How to Play Guitar A Beginner’s Guide

If you’ve ever dreamed of playing guitar, now is the perfect time to start. Learning how to play guitar can be a rewarding and fulfilling experience that will provide you with a lifelong hobby. As a beginner, it may seem intimidating and overwhelming at first, but with dedication and practice, you’ll be strumming your favorite songs in no time. In this article, we’ll guide you through the basics of playing guitar, from choosing the right instrument to mastering chords and techniques. So grab your guitar and let’s get started on your journey to becoming a guitarist.

Choosing the Right Guitar

How to Play Guitar A Beginner's Guide

Before you can start playing guitar, you need to choose the right instrument for you. There are various types of guitars, such as acoustic, electric, and classical, each with its own sound and feel. It’s essential to choose the right one for your needs and preferences.

Acoustic or Electric?

The first decision you’ll have to make is whether you want an acoustic or electric guitar. An acoustic guitar produces sound by amplifying the vibrations of the strings, whereas an electric guitar requires an amplifier for sound. Acoustic guitars are typically more affordable and easier to learn on, while electric guitars allow for a wider range of sounds and effects.

Consider Your Budget

Guitars come in a wide range of prices, so it’s essential to consider your budget before making a purchase. A quality beginner guitar can cost anywhere from $100 to $500, depending on the brand and type. It’s always better to invest in a decent guitar rather than a cheap one that may not sound or feel as good.

Try Before You Buy

When deciding on a guitar, it’s best to try it out before purchasing. If possible, go to a music store and test out different guitars to find one that feels comfortable and suits your style. Remember, the right guitar for someone else may not be the right one for you, so trust your instincts and choose what feels best.

Basic Guitar Anatomy

How to Play Guitar A Beginner's Guide

Before you start playing, it’s essential to familiarize yourself with the basic parts of a guitar. This will help you understand instructions and tutorials better and make it easier for you to tune your instrument.

The Body

The body is the largest part of the guitar, and it’s where the sound is produced. On an acoustic guitar, the body is hollow, whereas electric guitars have a solid body. The body also has a soundhole on the top, which allows the sound to escape.

The Neck

The neck is the long, thin part of the guitar that attaches to the body. It is divided into frets, which are the metal strips that mark the different notes. The upper end of the neck is called the headstock, which holds the tuning machines, also known as tuning pegs.

The Strings

Guitars have six strings, each producing a specific note when played. The strings are made of either steel or nylon, depending on the type of guitar. They run from the headstock to the bridge, which is where they are attached to the body.

Learning the Basics

How to Play Guitar A Beginner's Guide

Now that you have your guitar and understand its anatomy, it’s time to learn the basics of playing. This includes holding the guitar, strumming, and learning chords.

Holding the Guitar

When first starting, it’s essential to practice proper posture and holding the guitar correctly. Sit up straight with your feet flat on the ground and rest the guitar on your right leg (if you’re right-handed). Your left hand should be over the fretboard, while your right hand rests on the strings near the bridge.


Strumming is the action of brushing your fingers across the strings to produce sound. To start, hold the pick between your thumb and index finger, then strum down and up on the strings while keeping a steady rhythm. It may take some practice to get the hang of it, but don’t get discouraged. Keep practicing, and you’ll soon develop your own unique strumming style.

Learning Chords

Chords are the foundation of playing guitar. They are combinations of notes played together, creating different sounds and melodies. As a beginner, it’s best to start with basic chords such as C, G, D and A. You can find chord charts online or in music books, which show finger placement and strumming patterns for each chord. Practice switching between chords until you can play them smoothly.

Techniques and Styles

Once you’ve mastered the basics, you can start expanding your skills by learning different techniques and styles of playing. This will help you develop your own unique sound and add variety to your playing.


Fingerpicking is a technique where you use your fingers to pluck individual strings instead of using a pick. It allows for more intricate melodies and creates a softer sound. There are various fingerpicking patterns and styles, so try experimenting to find what feels comfortable for you.

Barre Chords

Barre chords are a bit more challenging than basic chords, but they allow you to play in different keys and add more depth to your playing. To play a barre chord, you use one finger to press down multiple strings across the fretboard. It takes practice to get the hang of it, but once you do, you’ll be able to play a wider range of songs.

Different Music Genres

Guitar is a versatile instrument that can be used in many different genres of music. Some popular styles include folk, rock, blues, and country. Don’t be afraid to try out different genres and see which one resonates with you. You can also experiment with different techniques and styles within each genre to find your unique sound.

Tips for beginners

As a beginner, it’s natural to feel overwhelmed and frustrated at times. To help you stay motivated and on track with your guitar journey, here are some tips:

  • Practice regularly: Consistency is key when learning any new skill. Try to set aside a specific time each day to practice, even if it’s only for 15 minutes.
  • Start slow: Don’t try to rush through learning chords or techniques. Take your time and focus on getting them right before moving on to something else.
  • Watch tutorials: There are countless tutorials and resources available online that can help you learn guitar. Take advantage of them and use them as a supplement to your practice.
  • Play with others: Playing with other musicians is not only fun but also a great way to improve your skills. Join a band or attend open mic nights to gain experience playing in front of an audience.
  • Be patient: Learning guitar takes time, so don’t get discouraged if you’re not progressing as quickly as you’d like. Keep practicing, and you’ll eventually see improvement.


Q: Do I need to know how to read music to play guitar?

A: No, you don’t need to know how to read music to play guitar. Although it may be helpful, many guitarists play by ear or use chord charts.

Q: How long does it take to learn guitar?

A: The time it takes to learn guitar varies for each individual. With regular practice and dedication, you can start playing simple songs within a few months.

Q: Is it better to learn on an acoustic or electric guitar?

A: It depends on personal preference. Acoustic guitars are easier to learn on, while electric guitars offer more versatility in terms of sound and effects.

Q: Do I need to have long fingers to play guitar?

A: No, finger size doesn’t matter when it comes to playing guitar. With practice, you’ll learn how to adjust your fingers to fit the chords and techniques.

Q: Can I teach myself how to play guitar?

A: While it’s possible to teach yourself, it’s recommended to take lessons from a professional teacher. They can provide guidance, correct any mistakes, and help you progress faster.


Learning how to play guitar is an exciting and rewarding journey. It takes patience, dedication, and practice, but the sense of accomplishment you’ll feel when playing your favorite songs will make it all worth it. Remember to start slow, be patient with yourself, and don’t be afraid to try new things. With this beginner’s guide, we hope you feel confident and excited to pick up your guitar and start playing. So keep practicing, and soon enough, you’ll be a skilled guitarist.

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