Playing guitar is an excellent hobby. You can practice your coordination, impress your friends, and bring your favorite tunes to life. When you see guitar players, you probably think it takes years to learn. In reality, it’s actually quite simple to get started—you can teach yourself to play guitar in a day.

You won’t transform from a complete beginner to Eric Clapton in 24 hours. You can, however, teach yourself the fundamentals and put them to good use. You’ll be surprised at how quickly you can start playing popular songs. Here’s a beginner’s guide to teaching yourself guitar.

Get Your Guitar Ready

Of course, you’ll need a guitar before anything else. Acoustic guitars are the best for learners- they’re easy to play, and you can pick up and play whenever. You can find beginner’s acoustic guitars for as little as $50 in some stores. You might want a higher-quality guitar for around $100-150. Guitars are hard to break, so your investment will go a long way.

You’ll also need to tune your guitar. Electro-acoustic guitars often come with a built-in tuner, but you can also get a simple tuner app such as Fender Tune on your smartphone. From top to bottom, your strings should be tuned to E, A, D, G, b, e.

You could also invest in other equipment, such as a capo, lead, and guitar bag. They’re not essential, but they can come in handy.

Teach Yourself The Basic Chords

A lot of popular songs are made up of a few basic chords. You can instantly get a list of basic guitar chords by searching “guitar chords” on Google.

Guitar chord charts will show you where your fingers need to be placed on the fretboard. For instance, the A chord requires you to put your first, second, and third fingers on the b, G, and D strings of the second fret.

Play around with these and get used to switching between them. G – D – Em – C is a popular chord progression which you’ll probably recognize.

Look For Tabs Online

Once you get the hang of the basics, you can start learning some songs. Sites like ultimate-guitar.com and songsterr.com give you all the information needed to start playing a range of songs. You can see how to play riffs, a list of chords, and even strumming patterns.

Tablature is displayed as the strings of a guitar with the numbers representing the fret. For instance, a ‘3’ on the G string would mean holding down the G string on the third fret and playing. Sometimes multiple numbers are on the same column, meaning you strum or pluck them together.

Some good beginner songs to learn include Ed Sheeran – Perfect, Oasis – Don’t Look Back In Anger, and Vance Joy – Riptide. These generally don’t need any knowledge beyond playing chords, so you can get used to playing them fast.

Take Things Further

Following this beginner’s guide will give you the basics, but once you get the hang of them, there’s no limit to how far you can go with the guitar. Once you get the hang of playing chords and tabs, try out fingerpicking songs and scales. There are many resources online to help—you can even watch YouTube tutorials to teach you to play songs. 

In conclusion, it doesn’t take a lot of money or lessons to learn to play. You can teach yourself to play guitar in a day or less and over time, you’ll master the instrument. Good luck.

About: Antonio Padula is a classically trained pianist and vocal instructor. After 15 years touring with several prestigious symphonies, he settled down in 2008 to establish a musical community in Kirkland, Quebec. Antonio Padula is widely recognized as a compassionate teacher who has launched students in opera, orchestral, and choral careers all around North America. In his free time, Tony enjoys woodworking.