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Beginners Guide To Playing The Guitar

Updated on February 3, 2016
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Teach Yourself Guitar for Free, It's Easy!

Can you teach yourself to play the guitar? Yes you can, and these are instructions for how to do it. Having someone to teach you is definitely easier, but if you are eager to learn, and up to the challenge, it can be done. Playing the guitar takes practice and patience. It doesn't happen overnight and as with any skill, practicing guitar chords and techniques is necessary to become a good guitar player. With practice, and after reading this page, I am almost positive you will be able to play a couple songs in a short time! Who knows, you may even be making up your own compositions in no time!

There are many famous guitar players who are self taught, so yes, you can self teach yourself to play the guitar too! I've set out the basics here for you, but there are also many books and DVDs to help you become a professional guitar player. Once you learn to play this wonderful instrument, you'll never stop strumming your guitar.

Learn the Basic Chords

The You Can Make Up Your Own Riffs

In order to play most guitar songs, you will need to know some basic chords. It will take some practice to be able to play and remember all the chords, but with a few hours practice you will get them. Once you have mastered these chords, you'll be able to make up your own riffs, or whole songs.

My guitar is not a thing. It is an extension of myself. It is who I am.

— Joan Jett

The Package That Started It All - Master Your Guitar

This DVD set and book helped me a lot, maybe it can help you too! I loved learning from this guitar teaching video as you can set your own pace. There's so much information and I'd estimate that's it's equivalent to paying for about two years of guitar lessons. Learn all the basics from using a pick, to how to strum. There are so many different music styles covered on this DVD - rock, jazz, country, and blues.

Gibson's Learn & Master Guitar Boxed Dvd/CD Set Legacy Of Learning
Gibson's Learn & Master Guitar Boxed Dvd/CD Set Legacy Of Learning

With 10 DVDs of instruction, plus a lesson book with over 100 pages, and online support you'll get hands on guitar lessons for both the acoustic and electric guitar. This is considered one of the best training programs for guitar on the market today. The online support forum connects with other users for problem solving and any questions that may arise.


Names of the Parts on a Guitar - Learning the Main Guitar Parts

  1. Head stock. The head stock is the top part of the guitar that's attached to the neck and this is where the tuning of the guitar happens. The tuning pegs make up part of the head stock. The tuning pegs allow you to change the sound of your guitar.
  2. Fret board. The fingerboard that the strings are pressed against. Knowing the fret board is important for chords and scales. You'll need to learn your way around it.
  3. Body. On an acoustic guitar there is a sound hole on the body of the guitar. Electric guitars have a solid body. The body of the guitar is the part where the strings are strummed.
  4. Frets. The metal strips along the neck. The frets are easy to get used to as each section on the neck is one fret. Count each one from the head starting with number one, then two, three, etc.
  5. Tuning pegs. The pegs hold the strings that are used to tune the guitar.

Names of the Guitar Strings

Notes on the Guitar

The names of the strings are E A D G B E starting from the thickest string on the left. To remember the names of the strings use the acronym Eddie Ate Dynamite Goodbye Eddie.

Anatomy of a Guitar - The Different Parts of a Guitar

Understanding Basic Guitar Chord Charts - How to Read a Guitar Chord Chart

Walrus Productions Mini Laminated Chart, Guitar
Walrus Productions Mini Laminated Chart, Guitar

A visual chord chart for guitars is a must for beginners. It's handy to have all the chords displayed for easy reference.


Guitar chord charts are a visual represenation of how to make a chord. They are usually simple to figure out. The diagrams show the fret board oriented in a horizontal position with the six strings and the frets. The thickest string would be on the left and the thinnest on the right. Here's a Free Printable Guitar Chord Chart of the basic guitar chords.

D Major Chord

The black dot represents the placement of the fingers between the frets and the string you would put your finger on. A white dot means the string is played but not fretted. An X means the string is muffled, or deadened.

Help With Guitar Chords - Master Common Guitar Chords

Guitar Finger Charts

Fingering for a Guitar

On a guitar finger chart the numbers within the black circles represent the fingers to be used. The fingers are numbered 1 through 4 with the index finger being number 1 and the pinkie finger as number 4.

Three Chord Guitar Songs

Many guitar tunes are three chord guitar songs that are commonly built around the I (tonic), IV (subdominant), and V (dominant) chords of a given key. For example, in the key of D, this represents the D major, G major, and A major chords. Learn these three basic guitar chords and you'll be able to play many easy guitar songs!

Guitar Riff for Electric Guitar - Scroll Down a Bit for Acoustic Guiitar

This is a riff for beginner electoric guitar players. It's actually very easy.

There are plenty more you can find on Youtube!

Guitar Riff For Acoustic Guitar - See Above for Electric Guitar

This is a riff for beginner guitar players. It's actually very easy.

There are plenty more you can find on Youtube!

What kind of guitar did you learn on?

See results

Do you play an acoustic guitar, electric guitar, or other instrument? - Or just leave me a note to say you stopped by

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    • profile image


      4 years ago

      I am learning the decision I ever made after years of thinking I couldn't do it...I find out, I can!

    • profile image


      5 years ago

      I play both electric and acoustic guitars, and to a lesser extent I play piano.

    • profile image


      5 years ago

      I play the harmonica, but it would be cool to play the guitar along with it!

    • Linda BookLady profile image

      Linda Jo Martin 

      5 years ago from Post Falls, Idaho, USA

      Yes, I play guitar and own an acoustic Takamine. When I was younger I owned an Ovation (one of the originals, made in Connecticut) but I gave that to my son who plays guitar far better than I ever have.

    • LittleLindaPinda profile image

      Little Linda Pinda 

      5 years ago from Florida

      I have a beautiful Acoustic Guitar that I need to start playing again. I haven't taken it out since we moved. Thanks for the reminder.

    • best dog shop profile image

      best dog shop 

      6 years ago

      i play yamaha bass myself :) rock on !

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      Everything I need to know to play the guitar :)

    • Melissa Miotke profile image

      Melissa Miotke 

      6 years ago from Arizona

      I would love to be able to play the guitar, or any instrument...

    • WriterJanis2 profile image


      6 years ago

      Very informative. You make it look easy enough.

    • hntrssthmpsn profile image


      6 years ago

      I've been trying to learn guitar, but all I've learned so far is that I've got stupid fingers. Still, my fumbling practice drives my teenager totally crazy, which is a silver lining. Payback's fun ;)

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      Really helpful for an aspiring player like me. Great links and overall very informative. Thanks a lot!

    • sharonbellis profile image

      Sharon Bellissimo 

      6 years ago from Toronto, Ontario, Canada

      My daughter wants to learn how to play the guitar, she has an acoustic guitar right now, but she wants an electric one. Not sure I'm ready for that :) Booked marked this lens for her to read. Thanks!

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      Good lens and a good choice of videos. For whatever reason, I keep getting drawn to the title pic! Love it.

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      Nice lens. like the information about the "anatomy" as this is usual missed in a lot of beginner tutorials


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