How To Play Guitar
If you want to know how to play guitar, you're not alone. Many music enthusiasts pick up the guitar for the first time every day and, with practice, are creating original compositions within weeks or even days. Of course, learning how to play guitar takes time, practice, and dedication. That being said, there are a few factors for all new guitarists to keep in mind in the beginning.
To play guitar, you will need:
- Acoustic guitar, or
- Electric guitar with amplifier
- Hold the guitar properly. Knowing how to play guitar involves an understanding of how to handle a guitar properly. Sit up straight, resting the guitar over your right thigh so that it rests comfortably and is perpendicular to your leg. Of course, if you're playing a left-handed guitar, the guitar will rest on your left knee rather than the right. Place your chord-fingering hand (for right-handed guitarists, this is the left hand) under the guitar's neck so that the bottom of the neck rests in the lower portion of your palm. Be sure you don't slouch as this will make it harder to change chord fingerings and risks development of bad posture habits while playing.
- Learn how to tune up. To tune your guitar, place a finger on the fifth fret and over the lowest string. This is the fifth fret when counting from the headstock of the guitar. Pluck this string and the next string at the same time, leaving the next string in the open position. Adjust the tuners as necessary until both strings emit the same pitch when played in this fashion. Repeat this process for each string, moving your finger from the fifth fret to the fourth fret when it is on the third string from the bottom. Return your finger to the fifth fret when tuning the last two strings. This method of tuning is used when an electronic tuner is unavailable. Those learning how to play guitar should practice tuning this way and double check with an electronic tuner to see how accurate they are.
- Learn the open chords. After you are holding the guitar properly, you will need to learn some basic chords. The simplest and most useful chords for a beginner are the open chords, and people learning how to play guitar for the first time nearly always learn these first. Chord fingering books show these chords by way of tablature sheets. Learning the open chords will open up many doors to you as a guitarist, and you will be able to start writing original material as soon as you have mastered them. The open chords are also excellent for beginners learning how to play guitar because their various positions help you develop strength in your fingers.
- Practice every day. Nobody ever figured out how to play guitar after just a few hours with one, and consistent practice is necessary if you are to build skill as a guitar player. Holding the guitar properly, tuning, and playing the open chords repeatedly will only help you become better at the guitar if you practice every day until you have mastered them. While frequent practice will be uncomfortable and cause minor aches in your fingers for a few weeks, the more often you do it, the more quickly the pain will subside. Learning how to play guitar and play it well are certainly worth the growing pains they entail, after all.