As a beginner, it is best to avoid making a pawn shop, flea market, or yard sale purchase unless you are shopping with somebody who has experience in purchasing a guitar. Having never purchased a guitar, you may not know what to look for in terms of damage or guitar quality. With that being said, a local music retail shop is your best bet. You may also shop online with a reputable company, although be sure to review the business’ return policy.
This is easier than it sounds. Each open guitar string is the exact same note as the 5th fret note of the string before it. Therefore, the open 5th string (A) is the same note as the 5th fret on the 6th string (also A). If it is not, adjust the tuning key for the 5th string until the open string note sounds the same as the 5th fret note on the 6th string.
Practice playing individual notes. Holding down a string and producing a decent sound can sometimes be more challenging than it looks. If you don't hold down a string hard enough, you'll get a muted note and if you hold down the string too close to the fret your guitar will buzz. Practice picking in an up and down motion on your string with the other hand. Continue doing this until you feel comfortable moving up or down the neck to a different note. Practice playing the notes back and forth until you become comfortable strumming.
Surprisingly, for a free site, Justin Guitar offers a few free tools and apps to help guitarists with their lessons. The most interesting of these are the series of apps available for download on the iTunes store (so they will only work with iOS). These include a Time Trainer Metronome, a Guitar Note Trainer, and a Blues Lick app – which brings together Justin’s weekly Blues Lick series.
Steve Vai on justinguitar.com! Steve Vai (www.vai.com) "I have checked out Justin's site and found it to be comprehensive and informative. I have always felt that learning about music and especially music theory applied to the guitar, is helpful in finding your own unique voice on the instrument and expanding your creative horizons. Along with his insight into teaching and his fantastic abilities on the instrument, Justin has created a powerful go-to-place for anyone interested in exploring the instrument to their potential. Just don't hurt yourself."