First Time Visitors

Recommended Reading

SIDEBAR: was redesigned and re-launched on November 28, 2007. As a result, this page was merged into other content.

Click here to visit the new Home Page, then look at the navigation bar on the left side of the page for all of the lessons. is packed with information, but first time visitors may wonder: Where do I start?

The materials you'll find here can help you progress from an initial interest in guitar through your first two or three songs. Where you start depends on where you are now. I've divided the recommended reading for first time visitors into three categories. Each builds on the other. If you are a Developing Beginner, you should still review the Absolute Beginner materials. Anytime you find yourself looking for a new guitar, The Guitar Shopper material can help with shopping and getting a good deal.

The Guitar Shopper

This section of the first time visitor guide is for you if you want to purchase a guitar or accessories. Perhaps this is your very first guitar, or your second. The materials here are sure to help! Your reading list includes:

  • Choose Your Perfect Guitar helps you create a list of criteria for your first guitar. You'll also get advice on the most important factors when choosing your first guitar, and information on purchasing new, used, or renting.

  • If you want an acoustic guitar, the Acoustic Guitar Guide gives information on body styles and key features to consider before making your selection. Then read the Buying Guide to learn what's important for any guitar, what to look for in an acoustic, and how to get a good deal.

  • Want an electric? Check out the Electric Guitar Guide for body style descriptions and key features. Then head over to the Buying Guide to learn what's important for any guitar, what to look for in an electric, and how to get a good deal. You'll should also read the Amplifier Guide, to get all the tone you can from your new electric. Don't forget to take a look at my Guitar Cables Guide to understand which of the many types you'll need to make the connections.

  • You should also review the Guitar Accessories page, which breaks items into "Must Have" and "Nice To Have" to help sort out the more important items from the rest of the pack. If nothing else, read about strings and tuners.

  • Before shopping, you should have an awareness of guitar terminology. Jump over to the Illustrated Guitar Glossary for all the terms and explanations.

  • New content appears on this web site every month. Stay in touch with our Newsletter, or subscribe to our RSS Feed to be notified of major updates.

The Absolute Beginner

You have a guitar, even if it's an old loaner. You want to play. Well, there's no time like right now to get started on this great adventure! This portion of the first time visitors guide is especially for you:

  • How will you learn to play? Will you teach yourself? Are private lesson for you? What about the Internet? All this and more are covered in the article on Guitar Lesson Options.

  • Everytime you get your guitar out to practice or play the first thing you should do it tune it up. Learn all about Tuning Methods here.

  • You'll need to know your way around the guitar to tune up, take instruction, explain problems, and more. Take a look at the Illustrated Guitar Glossary to learn terms and parts.

  • Nearly every instructor begins by teaching a few Common Guitar Chords. If you learn these, you'll be on your way to playing songs.

  • Do you know how to get to Carnegie Hall? Practice, practice, practice! It's an old joke, but it's true. Please read the Guitar Practice Advice column to learn my story of how I quickly passed someone who had been playing off and on for a couple years! You'll also find tips on making practice easy to get started, and how to keep going.

  • It's a lot more fun to play a guitar that sounds good, so keep your instrument in top shape by following a few simple guidelines on Guitar Maintenance.

  • As you try to learn songs and riffs, you'll search for music on the Internet, or people will post music. More often than not, you'll find TAB. Learn all about how to read it, even how to write it, by reading the Guitar TAB Guide.

  • As you begin learning the guitar take a look at The Developing Beginner materials. Your progress will be rapid in some areas, but take more time in others. Understanding what's coming can energize you and prepare you for additional enjoyment!

  • New content appears on this web site every month. Stay in touch with our Newsletter, or subscribe to our RSS Feed to be notified of major updates.

The Developing Beginner

Congratulations! You have a guitar, you've been practicing and can play open chords as well as a few songs. Great job! Time to review and continue learning! First, if you haven't read the first time visitors guide articles for The Absolute Beginner, do that now. We'll wait...

OK, time to move on to the more advanced materials:

  • If your learning follows the traditional pattern, you'll make lots of progress in the first weeks and months with your guitar. Then you'll hit a plateau. You might even get worse as you try to refine your technique. Don't stop! Read the article on Motivation and get re-engergized!

  • You'll limit your ability to make progress if you use poor technique. Take a look at the articles on Proper Mechanics to learn about techniques from holding a pick to palm muting and smooth chord changes, and more.

  • A great way to improve while adding to your enjoyment is to learn songs. Take a look at our Easy Songs, maybe you'll find a new one just for you.

  • Time to face reality... if you want to be the best you can, you've got to learn Essential Music Theory. Articles include the basics, chords, scale theory, and playing scales on your guitar.

  • Sooner or later you'll need to lookup a new chord form, find an alternative at a new fret location, or figure out how to transpose a song. For that, head over to our Chord Tools page. You should also read about The Chord Wheel, which simplifies difficult chord transitions, chord theory, and scales.

  • The enemy of the guitarist is pain! Take a few minutes to review a few common sense tips to Prevent Guitar Related Injuries.

  • Before you know it, your strings will need replacement. I've got you covered with one article all about Guitar Strings and one on How To Change Guitar Strings!

  • Guitar teachers, like English teachers, tend to stress all the right mechanics and proper forms. But what do you do when you need to play something that's close and don't have time to form the complete chord, or you can't play the chord how it's described, or you're faced with something that's just too hard? Do what everyone else does! Simplify! Learn some of the best secrets of experienced guitarists by reading these Easy Guitar Tips!

  • New content appears on this web site every month. Stay in touch with our Newsletter, or subscribe to our RSS Feed to be notified of major updates.

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