Practice playing individual notes. Holding down a string and producing a decent sound can sometimes be more challenging than it looks. If you don't hold down a string hard enough, you'll get a muted note and if you hold down the string too close to the fret your guitar will buzz. Practice picking in an up and down motion on your string with the other hand. Continue doing this until you feel comfortable moving up or down the neck to a different note. Practice playing the notes back and forth until you become comfortable strumming.
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.
Strum with loose, relaxed motion.[7] 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.
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.
After you have selected a style and a teacher, you may want to keep some extra questions in mind for your first guitar lesson. An in person lesson can be very valuable, if you show up, and if you do the work that the instructor gives you for when you are not meeting. One of the greatest methods of improving is to consistently play. Play multiple times a week, get those practice repetitions in.

In 1977, I studied at the Guatemalan National Conservatory of Music with Professors Alejandro Herrera and Rene Abularach on Classical guitar. I also studied harmony and composition with Igor de Gandarias, Juaqin Orellana and Jorge Sarmientos. In New Orleans, I took private jazz guitar courses with steve Masakowski and Hank Mackie. In 1983 I started my own Jazz band, “Acoustic Ensamble”, a band that I shared with well known international musicians like: Carlos Gomes, Fernando Perez, Bryon Sosa, Miguel Angel Villagran, Igor Sarmientos, Alfredo Caceres, Antonio Cosenza, German Giordano, Rolando Gudiel, Roberto Abularach, Auri Ruiz, M ... View Profile


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]
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]

For those of you who play guitar, you might have noticed that some of my tasty licks aren’t so tasty. I’m no Stevie Ray Vaughn. You don’t need to be superstar to have tons of fun with this stuff. Despite not being the best guitar player, I’ve played my songs in front of 1000’s of people in live venues, had songs I’ve written and recorded played on San Diego’s leading rock station, and played in some super cool seedy dive bars to drunken hipsters. That’s just a few among a countless other memorable experiences. You don’t need to be a genius– half the battle is just showing up.
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.
Minutes 30-60. Practice making the basic 5 shapes. This is probably the hardest part. You gotta put your head down for 30 minutes and remember the chords that are demonstrated below. Once you start getting these shapes down, adding to your portfolio will be easy. You can even experiment with adding and removing fingers– you’ll find a lot of cool sounds here and you’ll continue to discover these for years to come.
My teaching approach: I tailor my lessons to fit the students goals. Beginner students want to learn songs, not theory. So I get the student playing /singing before I focus on scales and theory. I want to teach the student what they want to learn as well as giving them the skills to be a good musician/vocalist. I also determine what your learning style is, so that I can effectively teach you. I have over 14 years teaching experience in guitar and voice, and I teach songwriting and ukulele as well.  I've been performing locally and internationally for over 7 years. My influences are: The Beatles, the Killers, Patty Griffin, Ray LaMontagne ... 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.


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.
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!
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]
My teaching approach: I tailor my lessons to fit the students goals. Beginner students want to learn songs, not theory. So I get the student playing /singing before I focus on scales and theory. I want to teach the student what they want to learn as well as giving them the skills to be a good musician/vocalist. I also determine what your learning style is, so that I can effectively teach you. I have over 14 years teaching experience in guitar and voice, and I teach songwriting and ukulele as well.  I've been performing locally and internationally for over 7 years. My influences are: The Beatles, the Killers, Patty Griffin, Ray LaMontagne ... View Profile
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.
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!
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