1. The key is correct guitar posture
Acquire a footrest and a proper chair or stool. You will need a footrest for your left foot or your right foot if you are left handed. You should assume the posture of the classical guitarist even if you play pop or rock music, this in itself will drastically improve your chord changes. This lady on the photo on the left doesn’t sit in the right way! Please never practice like that
2. Make sure you relax your whole body before playing
A lot of beginner guitarists including myself in the past tense up the whole body which prevent them from playing anything. You will be surprised how much can be achieved just by releasing unnecessary tension. Once you become more familiar with the guitar you will realize how much energy and effort is actually needed to get the same great results.
3. Keep the thumb of your fretting hand in the centre of the neck pointing up.
Here’s the best way of doing this. Let your fretting hand hang relaxed on the side of your body, then relax it as much as you can at first. Now watch how your hand is shaped. Your thumb should be naturally straight and your fingers slightly bent. They will create the “U” shape. Now twist your wrist slightly and approach the neck of the guitar. The top of your thumb should be in the centre or even lower down the neck. Don’t press the thumb against the neck just simply rest it there.
4. Keep it simple
Start with simple open chords such as Em, E, Am, D, C and G. Try to find a simple song book with chords printed above the lyrics and strum each chord only once counting at the same time.If you struggle with the strumming pattern of the song it’s perfectly fine to create your own simplified version, or you can try to tap the rhythm of the song out first and then strum exactly the same rhythm after you have the hang of it.
5. Slow down!
Too many people want to play difficult songs straight away and their body and mind is simply not ready to do that. Try to be smart and invest your time wisely. The speed will come later. The most important aspect of learning right now is your way of doing things and to make sure you understand everything fully before progressing to the next stage.
This is not really a secret. Without putting in effort it just won’t pay off. If you don’t practice don’t expect any rapid results. The more you put in the more you get out. Perhaps you should seek help from someone who has been there before. Professional help is always recommended and will speed up your learning to a much higher level than you think!