If you are thinking of learning how to play guitar or you have just begun learning to play guitar, it is easy to feel overwhelmed. With so many different styles of music, there are many different techniques to learn and play. Learning to play the guitar can be great fun as you can use this instrument to play anything and everything, right from death metal to classical and everything in between as well. While you might think that learning to play guitar is very challenging, but it is actually more approachable than learning to play several other instruments. All that is required is to master a few basics.
Steps to Play Guitar
Here are some of the basic beginner steps to follow if you want to learn how to play guitar. These steps will not only help you learn how to play guitar but also help speed up the learning process while teaching you many essential techniques that will help you learn how to play many wonderful songs.
1. Knowing how to choose the right guitar
Before learning how to play guitar, it is essential to choose the right guitar. There are two types of guitar. One is made of nylon, and one is made of steel. For those who are just starting to play guitar, it is best to start playing with a nylon guitar since nylon is softer and makes it easier to play as you do not need to press the string with that much strength. Choosing the right type of guitar will make your attempt to learn to play guitar much easier.
It is possible to purchase a good-quality nylon guitar for beginners without burning a hole in your pocket. Experts recommend that you should first learn how to play simple pieces of music on a study guitar, and once you become more experienced and proficient at playing, you can invest in a better quality guitar that meets your musical desires.
2. Begin by learning the names of Guitar Parts
While this is a given, but many people actually don’t pay attention to this very important step. They just want to jump in and try playing the guitar. Before you learn how to do anything else with a guitar, it is important to have a basic understanding of your instrument. Otherwise, if you are trying to learn from online videos, you will frequently hear them tell you to place your thumb on the neck, place your middle finger on the third string behind the fret, and other similar terms, and not understand what they are talking about. This is why it helps to know what these names refer to.
Remember that when you play an electric or an acoustic guitar, the guitar is simply made up of wood and metal with copper-wound strings that vibrate to create sound. The wooden body then resonates this sound to create the tones you typically associate with a guitar.
The strings of the guitar run between the headstock of the instrument, where they are attached to tuning pegs that have to be rotated to tighten and slacken them. They are fixed to the guitar’s body at the bridge. On an acoustic guitar, you will find that the strings are fixed to the bridge with removable pegs, while on an electric guitar, the strings are fixed through an eyelet.
The long wooden piece of wood you see is the neck of the guitar. The neck is flat on one side, which is known as the fretboard, and curved on the other side. The fretboard is further inlaid with metal frets that help separate and mark the different notes.
In an acoustic guitar, you will find a sound hole in the body from where the sound resonates. An electric guitar may have as many as three magnetic pickups that help channel the sound through an amplifier.
Learning the names of the different parts of the guitar will make it easier for you to follow and keep up with your lessons, which is why this is the most important step to begin learning how to play guitar. And there are definitely a lot of parts on the guitar, each having its own name. A point to note is that electric guitars and acoustic guitars have many same part names, but some parts also have different names. Try to memorize the names of the parts so that you know what is being referred to every time you hear these parts being mentioned.
3. Learn to hold the guitar correctly
Before you start strumming out music like a pro, you need to know how to hold the guitar correctly. Here are some tips to help you do that:
- If you are right-handed, you should play the guitar by strumming halfway between the bridge and the sound hole with your right hand while fretting the strings with your left hand on the neck.
- Sit up on a straight-backed stool or stool to play your guitar. When you have the correct orientation of the guitar to your body, the smallest string has to be pointed towards the ground, while the thickest string should face up to the ceiling.
- Hold the back of the guitar so that it is touching your chest and stomach and resting on the leg of your picking/strumming hand.
- You should most be holding the guitar with your leg and cradle it to your body.
- The left hand is used to stabilize the neck and fret the strings. Hold the neck in the V that is created by your forefinger and thumb, and now you will see that you can smoothly move your left hand up and down the neck without any hold-ups.
- In the beginning, even if you hold your guitar correctly, it is common to experience some discomfort as you get used to playing. Don’t let this discourage you, especially if your shoulders start to hurt along with your arms, neck, and hands. It takes some time to get used to it.
4. Reading Guitar TAB and Chord Diagrams
Even though it is possible to learn how to play guitar without learning how to tread guitar tab, chord diagrams, or standard notation, it will take you a lot longer if you don’t learn these. If you learn how to read guitar tab and chord diagrams, you will be able to speed up your learning and also straightaway jump into learning how to play the songs almost right away. So what are these exactly?
Guitar tab is the simple way in which the music is written. You can find guitar tab or tablature online for almost any song you want to learn on the guitar. Once you learn how to read this, you will be able to learn how to play the songs as well quite easily and quickly.
Chords are a group of notes that are strummed or played together to produce a beautiful sound. Chord charts are one of the popular ways for beginner guitarists to learn chords. Learning how to read chord diagrams is important if you want to learn a certain style of music that makes use of a lot of strumming and chords. Chord diagrams are an easy way of showing you how you can play a chord on the guitar. This also teaches you where to place your fingers on the fretboard to strum a particular chord. Knowing how to read chord diagrams will help you learn how to play some simple open chords. So even if you are not able to play a full solo song, you can still strum along and play at least the rhythm parts if you know the chords.
5. Start playing with the left hand for the first time
For right-handed people, your left hand will help you establish and get the hang of the chords and notes. A note is the minimum sound element, while as mentioned above, a chord is the blend or combination of several notes played together. Remember that as a beginner, you will need to a bit of strength to be able to press your fingers onto the strings to ensure that the sound is clear and clean. At this time, it is absolutely normal for a beginner to feel some difficulty in making their first chord as you are not accustomed to using your fingers for playing the guitar, and neither is your brain able to optimize this pressure and position to allow you to play effectively. With time, though, you will be able to master this technique if you practice regularly.
Another important detail is the positioning of your fingers in a ‘hook’ formation which prevents the fingers from touching the other strings accidentally.
While these are just very basic things to keep in mind when you want to learn how to play guitar, the most important thing to keep in mind if you want to become a great guitarist is that you have to practice every day. It is only with regular practice that you will be able to master all the techniques to be able to play guitar. Whether you learn from a teacher or through a learning app, it is essential to practice daily to become an expert guitarist in no time.