Person strumming on guitar

How to Play Guitar for Beginners: Start off Simple

From Beginner Chords to Stairway to Heaven 

While it’s possible to learn how to play guitar on your own by learning basic chords before moving onto tabs, the vast majority of successful musicians started out with formal guitar lessons. If you have dreams of becoming a musician and you want to learn how to play guitar, an important step along the way will be to select a good teacher.

Price is an important consideration, but it’s far from the only thing you need to pay attention to if you want to learn how to play guitar. To get the most from your guitar lessons, you’ll need to find an instructor who has as much passion for teaching as he or she does for music.

Tips for Choosing a Guitar Instructor

Here are some things to keep in mind when you’re shopping around for guitar lessons:

  • Choose your shopping sources. Are you more likely to have faith in a random ad tacked to a bulletin board in a coffee shop, or in one that’s printed in a local music magazine?
  • Consider value, not just price. As you shop, you’ll start to get a sense of the average per-hour cost of guitar lessons. If an instructor’s rate is high, it may still be worth it if he or she has extensive teaching experience or formal training. Look at what you’re getting for your money, not just the bottom line.
  • Request an introductory lesson. Rapport is important when it comes to a music teacher, so a no-obligation first lesson is a very good idea. Many instructors even offer the first lesson free of charge.
  • Stick with a style. Acoustic guitar, rock guitar, classical guitar, blues guitar, jazz guitar… they’re all very different. If you have a particular style in mind, look for an instructor that specializes in teaching that style.

Follow Up on Your Guitar Lessons

To get the most from your guitar lessons, practicing on your own in extremely important. The same is true if you’re trying to learn to play piano or any other musical instrument.

Your teacher should provide you with guitar sheet music so you can play songs on your own, or direct you to a source where you can download and print guitar tabs of your choice. You should practice as much as you can if you’re serious about learning to play guitar, though seasoned musicians often say that practicing an hour a day will rapidly lead to improved proficiency.