The strings run between the headstock of the guitar, where they are affixed to tuning pegs that can be rotated to tighten and slacken them, and the bridge, where they're fixed to the guitar's body. On an acoustic guitar, the strings are fixed to the bridge with removable pegs, and on an electric guitar the strings are generally strung through an eyelet.
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.

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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