Learning to Play Guitar: My 6 Month Journey

Derek Fox, CBN Staff

Learning to play guitar, or any instrument in general, is a process that many would think of as streamlined or easy to progress at. Initially, I had thought the exact same thing, that the trajectory of my learning would be a linear relationship, but it is a process that comes with a lot of plateaus and curves.

After years and years of listening to rap music which became repetitive, this past summer I became heavily interested in classic rock bands, and was hooked on 90’s artists like Nirvana and Weezer. This basically became my entire inspiration for picking up guitar. 

 Beginning a month after I turned sixteen, I’d started learning at what most would consider kind of late, but that didn’t take a single bit of excitement away from getting my first electric guitar. I’d gotten it from my uncle, who is a seasoned guitar player and gave me one out of the multiple in his collection. 

In August, I had first received it and immediately began playing songs that were extremely simple, and could be performed with just one or two strings. The first riff I had ever learned was Come As You Are by Nirvana, which was catchy enough for me to spend the entire first week or so trying to get down. 

For practically the first two months, I had picked up numerous one string riffs and practically took in zero knowledge of major or minor chords. I had only watched one video on how to play two chords, but other than that I just enjoyed playing simple songs. It is very easy to desire instant gratification and just start playing simple songs, but if you want to improve quickly I’d highly recommend to anyone that you begin learning major and minor chords first. 

After wasting two months, I finally decided to get a guitar teacher and my knowledge has grown exponentially. From months 3-6, this is a general breakdown of what I’ve learned:

Month 3: All major and minor chords, how to use a metronome and my first song.

Month 4: 3+ songs, strumming patterns, improving rhythm and chord changing.

Month 5: Over 30 bar chords, the musical alphabet, songs with difficult chord shapes.

Month 6: Major scales, how to play a song in any key, how to pick up a song with bar chords instead of learning slowly.

Purchasing or receiving a guitar and letting it collect dust is a scenario many find themselves in, but learning to push through and keep learning is a fun process that I have enjoyed very much thus far. First picking up guitar may seem intimidating to most, but I’d recommend it to almost anyone who has some type of interest. A good online resource to start with is justinguitar.com. 

Having a teacher from the get go isn’t entirely necessary, but I’d say it has motivated me and made the process much smoother. After six months, I can happily say that I am enjoying it just as much if not more than when I began and I’d recommend that anyone interested in playing guitar do so.