Dansm's Acoustic Page
Dansm's Advice for Beginning Guitarists
Welcome to Dansm's Advice for Beginning Guitarists! My name is Dan Smith, I'm a first-year grad student at Harvard, and I've been playing guitar for 5 years now. Since I've been through all the stuff that you guys are going through now, I thought I would offer some advice regarding guitar to beginners. This is basic advice which applies to most guitarists in all genres of music, whether folk or alternative. I'm not trying to give an in-depth schedule of what you should be doing, just some ideas to focus your practicing as you improve as a player. Follow the links in order. It should actually take you between six months and three years to follow all these links and learn all the techniques. Do not rush; rushing will hurt you more than it will help you. I encourage you to take lessons from a local guitar teacher, because they can help you in ways web pages can't. Good luck, e-mail me with questions, and remember--we are all in this to have fun!

  1. When you first get your guitar, you should follow these links to learn the basics. An understanding of the basics is essential for learning the more complex playing you will need to do later. If you can't read music, you should definitely take guitar lessons from a local guitar teacher, because this will improve your understanding of your guitar immensely.

  1. First, you might want to be familiar with some basic playing techniques. These will be important later and will be a good introduction to fretting and moving your hands around the guitar.

  1. The best way to start learning guitar is by playing chords. Chords are the basis of all music, and are the foundation of guitar. First you must learn how to form chords on your guitar. The best chords to start with are the open chords shown below. Take your time and learn how each is formed before moving on.

  1. Once you know how to form basic open chords, the only way to play them better is to keep playing them over and over. This is best done by playing songs you know. I have a page of easy songs which are basic and use only the chords shown above. If you see other chords, either try to play them or ignore them.

Move on to the next page after you have learned open chords.

Move on!
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1998 Daniel E. Smith. Last updated 5-17-98.