Playing the guitar is something that a lot of people want to be able to do. Due to its association with a lot of pop and rock it is very mainstream instrument that will allow you to play along with your favourite songs, or head up your own bands. At the same time it’s also a very ‘cool’ instrument due to its rough sound and the position it forces the player into. At the same time it’s both portable and doesn’t require you to blow into it (which is hardly attractive). A lot of guys even try to use this as a technique for pulling, hoping that the very fact that they play a guitar will be enough to ingratiate them to the opposite sex.
So that’s why you might be hoping to learn to play the guitar. So what does it take to get started? Well unlike some other instruments the guitar is fairly hard to just pick up and play. Unlike the piano or keyboard the notes are not in really any logical order. Instead they are organized on the fret board where each fret goes up a semi tone (C, C sharp, D, D sharp etc) but each string starts on a different note. In order to play a note then you have to work out the note of the fret for that string (unless you write them on the fret board) and then push down on it and pluck the string.
On it’s own that would be hard and it would take time to learn each of the notes. At the same time pushing down onto the string and strumming can both hurt your finger tips to start with, particularly if the action is particularly high on the board. However it gets more complicated still as you won’t often be playing single notes, but instead contorting your hand into unusual (and very difficult shapes) on the fret board to play multiple notes creating a chord.
This makes learning some songs very easy (though still painful on the hands), and many popular hits simply require you to strum one or two chords while singing. Similarly it’s possible to quite simply play a basic tune by following fret paper which is made up of a series of lines corresponding to each string with numbers written on them corresponding to each fret.
However to progress on the guitar and start playing more complex songs and reading music, you need to actually understand what the notes you’re playing are which will endow you with the ability to learn any chord you want to and to play any tune and teach them to other people. By understanding the notes and the different keys you can then learn solos and jam freely with other instruments. Until this point you are really just ‘copying’ basic patterns of chords or notes, though this is a good way to limber up your hands to stretch to them.