Easiest Way to Learn How to Play a Guitar

By Patrick Niederriter
Parts of a guitar.

Learning the guitar can be challenging, especially if you are teaching yourself. The easiest way to learn the guitar basics is through tabs. Tabs are great for people who cannot read sheet music and can be found on easily on the Internet.

The Layout

To the play a guitar, you must first understand the guitar's layout. The parts of a guitar vary on whether you are using an electric or acoustic. Both are comprised of a head, neck and body.

The head is where the tuners are located.

The neck is made of a back, a fretboard and frets. This is where you hold the strings to create the desired notes.

The body is where you strum and pic. Acoustic guitars have a soundhole that traps and projects the sound, while electric guitars have pickups, which deliver the sound through the amp. The bridge is also located on the body of both types of guitar and is where the strings are fastened.

Tabs: The Strings

Tabs are written out on six lines, representing the six strings of the guitar. The strings are often labeled as well, but flipped to simulate how you would view the strings as you look down on them while holding the guitar. So, on paper, they will look like this:

e------------------ B----------------- G----------------- D----------------- A----------------- E-----------------

So the top line will represent your bottom string of the guitar and therefore the bottom line represents your top string.

Tabs: Finger Placement

When reading the tabs, the strings will have numbers written on them. This tells you what fret to place a finger on. They are numbered from the fret that is closest to the head of the guitar, so if there is a "2" on the "E" string, then you place a finger on the second fret from the head of the top string. A "0" means that the particular sting is played open. An "X" means that the particular string is not played at all. So, a "C" chord would look like this:

----0------- ----1------ ----0------ ----2------ ----3------ ----x------

Here, put a finger on the A string at the third fret, another finger on the D string at the second fret. Finally, place a finger on the B string at the first fret. Do not hit your top string, and strum the rest of the strings.

You should learn all the basic chords (E, E minor, F, C, D, A) and be able to transition between them smoothly. Basically, you have to practice and get your muscle memory tuned. All the tabs can be found online.

The Pentatonic Scale

The minor Pentatonic Scale is a basic blues scale and will help you to finger your guitar smoothly. Tabs are read from left to right when reading chord progressions. Your tabs will look like this:

-----------------------------------5--8-------------- -----------------------------5--8------------------- -----------------------5--7------------------------- -----------------5--7-------------------------------- ----------5--7--------------------------------------- ---5--8----------------------------------------------

Get comfortable playing this simple scale and from there you can look up your favorite song on the internet and piece them together.

About the Author

Patrick Niederriter was born in Erie, Pennsylvania. He attended West Virginia University where he majored in journalism and minored in English. He currently lives in Philadelphia. Apart from writing articles he also writes fiction in forms of screenplays, short stories, and novels.