How to Play the Guitar: A Guide for Absolute Rockstars

How to Play the Guitar

So, you’ve decided to learn the guitar. Brilliant! I assume you’re planning to become the next Hendrix or perhaps the backbone of a band that rivals The Rolling Stones. But let’s get real: you’ll probably be playing “Wonderwall” at parties for a solid six months, at least. But fear not, your journey towards inevitable musical mediocrity can be a fun one, and I’m here to guide you through it.

Step 1: Buying the Guitar

First thing’s first: You need a guitar. But not just any guitar. Sure, you might think any old six-string will do. Wrong! You need something that reflects your unique personality. A hot pink electric guitar? Perfect for capturing the subtlety of classical compositions. A second-hand acoustic with missing strings? Sounds like it’s already got character, and let’s face it, you won’t be using all those strings at first anyway.

Remember, the shinier, the better. Because how else will people know you’re serious about your newfound hobby? And don’t you dare skimp on the accessories. You’ll definitely need a leopard-print strap, three types of capos, and some stickers to give that guitar a ‘vintage’ look. The goal here is to look like a musician; actually being one comes later, maybe.

Step 2: Your First Chord

Okay, so now you’ve got your shiny new guitar, and you’re ready to rock. Hold your horses, Mozart. Before you can play a symphony, you’ll need to learn a chord. Any chord. Let’s pick an easy one, like G major. All you have to do is put your fingers on the right frets and strum. Can’t be that hard, right? If it sounds like you’re torturing a cat, you’re probably doing it right. Just tell everyone it’s ‘avant-garde.’

Step 3: YouTube Over Berklee College of Music

Now, you might be considering getting a professional instructor or even attending music school to refine your art. Ha! Save your money for more leopard-print straps. Just hop onto YouTube and pick from one of the million “Learn Guitar in 10 Minutes” videos. Remember, if the video is not shot in 4K with close-ups of the instructor’s perfectly manicured hands, it’s probably not worth your time. Quality video production equates to quality guitar instruction; that’s just science.

Step 4: Daily Practice (Or Lack Thereof)

Everyone says you have to practice every day. But who has time for that? Just aim to pick up the guitar at least once a week. If you miss a week or three, no biggie. You’re letting your skills marinate. Plus, you’re too busy showing off your guitar to actually play it. It looks great in your Instagram photos, doesn’t it?

But when you do practice, make sure to play the same chord over and over again. Repetition is key. Ignore the other 99% of the guitar neck; those other frets and strings are just for show.

Step 5: Playing in Public

You’ve strummed that G major chord at least 12 times now. It’s time to show the world your unparalleled musical prowess. Find an unsuspecting group of friends, or even better, a gathering where people can’t easily escape — like a family dinner. Whack out that single chord, and watch the room for reactions. If people cringe, it means they’re just unable to grasp your artistic genius.

Step 6: Naming Your Band

So you’ve mastered (or at least awkwardly fingered) a single chord. Clearly, it’s time to form a band. Choosing the right name is crucial. Don’t waste time practicing more chords or writing songs — that’s for amateurs. Band names should be either utterly meaningless or deeply philosophical, like “The Cosmic Potato” or “Existential Dread.”

If you’re struggling with this, just open a dictionary, pick two random words, and throw them together. Voila! You’ve got a band name. Make sure to create social media accounts for your band immediately, even if it’s just you and your dog for now. Don’t forget to regularly update your 17 followers about your band’s “upcoming gigs” and “studio time.”

Step 7: The Art of Songwriting

Sure, you could study music theory, chord progressions, and lyrical composition, but why make it complicated? Pick your favorite song, change a couple of words (or don’t, no one will notice), and there you have it — your first original composition!

Remember, the less sense your lyrics make, the more artistic they are. If someone asks what your song is about, give them a bewildering look and mutter something about it being “open to interpretation.”

Step 8: Mastering the Air Guitar

For those times when lugging around your actual guitar is inconvenient (like during your cousin’s wedding or in the grocery store), don’t underestimate the power of the air guitar. Execute a flawless air guitar solo, and people will automatically assume you’re equally good with a real guitar. This is a well-documented fact.

Step 9: Networking (Aka Freeloading)

So you’ve got a band name, a couple of self-plagiarized songs, and a killer air guitar routine. Now you need an audience other than your mom. This is where networking comes in. Attend other local gigs and tell everybody about your band. Make sure to carry a few demo CDs, or even better, USB drives shaped like guitars to distribute. People may not listen to them, but they will admire your branding savvy.

Step 10: The First Gig

After all this preparation, it’s time for your first public performance. You’re probably thinking of renting out Madison Square Garden. Let’s aim a bit lower — like a friend’s garage or a deserted corner of a local park. When people walk away (and they will), just interpret that as them being so blown away by your performance that they need time alone to process it.

For the stage setup, remember: the more unnecessary gear you have, the better. Pedals, amps, cables that aren’t plugged into anything — these all add to the illusion that you know what you’re doing.

And there you have it. Ten foolproof steps to become a guitar legend, or at least look like one on social media. You’re not just another guy or gal with a guitar; you’re a future one-hit wonder, a musical enigma wrapped in leopard print and cloaked in the glory of that one G major chord. Rock on, you magnificent disaster. Rock on.