Learning how to play the guitar is a rewarding and fulfilling experience. A versatile outlet of creativity and expression, the guitar is a popular instrument for musicians of all backgrounds. Even better, it’s very easy to begin playing.
Keep reading to find answers to some of the most commonly asked questions when starting online guitar classes. We’ll share how long it takes to learn guitar, some easy songs to play, and more!
Although it can seem intimidating at first, the guitar is an easy instrument to pick up regardless of whether or not you have a musical background. This might be why it’s one of the most popular and commonly chosen instruments to learn.
As with any instrument though, becoming an expert at all of the intricacies of guitar will take longer than learning the basics.
Beginners to the guitar are easily able to learn a few chords and strumming patterns, but more complex techniques like scales and fingerpicking will take patience and determination. Your fingers will need to develop strength and dexterity to master these more challenging skills!
The amount of time it will take to learn the guitar depends entirely on the student. Each student learns at a different pace, but most can expect it to take between six months to a year for them to be able to play at a comfortable level.
Overall, you’ll get out of the guitar what you’re willing to put into it, in terms of practice time and determination. Your practice sessions will be key to mastering the topics covered in your online guitar classes.
Remember that there is a learning curve when it comes to guitar. But if you push past the first month of lessons, which can be a challenge for beginners, it will only get easier.
Absolutely not. You’re never too old to learn how to play guitar! Our teachers have taught students from ages six to 60, and beyond. If you’re motivated to learn a new instrument like guitar, don’t let your age stop you!
Your ability to play the guitar won’t be limited by how old you are, but rather your persistence and enthusiasm to learn.
Here at TakeLessons, we believe the best way to learn the guitar is with the help of a qualified and experienced teacher on your side. A teacher will help create a unique learning plan specific to your goals and needs.
He or she will also be able to catch and correct mistakes you’re making in technique, so you progress faster. Consider taking private guitar lessons or online guitar classes to make sure you’re learning properly and practicing efficiently.
Also, don’t forget to set goals, stick to a plan, and stay motivated. Keep reading to find out what we mean.
In order to master the guitar faster, it’s essential to set specific and measurable goals for yourself. For example, pick a simple song that you want to learn by a certain date, or, choose a new difficult chord that you want to learn within a week.
Remember to only set goals that are within reach. A guitar teacher can help you narrow down some specific goals depending on where you’re at in your lessons.
Having a plan will help hold yourself accountable to meeting your goals. Your study plan should include individual practice time, as well as time spent working on homework or exercises that your teacher provides. Make time for each on a calendar that you see daily, and set reminders if you need to.
The best way to stay motivated while learning how to play the guitar is to make your practice sessions enjoyable. Learn songs that you really like by musicians and bands you admire. Jam with other musicians at your level and try to come up with your own new songs.
Remember to have fun while you learn and you’ll stay motivated despite any challenges that come your way.
Learn more about the best way to learn guitar here.
If you’re buying your first guitar, we recommend purchasing it in person versus online. You’ll need to hold the guitar and get a feel for it, making sure it’s the right size and fit for you.
Be sure that the width of the guitar’s neck accommodates the size of your hand, and that it feels comfortable even while you’re sitting.
Check out your local music studio or Guitar Center, and a store associate should be able to guide you in the right direction.
Learn more about how to buy a guitar here.
Guitars are available at many different price points. It all depends on the type of quality you’re looking for, but most guitars range from $100-$1500.
It’s important to keep in mind that the cheapest option isn’t always the best. If you’re a new student, a quality guitar will not only sound more enjoyable, but it can help you sound better as well. With this in mind, your first guitar shouldn’t cost you more than $500.
In addition to the guitar itself, there are a few accessories that you might like to purchase that will help make playing easier - especially as a beginner. Here are a few must-have guitar accessories.
- Guitar picks - Picks make strumming the guitar a lot easier and they come in a variety of widths.
- Guitar strap - A guitar strap will help hold the guitar up when you’re standing and playing.
- Tuner - Use a tuner to make sure your guitar is in tune before starting to play!
- Guitar case - If you plan to transport your instrument to another location, a case is essential to keeping it in good condition.
- Capo - A capo will help you change the key of the chords you’re playing if you plan to sing along.
An out of tune guitar can make even the best guitar player in the world sound terrible. So before joining in on group guitar classes, you have to make sure your instrument is in tune.
Essentially, the way to tune a guitar is by adjusting its strings. You can do this by turning the strings’ corresponding tuning keys on the head of the guitar. Turn the tuning key away from you to tighten the string and raise its pitch; turn it toward you to loosen it and lower the pitch.
It’s best to do this with the help of a chromatic tuner, so you know when to stop turning - once each string has reached the correct note. The strings should be tuned to E-A-D-G-B-E starting with the highest string. This is known as “standard tuning.”
Learn more ways to tune a guitar here.
Learning how to properly strum your guitar is essential to being able to play a majority of your favorite songs. To start, grab a pick. Or, if you prefer, you can use a fingernail on your strumming hand by putting your thumb and index finger together.
When strumming your guitar, one key thing to keep in mind is that the motion should be coming from your wrist rather than your elbow. Don’t lock up your wrist and arm. Instead, flick your wrist lightly up and down, while relaxing the rest of your body.
First, practice strumming downstrokes through all six strings to the beat of your favorite song. If you don’t know what chords to play, that’s ok. Just mute the strings with your non-strumming hand. Once you feel comfortable with downstrokes, throw in an upstroke on every other beat.
With upstrokes, you don’t have to strum through all six strings. The top few strings should be enough to add a little variety to your strumming. Repeat this down-up-down-up exercise until you feel comfortable with strumming, then add in some chords!
A chord is three or more different notes that are played simultaneously. For example, the C major chord contains three notes: C, E, and G. The most basic guitar chords are C, D, Dm (D minor), E, Em (E minor), F, G, A, and Am (A minor).
If you’re a beginner, start with learning to play major chords. Something to keep in mind when playing chords it that they should always sound clean and crisp. Make sure your fingers are firmly pressed down on each string to eliminate any muffled sounds.
You should also practice making a smooth, fluid transition from one chord to the next. Don’t rush through playing chords; take your time and practice as slow as necessary to master the technique. Use a metronome if needed!
Here’s a simple exercise you can try to help you improve at playing chords. Start by playing the G chord and switch back and forth from G to all the other basic chords. For example: G - C - G - D - G - Em - G - F - G - Am - G.
Learn more about guitar chords here.
How you structure your practice sessions is just as important as your group guitar classes or individual lessons. Follow these 11 tips to get the most out of your practice time and learn the guitar even faster!
- Make a specific schedule - Practice at the same time (and in the same place) every day so you don’t forget. Remember to choose a location without distractions!
- Warm up - Always start your practice sessions with some warm up exercises such as scales or arpeggios.
- Challenge yourself first - Experts recommend practicing the most challenging things you’re learning right after you warm up, when your mind is at its freshest point.
- Try a new technique - Ever heard of hammer ons or pull offs? How about muting or harmonics? Ask your music teacher about these popular techniques and practice them some more on your own!
- Separate your hands - Practice your left and right hand movements separately, before combining them, to improve your coordination.
- Slow down - Don’t rush through songs or tricky chords you’re trying to learn. Slow down to make less mistakes and work on your technique.
- Use a metronome - Train yourself to play in time and you’ll not only be a better musician, but you’ll be able to play more easily in a band or ensemble.
- Play without looking - Practice playing chords and strumming without looking at your hands to reinforce your muscle memory.
- Record yourself - Record your practice sessions to check your accuracy and timing. Listening back to yourself will also help train your ears.
- Try a music stand - A music stand will help you maintain correct posture and feel more relaxed while playing for extended periods of time.
- Keep it short - Don’t burn yourself out with long practice sessions. Remember that the quality of your practice is just as important as the quantity and take breaks!
If you’re new to the guitar, we recommend practicing every day for at least 30 minutes. If you can practice for an hour every day, even better! If you have a busy schedule and can only practice Monday through Friday, that’s ok too.
A little bit of practice is always better than nothing; just make sure you’re practicing frequently and regularly to get the most out of your classes or lessons.
Meeting with your instructor once per week is still the best way to learn guitar for most intermediate students, allowing for consistent skill growth. If you’re finding you need more time to master new material, you can always move to lessons once every two weeks until you feel more confident.
Success! You’ve decided to make your living doing something you love! You’ve learned so much and come so far, but there are so many styles and variations that you could likely go on finding new and different ways to play guitar forever. Taking the time for a lesson every so often can refresh your playing immensely. New skills lead to new and better songwriting, and more impressive performances, so try to meet with an instructor every month or two.
After you learn a few simple chords on the guitar, there are hundreds of popular songs that you’ll be able to play! Check out the following lists for some ideas.