Basic Guitar Knowledge (10 Things You Should Know)

There are some things that every guitar player should know, regardless of the type of guitar you play and the type of music you enjoy playing. For beginner guitarists and advanced guitarists alike, there is universal basic guitar knowledge that every guitarist should be equipped with.

Whether you have been playing the instrument for years or if you are just beginning your guitar journey, there is always some new thing to learn, and there are some foundational things that every player must know to understand the instrument well. Let’s explore some of the basic knowledge that every guitarist must know.

1. How To Tune Your Guitar Well

The very first thing that every guitar player should learn is how to tune their guitar well. Tuning the guitar well goes beyond simply getting each string in tune once, but it involves how to tune a guitar in such a way that it stays in tune better, and the tuning process becomes quick and easy to complete.

Take the time to learn how to tune your guitar well, experiment with different methods and techniques, and figure out ways to help your guitar stay in tune for longer periods.

Always tune your guitar by tightening the strings, never tune down to a specific pitch, always tune your guitar with an accurate digital tuner, and practice tuning quickly to make the process as easy as possible.

Tuning electric guitar

2. The Different Parts Of The Guitar

Every guitarist should know all the components of the guitar that they play and how they function. Every tiny part of the guitar contributes to the way the instrument sounds and how the instrument feels to play.

Understanding each component of the instrument is something that every guitarist must take the time to do, as it allows the player to diagnose issues when they arise, arms the guitarist with the knowledge on how to fix problems with the guitar, and teaches the player the information they need on how to get the guitar to sound good.

To understand the components of the guitar means to understand the instrument itself, which in turn means knowing how to get a good tone from the guitar.

3. How To Maintain Your Guitar Well

Very few guitar players take the time to learn how to perform guitar maintenance, but it is something that every guitarist should learn at some level.

Learning the basics of how to maintain your guitar, change guitar strings, fix minor problems and breakages, and generally keep the instrument clean and in good working order is critical for every guitarist.

Without knowing how to do this, your guitar will not last very long, it will not remain playable, and you will have spent a lot of money taking your guitar for setups that you could perform easily on your own.

4. How To Store Your Guitar Well

Guitars are not played every minute of every day. This means that it is important to know how to store a guitar well, be it overnight or long-term. Storing a guitar well ensures that it is kept in good condition while it is not in use.

Never store your guitar in a place with frequent temperature fluctuations, never store your guitar where the sun will directly reach it, and always store your guitar in a bag or case.

If you are storing your guitar for a long period of time, be sure to slacken the strings and place a humidifier or dehumidifier into its case or bag, depending on how humid your climate is.

Guitars are sensitive to heat, cold, and humidity, so always try to keep your guitar in as temperate and stable a location as possible.

5. How To Read Guitar Tab

Every guitar player should learn to read guitar tabs to some extent, even if they already know how to read traditional sheet music.

Learning to read the guitar tabs allows guitar players to learn any song in a very short period of time. Guitar tabs are the most simple form of guitar sheet music, and it is highly useful for any guitarist who wants to learn songs very quickly.

6. How To Read Chord Diagrams

This is a knowledge gap experienced by many guitarists, but it is crucial that guitar players learn to read chord diagrams properly.

Reading a chord diagram in all its forms is the best way to learn a new chord quickly if you see it for the first time on a chart or if the chart calls for a particular chord phrasing that you are not familiar with.

Learning to read chord diagrams can be the answer to tricky musical situations.

7. How To Hold A Pick Correctly

Most guitar players learn to play with a pick, but few learn how to hold a pick correctly.

Take the time to learn to hold a pick correctly by watching some online tutorials rather than just holding the pick however you grab it.

Good picking technique begins with learning to hold the tool well, and when you learn proper pick grip, your playing will significantly improve, even if you have been playing guitar for many years.

8. When To Take A Break

Every guitar player must learn when to take a break. This is a skill that few guitarists learn, but it is vital to guitar-playing success and progress.

Learning to take breaks allows your muscles to heal well, it allows your brain to consolidate and understand information, and it gives your hands and fingers time to become stronger in between practice sessions.

Learn to take breaks well, and it improves your guitar skills overall.

9. How To Listen To Yourself

Not many guitar players learn to listen to their own playing. When you are playing your instrument, learn to listen to the sound that you are producing.

Listen to your guitar with a critical ear, and you will quickly identify areas in your playing that must be improved without anyone else having to tell you to do so.

Learn to listen to your guitar while playing, and you will quickly find the direction you need to move in progress and improve as a guitarist.

10. How To Read Musical Timing

Learning to read musical timing is important for every musician. Even if you do not know how to read sheet music, learn to read time signatures and note values.

This is the best way to learn to play songs well and accurately is to read the timing while you learn the notes. This will unlock your guitar ability and teach you to play in time, teach you to understand music on a deeper level, and help you to grow into a better musician overall.


Learning these fundamental aspects of playing the guitar is crucial for every guitarist. Without these foundations, learning to master the instrument will be infinitely more challenging. Take the time to nail down these fundamentals, and you will be a better guitarist for it.

There is basic knowledge that every guitar player must have. This list is not everything you need to know, but it is the most important fundamental. Take the time to explore more basic knowledge as you progress, remain teachable and willing to learn, and you will grow as a musical very quickly.