5 Things EVERY beginner guitar player MUST know

Certain skills you learn on guitar will be determined by what kind of music you like to play. Different styles require different techniques.

Certain other skills (fundamentals) are prerequisites for any style. Without these skills you will not get very far in any style of guitar music except playing your guitar like a bongo drum at a drum circle, in that case you will be a big hit! If your intention is to take things a step or more further, let’s get some basics down first.


How to Tune the Guitar

Learn three different methods of tuning your guitar. Including the most effective and least known about method.

Not being in tune will cause you to get frustrated because it will sound horrible. Getting in tune and staying in tune is a must and should be practiced just like any other skill.

Basic Guitar Chords

Learn how to read a chord diagram. Then learn the 8 basic common open chords. These common chords are the building blocks for much of what you will be doing on guitar. Learning these is needed in order to study more advanced topics later like: CAGED, playing chord melodies, coming up with guitar arrangements and connecting the fret board.

Strumming the Guitar

Learn the simple concept of how to strum. So simple, it very frequently gets over looked by long time self-taught players.

When this skill is not developed or understood, strumming can sound jerky and not locked into the beat. It often feels like you’re not sure if you played it right.

The fix is so easy and quick to apply that you’ll slap yourself for not seeing the obvious.

Pentatonic Scale

This is a scale very well known by just about every blues and rock guitar player. In fact, most guitar players have excessive familiarity with this scale. That is because it is so useful. Therefore, every beginner guitar player MUST learn this scale.

As a beginner/intermediate player, practicing your scales is a great way to play a bunch of notes in a short period of time. Therefore, it is an efficient way to practice and to get your fingers warmed up and moving.

Scales are also common building blocks in the songs that you will learn. Therefore, if you are already familiar with one scale, you will have some familiarity with many songs.

Scales are also used to take improvised guitar solos. Knowing some scale shapes when taking a guitar solo will help give you some sense of direction.

How to Use a Metronome

Learn how to keep better time and develop a steady sense of beat. This is unfortunately the most ignored part of many guitar players practice. And the people who try to play with that guitar player or be in a band with that guitar player will suffer tremendously. Don’t be that guitar player.

Having a steady sense of beat is one of that most valuable skills a musician can have. Rhythm is an equally, if not more, important skill as being able to play the “correct” pitches. If a pitch is played “correctly” but in the wrong time, it sounds much more offensive that a “wrong” pitch played in time. An average listener will often not even hear “wrong” pitches, but they can accurately identify poor rhythm. So, please, don’t let an average listener accurately identify your poor rhythm.