The Basics of the Guitar

Read our tips and tricks to gain a basic understanding of the guitar and some advice for beginners.

If you're looking to pick up the guitar for the first time, or brushing up your skills, its always easier with a professional, qualified teacher to guide you. Check out our guitar teachers online and across the country today:

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Two Men Playing Guitars

The Anatomy of The Guitar

Here is an image displaying the different parts of an acoustic guitar. (These parts all have the same name on an electric guitar too).

The 'frets' are the metal bars that lie across the guitar's fretboard. Pushing down the strings between these changes the tone of the string. This is called fretting. If you are playing a note on the first fret, you should place your finger between the nut and the first fret. From thickest to thinnest (lowest sounding to highest), the strings on a guitar are called E, A, D, G, B and E. You can tune the guitar either by ear (e.g. using a piano and listening for the right notes) or by using a guitar tuner.

For beginners, a tuner is recommended. There are many different types, depending on what suits you: clip-on tuners, tuning pedals, and even smartphone apps. Your guitar teacher can also help you tune your guitar in your first guitar lessons.

You tune the guitar by turning the machine heads. You should always loosen the machine heads so the note is lower than you want and then tighten it till you get the desired note. This way, the tension is on the correct side of the strings.

Reading Chords

Here is an example of some chords you can start to learn as a beginner. Let's look at the A chord. From the chord chart, we see that we have to press down three strings, namely D, G and B and that this should be done on the second fret. Above the low E string (always on the left of the chart) there is an X. This X means that the string should not be played. Beneath the A and high E strings we see a O. This means that this string should be left open (meaning not fretted) and played along with the fretted notes.


When strumming the strings we do it over the guitar's soundhole. The sound in an acoustic guitar is created here, and it sounds most clearly if we strum here.

There are a lot of other techniques to playing the guitar. If you want to get started, we can help you find a guitar teacher near you today!

Buying Your First Guitar

The first thing to do is ask yourself this question: Which type of guitar am I interested in playing? Spanish, acoustic or electric? Perhaps you could take inspiration from the guitar players who motivate you and see which types of guitar they are playing. If you're still unsure about the different types of guitars, take a look at our explanation in this article.

For parents, take the time to talk to your child about what they want to play. Try to get a sense of the music which interests them. What's truly important is inspiration. Without inspiration there cannot be any music. So if your child wants to play electric guitar, then that's where they should start. They can always switch to an acoustic guitar later on.

Once you know what you want, my best bit of advice would be to try as many guitars as possible. This is the best way to get an impression of the different guitars, and although many guitars may look alike, they can feel wildly different when played, and even sound very different.

The best place to purchase your first guitar is in a music shop. Not only will you be able to try the instruments in the shop, but the staff will be incredibly helpful, and can answer any questions you may have. There are music shops in most cities around the U.K., but if you happen to live in London, we would suggest that you check out this guide to some of the best guitar shops in London.

Ready for Guitar Lessons?

It is proven that learning a music instrument can be extremely beneficial for child’s development due to increased concentration, focus and patience, improved cognitive skills and social abilities as well as boosted self-esteem! A good guitar teacher is more than just a tutor for the instrument, they can become your child’s coach as well.

Why not take some guitar lessons? We have lots of talented, experienced teachers all over the country. Find a teacher in your city today!

See all of our qualified guitar teachers here!

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