Learning the ropes of the guitar must be done both in theory and in practice — the mental and the physical/application side, respectively. The best way to learn the guitar is to distinguish the theory side and the physical side of guitar learning and to focus on one side first as opposed to practicing them both at the same time.
When learning the guitar theoretically, you’ll dive into how the fretboard works, how strings and notes are related, what chords are, etc. It will be about reading and studying diagrams and the placements of your guitar’s fretboard. It is all about understanding the music played from your guitar and to mentally capture the image of your guitar’s fretboard.
Learning the guitar practically, on the other hand, involves getting physically comfortable with the position of chords, the transition from one chord to another, and even strumming patterns. It also covers techniques such as legato, string bends, speed drills and everything that covers the physical side of playing guitar.
Both the theoretical and the practical side of guitar learning is crucial. While they go hand-in-hand, it may be easier for some learners to separate the two aspects during practice time. Here is an example schedule that you may follow:
WEEK 1 – THEORY
You could start with the musical alphabet to familiarize yourself with all the chords that your guitar can play. What kind of sound do they produce? How are they different from each other? What are the sharps and flats of some chords? What is a major scale? What unique sound do major 7th chords have?
WEEK 2 – PRACTICAL
Familiarize yourself with all the new regular and major chords you’ve learned and practice them on the fretboard. Exercise your fingers from changing chord to chord. You can also use a metronome or backing drums to develop rhythm and timing from chord transitions. This is where you also practice strumming using different chords. Try playing an easy song with simple 3-4 chords and practice to go with how the rhythm flows and when chords change. This is about using all the theory you have learned and putting it into practice.