You’ll need to press the strings down firmly to ensure they ring out well. One of the toughest parts for beginners is ensuring you aren’t “muting” the strings that you aren’t fretting (credit natasha at www.dresshead.com). These small touches get programmed in to your fingers after hours of time, so don’t worry too much about it. Just focus on getting the best sound out of your guitar.
Core Learning System is the award-winning step by step beginner guitar program from Guitar Tricks. Country Level 1 is the first course in the after you get through both Guitar Fundamentals courses in the Core Learning System, a great place to start for absolute beginners. Here is a lesson from Chapter 1 of Country Level 1 on country strumming basics!
"Working with Chris Pinon is an absolute pleasure. First, he is a professional! He knows his stuff, and is enthusiastic to share his knowledge in a way that will speak to his students. He is approachable, funny, and flexible. He works with his students to help them achieve their goals. After many years of taking different guitar classes and guitar lessons with a variety of teachers, Chris has been my best teacher to date! I really enjoy the online component, because he is able to express his knowledge, hone technique, and share documents instantaneously. His multiple camera setup allows for close-ups of chord shapes, a face shot so you feel like you're in the room with him, and sheet music display. Chris is organized, linear, and present, both online and in person. Online lessons with him have opened up a world of possibility for my guitar and ukulele playing! The website is easy to navigate and payment goes without a hitch. I feel very lucky to be a student of Chris Pinon's."
My Beginner Song Course App is separate to the website course, but a perfect companion! It's available for iOS and Android as a paid subscription and will teach you the basic chords and strumming while playing along with songs, Karaoke style. It's not as in depth at the full website course but is a lot of fun learning with the songs and it's got amazing reviews!
Sandercoe's official website, justinguitar.com, was first launched on 31 July 2003  offering lessons as a sample to promote private one on one lessons. The site developed a modest following but once he began making instructional guitar videos for YouTube in December 2006, the site became one of the most popular guitar instruction web sites. As of 2016 there are nearly 1,000 free lessons enjoyed by over 20,000 unique visitors a day from all around the world.
Also, once you get to an intermediate level, the above sites will be able to keep you moving forward, all the way to advanced. I only have beginner-intermediate lessons, so I see it as natural progression to move from my lessons to the more advanced lessons of one of the above sites. These 2 sites are the sources I can truly recommend from both quality and cost efficiency point of views.
Minutes 60-600. Pick up the guitar everyday for 20 days for 30 minutes or so. You can do this while you do other things like watch TV or chit chat. Get your fingers used to moving around on the fretboard. Start jamming out some John Denver baby. Please do sing along. Eventually try to keep up with tempo of the changes in the actual song. Once you can change your chords on time, focus on improving your “touch” with your right hand. Strum the chords in a way that it adds texture to the recording (if you are playing along with the man himself.)
Each package includes the ChordBuddy as well as instructions on how to properly attach the device to your electric or acoustic guitar. The lesson plan and companion DVD will have you playing popular songs in no time. The ChordBuddy Songbook includes over 100 songs and shows you how to play them with and without the ChordBuddy. The color-coded ChordBuddy songbook includes many hit songs from the past and present including hits from country, bluegrass, gospel and rock-n-roll genres.
Here you'll find the JustinGuitar range of books. Method Books include The Beginner's Course and the Intermediate Method. Songbooks include the Beginner Songbook (our biggest seller, over 100,000 copies sold), Volume 2 (an equal, not a sequel!) and a selection of Intermediate Level Songbooks in various styles: Acoustic, Rock, Pop and Vintage (hits from the 60's-80's). These start with "Beginner Plus" which are great for Beginner's consolidating their knowledge and then move onto songs using barre chords and more complex techniques for Intermediate players. There's also a Beginner Ukulele Songbook! I just have one Transcription Book at the moment, the Blues Lead Guitar Solos Book, but more are in the works. Due to the popularity of my site in Germany, we have two titles translated into German!
Each song is very well laid out and easy to understand, especially for beginners. It is recommended to play these songs along with a metronome so that you can also practice your tempo and rhythm as you begin playing guitar. Alternatively, if you don’t know how the song goes, you can also play the original song in the background as you play along with it.
Position your fingers on the neck. The dots on the chords represent where you should hold down your fingers on the neck. For instance, an A major is played by holding down the string on the second fret on the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th string. An E minor is played by holding down the second fret on the 5th and 4th string. Hold the strings down until they are pressed against the neck of your guitar.
Of course, this top-down lecturing is all very abstract without examples. Let me give you the worst case scenario. My school talent show, 2008. Two friends of mine performED an ambitious but utterly inappropriate Metallica cover in front of the other students, their parents and the faculty. It was excruciating. Although the solos (presumably the only thing they had bothered to practice) were technically flawless, the whole song was undone by their terrible rhythm. The timing of the song became displaced, the chords were so badly fingered that it was difficult to hear the riff and consequently the whole performance fell apart. They looked like morons. They had sacrificed learning basic rhythm and paid the price. Make sure you don’t do the same.
This course is completely free, but please consider making a donation or buying some my products in the official store if you dig it - your support enables me to keep expanding and improving the courses for everyone! My Practical Music Theory Course is also great for those that really want to understand what they're doing - the early grades are free to check out too!
Acoustic: I recommend a Yamaha solid top acoustic guitar. This guitar plays just as good as some that are many hundreds of dollars more expensive. It can be difficult to manufacture quality acoustics at low prices due to the importance of a solid top finish. When I was in college I scratched together the cash to buy a handmade acoustic guitar that was over $1,000 (I won’t mention the brand) but that guitar was nowhere near as good as this Yamaha.