You can download these programs, ebook and guitar tab guide completely free of charge. They are not limited in any way. They are donationware – so if you like them – please go to Tab Guitar Lessons and donate… If you should decide to donate you’ll also get access to loads of other cool guitar stuff in their members area. It’s worth a visit!
1.Advanced FretPro – Guitar Fretboard trainer with Chord and Scale Library
Phillip J Falcoline put together a fantastic document with hundreds of guitar chord diagrams and made it freely available. I found the diagrams too small to read easily when printed out (perhaps I am just getting old!) so I reformatted the layout to print about 30% larger. I find this document easier to play from so I’ve made it available to everyone. You can freely download the Ultimate Guitar Chords Library eBook (2.2mb) using the link below.
RIGHT CLICK the link and choose SAVE AS to save a copy to your computer
Ultimate Guitar Chords eBook.pdf
4. How To Read Guitar Tab (tablature) Guide
Use this definitive guide to learn exactly how to read GUITAR TAB (also called guitar tablature). You can freely download the "How to Read Guitar Tab Guide" (164kb) using the link below.
RIGHT CLICK the link and choose SAVE AS to save a copy to your computer
There are two sitting positions for holding the guitar; classical and casual.
Pick up the guitar and make sure that the guitar body is supported by your leg.
Position yourself at the edge of your chair.
Ensure that your back is relaxed but straight.
Lean the guitar back towards you slightly.
Pick up the guitar and place the strap over your shoulder. Adjust the strap so that the guitar is positioned mid-body.
Use your left hand to support the neck of the guitar.
Rest your right hand over the bridge of the guitar.
It is important that you relax your wrists and hands. Straining them can cause injury.
Warning! Make sure that you never position your hand like this:
Your thumb should never be placed this low on the neck of the guitar as it puts unnecessary strain on your wrist and thumb.
When you play the guitar, you use your left hand fingers to press
down the strings on the fret board of the guitar and use your right
hand to pluck or strum the stings at the bridge end of the guitar.
Using your left hand to press the strings on the fret board is called
fretting. Here are some tips you will need to know:
1. Short fingernails are essential.
Use only the tips of your fingers to press the strings.
When making a chord, be sure that each fingertip is placed directly behind the fret. We will cover chords in lesson one.
Check each string that it rings clearly and is not muted or buzzing.
As a beginner guitarist, it may hurt your fingers to play. This is normal. Every guitarist starts this way for the first couple of weeks. With practice, you will develop guitar fingers (hard skin on your fingertips).
Holding the Pick
Position the pick between thumb and index fingers like in the diagram below:
Time to take a break. Well done, you’ve just completed the first part of this newsletter. Next you are about to learn about chords and by the end of this lesson you’ll have learnt the A Major chord.
Don’t forget, for the ultimate guitar learning kit which includes step-by-step written lessons, video lessons, audio lessons and sophisticated software games, visit Jamorama.com.
Now you are ready to start your first lesson. Your aim in this lesson is to learn the A and D major chords and
to introduce yourself to reading guitar tablature. This lesson is very important, so I want you to really focus.
Remember! It is more beneficial for you to practice multiple times during a week than to practice for one long session. This is because your brain processes information in chunks at a time and it can only hold a certain amount in short term storage.
For example, with phone numbers, it is very difficult to remember any more than 7 digits at a time. Yet if you give yourself time between practicing, even if it is just 10 minutes, you’ll find that your brain is much more efficient at turning your short term practice into long term knowledge. More information on effective learning is contained in our Jamorama product at Jamorama.
Ok. That aside, let’s get started on the lesson. To start with, I want you to have a look at the guitar neck diagram below and make note of all the relevant pieces of information.
FretsThe guitar neck is divided into what we call frets, making a fret board. Most guitars have around 20 frets. In this first book, we will focus on the first four, also known as the first position. In book 2, we will move beyond that. Notice that we number each fret starting at 1 at the head of the guitar.
Note: Each string on the guitar is numbered. When you hold your guitar as you would when using the casual playing position, the 1st string is at the bottom and the 6th string is
at the top.
Notice also the term, ‘Tuning’ at the bottom of the above diagram. Tuning refers to the notes that the guitar strings are tuned to. In the above diagram, I have given a very common tuning called standard E tuning that consists of the notes E, A, D, G and B. Strings 1 and 6 are both tuned to the note E. The open 6th string is called low E. The open 1st string is called high E as it is two octaves higher than the 6th string open E. I will explain notes and octaves to you in a later newsletter, but for now, you only need to know the names of the notes in standard open E tuning.
Now make sure that your guitar is tuned to open E tuning (the most common tuning). You will learn how to tune your guitar in the Jamorama course and you can use our included guitar tuning software to help you tune your guitar.
We will stick to standard E tuning throughout this newsletter, but you can find other tunings to play with in our member’s area at Jamorama.
Introduction to Chords
Now we are going to look at guitar chords. Guitarists use many different chords to make progressions or riffs that can then be used to create songs. If you are not familiar with some of these terms, it’s ok. We will cover everything that I am talking about in good time.
A chord is defined as a combination of 3 or more notes played together. To examine this, I want to take a look at chord diagrams. Chord diagrams are used to illustrate how a chord is played. They are very easy to use because they look very much like the neck of the guitar, in fact, the Jamorama chord diagram is a guitar neck.
As stated above the Jamorama chord diagrams are going to be pictures of an ‘actual’ guitar neck so it’s easy to make the connection between strings and fingering. There is also a picture of the type of chord diagram that appears in most other Guitar learning guides. I want you to be aware of that form of ‘standard’ chord diagram because you may want to use it when writing up chords on paper at home.
So, now that you know what a chord diagram looks like and how it matches with the neck of your guitar, it’s time to come back to what I said earlier about a chord being a combination of 3 or more notes played together. Finger placing symbols are added to the chord diagram so we know which notes to play. To start with, let’s look at your fingers.
We give each playing finger a number that we can then match up on the chord diagram (see below).
And now, let’s look at a full chord diagram. We will use the example of the A major chord:
Chord Diagram – A Major Chord
In the chord diagram below you can see that the A major chord uses fingers 1, 2, and 3. Take note of how this chord diagram looks – we will use this style from now on.
The A major chord is constructed of the notes A, C# and E. We will cover notes a little later. For now, we will make chords without knowledge of individual notes.
Note that there is a red dot marking the 6th string on the above chord diagram. The red dot tells you that you are not to play that string. The sixth string of the A major chord is not played, but you play the rest.
Throughout this newsletter series, every chord diagram will be accompanied by a picture of the chord being held on the fret board and video and audio of the chord being played for you to check with. Pictured below is the A major chord being played.
Exercise: Playing the A Major Chord
Position each finger with care, according to the above diagra Make sure that each fingertip is placed directly behind the fret. Firstly, pluck across the strings one by one with your right hand, checking that each string rings clearly and is not muted or buzzing. Play the first Audio or video example to hear how the chord should sound.
Now that we’ve looked at chord diagrams, I want to move on to strumming.
Introduction to Strumming
In a strum there are two types of guitar stroke. They are up stroke
and down stroke. Throughout this book these strokes will be notated as follows:
When you play a stroke, you strum across the strings just in front of the bridge of the guitar with the pick in your left hand. When strumming a chord, make sure that you play all of the necessary strings in the chord. The stroke direction will depend on which stroke is indicated; up or down as shown above.
Exercise: Strumming the A Major Chord
Position each finger with care, according to the A Major chord diagram(above). Make sure that each fingertip is placed directly behind the fret. Firstly, pluck across the strings one by one with your right hand, checking that each string rings clearly and is not muted or buzzing. Once you are sure that you are holding the A major chord correctly, practice strumming the chord in single downward strokes as indicated below:
While you play this, see if you can say out loud an even 4 count. Another option if you are a Jamorama.com member is to use the Jamorama metronome – it will help you to stay in time.
Try your best to start your strum from the fifth string each time you strum. A major, doesn’t sound bad if you accidentally hit the top string, although if you want your music to sound professional, you’ll want to play this chord properly. Remember to stay relaxed. Your fingers may hurt a little but they will get stronger.
Now that you are playing the A major chord properly, let’s take a look at strumming another chord…
The D Major Chord
The D Major Chord is constructed of the notes D, F# (F sharp) and
A and is played using fingers 1, 2 and 3:
As with the A major chord: try strumming the D major chord in downward strokes with your right hand.
Tip: You can download a video or audio example of the above exercise to see and hear it for yourself. The download links are below (right click on the link and select “save as”):
Note: The top two, or fifth and sixth, strings are not played in the D major chord. Make sure that you start your stroke from the third string each time you strum D major, it doesn’t sound bad if you accidentally hit the fifth string, although as with A major above, if you want your music to sound professional, you need to play this chord properly.
Hints for Buying a New Guitar
Whether you’re buying your first guitar, upgrading or simply adding to your collection, your first priority is to do your homework. There are many different resources available and you should endeavor to use them all. Guitar magazines are a good place to find out prices and specifications on different models of guitar. You can get similar knowledge from browsing at your local instrument shop. Another great tool is the internet – you can check for the most competitive prices, get some information on the manufacturers and search for other guitarist’s reviews and opinions.
You really need to arm yourself well before you try haggling with your local guitar salesman.
Often you can find online auctions where guitars sell for incredibly low prices; however, I wouldn’t advise you to take this option. As a rule you should always play before you buy so that you get a chance to gauge performance.
Once you’ve got the background knowledge that you need on the guitar of your choice the next task is to set yourself a budget and stick to it. Don’t let salespeople talk you into spending more money than you anticipated.
Testing out new guitars in the shop can be an intimidating task for beginners. It is important to remember that you are not there to showcase your playing ability – you are there to discern whether your proposed buy is a good deal or not. Check the frets for buzzing by playing each one. Make sure that the neck is not warped by looking down it as if you were sighting a gun. Check that all of the volume and tone switches etc. are in good working condition.
It is a great idea to take an experienced guitarist along with you when you are looking at a possible purchase, so see if you can persuade a teacher of friend. Not only will they be able to offer helpful advice – they will be good moral support when it’s time to pick up the guitar and test it out in public.
This is probably the most important piece of knowledge that you can learn when it comes to tuning your guitar. The process of tuning your guitar to itself is one by which you tune each string to another string on the guitar. Basically, it means that you can tune the guitar without having to use a tuner or pitch tool. The only set back about using this method is that your guitar may not end up in exact concert pitch. What I mean by that is that the strings may not run E, A, D, G, B, E as they would if they were in correct concert pitch (you would need a tuner or pitch tool to do that), rather they will all be tuned to whatever note the top string happens to be at the time of tuning.
The first step is to get your fifth string in tune with your sixth string. Place a finger on your left hand on the fifth fret of the sixth string. The note that you are holding down is the pitch that string five should be tuned to. Keep your finger in position and pluck the sixth string and let that note ring. As you let the sixth string ring, pluck the fifth string. If the fifth string sounds exactly like the note you are holding on the sixth string, it is in tune. If it is higher, you need to tune down below the note on the sixth string and then bring it back up to match with the fifth fret note on the sixth string. If the fifth string note is lower, you need to tighten the string and bring its pitch up to the fifth fret note on the sixth string. It may take you a while to match pitches exactly but the more practice you get at this, the faster you will be able to do it.
The second step is to get your forth string in tune with your fifth string. Place a finger on your left hand on the fifth fret of the fifth string. The note that you are holding down is the pitch that string four should be tuned to. Keep your finger in position and pluck the fifth string and let that note ring. As you let the fifth string ring, pluck the forth string. If the forth string sounds exactly like the note you are holding on the fifth string, it is in tune. If it is higher, you need to tune down below the note on the fifth string and then bring it back up to match with the fifth fret note on the fifth string. If the forth string note is lower, you need to tighten the string and bring its pitch up to the fifth fret note on the fifth string. Keep tuning the string until you get an exact match for pitch.
The third step is to get your third string in tune with your forth string. Place a finger on your left hand on the fifth fret of the forth string. The note that you are holding down is the pitch that string three should be tuned to. Keep your finger in position and pluck the forth string and let that note ring. As you let the forth string ring, pluck the third string. If the third string sounds exactly like the note you are holding on the forth string, it is in tune. If it is higher, you need to tune down below the note on the forth string and then bring it back up to match with the fifth fret note on the forth string. If the third string note is lower, you need to tighten the string and bring its pitch up to the fifth fret note on the forth string. Keep tuning the string until you get an exact match for pitch.
The forth step is to get your second string in tune with your third string. Place a finger on your left hand on the forth fret of the third string. The note that you are holding down is the pitch that string two should be tuned to. Keep your finger in position and pluck the third string and let that note ring. As you let the third string ring, pluck the second string. If the second string sounds exactly like the note you are holding on the third string, it is in tune. If it is higher, you need to tune down below the note on the third string and then bring it back up to match with the forth fret note on the third string. If the second string note is lower, you need to tighten the string and bring its pitch up to the forth fret note on the third string. Keep tuning the string until you get an exact match for pitch.
The last step is to get your first string in tune with your second string. Place a finger on your left hand on the fifth fret of the second string. The note that you are holding down is the pitch that string one should be tuned to. Keep your finger in position and pluck the second string and let that note ring. As you let the second string ring, pluck the first string. If the first string sounds exactly like the note you are holding on the second string, it is in tune. If it is higher, you need to tune down below the note on the second string and then bring it back up to match with the fifth fret note on the second string. If the first string note is lower, you need to tighten the string and bring its pitch up to the fifth fret note on the second string. Keep tuning the string until you get an exact match for pitch and you will have tuned the guitar to its own strings.
You have just tuned your guitar to itself. If the guitar sounds a little out, you should go back and repeat the process – it is a little hard to master for a start but you should stick to it as it is a very useful skill to have.
Progress and Motivation An old piano teacher of mine used to record my playing at different times throughout my terms work. At the end of the term she would give me a tape that contained a selection of pieces that I had played running from work that I had completed early in the term to the things that I was working on at the end of the term. I would take this tape home and I would play it to my friends and family. People listening to the tape would say, “Man, you’re getting good”.
This did two things for me. First of all, it made me go back to my teacher for more lessons. Secondly, it made me practice more because I could see the benefits of working on something over time. Basically, the progress that I could hear on the tape motivated me to progress further.
I strongly recommend that you begin to record your practice sessions for future reference.
TAB or tablature is the most common method of writing out music for the guitar. It is different from classical music notation in that; TAB uses ordinary numbers and keyboard characters as opposed to standard musical notation which uses symbols. Because of this format, anyone with a computer can write or read TAB making it the most user friendly way to read and communicate guitar music. Also TAB relates directly to the fretboard of your guitar meaning that you may easily see where you put your fingers.
In the full version of Jamorama, both standard musical notation and tablature are used. But for this six day course we will only use TAB. The reason for this is that tablature is very easy to read and you should have no problems learning TAB in a few short minutes of reading.
TAB has some weak points, the worst of which is that rhythm can’t be easily indicated. This shouldn’t pose a problem though, as I will indicate the rhythm for each exercise using the strum indicators that were introduced in lesson one.
OK. To start I want you to look at your guitar and you will clearly see that it has six strings going from thickest to thinnest. On a TAB diagram, the thinnest string, (or 1st string as its most commonly called) is at the top – The thickest (or 6th string) is at the bottom. This is clearly demonstrated in the 1st example below.
The following diagram shows you how tablature relates to the guitar fret board:
Some of you may notice that this guitar seems upside down in relation to how you play. This is simply the way that guitar music is generally written. Now if you transfer this same model to a written format you will get TAB, which can be seen below.
So the lines above indicate the strings on a guitar. The top line of the TAB being the thinnest string of the guitar, and the bottom line on the TAB chart indicating the thickest string of the guitar. Now if you look at your guitar you will see metal bars that raise up from the neck of the guitar called frets. TAB uses numbers to show you which one of these frets to press down and play.
For example, look at the tab diagram to the right and you can see that the 1st string (thinnest string) is being played. The number refers to the fret that you should press down. In this case the number zero is displayed. This means that you shouldn’t press down anything.
So if you were to play the above piece of TAB on your guitar, you would pick the thinnest string once with your plucking hand and do nothing with your fret hand.
Tip: If you are having trouble with this concept, watch this video of the above exercise to see and hear it for yourself:
Now let’s see if we can start pushing down some strings. Look at the next example below and try and play the note that the TAB chart displays.
If you pressed down the thickest string at the 3rd fret then you played the exercise correctly. If you are still unsure whether you are doing the right thing or not, refer to the video below.
Let’s try another one. Play the following piece of TAB:
This TAB diagram above indicates the 2nd string (second thinnest) and you should be pressing down on the first fret.
Tip: Once again, there is video available for this example:
Things become a little more complicated when you are required to play chords, however the basic principals I have already outlined still apply. The only difference is that you will be required to play more strings and hold down more strings with your fingers. In this next example I will show you how to play the chord ‘A’.
A Major Chord
The first and fifth strings are played open while the second, third and forth strings are played at the second fret. The sixth string is not played in the A Major Chord and this is indicated by an X.
If you have read the TAB correctly your fingers should look like this:
Tip: Watch the video of the above exercise to see and hear it for yourself:
So now you know how to use basic tablature as it applies to notes and full chords. In this introductory set of lessons you will use TAB to learn different chords and by lesson six you will be able to play the full song, ‘Rivers of Babylon’.
Time to take a break. Well done, you’ve just completed the first part of this newsletter. Next you are about to learn about notes on the first string.
Don’t forget, for the ultimate guitar learning kit which includes step-by-step written lessons, video lessons, audio lessons and sophisticated software games, visit Jamorama.com.
Notes on the First String
Knowledge of the notes that are on each string is necessary for understanding guitar theory. The first string is also known as the high E string. The main notes in the first position on the first string are E (open), F (1st fret) and G (3rd fret). The first position refers to the first 4 frets of the guitar.
We will use these notes in the following exercise to introduce to you the concept of note picking.
Note picking is a skill that is used in all types of music. For now, we will use it to familiarize ourselves with the note names on each string in the first position. Pluck these first string notes with a downward picking motion. Notice that your fingers should match the fret number when playing in the first position:
Watch the video for this example:
We will leave it there today in terms of guitar theory. Next time I want to get you strumming a whole lot more, but right now I want to look at something else and that is how to get a ‘that’ sound.
Getting ‘That’ sound – blues/rock guitar solo aka Jimi Hendrix.
Many people around the world love blues, and many people love Jimi Hendrix, in fact some would argue that he is the most influential guitarist to ever grace the planet. Blues/rock guitar tends to have a characteristic sound to it. Sure there is a style of playing that characterizes blues guitar, in fact we cover this style in the Jamorama course thoroughly. There are blues Jam tracks and blues songs, the course will teach you HOW to play the blues guitar, but a question that often pops up is ‘Once I know how to play the STYLE, how do I get that ‘sound’ out of my amp?’.
Ok, firstly let’s look at the aspects of a guitarist’s set up that have an effect on the final sound.
Ability of player to play that style.
Choice of guitar (i.e. Electric or acoustic?? Solid body or semi-acoustic, single coil pickups or humbucking pickups??)
Choice of amplifier
Settings on the guitar
Settings on the amplifier
Other miscellaneous items (e.g. strings, effects pedals etc)
So, from this list we can see that there is simply no ONE aspect that will directly change the sound, it’s the use of all of these things that point to the final outcome. A nice way of looking at it is to treat all of these aspects as ingredients to the sound recipe. By changing the ingredients or amount of, or order in which they are used you end up changing the final product. Obviously one of the most important of the ingredients is the ability of the player themselves. There is no point in having all of the ingredients to play blues guitar if the player can’t actually play blues style guitar… make sense?
Let’s start with the guitar itself, the best choice of guitar would be a solid body electric guitar such as a Fender Stratocaster, or a Gibson lespaul, pretty much any solid body electric guitar will do. Once you have selected the guitar let’s look at the settings that are to be used on the guitar itself. You will want to select the neck pick up (the pickup that is closest to the neck of the guitar). This pickup gives a more rounded natural sound, often called the rhythm pickup. The on board controls of the guitar (the volume and tone knobs) are also very useful. To achieve a bluesy sound you should slightly roll off some of the tone knob, roll it back to about 7 or 8.
Ok once you have this set up, look at the amplifier. Blues guitarists have a slightly overdriven or distorted sound. To achieve this I want you to make sure that you are plugging the guitar into the ‘Hi-gain’ input of your amplifier (if you only have one input then use that one. What you need to do next is to turn up your amp gain to a point where the sound coming out is slightly distorted (on most amps this would be just after halfway). If your guitar amp doesn’t distort or overdrive then there are other alternatives, you could purchase and use a distortion effect pedal.
Ok, the amplifier’s EQ settings??? What do I do with those? Basically I want you to leave all the ‘EQ’ knobs in the middle (i.e. don’t boost or drop any of them). The bluesy sound really comes from having selected the neck pick up and by having the amp slightly distorting. Follow these tips, and I guarantee you that your next blues solo will now actually SOUND like a blues solo. Get into it! See you in the next newsletter.
Do you wish you knew how to read music like you know how to read English?Would you like to be able to play music from straight off the page?
Let me tell you about my fantastic new music theory learning game Jayde Musica. Jayde Musica takes the bore out of learning how to read music. It is an exciting and challenging new game, and best of all, it’s FREE!
Introducing Jayde Musica, the most fun way of learning how to read music.
Developed by myself and the team here at Jamorama, Jayde Musica brings enjoyment to the otherwise monotonous task of learning how to read music. Watch as musical notes fly across the screen and do your best to identify them! This game goes from beginner to advanced levels, complete with a high scores table.
Jayde Musica is so easy to set up and use that you’ll be having fun learning how to read music in seconds.
I think you will find this to be the easiest, most effective way to learn how to read music. You will be amazed at how quickly you will enjoy using Jayde Musica.
Only a Screen Shot
“I’ve just been using your music note game this morning and i have to say i’m loving it. I’m going to pass it on to my friends. It really is a big help.”
- Chris Danaskis, via Email
Features and benefits of Jayde Musica:
Easy, Medium and Hard difficulty modes included. Clefs include treble, bass, alto and tenor. You have the option of turning on/off various clefs, so that you can isolate a specific area of music theory that you wish to work on. Fast Learning. Jayde Musica is a great way to accelerate your learning. It will have you self-correcting and trying really hard to remember the various notes displayed, so that you can progress further and gain a record score or even clock the game! It’s free. That’s right, you can keep on using this program and it won’t expire. Unlimited use. You can use Jayde Musica as many times as you want for free and it won’t expire.
Simplicity. No flashy gimmicks, so easy to play that you won’t feel like you have to learn a whole new game. In fact it has the familiar game play of space invaders.
It’s as easy as 1,2,3. Just play the game, start making mistakes and learn from them! As you get higher and higher scores, you’ll be surprised at how dramatically quick your music reading proficiency level will improve.
This program is so simple to use, all it takes is 10mins a day!
“I just wanted to let you know that i’m really enjoying Jayde Musica. After searching for ages, i have finally found some music training software that is actually fun to use. Thanks a bunch!”
- Janine Soulli, Hobart, Australia
Get Jayde Musica as a free bonus with your Jamorama Learn Guitar course, and learn to fluently read all the musical notes on all the staves in just a matter of days! Jayde Musica will never expire – you can use it all you like!Privacy information: There is no spy-ware contained in this program, we do not monitor your actions or email. When you register this program, we will not give your email address or personal details to anyone. Runs on all Windows and Macintosh operating systems. P.S. How else will you ever learn all those musical notes and be able to sight read them with ease? Get Jamorama and Start Learning with Jayde Musica for Free Today.
Consumer Notice: This is an affiliated and/or ad supported website. That means if you buy something from a link or ad on this website, or based on our recommendation, either expressed or implied, we may get paid an affiliate commission. This is how we can maintain and constantly update this website with valuable information how to Learn Guitar Fast.
We respect the intellectual property of others. If you believe that your work has been copied in a way that constitutes copyright infringement, please notify us immediately and we will remove the content ASAP.
Learn2PlayGuitarFast is featured on the following websites: