The Easiest Way To Learn Guitar (3-Step Method For Beginners)

Looking for the easiest way to learn guitar? In this ultra-practical guide the founder of the National Guitar Academy shares a proven 3-step programme that delivers results.

easiest way to learn guitar

In this free guitar lesson you will learn:

  • A simple 3-step framework that you can follow to learn guitar.
  • The most powerful secret for learning chords quickly.
  • How to use the universal strumming pattern to boost rhythm and musicality.
  • The most effective way to practice guitar for rapid progress.

Sound good? Let’s get started.

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Best Beginner Guitars

A clear explanation of the easiest way to learn guitar

I founded the National Guitar Academy with one aim: to share the gift of music with as many people as possible. Our company motto is “Make Things Easy & Fun”.

That principle is at the core of everything that we do.

The learning programme that I’m about to explain to you has that core principle running right through it: “Make Things Easy & Fun”.

If you follow this program you will learn guitar quickly and love every minute.

Before we get into the 3 steps, let me highlight a couple of basic-but-essential things.

One of the most overlooked elements of learning the guitar, is the guitar itself.

I often see beginner guitarists trying to learn with an instrument that is terrible for beginners. (And/or badly suited to their body shape and size.)

There are dozens of different types of guitar. Some are easy to learn with and some are difficult to learn with.

If you’re a beginner guitarist who’s looking for the easiest way to learn guitar then you better choose to learn with a guitar that’s easy to play. ūüôā

You can learn a lot more about this by reading my article
How To Choose The Perfect Beginner Guitar

Secondly you should find a good local guitar teacher.

Having a good guitar teacher who can sit with you face-to-face and guide, encourage and inspire you is transformative for your chances of successfully learning the instrument.

Finding a good guitar teacher can be difficult and you should expect to try four or five teachers before you find one that truly ‘clicks’.

You can learn more about how to hire a great guitar teacher in our article:
11 Essential Steps For Guitar Beginners

The Easiest Way To Learn Guitar In 3 Steps

We’ve already established that the easiest way to learn guitar is to make things easy and fun. But how do we do this?

How do we ensure that at every stage of the learning process we are making things easy and fun?¬†It’s actually very straightforward. Let’s break it down.

Essentially learning guitar requires you to do two things; one with your left hand and one with your right hand.

  • We make chord shapes with our left-hand.
  • We strum with our right-hand.

If we can make both of these skills easy to do and then use those skills to play music we love we have a recipe for success and pleasure. Remember: The easiest way to learn guitar is to make things easy and fun.

So now we have a roadmap we can follow. The easiest way to learn guitar (the teaching method our business is built on) has three stages:

  1. Firstly, we use ‘stepping-stone’ chords. Left hand easy? Done.
  2. Secondly we learn the universal strumming pattern. Right hand easy? Done.
  3. Thirdly we ONLY play music that we love. Fun? Done!

Step 1) Use ‘stepping-stone’ chords

One of the things that a lot of beginner guitarists don’t know is that there is an easy version of every chord.

Beginner guitarists waste a lot of time trying to master chords that are completely unsuitable for a beginner.

You have to understand that the biggest threat to your chances of successfully learning the instrument is lack of progress.

If progress isn’t clear and satisfying, frustration creeps in and that leads to guitar practice being perceived as a chore. You need to watch out for this.

Learning the guitar can be frustrating, but if you can see that you’re making good progress the chances are ¬†high that you will continue.

Playing the guitar should only ever be a source of joy.

National Guitar Academy

Why do stepping-stone chords work so well?

Stepping-stone chords are at the heart of our teaching philosophy. These chords are easy to play, sound great and allow you to create music much more quickly than if you’d used standard chords.

Another huge benefit of stepping-stone chords is that they allow you to concentrate more on your strumming.

Because the chords are easy to play you can focus more attention on developing rhythm and musicality in your right hand.

Some guitar teachers think the easiest way to learn guitar is for people to simply ‘push through the pain barrier’ and master those difficult chords. This ‘sink or swim’ approach is not only careless but deeply flawed.

Learning easy chords develops your finger control and dexterity and that allows you to graduate to playing full chords in a smoother way. It’s easier and you’ll have more fun along the way.

Stepping-stone chord examples

Here are a few stepping-stone chord shapes to give you an idea of how this concept works:

easiest way to learn guitar

[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!]

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I hope you can see that the stepping-stone versions are simply different voicings of the original chords.

Don’t think of these as ‘baby chords’, these are chords that advanced guitarist use all the time.¬†All we are doing here is choosing to play a different VOICING of the same chord.

It’s not cheating to use these chord voicings, it simply common sense.¬†You can learn the hard way or the easy way. It really is that simple!

Remember, the easiest way to learn guitar is to make things easy and fun. Stepping-stone chords embody that principle.

This concept is so important to your progress as a guitar learner, that we’ve devoted an entire section of this site to easy stepping-stone chords.¬†Visit our easy chords section by clicking here.

Download a free beginner chord guide and learn easy versions of every chord

‚úď ¬†Say goodbye to frustration and twisted fingers.¬†Say hello to MAKING MUSIC.

‚úst Learn beginner-friendly versions of every chord.

‚úst This is one of our most popular guides and will improve your chord ability quickly. Click here to download the guide.

The Easiest Way To Learn Guitar Step 2: Learn The Universal Strumming Pattern

One of the most destructive guitar-learning myths on the internet, is the notion that there are ‘strumming patterns’ that guitarists need to learn.

You do not need to learn, rote, a series of strumming patterns. What we want is for you to develop a sense of rhythmic expression, creativity and musicality in your strumming.

We want you to be able to strum any song AND be able to interpret that song in multiple ways.

How does learning a set strumming pattern, for a specific song, help you with a million other songs?

Forget about strumming patterns and all of that “down up up up up down down” stuff. It won’t develop you as a musician and this is a classic case of people who are guitarists trying to be guitar teachers.

(There is a world of difference between those two things.)

As you can probably tell, this is something I feel passionate about! ūüôā

Learn the universal strumming pattern and you will have a foundation that you can use for ANY song.

Check out this video that I made for you, so you can see this concept in action:

You can learn a lot more about this concept and see exactly how to identify the beat of a song (and the other steps) by reading our detailed guide on strumming:

How To Strum A Guitar Properly: A Guide For Beginners

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The Easiest Way To Learn Guitar Step 3: Only Play Music You Love

Earlier we established that the easiest way to learn guitar is to make things easy and fun.

We’ve covered the left hand and right hand elements and now we’re going to move onto the third element.

It’s vital that you learn songs that you personally love.

We want you to enjoy¬†each moment of learning the guitar and playing songs that you love is a crucial part of making things fun. Forget ‘twinkle twinkle little star’ and any other generic guitar ‘exercises’.

Just learn songs. Learn to play songs YOU love.

Some tips on this crucial concept

Make a list of 20 songs that you love and would like to play on the guitar.

In all likelihood when you Google the tab or chords for those songs, they will be too hard for you to play as a beginner.

By all means have a bash at them, but in their standard form they will probably be too difficult for a total beginner to play. So you have to adapt them.

(And this where those stepping-stone chords come in handy.)

  • If you see an F chord, substitute it for an Fmaj7.
  • If you see a Bm chord, substitute it for a Bm11.

Get the idea?

There may be a significantly easier way to play the song if you use a capo.

A capo raises the key of your guitar and allows you to use chord shapes to create OTHER chords.

For example if you put a capo on the second fret and hold an ‘A’ chord shape, the sound that actually comes out of your guitar will be ‘B’.

Capos can be powerful game-changers for beginner guitarists and allow you to play songs that you love, that would usually be far too hard for your current ability level.

So what next?

So far we’ve covered the three fundamental steps which, cumulatively,¬†are the easiest way to learn guitar.

  • The easiest way to learn guitar step 1: Use stepping stone chords
  • The easiest way to learn guitar step 2: Learn the universal strumming pattern
  • The easiest way to learn guitar step 3: Play songs that you love

While doing these 3 things, you will be in a critical phase of your guitar learning journey and the length of this phase varies from person to person.

Don’t feel any pressure to ‘get better’ and don’t set unrealistic expectations for yourself.¬†Your ‘goal’ is simply to enjoy making music.

During this time your accuracy, dexterity and control in your fingers will get better and better.

You should constantly be trying to play more advanced chord shapes. If you find that they’re too difficult, no problem, simply revert to the stepping stone version. (After a week or two have another bash at the more difficult chord version.)

You’ll notice that your rhythmic ability and chord accuracy improves quickly when you play songs you love using stepping stone chords.

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. Click here to download your copy.

Moving From ‘Beginner’ To ‘Intermediate’

Of course, we don’t want you to stay in the stepping-stone phase forever.

There’s no rush to move out of it (and in fact you probably won’t even be able to tell when you move out of it as it will simply merge into the next ‘phase’), but we do want to reach a point where you can play all standard open chords and then progress to playing barre chords.

Recommended next steps

  • Progress from stepping-stone chords to standard open chords.
  • You should learn the major and minor scales.
  • Then you¬†should learn the abridged form of those two scales: the major pentatonic scale and the minor pentatonic scale.
  • Then move on to barre chords.
  • Then you will want to explore the CAGED system and learn about keys.

But that’s all in the future, so don’t worry about it now. (I only mention it here so you can see¬†a complete roadmap for your guitar future.)

easiest way to learn guitar

A closing summary of the easiest way to learn guitar.

  • Step 1: Use stepping stone chords.
  • Step 2: Learn the universal strumming pattern.
  • Step 3: Play songs that you love.

I hope you can see why this simple 3-step formula is the easiest way to learn guitar. Objectively, it’s a method that works. (It’s successfully taught thousands of people just like you, and it will teach thousands more.)

There’s no need for you to continue scouring YouTube for the easiest way to learn guitar, you’ve just found it. Now it’s over to you. (Discovering the easiest way to learn guitar is pointless if you then don’t put into practice!)

Learning the guitar is the best thing I ever did with my life and founding the National Guitar Academy and helping millions of people to share in that joy is the most rewarding thing I can think of.

If you follow the steps above you will also be successful. I’d love to hear how your guitar journey goes, so please stay in touch.

Find Out What You Should Learn Next With Our Guitar Map

If you want to understand where you‚Äôre up to in your guitar journey you should take a look at our Guitar Map. It will show you what you ‚Äėshould‚Äô know by now (and also what you need to learn next to move forward as a guitarist).

Most people find that the Guitar Map shows them how everything fits together and best of all, it will help you identify gaps in your knowledge that are holding you back.

(There is often just one piece of information that holds people back, 1 key insight that they need to know so they can continue moving forward and improving in their guitar journey.)

I made the Guitar Map so people like you can quickly identify what you don’t know, that you need to know next. I hope that makes sense!?

NOTE: The Guitar Map is now included in our free special report: 'The 7 Steps To Guitar Mastery'.

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

Join over 30,000 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.

NGAEM

Popular Lessons

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

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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 Stuff

Learn about me & the National Guitar Academy on the About Us page.

Check out some of our free chord lessons.

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Thanks for stopping by, speak soon! ūüôā

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Mike Kennedy - National Guitar Academy Director

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