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The basics of Learning to Play Guitar

Updated on May 31, 2011

Is it hard to play guitar?

Learning to play guitar is easier than you think. Really the hardest part is the initial step to pick up a guitar and be motivated to learn the basics.

I have played guitar for many years, and have had people ask me to show them how to play. I have sat down with many people, guitar in hand and gone through the basics with them, teaching them a few guitar chords, like D, G, C, as well as showing them some basics on how to position their fingers

I think many of these people think that somehow their fingers will automatically know what to do, without any effort! After running through these basics with them, I encourage them to go away and practice, taking the time to learn the chords and get their fingers used to playing them. I say to them, once you have gotten used to those basics, come back to em and I will teach you more.

It seems like a few weeks goes past, then I ask them, 'I thought you were going to come back to me for more guitar lessons... have you practiced what I showed you?'

The answer seems to always be the same, 'no it's too hard, my fingers don't want to move into position properly'

Many of these people want to 'be making incredible music' from the start, not realising that you have to get these basics in place. Once you can learn the basic chords - A, B, C, D, E, F, G - moving forward from there is much easier, and you can start sounding like a real musician!

It's getting yourself past the first step that seems to be the biggest challenge for many who desire to play guitar.

I encourage you, as I go through this series of articles on learning the basics of guitar, to keep at it. Don't stop just because you don't sound amazing in 10 minutes. Take the time to properly work at the basics, learning the basic chords for the guitar. Practice them regularly and get your fingers used to the movements and positioning.

Once you learn some basic chords, we can look at strumming. However if you cannot even learn a few basic guitar chords, there is no point learning even your first song!

The starting point to you becoming an amazing world class musician is to be willing to take the time to learn your first few initial guitar chords. Practice, work at it and get your fingers used to the neck of the guitar and properly holding down the chords so that you can clearly her each string when you pluck it

I hope that this article starts you off with some motivation to learn guitar, next we will discuss some of the chords you need to learn and how to position your fingers on the guitar neck correctly for those chordsĀ 


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    • thekennymasters profile image


      6 years ago from Birmingham, AL

      You're really spot on about the 10 minutes a day thing... I wish some of my students would believe it! Of course, its taken me 20+ years to figure out that small increments over a long period like that are the best way to improve at anything. Somebody smarter than me once said "the best exercise program is one you're going to keep doing" and the same definitely applies to guitar as well

    • enjoy life profile imageAUTHOR

      enjoy life 

      9 years ago from Europe

      Hello ClareBaros

      Not really to sure where to Get that guitar Tab, but if I come across it, I will let you know

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      Thanks enjoy life. That's gonna take some doing for my next plight. Light repetition for getting it right. Gotcha. Smiles. . . Do you know where I can get some guitar tab for "Heaven Is The Face" from Steven Curtis Chapman? Or better yet, a YouTube guitar tutorial on it that I can search for. Anyway, thanks all the more.

    • enjoy life profile imageAUTHOR

      enjoy life 

      9 years ago from Europe

      hello ClareBaros

      Really it is a matter of the more you are willing to practice, the better your results. Serious guitar players practice daily.

      To be honest 10 minutes of practice a day can be far more effecitve than 1 hour a week, as the daily repetition will make you more effective.

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      Struggling, listening, okay, thank you. :) How long and how often should one practice for good results?

    • music love profile image

      music love 

      9 years ago from United States

      You make some excellent points about learning to play. Most people give up just before they make huge gains. I found that I was more of an improviser once I learned the pentatonic scale, which was very early. I think some people who have a musical background should start by learning what kind of music they enjoy playing. For me, blues.

    • profile image

      Cha Cahyadi 

      9 years ago

      Thanks for sharing it. Great info.


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