I'm a performing guitarist in Dallas, TX. I play jazz more often than not, but also have experience playing many other genres (including alternative/experimental rock, blues rock, progressive rock, 19th century classical, 20th century classical, and ambient music). Some of the musicians I have played with have ties to jazz legends like Thelonious Monk, Wayne Shorter, and Miles Davis. I lived in Denton for 7 years while attending UNT, where I gained tremendous experience learning from and playing with others. Additionally, while at UNT, I took class ... 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.
Alright, are you ready to learn your first guitar chord? It's called an E minor. There are two basic types of chords you'll come across, major and minor. Major chords don't have anything after them, ie we just call them G, or C, or E etc. For minor chords however, we abbreviate the minor into just 'm' and add that onto the end of the chord. So, Em.
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.
Learn barre chords. Barre chords, or movable chords, are extremely useful for starting to play songs. In a barre chord (sometimes shortened to "bar chord"), the index finger of your fretting hand "bars" all the notes at a single fret. To play an F, which is the barre chord in first position, you bar all the notes on the first fret with your index finger and play what is essentially the shape of the E chord moved one step up the neck, with your middle, ring, and pinkie.
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.
I have checked out Justin's site and found it to be comprehensive and informative. I have always felt that learning about music and especially music theory applied to the guitar, is helpful in finding your own unique voice on the instrument and expanding your creative horizons. Along with his insight into teaching and his fantastic abilities on the instrument, Justin has created a powerful go-to-place for anyone interested in exploring the instrument to their potential. Just don't hurt yourself.
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.
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.
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'.
Alright, now you know five chords. But what’s next? How do you keep moving forward and improving on the guitar? If you’ve made it this far, I highly recommend joining my free email newsletter. As my thanks for signing up, I’ll send you a free ebook with all the best chords for a beginner to learn to play guitar with. As well, you’ll receive a free video lesson once a week that will dig into a particular technique or idea on the guitar. It’s tons of fun, and you’ll learn lots along the way! Sign up below…
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. 
Use tabs instead of sheet music. If you don't already know how to read music, it can take a lot of time to memorize and proficiently read sheet music. Tabs are an easier and more intuitive way to write music for beginners that doesn't require any formal education. Tabs will simply tell you where to put your fingers on a fret board and how to generally play a song.
So you want to learn how to play guitar do you? Well congratulations, because in my ever so humble opinion, learning to play the guitar is among the most rewarding things that you can learn. The goal of this article is not to turn you into some kind of overnight rock star, but rather to give you a bit of an introduction to the guitar, give you a couple chords to work on to get started.
Now I know you might be confused by this diagram, so let's take a moment to explain it. First off, the top of the diagram corresponds to the nut on your guitar, that's the part where the strings end, farthest from your body. Left to right, the strings are 6,5,4,3,2,1. So as you look at the diagram, the string on the left is actually the 6th string on your guitar, the low E string.
Strum your guitar with a pick or your fingers. Hold down the strings with your fingers in the appropriate shape and try to strum with your other hand. Acoustic guitar strings often have higher actions than electric guitars, so you may have to press down very hard to get a good sound. If the chord comes out muted, try holding down the strings with more force. If your string is buzzing, move your finger further away from the metal fret on your neck.
Play the song with the audio recording. Once you've mastered the individual portions of the song, you're ready to play the song in its entirety. Play the song and strum your guitar along with the song. Try to keep up with the tempo of the song you're covering. Follow the tabs as you play. If you mess up, follow the music on the tabs and come back into the song when you're ready. Once you've become proficient at playing the riff, continue practicing until you don't need the tabs anymore.
Strum with loose, relaxed motion. Strumming consists of downstrokes and upstrokes in various combinations, striking all the notes of the chord evenly and rhythmically. Use your wrist to practice smooth up and down motions. Keep your elbow in tight towards the guitar and sweep the pick down all the strings. Your elbow should not move very much, as you strum mostly from the wrist.