Playing the guitar is relaxing and allows you to learn a new skill. If you would like to learn to play the guitar but have no idea where to start, our ultimate guide to learning to play the guitar will get you going. From the structure of a guitar to the most accessible songs to pick on a guitar, we have covered the basics to start you on your journey. You are never too old to learn a new skill, so settle in, grab your guitar, and start learning today. Read on to find out more about some easy guitar picking songs.
Learning to play the guitar is fun. Before you start playing the guitar, there are a few things you need to familiarise yourself with, like the types of guitars available, which guitar is best to learn to play on, and how to choose a guitar.
Here are six steps that you should follow before you learn to play the guitar:
1.Learn more about the guitar
A guitar is separated into three main parts: The headstock, the neck, and the body. The headstock is the very top of the guitar that holds the tuning pegs. These are used to tune your guitar to give it a specific sound. The neck is the area that you will use to strum or pick. It also holds the frets. The guitar’s body holds the strings and is also the base of the guitar that rests on your knee while playing.
2. Choose your guitar
There are two types of guitar that you can choose from – acoustic and electric guitars. Electric guitars are great for use in many rock and metal songs but require a lot of extra equipment like an amplifier and various leads. An acoustic guitar is ideal for a beginner and is used for songs with more rhythm.
An acoustic guitar has either steel or nylon strings. Nylon strings are recommended for beginners as they are softer and do not require the player to push down as hard on the string to create a sound.
If you are just learning to play the guitar, we suggest an acoustic guitar with nylon strings. Buy a cheaper guitar for learning on, and purchase a better guitar once you are comfortable and know how to play your guitar correctly. A good quality guitar is an investment, so take your time choosing the best guitar for your playing needs.
3. Learn how to hold a guitar
We’ve all seen music videos of famous guitar players holding their guitars in the air while playing a song. This can take years of hard work and practice and can only be done when you have fully mastered the guitar and all that goes with it.
For beginners, the most comfortable position is to lay the guitar across your lap, with the body resting on your right leg. You will use your right hand to pick or strum the strings, while your left hand will cradle the neck and hold the chords to create the sounds. If left-handed, you would hold the guitar on the opposite side, using the left hand to pluck or strum and the right hand to hold the chords.
4. Learn more about finger placement
Where you place your fingers on the neck is essential. Resting the neck in your left hand with your thumb on the back of the neck will help you control the neck most when playing. The rest of the fingers, from the index to the pinky finger, will be used to hold down the strings and create a note or chord.
A good beginner’s tip is to number your fingers: The index finger is number 1, the middle finger is number 2, the ring finger is number 3, and the pinky finger is number 4. you will use your right hand to pluck or strum the strings to create the sound.
5. Learning to play
You are finally ready to start learning to play the guitar. You can do a few things to help make the learning process easier. First off, choose an easy song, preferably one you have heard before, and know the rhythm. Pick one part of the song, for example, the intro, and learn to play that part first.
Most beginners learn songs that are easy to pick, as it involves playing one string at a time. This can be done using the fingers or a pick (plectrum).
6. Picking vs. Strumming
Picking is a technique used to play one or more strings simultaneously. This uses four fingers on your right hand, but never the pinky. Picking focuses on the song’s melody, and it is excellent for beginners to learn speed and finger placement.
Strumming involves playing more than one string together in an up and down stroke pattern. Chord or note strumming can be done with the fingers or a pick and focuses on the song’s rhythm. While strumming is easier to learn as you are less likely to miss notes, it does take practice to learn the strumming patterns and the up and down strokes required.
If we had to choose the best method of playing for beginners, picking wins hands down.
If you are stuck on which song to learn to play, we have come up with a list of the top 15 easy guitar-picking songs for beginners. These songs are from various genres and are popular songs to learn. Which one will you choose?
(in no particular order)
#1: Nothing Else Matters by Metallica
This song is super easy to learn but is one of the most popular songs that beginners learn to play. Why not choose a song that is considered a rock classic to get you into the groove?
#2: Hallelujah by Jeff Buckley
A timeless classic, this song by Jeff Buckley is one of the most beautiful pieces to learn and has a simple picking pattern.
#3: Stand By Me by Ben. E. King
Stand by Me, the catchy song by Ben E. King, is one of the best songs of all time and is excellent for learning to play and show off your new skills.
#4: Come As You Are by Nirvana
This is hands down of our favorite songs to learn as the chords are repeated throughout the entire song. It is also an excellent choice to help you learn a chord progression.
#5: Tears in Heaven by Eric Clapton
If sad songs are your favorite genre, this haunting classic by Eric Clapton is a winner. Pick away to your heart’s content to one of the biggest tear-jerkers of the 90s.
#6: Good Riddance by Greenday
A lively, upbeat little diddy, Good Riddance by Greenday is easy to play and can be learned in hours.
#7: Blackbird by The Beatles
Blackbird requires more than one string to be picked at a time, which is excellent if you have already learned the art of picking. This would be a good choice when you are more comfortable with your guitar.
#8: You Are My Sunshine by Johnny Cash
Are you looking for a romantic song to woo that special someone? You Are My Sunshine is easy to play and is an excellent way to show someone you love them.
#9: Everybody Hurts by R.E.M
A true ballad, this song by R.E.M is one of the best songs to learn to play on a guitar. It requires little skill, and the repetitive rhythm is easy to follow.
#10: Zombie by The Cranberries
If you have big dreams of being the next prominent female artist, Zombie by the Cranberries is a song
you just have to learn to play. It is considered one of the best songs of all time. It is easy to play and can teach you strumming techniques like no other song can.
#11: House Of The Rising Sun
House of the Rising Sun is the best way to learn the picking technique. Use all your fingers when learning to play this song, and learn more about chord progression and how to pluck multiple strings at a time.
#12: Let It Be by The Beatles
This classic by The Beatles is possibly one of the most beautiful songs to learn to play. If you are in a somber mood, it can cheer you up in no time and is easy to play.
#13: Sound Of Silence by Simon and Garfunkel
The haunting sounds produced by Simon and Garfunkel are a classic that every guitar player should learn. Play along to one of the most popular songs and impress your friends.
#14: More Than Words by Extreme
For a love song that will crack even the hardest of people, More Than Words is a song that uses strumming, picking, and slapping. A good all-rounder, this song does require more skill than others but is still considered one of the most accessible songs to play.
#15: Fast Car by Tracy Chapman
Tracy Chapman’s easy-picking and easy-to-follow rhythm hit Fast Car.
Playing the guitar requires constant learning and improving your guitar skill once you have learned the basics. A few more ways to improve your skill are:
Set yourself a goal
Be it a song, a new chord, or a different playing technique. You should constantly set yourself goals to improve your skills.
Record yourself playing a song
Focus the camera on your hands and watch how your hands move. You can learn a lot by watching where your mistakes are and focusing on improving on these mistakes.
Build yourself a library of chords
Songs require many chords played together to create a specific sound. Learn as many chords as your can, which will help you increase the number of songs you can play.
Expand on the chords that you know
Learn new ways of playing these chords, and also play the minor or major versions of these chords.
Play with someone
Grab a friend and play a song together. One can focus on the melody while the other focuses on the rhythm. This is one of the best methods to learn to play a new song. It can also encourage new playing techniques that you have not tried before.
Play along to the song
Play the song on your computer or sound system, and play along to it. This is a great way to pick up where you are making small mistakes, and increase your speed.
Try different techniques of playing
If you have learned to play by picking, learn how to play a song that focuses more on strumming. Both of these techniques are required to play songs, and the sooner you learn them, the better.
Practice, practice, practice
Set time aside each day to practice for a minimum of an hour. This helps to increase speed and chord progression. Practice makes perfect, so do this as much as you can.
Take regular breaks
Giving your fingers a break will help you play better the next time you do. While fingers do have muscle memory, you do regularly need to give them rest to prevent cramping and stiffness.
If you have dreamed of being in a band and want to play the guitar, the tips, methods, and tricks we have provided will give you a good head start. The only way in which to learn is to begin slowly. Please get to know your guitar and how it works, and then choose a song.
The list of songs we have provided will help you learn to pick quickly and efficiently and will have you playing the entire song in no time. Remember to choose a guitar according to your needs. You need not buy an expensive guitar to learn on.
Instead, choose a cheaper, nylon-a guitar and then work your way up to a guitar that will last you for many years. Now is the best time to grab that guitar and learn a new skill.