Getting Started:
Learning to Play Guitar

Day One!

OK, so here we are, Day One on your road to rock stardom learning to play guitar. What is this hunk of wood in your hands? Where do you start?

You probably have a good idea of what kind of music you want to play. Who are you listening to now that really "talks" to you? Keep these in mind as you learn the basics. You'll soon be able to play the chords you're hearing in your favorite songs. Learning to play guitar chords is the starting place of being a rhythm guitarist. Rock on!

Maybe you're just trying guitar out to see if it's a fit, and you're not sure what to buy? What other gear you might need to get? The music stores all have nice shiny stuff, but where do you start? If you're not careful, you could end up spending way too much money on an axe that ends up being a nice conversation piece or worse - a dust collector. Get the low-down on guitar gear so you can make an educated decision.

Maybe you already have a guitar. Maybe the guitar wasn't your choice in the first place. Did you get it as a gift? Inherit one from your older brother/sister? Maybe your parents have one laying around and you decided one day it would be cool to try out.

Doesn’t really matter at this point - the point is you've picked it up, so let's get to learning something about it.

Before I send you off to tuning your guitar, I guess we should cover a couple things just so you understand how I've set up the chord diagrams - call these the methods to my madness. This page will give you the rundown on string numbering and finger notation so the diagrams make sense. Shoot me a note if you find anything confusing.

So here we are... You probably strummed the open strings, or maybe you've tried putting a finger here or there to see what it sounds like. How'd it sound to you? Good? No, not beautiful? Did the dog run for cover?

Well, what did you expect? You're guitar is probably out of tune! When you're learning to play guitar, proper tuning is essential so you start to train your ears. With some practice, you'll get to the point where you know exactly how the strings are supposed to sound when you are in tune.

Usually, if you don't have someone to help you out, your guitar isn't going to be in tune the first time you pick it up. It might be close to being in tune, but as you start trying to learn some songs, you'll notice it doesn't sound quite right. So let's start here with proper standard tuning.

One thing you'll want to learn early on is how to play guitar tabs, especially when you have a song you want to play. Tabs make it easy for beginner rock guitarists to learn songs quickly. You can easily find most of your favorite songs online in tab form. Here's a quick tutorial on how to read and play guitar tabs.

Another tool that will be helpful when learning to play guitar is a metronome. Metronomes hlep you train your fingers and brain to stay in time with the musi you are playing. You can learn how to use a metronome on this page.

Rock on, dude!

The more you get into learning to play guitar, it will be helpful to know what parts of the guitar are called. You may find that your guitar needs a little work to get a good sounding base tuning, and knowing some terminology will help you explain what you need to your friendly neighborhood guitar technician (tech). You can check out this page for common guitar anatomy so you get all the guitar parts right.

If you come across a word or term that doesn't make sense, check out the list of terms in our handy rock guitar glossary. What if it's not in there? Well, just let me know and I'll get you an answer pronto!

When you're ready, we'll get into more advanced stuff like buying a new (or used) guitar, different amplifiers and effects, recording equipment, different gear you might like, and the list goes on. Keep on the look-out of your favorite guitar heroes here, too. Of course, feel free to jump around the site if you need a little break from playing! You know what they say about all work and no play...

My goal here is to give you solid information to help you in your learning to play guitar and get you on the road to rockin' out sooner. But this is your site, too. Tell me what you need and how I can make learning to play guitar easier and more fun.

Here's some quick links to recap getting started: