Justin Sandercoe has thought long and hard about how to teach people to play the guitar, and how to do this over the internet. He has come up with a well-designed series of courses that will take you from nowhere to proficiency. I tried to learn how to play years ago, using books, and got nowhere. I've been using Justin's site for just over a year and I feel I've made real progress. What's more, Justin offers his lessons for free - a boon for any young player who has the urge to play, but whose pockets are empty. I've seen and used other sites for learners: none of them offer as clearly marked a road as Justin does.
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.
Electric guitar: Well the world of electric guitars is in some ways more complex, as there are all kinds of different looks and technologies. And it’s not good enough to just have a guitar, you need to buy an amplifier as well. I will just recommend mid-level stuff that’s worked for me based on my preferences, but if you like “stuff” and collecting gear, you’ll find playing the guitar to be a deeply satisfying hobby :)
While there are in fact a number of songs you can play with simply the Em and Am chords, I know you're going to want a little bit more than just that. If you're still working on those first two chords, that's okay, they might take a bit to get comfortable with. Bookmark this page, work on the chords for a bit, and come back when you're ready for a few more. I'll still be here!
One other cool thing about electric guitars– you can plug them into your computer and use a program like Apple’s Garageband as an amplifier. You can basically have 100’s of classic sounds available virtually. You can “jam” virtually with your computer and create full-on recordings on your laptop. You’ll just need a “pre-amp,” which is a device that amplifies the signal from your guitar before it sends it to your computer. I’d recommend something like the Focusrite Scarlett
If you just want to learn a few chords to strum along to some songs, then learning to play the guitar really isn't that hard for most people. Many students are able to learn a few chords and get a decent strumming pattern going after a few weeks. If you've had prior experience playing an instrument, you can expect to pick it up after just a few lessons.
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!
Manage the finger pain. There'll be a point at which things will seem bleak: you can't quite get to each chord as fast as you want, your fingers are killing you, and it seems easier to put the thing back in its case. The reason most guitar players stop playing a few weeks in is that it hurts. After a couple of months and years of playing, callouses will build up on the fingers of your fretting hand that will greatly reduce the pain of pushing down the strings for long periods of time. Everyone who learns to play the guitar has to deal with sore fingers at the beginning. Learn to love the pain and associate it with everything that you love about music and the 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).