How to Play the Guitar?

When it comes to learning how to play the guitar, you will probably find that the path to success is not what you think it is. Sure, you can learn to play three or four chords then entertain your friends and family members with a simple tune.

Does that mean you know how to play guitar?

The answer to that question is: It depends on your goal. If you started out with the goal of learning to play three or four chords so you can sing along and entertain your friends and family members, you are successful. But if you really want to learn to play guitar you have a long way to go.

It’s probably best to start with a very simple chord book or a book that will show you how to pick single notes to play a basic melody. But if you do begin to learn how to play guitar you must start with this thought: Don’t give up if you don’t sound like Eric Clapton after a few days. One thing that makes beginners give up too soon is unrealistic expectations.

Start building the strength in your fingers by playing single notes or chords that require pressing down on only two or three strings. When you want to learn to play guitar you need to build up calluses on the ends of your fingers. You will experience some mild pain in the first couple of weeks but it is important not to stop playing just because of a little pain.

If you have problems telling if the guitar is in tune, get an inexpensive tuner that is powered by AA or AAA batteries. Many of these have a microphone that allows you to tune an acoustic guitar. You can also plug your electric guitar into the tuner. Make sure your guitar strings are in tune so you’ll sound better! You can also tune the guitar to a piano. The standard tuning is smallest/first string – E; second string – B; then G, D, A, E.

If you can’t read music (most people can’t when they learn to play guitar) you can learn tablature. This method shows the six strings of a standard guitar and indicates which string to put your finger on, which finger to use and where to place the finger to get the required note. This is a great way to learn simple melody lines but it will also take you as far as you want to go in the guitar world, if you stick to it.

Make sure you understand why a guitar has frets. These metal strips on the neck of the guitar are used to determine the length of the string. When you press your finger down behind the fret the string vibrates from that fret to the bridge of the guitar. This is how you change the tone of the string.

If you pick the string without pressing down gently behind a fret the string vibrates from the nut to the bridge. (The nut is the small strip with grooves at the top end of the neck.) Don’t be misled by instructions that tell you to put your finger on the fret!! Strum the strings or pick a string with the pick or your fingers held in the other hand.

Practice these basic steps every day. You are now learning how to play the guitar.

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