Learn the difference between chords and single notes. Chords occur when you play two or more notes on different strings simultaneously to create one unified sound. These are what make up the "rhythm" portion of acoustic music. Single notes are used more for solos and occur when you play a single note at a time. Both are skills that you must become proficient in when learning to play the acoustic guitar.[4]
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.
Position your fingers on the neck. The dots on the chords represent where you should hold down your fingers on the neck. For instance, an A major is played by holding down the string on the second fret on the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th string. An E minor is played by holding down the second fret on the 5th and 4th string. Hold the strings down until they are pressed against the neck of your guitar.[6]
Brent Bassham began playing guitar at the age of fifteen as a self-taught until he began his studies as a freshman at Tyler Junior College. His talents were recognized by his instructor Frank Kimlicko who awarded him with scholarships and twice as the Outstanding Guitar Student of the year. He has been taught by master teachers such as Brian Head (president of Guitar Foundation of America), Miguel Antonio, Grammy Winner Maestro Pepe Romero, and Grammy winner William Kanengiser. He has also been selected to perform in public master classes with: Pepe Romero, Angel Romero, Enric Madrigera, and David Russell. He learned a wide range of ... View Profile
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]
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.

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.[2]


A few years back, I dusted off the ol' Takamine I got in high school to try some 'music therapy' with my disabled son, who was recovering from a massive at-birth stroke. This reignited my long dormant passion to transform myself from a beach strummer to a 'real' musician; however, as a single mom, taking in-person lessons was financially difficult. Then I found Justinguitar! Flash forward to today; my son is almost fully recovered (YAY!), my guitar collection has grown significantly, and I'm starting to play gigs. None of this would have been possible without your guidance and generosity, Justin. Thank you for being part of the journey!
Learning how to play the guitar is an exciting skill that will impress those around you. If you have a passion for music and the acoustic guitar but don't have a lot of time or the patience to learn how to play, you may want to do it quickly. Although mastering the guitar can take decades, there are techniques and methods that you can use to rapidly learn how to play the basics on acoustic guitar. By learning simple open chords, playing guitar tabs, and practicing regularly and correctly, you'll be able to play the acoustic guitar in no time.
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.
After teaching guitar and music theory to thousands of students over past three decades, I thought that I had basically 'seen it all' when it comes to guitar instruction. Then I discovered Justin’s website, and man was I impressed! Justin’s caring spirit, attention to detail, vast knowledge base, and especially his lucid, laidback and nurturing style, allow students to fall in love with the learning process. You see, it’s not enough to simply find out how to play a few cool licks or chords. A truly great teacher will make you fall in love with the process of discovery so that you can unlock the best within you. Justin is one of these great teachers, and I highly recommend justinguitar.com to anyone who wants to tap into their best selves.

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]
3/4 Size Acoustic: I also have a 3/4 Scale Guitar in my apartment because they are awesome to sit beside your couch and just pick up easily and jam with. I bought the guitar a few months ago, and when I was playing it a concerned shopper came up to me and reminded me “that’s for kids you know.” I laughed. Fair enough, but I think little guitars are cool to have around the house, so if you do too (or if you have really small hands) perhaps this could be the guitar for you.
Determine the guitar riff that you want to learn. Listen to acoustic guitar songs that you enjoy and choose one that you'd like to learn. When finding your first song, try to find a song that has an easy chord progression. Listen to the song and determine how many chord changes it has and the speed in which the song is played. If there aren't that many chords or the song seems simple to play, you should choose that song as your first song to learn.

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 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
If you are practicing regularly, like you should be (at least once a day) be sure to change your guitar strings once a month. You will be amazed at how much of a difference in sound quality a fresh pack of strings will make. You don’t need super expensive strings. When I was starting out, I got by quite happily on my local music store’s house brand of strings that cost about $4 a pack.

Our private lessons in guitar, bass, keyboards, and drums are available in 30 and 60-minute sessions with flexible scheduling, so you can progress at your own pace. Maybe you'd rather be the instrument - in that case, come learn more about our singing lessons. And those are only scratching the surface of the unique services at Guitar Center Lessons in Dallas, which also include jam sessions, recording lessons, group lessons and more. Want to know what it's like to be in a band? Ask us about our Rock Show program, which connects you with other musicians at your skill level to get the full experience.


Lucky you, guitar players from all over the world, to take advantage of the tutorials presented in Justin's comprehensive website! Whatever the style you fancy, Justin is there for you with generous and precise guidance to help you enhance your playing and by doing so, introduce you to so many ways of approaching the guitar and discover new artists along the way. I wish there would have been such a medium and dedicated host around when I started to learn how to play. Bravo Justin, and my gratitude for bringing music to the heart and ears of many!
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