Acoustic Guitar Lessons: A 10 Step Program For Rapid Progress

Looking for acoustic guitar lessons? We’re going to take you through our world renowned 10 step program for acoustic guitar. 

acoustic guitar lessons

In this free guitar lesson you will learn:

  • 3 quick and easy tricks to help you learn the guitar fast.
  • 4 must-know scales that WILL make you sound amazing.
  • The no1 secret to mastering guitar chords.
  • 3 essential tips that will boost your guitar progress.

Over 100,000 guitar-learners get our world-class guitar tips & tutorials sent straight to their inbox: Click here to join them

Get our best guitar tips & videos

1) Acoustic guitar lessons – Buy a good quality acoustic guitar

Owning a good quality guitar is VITAL when learning to play acoustic.

Over the years, we’ve seen hundreds of students come to lessons with bad acoustic guitars. Owning a bad acoustic guitar will stunt your progress.

If you’re not sure what acoustic to buy, this article will help you out: What’s The Best Beginner Guitar?

Why is this important?

  • Buying a good quality acoustic guitar makes acoustic guitar lessons easier.
  • Bad quality acoustic guitars are difficult to play and can lead to poor technique.
  • Bad acoustics don’t good. Buying a good quality acoustic will make you sound great.


acoustic guitar lessons

2) Acoustic guitar lessons – Learn to tune your guitar

Learning to tune your guitar is SO important when playing acoustic guitar. This should be the first thing that you learn on guitar.

If your guitar isn’t in tune, EVERYTHING you play will sound bad.

Don’t let a simple mistake stunt your progress as a guitar player, learn how to tune your guitar.

Learn how to tune your guitar in this free lesson: How To Tune A Guitar: A Guide For Beginners

What type of tuner should I buy?

There are three types of guitar tuners on the market.

Microphone Tuners

These tuners use a microphone to hear the notes of the guitar. More advanced microphone tuners will have a jack socket which you can plug your guitar into.

Clip On Tuners 

These tuners clips on to the top of your head stock. They work by picking up the vibrations of the strings.

Tuner Apps

If you find physical tuners hard to use, buy a tuner app for your iPhone or Tablet.

These tuners use the microphone inside your device to tune your guitar. These tuners are easy to use and reliable.

acoustic guitar lessons

There are loads of guitar tuners on the market, but for acoustic guitar these tuners are perfect. For more information on tuners, go here.

Want free guitar tips and video lessons delivered to your inbox?

Join over 100,000 other guitar learners and subscribe to our guitar-tips-by-email service. (It's free.)

We'll send you a series of lessons that will move you to the next level of your guitar journey.

Learn how everything fits together quickly, easily and effectively. We share ninja tips (for instant fun!) but also timeless fundamentals that will deepen your understanding.

Get our best guitar tips & videos

3) Acoustic Guitar Lessons – Have Good Posture

One of the most important acoustic guitar lessons you can learn is that:

The quickest and easiest way to learn the guitar is to have good posture.

Even though posture isn’t the sexiest thing about playing the guitar, it’s essential to know if you want to learn acoustic guitar.

Choose What To Sit On Wisely

You must choose an appropriate piece of furniture to sit on when you learn guitar.

Here are a few items you should avoid at ALL costs:

  • Arm chairs.
  • High stools.
  • Low sofas.

All of these restrict your movement and make guitar playing difficult.

acoustic guitar lessons

What should I sit on?

You can sit on anything you want, as long as:

  • Your knees are at a 90 degree angle when you sit down.
  • Your arms are free from obstruction.

If you follow both of those rules, learning to play the guitar will be a breeze.

Learn more about guitar posture here: How To Play Acoustic Guitar – Beginner Guide

4) Acoustic Guitar Lessons – Learn Stepping-Stone Chords

The easiest way to learn guitar chords is to:

  • Learn easy chords first. 

One problem we see when people first start learning acoustic guitar, is that they try to play chords which use 3 or more fingers. This is incredibly hard if you’ve only just started.

This is where stepping-stone chords come in. Stepping-stone chords are easier versions of more complex.

Here’s a classic example of some stepping-stone chords:

Acoutic Guitar Lessons

Can you see how the stepping-stone versions use less fingers? These chord voicings are easier and sound just as good.

But that’s the easy way out?

Think of it like this:

If you were running a marathon, you wouldn’t run 26 miles at the start of your training.  You build it up slowly, running a mile at a time until you reach your goal.

It’s the exact same idea when learning guitar; play an easier chord to start with, and when you feel ready, you can move to more advanced chords.

That way, you will learn to play guitar faster AND you’ll sound great in the process. What’s not to like!

Learn to play more stepping-stone chords here:14 Easy Guitar Chords For Beginners

Learn the 12 EASIEST beginner chords with our famous FREE guide

  Stop struggling. Start making music.

  Learn 12 beginner-friendly versions of every chord.

  This is our most popular guide and it will improve your chord ability quickly.


Where should we send it?

5) Acoustic guitar lessons – Learn To Strum

Strumming is a key part of playing acoustic guitar. Strumming technique is what enhances your musicality.

Learning chords is an essential part of learning guitar. However, strumming technique makes your playing come alive.

Before we learn to strum, you must know how to hold a pick. Here are 3 simple-steps which will show you how to hold a guitar pick.

1) Do a thumbs up sign

acoustic guitar lessons

2) Place the pick on the top of your hand with the pointy edge facing towards you

acoustic guitar lessons

3) Clamp your thumb down

acoustic guitar lessons That’s it! Now we now how to hold a pick. Let’s learn how to strum.

How do I strum a guitar?

When strumming the guitar make sure that:

  • Your right elbow is on the ridge of the acoustic guitar.
  • Make sure your wrist is at a straight angle, it shouldn’t look like a swans neck.

acoutic guitar lessons

Here’s what your strumming arm should look like from your perspective:

acoustic guitar lessons

To learn more about strumming technique, go here:How To Strum A Guitar

6) Acoustic guitar lessons – Learn To Finger Pick

Finger picking is a great way of adding texture and dynamics to your playing.

Let’s look at some basic finger picking techniques.

When you finger pick, make sure that:

  • Your picking hand is above the sound hole.
  • Your thumb is pointing towards the head stock, with your fingers towards the floor.

acoustic guitar lessons

Where do I place my fingers?

The main fingers that you will use when finger picking are:

  • Thumb.
  • 1st finger.
  • 2nd finger.

When you finger pick, assign your thumb to the E (6th string), A (5th string), and D string. (4th string.)

Your 1st and 2nd finger will cover the G (3rd string), B (2nd string) and E string. (1st string.)

What about the rest of my fingers?

The fingers you have left are the 3rd and 4th fingers in your picking hand. You can use these fingers to help balance your picking hand.

Often, some players will anchor their fingers on the body of the acoustic guitar. Like this:

acoustic guitar lessons

However, this doesn’t work for everyone. Some guitarists will hover their fingers above the body of the guitar. Like this:

acoustic guitar lessons

To learn more about finger picknig, go here: Fingerstyle Guitar Lessons 5 Easy Ways To Sound Amazing

7) Acoustic Guitar Lessons – Learn Guitar Scales

A scale is a group of musical notes. Scales are important to know as they help you to improvise or create melodies.

In music we have two groups of scales, these are:

  • Major scales.
  • Minor scales.

Let’s learn them.

The Major Scale

acoustic guitar lessons

(If you don't understand the above image please read our article "How To Read Guitar Chordboxes In 60 Seconds". It will make everything clear!)


The Minor Scale

minor scale

Each of these scales contain 7 notes, however we don’t have to play all 7 notes of these scales. We can play a 5 note version of these scales. This is known as a ‘pentatonic’ scale.

Let’s learn them!

The Major Pentatonic Scale

major pentatonic scale

Can you see how this contains LESS notes than the major scale?

Minor Pentatonic Scale

minor pentatonic scale

Download our lead guitar cheat-sheet to make things easier

It can be disorientating for guitarists to understand which scales work with which keys.

With this in mind, we created a cheat-sheet; a key and scale-finder that you can use again and again.

Where should we send it?

How do I use these scales?

Both of these scales work over specific keys. Think of it like this:

  • Major scales work over major keys.
  • Minor scales work over minor keys. 

For example:

  • If something is in the key of C major, we can use the C major scale or a C major pentatonic.
  • If something is in the key of A minor, we can use the A minor scale or a A minor pentatonic.

Can you see how the scale relates to the key you’re using?

To learn more about guitar scales, go here: Learn Guitar Scales In 8 Easy Steps

8) Acoustic Guitar Lessons – Play Music That You Love

The most important acoustic guitar lessons you can learn is that:

  • Learning music that you love is the easiest way to boost your guitar progress.

Doing this will keep your practice fresh and exciting and puts the emphasis on making guitar playing fun.

acoustic guitar lessons

Here are a few quick tips which will help you learn music that you love:

  • Find 5 acoustic artists which you love.
  • Pick a tune from each artist.
  • Make sure that each tune that you pick is achievable.
  • Get learning.

By picking a tune which is at the right level for you, it stops practicing from being boring.

There’s nothing worse than picking a song you love, and then becoming frustrated when you realise it’s too hard.

To learn easy songs go here: 10 Easy Songs On Guitar

9) Acoustic Guitar Lessons – Be Smart About Your Practice

Many guitarists find practicing difficult. However practicing the guitar is SO important.

If we don’t practice, we don’t make progress.

Here are 3 tips and tricks which will help boost your gutiar progress.

1) Have A Set Time To Practice Each Day

Dedicate a specific time each day to practice. This could be any time of the day, just make sure that when you set this time. You keep to it!

This is YOUR time to practice, don’t let anyone stop you.

2) Be Realistic With Your Time

When you practice, you must be realistic with your time.

It’s pointless saying you’re going to practice for 3 hours every day, when you don’t have the time to do that.

It’s much better to practice for 5 minutes a day, than for 3 hours one day and none the next.

Practicing consistently allows you to maximise your progress.

acoustic guitar lessons

3) Turn Off Your Phone!

Even though the modern day allows us to use technology such as apps to practice, try and turn them off. They’re distracting and stop you from practicing.

Turning your phone off allows you to concentrate on practicing. If you can’t turn your phone off to practice, try putting it into aeroplane mode. This allows you to use all of your practice tools without any disturbances.

acoustic guitar lessons

You can learn more about how to practice here: The Fastest Way To Learn Guitar: A 1-Month Program For Rapid Progress

10) Acoustic Guitar Lessons – Play Music With Your Friends

Even though playing guitar on your own is essential, learning the guitar really comes alive when you play music with other people.

Playing music with your friends is SO beneficial to your guitar playing.

Playing guitar on your own allows you to go at your own pace. However, when you play in a band you have to be aware of what everyone else is doing.

Not only does it help you musically, it also improves your social life. Through music you can build solid relationships with like minded people who share the same interests and goals as you.

acoustic guitar lessons

Here are a few tips and tricks which will help you make music with your friends:

  • Find a group of friends who play instruments and share similar interests.
  • Pick 3 tunes that you can all play comfortably.
  • Learn these tunes.
  • Get together and rehearse them!
  • Have fun!

What Type of Guitarist Are You?

Take our 60-second quiz & get your results: Take The Quiz

Want free guitar tips and video lessons delivered to your inbox?

Join over 100,000 other guitar learners and subscribe to our guitar-tips-by-email service. (It's free.)

We'll send you a series of lessons that will move you to the next level of your guitar journey.

Learn how everything fits together quickly, easily and effectively. We share ninja tips (for instant fun!) but also timeless fundamentals that will deepen your understanding.

Get our best guitar tips & videos

Popular Lessons

How To Learn Guitar: An 11-Step Programme For Beginners

10 Easy Songs For Beginners

How To Strum A Guitar

How To Choose The Perfect Beginner Guitar

Guitar Notes Explained: A Guide For Beginners

How To Play Lead Guitar

3 Easy Ways To Play Bm

More Cool Guitar Stuff

Learn about the National Guitar Academy: About Us

Join us on Facebook for daily guitar tips.

Listen to our Learn Guitar Podcast for rapid guitar progress.

Check out our free chord lessons.


Enter your email address to learn our best guitar tips and tricks today!