Every one of us has at one time or another in our life, wished we could play the guitar. This is the first realization every beginner guitarist must experience. Just having the desire to play the guitar is not enough. It can not be a passing wish, it must be a burning desire, and the beginner guitarist must be willing to work hard at learning to play.
Prior to learning to play, the beginner guitarist will need a six string guitar, a couple of thin light gauge guitar picks, and lots of patience.
Before playing, the beginner should learn the basic parts of the guitar.
Strings – There are six strings on the guitar you will use for learning. All six are a different thickness, with the thinnest string being the highest pitch. The bottom string, which is the skinniest is known as the first string.
Frets – The small metal strips under the strings are called frets. Fingers are placed in the spaces in between the frets to play notes. The higher up on the frets, the higher the notes.
Neck – The neck is the long skinny part of the guitar where you find the frets.
Body – The body of the guitar is the large base and the most bulky portion of the instrument. The beginner guitar has a "sound hole" in the middle of the body. This type of guitar is called an acoustical guitar.
Head Stock and Tuning Pegs – the head stock is the upper most portion of the guitar neck and holds the tuning pegs. The tuning pegs hold the string and are turned tighter or loosened to adjust the pitch of the strings.
The next step is usually learning how to hold the guitar for playing. If right handed, the neck and strings are held with the left hand. The body of the guitar is resting on the right leg, and the back of the guitar is next to the chest or abdominal area. The thinnest and first string is on the bottom, closest to the legs. Hold the pick in the right hand with the thumb and forefinger. The pick should be held firmly. Get a feel for the guitar by practicing holding down various strings on the frets and strumming the guitar strings over the sound hole.
Beginner and Basic Guitar Lessons
Now the beginning guitarist is ready for the first lesson. Deciding how to learn to play the guitar is a personal decision that should be made by the beginner guitarist. To help in the decision making process, the beginner should consider the following:
Private Lessons – Although one on one learning can be a great method to learn to play, these lessons are expensive and must by scheduled at certain times on certain days. Once the beginner leaves the lesson, there is no instruction until the next lesson, so if the beginner has a question or would like to move at a different pace, they must wait for the lesson time.
Teach Yourself Books – A beginner that is good at reading instructions may be successful using teaching books, but most beginners will get frustrated and bored trying to interpret the directions. Also, there are no sounds to listen to, so the instructions are to vague for most beginners.
Video or Online Instruction – Some online or video instructional tapes or DVD's are cheep, frustrating, and down right impossible to learn. No one learns to play the guitar in "5 easy lessons" or in "30 minutes to playing the guitar".
The best instructional programs will provide the beginner with a variety of learning methods. The Guitar Home Study course "Learn and Master Guitar" is a good alternative to other methods of learning the basics and becoming an intermediate player.
We've written a detailed review of Learn and Master guitar which is worth checking out if you're struggling to learn guitar on your own.
This program gives the beginner 20 professionally produced DVDs, printed lesson book, "Jam along" CDs, online student support, and a 60 day no questions asked satisfaction guarantee. The Learn and Master Guitar program is the recipient of several impressive awards.