I know when I first started guitar back when there was still console TV’s. I wish I new all the little guitar tips and tricks that would have made it so much easier. Then I would have been on a fast track to playing songs. So that’s why I decided to make this report of 57 beginner guitar tips you should know.
I bet your wondering how I got 58 Beginner guitar tips you should know. Well 58 must be the magic number. 58 beginner guitar tips you should know came from years of playing. If you are like me. When you first started playing the guitar. There is a lot to learn. How can you remember everything? Also, if you don’t even know what tips to look for. How can you start on the right foot?
This information is not top secret. The thing is when you start any new venture. Your not starting out knowing everything. So you can fall into some bad habits. Things that your not aware of until much later. When it becomes hard to retrain yourself to play the correct way. The good news is I have compiled a list. This list of guitar tips that has expanded over 30 years of playing. You don’t have to wonder about them anymore the answer is just a tip away.
1. How to Hold the Guitar at a Proper Angle
This may seem easy to do you may have held the guitar 100’s of times already. But there are a couple of things to remember. When you start out with any new thing. That you are learning. There are some basic techniques that once you learn make it easier later on. This is true when playing the guitar. Learn it right in the beginning so you don’t have to change anything later on down the line.
When playing the guitar you should hold the upper body of the guitar against your body. The guitar neck is at about 15 – 30 degree angle. This will make it easier for you to play the chords.
When the guitar neck is angled upwards. You want to have a good posture. Keep your back is up right. Your guitar if you are right handed is sitting on your right leg. Your strumming arm is on the top of the guitar.
Holding it against your body.
Your left hand is holding the neck of the guitar. A relaxed grip. The guitar should stay in place without you having to grip the neck. Your feet can be flat on the floor.
2. Have Your Right Leg Higher
Some people keep one leg higher up than the other. Your leg that the guitar is sitting on is usually up higher. Making the guitar sit at a more comfortable angle for playing,
3. How to Hold the Neck of the Guitar Up
The neck of the guitar should be at about 45 degree angle. Give or take 30 degrees. This will give your fretting hand the right angle to play. This is not a set angle, it will very. The main thing is. You want to hold the guitar at an angle that is comfortable. For you to hold and play.
4. Keep Your Elbow Inward
Keeping your elbow in close to your body. This will allow you to play chords easier. If you can remember to keep your elbow on your fretting hand, in close to your body. This gives your fretting had the proper angle needed to play the chords. Making it easier for you to make the chords. With less risk of muting any of the strings. Because your fingers won’t reach the strings properly.
5. Keep Your Shoulder Down
Another angle that will help when you are playing. Lean into the guitar, towards the headstock. With your fretting arm. Keep your shoulder down. This is not necessary on all chords. Some chords that you are finding difficulty playing. A lot of the time it is the angle that your hand is at. Causing the problem.
When you lower that fretting shoulder it opens up the angle. Making it easier to play. For example playing a barre chord. Your hand needs to be lower at the bottom of the guitar neck. If it’s not your not going to be able to make the chord. It is physically impossible. Lowering your shoulder allows your hand to get around, and allows the angle needed to play.
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6. Another Way How to Hold the Guitar – Play Classical Style!
If you hold the guitar like a classical guitarist it becomes easier to play. What I mean is a classical guitarist plays the guitar on the opposite leg. So if you are right handed you would hold the guitar on your right leg. But a classical guitarist holds the guitar on the left leg.
When you do this the neck of the guitar is automatically angled higher up in the air. This angle is good for those who are smaller. For kids, or adults with shorter arms. The negative to this is. You are sitting more upright, and you may get tired quicker.
7. Know Your Left Hand Posture -Don’t hold a Death Grip
Your fretting hand should be relaxed when your holding the guitar. Starting out you may think that the guitar is going to fall off your lap. So you might automatically grip the neck of the guitar. To hold the guitar in place. This is not necessary. If you grip the guitar like a shovel. Where your palm is flat on the neck of the guitar. You will not be able to play the notes or chords.
8. How to Fret a Guitar? Leaving Space on Your fretting Hand
When you hold the strings to play the chords. You need to leave room between the palm of your hand and the strings. When your hand is held properly for fretting. You should be able to see through at the bottom of the guitar neck and your hand. This will keep your fingers from muting strings. Your hand will also be sitting at the proper angle to make the chords. Click this link to see how to hold your fingers of your fretting hand.
9. Thumb Position on a Guitar
Your thumb on your fretting hand plays a big part of making the chords. Your thumb needs to be in position on the guitar neck so that you can push on the neck with leverage. So as to make the chords. Also the thumb when it is low to the middle of the neck this lowers your hand. When your hand is low you are able to make the chords. Because your hand is at a good angle.
10. Position of Fingers When Playing Guitar
When Playing the notes or chords. Playing on the tips of your fingers is a basic technique. One that will keep you from muting, and deadening other strings. When you first start to learn chords. You will find that you hear all sorts of noises. A good way to illuminate a lot of these noises is by playing on the tips of your fingers.
11. Finger Nails on Your Fretting Hand Long or Short?
Your nails on your fretting hand should be short. You can not apply enough pressure to hold the strings down with long finger nails. Your nails should be cut close to the end of your finger. So when you play the guitar. The nail is not touching the strings. Long nails will also curl back if you are playing the guitar with them. So best practice is to keep your nails trimmed.
12. How to Hold the Fret – Play Behind the Guitar Fret
When you play a note or a chord. To get the proper tone from the string. You play as close to the fret as possible. Directly behind the fret. Without touching the fret. If you touch the fret this will impede the string vibration. Preventing the string from ringing out properly.
13. Learn the Parts of the Guitar
As soon as you can learn the parts of the guitar. This will help when you are learning the instrument. Click the link to get a free PDF & learn the parts of the guitar.
14. Use the Proper Fingering when Playing the Guitar
There are four fingers when you are fretting the guitar that can be used. You keep them in their own area of the guitar neck. It makes playing a lot easier. Also by using the same fingers every time you will build muscle memory. It will become second nature for your fingers. You won’t have to think about where to place them to make the chord.
15. Stay Relaxed While Playing Your Guitar!
Playing the guitar is fun, and yet can be frustrating at times. It is so easy to get stressed out. Then before you know it you are not relaxed. When this occurs, you might find that you are holding the neck of the guitar tight. Your pressing down on the strings harder. Your having problems strumming as your wrist is tight. When you are tense you will tire quicker. Your hands will get sore. You must find a way to stay relaxed.
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16. How to Hold a Guitar Pick Properly?
When you play the guitar. If you use a pick. There is a right way, and a wrong way, to hold the pick. If you are not holding the pick properly. Then this can affect the way you strike the strings. Which intern will affect the way it sounds. You should hold the pick between your thumb, and your first finger. Look at the picture here. Holding it firmly so it stays between your fingers when you pick the strings.
17. When Picking Guitar Learn to Use Your Fingers & Pick
Even though you want to use a pick to play the guitar. It is also good to learn to use your fingers as soon as possible. Maybe you don’t want to play finger style. You can always learn how to “hybrid” pick the strings. Which is used when playing with both your fingers and pick. You will find that there are more ways than one to play the guitar. Don’t be afraid to learn new things.
18. How to Palm Mute With Your Strumming Hand to Mute the Strings
A lot of the times when you are playing. You don’t want the strings to ring out loud. To stop the strings from ringing out all the way. You can use the Fleshy part of your strumming hand.
Place the side of your hand close to the bridge of the guitar lightly on the strings. This technique takes a little bit of practice to get the right tone. A little bit of moving. Move your hand closer, and further away from the bridge to get the right sound.
You will have to also play with the weight of your hand against the strings to get the right sound. But once you get it. You will find yourself muting the strings more often.
19. Count to keep a Steady Guitar Rhythm
A no fail technique is to count when you practice. It may sound like a weird concept, but it is the basics of learning how to strum, and keep in time when you play. Click this link to learn basic strumming technique.
20. Learn Picking Technique & Never Miss Another String
Learn how to pick as soon as possible. With guitar it is best to start out learning basic techniques. I’m sure you have picked up the guitar and strummed it. But practice specific picking technique. This will get you learning how to pick the strings the same way each time. Not hacking at them, but picking them. Not missing a string ever. Then learn how to pick up and down for economy picking. Here is a link Beginners Guide to Guitar Practice.
21. Practice How to Strum a Guitar!
Learn how to strum in time. As aforementioned music is in time. There are quarter notes, half notes whole notes, sixteenth notes, eighth notes, and so on. Learn how to strum in time. Here is a Link to help you learn how to strum.
22. Best Guitar Practice is Slow & Methodical
When you practice you want to practice slow. Say your learning a song. In the song you need to move from a C open chord to the F barre chord. But the Barre chord is a new chord that you are learning. So it will not do you any good to go fast to move from the C to the F. It is more effective to break it down.
What you want to do is “Go Slow”. First place all your fingers in position for the C chord. Look at the chord, and where your fingers are placed. Then you want to move to the F chord. Slowly see where each finger has to go on each string. After you get that. Then you want to slowly go from the C to the F.
Don’t worry about strumming for now. You just want to move from C to F. Keep doing that until you can move, and get all your fingers in place with ease. Then you need to go from the F to the C. It’s going to feel different. It’s going to take time to learn it.
So you see anything in guitar takes time. But it is better to go slow, and break it down into little sections. It is actually easier to learn this way. Then you can speed up after you get it.
23. Use a metronome
Use a metronome to keep In time. A Great practice tool to keep in time. A metronome is a device that marks time. You can set the time that you choose. The metronome like a clock tics at the selected time.
24. Learn the Open Chords First
First chords to learn are the open chords. The cool thing about learning open chords is. After you have learned about 11 open chords. You will be able to play 100 if not 1000’s of songs. Here is a Link to a free PDF with the 11 open chords.
If You need to know how to play those chords. How to transition between them and learn much more take a look at the guitar bootcamp course. Click here to see what’s included
25. Learn Guitar Chord Charts
One of the best tools a beginner guitar player can have is a chord chart. This chart shows you where to place your fingers to play the chord. Which is simple once you know how to read them. Click this link if you need to learn how to read a chord chart.
26. Know the Notes on the Guitar
Every guitar player needs to learn the notes on the fretboard. Even if you don’t like Theory you can unlock the entire guitar neck. Just by practicing, and learning the notes on the fretboard. It is not as hard as you may think. When you know 3 basic concepts. Click this link to learn the notes on the fretboard.
27. Set a Goal When You Practice
When you practice you should have a specific goal that you want to achieve. It is not good enough just to play songs for 20 min. Although that is fun. You need to know what you need to learn.
Say you want to learn 3 new chords. Also you want to learn a new strumming pattern. Then you are going to practice some scales. Then for a little bit of fun you will learn one song.
So at the end of your practice you can measure how your practice went. Take account of what you need to spend more time working on. Don’t be afraid to use a recorder when you practice. This way you can have evidence of where you were, and where you are now. When you listen to the recording.
28. Practice Guitar Everyday!
The only way you will get better at playing is by practicing. The best practice is if you can practice everyday. The more you practice the better you will become. (Go figure). It is better for you to practice for 20-30 minutes a day. Than 1 hour once a week.
Do your best to find the time to practice. Even if your not able to play. Maybe your practice could be reviewing chord diagrams, or memorizing the notes. Even just holding the guitar when your watching the TV, and noodling on commercials. Practice!
29. Don’t Play Guitar Through the Pain
When you first start to play the guitar your fingers will get sore quickly. You are using muscles that you are not used to using. Just like any athlete you don’t start off running a 20 mile marathon. No you start slow working out your muscles. Then a little at a time working your way up to the big run.
The same is true with the guitar. You start off a little at a time. Then your fingers will get nimble and strong. You will soon be able to play for longer stretches at a time. But even then you still don’t want to over do it.
Stop, stretch & stand up. Take a break, then come back and play some more. If there is any signs of pain don’t risk injury. Stop playing for a while!
30. Learn the Major and minor Guitar Scales to Begin to Solo
Learning to strum is 90% of all the playing. The other 10% is lead guitar. To learn how to play solo’s and leads. You need to learn the Major and minor guitar scales. Click this link to get on the fast track to learning the pentatonic scales.
31. Never Give Up on Playing Guitar No Matter How Hard it Seems
Never give up on your dream! This playing thing is a journey. When you first start it is so exciting. First your excited because you have your new guitar. That in itself is exciting. Now you can play like your favorite guitarist.
First time you go to play you discover it’s going to take some time. You find that it is just like when you learned how to ride your bike. A little wobbly to say the least. But don’t give up!
Like everything you learn in the beginning it is going to seem foreign to you. It is going to take time, after time, after time, of playing that same chord. Before you finally learn how to play it; and it sounds nice this time.
Don’t give up when your fingers hurt so bad, and feel like they are bleeding. They will get calluses, and then you will be able to play again. If you don’t quit you may be that next Jimi Hendrix or Eddie playing that guitar for millions. Or at the very least you will be enjoying playing for family and friends. This is a journey and if you practice and never give up then you too can play the guitar.
32. Learn the Song Slowly then Play Guitar Like a Pro
When your learning a song. Just like all things with the guitar, learn it slowly. First listen to the song. Play different notes to hear what key it’s in. Then figure out what chords are in the song. In the same manner. Next you will need to figure out the chord progression, and the strumming pattern. Take it slow and enjoy the ride.
33. Keep Your Guitar Gear Out Ready to Play
A great tip is to keep your gear out and ready to play. This tip is for acoustic guitarists too. But especially if you have an electric guitar. If every time you want to practice you first have to get your amp out of the closet. Then grab your guitar, and get it out of the case. Then plug in and tuned up.
Before you can even start to practice. The odds of you practicing 20-30 min. everyday when it takes 15 minutes just to set up. Are going to be few and far between. So keep your gear set up. This illuminates any hassle and excuses.
34. Use a Capo to make playing easier
After you learn your open chords you will be able to play lots of songs. You will find that a lot of your favorite songs still have a few barre chords in them. One way to get around playing to many barre chords is by using a capo. Where the capo acts as the barre. Also it is easy to change keys with a capo. I recommend getting a capo, and learning how to use it. Here is a link for a list of some great guitar capos.
35. Store Your Guitar in Room Temperature
Now that you have your new guitar. You will want to keep it in tip top condition. One of the Top tips to give you is to keep your guitar in room temperature. To optimize it’s longevity and to keep it sounding good. The temperature affects the guitar. If the temperature is to hot then the guitar can warp. Conversely if the temperature is to cold the guitar can actually crack due to dryness.
36. Use a Guitar Stand
I’m recommending to always use a guitar stand when your guitar is at rest. Don’t set your guitar down on the floor, or leaning it on the neck. Where it can fall and get damaged. Use a guitar stand. As cheap as stands are now a days. Have peace of mind and buy a stand.
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37. Store Your Guitar in a Hardshell Case
If you want to take your guitar out and about, and you want assurance it’s safe. Then get a hardshell case. The case comes with thick padding inside so that if you were to drop or hit the case. Your guitar will not get damaged.
If you want to store your guitar for a period of time in a case it is a good idea. To keep it safe and sound. Also it will be in a case where outside elements. Such as dirt and dust won’t play a factor. To get a list of some of the best guitar cases click the link.
38. Use a Guitar Humidifier for Assurance
Your Guitar can crack due to the climate! The guitar is wood, and like all things that are made of wood. The climate can affect the wood negatively. If the temperature is hot then there is humidity. The guitar can warp, and come unglued. If the climate is dry then the wood becomes dry. When this happens the guitar can actually crack.
To keep the guitar properly hydrated. There are humidifiers that keep the proper amount of water in the wood of the guitar. I would recommend keeping a humidifier in your guitar case. You can even get a room humidifier for your guitar room. Click this link to see the best guitar humidifiers.
39. Keep a New Set of Guitar Strings on Your Guitar
When your guitar is new it will usually sound great right out of the box. After you have played it for a while you may notice that your guitar sounds a little dull. It won’t sound as bright as what it once did when you first got it. This Is when you will need to replace your strings.
You can take your guitar in to a guitar center or a music store, and pay to have your strings replaced. If you are going to learn guitar though. Replacing the strings is part of playing the guitar. Why pay to have new strings put on? When it is really easy. Click the link to learn how to replace guitar strings.
40. Clean Your Guitar at a Regular Interval
A good time to clean your guitar is, when you need to replace your strings. When the strings are removed you can get to all the nooks and cranny’s. To learn how to clean your guitar, and what recommended cleaning products to use . Click this link to clean up your act!
41. Practice Guitar Sitting Down
The best way to practice is in a comfortable chair. Usually one without arms on the side. So the chair doesn’t get in the way of your playing. I would not recommend practicing standing up. First learn to play. Then if you want you can learn to play standing up. Standing up is another animal all by itself. No matter how easy your favorite guitarist makes it look. It takes practice to learn how to play standing up. If you are looking for the best electric guitar amp for beginners click the link.
42. Raise the Bar & Learn barre chords
Playing a barre chord is just another step in learning the guitar. It is a necessity. Don’t shy away from learning how to play barre chords. Once you have been playing guitar for a while. You should have the strength in your hands to be able to master barre chords. The great thing about barre chords is. Once you have learned one form shape you can move it down, and up the guitar neck. Creating more chords in different keys. Click this link to learn barre chords.
43. Obtain Muscle Memory
Starting out everything seems foreign in your hands. It feels foreign to play. The more you play the same thing over and over. You build muscle memory. This is when you have the ability to reproduce an action without thinking about it. This takes time and practice. The more you repeat the same action the quicker muscle memory kicks in. This is why when you play you want to slow it down, and be as accurate as possible.
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44. Listen to the Music
A Big part of learning the guitar is listening to music. When you are listening to songs you will start to learn by ear. You will start hearing when the chords change. The down beats. Even what key the song is in. This takes time to learn how to play by ear.
The more you listen, take your guitar and noodle around. Just play a note and listen. Is it the same note that is in the song? Is the pitch higher or lower? If it is not the same note. Try another until you hear the note that you are playing. That it is the same sound in the song. Then go to the next chord. In this way you are training your ears, and you are playing by ear. This will help also when you want to sing and play guitar at the same time.
45. Pick the Note and Look for Keys
The key is usually the root note in the song. The root is the first chord in the song. To find the key of the song. Pick the different notes on the guitar and listen. Until you find the root of the song. The Key.
46. Learn the Guitar notes & Name of the Strings with Word Association
Some of the first things you will want to learn is the names of the strings. The strings when in tune inherently have a pitch when played open. The name of the pitch is the name of the string. You can remember each name of the string with word association. The notes are E A D G B e in order from the 6th string to the first string. Click this link to learn how to remember the strings.
47. Keep Your Guitar Tuned Up – Learn How to Tune a Guitar
After you get your new guitar it sounds great until it doesn’t. Then you need to know how to tune your guitar. If you don’t know how. Then your probably going to set the guitar down, and let dust grow on it. You also will need to know how to tune it after you install new guitar strings. Click the link to learn how to tune your guitar.
48. Start With a Good Inexpensive Guitar
The great thing about learning the guitar is the barrier to entry. It is so cheap to get started that anyone who really want’s to play can. A new beginner guitar should not cost more than $300. You can get one for a lot less too. The main thing is the guitar needs to be easy, and comfortable to play. Then you also want it to sound good. These are a few of the things to look for. To see a complete article on How to Choose the Best Beginner Guitar!
49. Play Acoustic Guitar in the Beginning
You should start learning guitar with an acoustic guitar here are a few reasons why:
- The acoustic guitar is easier to make it sound good
- No amp is required with acoustic guitar
- Electric guitar has to many variables (pickups & switches)
- Electric guitar requires an amp that has a learning curve of it’s own
50. Use a Digital Guitar Tuner to Tune Your Guitar
Get a digital guitar tuner. There are different kinds. But the one I like the best. Is the digital tuner that clips onto the headstock of the guitar. It works off of vibration. This is the easiest way to tune your guitar. If you need to purchase a guitar tuner take a look at the Gear Shop in the menu .
51. Use Lighter Gage Strings to Make it Easier on Your Fingers
A beginner guitarists fingers are not strong. They are not used to moving in the way that you are asking your fingers to move. This will cause your fingers to get sore and tire quickly. To make it easier on your fingers you can put a lighter gauge string on the guitar.
52. Take Drastic Measures & Guitar Lessons
Back in the day when I started playing the guitar. There was no online. If you wanted to learn the guitar you had to go to the music store. So much has changed with the advent of the internet.
It has become so easy to learn the guitar. You don’t even have to leave the comfort of your home. Truefire is the biggest resouce for online guitar lessons. You can get yearly lessons, or individual lessons. You can opt to get digital Down loads or DVD. Click to get the latest prices of the Truefire Guitar lessons.
53. Incorporate Guitar Exercises into Your Practice
Get your fingers limber faster by practicing. Here is a link for a guitar exercise to strengthen your fingers.
54. Use Backing Tracks to Practice Noodling Around
After you get some basics under your belt. When you have learned some scales. Use a backing track to play some improvisation. This is a fun way to practice and use your scales.
55. Practice with a Looper Pedal
A looper pedal is a “must have pedal”, to help when you practice. A looper pedal is a pedal that records what you play. It loops it over and over again. So you can loop a 12 bar blues for example. Then while that is playing, your playing over it with a blues scale. Or you can use 1 2 3 4 strumming down in the key of A. Then play over that. There are so many ways to use it. Click this link for one of the easiest loopers to use and very budget friendly.
56. Learn Basic Guitar Theory as Soon as Possible
You don’t have to learn how to read notation. But the sooner you learn the basic’s of theory the better off you will be. When it comes to learning the guitar. It will come together, and will start to make sense.
57. Have Fun Playing Guitar!
The most important thing is to have fun while playing your guitar. Don’t get so frustrated that you forget why you wanted to play in the first place. The guitar is a fun instrument to learn. It is fairly easy, but starting out it can, and will get frustrating. When this happens, I say when. Because it will.
Then just stop doing that thing that is causing your frustration, and practice something else. Then the next time you practice try it again. Remember to go slow this may make it easier to accomplish. Don’t give up, you can do it. Practice until you get it. Then when you get what was giving you the trouble. It will seem so easy. Just don’t forget to have fun. That’s what it’s all about.
58. Level Up Your Game – Once You Plato Learn the Next Guitar Levels
Your going to constantly have to challenge yourself. This is the only way you will be able to grow as a guitar player. Things that seem hard in the beginning. Like chords for example will some day be easy.
So once you have learned the easy chords. If you only play them that’s as good as you will be. What you need to do is learn harder chords. Maybe you need a challenge to learn barre chords. Then after you learn barre chords. Don’t forget the basic chords. You need to still play them, as well as the barre chords. Once you get them you will be ready for another challenge. Keep going it’s your journey!
Beginner Acoustic Guitar Tips
Playing the acoustic guitar for a beginner. Is better to learn on. It is easier than an electric guitar. The reason being, is you don’t have all the variables to learn. Like how to work the pickups and switches. Let alone learn all the knobs on the amplifier.
Even though the acoustic guitar is pretty straight forward. There are some things that make it a little bit harder to play in the beginning. Here are some tips to get you playing faster.
Because it takes more force on the strings of an acoustic guitar. To make the strings ring out. You have to press down harder to hear all the notes. This is always difficult in the beginning. Because beginner guitarists do not have strong fingers. Which brings me to tip number one.
Tip 1. Practice finger strengthening techniques to whip your fingers into shape. Practicing these finger exercises everyday slowly. Will build finger strength and muscle memory.
Tip 2. Learn to use a capo. This will help with barre chords that can be a little tricky. Again in the beginning your fingers are not used to playing the guitar so they are naturally not going to be strong. A capo allows you to keep playing the easier open chords. Only until your hands are ready to take on the barre chords.
Tip 3. Get a Good Practice routine, and practice every day.
Tips for Learning Guitar Chords
There are a lot of peaces of the puzzle to put together to learn guitar chords. From how to hold your hand to how to make the chord. Then the technique of chord transitioning.
Below is a couple of tips for making the chords with your fretting hand.
Fretting Hand Position When Making the Chord
Techniques to remember:
- Position your fingers behind the fret
- Play on the tips of your fingers
- Your thumb is in the middle of the neck
- Make sure there is space between the neck & your palm
For a more tips Check out the Ultimate Guide how to learn guitar chords.