I just got my guitar today and wondering where should I start learning. I know some basic chords and riffs but should I start learning how to playing scales or songs?

which scales should I start learning? Please post links to the scales

which songs should I start learning?

I listen to a lot of every genre of music. swing, Blues, pop, alternative, rock, R&B, J-pop, K-pop and hip hop
Last edited by Phil527 at Nov 1, 2009,
scale: A minor pentatonic scale

Song: blitzkrieg bop
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try the G scale its not that hard and it will get your fingers moving then try C Penatonic or A minor scale.
When you first start, there are two things that I think you should do.
1) Find songs that you want to learn, then learn them. Make a list of say, your 10 fave songs at the moment. Find the ones which sounds do able, then practice.
2) Just get your finger moving. Even if you dont have a song to plsy, mess around with your guitar, do some basic picking/chord switching excercises. Get used to having a guitar in your hands.
And the major scale and minor pentatonic scales are a good place to start.
Last edited by GoldfishMoon at Oct 31, 2009,
In my opinion, you should first start with open chords, and every time you learn a new chord try to find a song that has all the chords you've learnt so far. After you've done chords, learn bar chords and scales, if you like.
Chetta speaks the truth. It's not completely necessary(For the first few months that I played, I learned from books and such and managed to have a good foundation when I got a teacher), but getting a teacher is going to be one of the best things you can do for yourself. Of course, the problem is finding a good teacher. There are plenty of teachers out there, but you need to find one that is going to help you grow, knows what to do and how to instruct you so that you're doing things right. Learning from books or videos is cool, I mean, as much as I learn from my teacher, I've learned from other sources as well. Especially since, in my case, my teacher has many other things that he is swamped with. But, having another player with you that can point out, say, something you're doing wrong, the reason why you might be having trouble with a certain lick or technique, that is something that's worth a lot. And, honestly, there's plenty of things that you're going to learn from a real, live person that you're not going to learn from any book. Meaning, not only technique. I've learned just as much from my own teacher when we're not going over the mechanics as when we are - it's the soul of what you're playing. It's always nice to have someone that's gone before to give you advice. My teacher often tells me that he wants me to avoid the mistakes that he made in his 30+ years of playing, that he had to fix himself.

There's a lot that a teacher can do for you that a book or a video can't, to be honest. The book or video can tell and show you what do do, but it's not often you can come across people that can do what they're shown -correctly-(at least from what I've seen). A teacher will be able to help you with the little nuances that don't seem important, but you'll learn later that they -are- quite important. Don't think I'm downing books though - in my case, I have about 10 or 20... I never count. I'll recommend a few if you like. Learn from -all- sources, don't just cut down to one or two. At the same time, don't try to learn a thousand things at one time, because it's not going to go down very well. At least, in my experience.

As for what scales, I'm going to go with what everyone else has said pretty much: Learn the Major scale. Another thing that -hasn't- been suggested, and should have been, is learn where at least -some- notes are on the guitar. One thing that you can't learn soon enough, in my opinion, is to memorize the notes on the guitar. It is -especially- helpful, because one can't always just play in the same key every time- it doesn't work like that. If you're playing off-key, even if you play well, it's not going to sound right.

Songs: Start off with something easy, I can't stretch that enough. Why? Because I'll never forget the first month of playing that I had. Imagine my insanity when I tried to learn Guthrie Govan's "Fives" right off the bat. That is a hard song to play(because the man is a freaking monster on that axe of his), and my fingers did the royal freakout. Of course, now I can grasp the song, but... This should go without saying: Of course you want to challenge yourself a bit, but don't go too overboard. Try something that's more easily played rather than trying something with loads of fast string skipping, epically fast playing, and the like. After my incident with Fives, I spent a few hours every day(This might not sound like you since I have no idea how much time you have every day - I have nothing else to do so I play for about 6-8 hours a day) figuring out my favorite songs by ear, which is good for, obviously, developing your musical ear. I'm a bit weird, so I would listen to my favorite Megaman songs and try to figure them out. Challenging, but easier than Fives, of course. Much more suited to my skill level at the time, plus it was -fun-. You always want it to be fun when you're practicing.

*scratches chin* Yeah, I guess that's all I'll say.
Last edited by Infiniti at Nov 1, 2009,
props for being a Guthrie fan. He's a beast, for sure. WTF were you thinking trying to play any of his stuff when you first started? lol.

One of my co-workers just bought a guitar a few days ago. He didn't even know I played, but we happened to be in the guitar store at the same time, so I talked to him for a bit about guitars and where to start. It really just all depends on what kind of music you want to eventually play. Somebody who is focused on playing basic rhythm while singing lead vocals is going to have a different path than a lead guitarist who will never sing. Nevertheless, your first objective with guitar is really just to figure out how to get your fingers moving , and focusing on things like chord changes and real basic scale work.

I agree with learning the A minor pentatonic scale. It's probably the easiest for your hands to work with at first. G Pentatonic might be a little rough on the stretch depending on how large your hands are. Learn the CAGED system of chords definitely, should be plenty of resources on that one. If you don't have a metronome, get one for your scale work. Most multi-effects processors now have metronomes in them. I remember starting out at 40 bpm with quarter notes on the A minor pentatonic scale. That's REALLY slow, but that's most likely where your speed will be starting out. I would recommend starting there and moving up 5 bpm in increments whenever you feel comfortable playing at a certain tempo.

Hope that helps.
Right at the start the guitar is a horror, it's a stupid, awkward plank of wood with nasty metal wires on it. It's uncomfortable and practically impossible to make it produce anything that approaches a pleasing sound. That's the hard part, the first few months where you're simply getting to grips with the basic mechanics of the whole thing. It's not advisable to get too ambitious at this stage, if you set off on the wrong path you could be on it for a long time. Take time to get used to the guitar and get a feel for it, work on a few chords and look up some simple, strummy, chord based songs. If you don't know any you'll have to get to know some, that's part of the process...you'll never become a good guitarist if you suffer from genre tunnel-vision, you have to cast your net as wide as possible and listen to lots of music.

For now concentrate on simply getting to grips with those chords, you want then to be ringing out cleanly and you want your fingers to get used to where they're supposed to be going and that will take a while....after all there's no point practicing for the sake of it, you want to be playing the guitar right? Also make sure you're not neglecting your right hand, it will feel like a sledgehammer for the first few weeks and you have to work on improving the degree of control you have over it's motion so you can maintain a consistent rhythm and hit the strings you want. Same goes for the right hand too, focus on doing things right, getting bits of your body in the right place with the minimum of fuss and effort.

You can try some songs but nothing too complex, literally just 3 chord stuff to get you into the groove of putting the stuff you've learned into some kind of coherent context....just practicing random chords and bits does feel a little abstract at times and it's hard to know what you're actually gaining until you start actually putting it into practice.

As far as scales go I really wouldn't worry about them yet, you've got enough to be going on with for the first few months with the physical side of things. However when you do start them you need to do two things.

Learn where the notes are on the fretboard.
Learn about intervals and the major scale.

All scales are defined by the notes they contain and the intervals between them, without that information you can't actually learn scales, you'd just be learning seemingly arbitrary patterns with little rhyme or reason, patterns that will actually fit multiple scales depending on the context. The major scale is the cornerstone of contemporary music, everything else relates back to it or is described by how it differs from the major scale - without that knowledge you won't be able to really understand anything else theory-wise.
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A lot of CCR songs are 3 or 4 chords. I remember when my sister was taking guitar lessons, one of the first (and only) songs she ever tried was Bad Moon Rising, which is D, A, G. Knockin' on Heaven's Door is G ,D,C. Heart of Gold is Em, C, G and D. Tangerine is Am, C, D and G. Sweet Home Alabama is D, C, G.

There's tons and tons of songs you can play open chords to, so that you at least feel like you're doing something fun, rather than banging random chords and making random chord changes over and over. A good practice you can do though is see how many chord changes you can do in a minute...and keep track. Then you can try to beat it as you progress (ref: www.justinguitar.com)