First Steps to Learning How to Play the Guitar

As a guitar teacher, I get a lot of brand new students who have never played the instrument before. They are enthusiastic, yet also very amazed to learn that there are a number of thing which much be learned and enforced very early on to fully maximize the potential of each student.

In this article we will take a look at some very simple but crucial steps you must take in order to learn the guitar.

Firstly, you should familiarize yourself with the instrument and find a guitar that suits you. Find out if you prefer electric, classical, or steel strings. Find a shape, brand, model that makes it easy for you to learn and physically play.

Anyway it will be useful for you to know the parts of the guitar. Every guitar consists of three main parts – head, fingerboard and body. But there are some differences between Electric and Acoustic Guitar.
The Head Part of Electric guitar consists of: Tuning Key, Retainer, Truss rod.
The Fingerboard Part of Electric guitar consists of: Nut, Neck, Frets.
The Body Part of Electric guitar consists of: Pickguard, Bridge, Tremolo, Output Jack, Pickups, Pickup selector switch, Volume and tone controls.
Check this video to remember it:

The Head Part of Acoustic guitar consists of: Tuning Key, Truss rod (optional).
The Fingerboard Part of Acoustic guitar consists of: Nut, Neck, Frets.
The Body Part of Acoustic guitar consists of: Pickguard, Bridge, Soundhole, Saddle.
Check the following video to remember it:

Once you have found your guitar of choice you should start learning how to tune the guitar. There is nothing worse than doing everything correctly yet the guitar still sounds bad when you play it. If this happens, it is probably because the guitar needs tuning.

Before you can fully grasp the concept of tuning however, be sure that you know the names of all the strings of the guitar.

They are, (from the lowest) E A D G B E.

Check out our video demonstration to hear and to remember them and also to tune your guitar.

How to tune your guitar without electronic tuner – you can read here: How to Tune a Guitar Without Tuner

If you want to tune your guitar with electronic tuner – visit this page of our site: Free Online Chromatic Guitar Tuner using Microphone

Next, you should try to learn a few basic chords. You do not want to overwhelm yourself so pick a few to start with. Maybe just two. It will take you a while to fret the chords correctly and get a nice clean tone. Be patient. Once you have mastered two chords, try changing between them by strumming each one 4 times.

For instance, you could go from E major to A minor. This is great for beginners since these two chords have the exact same fingering, simply played a string apart.

How to play E chord (E major) on guitar:
E chord

How to play Am chord (A minor) on guitar:
A minor

Timing is crucial, so always practice with a metronome. This will help you keep the beat and develop a good sense of time.

Keep in mind that you should train your ear to hear the difference between the chords you play. There is a difference between major chords and minor chords.

Major chords tend to be brighter and happier in the sound, where as minor chords are darker, more melancholy and sad. This difference in sound is musically called “quality”

More about chords – read here: Chords Theory

The 7 basic steps to learning the guitar are:

1. Find the right type
2. Learn the string names
3. Learn how to tune the guitar
4. Learn a few basic chord
5. Switch between the chord
6. Watch your timing (practice with a metronome)
7. Familiarize yourself with the to difference in sound (quality) of major and minor chords.

Once you master these 7 steps and implement them in beginning lessons and practice sessions , you will have taken a huge step in learning how to play the guitar.

By Jacques Darville 2014

One Response to First Steps to Learning How to Play the Guitar

  1. sam says:

    great post would like to see more of the same

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