Hey all, I'm 17 and a beginner at guitar right now. I've played a bit, just on ones from school and a horrible cheap acoustic I got from a friend (can play Teen Spirit fairly well and a few bits and pieces but that's about it). Recently I started using goodear.com for ear training as well. I've been reading and viewing a lot on the internet and downloading some ebooks and videos about guitar and music theory. Basically I want to learn the best technique I possible can from the beginning as I learn guitar; I'm going to buy my first electric with its amp and accessories pretty soon. I know a thing or two which I've picked up but I can't afford a teacher, I just have a couple of friends who've been playing for years and my uncle who has played in bands around my city before.

Anyway, what I'm asking is what are the most important parts of playing guitar well and knowing your way around music (timing, muting strings, playing bends in tune, that kind of thing) and how should I go about cultivating my skill at them? How do I become as skilled a guitarist as I am capable of with the motivation and whatever inherent potential I may have? Any links to pages and downloads on the internet which would help, or even book titles I could buy or find online, would be really helpful. Good advice, specific or general, would be very helpful.

Set aside a certain amount of time every day to practice. A routine will make the practice flow more, and you'll feel you're accomplishing something. Set weekly goals too.

With regards to the individual skills you've listed, a good bet is to check out the lessons section on here, there are some really good ones.

Start by learning the notes on the guitar. Make sure you know them as well as you possibly can. Then look for a theory book (I can't really make any suggestions here, sorry), and learn how the basic scales (Major, Pentatonic Minor, Harmonic Minor, Blues) are formed, and from there move onto chord composition and progressions. Once you're at this stage, you're basically free to take your playing in any direction.

One thing I would argue strongly in favour of, is playing with a metronome at all times. It doesn't matter how fast it is, just make sure there's something in the room keeping a regular beat. There are plenty of free ones on the internet, just do a search for them. I normally tap my foot along, to help me keep in rhythm, but that's up to you..

Once you've learnt all the basics, it's a good idea to take a look at your music library, and think of 2 or 3 songs you love. Practice each one every day, so that you build them up evenly. The chances are that each will utilise different techniques throughout the song, different tempos, different keys and so on. Don't set yourself any more songs to learn until you feel comfortable with the initial ones, that way you'll build up a repertoire of a handful of songs that you're fully proficient at, instead of fifty songs you can't play effectively (this is my one pet hate with guitarists :P).

Other than that, just enjoy it. If at anytime you're not enjoying it, take a look at your practicing. Try to make it fun as well as productive.

All the best,

We've survived before, we'll do it agian. Play up Pompey.
1. Get a teacher
2. Get a metronome
3. Practice
4. ??????
5. Profit
Quote by Geldin
Junior's usually at least a little terse, but he knows his stuff. I've always read his posts in a grouchy grandfather voice, a grouchy grandfather with a huge stiffy for alternate picking.
Besides that, he's right this time. As usual.
Whether practicing a simple exercise, a technique or a song, never settle for just ok, always strive for perfection. There are lots of people that go from learning song to song but never master a single one.

Becoming good means paying attention to all the little details and nuances, things like precise timing, dynamics, technque, and styles.

Do not concentrate all your efforts on a growth limiting genre.

Universities, conservatories, and reputable music schools generally teach two styles of music, classical and jazz, there is a good reason for that.
I'm the only player to be sponsered by 7 guitar companies not to use their products.
The very first thing (and the best thing you can ever learn on the guitar) is all the notes and where they are located on the neck. Once you have that dominated, you can look through different music theory books and play with what they say.

PRS Santana SE II with Dimarzio DP100 bridge P/up
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the way id set things out would be from the start up. in order:

-basic chords
-chord exploration (pebber brown explains this if you want to know)
-how a scale is built, how a chord is built, how to work out the name of a chord
-5 pentatonic positions
-pentatonic licks and basic songs with metronome
(-adding the blues note) optional
-14 position major scale system
-lots and lots of technical work with this (ie learning patterns, licks, in different keys) with metronome
-what a mode is
- how to produce each mode of the major scale based off the 14 position system (every mode in each key)
-major mode practice and constant improv.
-how the pentatonic scales fit into a major/minor modal setting.

now from here going into more advanced music theory, composition and jazz is the way to go. but that list should be a good foundation for this part. and when you get to that part you pretty much know where to go from there. so that's how to cultivate a good basis for technique. but i mean that's like at least 4 hours of practice every day for a few years.

also write everything you learn down.