To get good touch in your strumming hand, it’ll take longer than 10 hours. It’s about reps. Try to consider the amount of finesse you are hitting the strings with. Do a little research on palm mutting and other useful strumming techniques. If it sounds nasty at first, that’s cool. Your fingers and wrists will start to adjust. Focus on getting quality sounds out of the guitar.
This is not a substitute for learning scales. At some point down the road you are going to want to dive into music theory at least a little bit, if nothing else so you can understand how scales work and how chords are built. For now you are a beginner, and this exercise can go a long way toward loosening up your fretting hand and improving your technique.
Justin Sandercoe has thought long and hard about how to teach people to play the guitar, and how to do this over the internet. He has come up with a well-designed series of courses that will take you from nowhere to proficiency. I tried to learn how to play years ago, using books, and got nowhere. I've been using Justin's site for just over a year and I feel I've made real progress. What's more, Justin offers his lessons for free - a boon for any young player who has the urge to play, but whose pockets are empty. I've seen and used other sites for learners: none of them offer as clearly marked a road as Justin does.
For students who have long thought about picking up the acoustic or electric guitar, this course will provide an easy-access foundation that will get you playing. When first learning guitar, it is important to have the material presented in stages, in an enjoyable way that allows you to grasp the basics of the instrument and music. The course begins simply with the parts of the guitar, the names of the strings, tuning, and technique—whether finger-style or pick. It then explores the basics of music theory with such topics as scales, triads, power chords, and fingering and shapes.
GuitarTricks.com has courses for beginners, intermediate, and advanced players. It is clear if you have never played guitar you can get started right away on this site. They start with the basic explanations of tuning and holding positions and build into various styles of playing and picking. As usual they work on country and blues first as these are often the easiest for a beginning student.
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This course aims to get you ready to play the guitar as soon as possible, so we only cover the absolute essentials. Learn how to maintain your guitar and gain the basics to play both lead and rhythm guitar. This is great for those who have played some guitar in the past but want to brush up the basics. For complete beginners, try our Introduction to Guitar Playing course.
I bet that you’ve even tried other methods to figure it out. Spending hours on YouTube and google searching for some guitar method that will get you to the level you want, just to get bogged down in the TRUCKLOADS of seemingly unrelated material… Getting some friends that play guitar to show you something here and there, learning some songs off of tabs that are sometimes right and sometimes terribly, terribly wrong just to find that you’re stuck playing the same old things without knowing what to do next.
The filming of the videos is probably the biggest giveaway that this is a free site, as there is no pristine studio, crystal clear audio, or simultaneous multiple camera angles – just Justin sitting wherever he is that day, playing his guitar, and showing you what to do. It’s certainly not bad, but obviously lacks the polish of the paid-for tutorial sites.
Justin gives hundreds of hours of lessons away for nothing in return, but he runs the site as a full-time gig and works with an honor system. This allows members to donate what they wish, depending on what they can afford and feel they have gained from using the site. There is also an online store – selling songbooks, DVDs, clothing, and accessories – that allows you to contribute to the site financially, in return for something physical.
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.
Now we're getting somewhere! In order to become skillful on the guitar, we'll need to build the muscles in our hands, and learn to stretch our fingers. Scales are a good, albeit a not very exciting way to do this. Before we start, look at the diagram above to understand how fingers on the "fretting hand" (the hand that plays notes on the neck) are commonly identified. The thumb is labeled as "T", the index finger is the "first finger", the middle finger is the "second finger", and so on.
There’s plenty of people with small hands who play the guitar. Nine times out of ten smaller people confuse the terrible awkwardness that comes with the first week of playing the guitar and mistakenly think it’s because their hands are small. Again, you’re teaching your hands to do really strange movements here. Imagine going to an advanced yoga class having never stretched before, that’s basically what you’re doing.