10 Guitar Tips I Wish Someone Had Taught Me

Your guitar doesn’t need much maintenance, but it does need maintenance.

If you’re a complete beginner guitarist, then you don’t need to spend a long time tweaking your guitar for performance. But a must-know guitar tip is that you should put new strings on it (and make sure those strings are “extra light” gauge strings).

Bonus guitar tip: Extra light gauge strings are thinner which means it easier for you to play chords on them, and also gentler on your soft beginner fingertips.

But it isn’t just beginners that should change their strings. All guitarists should change their strings every 6 to 8 weeks as a minimum.

I change my guitar strings about once a fortnight now, but when I was gigging with the band I used to change them every day.

easy guitar tips

Avoid temperature swings

Your guitar is basically just a big ol’ piece of wood, so it’s important that you keep it away from sources of heat and cold like air conditioning units, cold/hot cars and draughty doors. Don’t leave it lying in the sun or resting on a radiator.

Bonus guitar tip: What’s your action like?

One of the things that can make a guitar very difficult to play is if the action of the guitar is too high.

This means that the strings are higher from the fretboard than we would ideally like them to be.

This is a very easy problem to solve. Take the guitar to your local guitar shop and ask them to “set it up” for you.

It will cost about $60 / £40 and is a shrewd investment. It will make your guitar easier to play and it will also make it sound better.

Your local guitar shop will re-string the guitar for you for around $15 / £10. The strings will be changed as part of the guitar setup, but you must specify extra light gauge strings.

Do this and hey presto, you have a guitar that sounds great, and is easier to learn. Win win.

best guitar tips for beginners

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Guitar Tip 8: Learn Major and Minor Arpeggios

This is a cool guitar tip to add to your collection.

“Arpeggio” is a fancy way of saying ‘pluck the notes from a chord individually’. Here’s the major arpeggio pattern:

Major Arpeggio guitar tips

This is a moveable shape so you can slide it up and down the fretboard and it will work for any major chord/key.

The minor arpeggio looks like this:

Minor Arpeggio guitar tips

This is a moveable shape too. It will work for all minor chords/keys.

These are simple patterns, but you can get a LOT out of them. Much more than is apparent.

To give you an example of how/when you could use arpeggios, I made this recording for you:


There’s a lot more you can learn about arpeggios, but for now, I just wanted to flag these two patterns to you.

You need to have them on your radar, they’re useful guitar tips to know. 🙂

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Guitar Tip 9 : Learn the CAGED system

I heard people talk about the CAGED system for years without really understanding it.

Some guitarists revel in making things sound complicated (I think they do this because it makes them seem clever), so I was surprised when I figured out that the CAGED system isn’t really a ‘system’ at all. It’s just an acronym that we used to remind us of a powerful fact:

All guitar chords can be played using 5 different chord shapes:

  • The C shape
  • The A shape
  • The G shape
  • The E shape
  • The D shape

We saw some of this earlier, when we spoke about triads and looked at the different voicings of a C chord, remember?

This is a big topic, with a very simple premise.

You can learn more about CAGED in our article:

How To Play Lead Guitar

10 best guitar tips

Guitar Tips 10: Learn music theory

When I was first learning guitar I never wanted to learn any theory. It just seemed too dry and boring.

I wanted to make MUSIC and I loved the creative expression of crafting songs. “Theory” seemed like the complete opposite of that, in my eyes.

But what happened to me next happens to everyone who shuns theory…. After a while, you plateau.

Understanding theory, in simple, bite-size chunks, is what helps us keep growing as guitarists. Guitar tip after guitar tip after guitar tip. They add up. Theory is what unlocks the next level for you.

You have to be careful not to bite off more than you can chew and in my experience, you need to learn a little, play a little.

It’s through APPLYING the theory that you internalise it. You can’t just hit the books for a weekend and think you know it all. You have to go and play and explore the concepts you’ve learned to really understand it.

When you feel a bit stuck in a rut, or that you’re not making progress, that’s a sign that it’s time to broaden yourself as a guitarist and learn some theory.

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