The best way to learn electric guitar is to emulate the pros. Not only do they make it look easy, but their music sounds great too!
You can get started by learning some simple chords & scales on your own first – but you need to pick up some tips and tricks if you want to become really good fast. We’ve talked with two experts (and guitar pros) and they’ve given us 9 steps to follow when learning how to play electric guitar fast.
9 Easy Steps to Learning How to Play Electric Guitar Fast
- Use a Metronome
Setting up a metronome for practicing is the key – it will help you keep time, improve your timing & increase your speed. Pick any song you like to start with – it will take some time to nail it up, but once you do, playing along to that song will become a lot easier!
2) Get the Right Gear
You need an electric guitar, amplifier & cables. The amps can get rather pricey – so if you’re just starting, stick to the basics. Don’t worry about effects pedals for now either. You can always buy them later down the track when you’ve gotten better at playing your instrument. You need clean sounds only at first until you master the timing and your chord changes are smooth. When you can play consistently, then think about buying effects pedals.
3) Watch How Curators Play
Curators are ‘Guitar Players’ who have thousands of subscribers on YouTube. Watch how they play – it’s a great way to learn new techniques and songs. Try not to copy what they do, but instead use their videos as an example of the kind of music you’d like to play and emulate them from there.
4) If You Make a Mistake…
If you notice yourself making the same mistake over and over while playing, slow down your tempo or put your guitar aside for a while and come back later when you’ve had some rest. Concentrating on mistakes while trying to learn can be very frustrating and tiresome. Remember, everyone makes mistakes at first – even the pros do!
5) Practice for Half an Hour Each Day No Matter What
You need to practice daily if you want to learn how to play the electric guitar. Even if it’s just for half an hour, that time will help you get better. You don’t have to play for hours on end – but sitting down regularly is very important.
6) Watch Chord Diagrams on YouTube
YouTube is a great resource when learning new chords on your own. There are plenty of chord diagrams displayed throughout the site along with song examples played by curators. This lets you see how it’s done and make some progress at home before you head out to play live or jam with others.
7) Read How-To Guides & Tutorials on Google
Thinking of buying a guitar amp but not sure what to look for? Google it! There are lots of guides available on the web which can help you make an informed decision. You’ll also find different styles of music to play with some great how-to tutorials thrown in there as well.
8) Get a Friend to Jam With
Playing with others is one of the best ways to learn how to play the electric guitar. They might not know all the same tricks that you do, but having another guitarist around will push your playing further and give you something new to think about. If they’re better than you then maybe this isn’t such a good idea… But if they are at roughly the same level, jamming together is perfect practice!
9) Try Playing ‘By Ear’
Don’t rely on music sheets to learn how to play electric guitar. It’s a great way to get the basics down, but once you know how a song goes, try playing it from memory. This forces your brain into thinking differently and gives you a new challenge – something that can really improve your skills. You might not get all of the notes or chords exactly right, but who cares? As long as you’re having fun and enjoying yourself then that’s what matters most!
Quick-start gear guide: Guitars, tuners, amps, picks, cables, and more.
The foundation of your guitar rig is in the accessories. These bits and pieces ensure clean and undistorted onstage sound and keep you ready to play at all times — no matter what chaos unfolds at a gig. Here’s our guide to the most essential pieces of equipment every guitarist should have.
GUITARS, BASSES, AND STRINGS: Although changing guitars or basses on stage may not be practical or possible, having more than one instrument keeps everything running smoothly from show to show. “A backup allows you to get set up very quickly,” says Dan Pogorzelski, who plays with Weezer and Rick Springfield, among others. “Even if I’m playing a six-string bass through a Line 6 POD, I always have a backup. You never know what’s going to happen.”
TUNERS: Tuning on stage is both an art form and a science. Get it wrong and you’re left with low-end rumble masquerading as basslines, midrange mud from chords gone sour, and splintered high notes from out-of-tune leads. A small but important component in the guitarist’s chain of effects, tuners are designed to monitor one or more strings while keeping them properly tuned even through the most raucous guitar solos at any speed. Whether they are rackmount models for huge rigs or compact stompboxes perfect for practice sessions, proper accuracy is vital when trying to achieve that crystal harmonic clarity.
AMPS: A guitar amp’s power rating is its strongest indicator of loudness, but wattage alone does not guarantee volume. Other factors that determine how much noise an amp will produce are speaker size and type, cabinet design, the type and number of tubes in the preamp circuit, and more. Many professional players thus rely on a variety of amplifiers to cover a wide range of venues and musical styles. When choosing an amp, Pogorzelski says to take your time and audition everything available in a given situation: “Don’t buy something you’ve never heard before.”
TUNING FORKS: In addition to the trusty digital tuner, having a tuning fork on hand is a musician’s secret weapon for staying in tune. A drop of a tuning fork placed on the outer edge of a guitar’s headstock will produce a pure note similar to an open string. On a two-string instrument such as bass, striking the tuning fork on the top edge produces both strings simultaneously. If you don’t have one with you, it’s usually possible to find a local music store that will let you borrow one for the gig.
STRINGS: “One of the great things about guitar players is that they always have spare strings,” Pogorzelski says. “Strings are constantly breaking, so having an extra set with you shows people that you’re prepared.” And that’s important. A band member who doesn’t make a quick string change at the first sign of trouble (while still on stage, if possible) and who winds up sounding like a beginner will be viewed as unprepared — and unprofessional — by even casual gig-goers.
CABLES: “Big-time professional players usually have lots of cables,” Pogorzelski says. “They have them running in different directions, labeled with things like ‘cable for monitor,’ ‘for pedal board’ and so on.” Having extra cables around allows you to quickly switch between instruments or change your rig completely when necessary.
5 easy songs for guitar beginners
You got the basics down and now you’re ready to take it a step further, but where do you start? Sometimes, there are only so many songs that sound appropriate for beginners that won’t bore you.
Like learning to read music as opposed to tablature, once you learn one, the other is quite easy. In this article, we will take a look at ten easy songs for guitar beginners that are perfect for those getting ready to start playing solos or delving into more complex music.
- “Johnny B. Goode” – Chuck Berry
One of the simplest hard rock riffs you’ll ever hear! This song has been covered by everyone from The Beach Boys to Aerosmith and beyond. The song was even mentioned in the film Back to the Future II as a “sound of the future”!
- “My Girl” – The Temptations
The first guitar riff we’ll be looking at comes from this classic R&B standard. While it’s fast and has some quick chord changes, it’s a pretty simple song for beginners to learn.
- “Twist and Shout” – The Beatles
Ringo’s drum solo intro is one of the most iconic parts of this early Beatles song. Originally recorded in 1963 by The Top Notes, it was their biggest hit, peaking at #2 on the Billboard 100.
- “Wild Thing” – The Troggs
The guitar part in this song is just one riff through the whole thing! Written by Chip Taylor, the head of the group was listening to Bob Dylan’s “Subterranean Homesick Blues” and heard something that sounded good in his head, later writing it down on a napkin.
- “Smoke on the Water” – Deep Purple
For beginners looking to sound like a pro, you can’t go wrong with this riff by Ritchie Blackmore. After being inspired by their performance of his song “Child in Time”, he wrote the intro riff on his guitar during an airplane delay!
How to hold a pick correctly
You now have the tools to start playing some of your favorite hits, but you probably have a question on your mind.
How do I hold the pick?
Most people use their thumb and index finger to hold it, with their middle finger slightly touching the top so they don’t drop it all the time. While other methods are sometimes used, this one is the most common.
Of course, it’s also a good idea to check out some YouTube tutorials on getting started with guitar.
Other Frequently Asked Questions
Can I teach myself electric guitar?
Yes, it is possible to teach yourself – with the right tools and the willingness to put in hard work.
Electric guitar requires an amplifier as well as a cable for you to plug it into the amplifier. Some amps come with speakers included but if not, you will need those too. You will also need a strap and possibly some picks to play the guitar.
To teach yourself electric guitar, you will need an electric guitar as well as all of the accessories mentioned above. In addition to those necessities, it would also be a wise investment to purchase a metronome and begin practicing with songs that have a consistent tempo.
Can I learn to play electric guitar first?
Yes, although it is strongly recommended that you learn to play an acoustic guitar first.
Electric guitars are much easier for beginners because there is only one way you can hold the pick, whereas with an acoustic guitar there are different types of picking styles that you can choose from.
Can beginners learn electric guitar?
Yes, many beginners have learned how to play electric guitar successfully. It is a good idea to purchase an electric guitar with a low action so that it is easier for you to press down on the strings.
Is it hard to learn to play electric guitar?
Absolutely, Not. While it is challenging to learn an entire instrument (or in this case, multiple instruments), the electric guitar is easier than other instruments like drums or piano, for example.
What’s the difference between barre chords and open chords?
There is no difference between barre chords and open chords. However, when you hold a barre chord it means that you are pressing down on all of the strings with one finger. An open chord is a type of chord that requires you to play multiple strings at the same time.
Are my fingers supposed to hurt?
Yes, your fingers will get used to it – but there are some things you can do to make the process easier.
Guitar guru Steve Baker suggests practicing with a metronome because it will help you learn at a steady pace. Additionally, he recommends starting out by learning strumming patterns before attempting more complex pieces of music.
Lastly, if you experience any pain while playing guitar, you should see a doctor right away. Playing a guitar that makes your fingers and hands feel uncomfortable is counterproductive to learning the instrument and can potentially cause injuries that require surgery or other medical attention.
What’s the most common beginner’s pitfall?
The most common beginner’s pitfall is not practicing as often as you should.
To avoid this downfall, it’s important to practice with a metronome and always push your limits – don’t be afraid to stretch yourself if you’re feeling ambitious!
There are a lot of things to consider when deciding whether or not an electric guitar is a right instrument for you.
While some people prefer learning an instrument that allows them to express themselves in a more free-form way, others prefer using an instrument with a limited range of notes and only one position you can hold the pick in.
If you are considering learning to play electric guitar, you should read about the different types of music you can learn on the instrument. It
is also important to find out the different accessories that you will need to play electric guitar, as well as whether or not your electric guitar’s strings require replacement.
If you decide you want to learn to play electric guitar, it might be wise for you to start by learning how to play an acoustic first – although there are people who have successfully learned electric guitar without playing an acoustic version first.