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
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 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.[9]
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 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]
Start off figuring out what style you are looking for. Is it acoustic or electric? What music styles are you looking for? From country and bluegrass all the way to heavy metal and rock, there are so many different styles of guitar music. If you are just starting out and are not sure what to begin with, this is okay. Some instructors are very good at teaching beginners and helping them find out what they are passionate and good at. If you do know what you are interested in, the best thing to do is to find an instructor that teaches that style. On Lessons.com you can do this by reading through the teacher’s description.
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.

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.[8]
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 :)
Wow! This post really seems to have helped a lot of folks get started with the guitar. It has been read by – I kid you not – millions of aspiring guitarists. Thank you! As many of you have noted in the comments below, no, I’m not selling anything here related to playing the guitar. My motivation to write this post was that musicians, and especially guitar teachers, can often make learning the guitar sound way too hard. It’s actually easy.

Your recordings and your custom chords are stored as buttons which can be dragged around to shift position. You can save all your buttons as a text file to your hard drive and then load this file later. Each button can be renamed and configured to be triggered by any key from the computer keyboard. You can program your computer keyboard so that each key plays a custom chord or a playback recording and then save the layout for later. The ready-made chord buttons can be dragged and dropped onto the area for user buttons to be further edited there.
Now that you’ve learned how to purchase a guitar, how to play guitar chords, and the basics of playing a guitar, you’ll just need to maintain practice! Use the ChordBuddy device as long as you need to, removing tabs as you progress. You’ll be ready to perform for your family and friends in no time at all. When you see how easy it is to finally practice and play the guitar, you’re not going to want to give up! See how ChordBuddy works, and discover how beginners, teachers, senior citizens, people with arthritis, and those with disabilities can play the guitar. To contact us, click here or call 877-947-2641.

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.
Open up audio for the riff and follow the tabs. Open the song that you're covering in another window on your internet browser. Play through the song and trace the chords and notes with the tab that you looked up. Try to follow the numbers on the tab with the notes that are being played in the song. Try to get an understanding for which chords the artist is playing before trying to duplicating it.
Justin, first off I just wanted to say thanks for all the advice and instruction. You make playing guitar easy and understandable and fun. You explain very well the hows and whys when presenting a new song to learn and walk it through so that anyone can learn. I have played guitar for 20 years now and have learned more from you in the last five years than the previous 15 by myself. You have also been a tremendous help to both my son and my daughter in learning to play as well by making playing fun and interesting. I have a couple of pictures of me and my children all doing what we love. Many Thanks to you Justin

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.[9]


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!
Start playing the different notes and hold the different shapes. Once you have a basic understanding of how the notes are played throughout the song, you can start to hold each of the chords. If the song consists of chords that you're used to playing, it will make the process easier. If the song uses different chords, it may take some time and adjustment to get used to them. Practice the chords separately if they are unfamiliar to you.[11]
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.
I was lucky enough to meet Justin at the Guitar Institute during a summer school in 2004, and to have some private lessons with him afterwards.  He was the teacher who kickstarted my guitar career and persuaded me that I was ready to join a band.  That was 14 years ago and many dozens of gigs later.  I’m now just finishing a degree in Popular Music Performance.  Justin's online lessons are easy to follow and he has a manner about him which makes you believe that you can achieve.  Where he demonstrates songs, I have found his versions to be consistently more accurate and easy to follow than those of any other online teacher.  On this website you really will find all the skills and information you need to become an excellent musician.  Many thanks. Ian.
Now many people are going to ask about other brands, like why don’t I suggest Gibson guitars? It really is a personal taste thing, and it’ll ultimately depend on yours. Perhaps by the style of music you play or the artists you admire. For me, Fender guitars represent the best in quality and feel. Many Gibson style guitars have fatter necks, bigger frets, are heavy, and feel and sound “muddy” to me, whereas the feel of a Stratocaster– light, slender, classic– feels, plays, and looks fast.  :)
Acoustic: I recommend a Yamaha solid top acoustic guitar. This guitar plays just as good as some that are many hundreds of dollars more expensive. It can be difficult to manufacture quality acoustics at low prices due to the importance of a solid top finish. When I was in college I scratched together the cash to buy a handmade acoustic guitar that was over $1,000 (I won’t mention the brand) but that guitar was nowhere near as good as this Yamaha.
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.[7]
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.
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