Are you interested in learning how to play the guitar but aren’t sure how to get started?
Playing the guitar can be a lot of fun, and it’s also one of the easiest instruments to learn. But if you’re new to playing instruments, learning the right chords and how to read music can feel very intimidating.
While you won’t be a rockstar after your first day, there are some tips you can employ that will make learning the guitar easier. Here’s how to learn to play guitar for beginners.
Learn How to Grip
Before you start strumming your guitar, you first need to learn how to hold it. While gripping a guitar may feel unnatural at first, you’ll soon get used to it.
Here are some tips for holding a guitar:
- Allow the guitar to sit naturally on your dominant leg (aka, let it rest on your right leg if you’re right-handed)
- Keep the neck of the guitar parallel to the floor
- Sit up straight and keep your legs at a right angle
- Set your elbow over the ridge of the guitar
- Don’t just use your fingers when playing chords- use your arms as well
- Make sure there is a lot of space for your fretting arm
Also, make sure you bend the knuckles on your fretting fingers. This will ensure that you play the fret notes with the tips of your fingers and that each note rings clearly.
Start By Practicing Scales
When many people start to learn to play the guitar, they begin with chords. The downside to playing chords is that you have to synchronize multiple fingers at once.
For beginner guitar players, this can present a huge challenge. However, if you start by learning scales, you only have to strum one finger at a time. When you learn chords later down the road, it’ll be a lot easier, as you’ll already be acquainted with the finger positions for scales.
If you’re interested in playing rock music, we suggest starting with the minor pentatonic chord. Later, when you start to learn classic rock solos, you’ll know all of the shapes.
Avoid the Death Grip
When you first start playing the guitar, you’ll quickly notice that pressing the strings against the fretboard hurts your fingers and is hard work. You’ll likely soon develop a wrist ache.
To combat this pain, many people hook their thumb over the fretboard. This inadvertently causes you to press the strings with the pads of your fingers, instead of the actual fingertip.
This is sometimes referred to as the “death grip,” as you have to fiercely grip your neck and restrict the reach on your fingers. Instead, you should place your thumb on the back of the guitar’s neck. By doing this, your hand will have to use your fingertips to strum the guitar strings.
By using just your fingertips, you’ll be able to play the guitar more accurately. While this may feel a bit unnatural and difficult at first, if you stick with it, you’ll appreciate the benefits down the road.
Practice Standing Up and Sitting Down
If it’s your dream to one day play the guitar in front of a crowd, you should practice standing up as well as sitting down. When you play sitting in a chair, you tend to hunch over and only pay attention to your hands.
But when you stand up, everything changes. For starters, you’ll find it much more difficult to see your left hand. To play standing up, make sure you have a good guitar strap. Adjust the strap to a comfortable length, and regularly practice while you’re standing up.
Always Tune Your Guitar Before You Play
Get in the habit of tuning your guitar every time before you play. Not only will this help you get the correct sound, but it’ll also help you figure out what the strings should sound like.
When you tune a guitar, pay close attention. Focus on the sound that you hear for each string, and say the name of the string each time you tune it. This will help reinforce your ‘ear’, and it’ll help you learn what each note should sound like.
Set Up a Practice Space
Setting up a dedicated space to learn to play guitar can be a huge gamechanger. Not only will it help you build the habit, but it’ll also encourage you to sit down and stay focused.
Even if it’s just a corner of the room, a dedicated space can be very beneficial. Not to mention, if you’re playing in a room with other people, it can be very distracting. Just taking 10 minutes to play guitar without any distractions can make all of the difference.
Also, make sure you keep your guitar in a safe spot so it won’t get ruined by kids or pets. Many people like to hang their guitars as decor/inspiration. You can view these wall mounted guitar hangers to do just that.
Create a Practice Schedule
While it can be fun to just sit down and strum your guitar, it’s still a good idea to follow a structured course and create a practice schedule.
With a structured course, you can easily pick up where you left off and trust that the course is teaching you the necessary fundamentals to progress as a musician. Doing so takes the guesswork out of, “what should I practice now?”, as you aren’t just moving from one random Youtube video to the next without really getting anywhere.
Learn to Play Guitar: Are You Ready to Start?
With the above tips, your guitar playing skills should progress quickly. Pretty soon, you’ll be playing your favorite songs with ease.
For more ideas on how to excel at your favorite hobbies, browse our blog.