What Should I Learn First on an Acoustic Guitar?

The acoustic guitar is one of the best string instruments people play. You do not need to plug it into a speaker to enjoy the music it brings.

You can even carry it on your camping trips and have your friends sing along.

But if you have never held an acoustic guitar before, you would think that it is difficult because of the movement of fingers, and at the same time, you would think it is cool because of the techniques you see from other guitarists.

Before playing, we recommend reading a guide here. This will help you understand more about the acoustic guitar.

After getting your first acoustic guitar, you’ll probably wonder what to learn first. We are here to guide you.

Open Strings / Tuning

Similar to other instruments, tuning is an essential factor. There are many types of tuning as the music has evolved since the guitar was made.

You can tune it lower than usual. Other artists prefer to have it half-step down; the tuning is half a note lower than the standard.

However, before you can play around with different types of tuning, learning the standard is a must.

The standard tuning has E-A-D-G-B-E, from the 6th string or the one that has the heaviest sound down to the 1st string, the one with the thinnest sound.

It will be tough to set your acoustic guitar to standard tuning, especially if you are a beginner. So using electronic guitar tuners is perfect.

But in case you are on a trip or don’t have one yet, you can use your tablet or phone instead. According to Fox News, tuning your guitar is one of the features you can use your tablet for.

Basic Chords

A chord is usually composed of two or more notes. They are used to create rhythm, melody, and backdrop to lead guitars and vocals.

There are many chords. One of them is the power chords. At the same time, others use broken chords where two chords are played, the bass part and the rhythm section.

You might think that you should start with the power chords if you are into rock. But that shouldn’t be the case. Understanding the basic chords is much more efficient.

Don’t use bar chords yet. Instead, choose songs that use open chords, such as E, A, and D.

Your fingers will feel pain, so using bar chords can be challenging. You can add one bar chord at a time after you are confident in playing some of the most commonly played open chords.

Basic Melodies / Riffs

Unlike chords, melodies and riffs are played with a single note. You may think it is a bass part, but it is different as it is usually based on the song’s melody.

This is also important to learn even though you’re still a beginner. It can help develop your understanding of chord progressions and patterns.

Stick to the easy riffs first. If you are into rock music, the most common song to practice riffs on is Smoke On The Water by Deep Purple. The riff you want to learn will depend on your taste in music.

But, we still recommend practicing riffs from other genres to help you improve faster.

Tablatures or tabs are also becoming more popular. It is an easy way to learn guitar riffs and even solos. In a published article in The New York Times, many guitar learners have been using it.

However, we do not recommend relying on it too much as it could make you lazy, instead of using your ears and learning the song yourself.

Basic Scales

Learning a scale or two is essential. This will help you understand music theory and open you more to the world of music.

Also, it can improve your picking skills and finger movement.

One of the most common scales a beginner should study is the Minor Pentatonic Scale. It offers more versatility as musicians use it for different music, such as rock, pop, and blues.

So, it is considered one of the favorite choices of pro guitarists and a must-study for beginners.

And thanks to the advancement of music, there are different techniques or systems derived from the scales. One of the most popular ones nowadays is the caged system. It is a technique where you create a caged figure using your fingers on your fretboard.

It is simple but can give a powerful impression.

Practice Is The Key

Similar to other activities, you can’t get better after a day. Playing the guitar can be painful for your fingers because of the pressure of pushing the strings down to create a clean sound.

It may sound terrible at first.

But after a few weeks of daily practice, you‘ll surely hear the difference. It is best to allow at least an hour of practice every day to improve your skills.

And in less than a year, you will surely be able to play some songs clean.

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