How To Play Acoustic Guitar: A Quick Introduction

By Ian Major

If you want to learn how to play acoustic guitar there are some things that you need to know right from the start. Believe me when I say that they will save you a great deal of frustration.

Here are some great tips that should help:

1# Because you will need to practice often (and sometimes you wont want to)-, playing along to a favorite song can be a great motivator. Even if you are a raw beginner you will be surprised at how many songs you can play along to.

“Google” your favorite song and see if there’s a result that offers chord charts for them. Study the charts to find a song you know that has a simple chord progression, these will be chords that you can already play or would like to learn. Download the chord charts and start practicing. You’ll be amazed at how good you will feel when you are playing along to your well loved songs.

2# Make sure that your guitar is tuned properly. You may not believe this but I’ve met people who wanted to know how to play acoustic guitar that didn’t know that each string on a guitar had to be tuned to a specific pitch!

It’s not a case of getting the tuning nearly right either, you need to get it “spot on” why? because you will judge your playing by the way you sound and if just one string is slightly of pitch, your “sound” wont be as good as you would like or indeed would have been had your guitar been in tune.

To make sure your guitar is in tune you can use a set of inexpensive pitch pipes. Learn to tune from string to string. Use an electronic guitar tuner or tune from a piano or another guitar. To save room in this article I wont go into detail but you can find some excellent information here:

3# Decide on what type of pick (plectrum)you want to use. This is one of the most overlooked pieces of equipment. Picks come in various gauges. A very thin pick will give a much softer sound than a thick one so try experimenting and choose the pick that achieves the sound you want. Some guitarist wear a pick on there thumb and some guitarists just use their fingers. It’s all a matter of choice and something you do need to be aware of.

4# Now you’ll have to excuse me here as I’m going to use a word that some people find quite upsetting. Are you ready? The word is “practice”. I’m sorry but it just had to be said. Of course, we all promise we will practice but there’s always a good film on or the big game just about to start and a hundred other excuses. I’m no different, so here my suggestion.

Don’t promise yourself that you will practice for an hour every day. Make that a promise of twenty minutes everyday. Little and often is best I find. Have your guitar and chord books or tabs to hand if you’re watching TV, that way you can have five minutes practice during the commercial break (and sometimes longer). I find that this works really well as it’s sort of unplanned (and far more enjoyable than most of the commercials).

I hope that these tips will help you on your way to becoming a great guitarist.

Practice, Practice, Practice. That’s how to play acoustic guitar.

Play On.

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