Beginner Guitar Questions often asked (Q&A)

There are a lot of questions people have when they get there first guitar. Like anything that is new, there is a learning curve. There is a lot to learn, and of course you want to learn things the easiest way possible and the correct way. I have compiled a list of frequently asked beginner guitar questions to help answer any myths you may have.

Here is the list of Beginner guitar Questions often asked:

  1. Am I too old to start learning the guitar?
  2. How long should i practice guitar a day?
  3. Where should I practice guitar?
  4. Is it better to practice guitar standing or sitting?
  5. What Should I practice?
  6. What is a good Practice routine?
  7. How hard do you press on guitar strings?
  8. What guitar chords should I learn first?
  9. How do you hold a guitar?
  10. How do you hold Guitar Chords?
  11. Should I store my guitar in a case?
  12. How to replace guitar Strings?
  13. What Guitar strings should I use?
  14. How do you tune a guitar?
  15. Will my fingers get ugly if I play guitar
  16. Can I stop my fingers from hurting?
  17. How do you clean your guitar?
  18. What to use to Clean your guitar?
  19. How do you hold a Guitar Pick?
  20. Can I keep my guitar in direct sunlight?

As humans we are very inquisitive. If you have some beginner guitar questions I know that you will find the answers here.

A List of Beginner Guitar Questions

Am I too old to start learning the guitar?

Your never to old to learn anything new. A lot of people have a love for music and guitar in general. You have this inner drive to learn how to play guitar.

Then life gets in the way! You get married, have kids and the rest is history.

But that drive is still there. Suddenly your kids are grown. Your work is complete. Meaning you finally get to retire. And now that things are quiet for a minute in your life. You have time to ponder and you wonder am I to old to play guitar? The answer is no!

You may still have that same drive, and eagerness to play guitar. Now is the time, don’t let another minute go by without at least trying to learn how to play.

Not to be a downer, but there is a high percentage of people that don’t play beyond one year. You won’t know until you buy your first guitar, and start the journey.

I say go for it! It is never to late. Although you may find that it takes a little longer for you to learn. You know for yourself that children tend to learn things a lot faster. They are like little sponges.

Most of my Subscribers on YouTube are older. And they are all enjoying the lessons. And learning how to play guitar.

You probably already know that when you are younger you can learn things faster. I know that cognitively you move, and think slower at an older age. But when you are learning to play guitar you want to break things down and go slow. Precision is what you are trying to accomplish. Also when you perform different things on the guitar, and practice you will gain muscle memory.

Which everyone who practices guitar will gain muscle memory. Whether you are young, middle age or older. It all depends on you. On how long it takes to gain muscle memory. Which is directly related to how much you practice.

How long should I practice guitar a day?

This is a great beginner guitar question. When you first start to practice guitar it is better to practice every day for about 15-20 minutes at a time. Pick up your guitar and practice for a little bit. You don’t want to over due it. Remember you are using muscles and ligaments that are not used to having a work out. So don’t over do it. Rest a while and pick up your guitar and practice some more.

You will get better faster if you practice every day for short increments. Rather than practicing for an hour once a week. Your practice needs to be purposeful and have a goal in mind. You need a Beginners guide to practice.

Where should I practice guitar?

This may seem obvious and you may think needs no explanation. But a beginner guitarist asked the question.

When you practice you should have a dedicated practice place. Somewhere that you will not be interrupted.

This dedicated spot needs to be free and clear from any and all interruptions. Such as Televisions, Phones, People, Pets

In other words you need a room where you are able to concentrate on your practice. You cant get a good intensive practice session if your watching the TV, and answer your phone. Just leave time in the day for practicing free of disruption.

When you are a beginner guitar player you may want to play like your favorite guitarist. Maybe that person for you is a rocker who slings his guitar down low and plays, running around the stage. How cool is he!

Is it better to practice guitar standing or sitting?

But to play standing up is a completely different experience. The position of your hands are angled differently than when you are sitting. To start out I would recommend sitting down and learning all the fundamentals, and techniques. Before your off and running around the stage.

It is better for a beginner guitarist to learn to play sitting down. And have a comfortable guitar chair that allows proper movement of your arms.

If you are practicing on a chair with arms on it. When you hold your guitar it may be in an awkward position causing you to be in an ergonomically incorrect position. Which could cause strains. Also you will learn to play your guitar the wrong way, and this is a bad habit. The Best Chair for Guitar Players: Studio, Gig, & Your Lifestyle that is ergonomically correct.

There are lots of things to work on. But I would start by learning 10 things every beginner guitar player Needs to know.

What Should I practice?

When you are a beginner guitarist the guitar is going to feel like a foreign object. So just even holding the guitar is going to be something to get used to.

Holding the pick, is another new activity. You may think it is easy and doesn’t need to be learned. But there is a right way and a wrong way to hold a pick. And not just holding the pick, but actually using it to strum the strings. This takes some practice to get used to. A lot of beginners strum way to hard, and hack at the strings.

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Also learning how to hold your fretting hand properly so that the strings ring out.

All these little things need to be learned. Then you can considerate on harder things like making chords, and chord transitioning. After you have learned the 10 things every beginner needs to know. Then here is a YourGuitarGuide Guitar Lesson to help with picking.

What is a good Practice routine?

A good practice routine would be one that is consciously timed. So that you get the maximum use of your time.

It should be about 20 minutes long. And you need to know what it is that you are going to work on.

Start with one basic open chord. Learn how to make the chord.

Strum the chord. Just strum down one time. Then pick the individual strings. er

When you pick each string. You are looking to make sure that the string is ringing out properly. If the string is not ringing out properly. Then you want to find out what the problem is.

Why is the string not ringing out? Is it that another finger is muting the string. Are you not holding the string with enough pressure? Find out and correct the problem.

Make sure you found and corrected the problem by picking the string and listening to it. Once it sounds good move to the next string.

Then you want to go to the next chord. Set it up and strum then pick the strings in the chord.

You may also want to find out what to practice on guitar.


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How hard do I press on guitar strings?

This is a great question! You don’t need to press down hard on the strings. Just enough pressure so that the string will ring out properly. Something as equally important is where you hold your finger on the string. So that the string does ring out and sound good. 

What I mean is your finger needs to be directly behind the fret. Which when I say fret, I’m talking about the metal wire that goes down guitar neck. The further from that the more likely you will hear a buzzing noise. 

Another thing is fretting hand technique. Once you learn the basic techniques then you will put it all together and realize that you don’t need to press down hard to make the note sound properly. 

Related Article: 10 Tips for Learning Guitar Chords.

What Guitar Chords should I learn first? 

There are different styles of chords from barre chords, 5th string root chords and 6 string root chords. Just to name a couple. But as a beginner guitarist first you need to learn the basic fundamentals. Then once you are comfortable you can start learning the open chords. 

There are many open chords, but there are 11 essential chords. With these 11 chords you will be able to play 1000 of songs. I cover what these chords are. How to make them. And how to switch from one chord to another. Plus bonus chords and more. So stop struggling and get the Beginner Guitar Bootcamp. 

How do you hold a guitar?

First off as a beginner guitarist you should practice sitting down. Now that your sitting; Most people sit the guitar on there lap. If you are right handed place your guitar in position on your right leg. If you are left handed the guitar would be on your left leg.

Keep both feet on the floor. You want to make sure your keeping good posture. Keeping your back upright and straight. The back of the body of the guitar should be against your stomach.

The neck of the guitar should be angled about 45 degrees upward. This will make fretting easier for you. Your right arm rests on the upper part of the body of the guitar.

If you are going to play classical guitar try this. A Classical guitar player will move the guitar over to there left leg, and play the guitar. The minute you do that you will notice that the guitar neck is automatically up higher. This gives makes it easier to play. The down side is you are sitting up straighter and you will tire quicker.

Or If you have shorter arms then you might want to play the guitar like a classical guitarist. 

It is always a good idea to use a guitar strap. Even if your sitting it will help prevent an accident. Such as dropping your guitar. A good strap will help keep it in the playing position. If you don’t have a strap check out our guitar accessories. 
Related Article: What Guitars are Good for the Blues.

How do you hold guitar chords?

Some of the Best chords you will ever hear being played. Is from one of the top blues men, and that is Joe Bonamassa. He now has his own line of products. Check it out.

This maybe one of the most important basic techniques to master. In order to play the guitar. It’s at least 50% of playing and sounding good. Of course the other 50% is your other hand. Your picking, and strumming hand.

If you don’t know how to hold the chords. Or more importantly your fretting hand. You will struggle making the chords sound out properly. 

A lot of new guitarist or beginners struggle with, buzzing and muting strings. All due to fretting hand technique. Which I cover extensively in the guitar Bootcamp course. 

Here are a couple of tips: 1. Play on the Tips of your fingrs. 2. Play behind the fretboard. Leave Room at the Bottom of the Neck. Check out the course Guitar Bootcamp it will change how you play guitar.

How do you hold a guitar pick?

Things that seemingly simple and should be self explanatory sometimes are not.

If you have never played guitar why would you know how to hold the pick properly? Some people start off playing and holding the pick the right way. Then others take on a bad habit. And believe me when you learn something the wrong way. It is twice as hard to drop the bad habit and do it the right way.

Some people hold the pick between there thumb and index finger, but at the first knuckle. This is a bad habit. And don’t find yourself making this mistake.

Related Article: How do you play guitar with a pick.

At first it may seem easy or comfortable to hold the pick at your first knuckle. And maybe you might even be able to strum that way. But when it comes down to the finite picking that you are going to do. It is impposible to pick the strings that way.

Others use there thumb and second finger to hold the pick. WRONG! Take a look at how to hold the pick below.

My advice is to learn it right the first time. The correct way to hold the pick is between your thumb and index finger. He re is a link that explains it more in-depth.

How to replace guitar strings?

When you first start playing the guitar replacing the strings is probably the last thing on your mind.

You can actually take your guitar to Guitar Center or a local music store. And they will replace the strings for you. But I have found that this is quite pricey. I recommend learning how to replace the strings yourself. It really isn’t that difficult.

First off you don’t want to remove all the guitar strings at the same time. That makes is more complicated, and you will be releasing the tension on the neck all at the same time and this could cause a problem with the neck.

Related Article: When Changing Guitar Strings do You Change One at a Time?

So start with the 6th string. Which is the thickest string and work your way down to the first strings. When you replace the strings you will need a couple of tools to get the Job done. Like a string winder, a Guitar Tuner, and wire cutters. Now what you need is a Detailed step by step how to replace guitar strings.

What Guitar strings should I use?

That’s a great question and one that deserves a great answer. This would depend what kind of guitar you are restringing. Whether you are playing an acoustic, electric or a classical guitar. The string gauge and material is different on each. Just in case your curious; Here is a link to see what are electric strings are made of and how they are made.

Since you are just starting out and your hands are not as strong. The best thing to do is go with a lighter gauge guitar string. This will make it easier to play the notes and hold the chords down. If you want to learn about the “Gauge” of strings, and what that means. Take a look at How to choose Guitar Strings.

Here are some lighter gauge strings to try:

  • Acoustic strings 11’s
  • Electric Strings 9’s
  • Classical strings

My Martin guitar is strung with 10’s, and 11’s on my parlor guitar. I also use 10’s on my electric guitar. My go to strings are D’Addario and Martin strings. See related Article: guitar strings for acoustic & electric guitars.

How do you tune a guitar?

Kinda like owning a car or motor bike. There are certain things you will want to know how to do. So that you can maintain your instrument.

And knowing how to tune your guitar is one of them. There are two ways to tune your guitar. One is the old fashion way and that is by ear. The more modern way is with a guitar tuner. Which is quicker and more precise. although I recommend learning how to tune your guitar by ear. And then with a tuner. This way no matter where you are, even if you are without a tuner. You will be able to tune your guitar.

Once you learn the basics of how to tune your guitar without a tuner. You will have the ability to tune any guitar at anytime.

Now that you have learned the principles of tuning your guitar see how to tune it with a tun

A Helpful Tip: Tune your guitar every time before you play it. Also tune your guitar after you have used a capo. The capo tends to knock the guitar out of tune.

Related Article: Do Locking Tuners Keep Guitar Tune.

Will my fingers get ugly if I play guitar

Your fingers will look different the more you play. I have seen people that they play a lot of finger style playing, and in particular bass picking with their thumb. There thumb is constantly slapping the 6th string. And there thumb now is almost the shape of an index finger.

The more you play your fingers will become more muscular, and take on a different look.

When you play guitar in the beginning you will get sore fingers. And your fingers will feel like they are going to bleed. This is a normal thing that every guitar player including myself. Has had to over come.

The more you play the tips of your fingers will get a hardening of skin. This is called a calluses. And then after you get ca on calluses on your fingers. You don’t feel as much pain.

You will find that if you don’t practice this hardening of the skin goes away. I’m not a doctor, but maybe the old is replaced with new skin. In any case you will start over with fresh skin and pain. So keep up the practice and be pain free.

This hardening of the skin is not a pretty look. Also your finger nails could become warn on your strumming hand. This would depend on how you are strumming. Here is a link to a post to help you protect your fingers.


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Can I stop my fingers from hurting?

Before you get calluses on the tips of your fingers. Which is thickening of the skin. Every guitar player goes through the pain of playing guitar. This is an inevitable and painful hurdle to over come. But if you stick with it you too will over come the hardening of the skin on the tips of your fingers.

Until that happens though what can you do to alleviate the pain? There is no magic bullet, but you could use nylon strings instead of steel. They will be softer on your fingers. But then when you do finally go back to steel strings you will have to toughen your fingers up at that time.

Another thing to do is stop playing once you feel the pain. You like all guitarist are going to get grooves in your fingers from the strings. This is normal! When you feel the pain, STOP! and set your guitar down for a little bit.

Then come back to it, and try playing again. Eventually you will build up calluses, and won’t even remember that playing the strings hurt.

And while on the subject of pain. Just a quick side note. When you are playing your guitar you are using muscles and ligaments that you don’t normal use. And they are going to get tired quickly. Just as if you were training to run a marathon. You take it slow. You don’t try to run 20 miles the first day. Same with the guitar take it slow. And if you feel any pain Stop!

What to use to Clean your guitar?

Now that you have your nice new guitar you are going to want to keep it in tip top condition. There are lots of products to use to clean your guitar. If you have a gloss finish you might want to polish it too.

You can clean the fretboard. Sand the frets, and polish the body. What is the best products to use? Take a look at the list of the Best Maintenance Products.

You will need some tools, clothes and cleaning products. The best time to clean your guitar is if you are replacing your strings. When you take the strings off then you have complete access to the fretboard. Click to see the price of a Guitar string tool kit on Amazon.

DAddario guitar cleaning kit has everything you need. First off you get a polishing polish. Then a fretboard cleaner. A special microfiber cleaning cloth. And fret polish. In this all in kit you also get a guitar head stand and a mat that is non slip t protect the guitar while your cleaning it. Every product you need to clean your guitar. Oh and it is all in a nice zip up carrying case. Click to see the price on Amazon.

All Instruments including guitar. All levels and Any age group. Self paced, step by step video courses. LEARN More >>

How do you clean your guitar?

You will need a couple of tools to make this process easier. A maintenance kit to replace Guitar strings would do the job. After you have removed the guitar strings place your guitar on a table. So that it is flat. It is best to use a non slip cloth to keep your guitar in place, and prevent possibly scratching it. Also if you have a guitar headstand to hold the guitar in place you will be ready to start the job.

  1. Remove guitar strings.
  2. Use a cotton cloth moistened with water. Work down the neck.
  3. Clean the frets using steel wool.
  4. Clean up nicks from frets with a fret eraser.
  5. Then clean bridge and fretboard with conditioner
  6. Use oil to clean the hardware.
  7. Polish the finish.

If this is your first experience cleaning a guitar. Take a look at this step by step how to clean a guitar.

Should I store my guitar in a case?

 It is a good idea to keep it secure in a case. This will keep it dust free, dirt free and safe from accidents. If you don’t have a guitar case go ahead and Review the post Best guitar cases. The top rated recommend cases.

In addition it would be beneficial to have a guitar case humidifier. A humidifier keeps the correct amount of humidity in the case and in your guitar.

A guitar needs a proper amount of humidity to keep your guitar from cracking or coming unglued. Like all wood it reacts to the climate.

Can I keep my guitar in direct sunlight?

This question “can you”, is not a good question. Because it should be “Should you”. What I mean is yes you could keep it in direct sunlight. But there are consequences for keeping your guitar in direct sunlight.

Your guitar is made of wood and the peaces are glued together. Wood reacts to weather conditions and tempretures. When you keep your guitar in a hot temperature you can warp the guitar.

It will also dry out and when the wood drys out it becomes brittle and can crack.

Not to mention if the guitar gets too hot then the glue will melt and get sticky. This will cause peaces to become unglued.

I recommend keeping your guitar in a case at room temperatures and hydrated. Which means with a hydration system see my recommendations for the Best Guitar Humidifiers.

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Related Questions

How Often Should a Beginner Practice Guitar?

A beginner should practice every day for about 20 min. at a time. This practice should be concentrated and have a goal in mind. So that you know what you are going to practice. You should keep track of what it is that you are practicing. Also to see your progress you can record what it is you are practicing. Then you can play it back at a later date, and see how you have progressed.

Or listen to what you practiced and see where you need to improve. The tape don’t lie.

Can Anyone Learn the Guitar?

Yes, anyone can learn the guitar. What you need is some good instruction. And the desire to learn to play. Because in the beginning there is a lot to overcome. As far as basic techniques. It’s like a lot of things that are new. Like riding a bike in the beginning it is very frustrating and some times overwhelming. But if you stick with it the next thing you know you are riding the bike. A good way to start is with online lessons. You can learn and practice anywhere and anytime.

How Long Does it Take to Learn Chords on Guitar?

This is a good beginner guitar question. And the answer is it depends. Learning chords is really difficult. There is a lot that goes into it. From technique to memorizing how the chord goes. It can be quite frustrating.

Here are some tips to make learning the chords on guitar easier. First off you want to start slow. Take one chord at a time. Say for example the E minor. Which is an easy chord as you only have to remember two fingers.

But what you want to do is use a chord chart. This will show you how to play the chord. Next you need to have some fretting hand technique. Which is in this link guitar technique and finger strengthening.

Then you take the chord and strum it. Then pick each string. When you pick the strings you want to listen. And what you are listening for is to the sound of the string. You want to make sure it is ringing out properly. If it is move to the next chord.

so when you go to the next chord. Say the D chord. Now you have three fingers to worry about. What fingers go where. in the beginning of course you need a chord chart to know where to place your fingers. But as time goes on you are going to want to remember where your fingers go. On what string. There are techniques to help remember this. To help you I wrote The Ultimate Guide How to Learn Guitar Chords.


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