Learning How to Play an Acoustic Guitar: A Simple Guide for Beginners

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It can be pretty rewarding to learn to play the guitar. Just think – when you start learning to play, you can begin to get to grips with the chords that make up some of your favorite songs. Pretty soon you’re sitting around a campfire with your favorite people singing along to an acoustic guitar. You’ll be proud to show off the things that you have learned.

Learning to play the guitar is about more than just choosing the best fender starcaster guitars (though having the right guitar is certainly important for getting that all important sound). There’s a lot that goes into figuring out how to correctly play an instrument, and you certainly won’t be an expert overnight. Learning the guitar requires patience, practice and having the right knowledge. Thankfully, we’re here to help. If you’re a beginner looking to learn how to play the acoustic guitar, start here! 

Get the Right Guitar

The first thing you need to do is invest in the right guitar. Since you’re looking for an acoustic guitar, it will be a good idea to look into the best acoustic guitars for beginners. This isn’t the time to be buying an overly fancy guitar that costs thousands of dollars – you can always do that later down the road. Likewise, it’s best not to buy the cheapest option out there either since that may not be what you need to get a great sound. 

The best thing to do is to visit your local guitar shop and ask for recommendations from the experts. They will help you to work out what will be best for you based on your preferences and experience level. Alternatively, you can look online for buyers guides to help you choose.

Tune the Guitar

Tuning can be the bane of any guitarist’s existence. Unfortunately, it’s a necessary evil, or else you’ll have a very strange sounding guitar and nothing is going to sound right when you are practicing with it. 

When you’re first starting out it can often be helpful to invest in a guitar tuner to help you out. These are electronic devices that you clip to the end of the fretboard of the guitar, and they will tell you what note you are playing. If the note is incorrect, then you can twist the knobs on the headstock to change the note to the correct one. 

Take a look at the thickest string of the guitar. This is an E note. The next down is A, then D, G, B and finally the thinnest string is another E. 

Learn Your Basic Chords

You won’t be able to play any songs if you don’t learn the chords. When you first start out it’s often easiest to learn the basic chords rather than trying to play complicated progressions. 

When you first get started, you should try to learn the Em, C, G and D chords as these will be the easiest and are essential to learn. You can then learn additional chords from there, such as E major, A minor and D minor. It’s worth looking online for guides to help you to learn the chords – it’s all about finger positioning on the fretboard and the right strumming techniques.

Practice Chords

Now that you’ve learned a few basic chords, it’s time to practice them. Work on strumming them all in a rhythmic manner, and perhaps see if you can move from one to another. You can then move onto more complicated chords and progressions. It could be helpful to look for tutorials on YouTube to help you out with this – many of these tutorials will teach you to play the chords as part of a song.

Learn How to Assemble the Chords in a Song

When you have gotten used to the basic chords, you can then turn them into something amazing – a song! Most of the time, acoustic guitar songs require you to play one chord, then move to another, and so forth. It’s worthwhile to look up some songs that incorporate the chords that you have learned. For instance, the song Achy Breaky Heart uses many of the most basic chords, as does Stay With Me by Sam Smith. You’ll be surprised how many songs out there just use the most basic chords!


For the time being, all you need to do is practice the steps set out above to get used to playing the guitar. You can tackle more advanced things later on, like Shredding or tapping, but for now, just enjoy learning the basics! Pretty soon you will be a guitar pro and will be able to learn any song that you put your mind to. Good luck! 

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