I tried several times over the course of 20 years to learn guitar. I purchased guitars, amps, books, private lessons. Nothing ever stuck, until I found justinguitar.com. The only reason I can play guitar today is because of Justin. His courses are well thought out, easy to understand, easy to follow, and easy to make progress on. I can't think of a single product or service that I've ever used in my life that I could recommend more highly than justinguitar.com.
This article was co-authored by Ron Bautista. Ronald Bautista is a professional guitarist and guitar teacher at More Music & Los Gatos School of Music in California. He has over 30 years of playing experience and over 15 years of teaching experience. He performs mainly as a jazz musician, but also teaches Jazz, Rock, Fusion, Blues, Fingerpicking, and Bluegrass. As an instructor, he focuses on understanding the fretboard and applying music theory to any genre of music.
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!
Guitar Compass features hundreds of free guitar lesson videos. These online lessons are designed to teach you how to play guitar by covering the absolute basics up to more advanced soloing concepts and techniques. The lessons span different difficultly levels and genres like blues, rock, country, and jazz. Each lesson is designed to introduce you to a subject and get to know our instructors and their teaching style. To access more lessons and in-depth instruction, try a free 7 day trial of our premium membership.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Intermediate Guitar Class - Open to all ages, from age three to one-hundred sixty-three, but an audition or permission from the instructor is required. This class is intended to be challenging. Topics covered may include movable bar chords, song forms, repertoire development, fretboard mapping, improvisation, and other advanced techniques. New classes start every month and may be repeated as often as you like. Cost is $85 per month (4 hours).