The Fastest Way To Learn Guitar: A 1-Month Program For Rapid Progress

Want to know the fastest way to learn guitar? This article will help you learn guitar in just 1 month. (Yes, 1 month!)

fastest way to learn guitar

In this free guitar lesson you will learn:

  • Our 5-step program: the fastest way to learn guitar in 1 month.
  • How to strum guitar chords & keep rhythm.
  • 3 quick & easy ways to learn your favourite songs.
  • The 4-step practice system for rapid progress

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fastest way to learn guitar

Let’s imagine a scenario when you have just 1 month to learn guitar. Maybe you want to play a song in a best man’s speech at a wedding, or you’ve been asked to help out with a group of friends who are musical.

In this article I’m going to take you through the 5 fastest ways to learn guitar in a month.

Disclaimer: Of course it isn’t possible to learn EVERYTHING about the guitar in one month, but we thought this would be an interesting thought experiment; to consider the fastest possible way to learn.

Step 1: Learn Basic Guitar Anatomy

This is unskippable. You need to know what the different parts of the guitar do.

Learn The String Names & Notes

We have six strings on the guitar:

  • The ‘low E string’- This is the lowest sounding string and is the one which is closest to the ceiling, this is also known as the 6th string and is tuned to the note ‘E.
  • The ‘A string’- This is the 5th string and is tuned to the note ‘A’.
  • The ‘D string’- This is the 4th string and is tuned to the note ‘D’.
  • The ‘G string’- This is the 3rd string and is tuned to the note ‘G’.
  • The ‘B string’- This is the 2nd string and is tuned to the note ‘B’.
  • The ‘high E string’- This is the 1st string and is also the highest sounding string on the guitar, and is the one which is closest to the floor. This string is tuned to the note ‘E’.

fastest way to learn guitar

Tuning Pegs

These are what tune the guitar, they either raise or lower the pitch of each string.

Assuming the strings have put on correctly (not always the case!):

  • To make the string sound higher you turn the peg away from you.
  • To make the string sound lower you turn the peg towards you.

You could be the best guitarist in the world, but if your instrument is out of tune you will sound terrible.

It is essential that we play on an in-tune guitar.

fastest way to learn guitar

Here’s a great article on how to keep your guitar in tune: How To Tune A Guitar: A Guide For Beginners

The Fretboard/Frets

The fretboard is where we place our fingers to create chords and alter the sound of the guitar.

The frets are the metal pieces placed on the fingerboard.

fastest way to learn guitar

The frets are numbered from 1-20.

Fret length varies from guitar to guitar, but in most cases there will never be more than 24 frets. (And on most acoustic guitars only frets 1-10 are usable.)

fastest way to learn guitar

The “Zero” fret is the open string, which is a string played with no fingers on the fret board.

Here’s a great article which explains this further, as well as tons of other information about guitar notes!

Guitar Notes Explained: A Guide For Beginners

The Sound Hole

This is where the sounds comes from.

Strum over this hole for maximum resonance and to create a full-bodied sound.

fastest way to learn guitar

Step 2 – Learn How To Play Basic Chords

Knowing how to play chords is vital. This is a fundamental building block of guitar playing.

What is a chord?

A chord is a group of notes played at the same time.

Here are a few essential tips which will help us play guitar chords.

  • Make sure your thumb is in the middle of the guitar neck, this helps add pressure to the chord. Push forwards with your thumb, don’t just pull ‘back’ with your fingers.
  • Always use the finger tips to hold chord shapes. This helps stop the larger part of your fingers touching other unwanted strings.
  • Make sure you have nice short nails. Long nails make it physically impossible to play using your absolute finger tips.
  • Make sure your fingers and your thumb are working together to apply enough pressure to help make the chord sing. Squeeze them together like a vice.
  • Each note needs to be clearly and ring with no buzz.
  • Important: Your fingers should be pressing down in-between the fret markers, not on them. (Don’t press on the metal strips.)

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How To Read Guitar Chord Boxes

Chord boxes show us where to put our fingers.

fastest way to learn guitar

  • An ‘X’ means don’t play this string.
  • An ‘O’ means play this string.
  • The lines going down are the guitar strings. From left to right it goes E, A, D, G, B and E.
  • The lines going across are the frets, so from top to bottom it goes 1st fret, 2nd fret and the 3rd fret.
  • The circles show you where to place your fingers.
  • The numbers inside the circles show you what finger to use.

The numbers correspond to these fingers:

Guitar Finger Numbers

So this chord box is telling us that we DON’T play the E and the A strings.

However we do play the D, G, B and E strings.

We also know that our first finger needs to be on the third fret of the high E string.

This is a really simple G chord.

Still not too sure about chord boxes? Here’s an article which explains them in detail. How To Read Guitar Chordboxes

Learn Stepping Stone Chords

One of the biggest mistakes a beginner can make is trying to learn chords that use 3 or 4 fingers.

This is incredibly difficult, as it takes a lot of strength and dexterity to play chords that require multiple fingers.

Here’s the thing, there is an easy version of every chord. We refer to them as “stepping stone” chords and they are a fundamental part of our teaching strategy.

Here’s a few examples:

fastest way to learn guitar

Learning stepping stone chords is a key part of the fastest way to learn guitar.

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

 Say goodbye to frustration and twisted fingers. Say hello to MAKING MUSIC.

  Learn beginner-friendly versions of every chord.

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

fastest way to learn guitar

Step 3 – Learn To Strum & Keep Rhythm

Now we know how to learn and play chords, another important aspect of learning guitar is keeping rhythm.

It’s vital that we stay in time when we play by ourselves or with other musicians.

Fastest Way To Learn Guitar – Strumming Tips

  • To strum a chord you want to have a nice swinging movement from your elbow and very little motion from your wrist.
  • Make sure your wrist is straight and comfortable.

Check out this article to learn a lot more about strumming technique: How To Strum A Guitar

Here’s a video from the player’s perspective of what good strumming looks like:

Keeping in time

When we strum chords we want the gaps between them to be the same. If you have gaps which are uneven it sounds bad and you sound ‘out of time’.

If the next chord arrives too late or too early this makes you sound out of time.

In most cases all pop or rock songs are in 4/4 time.

All this means is that there are 4 beats in a bar. So if you count along to your song, it would go 1..2..3..4.

Your aim is to change to the next chord ON the beat. Not before, not after, but ON the beat.

fastest way to learn guitar

You may find it useful to count along in your head, or use a metronome to make sure you are changing on the beat.

When you first start doing this it’s far more important to keep your strumming simple and change your chords at the right time, rather than doing a lot of strumming and missing the beat.

To practice chord changes build it up in stages.

  • Strum your chord once and hold it for four beats, then change to your next chord and do the same.

That would sound like this:

  • Strum your chord on beats 1 and 3, then change to your next chord and do the same.

That would sound like this:

  • Strum your chord on each beat, then change to your next chord.

That would sound like this:

Can you see how we’ve gradually introduced more strumming and less time to change between the chords, can you hear how much more musical you sound?

You can also strum your chord in between the beat as well as on. You still change the chord on the beat.

We’re just adding more strumming.

fastest way to learn guitar

That would sound like this:

Finally we can now double this!

fastest way to learn guitar

Can you see how we now have to fit four strums between each beat?

It would sound a little like this:

Top Tip: Make sure when you use the faster strumming techniques that you don’t stop. It’s important to KEEP GOING, even if your chord change is a little late. If you stop strumming the music stops. Don’t stop strumming.

It’s scientifically proven that learning that guitar is good for you. Check out this article from Guitar World which tells you 10 proven reasons you should play guitar!

National Guitar Academy

Step 4 – Learn A Song

Learning songs is the fastest way to learn guitar. It’s fun and it works.

I’m going to use “Three Little Birds” by Bob Marley as a song example, but once you know how to learn a song you can apply this to anything.

Listen!

If you have no idea what the song sounds like, how are you meant to play it?

Make sure you give it a few listens before attempting to play it. This will help your ears and you’ll become attuned to the track and embed its timing. This means your practice time will be much more productive.

Learn The Chords

The chords for “Three Little Birds” are:

  • A Major
  • D Major
  • E Major

Remember, you don’t have to play full versions of these chords! You can use simpler versions.

fastest way to learn guitar

Need inspiration? Check out our article: 10 Easy Songs On Guitar

Learning The Song’s Structure

A song structure is like a musical way of telling a story and most good stories have a beginning, a middle and an end.

With a song we have sections such as a Intro, Verse, Chorus and Outro.

Most of the time we usually just have a Verse and a Chorus.

It’s important to know what the different sections are as they often change chords.

So the chorus of “Three Little Birds” look like this:

fastest way to learn guitar

In each of these examples I have just played each chord on the first beat of each bar:

The Verse look like this:

fastest way to learn guitar

And the overall structure of the song is like this.

fastest way to learn guitar

Listen And Play Along

I can’t stress this enough, there is SO much you can learn from listening and playing along to songs. It may seem really difficult to start with but as soon as you play along you can clearly identify where you need to improve.

So if it feels too fast, you may need to go back and look over your chords, or if you get lost in the song you may need to have a look at the structure again.

There’s something really satisfying about being able to play along with a song you love!

It’s really important not to be scared if things go wrong when you try playing along, that’s all part of the learning curve.

You learn from your mistakes and become a better guitarist because of them.

fastest way to learn guitar

Step 5 – Create A Practice Routine

One of the main things which holds beginners back is that they don’t know what to practice.

Having a successful practice routine is a key part of the fastest way to learn guitar.

Pick Your Main Goal

This could be anything, but if you don’t know what you’re aiming for it’s going to be very hard to achieve it.

Here’s a few common examples:

  • I want to learn to play my favourite song.
  • I want to be able to play in front of others.
  • I want to understand basic guitar chords.

The main objective here is to pick a clear goal, something you can strive towards.

fastest way to learn guitar

Create Smaller Goals

Once you’ve created your main goal, you can create smaller goals to get you there.

So for example, if you want to play your favourite song, some of the smaller goals may be:

  • Learn the chords of the song.
  • Memorise the song’s structure.
  • Play in time.

You can create even smaller goals from this too, so for example if your goal is to learn all the chords in the song, one of your smaller goals could be to learn a D chord, and then an E Chord and so on.

Find Time To Practice

Everyone is busy. It might seem daunting to try and practice every day.

When trying to organise a practice routine, it’s essential to look through each day in your week and realistically look at how much you can practice each day.

If that’s an hour, 30 minutes or 5 minutes a day, that’s great. A little practice is still awesome.

But what’s important here is that you keep to what you can realistically do.

It’s pointless thinking you can practice for three hours a day, when most people don’t really have that time.

It’s far more productive to do 5 minutes a day for 7 days, rather than three hours for one day, then no practice for the next week.

Learning guitar is all about repetition, so the more you can get short bursts of practice in, the more effective it is.

fastest way to learn guitar

Organise What You’re Going To Practice

Once you know what your main goal is, and you’ve created smaller goals to help you get towards it, you can organise this into smaller chunks throughout the week.

So let’s say for example your main goal is “to play my favourite song” and you have a month to do it.

There’s roughly four weeks in a month, so you could set four smaller weekly goals to help you achieve your main goal.

So you could organise that like this:

  • Week 1: Learn the chords in the song.
  • Week 2: Memorise the structure of the song.
  • Week 3: To be able to play along to the song.
  • Week 4: To be able to play the song by myself.

If you want to, once you’ve done this you can organise each of your smaller goals into sub goals.

  • So for example in Week 1, you want to know all of the chords in the song. So you could practice a chord a day.
  • The important thing is here is that you break up your practice into smaller manageable chunks so you can achieve your goal

Check out this killer downloadable pack which will enhance your practice routine!

The 5 Fastest Ways To Learn Guitar In 1 Month Downloadable Powerpack

Find Out What You Should Learn Next With Our Guitar Map

If you want to understand where you’re up to in your guitar journey you should take a look at our Guitar Map. It will show you what you ‘should’ 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

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