1. You do not need to learn every chord.
Some people will tell you to try and learn a new chord a day. This is nonsense. The easiest way to remember something is to use it. Pick a relatively easy song and learn the chords and changes you need to play it. This is far quicker, more fun, more rewarding and more efficient way of learning guitar.
2. The easiest guitar riffs to start learning are bass string riffs.
There are loads of great examples of these - ‘Day Tripper', ‘Blister in the sun', ‘here comes your man', ‘come as you are’ etc. One huge advantage of learning these riffs is that you can use them to get your Low E string in tune - if the riff does not sound right, the string is probably not in tune.
3. When you are playing a song and you make mistakes pretend like nothing happened.
When I first started playing guitar in front of people I used to get so flustered if I made a mistake that I ended up messing up the whole tune. I quickly learned if you ignore your mistakes and keep playing the listener will not notice most of the time.
4. Learn to play on a decent steel string acoustic guitar.
I first started playing on a nylon string guitar and playing with a pick just sounded wrong. I graduated to a really rubbish steel string guitar with a neck so warped the strings at the fifth fret were half an inch from the fret board.
Until I managed to find myself a decent guitar practice was a frustrating experience and felt too much like work. Oh, and unless you are firmly set on only ever playing electric guitar I would really advise against starting on one. Moving from playing electric to acoustic guitar is twice as hard as moving the opposite way because of the fret spacing and string gauges.
5. Learn some of the more common alternate tunings.
A lot of popular songs written in alternative tunings can be quite difficult, if not impossible, to play from standard tuning. The finest example of this is ‘Honky Tonk Women’ by The Rolling Stones, which has baffled many a guitarist until they figure out it is not in standard tuning. Probably the easiest alternative tuning to begin with is Drop D tuning.
6. Practicing is important but you must have a reason for learning new techniques.
Knowing your goal is half the battle. Learning something like harmonics can seem pointless, or, at best mildly diverting unless you have a song in mind that requires you to know how to play them. If you do not have a reason for learning a technique you will quickly lose interest or get frustrated if things do not work as quickly as planned.
7. Try and get some basic knowledge of music theory.
Reading music notation is very useful (unless you are Paul McCartney, who famously does not read music). Having some kind of knowledge of how chords are formed and what exactly scales are can be very helpful. It's not that hard. There are only seven letters.
For example, sometimes you will find tabs on the internet which are physically impossible to play. This is especially true for ‘guitar pro’ tabs. If you have a good knowledge of the fret board you can manipulate the tab and make it a lot easier to play.
Learn more free guitar tips: Learn Acoustic Guitar
Dave Long is the owner of http://www.LearningAcousticGuitar.net where he provides guitar tips and advice.