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This information is meant to provide a foundation for learning guitar. It is more than a bare bones Intro Course for the beginning guitarist, and it contains a fair amount of information to get you started in a way to hopefully avoid many common pitfalls. This information also provides tips and information for non beginners as well, hopefully to correct some areas of question or sources of frustration with your guitar playing and knowledge.
A more in depth study of chords, strumming and rhythms, technique, music theory, different styles of music, learning the guitar neck, scales and improvising will be discussed in much fuller detail in other courses and videos. You can find a list of our courses here. If you sign up for our newsletter, we will keep you informed of new content, courses, discounts and special offers.
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Free guitar tab and chord downloads
By the end of the this free online beginner guitar course, you will be able to play along to some of the simple Beginner Guitar Songs featured in the series and from the playlist. You will also have an understanding of finger style guitar, guitar tab, standard notation, minor and major pentatonic scales, power chords, major and minor scales and more. We will also talk about some fundamentals of music theory so you aren’t just memorizing shapes and patterns but beginning to think about and understand their function.
The Guitar Basics
Often times on the beginning level, when a new guitar or songwriting student contacts me for lessons, they have had some previous experience. Sometimes they have taken guitar lessons briefly in the past from another guitar instructor or have learned a bit from a family member or friend. It is fairly common these days to have someone contact me after spending some time online, watching videos and trying to pick up bits and pieces of knowledge about playing guitar riffs and parts of songs, guitar chords and then trying to get faster at changing chords. Inevitably, they get stuck and frustrated.
This is really unfortunate because in this frustration, people often internalize these feelings and begin to think they are doing something wrong, that it’s about…them. Then, they will start believing they aren’t able to play or learn guitar. Maybe they just aren’t musically talented enough? This is pretty common, and pretty heartbreaking because a few things have happened: they have set themselves up for some false expectations and made assumptions about teaching themselves and learning on their own. Often times, the material hasn’t been presented in a linear and organized way. This causes more frustration because they aren’t even aware of the technical and musical gaps in their knowledge and the approach that is causing them to not progress the way they want. The idea that a person that loves music and has an interest in learning guitar or writing a song decides to quit because of the above scenarios is really unfortunate, and common.
Sometimes people contact me because they have been playing the same old stuff for a while and feel stuck trying to get to the the next level in their playing. Much of what I described above applies here as well, even though these students aren’t beginners like the above students.
To advance in your guitar playing, creativity or songwriting, there may some fundamental issues to be addressed, but it’s important to have someone that can access where you are, fill in those fundamentals and get you moving and growing as quickly as possible.
After numerous new students have contacted me for guitar or songwriting lessons with many of the above frustrations and questions, saying, “I wish I would have found you sooner,” I wanted to address many of these issues and offer some insights and explanations. I’ve broken these areas down into several areas to help address questions and guitar playing issues I commonly experience with new guitar and songwriting students. These include, music theory, right and left hand technique, rhythm and counting, strum patterns and time signatures, and how to read guitar tablature and standard notation. Regardless of the style of music you want to learn or create, this information will get you on a solid footing to progress consistently.
Watch these videos first to learn how to hold your guitar, hold you guitar pick and learn how to get your guitar tuned properly so that it always sounds good. Once you have completed these videos and your guitar is sounding great, move on to the hand dexterity exercise in Part 2.
How you are sitting while playing guitar is important. Not only for your guitar playing, but your body. Anytime you are sitting or standing in a fairly static and fixed position for long periods of time and engaging in repetitive motions, it’s important to know what your body alignment is. Having awareness about your posture is really important. Your head and shoulder position, angle of your wrists, where you are probably adding unnecessary tension, etc., can have a cumulative affect. It did on me!
Reading Music on Guitar: Tab & Standard Notation
Scales & Basic Music Theory You Will Want to Know on Guitar
Technique Exercises for the Right & Left Hand
Developing hand independence, strength, flexibility and dexterity is really important. Wether you are wanting to learn open position chords, bar chords or play guitar licks and solos. Having a solid understanding of where to have your thumb on the back of the guitar neck will be crucial in completing chord changes more smoothly and faster.
By isolating the fingers with different combinations while working on tone consistency and being on the tips of your fingers, your fingers will gain strength and independence. This will help facilitate them working as a unit when forming and changing chords. This will also help your guitar licks and lead playing as well. Use these exercises to help you develop some hand dexterity & independence, good hand position & transitions while also working on alternate picking.
First Guitar Chords: Open Position Chords & Power Chords, Counting, Rhythm & Strum Patterns
We are going to start with some open position chords to get your hands moving on the guitar neck and hitting the right strings. The key is to practice changing between chords smoothly and in time.
- Power Chords and How to Play Them
- How to Play the 12 Bar Blues in A & D Using Open Position chords
Playing along with someone is essential to improving your chord changes, rhythm and timing. If you are working on your guitar playing with another person, be sure to keep each other accountable on tempo and rhythm. If you are practicing alone, playing along to a metronome, click track or drum loop is important.
I remind people all the time that speed and technique will come with time, that’s the easy part…it’s a given if you being intentional with your tempo, technique and process. Most of the technical issues will take care of themselves if you are being mindful about going slowly, keeping a steady beat and working on your rhythm. But where people really pay for it is when they try to cheat time. Playing too quickly and not being diligent around tempo and understanding the beat will cause many technical issues and frustrations that will have to be addressed and resolved later. It’s better to deal with it now and learn it correctly rather than pay for it later.
You now have the basic understanding of what you will need to know to play guitar. One last thought: How to Change Your Guitar Strings
Now, click on the Beginner’s Blues Guitar Course and let’s get started!