13 essential things to learn when you first start playing the guitar

Women sits down playing a black acoustic guitar
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Choosing to learn to play the guitar is one of the best decisions you’ll ever make. Mastering your new six-string friend will teach you dedication, patience and perseverance, as well as stimulating your brain and reducing stress. Join a group, or perform regularly, and your social life will get a boost too. More than anything, playing the guitar is an incredibly joyful experience that brings reward after reward. It’s downright good fun!

Of course, learning isn’t always plain sailing, so to launch your playing career with the best possible start we’ve put together a list of 13 things every beginner should know – covering techniques, tone tips, gear choice and more. Start well, end well!

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Simon Fellows

When Simon's childhood classical guitar teacher boasted he 'enjoyed a challenge', the poor man had no idea how much he'd underestimated the scale of the task ahead. Despite Simon's lack of talent, the experience did spark a lifelong passion for music. His classical guitar was discarded for an electric, then a room full of electrics before Simon discovered the joys of keys. Against all odds, Simon somehow managed to blag a career as a fashion journalist, but he's now more suitably employed writing for Guitar World and MusicRadar. When not writing or playing, he can be found terrifying himself on his mountain bike.