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5 Basic Guitar Skills Every Beginner Should Learn

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Published on: 04 Mar 2021

Our favourite bands have made it an accessory and it has a growing craze among the masses. Yes! It is the skill of effortlessly playing the guitar. This emblem of modern age chic has become wildly popular over the years and everyone wants to learn how to play it.

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If you are sitting with your new guitar, totally clueless about where to begin, here are some skills you need to gain first. 

#1 Learn how to hold it properly

Guitar Skill - Learn how to hold guitar

Let’s take it from the top and know the right way to hold the guitar. After all you want to look cool, not sloppy. 
So here is the first few things you need to know about holding your musical instrument:

  • You will obviously use your dominant hand to play the guitar. So, right-handers must place the guitar on their right leg and vice versa. 
  • It is optimal that you position your guitar at chest level and use your knee to support it. 
  • Sit with your back straight 
  • Hold the pluck between the tip of your thumb and the first bridge of your index finger
  • Place your fret hand (the one that plucks the strings) at the perfect 90-degree angle

#2 Use the basic guitar slangs

Guitar Skill - Use the basic guitar slangs

There goes a saying, when in Rome…We think you know the rest. The bottom line is that you ought to keep up with the tradition and learn the guitar terms and slang. This will make it easier for you to follow any tutorial videos online or your guitar instructor. 
So, here is a fun infographic to guide you budding Bon Jovis out there. Use these basic guitar terminologies and slangs with professional music composers and cast an impression:

Basic guitar terminology and slangs

So now that you have learnt the basic guitar slang and terminology, let us introduce you to our professional guitarists. Join KoolStories and find experts in your niche who are delivering 15 minutes micro courses. Save time, and learn more at our micro learning platform. Are you ready to experience bite-sized learning? 

#3 Read the tabs and understand the rhythm

Guitar Skill - Read the tabs and understand the rhythm

The first and foremost thing to master any skill is to read the associated literature, speak and understand its language. In this case, you must know how to read guitar tabs or the standard music notations. 
After all, you must know how to read music to learn or produce it. 
Moreover, guitar tabs essentially explain how to locate and hit the correct note on the fretboard. 
To beginners, a tab might seem like mumbo jumbo, but you will understand that they are quintessential to your guitar learning journey. So, develop patience and spend some time with guitar tabs. 

#4 Know your notes to hit the right chords

Guitar Skill - Know where your notes to hit the right chords

There are five major guitar chords:

  • C major
  • A major
  • G major
  • E major
  • D major

As a fresher, you will be introduced to individual notes and try to memorize them. But the key guitar skill is to learn basic chords and use them in songs. 
While notes familiarise you with the fretboard, knowledge of common guitar chords is a simpler way, to begin with. 

#5 Learn to Let Your Instincts Drive You

Guitar Skill -  Learn to Let Your Instincts Drive You

Like any other form of art, instinct plays a huge role in helping produce work. To put this in perspective let us have a look at some musical legends who have and are continuing to produce great music even after being inflicted by severe ear damage:

  • Ludwig Van Beethoven
  • Eric Clapton
  • Pete Townshend
  • Ozzy Osborne
  • Chris Martin

What could and can not be fulfilled by perfect hearing for these geniuses is done with instinct.

Softly, deftly, music shall caress you. Hear it, feel it, Secretly possess you.

- Charles Hart

Developing an instinct with relentless learning and practice. In other words, it is a skill that can be mastered by continuous upskilling.

Learning an instrument can be a fruitful endeavour, especially for those who yearn for solitude. As such, guitar strings are beautiful outlets to produce sound for your heart. It is also known to have several mental health benefits, and psychology professionals often encourage honing musical skills & upskilling. Thereby proving that music isn’t just about listening to sound. It’s about feeling it. It’s about letting the guitar strings play with you. It’s about beats calling for you. It’s about loving it. It’s about living it.


What should a beginner guitarist practice?

All beginner guitarists should focus on the following areas to improve their guitar skills effectively:

1.Warmup exercises and drills to loosen your fingers.
2.Indulge in reading music theory.
3.Develop a rhythm with a metronome.
4.Spend time practising open chords.

What are the 4 basic guitar chords?

The four basic guitar chords include:

1.C major
2.F major
3.A major
4.D major

Is guitar hard to learn?

Learning how to play the guitar may seem complicated at first, but with repeated practice, one can easily overcome these biggest challenges of playing the guitar:

1.Switching between cords
2.Playing barre chords
3.String skipping or picking the right strings
4.Making your own composition

How much time will it take to learn guitar?

The time taken to play the guitar depends on the time you can spare to learn the musical instrument. To attain a basic level of understanding, at least 150 hrs of practice is required. In the end, it all depends on the dedication of the learner and the guidance he receives.

Can I learn guitar by myself?

You can easily teach yourself to play the guitar. There are plenty of blogs, videos, and open-source platforms that can help you learn guitar independently with a bit of guidance. Get your hands on the right teaching-learning materials.