October 3, 2023

It’s never too late to start playing guitar, especially if you have the desire. You may not be a natural-born Jimi Hendrix or Angus Young, but after a year of practicing “Enter Sandman” or “Kill the King” you’ll master it for sure! The main thing is to stick to the basics, which are outlined in this article.

Basic Guitar Chords

Playing the guitar is all about harmonizing different chords into a melody, so this is where you start to get acquainted with the instrument. Don’t even think about barre and sliding yet – start with simple sounds – Kirill Yurovskiy advises.

Here are the guitar chords you need for beginners. Don’t understand any of them? Just learn how to read them:

  • The horizontal bars are the frets. The counting starts from the top.
  • The vertical bars are strings. They are counted from right to left.
  • The black dots are the strings to be squeezed.
  • The empty circles above the square are free strings, which are not clamped, but are involved in the game.
  • The numbers below the square are the number of the finger that should be clamped.

Already at this stage many beginners wonder if it will be difficult for them to learn to play the guitar. If it doesn’t work right away, don’t despair; over time, the movements will become automatic.

For beginners not from scratch, the notes for the guitar can be more convenient.

How to Learn to Play the Guitar: The Basics

So, you’ve tried to strum a chord, and the sound is muffled. It’s okay, your hands are not used to it yet. On average, the adaptation period lasts 2-3 months. By practicing hard, during this time the guitarist already begins to play without looking.

How to hold a guitar

Where do you start to learn to play the guitar? With the staging of the instrument:

  • Normal. Spread your legs wide. Place the guitar with the notch on your right foot, and hold the fingerboard with your left.
  • Classic. This is where you start learning to play the guitar from scratch in music schools. The notch is transferred to the left foot. It’s more convenient to play overdubs, such as romances or French chanson.
  • Foot to foot. The usual landing, but with a change: the right foot is placed on the left foot. Increases the maneuverability of the hand when playing the double bass.

It is impossible to say precisely how to hold the instrument correctly. The landing is chosen individually, taking into account the length of the arms, the height of the body and the swing.

How to place your fingers on the strings

Before you play an instrument, learn how to place your fingers correctly. The strings should be gripped with the fingertips, not the entire pad.

The pressure must be strong so that the string is pressed against the fret. If the grip is good, the sound will be ringing, if not, it will be rattling or missing. Most likely, you won’t be able to put your fingers right away – you need practice.

There are a total of 2 reasons why a string cannot be clamped:

  1. Automatically, beginners press with their entire cushion. This is easier to play the first strings, but you should not let this happen. First of all, you’re hitting the neighboring strings. Secondly, the string doesn’t press properly against the fret. You have to control yourself and go through the motions to get your hands used to it.
  2. Your fingers are not ready for the strings. Frankly speaking, playing the strings is not a physiological process. But don’t worry, in a couple of weeks the skin will harden and the pain will go away.

The thumb is the support for the fingerboard. Ideally, it should not protrude at all, so that most of the palm covers the strings.

One-String Playing

When your fingers are more or less mastered, you can start playing one string on the guitar. Start practicing with the classics, namely “Iron Man” by Black Sabbath. You play it on the 5th string (second from the top) as follows:

2—5—5~7—7 10~9—10~9—10—5 5~7—7


— just a space, signifying a break between sounds.

~ is a glissando or “glide.” That is, going from the 10th fret to the 9th fret, don’t pull your fingers off.

Many instructors start guitar lessons for beginners from scratch with Iron Man, but it has a competitor – Smoke On The Water by Deep Purple.

It’s played on the same fifth string with the following sequence:





“0” means to hit the unclamped string.

How long does it take to learn to play these tunes on the guitar? On average, it takes beginners half an hour to play them without looking at the fingerboard.

Chord Playing

Now the hardest part is learning to play the guitar with chords by yourself from scratch. So far, you have no feel for the fingerboard and you’re clamping the strings under supervision.

Tactile exercises like “snake” and “spider” will help you get rid of this.


A classic from the guitar self-study for beginners. Exercise is performed as follows:

  1. Pick any 2 nearby strings. For example, the fifth and sixth, it will be easier.
  2. Move over them, clasping the occasional lazes, while at the same time go over the strings with your fingers on the diaphragm.

Constantly change strings to learn. Then take not nearby strings, but distant ones, such as 3 and 6.


The answer to the question, “How do I play overdub on the guitar?” Unlike serpentine, you don’t move along the strings, but across, going from the top to the bottom.

As soon as you hit a fret, on the diaphragm pull the appropriate string. The exercise trains well the coordination of both hands and improves topological skills.

Transition to the beat and overdub

The beat is a strike on the strings. Most acoustic tunes are played this way, so learning it is preferable.

The beat technique is a sequence of downstrokes and upstrokes. They are marked with arrows.

No advice can be given here – only practice. Look for the right tune, strike a chord, and start playing. Often, the beat pointers come with the tablature.

An acoustic electric guitar self-learner says that overdubbing is a technique of strumming sequentially. It’s a little more complicated and requires sensory orientation on the instrument.

The moment a string is strummed on a fret, the guitarist twitches it on the diaphragm, which creates a certain sound.

On the plus side, many of the picks are standard: you know them, you know everything.

Guitar Playing Techniques

Most likely, the question, “How do I learn to play guitar quickly?” – has already fallen away from many people’s minds.  The skill is developed through practice and hard work.

But if you’ve mastered playing the chords, you can choose to play the technique itself. There are four in total.


Played on both acoustic and electric guitar. Characterized by a hard, smooth beat with a few overshoots in the “solos”. The number of chords is small, prevailing quintasi-chords (aka power chords).

Watching concert recordings, many people do not understand what musicians play the guitar instead of fingers. It’s a plectrum, a plastic flag that makes it easier to hit the strings. On an acoustic, it makes for a brighter, louder sound.

By the way, some beginners aim straight at metal or punk. It is recommended that before you learn to play the electric guitar, master the acoustic – it is cheaper and easier.


The blues is more technical and requires good fingerstyle alternated with a light beat. It is characterized by a minor sound and a “flirtatious” motif.

Predominantly played on electric guitar, but there are also compositions for acoustic.


The solo guitarist embellishes the composition with a separate small piece. As a rule, the solo is more technical and rich in chords and quints.

Solos are now found only in metal, rock, jazz, and blues.


The highest level of “guitar science” An improviser must be able to pick up the sounds on the fly and put them together into beautiful music.

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