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.
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 tabs. Tabs will have six lines that represent your strings, along with numbers that designate where you should be placing your fingers. The numbers represent the fret in which you need to hold the string down. A 1 means the first fret, a 2 means the second fret, and so on. Numbers in a progression mean that you hold down the first individual fret and pick the note, then move to the next one, and so on in succession. Numbers on the same vertical line are meant to be played together simultaneously as a chord.
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.
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.
You’ll need to press the strings down firmly to ensure they ring out well. One of the toughest parts for beginners is ensuring you aren’t “muting” the strings that you aren’t fretting (credit natasha at www.dresshead.com). These small touches get programmed in to your fingers after hours of time, so don’t worry too much about it. Just focus on getting the best sound out of your guitar.
Beginning Guitar Class - Open to all beginners age 13 and up, or intermediate players who want the review. Begins with holding and tuning your guitar, names of guitar parts, and quickly progresses to chords, scales, tabulature, and playing basic songs. A variety of styles are introduced to encourage students to explore and find the styles they like best. Classes are organized according to age and skill level, so it's an easy way to make new friends too. Classes start every month and may be repeated as often as you like. Cost is $70 per month (4 hours).