Roadmap to Learning Guitar

(Under construction)

Reflected in my approach to teaching guitar is a sequence that also applies to any individual who wants to learn rock/pop guitar on their own. I am sharing my sequence for learning the basic skills that will enable anyone to guide their own process of learning the guitar. This sequence was developed using a combination of the sequencing used by Jamie Knight at Huntington Beach High School and through interviews with various self-taught guitarists performing in various bands throughout the Los Angeles/Orange County region.

This page is intended to display transparency to my guitar students asking the question “where are we going from here?” and to be an open resource to anyone who may be interested in learning guitar. – Mr. Phung


  1. Preparatory: Setup and posture
    • Tuning the guitar – GuitarTuna app is great for visualizing the process
    • Holding the guitar
  2. Basics: Reading chord diagrams; open chords and strum patterns
  3. Building literacy: Reading tablature and expanding chord vocabulary with barre chords
  4. Building fluency: Scales and learning classic guitar “licks”

Preparatory Stage

Anatomy of a guitar

Tuning the guitar

The first step of setting up your guitar for playing is tuning your guitar. You can use a tuner app like GuitarTuna by plucking one string into your microphone/smartphone- the app will respond with a note (for example, E) and an indicator showing if the string is tuned too low or too high. If the string you are tuning is tuned too low or too high, carefully and slowly turn the tuning keys to make an adjustment while plucking. You will see if the pitch is getting better or worse using the app.

The notes of the open strings on your guitar are typically tuned to E2, A2, D3, G3, B3, and E4 from biggest string to thinnest string.

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Basics Stage

First 3 Chords: E Major, A Major, and D Major

E Major Chord
A Major Chord
D Major Chord

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Songs that use these 3 chords:

A Mansion on the Hill – Hank Williams (chord sheet)

Blitzkrieg Bop – The Ramones

Wild Thing – The Troggs

The Other 3 Open (Major) Chords: G Major, C Major, and F Major

Building Literacy

Building Fluency