how to play acoustic guitar

How To Play Acoustic Guitar

Playing guitar has the amazing ability to mesmerize and unite people. I say this because I always observe how people react when watching someone perform – there are sparkles in their eyes, uncontrollable tapping of the feet, and an ever-so-slight mouthing of the lyrics. This effect is a big reason why people learn this skill in the first place.

While there are several types of stringed instruments to choose from, acoustic guitars are still the most popular. They’re simpler to learn, lighter to carry around and emit a softer sound that appeals more to people’s taste. Additionally, you’ll also be able to use it for a wider range of genres. Overall, this is a wonderful way to springboard into the wonderful world of music.

In this article, I’ll be sharing some effective tips on how to play acoustic guitar. I invite you to read on and learn more about this topic.

The Basics

Before you can even play guitar like a pro, you’ll need to go through some fundamental aptitudes. Mastering the basic steps on how to play acoustic guitar will provide you with a strong foundation and allow you to learn more intermediate lessons quicker. These may initially seem boring or un-cool but take them seriously because they’re a crucial component of the guitar playing process.

Correct Posture and Hand Placement ​

The first thing you need to learn is how to properly hold an acoustic guitar and with it comes knowing the correct way to sit, stand, and put your arms. Having incorrect posture, especially when it becomes a habit, can lead to miscues and inconsistent notes. Here’s how you can avoid that.

Correct Posture and Hand Placement
  • Regardless if you’re sitting or standing, be sure to keep your back straight and your torso relaxed. This will give you the free range of movement needed when strumming or plucking. 
  • Wrap your dominant arm around the body of the instrument, while your other hand should be on the fretboard or chords. 
  • Finally, keep your legs straight and feet flat on the floor.

Practice and condition yourself to maintain this stance. It may feel uncomfortable at first, but you should eventually get used to that position.

Read Notes

Deciphering and understanding notes are, practically, the prerequisite before playing an instrument. These intonations are essential because they set the direction and tell you, which note to play next. It is only through overcoming this that you can move on to playing songs and writing music.

To gauge your stock knowledge, try searching for simple tests online. There should also be websites readily available to help you improve on this aspect, especially in speed and accuracy.

Learn How To Play Chords

Before even tackling a full melody, we must always begin with a singular chord. This is defined as a set of notes being played at the same time. As you place your fingers on particular places on the guitar, strum the strings and you’ll notice a unique sound being produced.

Learn How To Play Chords

You can grasp this concept much faster by practicing on an actual guitar. Start with one chord and keep at it until you’ve perfected the technique. Just be sure that the tone being produced is in the correct pitch range. Once you’ve got the hang of things, as an added challenge, try to play guitar in sequence. This should test how fast your fingers are and help them adapt to the shifting.

This is probably the most challenging lesson among the basics of learning guitar; so, do your best to train at least once a day. As you do, the technique slowly integrates into your mind and muscle memory, and you’ll observe how your efficiency becomes more improved.

Playing the Instrument

After graduating from the ABCs, it could be time to ramp it up a bit, which would mean you’re ready to start actually playing the guitar. In this regard, strumming, or sweeping across the strings, should be your first order of business.

Playing the Instrument

Use your dominant arm, which should be wrapped around the device’s body, and stick out your thumb. It should be hovering around the strings and sound hole. Then, gently run your finger through the threads. Repeat this until you get relaxed and you’re contented with the sound that it releases.

As a beginning, focus on the downward strokes but, then, you’ll also need to incorporate the upward action as part of the follow-through. This fluid activity ultimately leads to a continued sound. You’ll know that you’re strumming correctly if each line results in a similar tone.

Incorporating Skills

Now that you’ve overcome each of the basic skill sets separate, the next step to learning how to play an acoustic guitar is blending them all together.

Remember, different parts of your body each have a specific role:

  • Dominant hand for strumming
  • Submissive one for selecting chords
  • Lower body is for support

Additionally, the eyes should be utilized to see what note to be played next. An effective guitarist is one who is able to make all these components blend in unison.

Initiate the playing motion by positioning your left hand (assuming again that you’re right-handed) on your desired. Once you’re sure, use your right thumb to start strumming. Continue this rhythm until relaxed. While still maintaining the sweeping motion, slowly pivot your fingers to a new chord. At this point, you should be sensing a certain melody being created. Since we’re not strictly following a particular order, do what feels right and detect the fluctuation in tone and pitch everytime you hit the instrument.

Being a novice, the most important thing is to get your coordination right. Every time you go through this process, try to become more and more at ease. Of course, to get really good at it, you’ll need to practice a lot and extend your patience.

It may be a long journey, but if you truly love what you’re doing, every mistake or heartache is just a stepping-stone. As time goes by, you’ll witness the big improvements in yourself and this is what makes everything worth it.


The course of learning how to play acoustic guitar is a truly fulfilling one. Not only are you able to develop technical skills, but it also pushes you to become disciplined, gritty, and stronger in the face of adversity.

As you take on this colossal challenge, be sure to cherish every moment and be thankful for every step because that’s what will take you to the next level. We are hopeful that you’ll find this how to play acoustic guitar guide helpful!

Oh, and if you’re looking for some inspiration, check out this short YouTube video:

About the Author Scott

Our site’s main goal is to create a sanctuary for guitar lovers. We want this to be a venue where they’re able to learn fresh ideas, hone their skills, and communicate with other aficionados. More than anything, we want them to freely share their own personal experiences. In that way, we’re not only adding knowledge and skills but preserving their zeal as well.

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