Getting Started with Acoustic Guitar: Your First Lessons

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acoustic guitar playing

You’ve decided to take guitar lessons and have started scouting for an acoustic guitar to get started on. Congratulations on taking this step toward becoming a musician! This is an exciting time for many aspiring guitar players because we’re sure you’re getting pretty pumped to get started with learning to play.

So what can you expect from your guitar lessons? What are you going to start with? Nearly all guitar courses – whether you’re learning in a class, via individual instruction or on your own through DVDs, books or online lessons– have the same basic lessons for beginners.

Preliminary Lessons

When you were learning to write, there’s a good chance your parent or teacher taught you how to properly hold a pencil. It’s the same with the guitar. Before you learn to make music with it, you need to learn how to hold it properly. And so the preliminary lessons for aspiring guitar players usually involve learning about proper posture and right way to hold the guitar so you can play comfortably.

Another preliminary lesson is about guitar anatomy. Knowing the parts of the guitar is important so that you will be able to follow instructions more easily. For instance, if you are instructed to place your index finger on the G string at the third fret, you would be able to do that without a hitch.

Other things you would learn in preliminary guitar lessons are how to tune your guitar, how numbering systems work and how to read tabs and chords. These preliminary lessons are what you need to learn before everything else because these would make learning to play the guitar a lot easier.

Main Lessons

Your first main lessons are what you would be learning in the next few weeks of guitar playing. The first few basic lessons include the following:

  • Holding a pick properly – yes, there is a proper and most efficient way to hold a pick.
  • Strumming techniques and patterns – there are different strumming patterns and techniques you need to know. Being able to do these will make your hands get used to the movement so that you can focus on other things such as forming chords and playing scales later on.
  • Basic chords – start with a few chords and expand on your chord vocabulary as you go along.
  • Chord changing and chord progressions – you will learn how to efficiently switch from one chord to another in a smooth movement as well as repeating this in a chord progression.

Milestone: Playing an easy song

Once you’ve mastered two or three basic chords and can seamlessly change from one to another, and if you can do a standard strumming pattern with a good rhythm, you can already try playing an easy song for beginners. There are many songs that beginners can play for practice.

For instance, if you know the basic chords E, A and D, you can already play songs like “Lean On Me” by Bill Withers, “Born in the USA” by Bruce Springsteen and ABBA’s “I Have A Dream.” Being able to play a simple song in its entirety is a milestone for every beginner, so choose a song that you like and look for simplified chords for it.

Those are some of the things you can expect to learn during your first few guitar lessons. Let us know how it’s working out for you. Have fun playing!