Are you looking for the best and fastest way to teach yourself guitar?
There is a lot of confusing information in the guitar world and I wanted to create something simple; something that people could use to learn easily and also something that they could enjoy.
Table of Contents
The Best Way To Learn Guitar
- Choose the right guitar
- Choose the fastest guitar training course
- Learn simple chords
- Exercises with the right fingers build muscle memory and accelerate learning
- Challenge yourself with new things
- Play your music backward
- Make practice easy
- Have fun playing real songs
- Find a responsible partner for impromptu sessions.
The best way to learn guitar requires hacking the brain and gamification the learning process. Following these six rules has helped me to progress faster, which is key for adult learners. Remember that daily practice is essential to retain muscle memory, even if it’s only 10 minutes a day.
I always wanted to play an instrument, but I never had the resources or the interest to discipline myself to do it.
Guitar instructors are not always the best way to learn guitar
Cons of hiring a guitar instructor:
- Instructors cost a lot of money
- Instructors depend on location.
- The instructors depend on the schedule.
- It is uncomfortable to practice in front of an instructor.
Also, if you are an introvert, the fear of meeting someone new and creating a relationship makes it extremely tempting to cancel the whole idea.
For me, the time commitment to drive to the lessons was too intense.
I tried it for a few weeks and I felt like I was seeing the progress I was expecting for the time I was spending on learning.
Unfortunately, we soon ran into scheduling conflicts thanks to a shift change at my job, and I was looking for a new instructor and a new system.
However, their systems and secrets to help me make the most of each session are now mined to keep them.
It’s my turn to pass them on and make it easier for you to teach yourself guitar.
The Fastest Way to Learn Guitar (9 Steps)
As with most blog posts in this genre, some “secrets” will seem pretty obvious, and a couple will look so stupid that no one will prove them. I encourage you to practice these exercises for a week and let me know what you think in the comments below.
It may sound easy, but some of these are surprisingly difficult to follow.
The objective of each exercise is designed to help you focus on your practice and help you get the best learning from every second you spend practicing.
By using these best practices, you can synchronize the brain with your muscle memory.
1. Choose the right guitar
If you have not yet purchased a guitar, the first thing you want to do is find one that is of sufficient quality so that it does not impede your ability to play.
Your first guitar will have a surprisingly big impact on how easy it is for you to play chords. Something to consider is that an electric guitar will be easier to play since the guitar strings have a lower action and are much easier to pull. However, electric guitars require an amplifier.
Most beginning guitarists go with an acoustic guitar since they can be played anywhere. These range in price from $100 to $10,000. For most of our readers, I found that investing between $ 400 and $ 600 in your first acoustic guitar offers you the best guitar for your investment. I have made some criticisms about the sound of the guitar and the gameplay to facilitate that purchase decision.
Finally, most of my readers will be right-handed and need the right guitar. I recommend that left-handed readers invest a little more in a left-handed guitar. Sure, you can save money by restricting a right-hand guitar, but in my experience, it’s generally too much frustration to deal with.
2. Avoid scattered practice
There is a lot of free information available online on how to learn to play the guitar. You can easily upload to YouTube or Vimeo and find tabs and chords with demos of how to play almost any popular pop song.
While these videos are fun and engaging, they can slow your progress. They are inefficient
As you jump from video to video, you create gaps in your knowledge. It is a difficult way. It is inefficient.
The result is that, with enough patience, learning songs is doable and you can be popular at parties with the few songs you know. But you never develop the fundamentals of music theory and how to read the music necessary to be able to play any song.
Thus, not only will you be limited in when and what you can play, but this method of jumping from one video to another can slow down your progress. Lacking the foundation of proper positioning and fingering, you’ll find yourself trying to make superhuman leaps in your skillset as your search for impossible chords for which you lack the proper foundation.
Also, you often have to incorporate extremely difficult fingerings into your practice long before your muscles are ready. It is like trying to teach a baby to run before he can walk. A better way would be to find a course that teaches you in a natural progression.
You can also end up wasting time, jumping from one video to another, trying to fill in all the gaps. You learn when you PRACTICE, not when you browse YouTube.
With structured lessons, I was able to progress in a very stable and predictable way. At first, it felt a little slow, but in the end, we were mastering the techniques much more quickly, and I could notice a noticeable improvement in my progress.
While in-person training helped, the key that helped me progress was a proven system.
These days, I recommend Guitar Tricks, which offers a direct, deep training program for 35 cents a day. I suggest setting an alarm and every day, stop everything and play for 25 minutes. With your system, you can visualize your progress, which encourages you to do even more. Jamplay is another good program.
It is so simple that there is no way to ruin it.
The alarm goes off. You practice. Boom. Everyone thinks you are amazing.
I really think they have created the fastest system for learning guitar online. I have seen people be confident enough to lead worship in their church in 6 months or less with daily practice in their program. They have a painless practice system that allows them to make unwavering progress.
3. Learn basic chords in the first week
Most of us just want to play the guitar so we can sing or play with friends. Learning chord patterns is the best way to learn guitar for this easy activity.
The chord is when you play 2 or more notes simultaneously in harmony. Learning chords are quick and relatively easy compared to note execution. Once you’ve mastered 2-4 chords and strum patterns, you can start playing songs in your first week of practice.
One reason I like guitar tricks is that you start learning chords, which shortens the time it takes for absolute beginners to feel competent. So you know what you’re about to bump into, let’s talk briefly about chord types:
These are the chords where one or more strings are open when you strum. Therefore, you can press one or more strings, but the rest remain open and vibrate freely. These chords are the best way to learn since you only have to master a few fingers at a time. Some of these include (A, Am, Bm, C, D, Dm, E, Em, F, G).
Even better, most of these open chords have a “Simple Version” where only one or two strings need to be pressed. Master these beginner chords first.
These easy-to-play versions of chords are hands down the fastest way to play the guitar. However, you will be somewhat limited in your repertoire if you stop just to learn easy chords. Read on for insider tips on how to learn not only the guitar faster but also become a better guitarist!
These guitar chords are a little bit more challenging. These require you to “sweep” chords that would otherwise be open with one finger. It may take more practice to master these chord forms, but they open up a whole new realm of music. A dirty little secret is that you can use a Capo as your “bar” and only use open chords. So once you have mastered the open chords, you can use a Capo to play any song you want to while practicing the most difficult chord forms.
Once you beat the chords in the bar, you can be sure that you have the courage to follow through. Invest in some training in pentatonic chord progressions (good for rock and blues), music theory, and tablature.
As you learn these finger shapes, take time to master chord changes until you can do it without looking.
4. Finger drills are the game-changer for learning the guitar quickly
Most people don’t think about this much. They simply think that the mind needs to learn the shape of each chord pattern. And then they get frustrated and discouraged when their fingers don’t do what their mind says to do.
You can overcome this frustration and accelerate your success by daily forcing your fingers to practice the most common patterns. I spent 15 minutes every day (half of my daily session) practicing these exercises with my fingers.
It was surprising how much this discipline accelerated my development.
Within weeks, my learning leaped, and we tackled new music pages every week.
For a nerdy klutz like me, it was surreal for my body to master a skill like this.
Here is a video of some of my favorite finger exercises:
5. Don’t relearn stuff
Most of us have a tendency to play our songs or musical exercises from “the top” or from the beginning of our piece of music. We play until we stumble, and then often we start again from the beginning (or we throw the guitar up the wall and start playing Call Of Duty. That happens too).
The downside to starting the song from above is that we are practicing the parts we are good at and then when we get to our “problem areas” we give up and start again. This means that those problem areas never receive adequate attention and we get “stuck.”
The best way to learn to play the guitar is to tone those trouble spots like a sniper hunting his prey.
As I mentioned earlier, those problem areas are where we generally lack neuromuscular development. And by drilling them, we can build those synapses and move on.
Scientifically developing neural synapses by constantly working on the next novelty that is about 2 percent more difficult than your current skill level is scientifically proven to be the easiest way to learn to play the guitar. A good guitar program should be spaced properly so that you learn a little more each day.
6. Play Your Music Backward
One of the most random tips my instructor had was to play my piece backward.
The trick here is that sometimes our brains start to predict what the song is supposed to sound like, and we’re in a hurry. We even got to the point of playing songs.
Playing the notes backward forces us to hone our technique and give our muscles the opportunity to store that memory pattern in different ways. It is a fun way to master the material without getting bored.
Okay, that’s a bit strange, but it allowed us to get more practice out of a single score.
Also, we could always boast that we knew a piece of music “back and forth.”
7. Improve your practice environment
I will always remember the fourth lesson I had with my instructor. It was so embarrassing.
I didn’t know the music he assigned me, and my fingers stuttered throughout the piece. Frankly, you would think that with a $40 lesson on the line, I would have been much better prepared.
Finally, he interrupted my sorry performance to ask, “How much did you practice this week?”
I had my excuses. It’s hard to find time to practice. Especially as a parent with children.
This is when he gave me one of my best “hacks”
Stop thinking of it as “guitar practice time”
Make that guitar a part of your life.
Stop thinking of it as a time you must reserve.
The best way to learn to play the guitar is to treat it as part of your life rather than as separate practice time. Start by leaving it out of the box, on a stand, easily accessible. I like to leave mine near the sofa.
Then pick it up. Two minutes here. Three minutes there.
What we have done is make playing the guitar as easy as being on Facebook or watching TV.
Within a month, picking up the guitar for random practice routines becomes second nature.
Sure, invest in long practice sessions (at least 10 minutes a day. I liked doing 30 minutes). But what I soon discovered was that three minutes turns into ten minutes and the next thing you know is that you “accidentally” have done 3 ten minute sessions.
8. Learn faster by playing songs
I know that before I encouraged you not to get on the YouTube train to learn pop songs.
However, there are many easy songs that every beginning guitarist must learn immediately. They do not require a lot of investment time and are very rewarding.
Mastering one of these pieces gives your brain an immediate “victory”.
Now your brain can better understand the importance of what you are doing and makes you more anxious to tap into that knowledge and use it. Synergizing the ultimate goal of learning a song with the mastering new chords and finger activity is the easiest way to learn to play the guitar.
It is important to progress along with the study program you have chosen. These fundamentals are what will make you a great guitarist.
But these easy wins are what keeps your brain in a state of learning.
My guitar teacher helped me find my balance by making me spend the last 10 minutes of each session working on a simple song.
This little exercise was fun and gave me a reason to keep learning.
9. Accountability that hurts
Ok, here goes the least favorite tip.
None of us wants to be publicly humiliated.
Ok, here goes the least favorite tip.
None of us wants to be publicly humiliated.
An instructor fulfills this role of “responsibility partner”.
If you are taking guitar lessons online, you may want to establish a local friend as a responsible partner.
This is common in bluegrass circles. It is common to find weekly impromptu sessions where people gather to learn new songs and play favorite songs.
I remember hearing my grandfather play with other strangers. It is the way popular music has been broadcast for hundreds of years. Children are often given instruments and encouraged to play along with a simple chord.
Meetups and buddies are where you can recreate this in multiple ways every week and month.
Create a group where they meet and exchange tips on the best way to learn to play the guitar. Do it once a week, or once a month, and it will soon become the highlight of your week. Jam it. Exchange tips And inspire each other.
Using the computer to help learn guitar
This is something that did not exist when I started playing, but today I can see the benefit and even use it myself. There is software for your computer that includes all the lessons, videos, sound clips, and other things in one handy package.
By far my favorite is Rocksmith, which can be used on PC, Mac, Xbox, or Playstation platforms and has really changed the landscape of guitar learning. It combines playing the guitar in a game-like environment with real lessons, making starting to play the guitar fun.
There are also different websites that offer lessons, where you can interact with other guitarists. YouTube has become an excellent source for lessons, instruction, and brainstorming with guitarists around the world.
Do you need to learn to read music?
I can read musical notation if necessary. By that I mean if an evil supervillain were to threaten some catastrophic disaster on Earth unless he deciphers and plays a score in a reasonable amount of time, I can do it. But apart from defending the planet, is there any reason to learn to read music?
Practically speaking, most rock guitarists don’t need to learn to read sheet music. In fact, sometimes it’s not even a good use of your time. Most modern rock music is available as tablature. It is an easy way to score music for the guitar and can be quickly understood even by novice players.
The most important thing in your lessons is learning and understanding music theory, concepts, and techniques. The ability to read actual notes is seldom a skill you will turn to.
That said, it certainly won’t hurt you as a rock musician to know how to learn music. If your instructor thinks it’s important, and otherwise feels like you’re on the right track, do it. If you plan to audition for the band at school or think you could audition for more traditional music groups, it’s a good thing to have in your cheat bag.
For jazz and classical guitarists, it is a different story. Jazz and classical players should be good visual readers for most concerts. That means they need to be able to read the musical notation as easily as you or I read the words on this page, and then translate them directly into the music.
If you plan on playing these styles, yes, you will have to work hard on your reading skills. Most of the music you will learn will not be available as tablature, and you are expected to speak the same language as the rest of the group.
Why People Fail to Learn Guitar
With all these great ways to learn to play, why do some people fail? There are some common reasons that new guitarists often give for leaving the instrument, but apart from a life event that totally changes their focus, there is only one valid reason: You decide you don’t want to learn to play the guitar.
It’s okay. Not everyone needs to play the guitar, and if you prefer to play a different instrument, or focus on something like art, sports, business, or skydiving, there is nothing wrong with that. It is your life, and you can choose to do whatever you want.
However, it is really a shame that people want to learn guitar, but they are convinced that they cannot. Here, some of the things that people think prevent them from learning the instrument and why they are wrong.
- Lack of motivation: Your lack of motivation may actually be a lack of organization. Learning to play can seem overwhelming, but break it up into small pieces and it will be easier to move around.
- Lack of musical aptitude: The world is full of musicians, athletes, dancers, artists, and writers who were not particularly talented but were successful because they worked harder than anyone else.
- You’re too old: This doesn’t make sense, and the idea that only young people can succeed as musicians is an unfortunate result of the culture we live in. Learning to play the guitar at an advanced age has many advantages, and you can even make a career out of it.
- No money for lessons: As you have seen in this article, there are many free ways to learn to play the guitar, especially online. After holding the instrument in your hands, you don’t need to spend another penny.
- No time to practice: You make time for things that are important to you and you probably don’t need as much practice time as you think. Even a 15-minute practice every day will pay off. Get up 15 minutes early and practice before work or school, or sacrifice some TV time at night.
- Lack of parental/peer support: I think this is something most of us go through. You really can’t expect other people to share the same enthusiasm as you for the guitar, and in many cases, they won’t understand it. Often the best you can hope for is to stay out of your way.
- You aren’t getting better: There are real reasons why your skills may have stalled, like not trying hard enough or having a solid, incremental approach to learning new things. However, it is often just a matter of patience and taking the right steps to improve.
The point is this: if you want to play the guitar, you can do it. Stay and don’t give up!
What is the best way for you?
If you just want to learn how to play a few chords and strum an acoustic guitar, all you really need is a decent instruction manual for teaching chords and basic techniques. But if you really want to learn to play the guitar and be good with it, it will cost you a lot of work.
Depending on your personality, one or more of the above methods may be more attractive to you than others. My suggestion is to try them all out and see what works best for you. Most likely, it is a combination of the things that best help you understand the instrument.
That is good. The more diverse you can be in your studies, the better.
The determination required to learn guitar should not be viewed as a negative. It is a difficult road, but in the end, and even along the way, there are huge rewards. No doubt, eventually you will come to a crossroads where you feel like quitting. That will literally be a decision with the potential to change your life.
It is true that the guitar is not for everyone, but if you really want to play, do not let the work involved scare you. Once you learn how to play, that’s something no one can take away from you. During the rest of his days, he will understand and identify with being a musician, guitarist, and artist.
For you, the world will be a bigger place than for those who left the guitar or never bothered to follow their dream.
I have done many silly things in my life, and there are many things that I would love to go back and change. But one thing I never regret is the day, thirty years ago, when my parents asked me what I wanted for my birthday and I said, “A guitar.” I am grateful that I, 12, had the guts and the determination to stick with it. It is something that I will benefit from for the rest of my life.
If you are trying to learn guitar, don’t be afraid to work hard and don’t give up. If you are thinking of learning to play, don’t be afraid to follow your dream. You’ll never regret it.
Your success with the guitar will depend entirely on what you put on it. Do not believe that because you spend money on something that will take you to a place faster or easier than locking yourself in a room and reviewing the information that is already here.
But if you want a guitar book in your hands or on your device to work with, David Hodge has already written seven instructional guitar books. They are all highly recommended as they continue the excellent work he has produced.
And if you don’t think that any of these ideas bring you closer to the best way to learn guitar, you can try at least one of our lessons called Where do I start?