As a beginner, it is best to avoid making a pawn shop, flea market, or yard sale purchase unless you are shopping with somebody who has experience in purchasing a guitar. Having never purchased a guitar, you may not know what to look for in terms of damage or guitar quality. With that being said, a local music retail shop is your best bet. You may also shop online with a reputable company, although be sure to review the business’ return policy.
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.
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.
The guitar is a remarkably hackable instrument for a million reasons that will be revealed to you as you spend more time with it. As you go along in your journey you’ll find a million shortcuts and fun ways to learn fast. I’ve rarely heard any of this stuff from guitar teaches, so beware, trust your instincts, and learn from people who can show you where you want to be.
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. :)
Private in person guitar lessons with a skilled instructor that is focused on you, your interests, and your progress is the most sought after experience and hard to replicate online. Plus, you tend to learn faster in person. On the other hand, online guitar lessons are quickly becoming popular. The selection of teachers is not limited to those in your geographical area and you can communicate via video in real time with your teacher in the comfort of your home. When filling out your request on Lessons.com, we recommend you select both online and local options, then compare your options and see what works best for you.
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!