It’s not that easy. I’ll say that one more time – IT’S NOT THAT EASY. If you want something easy to learn to play, go pick up a jug and a jaw-harp and start up a jug-band or something. But, on the other hand, if you’re actually ready to take the next step from beginner to at LEAST intermediate guitarist, then follow my lead because with these tips, you’ll be playing for your friends, family – maybe even a crowd!
Okay, so if you want to get started immediately, here’s what you do. Think back on every song that you ever heard or liked that made you think “hey, I bet I can play this song! It’s only, like, 5 different chords”. These should be your starting points. The easiest songs to play when you first start out are the ones with the most obvious, repetitive, rhythms.
Here’s a list of what I consider extremely easy songs for you to try learning only the rhythms to:
Squeeze Box - The Who
Iron Man - Black Sabbath
Carry On Wayward Son - Kansas
TNT - AC/DC
Time of Your Life – Greenday
All Right Now - Free
House of the Rising Sun - The Animals
Wild Thing - The Troggs
Call of the Ktulu - Metallica
Nothing Else Matters - Metallica
Squeeze Box - The Who
and YES, Smoke on the Water - Deep Purple
These are just a sample of what you should be learning, but the general idea or theme that I’m trying to get across here with these songs is learning your power chords (which are insanely easy) and some really basic finger-picking.
I know by this time you’re probably wondering “Hey, what the hell buddy? Where am I supposed to find the info on how to play those songs?” That’s where Google comes in. By using this method and this method alone, I learned to play some pretty intricate songs, and without any guidance or teachers: whenever you want to learn a song for guitar, go to google.com, type in the artist’s name followed by the song name, after the song name type “guitar tab”. For example, if you’d like to learn “Hey, There Delilah” by The Plain White Tee’s (another easy easy song) you would type in “Plain White Tee’s Hey There Delilah guitar tab” and that’s it.
Now, most importantly, you must learn to read guitar tablature. “Tab” for short. Guitar tablature is sheet music simplified down to what is basically a picture of guitar strings, and where the numbers are on each line corresponds to that specific string and which number fret to place your finger.
For example, I will show you how easy this is with a song my father taught me when I was young:
(this tablature reads as: 1st fret on the low E-string, no fret (open string) on the A-string, 3rd fret on the A-string, no fret on the D-string, 1st fret on the D-string, no fret on the D-string, 3rd fret on the A-string, no fret on the A-string)
Each line represents a string on your guitar, and if you’re tuned to standard tuning like you should be, then the letters on the left are the names of the notes for each string in the same order as the stings are on your guitar, which is part of what makes tabs so easy to read. Now, the numbers on the other hand are the number of the fret (fret: space between metal bars on neck of your guitar where you place your fingers), so going back to this example I would read it like this: 1st fret on the low E-string, no fret (open string) on the A-string, 3rd fret on the A-string, no fret on the D-string, 1st fret on the D-string, no fret on the D-string, 3rd fret on the A-string, no fret on the A-string. Played correctly, it should sound like a decent little blues rhythm. If you figured out how to play this correctly, then to play the next verse all you have to do is move all of those numbers you see in the tab UP one string. That would look like this:
To tune your guitar, simply go to google.com and type in “online guitar tuner”, find it in the “webs” directory and it will most likely be one of the first few links on the page.