The worst part about playing guitar is getting started.

If you can 'swim past the breakers' - get a little basic conditioning, basic rhythm, and a guitar with a good set up - then you're probably okay. Once you get a certain amount of hand-conditioning, it's like riding a bicycle, you never forget how. Once your hand learns to make a few shapes, you'll never forget them.

Read: The Incredible Importance of a Good Guitar Setup

The first things you do on the guitar are the hardest things you will ever do on the guitar. This seems like a paradox, but it's true. Nothing is harder than trying to play when your hands aren't yet conditioned, even if you're playing very simple things. A difficult part is 'easier' when you're conditioned than an easy part when you're not.

Don't base your impression about whether you can do this on how the guitar feels when you first pick it up. One of our primary goals is to change the way the guitar feels in your hands. We will never get very far unless we can change that feeling. Playing guitar does not mean getting used to the feeling that's in your hands now. It means transforming that feeling into something completely different. You'll laugh, but with a little conditioning, playing guitar becomes easy and comfortable. Changing the feel of the guitar is the first order of business.

Condition Your Hands

Each hand has a different job to do, and each hand needs a different type of basic conditioning for you to get comfortable. Start with your fretting hand. There are about 12 common open chord shapes. Before you can make them sound good, your fingers have to get used to the shapes. Just hold your chord shapes for a couple of minutes each. Do that a couple of times a day, and in a couple of weeks you'll see a big difference.

Making Peace With Your Guitar

This girl is not at peace with her guitar. To her, the guitar is still a confusing, alien thing that refuses all overtures of friendship.

These girls have the right idea. The chord shapes they're holding feel more comfortable each day. Just hang out with your guitar. Don't expect anything at first. When you're first starting, any note that sounds half-way decent is a small victory. Just for a little while, take satisfaction in small victories. Once you get just a little conditioning, you can begin interacting with music.


As musicians, we learn to imitate the sounds we hear. Imitating sounds is the most direct way to learn music. That's why I have created a library of easy play-alongs, so you can systematically learn to imitate what you hear. As you get better, you find that music is a hologram. You learn to 'hear your way through' musical passages, and then entire songs.

Watch any guitar player, they're not uncomfortable. I can help you get past the initial discomfort that everyone has when they start playing. Contact me for a free introductory lesson.