How To Play Acoustic Guitar In 5 Easy Steps

Imagine being life of the party, or the campfire, as everyone is singing along to the great sounding songs your strumming away to on your acoustic guitar.

Want the good news? This is all possible, and in this post I’m going to reveal how to play acoustic guitar in just 5 easy steps.

Let’s get started!

Step #1: Basics of The Acoustic Guitar

Our first step is all about learning and mastering the important basics of the guitar. I’m talking about learning the best way to hold the guitar, how to hold a guitar pick, and how to tune your guitar.

How To Hold Your Guitar:

There are actually three different ways you can hold your guitar.

how to play the acoustic guitar

Casual Method

The most common way is what’s called the casual method. It’s how I prefer to hold the guitar, it’s where you place your guitar on your right leg (assuming you’re a right handed guitarist). Just make sure your guitar doesn’t slide down by keeping it close to your body.

The second way you can hold your acoustic guitar is by placing your guitar in between both your legs. This way of holding the guitar is known as the ‘Classical Method’.

Finally, you can play your guitar by standing up. To do this you’ll obviously need a guitar strap to hold your guitar up. Have you ever tried playing your guitar while standing up without a guitar strap? I know I have, and it’s super hard 🙂

How To Hold Your Guitar Pick:

To hold the guitar pick (also known as a plectrum) correctly, simply place it between your thumb and index finger.

Note: You can checkout some pictures of how to do this in my ebook.

How To Tune Your Acoustic Guitar

There are many different ways you can tune your guitar, but at the end of the day, they all form two main groups.

1) Tuning Your Guitar With A Tuning Device

2) Tuning Your Guitar By Ear

The first group is by far the easiest way to tune your guitar, and it’s how I recommend starting off. With some time and practice, you can fairly easily learn to tune by ear. But like I said, it does take time and practice.

SN1So grab yourself a guitar tuner like the popular Snark Sn1 tuner which you can purchase on for about $10.

Don’t let it’s under $10 price fool you. This is a fantastic little tuner, it’s surprisingly really accurate, plus its dirt cheap. You can’t go wrong with this tuner.

Bonus Tip: Have an iphone, ipad, ipod touch, android phone or some other smart phone thingo? If so, go to the app store, google play, or whatever it’s called on your phone, and download a free guitar tuner app.

These things are really awesome. In fact, I was so surprised how good they were that I created a video that compared the free tuners against my expensive $70+ Guitar Tuner.

Here’s the Video:

Step #2: Guitar Chords

Now that we know how to hold our guitar and a guitar pick properly, and thatour guitar is in tune and ready to go, it’s time to learn some guitar chords.

Guitar chords are vital to learn as almost all the songs you’ll want to play on the guitar will consist of a handful of chords played in a specific order.

It’s kind of like baking a cake. If you add the right ingredients (ie. guitar chords) in the right order, you’ll get a cake (ie. song). Use different ingredients like choc chips instead of blueberries, and you’ll get a different type of cake.

Hope that makes sense 🙂

The biggest mistake I see new and beginning guitarists make when learning the guitar, is thinking they need to learn hundreds, or even thousands of different guitar chords.

While there are literally thousands of different guitar chords you can learn, the good news is that less than 20% (more like 10%) of all available chords will make up over 80% (more like 90%) of the songs you’ll play on guitar.

Here are FIVE essential guitar chords you MUST know, that I cover step by step (with pictures) in my ebook ‘The Beginners Guide To Playing The Guitar’.

  • E Major Chord
  • A Major Chord
  • G Major Chord
  • D Major Chord
  • C Major Chord

Click here to get a FREE COPY of my guitar ebook. (open in a new window/tab)

Step #3: Strumming

Strumming, or in other words, what you do with your right hand (left hand for left handed guitarists), is how the chords you learned in Step #2 come to life.

Strumming is what adds life and energy to your song, and is what helps exceptional guitarists stand out from the mediocre ones.

While I cover strumming in much more detail in my Ebook, and in my Guitar KickStarter System, here are my Top 5 Tips for strumming the guitar:

1)      Strum over the sound hole (that’s the big hole in your guitar). This produces a much nicer and cleaner sound.

2)      Strum using your elbow, not your wrist.

3)      Relax when strumming and don’t strum too hard.

4)      The opposite is true, don’t strum too softly otherwise it will sound ‘wimpy’ and unappealing.

5)      Strum with a steady and fluent motion

Step #4: Easy Guitar Songs

how to play acoustic guitarThis is my favorite step by far. This is where the fun gets to happen as you use everything you’ve learned so far, to play songs on the guitar the people will recognize and can sing along with.

Imagine sitting around a campfire with a group of friends and family and have them enjoying and singing along to the songs you’re playing on the guitar.

So what songs should you learn first?

Here are few of the exact same songs I personally learned when starting out on the guitar, and that I teach my students how to play acoustic guitar as well:

  1. Wild Thing by The Troggs (E, A & D Major Chords)
  2. Hound Dog by Elvis (E, A & D Major Chords)
  3. Last Kiss by Pearl Jam (G, C, E Minor & D Major Chords)
  4. Brown Eyed Girl by Van Morrison (G, C, E Minor & D Major Chords)
  5. Good Riddance by Green Day (G, Cadd9, E Minor & D Major Chords)
  6. Closing Time by Semi Sonic (G,  D, A minor & C Major Chords)
  7. House of the Rising Sun by The Animals (A Minor, C, D & F Major Chords)
  8. Sweet Home Alabama (D, C & G Major Chords)
  9. Bad Moon Rising by CCR (D, A & G Major Chords)

Step #5: Going Beyond

After you’ve learned your first half dozen or so songs on the guitar, it’s time to take your playing to the next level by learning more advanced techniques such as:

  • Reading Tablature
  • Barre Chords
  • Hammer-ons
  • Pull-offs
  • Slides
  • Bends
  • Vibrato
  • Harmonics
  • Etc…

Prior to going through this step, I highly recommend learning a few chords and songs first. Doing this will help you to build a solid foundation that you can easily build upon.

Think of how a house is built. They lay a solid foundation before erecting the frame, walls, roof etc… If they skipped the important first step of laying the foundation and just started erecting the frame, walls, roof etc.. The house would come crashing down just like a house of cards.

Don’t let this happen to your guitar playing!

Build a solid foundation first by using the steps I’ve covered in this post which will help you to learn how to play acoustic guitar.

If you would like more information on how to complete the steps covered in this post, then I highly recommend grabbing a FREE Copy of my ebook ‘The Beginners Guide To Playing The Guitar’ by clicking here (opens in a new window/tab)

I wish you every success with the acoustic guitar.

Happy Strumming!

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