How hard is it to learn to play guitar? Any tips for a beginner?

I know a few songs by heart. Really short and simple though. "Smoke on water" is one of them. Anyway, I just want to have a way to distract myself and learning a new skill seems like the way to do it. Any advice?


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Most Helpful Girl

  • What type are you aiming for, exactly: acoustic guitar, classical guitar, or other? Any instrument is hard to play and the guitar is no exception. Whatever it may be, these tips will surely help.

    KNOWLEDGE
    1. Study music theory. If you know your theory, you'll be familiar with chord progressions and arpeggios as well as the relative minors for every major chord. If you're aiming to compose a song, this is VERY (as in) important. It will also speed up your overall competence as a musician.

    2. Read music. I recommend not to rely on playing by ear frequently when playing a certain song. Interpret music by reading "guitar tabs" or by the classic musical notation (the stereotypical notes, clefs, and accidentals). You choose.

    SKILL
    3. Get your fingers used in pressing strings ASAP. Work your fingering techniques with the first five major chords in the Circle of Fifths: C, G, D, A, and E. They're bearable for a beginner like you. You will get calluses, I am sure of that but that's the only way for your brain to develop "muscle memory".

    4. Learn how to use a guitar pick/guitar capo. They're great help for guitar players. A capo is placed on a specific fret (mostly in acoustic guitars) when a song requires it so.

    5. Optional, but if you're aiming for top-notch musicianship, use a metronome whenever you're working out on songs with time signatures. You wouldn't want your music to be off-beat! I'm a pianist so the metronome is basically my life when it comes to a steady rhythm. Also, I read music by musical notation so I am familiar with beats and their duration. I'm telling you, the metronome is a TREMENDOUS help.

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    • I'm aiming for the electric guitar but I am going to start on the acoustic. Thank you for your tips, they will come in very handy

    • Hmm, I would say that while music theory is definitely helpful, it isn't too critical on guitar until you start doing fast scales/runs.

      Major and natural minor are probably the most useful for the average song in my opinion, but those can be sounded out often as one writes. There's a certain kind of feeling that one gets when one plays out of the intended key. It just sounds meh.

      As for figuring out chord progressions, I find one can do that by simply thinking of a general idea in one's head and then matching chords to the head voice. (Or if necessary, hitting the root notes to the head voice and then building a chord by adding notes from the key). Types of chords are also just kind of picked up as one learns. In fact, the best chords I've found have been conjured up by experimenting with various unconventional shapes and such. (Half bars and dissonance ftw)

      I agree with the rest.👍

      Ahh crap, I just realized this post was a month old, but I spent too long writing this so I'll post anyway 😱

Most Helpful Guy

  • My general tips (from a person who taught himself guitar)...
    0.5) Before you even get started, you need to know technique. This means things like holding your palm close to your guitar neck when you play, how to hold your pick, etc. IT'S CRUCIAL that you learn this stuff, otherwise your progress will be severely stunted and may even stop, plus you could injure yourself physically.
    How to: Youtube videos. They have so many excellent starter videos on everything you possibly need to know. Watch em.

    1.) Start with learning basic chords. Start with the C, D, E, F, G, A, B major and minor chords. Being able to play these chords will give you more song playing, song writing, and essential building blocks.
    How to: Find a song that is simple chords the entire time and play that until you can easily play it without having to check your finger positions each time. Then find a song with different chords and play that. One of my first songs was "How He Loves" by David Crowder. I found tabs off of ultimate guitar and did that tabs.ultimate-guitar.com/.../how_he_loves_crd.htm

    2.) Once you got those chords down, start trying single note stuff and learning power chords. Power chords make up most rock songs and they are easy to play. I'd say most rock songs tend to have power chords underneath a single-string melody on top.
    How to: I found the easiest way was to learn songs. Really easy stuff at first, and then working my way up to harder stuff. Use songsterr. com. Basically hang out in the "beginner section" on the front page and play everything you can. This will help you be able to read tab too which is SUPER helpful. Along the way, you'll probably find new skills and techniques you can learn (via youtube videos) such as hammer ons/pull offs/trills/slides/pickslides/tapping/etc.

    2.5) Have a goal song! It's important to make short term goals along the way to help show how much you've been improving. It's a confidence boost when you suddenly are able to play song you weren't able to play the month before. My first goal song was "Drive" by Incubus. Too hard for a complete beginner, but still pretty easy song after you've played a bit.

    3.) Alternate picking and arpeggios is the next step. You've probably already gone into arpeggios, but if you are at the spot I'd expect you'd be at by this point, you can't play stuff like "Snow" by Red Hot Chili Peppers. I'm talking about using alternate picking with arpeggios.

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    • A good goal song for this step is Snow, but a good starter song is something like Eye of The Tiger.
      How to: Use youtube videos and also look up songs that are harder and would have it. You could dabble into the medium difficulty section on songsterr here.

      4.) Learn more advanced techniques such as harmonics/ pinch harmonics, hybrid picking (if you haven't come across it yet), and anything else you can find. At this point, you also just need to work on your past skills. Being able to do them is one thing, now you need to do them better than anyone else lol.

      ----
      How hard is it to learn guitar? I've played/learned multi instruments over the years. I'd say guitar is one that is hard at first to get used to (hurts fingers, feels awkward, etc.) but gets easy after initial progress. You just need to stick past the hard part for it to be a ton of fun. It's unlike drums, which is easy at first but then gets pretty hard after the basic beats are learned.

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    • Yeah no problem. If you have any questions about the process or anything, lemme know. I enjoy talking about learning instruments and stuff 👍

    • Awesome. Thanks, man :)

What Girls Said 7

  • One of the easiest instruments to learn how to play alongside the piano. Yeah, being proficient at it is something much different - isn't as easy as just learning how to do basic melodies - but that's what hours and hours of practice and commitment and motivation are for.
    I say buy an acoustic guitar first and learn from Youtube tutorials.

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  • I was going to tag @dangerDoge, but he's already got it covered. I definitely recommend anything he says regarding this matter. He's a pretty good musician. :)

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  • Practice every day. It's hard at first but it doesn't take long until you at least know what you're doing. When I started I was able to play a song I loved after about 3 weeks. I would say play what you like to, since you will look forward to practicing that way and don't stop playing when your fingers hurt.
    Good luck :)

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  • super easy, u just gotta start strumming. the hard part is actually sounding decent :P

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  • @zoooot I think he knows how to play guitar. Might be able to give you some advice.

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  • take a teacher or do it with youtube. They have so much stuff on yt nowadays

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  • It's not hard but you need to be dedicated

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What Guys Said 7

  • guitar is the easiest instrument
    first train your right hand with a metronome , set it on 40 or 20 whatever be easy for you

    https://youtu.be/4JH0Yj4ZzV0
    https://youtu.be/n8TIwGuxgv4
    https://youtu.be/XfUuCuWsGq8
    https://youtu.be/cJzOIA4-9HA

    then start with your left hand, dont do certain pattern but just train it like that
    1-frets 8 to 12 then 12 to 8 on the lower string (which is the highest pitch), then the same for the upper one, till you reach the most upper string
    2-do the same for frets 7 to 11
    till you reach fret 1

    master this, then anything on the guitar will be easy

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  • Once you know 4 chords you can play a lot of songs, they aren't particually exsiting however. My advise to you will be get lessons as quick as you can, self teaching is great but you can develop a lot of bad habbits

    Need any otehr questions answered feel free to PM me been playing guitar for 7 years so hopefully i can answer your questions

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    • Thanks, I will definitely give you a message if I am struggling with something

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    • The fundamentals are exactly the same, there is a difference in weight and guitar body shape. Electrics require a bigger inital setup cost as you have to get the guitar, amp and cables

    • Ooh yeah, tomsta does make a good point asker-- it can be easy to develop bad habits self teaching.

      For me personally, I found that the way to get over that was to watch a crap ton of youtube videos going over technique. Observing people play guitar also helps. It is best to fix the problems before they become habit.

      What is even better though is if you have an guitar playing friend (who is experienced) who can watch you play and show you what you taught yourself wrong.

  • Practice lots is the only advice really. It'll piss you off when it feels like your fingers aren't doing what you're telling them to but you gotta grow dem new neural pathways and muscle memory.

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  • Get the best quality guitar you can afford. If you do, you'll be more encouraged and feel better about the progress you make. The feedback you get from your fingers learning where to go will be the better sound and tone from having a quality instrument.

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  • If you are dedicated, it toughens your fingers up! Just like Bryan Adams says..."played until my fingers bled"

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  • It depends on how do you use chord. Maybe you should learn the concept on theory. You will use it vividly instead of being dead.

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  • Type "justin guitar" in google and you're good to go :)

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