If you’re considering learning guitar, you may wonder how to get started. While teaching yourself guitar is very achievable with all the resources available online, it’s important you start on the right path. The first few weeks and months learning guitar can be quite frustrating as the learning curve will feel steep. To make it easier for you I’ve put together the first steps to learn guitar on your own. Use this as a rough guide as there is plenty of flexibility on how to get started.

Use this list as a way to track your progress. You can print it out and cross items off as you develop. The list has been ranked from lowest to hardest difficulty so don’t try the later items until the earlier items feel easy.

1. Learn the names of the different parts of a guitar (electric and acoustic)

Understanding what terms such as neck, fret, bridge, etc. mean will make it easier to go through guitar lessons

2. Learn the basics of Guitar TAB

It only takes five minutes to learn TAB. Once you learn it, you will be able to view thousands of TABs online for songs you want to learn

3. Learn correct posture and how to hold the pick

This is often overlooked by beginners and quickly leads to bad habits. Bad posture can seriously impact your playing ability and can even cause pain.

4. Learn single note melodies (simple songs here and here with video)

One note at a time melodies are quick to learn and teach you to position your fingers on the fretboard properly. Some beginners start learning chords – you should learn to play one note at a time before you try and play multiple notes together. The skill will transfer over better.

5. Learn some simple finger exercises to help stretch your hand out

Finger exercises make it easier to position your hand and help you stretch out when you need to play chords.

6. Learn to tune the guitar

Notice this isn’t at the start of the list? Learning to tune the guitar after you feel comfortable with it will ensure you don’t get frustrated. By this stage you will easily be able to tune the guitar without confusion.

7. Start learning some basic chords

When you can easily play some single note melodies and feel comfortable with finger exercises, you can try your first few chords. Take your time and make sure your hand position is perfect before moving on to other chords.

8. Start memorizing 50 of the most basic open chords

We recommend you use a pack of guitar flash cards to learn chords as they’re easy to use and great learning tools. It’s very possible to memorize 50 chords in 10 minutes a day. Most beginners should be able to memorize all 50 within a couple of months.

9. Start learning some basic songs

Find TABs online on websites such as and focus on songs that sound and look easy.

10. Choose your own path from here on

Once you reach this point the path you take is completely up to you. Some people will be happy only knowing how to play chords, others may want to learn other techniques and others may want to start learning music theory. When you reach this stage you will have a good idea on what to do next.


How much time and effort do you need to put in to pass through all ten steps? Make a commitment to practice for 30 minutes every day for two months. As long as you really focus during every practice session and you don’t start skipping days, there’s no reason why you can do all of this within two months. Give it a go starting today!

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