One of the greatest tips for learning the guitar is the obvious - Practice makes perfect.
However, sometimes it doesn't matter how much you practice, as you might not be making the most of the time you're putting in. Ideally, you want to make sure that your practice time is efficient, and effectively allowing you to learn to play guitar as quickly as possible. Here are 5 quick tips for learning the guitar that should help optimize your practice time:
Every good athlete knows they must warm-up before doing any activity, and every good guitar knows to warm up also. Simple techniques include clenching and un-clenching your fist, or squeezing a tennis ball, getting the blood flowing. Ideally, you should also play songs/chords/scales that you already know and can play well to start with, which should be enough to get you warmed up.
Know your learning strategy
Pick a learning strategy, and stick to it, whether it's learning from a DVD or a book, from a private tutor, or even on your own. That doesn't mean that getting help from other sources once you've began learning is bad, quite the opposite, but often people begin a course and start again with another before finishing the last.
Don't skip practice
The violinist Jascha Heifetz once said - "If I don't practice one day, I know it; two days, the critics know it; three days, the public knows it." What Jascha said there was simple; missing practice just temporarily can affect your playing. Even if you just practice for 5 minutes one day, you're reinforcing what you've learnt previously, one of the essential tips for learning the guitar quickly.
Take breaks every now and then, especially if your fingers are sore or if you're playing something worse that what you usually would. I remember being terrible at bar chords, and used to spend hours practicing them, trying to stop the strings from buzzing! One day, I just stopped for a couple of hours and went back to it later, and I was playing them fine. Taking breaks allows your brain to make sense of everything new you're learning, so really, as long as you practice often, you're getting better at the guitar whilst you're resting!
Finally, and most importantly, enjoy yourself. There's no point learning to play any instrument if you don't enjoy playing it! Every now and then, take time out to play whatever you want, whether you haven't learned it fully yet, or you've practiced it off by heart. If you've just started learning guitar, and you're finding it difficult finding material to practice, check out this site on electric guitar lessons for beginners to get you started.
Want more tips on learning the electric guitar? Check out my blog on the electric guitar for beginners.