Learning to play the electric guitar is an exciting prospect but where to start can confuse anyone. It really depends on the styles of music that interest you.
You can learn strumming, fingerstyle, chords or lead, learn to read TAB or standard notation. These are just a few of the decisions that need to be made in order to get off to the right start.
See also: learn to play rock guitar
Start With Chords
A good place to start is to learn a few chords and a strumming rhythm. There are hundreds of songs that can be accompanied with just three chords – A, D and E for example – and if you like to sing even better!
By combining your voice with the guitar chords will help make sense of what you are playing – especially to anyone who is listening in the background.
Blues or Rock Rhythm
A simple blues or rock rhythm on two strings, or power chords played on two strings can enable the beginner to play and sound like a good guitarist in a very short period of time.
There are hundreds of guitar lessons on youtube and many online courses that offer good value for money.
A Good Technique
However, be aware of developing a good technique and hold your hands and the guitar in the correct position. There are many exceptions to the rule, but a good technique and a lesson or two from a private teacher will produce the best results in the shortest period of time.
A Pick Or Fingerstyle
The electric guitar can be played with a plectrum or fingerstyle. If you want to play like Jimmy Hendrix you’ll need to use a plectrum or end up with very sore fingers!
If you enjoy Chet Atkins or Mark Knopfler a fingerstyle approach would be best. Some players such as Eric Clapton use both their fingers and a plectrum at the same time called hybrid picking. A very versatile way to play be needs a lot of practice!
When I grew up in the 1960s, the electric guitarists who I listened to were Bert Weedon with his “Play In A Day” guitar method. The Shadows, led by Hank Marvin played a lot of instrumental tunes that made the pop charts.
Then of course Chet Atkins who played fingerstyle in a country and middle of the road style of music. Elvis had two guitarists who were legendary – Scotty Moore who play at the beginning of Elvis’s career and then later James Burton who was already well known for his Chickin’ Pickin’. A very rhythmic fingerstyle with a southern twang due to the thin strings he used – and still uses.
Because the electric guitar is such a versatile and user-friendly instrument, it’s often possible to begin learning by playing the style or genre of music you like best!
Electric Guitar Resources