How Best to Learn a Guitar if You Are a Beginner

How to Play the Guitar for Beginners

If learning to play the guitar, or any instrument for that matter, is something you think you’d like to pursue, then it is imperative that you give yourself the best chance for success before you even begin.  And this means either hiring a personal teacher/instructor or making use of the many online resources available for learning this skill.

The easiest way to learn guitar is to start at the basics.  Like any learned skill, you can’t learn to run before you learn to stand and walk.  Learning a musical instrument is obviously no different.  There are basics which have to be learned and become familiar before you can tackle some of the more advanced techniques and practices.

How to Play Acoustic Guitar

The guitar (and stringed instruments in general) is a unique instrument in the sense that, like a piano, you can play both chords and single-line melodies, unlike many wind instruments, which can only play one note at a time.  Unlike the piano, however, the physical shape of all the chords or chord voicings never changes as you change keys or locations on the fretboard.  The piano, by contrast, because of its black and white keys, forces the player to change the hand shape when moving from one key to another.  For the guitar player, this makes it a bit easier.

Unlike a piano, however, any single note/pitch on a guitar can be played on several different strings (of which there are 6 on a guitar).  On a piano, there is only one instance of each note/pitch.  This is both an advantage and a disadvantage for the guitar player.  The advantage is that you don’t have to jump all over the place to reach the next note and also allows for some really beautiful and exotic chord voicings.

If your desire is to learn how to play the guitar by yourself, then the best way at present is probably either to hire a personal instructor if you have the resources to do so, or to use one of the several online courses available.  There are courses designed for beginners and others designed for more advanced players.  If you’ve hired a teacher, then obviously they will tailor their teaching to your particular skill level and preferences for the style you’d like to learn.

Books can be a good source of instruction also but in my opinion it’s easier to stay focused and motivated having a video instructor actually showing how to do something rather than just a written description describing how to do something.  Books are great as an addition to the videos but generally you’ll get more bang for your buck from the videos or a combination of the two.

The guitar is such a versatile instrument and is portable as well.  This is one of the reasons it’s so popular.  A piano is a magnificent instrument as will but you can’t really pack a piano in a case and take it to a party, a street corner, or even a beach.  With a guitar, you can walk into any open-mike night, open your case, take out your guitar, and assuming you’ve learned anything from the things you’ve studied, you could actually pull off a good performance.


If you’re looking for online guitar lessons, then check out my site for some great reviews of online courses.