Let’s be honest, everyone wants to play the guitar. Absolutely everyone, regardless of race, creed, sex, background, age, or species. That said, people often complain that they’ve never had the opportunity to learn the instrument, or that they simply don’t have the time, or they find it incredibly hard and frustrating when they first pick it up.

Are you one of these people?

Well, you’re clearly a moron. But not to worry! What you need is an extraordinarily talented, incredibly patient teacher, who should really have been recognized as a genius and a saint by now and is only doing this menial job because he pities you and your lack of talent.

Are you ready? Then let’s rock!

1. Tuning Your Instrument

Depress the fifth fret on the E string. Now play the A string. Both strings should sound the same.

If the A string sounds higher than the E string, then it’s sharp, and you need to flatten it. If it sounds lower than the A string, then it’s flat and you need to sharpen it. Easy!

No, not like that. Turn the tuning key the other way.

No, the other way. No, you’re going sharp, you need to go flat.

Yes, just like … NO! You’re going to break the string. Just stop it before…what the hell is wrong with you?

Oh, just put the fucking thing down! You clearly haven’t got what it takes. Unlike me, the guitar teacher.


2. Playing Your First Chord

Now we’re going to start by playing a “G Major” chord. You should be able to figure out where to put your fingers based on the chord diagram included with your “Teach Yourself” starter pack.

Are you ready? Good. Then we’ll start by …

What, you’re not ready? Why not?

What do you mean, “my fingers won’t work”? Is there something wrong with you?

Just look at the diagram, and put them in the correct …

No! Look, your first finger goes on the A string in the second fret, your second finger goes on the E string on the third fret, and your third finger goes down on the…

No! For Christ’s sake, are you doing this on purpose?

Here’s an idea, why don’t you throw that ridiculously expensive instrument that Mommy and Daddy bought you against the nearest wall and go find something that you can actually do. Fucking loser…


3. Strumming Patterns

OK, now take the plectrum in your right hand, and try and strum the following rhythm: “One two and three four and, one two and three four and—”

Huh? What do you mean, you're left-handed? What’s that got to do with anything?

No, you don’t still hold the plectrum in your right hand if you’re fucking left-handed! What a stupid fucking question!

Right, now you need to go “down” on the “1234” and “up” on the “ands”. Understand? OK, so let’s try it together…

NO! The plectrum goes up and down, not you! Are you suffering from some kind of mental problem? No? Well, in that case, why don’t you take an axe, chop the fucking guitar up, and use it as firewood to keep you warm on what will be cold, music-free nights?!


4. Single Note Lines

If you consult the “Teach Yourself” starter pack, you’ll find a comprehensive guide on how to read tablature. The lines represent the strings, while the numbers represent the frets.

Now, let’s start by playing a simple melody.

What are you doing?

No, the numbers are the frets, not your fingers.

No, the lines are your strings, not the frets.

No, it doesn’t work like that, it’s…look. How many lines can you count?

No! Not five! Six! Jesus, I wasn’t aware I had to offer a course in basic fucking maths before I started teaching you how to play “Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star.”

Let’s just forget about this. Just put the guitar down and walk away—if you’re able to walk without me holding your hand the entire fucking time.


5. Basic Theory

Right. Now that you’ve put the guitar down and promised never to pick it up again in your entire life, we can start talking about the fundamentals of music theory. When a piece of music is in “common time” there are four crotchet beats to every bar. A crotchet, or quarter note, is a…

What do you mean, “What’s a crotchet?”. I was just about to tell you if you’d only shut up for five seconds!

No, it’s not like a semibreve. That’s completely different. Where did you learn about semibreves anyway?

Your other guitar teacher? What other guitar teacher?

Did I give you permission to have two? No, I didn’t, so you just sit yourself back down, dick-wad, and let me teach you in the right way, not in the way “Tim Talentless” (or whatever his fucking name is) seems to be doing.

Why do you need two guitar teachers, anyway? What’s wrong with me, huh?


I hope you’ve found this tutorial helpful, and that it starts you off on the road to a lifetime of musical mediocrity. You’ll probably never be any good, but if you’d like to support a group of real musicians, with actual talent, then you owe it to yourself to buy my band’s new album.

“Genius” by The Chosen Ones is now available on iTunes.


Second City's online "Writing Satire for the Internet" course, a fav among our writers, starts Sept 23. Use code PIC for 10% off.