#1
Hi, I'm new to the guitar. I just bought my first, and Epiphone Masterbilt, and I love it! Any practice tips?
#2
when learning chords, dont use cheat chords. practice your barre chords to strengthen your hand. it'll be for the best in the end.

also, good choice in guitar. the masterbilt series has been praised by many on this forum. i've seen one before, but never tried it.
#3
Learn a few scales and play them in different keys. Start with the major scale, then do minor pentatonics and maybe the blues scale too. Do some chromatic scale exercises as well. Scales come in handy as your skills improve when it comes to soloing, but there are a number of other benefits such as:

• Finger strength
• Dexterity
• Accuracy
• Increasing speed
• Left and right hand coordination

Start playing slow. Play as slow as it takes in order to play correctly and cleanly, then gradually increase speed. You should get a metronome too, as it will help you work on speed, in addition to developing your sense of time. Make sure you use alternate picking(down,up, down, up etc.).

Work on the basic first position chords too. Learn to play them cleanly, then work on switching at will. The metronome will come in handy here too. Start at a slow speed and switch every four beats. Focus on two chords at a time in five minute increments.

There are plenty of good lessons right here at UG, and there are good lessons on Youtube, just search using specific words. Check out Justinguitar too, and you can find a good chord site here.

That's about all that comes to mind, but I'm sure others will offer more advice. Stay diligent and have fun. Don't set unreasonable goals. For many people it takes a couple of years before they become any good. Go into it realizing that guitar is a lifetime endeavor where you will always strive for improvement.