Common Questions About Learning The Guitar

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In this video, I answer the most asked questions of me from people who are interested in taking beginners guitar lessons.

I answer questions like is it hard to play the guitar, how often do I need to practice, how long will it take me to play my first song, do I need to practice the guitar everyday, will my fingers get sore, what guitar strings should I use, will I be able to play the type of songs I like such as Rock, can I play the guitar if I’m left handed, and so much more.

I have been teaching people of all ages to learn how to play the guitar for many years. My proven personal guitar course will teach you how to play guitar. Hope you enjoy this video.

Learning Guitar is a Gift for a Lifetime
Sam Lyons
Hi, how are you doing? Sam Lyons here. Welcome to “Common Questions About Learning The Guitar That Beginners Usually Ask”. I’m going to try and explain a couple of the questions that come up time and time again on the website and e-mail.

Of course I’m only going to do a few questions that are really common ’cause I probably don’t know every question that you’ve got, but if you want to ask it, you can email your questions to and I will be glad to answer them. So if you have some other beginner’s questions, that I haven’t answered here, then please go and send me an email.

So, Really Common Questions. Let’s get some out of the way and get them going. Most people really want to know:

“How long is it going to take me to learn to play guitar?”

Well unfortunately, how long is a piece of string? It’s different for everybody. There’s not really one kind of set time frame for people. I generally find that within six months or sooner, most people can kind of play some tunes. I tend to think of it in terms of hours of practice, so it tends to be about five hours of practice and then people can usually play some songs. Now I don’t mean like five hours all in one go right, that isn’t going to work. I’m talking about doing, say, 15 minutes a day, four times a week or five times a week, for four, five weeks. That kind of thing. And you should be able to kind of play some tunes, you might be still struggling with your strumming and stuff. It really is different for different people though, unfortunately. There is such a thing as natural aptitude and some people do pick it up a little bit quicker.

But generally, it’s about how much time you actually spend practicing depends on how fast you get kind of good. The other differential there is kids, children under sixteen or eighteen or whatever tend to learn two or three to ten times faster than adults. So if you’re fifty and you’re learning guitar for the first time, it’s going to take you a lot longer usually than if you’re fifteen. That’s just the truth, I don’t know exactly why that is. You’d think that older people would learn stuff faster but they don’t, I don’t know why that is. Young kinds just totally lick it.

So, next question: “How often do you need to practice?”

Well, what I would recommend is that you try and practice four to five times a week, for about fifteen minutes. That’s kind of what I believe is the optimal amount for a beginner guitar player. If you practice too much more than that, you’re going to get your hands kind of get sore and you risk burning yourself out a bit. So in the early stages, you’re better off not going over the top and practicing loads, just try and get a nice, regular amount of practice in. Fifteen, twenty minutes, maybe a bit more if you’re really digging it, whatever. But that kind of amount is the amount I think you should be practicing.

It’s a lot, lot better to practice a little bit every day than to try and hit it all in one go. So, if you were doing, say, 15 minutes a day, 4 times during the week, that’s going to be much better than trying to do, not doing any all week and then do two hours practice on a Saturday, right? So, I know a lot of people have work commitments and stuff, and school or whatever. But if you can try and find a little bit , like ten, fifteen minutes of practice every day, that would be wicked. That’s a good amount and then you can start to up the amount that you practice as you get into it more and more.

It’s also a good idea if you have trouble finding practice, or time to practice rather, then it’s a good idea to try and do it at a set time. So, like every day after you’re home from school or after you’re back from work or in the morning. A lot of my students have practiced in the mornings before they go to work or school, you know, it’s up to you. But if you struggle then it can be a good idea to try and find the same time every day to have a little bit of a practice session.

Okay, another really common question: “My fingers really hurt, should I stop?”

Yes, if your fingers really hurt, then you should stop. Everybody, including me still,
after having played guitar for over 40 years, I still get lines in my fingers and sometimes I play so much that it hurts. So, when you start off, remember that you’re putting your nice, kind of fleshy, soft skin down on thin pieces of metal and you’re pressing them down really hard. It’s gonna hurt, right?

So it just takes a little bit of time for the skin to kind of callous up a little bit and get a bit tougher. So, yes, don’t be that worried if your fingers hurt. If it’s really hurting, stop. Take a break. I’m not saying you should kind of push yourself through so the guitar becomes some kind of torture thing.

You know, but if it’s sore, just deal with the pain, keep going. It’ll be fine, you’re not going to do yourself any harm. But yes, if ever something hurts, like painful, then stop and take a break. If it’s just a bit sore, that’s usual I think. It’s okay to keep going.

Okay, another really common question from the Beginners Course last time was, you know, “Oh, I wanna learn rock guitar, what do I have to learn all these open chords for” Or, “I only wanna play jazz guitar, I don’t wanna learn rock power chords”.

Now, in my proven step-by-step Best Beginners Guitar Lessons System beginners course,, you’re going to learn a whole lot of different techniques. Open chords, strumming, power chords, fingerstyle, and probably you’re not going to want to do all of those different things in your general guitar playing career, but they all help each other a whole lot. For example: power chords. If you want to play jazz, right, but you don’t really want to learn rock power chords.

But what you might not realize at that early beginners stages is that the formation of that power chord is really, kind of preparing your hand to play barre chords. So it’s really important that you do that. If you’re looking at open chords because you want to play metal and you want to play power chords, I mean, loads of metal songs have open chords in them as well. So, what I’m trying to show you in this Beginners Course is all of the basic kind of foundation skills that you need to play guitar. After you finish that, you can start to, choose this bit or I wanna do that or I want a little more of this thing or whatever you like. But I’d really recommend that you just start off with, you have a good go at doing the course all the way through and make sure that you can master all of that stuff. I think that’d be a really good plan.

Another question: “Why isn’t there very much rhythm guitar at the first part of the course?”

Well, that’s a really good question and this is one of the kind of slightly different things I guess, about the way I teach guitar, and rhythm is a really, really important part of playing guitar. And it’s really important that the rhythm is consistent. If you watch people strumming, usually you’ll find that their hand moves kind of continuously so you’d have…

My hand is kind of moving that same way all the time and I then get kind of a pattern going, a strumming pattern or a rhythm pattern, which is kind of what makes rhythm guitar work. If in the early stages you’re struggling to change between your chords, which is very likely, in fact it’s almost certain that everyone who does this is going to struggle a some. If you’re learning guitar for the first time, you’re going to struggle changing chords. You’d train yourself to stop strumming. So you might go
like. . .

Stop. Change your chord, there we go, and then . .

And I think this is the worst thing that you can possibly do. Because you’re training your rhythm hand that it’s okay to stop. And it isn’t okay to stop for your rhythm hand. Your rhythm hand has to learn to become completely independent. So, what I try and do is: introduce you to the chords first, then a bit of the chord changes, speeding up your chord changes and really working on that kind of thing.

And then once you got to the point where you can do your chord changes fast enough, then we introduce the strumming. So, it’s just a slightly different way that I teach it and I think it really works and I’ve seen people really improve on their rhythm guitar because they’re not having to stop and mess around with the chords.

So, I do recommend this as being a good way learn.

Okay, lastly: if you got any questions through this, please, please, please, please, please don’t hesitate to e-mail me @ I will get back to you as quick as I can. So, in my Beginners Course, I’m going to be taking questions, helping you guys out doing the course.

I’m sure you’re going to enjoy this Beginners Course, ’cause it’s loads of fun. So, I think that’s all we’ve got time for in this lesson so I’ll see you for another one, some time soon.

Till next time,

Sam Lyons

Parts of a Guitar