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.
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.
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.
I'm a performing guitarist in Dallas, TX. I play jazz more often than not, but also have experience playing many other genres (including alternative/experimental rock, blues rock, progressive rock, 19th century classical, 20th century classical, and ambient music). Some of the musicians I have played with have ties to jazz legends like Thelonious Monk, Wayne Shorter, and Miles Davis. I lived in Denton for 7 years while attending UNT, where I gained tremendous experience learning from and playing with others. Additionally, while at UNT, I took class ... View Profile
These beginner guitar lessons cover everything you need to know in order to get started playing the guitar. You'll learn the basics like how to hold the guitar, how to tune a guitar, and what all the parts of the guitar are called. Then you'll move on to learning essential guitar chords, strumming techniques, and how to put everything together to play your first song. These beginner guitar lessons are essential for anyone that has always wanted to play the guitar, but never knew where to start.