Learn To Play Guitar Step By Step – If you want to learn to play the guitar but don’t know where to start, you’ve come to the right place. This lesson shows you how to play your first real song on the guitar in five easy-to-follow steps. These steps include Guitar Basics (how to hold the guitar, basic guitar numbering systems), basic strumming, basic chord shapes, smooth chord changes, and your first song. Everything you learn here can be applied to both electric and acoustic guitars.
This how to play guitar lesson is put together so you can start seeing progress right away. If you’re looking for a more comprehensive series of free video lessons for new guitar players, check out the completely free Ultimate Guitar Toolbox.
Learn To Play Guitar Step By Step
During this lesson, you will learn some tips that will help you avoid many of the pitfalls that most new players face. This will prevent you from getting frustrated and will be a good foundation for everything you learn in future guitar lessons.
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The two main things we will cover here are how to hold a guitar and the three main guitar numbering systems.
The Simple Way: There are several ways to build a guitar, but we will only cover the most common ones in this tutorial. A simple way to hold the guitar is if you are right-handed, simply place the guitar on your right leg and bring it closer to your body. The temptation for a new guitarist is to slide the guitar over your leg to see what happens. Try to avoid it. Sit upright with your guitar close to your body.
For more information and a special video tutorial on different ways to hold a guitar, see How to Hold a Guitar.
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Frets: The metal bands that run along the neck of the guitar. If you are right-handed, the first fir is furthest to your left. The next to the right of the first is the second, and so on. It’s very simple, but it’s important to understand when you start learning chords and scales.
Fingers: The system of numbering fingers on a vibrating hand is very simple, but also important. Your index finger is your first finger, your middle finger is your second finger, your ring finger is your third finger, and your little finger is your fourth finger. Again, very simple, but really important when learning where to put your fingers to produce chords.
Strings: The final numbering system is for the guitar’s open strings. The thinnest string is the first string and the thickest is the sixth string. Very easy to remember.
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The two main things we will focus on here are guitar picking and the use of drum techniques.
Option Selection: Many students ask what type of option they should use. I recommend starting with the medium thickness of the standard mold, about 0.73mm. From there, you can experiment with thicker or thinner options and decide what you like best. If you don’t want to use options, don’t. You can simply pinch with your thumb or thumb and index finger.
Hold the choice: How to hold and choose the choice is quite subjective. You can start with a fairly general option and experiment from there. Place the notch on the pad of your thumb and slide down with your index finger. Try to relax. Many new guitarists have trouble holding their pick when bowing. If so, try holding the selector with your thumb, first and second fingers. It gives you a little more control and stability. Try different grips and see what works for you.
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Fiction Tip: The best analogy I’ve ever heard is pretending a feather is stuck to honey. Just pretend to ruffle that feather. The movement of your wrists and elbows is a good mechanic to think about when starting out. This will prevent you from using only your elbows to relax and move. Make your choice and try a few gentle up and down strokes. Be sure to think of the metaphor of honey and feathers.
Upstroke: Upstroke is quite difficult at first. I’ll give you a few tips to make it a little easier. First of all, when playing upbeats, the chord you’re playing doesn’t have to go through all six strings, even if it uses all six strings. Most people generally only turn up the top 3-5 strings. The second tip is to use the sound at the right volume for the song you are playing. If you dig too far into the thread, you will have problems getting through all the stitches. Try a few gentle upward strokes and remember the previous two tips.
Counting: Now let’s talk about counting. Most songs are played four times. This only means that there are four strokes per musical beat. Think of hearing the drummer count in the song “1 2 3 4”. These numbers are musical rhythms. Now count out loud “1 2 3 4” and press down on “1” on each cycle. By doing this, you are singing whole notes. Now try to hit each number while counting down in a dash or alternately up and down. If you listen to each track, you will be singing the notes of the season.
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If you want more information on how to strum the guitar, check out this video tutorial. Also, be sure to sign up for The Strumming Bootcamp. This is a free 5 part video series that will take your buzz to the next level.
Before we start learning the chords, make sure your guitar is in tune. Here is a video tutorial on how to tune your guitar.
Chord Tip: Extend your arms, palms up, as if you were holding an apple. This is a good position to think about when making chords. Place your hand on the neck of the guitar and rest your thumb on the back of the neck. Do not move your wrist to one side.
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To play a minor chord, place your 2nd finger on the 2nd fret of the 5th string and your 3rd finger on the 2nd fret of the 4th string. Make sure your fingers are on the back and make sure they land directly on your fingertips. You’ll also want to put your finger on an adjacent string to make sure it’s muting. You can see this chord chart on this page. Once the chords are in place, slowly tighten each string to make sure the chords are clean and clear.
The second chord you should learn is the D2 chord. Place your 1st finger on the 2nd of the 3rd string and your 3rd finger on the 3rd of the 2nd string. Again, make sure your fingers are right behind the frets, make sure you land right on your fingertips and that your fingers don’t touch the side strings. This D2 chord chart is shown on this page. Strum each string slowly to ensure the chords are clean and clear.
If you have trouble getting these chords clean and clear, try keeping your elbows close to your body. This can put your hand in a better position to hit the notes. You can try the classic method of holding the guitar on a footstool or standing/sitting with a strap. This will lift the guitar higher and make it easier to reach the notes.
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Chord Tip: Put the string off and on again and again. This will help your muscle memory. If possible, exercise several times a day. Also try to remember how the chords look and feel. Practice consistently and you will have these chords under your fingers for the rest of your life.
This is the biggest problem for new guitar players, so I will give you two important tips.
Chord Switching Tip #1: The first tip is to know your chord shapes very well before switching between them. If you’re trying to move between chords, you can go directly to individual shapes on your own