What’s The Best Way To Learn Guitar? The Ultimate Beginner’s Guide

So you want to learn to play guitar. Who wouldn't? Whether you want to rock hard, play delicate classical tunes, or take the lead in a family song sing-along, playing guitar is a satisfying way to creatively express yourself. We want to provide you with all the information you need about the best way to learn guitar, so we've gathered the most up-to-date information for you right here.

The guitar is a versatile string instrument that sounds beautiful and is relatively simple to learn. Both acoustic and electric guitars have six strings. The player creates different tones by holding the strings against the frets of the guitar's neck with one hand while strumming the strings together or picking them individually with the other hand. People have been playing versions of the guitar for centuries. In the twentieth century instrument makers developed the electric version of the guitar which increased the range of sounds that a player can produce from the guitar.

In this article, we'll cover how to choose a guitar and tips that will help you create a successful practice so you can feel competent early on and also develop the habits that will help you improve over time. We'll also cover tips that will enhance your learning and we'll leave you feeling confident about your potential, no matter what your age.

The Best Way to Learn Guitar: Choosing a Guitar for Beginners


The Basics

The most basic decision you have to make is this: electric or acoustic? Some of us admire the vibrant sound of the electric guitar. Others prefer the melodious sound of an acoustic. An acoustic guitar makes its sounds when the vibrations of the plucked or strummed strings vibrate the sound board and echo through the hollow body of the guitar. The electric guitar converts the vibrations of the strings into an electrical current that is fed to an amplifier and converted back into sound..

It is more difficult to learn to play an acoustic guitar because the neck and the strings are thicker. Some authorities recommend that the best way to learn guitar is to start with an acoustic instrument because the added difficulty level helps build finger strength and flexibility that will be important later. Others recommend that a beginner start with an electric guitar because the relative ease of the narrower neck, the thinner strings, and the smaller muscle effort needed to hold and pluck the strings will help the beginner avoid discouragement.

Before choosing a guitar, think about the kind of music you want to play. It makes little sense to learn on an acoustic guitar if all you ever want to do is play electric and it makes little sense to learn on an electric if you will ultimately only want to play acoustic.

If you decide to start with a non-electric guitar, you will also have to decide whether to buy a standard acoustic guitar or a classical guitar. Again, consider the type of music you want to play. A standard acoustic has steel strings and is a bit larger than a classical with a sharper sound. The classical is a smaller instrument and usually has nylon strings which produce a warmer, more mellow sound. The nylon strings are easier on the fingers for the beginner, but may not ultimately produce the sound you want.

A guitar is an investment, so do your homework and think about the music you want to play. Take the opportunity to borrow
some instruments and try them out to see how they feel and the sounds they produce. It's a good idea to purchase your guitar in a store and not online. That way you can take advantage of the knowledge of the salespeople and you can hold, strum and try out different instruments before you buy.

Consider Your Budget

A guitar can cost anywhere from $ to several thousand dollars. When considering which instrument to purchase, consider how seriously you want to pursue your goal of learning how to play. If you aim for the lowest cost, you may be disappointed by the quality of the sounds you can produce. If you spend a lot of money and later abandon your practice, you may regret your decision. The best way to learn guitar is to start with an instrument that will not warp and which will produce reliable sound over time.

Keep in mind that if you want to learn on an electric guitar, you will also have to buy an amplifier and possibly other gear that will help you get the effects you want.

If you are buying a new instrument, you'll want to stay away from any that are priced below $. These less expensive guitars are more like toys and are not appropriate for making serious music. A good quality starter guitar will cost between $ and $. To be sure you're getting a good guitar, consider buying from a well-known brand. Brands you can rely on include, Fender, Gibson and Yamaha. There are several more, and your local music shop can inform you about reputable brands and their relative value.

You might find a great deal in a second-hand store or pawn shop, but it's important to know the signs of a guitar that has not been treated well. Do your research in a music shop before you buy. Ask about the various brands and the possible problems that older or used guitars might develop. It is best to buy a guitar you can hold and strum before your purchase, so buying in a store is preferable to buying online.

Keep in mind that you will periodically need to buy new strings for your guitar. Strings break, especially if you get really into your strumming. It's also a good idea to replace your strings regularly for the best quality sound.

The only accessories you will need as a beginner are a strap to hold the guitar if you are planning on playing standing up, and maybe several picks. Of course, if you are buying an electric guitar, you will need an amplifier. You may want to buy a case for your instrument. There are several options in cases. You'll need to decide whether you want a hard case—best if you are going to be traveling around a lot with your guitar—or a soft case which will keep the instrument clean but will not be as protective. Any other accessories can wait until you have a feel for the music you will be playing.

Buy a Guitar that Fits You

Most guitars are right-handed. That is, the player strums with the right hand and fingers the chords with the left. On a right-handed guitar the bass, or lowest toned string is on the top. It's possible to buy a left-handed guitar, so consider your comfort with your right and left hands.

Guitars come in different sizes as well. Spend time in the music store holding different instruments both sitting and standing. Get a feel for how comfortable each is for you. The best way to learn guitar is to choose a guitar that feels comfortable and easy to hold. You will practice more if you love how your guitar feels as you play.

To produce notes on the guitar, the player presses down on the strings to hold them against the finger board (or fret board) in various positions. Play describes the distance between the strings and the finger board itself. For beginners, it makes sense to find a guitar that has less play. In other words, look for a model in which the strings are close to the finger board. This will mean that you will need to exert less pressure on the strings in order to produce the notes. This will take less finger strength and will be less hurtful to your fingers as you build up your finger calluses.

What Is the Best Way to Learn Guitar?

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A Note on Tuning Your Guitar

If you want, you can purchase an inexpensive tuner for your guitar, or you can download an app for your phone. A tuner clips onto the head of your guitar and displays the note you are playing as you pluck each string. You can then adjust the tension of the string with the tuning keys to align each string with its appropriate note. You can also find tuning guide videos online.

When you first buy your guitar, ask the music store employee to tune it for you. Each day before you practice, check to see that the guitar is still in tune. If you play often, it will probably stay in tune. If you let the guitar sit, or if you play the strings especially hard, it may get out of tune.

Learn About Your Guitar

The best way to learn guitar is to learn the letter/note names of each string, E, A, D, G, B, and E. This will help you learn to read guitar music, also known as tablature. And it will help you use chord books and videos which will refer to each string by its letter name.

The finger board is divided into frets. The fret nearest the head of the guitar is considered
to be the first, the next fret towards the body of the guitar is the second and so on. There are usually symbols embedded into odd numbered frets to help you keep your place without having to count frets.

Learn About Tablature

The way piano and vocal music is written on music staff lines, guitar music is written on tablature lines, or Tab for short. Study Tab music so you can read it readily. Tab music has six lines, one for each string and numbers indicate which fret to hold for each string

You can find Tabs for many of your favorite songs online, so you can get started right away playing the music that means the most to you.

Practice for Yourself

As you begin to produce music, you'll be playing chords and maybe individual notes. You'll be trying to play through whole songs and you will encounter many challenges. The best way to learn guitar is to pay attention to what is easy for you and where you have difficulty. Are there chords that are hard for you? Transitions between particular chords? Find your challenges and structure your practice around those issues. You will need to play your songs over and over. Don't avoid difficult chords; practice them even more. They will get easier.

Play what you want to play. Tabs and videos are available online for most popular songs. Play slowly at first. Follow advice about how to position your fingers on the frets and how to strum or pluck the strings. It is much easier—even though it doesn't feel like it at first—to learn good habits from the get-go than it is to unlearn bad habits later. You may think you have found an easier way to play a chord or two, only to find out later that the way someone instructed you will work better in more complex pieces.

Structure Your Practice

Are you serious about learning to play guitar? If you are, schedule and structure your practice. Sure you can randomly search for YouTube videos now and then when you have time, but if you really want to learn the instrument you invested in, treat your practice seriously. Schedule and calendar your practice sessions. Even if you only have 20 minutes each day, the regularity is more important than the length of each practice session. Practice every day.

Divide your practice between practicing the songs you love, learning how to read the Tab, and practicing chord changes and scales. The more practice you do, the more nimble and strong your fingers will get.

At first your fingers will hurt. Your left-hand (or fret board) fingers which hold the strings tight against the board, will have to develop calluses on their tips. If you strum the strings with your right hand, those strumming fingers will also develop some calluses. Once the calluses are formed you won't feel any more discomfort. To give the calluses a chance to develop, practice regularly, every day if you can. In your guitar playing career, every time you take a significant break in practicing (more than a week or so) you may find that you need to go through the callus building part again.

Practice every chance you get. It's a good idea, especially for a beginner, to leave you guitar out in the open rather than tucked into a closet. That way, you can pick up and practice any time you have a free five minutes. You can also practice your chord changing licks silently, without strumming, as you watch TV or talk on the phone.

Practice both hands. Yes, you want to be able to change chords with ease, but you also want to perfect your strumming and picking. It takes two hands to play a mean guitar.

Practice standing up AND sitting down. You will want to be able to make music in many different situations.

Make sure you allow yourself plenty of time to just play around with your guitar, too. Strum and pick and try odd chord changes. Discover for yourself what sounds good and what what sounds you don't like. Play faster and slower and challenge yourself to include the more challenging chords. You are building strength as you play.

Are You Too Old or Too Young to Learn Guitar?

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In a word: no! Any one of any age can learn to play guitar.

For very young learners, pay close attention to the size of the guitar. Maybe you can rent a smaller instrument and increase the size as the child grows. Make sure the fret board is not too large for a child's hand. It can be discouraging if the guitar is too large and feels stressful to play.

Many older people hesitate to try something new, but playing guitar is something within your reach. It is a great exercise for strength and flexibility in the hands and it uses both sides of the brain. Take your time and practice frequently. If you get tired, you may want to schedule more frequent, shorter practice sessions. Start by playing your songs slowly and gradually increase the speed of your chord changes.


The guitar is a warm and personable instrument. There are few things more satisfying than feeling the vibrations of the instrument against your body as you perfect your chord changes and strumming techniques. And the guitar is a fantastic community building instrument. People love singing together and when you learn to play guitar, you can be a leader in bringing people together.

You can find lots of help for your practice online, and lots of resources for learning the songs you want to play. If you are serious, you will create a serious practice schedule and stick to it. It won't be long before you start seeing great progress. Check back here at griffhamlinbluesguitarunleashed.com for all your guitar learning needs.

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