Teach yourself guitar with this cool online guitar lesson. Printable basic guitar chord charts and a guitar video lesson are included. The video's further down the page, but I suggest reading through all the material first. This is especially important as you'll be teaching yourself how to play guitar.
sidenote: You'll need Adobe Reader (the latest version is recommended) installed on your computer in order to open it. You can get Adobe Reader here (a new window will open so you can download it without leaving this page).
If you want to open the file in your browser window, just click on the link. However, if you want to download the file to view later, then right-click on the link and choose "Save Target As" or "Save File As." Then select where you want to save the file on your hard drive.
Once you have saved the file, locate where you saved it, and double click to open.
In order to print, open the downloaded file, and select the print option from the menu.
OK. I'm assuming you already have a guitar. For the purposes of this beginner guitar lesson it doesn't matter whether it's electric or acoustic. What matters is that you are comfortable with it. Click here for tips on what features to look for in a guitar if you feel uncertain or you don't yet have a guitar.
Preliminary Step 1: Once you have a "working" guitar, the next step is to get it in tune. Since you're here to teach yourself to play guitar, this is something you'll need to learn. You can buy an inexpensive tuner at your local music store if you don't already have one. You can also get great deals on guitar tuners online.
Preliminary Step 2: Even though you use a tuner, it's a good idea to learn how to tune your guitar by ear. This is useful for many reasons. Depending on the tuner you have, it may not be able to read a string that is wildly out of tune. You'll need to get it somewhat close by ear before it will even give you an accurate response. Besides, it's a basic musician skill :-) As always, the one caveat is to be patient with yourself.
Preliminary Step 3: This point is often overlooked by people. It's actually one of the keys to success with learning guitar. And that is how to hold your guitar. There are many points of view about this, but the most important thing is that you are comfortable and your movements on the guitar aren't restricted. This basic guitar lesson will get you started in the right direction. Another suggestion for this -- if you're serious about wanting to teach yourself guitar -- is to film yourself playing your guitar. You'll be able to see anything that doesn't look "right."
Teach Yourself Guitar: The Necessary Skills
When beginning guitar lessons, you'll encounter strange looking graphs and charts -- like the ones you may have already downloaded ;-) These are "pictures" of the guitar fretboard -- the area where you push the guitar strings down with your fingers. These graphs represent basic guitar chords. If you're going to teach yourself guitar, you're going to have to get a handle on understanding how to read these basic guitar chord charts.
I highly recommend using the basic guitar chord charts from this website because I limit them to the main chords you need -- for a while, anyways. Most chord dictionaries, software, etc. overwhelm you with hundreds of choices. Not good -- especially when you're teaching yourself guitar. You need to be able to stay focused on the important things. You'll naturally add to your chord repertoire as you need simply by continuing to play over the months and years ahead. It's a lifestyle ;-)
Note: There is a list of other relevant beginner guitar lessons at the bottom of this page. You can check things out later. Bookmark them if you like. For now, I'm going to give a brief description of how to read guitar chords.
The chords I suggest you start learning are as follows: A7, D7, E minor, and A minor.
After that start at the top of the page and systematically learn the first 3 rows. Ignore the "barre chords" for now. You can come back to that lesson later :-)
Your guitar strings are represented by the vertical lines. You can see in the chord diagrams which strings are thickest and which are skinniest. The small "x" means do not play that string. The small "o" means play that string, but don't put a finger on it.
The strings are counted 1 through 6 starting with the skinniest string. This string is named high E. Low E is string 6 -- the thickest string.
Tp help teach yourself guitar, it can be very useful to memorize the names of the guitar strings. They are E-A-D-G-B-E form low sounding to high sounding. Or ceiling to floor to make it visual. You can do this by simply pointing to them randomly and saying their name out loud. Also think "E-A-D-G-B-E" at various points throughout the day. You'll have it down "cold" in no time!
The numbers inside of the dots represent which finger to use to push down on the string. Your index finger is 1. Don't count your thumb.
The horizontal spaces in the diagrams are the fret markers. Let's use A7. Put your 2nd finger on string 4 at the 2nd fret and push down. Also put your 3rd finger on the 2nd fret of string 2 and push down.
Now strum 5 strings starting with string 5 -- which is played open ( represented by the small "o").
Try to adjust your fingers so that all the strings and notes can ring clearly. Everyone's different -- it may take you anywhere from a few days to a couple of weeks.
Use the tips of the pads of your fingers to push down. Push down as close behind the fretwire as possible.
See the video for more details.
Teach Yourself Guitar: Practice
Now that you know how to get the chords off the diagrams and onto your guitar, you need a method to help speed things up. No, there are no shortcuts when you teach yourself guitar -- despite whatever marketing hype you may have been subtly influenced by. There are definitely ways to be more efficient though. These time tested methods can mean the difference between success had failure.
Did you download the blank chord charts suggested at the beginning of this guitar lesson? Click here for the free blank guitar chord charts . These chord charts are blank. And if you want to teach yourself guitar, you need to memorize a handful of basic guitar chords. One of the most powerfully effective methods of doing that is to draw the chords out on paper by hand.
Many students balk at this suggestion. They think they don't need to bother with such a thing. Then at the next lesson, they are still struggling with remembering the "grip" for a chord they "learned." The students who do this? I think you know the answer already :-) The progress of these students is faster and more consistent. And because of this, they don't give up out of frustration.
So draw the chords out! Of course, you'll also be practicing playing the chords on your guitar. Here's a list of practice tips to help you teach yourself guitar chords.
Select a chord to learn.
Find where to put your fingers on your guitar.
Check the sound and that the strings are ringing clearly. If not, adjust your fingers. If a particular string still isn't ringing, don't sweat it. You just need to develop a little muscle memory. It won't take long. Stay consistent. 5 days a week is optimal for results. 3 or 4 is good if life is hectic. If you want to make a living at it? Well, you'll need to practice everyday.
Once your hand is on the guitar, take it off. Close your eyes for a second or two. Now put your hand back on the chord from memory. Excellent work!
Do this for batches of 3 chords. Stick with these 3 chords for a week or two. Then add 3 more into the batch.
Once you've worked out with the chords on your guitar for a bit, put your guitar down. Pick up a blank guitar chord chart and try drawing the chord out by hand. If you need to refer to the original diagram at first, that's fine. Try drawing it the ones you are working on until you can do it from memory.
Great work! Contact me or write on my Facebook page and keep me posted -- or ask any questions you may have.
More Stuff You May Need To Know…
Eventually you will probably encounter guitar tablature. This is a great tool to teach yourself guitar. It's beyond the scope of this lesson, but you can find the link to that lesson below.
Tip: Download and print out these free how to practice guitar tips here. You can refer to these when away from your computer. Armed with the guidelines in this guitar lesson, you CAN teach yourself guitar. Cheers!
Options: If you're interested in other options to teach yourself guitar, there are some very good choices available. Learn and Master Guitar is an excellent dvd guitar lessons package for homestudy created by Gibson that could be a solution.
Another choice for those of you serious about learning guitar is a membership site. Jamplay offers a wealth of beginner guitar lessons by a variety of teachers -- you get to choose which teacher fits you best. Click here to find out more about Jamplay.