Learn how to play guitar in 17 easy steps

Learning how to play guitar is one of THE best experiences you will ever have. It’s a fantastic way of expressing yourself creatively. We’re so thrilled that you’ve arrived at this page.  At the national guitar academy, our number one priority is to help you learn how to play guitar!

learn how to play guitar

In this ultimate guide you will learn:

  • 8 powerful guitar secrets which will maximise your guitar progress!
  • 5 essential guitar lessons that are guaranteed to make you sound amazing.
  • 6 super easy tips which will inspire you to play guitar!
  • How to play the guitar in 17 quick and easy steps.

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Learn How To Play Guitar: Step #1 Learn ‘Stepping Stone Chords’

Learning stepping stone chords is THE fastest way to learn how to play guitar. Guitar chords form 99% of all music, so you must learn how to play them.

Stepping stone chords are easier versions of larger chords.

Here are a few examples of some stepping stone chords compared with standard chords.

learn how to play guitar

If you’re a beginner, why would you want to make it harder for yourself? Keep it easy, learn stepping stone chords.

To learn more about stepping stone chords check out these lessons:

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.

 

Learn How To Play Guitar: Step #2 Learn how to strum with musicality and rhythm

Learning how to strum the guitar is a quick fire way of enhancing your musicality and rhythm. Guitar chords don’t sound musical on their own.

By learning how to strum, you are injecting some musicality and rhythm into you’re playing!

This is SO important if you want to become an amazing guitarist.

If you want to learn how to strum, check out this article: How To Strum A Guitar

Learn How To Play Guitar: Step #3 Learn how to use a pick

If you want to learn how to play guitar fast, you must learn how to use a guitar pick.

Guitar picks allow you to strum and play quick fire lead lines.

Can you imagine what guitar playing would sound like without a pick? Not that great.

Learning how to hold a pick, makes playing the guitar easier and faster, but most importantly, it sounds great too!

To learn how to hold a guitar pick, go here: How to hold a guitar pick in 3 easy steps

learn how to play guitar

Learn How To Play Guitar: Step #4 Learn how to play guitar scales

If you want to become a killer guitarist, you must know how to play guitar scales.

Guitar scales help you:

  • Improvise
  • Create melodies
  • Sound amazing!

They’re essential to know if you want to learn about lead guitar.

Learning how to play scales enhances your guitar technique. If you want to sound amazing at guitar, learn guitar scales.

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

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.

Learn How To Play Guitar: Step #5 Learn how to play lead guitar

If you know how to play guitar scales, congratulations! You now have the appropriate tools to play lead guitar.

Learning how to play lead guitar is one of the most inspiring things you can do on the guitar.

Often, many people mistake learning how to play lead guitar for playing guitar solos.

Even though that’s a core part of lead guitar playing, there’s SO much more you can do with lead guitar playing.

Here are some classic examples of what you could do if you could play lead guitar:

  • Write inspiring guitar melodies.
  • Create huge sounding guitar riffs!

As you can see, learning how to play lead guitar is one of the funnest things you can do on the guitar.

If you want to learn more about guitar soloing, go here: How To Play Lead Guitar

If you’d like to learn more about guitar riffs, go here: Guitar Tabs For Beginners: 20 Easy Songs That Sound Great

learn how to play guitar

Learn How To Play Guitar: Step #6 Learn Easy Songs

Learning easy songs is one of the quickest ways to learn guitar. Not only is it fun and inspiring, it enhances your guitar progress.

If you want to learn the guitar fast, you should definitely lean how to play easy songs.

Stuck on what songs to learn? These articles will help you:

10 Easy Songs On Guitar

5 Guitar Songs For Beginners

Learn How To Play Guitar: Step #7 Set Practice Goals

Setting practice goals is one of the best things you can do when you learn how to play guitar.

It’s SO important to have a practice goal.

Think to yourself, “What do I want to get out of guitar playing? What kind of guitarist do I want to be?”

Once you’ve thought about this, grab a pen and paper and write down 5 achievable goals.

Here are 5 examples of some main goals:

  • To learn 3 songs on the guitar
  • To play at an open mic night
  • To understand guitar theory
  • To learn a song to play at a relatives wedding
  • To learn 10 guitar chords

Once you’ve thought about what your main goals is Try of think of a smaller sub goals which will help you achieve your main goal.

For example, if you wanted to learn 3 songs on the guitar, you may have to do some of the following:

  • Listen to the song.
  • Learn the chords in a song.
  • Learn the strumming pattern.
  • Learn the structure.

By setting smaller sub goals, this helps you achieve your main goal.

learn how to play guitar

Learn How To Play Guitar: Step #8 Be Realistic With Your Practice Time

It’s important that when you learn how to play guitar, you set realistic practice time.

Guitar playing needs LOTS of repetition, so it’s best to practice little and often.

When you’re trying to schedule in your practice time, try and be flexible within your approach.

We suggest setting aside 5 – 30 minutes of guitar practice every day. By doing this, you are maximising your guitar progress.

Notice how we say between 5 AND 30 minutes, it’s important to be flexible.

Your daily routine is always going to change, so when you’re trying to schedule in practice, it’s important to be realistic and fit in what you can!

Learn How To Play Guitar: Step #9 Learn Music That Inspires You

If you want to learn how to play guitar, it’s important to try and learn music which inspires you.

Trying to practice core techniques is hard enough when you’re a beginner guitarist. Sometimes practicing guitar chords can be boring.

It’s important to learn music that inspires you. This keeps practice fresh and exciting and makes guitar playing fun!

If you’re not sure what kind of music interests you, try this:

  • Listen to a wide range of genres, blues, pop, rock, funk, metal, anything. Find something which resonates with you musically!
  • Once you’ve found a genre you like, find 5 different artists from that genre.
  • Once you’ve found 5 different artists, pick 5 tracks from each artist which you think sound cool.
  • Learn those tracks!

By learning some of your favourite tracks, this keeps your practice fresh and exciting.

learn how to play guitar

Learn How To Play Guitar: Step #10 Buy a guitar which makes you want to practice

When you want to learn to play guitar, it’s important to buy a guitar which makes you want to practice.

There are two simple things you can do which will help you find out what type of guitar you should buy:

  • Look at what type of guitar your guitar heroes use.
  • Check out what type of guitars are suitable for certain genres of music.

If you’re into rock music there’s a good chance that you’ll want a electric guitar.

If you like folk music, you may want an acoustic guitar!

The most important thing here is to buy something which inspires you to practice.

If you want to play rock music, you’re not going to want an acoustic guitar, as it won’t create the sound in your head.

Same goes for folk music, if you buy an electric guitar, it simply won’t sound right.

If you want some guidance on what guitar to purchase, check out these cool guides:

What’s The Best Beginner Guitar?

9 Types of Guitar Every Guitarist Should Know

Learn How To Play Guitar: Step #11 Go To Local Jam Nights

Local jam nights can be a great way to meet like minded musicians.

If you’re looking to learn how to play guitar, meeting local musicians is a fantastic way of getting involved in the local music community.

As well as this, it’s always good to ask more experienced musicians questions about how they learnt to play guitar.

Sometimes, one sentence from an experienced musician can change your whole perspective on music.

learn how to play guitar

Learn How To Play Guitar: Step #12 Watch YouTube Tuition Videos

A good way to learn how to play guitar is to watch tuition videos on YouTube.

There are hundreds of fantastic resources out there on the internet.

However, be careful of what you watch. Even though there are loads of great resources on YouTube, there are also loads of REALLY bad guitar teachers.

If you’re looking to learn guitar on YouTube, we recommend:

  • Justin Sandercoe, formerly known as ‘justinguitar’.

You can check out his website here: JustinGuitar |Free Guitar Lessons

You can check out his YouTube channel here: Justin Guitar YouTube

  • TrueFire: they have hundreds of fantastic lessons by some stellar guitar players.

Check out their website here: TrueFire – Online Guitar Lessons

Check out their YouTube channel here: TrueFire TV

Learn How To Play Guitar: Step #13 Watch A Video Of Your Guitar Hero

Watching a video of your guitar hero is a fantastic way to motivate yourself.

Your guitar hero could be anyone, from Carlos Santana to Jimi Hendrix to Noel Gallagher.

It doesn’t have to be a shred demon, just someone who inspires you musically.

learn how to play guitar

Learn How To Play Guitar: Step #14 Go To A Live Concert

Going to a live concert is a fantastic way of experiencing music culture.

Learning to play the guitar isn’t just about learning the instrument. It’s about embracing the culture which surrounds music.

Go to live concerts, experience what a musical community feels like.

Live music is everywhere! From your local pub, to the nearest arena. There are LOADS of places where you can find live music.

live gig

Learn How To Play Guitar: Step #15 Learn Guitar Exercises

Learning guitar exercises is a great way of enhancing your guitar technique.

Whether it’s string bending, alternate picking or hammer-ons and pull-offs, these techniques will turn you into a fresh and exciting guitar player.

Even these guitar techniques are not the most exciting things to practice, they’re essential to help you learn how to play guitar.

We guarantee that if you learn how to play guitar exercises, you WILL become a better guitarist.

If you’re looking for some guitar exercises, check out this lesson: 20 Guitar Exercises To Make You A Better Guitarist

Learn How To Play Guitar: Step #16 Learn Guitar Tricks

Even though learning chords and scales are essential to help you learn how to play guitar.

Sometimes it’s great to have a bit of fun…

This is where guitar tricks come in, if you want to add a bit of extra spice to your guitar playing learn how to play guitar tricks!

Some classic examples of guitar tricks are:

  • Pick slides
  • Volume swells
  • Fast picking
  • Pinch Harmonics

These are just a few classic examples, you can find many more guitar tricks here:

Guitar Tricks: 23 Essential Secrets Every Guitarist Should Know

How To Play Electric Guitar: A Beginner’s Guide

How To Play Lead Guitar

 

ed sheeran

Learn How To Play Guitar: Step #17 Find A Guitar Teacher

This is arguably one of the most important points of this whole guide. It’s SO important to find a great guitar teacher.

Without a guitar teacher, learning how to play the guitar can be difficult.

Having a guitar teacher is a fantastic way of learning the guitar fast.

Here are a few reasons why you should get a guitar teacher:

  • Learning the guitar becomes quicker.
  • You can ask questions about learning the guitar.
  • You have complete guidance on anything that you want to learn.
  • Guitar Lessons are fun and engaging!

When you’re looking for a guitar teacher, try and consider the following:

  • Is the guitar teacher right for me?

It’s important to find a guitar teacher who is right for you, your guitar lessons need to be fun and engaging!

  • Is your guitar teacher local enough?

You don’t want to travel too far for your guitar lessons, try and find someone who is local to where you live. Or alternatively, see if they will come to your house.

  • Will they be able to teach me what I want to learn?

For lessons to be fun, you need to learn music which will inspire you! Make sure that your guitar teacher is willing to teach you anything that you want to know.

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.)

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

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

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Mike Kennedy - National Guitar Academy Founder

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