The writer is fairly new with the aforementioned stringed instrument, even though he has owned a guitar for over a year.
Now, now...that does not mean you should ignore these suggestions just because of my, err...'noobness' and slow progress. Let the tips speak for themselves.
While I tried to find useful material to learn and more importantly, to practise with, I found a few websites, video tutorials and software that will prove to be quite helpful to you. So here they are...
Stick to Just One Book (as long as you are a beginner, that is)
I surrounded myself with all sorts of books, online guides and video tutorials. I have realised that even though the books were helpful, together they proved to be a little confusing. (What's that saying about too many books spoiling the broth?)
Stick to a book that seems easy to understand and has included some exercises. Do not attribute difficulty to play, right at the outset, to the book. The first few steps can be slow, tiresome, frustrating and at times painful.
Online Guides to Learning the Guitar
But a good book is offline guidance, which may not always come with video tutorials (on CD). One thing I found real difficult to understand was how to strum. I finally understood strumming when I came across some really simple video tutorials. The tips are lucid, contain strum exercises, and even display tabs or finger positions in a picture-in-picture mode. I found that to be incredibly helpful. Most videos I came across were not in this format. In addition to the video tutorial on strumming, there are more guides on chord switching (so very important), note strums and arpeggios (great for practise and limbering up them fingers). Charles Sedlak has made some awesome tutorials for beginners on 5min.com.
The strumming tutorials on FretJam.com and HeartWoodGuitar.com really helped clear doubts too and also include exercises, just so you can get used to the up-down strumming movement and learn different patterns. FretJam has also provided jam tracks and sample audio files too, so you know what the strum should sound like.
These are the guides I intend to stick to, until I improve. (Only God knows how long that is going to take.) Now for the software. On to part 2 of my story — Metronome Software...just for dramatic effect and to restrict the blog post to a respectable length.
You can also visit Guitar.About.com — it is filled with lots of help and valuable things about playing an acoustic guitar.