Guitar Lesson 101 with Katie Dahl

Katie Dahl strums her guitar at Base Camp in Sister Bay. Photo by Dan Eggert.

Local folk musician Katie Dahl has some pointers on beginner’s guitar.

“Guitar lessons can be good for some people, but I learned on my own and rather enjoyed the freedom of learning at my own pace and teaching myself exactly what I wanted to learn,” Dahl said in an email.

She continued, “An instructional book is always helpful – there’s a lot of information available on the Internet, but the advantage of a book is that it will often give you a better sense of the best order in which to learn things.”

“Speaking of which, I’d start by learning a few basic chords (G, C, D, A minor, and E minor are good places to start) and by doing a few basic finger exercises (a chromatic scale is a nice, easy scale to try first). Once you know even three chords, there are a ton of songs you can play, either by finding the chords online or by figuring them out on your own,” Dahl said.

“And no matter how you decide to teach yourself, practicing every day or at least every other day is essential – even if it’s only for five minutes. You’d be amazed at how fast your fingers build up calluses (so it doesn’t hurt so much when you press down the strings), but only if you give them lots of time to do so!”

Katie Dahl performs her music around the county. For more information on her visit