I recently picked up the acoustic guitar and I was wondering how I should go about learning it? I've played the piano for a long time already so I know basic music theory. Should I purchase guitar books? If so, which ones are good for beginners?

What should I work on first?
If you're happy learning off YouTube videos or UG lessons, then purchasing books isn't really necessary, as there's everything you need online for free, although video lessons are often very helpful.

I am probably the laziest person I know when it comes to practicing; I've been playing for almost four years and I play like a "freshman" guitarist... I've put in probably a total of one month's practice in those four years.

But the first things you should focus on is your picking technique, your fretting hand technique (making sure you grip the fretboard correctly), muscle and finger exercises and the basic open chord shapes.

As you already know music theory, all you need to do is apply it to your guitar playing. Keep up the practice, constantly learning all the chord shapes until you know them all, develop your picking and fretting techniques.
I dont know about books for acoustic guitar but heres some info for books in general.

If you have the money buy a book for newbies. Look for books that teach basic technique and notation. Youtube also has a lot of helpful stuff and UG has a section for lessons.

I used to get guitar lessons. It depends entirely on your teacher but my teacher wasn't all that helpful. Sure he helped me to learn lots of basic theory, techniques and playing styles but after a while i was just learning the same damn thing each lesson. If you going to get lessons ask around first and ask their students about what their teacher is like.
Last edited by Final !mpact at Oct 17, 2008,
Quote by Ezuma

I am probably the laziest person I know when it comes to practicing; I've been playing for almost four years and I play like a "freshman" guitarist... I've put in probably a total of one month's practice in those four years.

Same here...
You still get it over time learning like this but it takes a long time...

Dont take this route
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I learned guitar all by myself. I play mostly metal and heavier stuff, but recently i've been picking up acoustic and softer styles. My advice is, since you know piano and music theory, start by learning simple sounding songs that you like listening to. Surprisingly enough, i learned guitar by playing along with American Idiot (don't judge me). Just pick something with recognizable guitar parts that is fairly simple to play. Read the tabs and/or watch videos and go from there.

That's what i did. Everyone learns differently. I hope this helped.
Here's a good finger excersize i found on UG it will help strengthen your fingers and dexterity. unfortunantly i only copied the excersize so I can't give credit where it is due. tried searching for it, but can't seem to find it again. I just started playing and i've found that its increased my speed considerably, plus you'll definitely feel the pain in your left hand which tells you it's definitely working! Basically start off each excersize on the E string at the 8th fret. the second set of instructions the U's and V's are for picking directions U is upstrum V is downstrum. I find it best to do the 24 excersizes in each of the strum patterns. then as your hand strengthens more start doing each of the excersizes through all 6 strings and back, hope that makes sense but i listed the excersize below. Oh and if anyone could post the original lesson that would be great! Hate not giving credit where credit is due!

01. 1-2-3-4
02. 1-2-4-3
03. 1-3-2-4
04. 1-3-4-2
05. 1-4-2-3
06. 1-4-3-2
07. 2-1-3-4
08. 2-1-4-3
09. 2-3-1-4
10. 2-3-4-1
11. 2-4-1-3
12. 2-4-3-1
13. 3-1-2-4
14. 3-1-4-2
15. 3-2-1-4
16. 3-2-4-1
17. 3-4-1-2
18. 3-4-2-1
19. 4-1-2-3
20. 4-1-3-2
21. 4-2-1-3
22. 4-2-3-1
23. 4-3-1-2
24. 4-3-2-1

01. U-U-U-U
02. U-U-U-V
03. U-U-V-V
04. U-U-V-U
05. U-V-U-U
06. U-V-U-V
07. U-V-V-U
08. U-V-V-V
09. V-V-V-V
10. V-V-V-U
11. V-V-U-U
12. V-V-U-V
13. V-U-V-V
14. V-U-V-U
15. V-U-U-V
16. V-U-U-U
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i'd get guitar for dummies

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i'd start on technique, chords, and just getting used to holding down the frets on a guitar.

Maybe look up some tabs to easy songs you want to learn
Screw book my friend.

Well.. I don't mean all of them It's just that books never learnt for me. Word of mouth is cool, learning from other people that play, and then Yuotube can be good. Although most is crap..

Maybe start just learning open chords, C D E G A, and then the minors. Then maybe some picking exercises to get over the physical boundaries.

Maybe from there just learn a few cool riffs you're into, and try and transpose you're theory knowledge onto the guitar, ie working out the major scales.
honestly, the best thing you can do is a dual approach - first learn all the basic 'stuff', like chords, then scales, then modes, etc. But while you're doing that, take time every now and then to just amble around on the guitar to music. This trains the part of your body that makes you a true musician - your ear. Also by doing this you kinda find your own way around the guitar, and are not restricted to the cookie cutter styles offered by books and such. (Not that there's anything wrong with learning theory, I recommend it). Also even try alternate tunings, like drop D, drop C, DADGAD, open E, etc. Then try to make your own up. The sky's the limit my friend good luck