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Congratulations! You just decided that you want to learn how to play the guitar.

Perhaps watching all those Nirvana videos on YouTube finally got you motivated. Perhaps you’ve been at a recent festival and seen an artist or two experience the pure joy of playing their instrument. Or you just want a new hobby and need to express yourself through song.

Whatever the inspiration, there’s never a bad time to start learning how to strum, no matter the level of aptitude you want to reach.

So what do you do once you’ve made that momentous decision?

Here is a guide to your first steps toward becoming an astute player:

1. Choose Your Guitar - Electric or Acoustic

What’s the best guitar for beginners? Should you start with an acoustic guitar or an electric.

Electric guitars have thinner strings that require less pressure to fret chords, which will keep you from feeling a lot of pain in your hands and fingertips.

Acoustic guitars are less of an investment. You can pick up an acoustic guitar and play, while electrics need a corresponding amplifier. The heavier strings might present a challenge, but they will also make for an easier transition to an electric guitar.

2. Gear Up

Don’t forget the other gear you’ll need, like an amp and cables (if you’re playing electric guitar), picks and a strap.

The amp and cables will ensure that you’re projecting your sound properly on an electric guitar, while the right pick is all about what feels right for you. You might want to grab a pick with medium thickness (between .73 mm–.88 mm), as it guarantees you a solid grip without being too overwhelming to hold.

And for the strap, you need to be mobile, right? Good luck playing the guitar standing up without a strap. Hook one that is comfortable for you on the two endpins of your guitar and sling it around your shoulder.

3. Tune Your Instrument

Once you’ve picked out your guitar, you’ve got to tune it, and tune it often. You should always tune your instrument before you practice. There are also unexpected times when you need to tune to make sure you’re sounding the best you can (after traveling or using a capo).

Luckily, you can buy a tuner, use Fender's free online tuner or download the Fender Tune app to dial everything in.

One additional point is that you should get your guitar set up by a professional so your intonation is on point.

4. Start Playing

You can usually find instructors through your local guitar dealer, but there are are also online instructors that offer video lessons, such as Fender Play.

Learning how to play the guitar takes time, and you won’t be Jimi Hendrix in a week, but if you stick with it and adhere to solid practice habits, you'll be playing along to your favorite songs in no time.

Want to start learning with Fender Play? Get started with your free trial!

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