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Basic lessons for beginning guitarists

By Jon, published on 20/02/2018 Blog > Music > Guitar > The 8 best tutorials for novice guitarists

So you want to learn to play guitar like your favorite guitarists. You want to sound like Jimmy Page, Jimi Hendrix or Eric Clapton.

You’ve taken it on, but you just don’t know where to start.

Thankfully, there are numerous blogs and YouTube vidos on the internet that can help you get started.

But how do you know which ones to use? Where should you start?

The basics for learning guitar

There are 2 key questions to start –

Ask yourself these two questions before you launch yourself into the world of guitar:

  • Would you rather a class on music theory or a specific class that focuses on guitar? Learning music theory is a great way to introduce yourself to the world of music and to begin to understand it.
  • Do you want to teach yourself or learn guitar with a professional? Either option is good, but the method you choose should be matched to your personal goals and ambition.

If you want to teach yourself guitar, there are many different online tutorials that you can watch to help you on your way. Books and ebooks can also help you on your journey.

If you’re looking to find a guitar teacher, you have a few options. You could sign up for classes at a local music store, you could join a local group, or you could take private one on one classes with an independent teacher.

How do you make your first steps on the guitar? Teach yourself guitar

Here are ten tips for getting started at guitar and keeping a good attitude:

You can find video tutorials on specialist websites to help learn more about a specific topic or area. Signing up for guitar lessons will also give you the advice and support of a professional and you’ll learn other tips and tricks from them.

Reading and playing guitar chords

Learning to recognize and play the common chords is a key part of learning to play guitar.

We generally recommend starting with the major and minor chords.

Then you can move on to other chords like harmonics, or work on your arpeggios.

Have a look through some instruction books, check out some online videos, or ask your guitar teacher for help in placing your fingers on the neck of the guitar.

Reading guitar tabs

This tip is pretty similar to the last one.

Learn to read guitar tabs and chord boxes to know where to put your fingers. Numbers tell you where to put each of your fingers on the frets (your index finger is ‘1’, middle finger ‘2’, ring finger ‘3’, and pinky is ‘4’).

The thumb’s symbol is a ‘T’.

In contrast to reading normal music, a tab shows you the physical movements to make to play your song.

 Do you know the different positions of the fingers on the guitar? Play your favorite music using guitar tabs!


This simplified way of reading music makes it easier to learn to play the guitar, and gives you more information.

Tabs tell you when to play a note and where to put your fingers.

When using tabs, it’s worth keeping in mind that you should only play the strings and frets that are marked. If a string doesn’t have any numbers on it, you shouldn’t play it.


Finding the beat for a piece of music

How do you know the rhythm for a piece of music when it isn’t in your guitar tabs?

There’s no magic spell to find the rhythm for a piece of guitar music, and you have two options – either you can buy the official songbook, or you can train your ear and learn to recognize and reproduce the rhythms you hear in pieces of music.

The key is to not try and recreate everything you hear all at once. It’s better to make the piece of music your own.

It’s your experience and ability to really concentrate on a piece of music that will help you to achieve this.

Try and choose styles of music which are relatively simple but have a strong beat, like rock, pop, metal or folk.

Begin arpeggios

In order to begin playing the most common guitar chords (C major, A minor, G major, E minor, D major), you’ll need to strengthen your fingers, begin playing more smoothly, and be able to place your fingers on the neck with speed and agility.

It’s also a great opportunity to learn to play without looking at your left hand.

There are two types of arpeggios – arpeggios that form part of the harmony and are played to a strong beat (instead of strumming all of the strings at the same time, you play them one by one) and arpeggios as solos, which is a common technique in jazz music.

It is important to begin by playing slowly, keeping your right hand relaxed, and trying to just move your fingers and not your hand in a regular rhythm.

Once you feel comfortable, begin to increase your speed.

Putting chords together

Do you dream of learning to play your favorite pieces? Whipping out the guitar and impressing your friends at a party?

There’s just one thing for it if you want to begin putting chords together into a song – repetition and practice.

You need to repeat the same movement again and again until it becomes natural.

The objective is to create muscle memory, reflexes that help you complete an action, like holding a pen or tying your shoelaces.

Don’t hesitate to try watching some YouTube tutorials or ask your teacher how to change chords. Getting some help means you can improve your technique and avoid picking up bad habits.

Start with easy chords like A minor and G major. And don’t forget to always make sure that you’ve learned the individual chords before you try linking them together.

Work slowly and pick the movements apart, then put it all together and increase your speed.

Changing the strings on your guitar

Learn how to change the strings on your guitar by yourself.

Once metallic strings oxidize, it’s time to replace them.

Watch some online tutorials, or ask your guitar teacher to show you the basics of changing your guitar strings.

How often you change your strings will depend on how often you play, how often you leave your guitar un-played, your string materials, and your style of playing.

Improve your guitar technique

You’ve just started playing guitar, but your movements are still a bit clunky and hesitant.

Don’t worry. Just like anything else, you need to learn to walk before you can run, and it’s the same for guitar.

Go easy, play songs at a speed a bit slower than they’re meant to be, learn how to break a song down, check the placements of your fingers, and repeat everything as many times as need be.

Practice and tenacity are key to learning how to play guitar and improving your technique.

Pay attention to the little details that make a difference – check your posture, how you’re holding the guitar, the positions of your hands and fingers, and work on any weak muscles.

Keep yourself motivated

When you start playing guitar, you’ll have lots of different plans and specific pieces of music that you want to learn how to play.

You also need to figure out the best way to learn to play guitar.

Over time, you’ll realize that learning to play guitar is not without its difficulties and challenges to overcome.

 Share your passion for music with your friends! Play with your friends!

To stay motivated as you learn to play guitar, don’t hesitate to occasionally go back to the basics, meet fellow musicians, get advice and take guitar lessons, show off and inspire others on YouTube, and picture yourself achieving your goals.


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