Learning to play music on the guitar can be one of the most enjoyable and rewarding skills you ever undertake in your life. For many people, the process of learning and bonding with the instrument can even go much deeper than that. I went through some very difficult times personally during my school years, and teaching myself to play guitar literally became like a lifeline for me. It was the one thing I could hold on to through all the madness of those times.
It may be just like that for you too - whatever other kind of challenges or conflicts may trouble you, your true friend the guitar will be waiting for you at home, ready to explore new musical frontiers with you, and ready to renew your friendship each day. When you are first getting acquainted with your guitar, it's always best to start out with some songs that are relatively easy to play, with simple chord progressions, and which are also fun to play.
Five to cut your teeth on
Here are five great songs to begin your learning experience with. Next to each song title I've listed the artist, along with a link to the chords used in the song, as well as the song's lyrics, so you can sing along as you're learning and playing.
What to focus on
As you start learning about the guitar, and the songs you can play on it, there are a few things to keep in mind that will help you learn faster, and improve your technique more quickly. Of course, the number one thing is where your fingers should be placed on the fretboard, but after that, you should always be conscious of the strumming pattern for the song, if there is one. You should also pay attention to any special techniques being used in the song, as well as the chord combinations, which are quite often much simpler than they sound. By practicing those chords, and switching between chords through the progression of the song, your playing will improve by leaps and bounds in no time.
What playing the guitar can mean to you
Not everyone becomes addicted to guitar-playing as soon as they pick up the instrument of course, but for many people there is a very special relationship which forms between instrument and player. The great singer-songwriter, John Denver, movingly described his own unbreakable bond in a song called 'This Old Guitar', in which he declared that the guitar was literally responsible for giving him his career and everything in his life. Your own learning and playing experience may not be quite as profound as that, but then again, whenever you pick up a guitar, magic can happen. That magic is why I learned to play as a young man.