For whatever reason you wish to learn to play guitar – maybe you want to play in a band, you want to serenade the ladies (or gentlemen), or you are just looking for a fun hobby – there are several ways to begin learning. Even the most simple, basic tips can make or break your learning experience. The following articles will help lay a foundation, teaching you some of the most common and useful tips for learning to play the guitar.
In order to begin learning to play the guitar, you will need the following materials:
Guitar – Any guitar will work.
Pick – Any type of pick will work. If you do not have a pick on hand, use either your fingers or a hard card of some sort. However, when learning to play guitar, picks are a necessary investment.
Patience, and lots of it!
Next, you need to learn the parts of the guitar body:
Headstock – Located at the top of the guitar where the strings meet the tuning pegs.
Neck – Attaches the body to the head of the guitar. The strings are laid along the fretboard, which is glued to the top of the neck of your guitar.
Sound Hole – Found on acoustic guitars only, the sound hole lets the vibrations from the strings resonate within the body, allowing for sound production without electric hook–ups.
Body – With or without a hole, the body is where the sound is created. Most guitars follow the simple “hour–glass” figure with a cutout for higher notes.
Bridge – At the bottom of the guitar where the strings attach to the body.
Frets – Metal bars and spaces inlaid on the neck of the guitar. The fret can either be the metal bar or the space in between the bars.
A traditional guitar usually possesses 6 strings, but some variations offer 7, 9, and even 12 strings. Bass guitars usually have 4 or 5 strings and their string pattern is different than the standard six–string tuning. On a normal six–string guitar, beginning with the first string, or high e (thinnest string) and ending on the low E (thickest string), the strings are labeled eBGDAE.
Holding the pick:
Hold the pick with a relaxed grip, allowing for some movement. Most professionals recommend holding the guitar pick between your thumb and index finger, and curling your index finger inward (see photo).
As far as tuning is concerned, you will always need to tune you guitar before you play to ensure quality sound. By far the simplest way to tune your guitar is with an electric tuner, although you can also try finding a friend that will tune it, or reading our article on tuning by ear.
Now that you have all the supplies you need and you know the basic parts of your guitar, you have everything you need to move on to the next article, which will outline finger–picking and strumming your newly–tuned guitar. Continue on to Beginner Guitar Lessons Part 2.