I just got done with a summer class and I vowed to start learning electric guitar as soon as it was over. I just picked up a Mexican Stratocaster from a guy on Craigslist and I'm getting an amp very soon.

The description of this branch of the forum says "I got this thing, and it has 6 strings... and I was wondering... what the heck do I do with it?" and really, that's how I feel right now. I have absolutely no knowledge whatsoever about guitars.

So my question is... What now? I'm probably going to learn at least a few of the basics on my own before I even consider getting guitar lessons so I don't blow $35 an hour learning how to hold the thing, but my head is devoid of even that kind of knowledge.

Where do I learn the basics like tuning, how to hold the guitar, how not to hold the guitar, etc.,.? Should I get a book? Learn online? What service do you guys think offers the best online lessons? How do I tune it? How do I get this band's specific kind of guitar sound? How do I read tabs?

Any and all type of help is really, really appreciated.

PS. For a little bit of background info... I feel like I have the passion to learn. I'm a homebody, and there are times where I'm wondering what the heck I should do besides play poker, look on eBay, or work (I work online), so learning how to play guitar would be a nice little addition to that. If I could, I'd do whatever I could to try and play by ear, but I wouldn't know how to train myself to do such a thing. If you need any other background info to answer some Q's, let me know.
well you can start by reading and absorbing stuff in the basics thread here. you can also head to guitar.about.com for more stuff.
I suggest buying a book that has basic chords and scales.

For tuning you're better off by buying a tuner. Korg makes chromatic tuners that are about 15 dollars. Standard tuning is (from low to high) E, A, D, G, B, E. Get some guitar picks for playing. Dunlops are usually what everyone uses. As for size of them, i personally use the .50mm ones (red)

Learn how to play open chords and that'll help you get used to strumming, fretting down (pressing) strings, develop callouses on your fingers (u'll need to get them so that it won't be painful after a while). Also learning scales will help you get used to moving around the neck. Once you have those down learn some theory so that you can actually "understand" music.

You can also go ahead and learn some songs from tabs but i don't recommend that yet since you won't know how to fret chords or what fingers to use.
Originally Posted by evening_crow
Quoting yourself is cool.

WARNING: I kill threads.
Once you get your bearings with how to tune and everything look for a few simple songs to learn. A lot of the old funk tunes by bands like The Meters and James Brown are great, cause usually they are maybe two parts to the whole song, but it will get your rhythm hand working a little faster than were you to start out on songs that focused more on open chord type things. They are pretty easy to figure out by ear too, and that will help tremendously later when you want to get a melody out of your head and on to the fretboard.
Somthing i have been told which i think might help you strengthen your fingers when your not playing the guitar is tapping your fingers against anything hard. like a Table or desk or somthing it helped my fingertips become stronger and more enduring and once you learn scales try to always incorporate the pinky as much as possible during your scales..
Some pretty good advice thus far. Definitely going to start trying to strengthen my fingers since I know what it's actually like to have the strings in my head.

I'm just wondering if there's any one place that I could really start at, though. I'm definitely going to be looking at these forums often now, but to give you an example of how lost I am, I just learned what a fret was today. And when evening_crow gave me an example of what standard tuning is, I still don't know what the letters mean (oh man, I feel like such a noob typing that last sentence).

Rather than having people waste their time trying to explain to me these simple little things, I would think it'd be better to learn from one source. Yenno, one teaching style.
To get yourself familiarised with the guitar itself you might as well start here...


Don't bother with "strengthening your fingers" by tapping or stuff like that, it doesn't work - the process of fretting a string is quite specific.

Look in the lessons on UG, here's a few to get you started. It's also worth investing in a book like Guitar for Dummies.


In short though....

- get to know the guitar itself and how it works
- learn how to tune it
- start learning some open chords, E A and D are your ideal starting points. Don't do anything other than simply trying to play the chord once, cleanly. No strumming, no changing chords. Just one chord at a time, probably start with E. Your aim is to be able to hold down all the notes of the chord and be able to play it so each note rings out cleanly. Even this simple task witll take quite a while at the beginning but you'll get there.

- once you can play a couple of chords and are getting the hang of switching between them continue to work with open chords for a while, as in a few months, they'll strengthen your hands and also help build finger dexterity and your sense of timing. Learn lots of chordy, campfire type songs - if you come across one with a chord you don't know then spend some time learning the new chord first. Whilst you're doing this to pick up a little bit of the theory behind chords, such as the notes they contain and how they come from the major scale - that'll help you construct chords so you don't need to memorise every shape.

- once you're comfortable with open chords and your hands are getting stronger add barre chords to your repetoire, they'll get you moving around the neck and prepare you nicely for moving on to some lead stuf in another couple of months.
Actually called Mark!

Quote by TNfootballfan62
People with a duck for their avatar always give good advice.

...it's a seagull

Quote by Dave_Mc
i wanna see a clip of a recto buying some groceries.

I'd say the VERY first thing would be to learn the parts of a guitar. Go to youtube and search "complete beginner guitar lesson" something should come up.
if you search online for just a few second you can find all sort of information about tuning/how to hold it/ everything else, shouldnt be hard to locate, just search for what you want to know, and as for getting a book or going through the internet, on the internet you can find videos, perhaps thatd help more?
depends on how you learn
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His beginner course is great, it will help you very much. But check out the basics first, it had step by step videos on how to tune, change strings, etc.
Thanks to everyone who contributed to this lost boy, but a really big thanks to Steve Seagull. I'll definitely be listening to the advice you've given me.

I read that "is a metronome really necessary thread" and I've decided to get one. How much do one of those run? Also, are there anything that books offer that I can't readily access online?
Quote by WTFSEAN
Thanks to everyone who contributed to this lost boy, but a really big thanks to Steve Seagull. I'll definitely be listening to the advice you've given me.

I read that "is a metronome really necessary thread" and I've decided to get one. How much do one of those run? Also, are there anything that books offer that I can't readily access online?

Actually called Mark!

Quote by TNfootballfan62
People with a duck for their avatar always give good advice.

...it's a seagull

Quote by Dave_Mc
i wanna see a clip of a recto buying some groceries.

Quote by steven seagull

+1. I have a metronome and it's a very useful tool, even though I rarely use it. the ticking annoys the fuck out of me.
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Quote by Anonden
You CAN play anything with anything....but some guitars sound right for some things, and not for others. Single coils sound retarded for metal, though those who are apeshit about harpsichord probably beg to differ.
Well getting a teacher can be a good idea however I and probably most of the users here are selftaught. After you get the basics learning the guitar get's easier and easier. But I have one question what kind of music do you like? because it feels really great when you can play a couple of lines of your favorite song for the first time.

oh and what kind of amp are you getting. If you didn't get one yet DON'T I repeat DON'T get a line 6 amp!!!!!
I'm getting a Roland Cube 20X. I had always thought it'd be cool to play guitar, but going on pandora.com and listening to the Led Zeppelin channel while I worked really, really set me over the top. But I actually like the really nice simple sound of The Strokes, too, so I'm definitely going to be trying out a few of their lines while I progress.
hahaha well I mean you obviously first have to learn basics but there are some Led Zeppelin songs are at least some riffs that are not too bad. I guess black dog and Heart braker are not too bad the solos are definitly not a beginner thing but the riffs are not too bad.
after you learn to fret notes and play some basic chords learn the basic techniques inside and out. learn hammer ons and pull-offs, slides and bends. this will help you to improvise your own stuff and make it sound cooler. then everytime you practice spend the last like ten minutes just improvising and making your own stuff up. at first you will suck at it but within a year you'll be running up and down scales improvising solos that actually sound pretty cool.

dave matthews might.. just.. be.. god..

Quote by gregs1020
yes, pointing it at your head will send the sound towards your head.

it's the same with guns too, before you go testing that one.
LOL makeing your own music is a littler hard if you don't know anything yet. It would be easier to start with some easy songs and than after you know how the different tones sound start ti make your onw music
My best advice:

-learn songs that you want to go and say "hey, I can play that!" or "that sounds cool".


Use any avalable resource you have to learn.

When I was beginning (still a beginner) I didn't know what to trust as far as new stuff to learn, but once I said "forget it, I'll use anything I can get my hands on" it opens up many doors to you.