Realistically, to start improving on guitar, you’re going to need to set aside a bit of time to practice. Developing a daily routine is a good idea… planning to spend at least 15 minutes daily practicing all you’ve learned will really help. At first, your fingers will be sore, but by playing daily, they’ll toughen up, and in a short amount of time, they’ll stop hurting.
The following list should give you an idea of how to spend your practice time:
Get your guitar in tune. Make sure you’re sitting, holding the guitar, and using your pick properly. You’ll have to correct your natural bad habits at first, until it becomes second nature. Play the chromatic scale several times. Try playing it backwards. Play each of the three chords you’ve learned. Check to be sure each note is ringing. If not, find out why, and correct the problem. Try moving from one chord to another. Before switching chords, mentally picture exactly where each finger is going to move in order to play the next chord. Only then should you switch chords.
This is the key to switching chords quickly. If you’re having trouble getting your chords to ring clearly, read this feature on getting your chords to ring clearly. Try playing some, or all of the songs listed above. At first, try only to think of the songs as a way in which to practice playing chords. Don’t get discouraged. This is hard stuff at first, and you’ll probably feel like you can’t do it. You certainly can. Everyone struggles, so just put in your 15 minutes, and then don’t worry about it until the next time you play. This is supposed to be fun! That’s it for now!
Now we’re getting somewhere! In order to become skillful on the guitar, we’ll need to build the muscles in our hands, and learn to stretch our fingers. Scales are a good, albeit a not very exciting way to do this. Before we start, look at the diagram above to understand how fingers on the “fretting hand” (the hand that plays notes on the neck) are commonly identified. The thumb is labeled as “T”, the index finger is the “first finger”, the middle finger is the “second finger”, and so on.
The Chromatic scale
Hear the chromatic scale (mp3 format)
The above diagram may look confusing… fear not, it’s one of the most common methods of explaining notes on the guitar, and is actually quite easy to read. The above represents the neck of the guitar, when looked at head on. The first vertical line on the left of the diagram is the sixth string. The line to the right of that is the fifth string. And so on. The horizontal lines in the diagram represent the frets on the guitar… the space between the top horizontal line, and the one below it is the first fret. The space between that second horizontal line from the top and the one below it is the second fret. And so on. The “0″ above the diagram represents the open string for the string it is positioned above. Finally, the black dots are indicators that these notes should be played.
Start by using your pick to play the open sixth string. Next, take the first finger on your fretting hand (remembering to curl it), and place it on the first fret of the sixth string. Apply a significant amount of downward pressure to the string, and strike the string with your pick.
Now, take your second finger, place it on the second fret of the guitar (you can take your first finger off), and again strike the sixth string with the pick.
Now, repeat the same process on the third fret, using your third finger. And lastly, on the fourth fret, using your fourth finger. There! You’ve played all the notes on the sixth string. Now, move to the fifth string… start by playing the open string, then play frets one, two, three and four.
Repeat this process for each string, altering it only on the third string. On this third string, play only up to the third fret. When you’ve played all the way up to the first string, fourth fret, you’ve completed the exercise.
When playing a note, place your finger at the “top of fret” (the area of the fret farthest away from the headstock). This will produce a clearer sound.Try to use alternate picking while attempting this exercise. If this is overwhelming, try using only downstrokes with your pick, but learn properly once you’ve gotten used to the scale.Once you’ve finished the scale, try playing the scale backwards, by starting at the first string, fourth fret, and playing all notes in exactly the reverse order.
The primary reason beginners have trouble switching chords quickly has nothing to do with their fingers, or the way they’re sitting, or anything physical at all. Most often, new guitarists haven’t learned to think ahead, and visualize exactly which chord they’re about to play, and which fingers they’ll need to move.
Try this exercise: Choose two chords you know. You will be moving back and forth between these two chords. Play the first chord eight times (strumming evenly), and then, without breaking the rhythm of your strumming, quickly move to the next chord, and play that chord eight times.
Did you need to pause while switching chords? If so, let’s try and examine what the problem is. Try the following, without strumming the guitar: Put your fingers back in position to play the first chord. Now, try and move quickly to the second chord, and study your fingers while doing so. Chances are, one (or a few) of your fingers will come way off the fretboard, and perhaps hover in mid-air while you try to decide where each finger should go. This happens, not because of any lack of technical ability, but because you haven’t mentally prepared yourself for switching chords.
Now, try fretting the first chord again. Without actually moving to the second chord, VISUALIZE playing this second chord shape. Picture in your mind, finger by finger, how to most efficiently move to the next chord. Only after you’ve done this should you switch chords. If some fingers continue to pause, or hover in mid air while moving to the next chord, back up and try again. Also, concentrate on “minimum motion” – commonly, beginners bring their fingers very far off the fretboard while switching chords; this is unnecessary. Spend five minutes going back and forth between the two chords, visualizing, then moving. Pay attention to any small, unneccessary movements your fingers make, and eliminate them. Although this is easier said than done, your hard work and attention to detail will start paying off quickly. Good luck!
If you are thinking about learning guitar, you are probably picturing yourself way onto the future. You are onstage, playing the guitar, with millions of screaming fans in the audience. You play an amazing guitar solo and wow everyone at the concert. Yes, this is a pretty picture-but it’s time to wake up! You will never achieve this dream if you do not learn the basics of the guitar first.
There are many different aspects of guitar basics that you need to know. You will need to know the different parts of the guitar. You will most likely need to know how to read music, and how to tune your guitar. You will need to know different chords as well. Part of knowing the different chords are being able to learn guitar scale as well.
If you learn guitar scales, you will be able to write your own guitar music so much quicker than you would if you were not familiar with guitar scales. Every great musician had to start somewhere-and I guarantee that each and every musician began by learning the basic guitar skills, which includes when they learn guitar scales. Let’s take a look at what you are getting yourself into if you decide to learn guitar scale.
First Thing’s First – What Is A Musical Scale?
A musical scale is a group of notes with defined intervals in between them. A scale can consist of any group of notes; however, some scales are more commonly used in Western music. Thus, if you decide to learn guitar scales, then you will need to be more familiar with these particular ones. An example of a common guitar scale is C major. There are two types of steps in a musical scale-a whole step and a half step. A half step is one interval between notes.
A whole step is equivalent to two half steps, so it is two intervals between notes. If you learn guitar scale, a whole step will be equivalent to two frets, while a half step will be equivalent to one fret. If you learn scales, you will also need to know about the roots of a scale. The root of a scale is what note it begins on.
This information may seem like a lot to remember, but you won’t regret your decision to learn musical scale. As you are on that stage, rocking out on your guitar, perhaps you will reflect back to your guitar lessons long ago and be thankful that you made the decision to learn guitar scale.
When learning to play any instrument, and not least the guitar, it is fairly common to imagine yourself in a position where you play to be heard by a crowd. From the moment you decide to learn the instrument to the first time you play a gig, you will picture the event in your mind again and again. The thing is that when it actually happens, it will probably have very little in common with what you imagine. The other thing is that you’ll struggle to remember much of it, even if you don’t partake in the “rock ’n’ roll lifestyle” which leaves dents in some memories.
You can plan and practice and dream in the preparation for a debut gig, but when the time comes to play it will feel strangely unreal. All those months you have spent getting the basics down will not really prepare you for what you are about to do. Most likely, you will feel nervous. But then the practice that you have been doing will come to fruition in the form of muscle memory. When pressed to perform, you will rise to the occasion. As soon as you got up to play, you will be heading back to your seat before you know it. And when someone asks you afterwards how you feel it went, you’ll have to ask them the same question.
Even the people who seem like they were born to perform remember very little about their first gig. Adrenaline is a stimulant that does not need to be drank or smoked, it will course through your veins regardless. And it is a heady one, too.
Getting Your First Guitar Gig
If you really want to know how to play guitar but know absolutely nothing about the instrument, you shouldn't worry at all because it isn't as difficult as you may be thinking. Learning to play guitar is always fun especially to those that really cherish music. You can actually learn and be playing guitar even if your schedule is too tight by merely finding the right guitar lesson online.
You have practically done or searched for anything online but you may not have bothered to search for a reliable website where you can learn all hat you really need about guitar from the simplest chords to the playing tracks from famous musicians. You will also be taught how to properly get your fingers acquitted with guitar strings so that you can easily develop your coordination. This will easily enable to play various better tunes on the guitar with fewer hassles.
I have been on a forum where people were actually arguing if learning to play guitar from a book isn't the same as learning from the website or the internet. This is quite tempting but the truth is that there is no way you can picture or visualize what you are merely reading from a book. Consider the inconvenience it would be to you to spread or open the book in front of you while you stretch to strike the guitar chords. Even when you have a book that has details in it, the limitations are still there because guitar learning has much to do with practice and the book may likely be obstructing your effort to practice what you are reading.
The internet is the smoothest and most comfortable place you can learn how to play guitar effortlessly. The computer should be open while you carry you guitar and practice what you are reading. The tutorials online are quite comprehensive and in many cases are supported by video tutorials. This kind of online guitar tutorial video is real live practical video taken by somebody else, so all you need to do is follow the instructions as you watch. This usually makes the online lessons look like real live classes.
There is no point to start comparing learning guitar from a computer and from a book because the former is far better, easier and more effective. It is important to point out that many website that offer guitar training tutorials have live chat facilities on online. This is really giving you a double portion, because you will be learning from the videos and also have the opportunity to ask questions live from your teacher.
Don't just jump in to any course schedule without making sure that such course will be able to guide you from the fundamental aspects of guitar till you start playing famous tunes by your self. These courses are very cheap online but you have to ensure that you are taking your guitar lessons from reliable websites that will surely give quality tutorials.
It is great news that you have decided to do the noble thing: learn the guitar. Now the thing to do is select the mode through which you want to acquire guitar knowledge. There are three basic ways by which you can learn guitar proficiency. It all depends on your person, what you like and how you feel about learning generally. You can opt to teach yourself guitar – and there are quite an ample amount of teach yourself kits lying around, employ the services of a private tutor, or you can use the final option: learning online. If you ask me, I would recommend that you learn online. Not that there's anything wrong with the other options, but the online option is laced with many advantages that are hard to ignore. For one it is quite cost considerate, and it is a flexible plan, making it cool and fun learning the guitar. You stand more chances of covering more ground with the online method than the others, in my humble opinion.
There are various ways by which you can imbibe guitar skills online. A particular method may prove more effective for you in conveying the importance of chords and their representation than others, for example. Personally, I find that pictorial representation of the concepts of the guitar are quite helpful in a given guitar scenario. It is quite helpful, seeing that you will not require the services of a tutor, or the online option. To make you realize how useful this method is, I would like you to remember how you were taught the letters of you alphabet with pictures. In any event, however, I would urge you not to jump into finalized speculation, as it is not all that works for one person that will work for another.
Another means by which people may learn the guitar is using that wealth of resources: the tablature. The tablature is quite effective, because you do not have to have had previous experience reading guitar notes before. I know many people who have learnt the guitar using this process. However, I would like you to beware of the hidden danger of using the tablature, like I did. I used to get the rhythm and progression of songs mixed up when using the tablature as these are not explicitly highlighted on the tablature. If you find out you are falling prey to this problem too, I suggest that you go to the power of Google – the world's best search engine – and tap into the wealth of resources therein that will help you gain a mastery of the tablature.
As you can see, these methods I have outlined are basically DIY methods. They allow you expand your horizons using personal helpful activities. However, I am one that stands for tutoring as well as the online method. It aids your fast assimilation if you have someone whom you can watch while he teaches you the ropes.
Best of luck!
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Learn the basics of the guitar online
When looking for a guitar to easy learn on it doesn’t really matter the price range that you have in mind. Years back a low cost guitar would be a nightmare to play, and for a beginner it was worse, I had one for my first guitar. These days with advanced machining and mass production techniques there are a large number of guitar manufacturers turning out quite good guitars at low cost.
Regardless of the price if you take any two guitars of the same make and model, even with consecutive production numbers it’s quite likely that one will be easier to play than the other.
How well a guitar plays is determined by the action. The action on a guitar is the distance between the underside of the strings and the frets. The frets are the thin metal strips that lie across the neck. The maximum distance is found in the area where the neck and body join. If the distance is greater than say 3mm then it will be harder to play the guitar up the neck than it should be and for a beginner it can totally discouraging. Keep in mind that that a small difference can mean a lot. A 4mm gap is a big step up from 3mm.
There are four things that influence the action.
1. The Saddle Height
2. The Nut Height
3. The Truss Rod Adjustment
4. The Neck Angle
The first three can be adjusted. If the neck angle is bad then adjusting the other three will bring about little change to the action. Picture a guitar lying level on its back and you place a straight edge along neck and extending down to touch the bridge. The bridge is the piece of timber attached to the body of the guitar that has the strings attached to it, and the saddle is the (usually) white plastic strip that sits in the bridge and has the strings running across it. When the neck angle is good then the neck and the top of the bridge will be on the same line. When the angle is bad then the straight edge will point to a spot closer to where the bridge joins the body and is a really bad case it would touch the body of the guitar first.
Now we cannot carry out this test in a music store, however what we can do is sight down the neck and it’s fairly easy to see where the line of the neck points to, it should be in line with the top of the bridge.
This is all probably a lot to absorb in one go, the important thing is to be aware of the action and any good guitar salesperson should know all this and be able to point them out to you so you can make the best choice so you have a guitar that is easy to play.
Lastly do not buy a guitar because you like the color of it, buy the guitar that sounds good and plays well.
Often cheaper than a new guitar and just as ready to rock out, a second hand guitar could be the perfect addition to your collection or the perfect thing to learn on, but how do you know that your potential purchase isn’t a potential dud?
The truth is that some fantastic guitars, while expensive when new, are relatively cheap second hand. Sometimes you can find a custom or a limited edition guitar that someone is selling quickly for the cash and you can often get a real bargain if you know what you are looking for. It really pays to do the research before thinking about buying a second hand guitar as some sellers will push their price up to cash in, especially if they know they are selling to a beginner who is just starting to learn guitar and may not know much about them.
So what should you look for when inspecting a second hand guitar?
Let’s just say that you have found a second hand guitar in the musical instrument section of the weekly classifieds and you are quite keen to go and take a look at it. Below is a list of hints that will help you when inspecting the guitar and talking to the seller:
When talking to the seller, ask them the following:
- The make and model of the guitar – It is best if you can do some research on the guitar model to find out the asking price elsewhere, both new and used, and whether or not other people are experiencing problems with it. You can find reviews for almost any guitar submitted at Amazon, or you can go and ask at your local music store.
- About the condition of the guitar – If they are honest, the seller may tell you about any damage that is undetectable upon rough inspection.
- How long they have had the guitar – If they have had it for a long time, they should have a good knowledge of its history of use, repairs and maintenance etc. If they are not forthcoming with that sort of information, they may be trying to pull one over you.
When inspecting the guitar, check the following:
- The overall condition – Look the guitar over and make note of any obvious damage – guitars often take a bit of wear and tear and if its just small scrapes and scratches then the guitar will probably be fine. Look for rust also , not on the strings, but on the hardware that is holding the strings and the pickups. If there is any rust in these places… run! It’s not worth it. What good is a guitar that may fall apart on you in the near future? Trust me – leave it alone.
- The neck of the guitar – the neck is really important. Here are some areas to look at:
- Make sure that the neck is not warped or out of shape in any way.
- Check the area where the neck joins to the body of the guitar – look for cracks where it may have been broken in the past.
- In the same fashion, check the area where the neck joins the head of the guitar.
- Check the action – Action is a word that describes how close the strings are to the fret board starting at the head of the guitar all the way down to the bridge. It is preferable to have the strings very close to the fret board as to make it easier to press them down (not so close that they are touching of course). If the strings are nice and close to the fret board all the way along, you would say that the guitar has a good action. Pictured right is a guitar with poor action. Notice that the strings sit quite far off the fret board. Guitars with poor action are harder to play and don’t sound very good. You can fix the action on your guitar by taking it to a guitar technician, but it will cost you between $20 and $50.
- The Intonation of the strings. Intonation is a word that describes the accuracy of each individual note that the guitar can produce on any string. If the intonation is correct, every note on the guitar will be the correct pitch – If it is out, the guitar will be impossible to tune and it will sound horrible. To roughly check the intonation, play the E shape barre chord on each fret of the guitar. As you move towards the bridge of the guitar, you should hear the chord keeping its pitch – if not, the intonation is out and you will need to get a guitar technician to work on the problem.
- If the guitar you are looking at is an electric, you must plug it in and see how it sounds through an amp. Ask the seller if you can play it through your amp and if you don’t have one, ask someone if you can borrow theirs. Try the following when testing an electric guitar through an amp:
- Turn the amp up to a fair volume level and then play with the volume and tone controls by turning them to full and then back to zero. Test the pickup selector by flicking its switch back and forth. Carefully listen to any sounds that are being made while doing these things. You are looking for scratchy sounds or clicks that might indicate old or worn electrics.
- Strum a single chord and while the chord is ringing start playing with the controls like before, still listening for scratches or clicks or any other nasty sounds. Guitar technicians can fix these problems and most guitars need to be done about once every 5 – 10 years. Just be aware of this fact or you could find yourself spending more money than you first intended to get a good guitar to learn on.
- Check the sound of the guitar – Before you buy, you want to know that the guitar sounds like it should? Once you have tested the guitar sound, go to a music store and ask to play on a new model of that guitar. If at all possible, use a similar amplifier to the one that you tested the second hand guitar on, and see if you notice any BIG differences. There is a simple rule that I like to follow: If you’re not happy with the guitar sound… Don’t buy it!
The most important thing to remember when shopping for a guitar to learn on is… Don’t shop impulsively. A guitar is a major purchase and you want to get the right one. Leave yourself time to go away and think about the purchase. If you have doubts when checking out a guitar, you are probably better to leave it and hold out for something that better suits you.
If you are a guitar beginner and a little worried about testing guitar in public – don’t worry. 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 so just go for it.
If you are still worried, take an experienced guitarist along with you when you are looking at a guitar to learn on. See if you can persuade a teacher or a friend – most musicians love to help beginners who are interested in learning to play the guitar. 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.