The Basics for Beginning Guitarists

author: rossmartin date: 05/21/2014 category: the basics
rating: 8.6 / votes: 7 
The Basics for Beginning Guitarists
Hey everyone! This is my first lesson so I'm going to give you some background on myself. I started playing guitar back in 2012 and have just loved it ever since. I practice nearly 3 hours a day and even write and play my own music. Well, here goes the lesson.

The Guitar:

1. The first thing that we should know about the guitar is how to hold it correctly. Figure out which hand you are dominant with (either right or left) and then place that hand over the strings. You want your non dominant hand on the fret board. The non dominant hand will hold the neck with the palm placed on the back of the neck and the fingers curled up and over the neck facing you. This is proper technique and something that not a lot of people talk about. I know it's really simple but you gotta cover all your bases.

2. Let's talk about the strings. For a normal guitar, you'll have 6 strings. Each string has a certain note that it's tuned to. The standard tuning of a guitar is as follows from lowest string to highest string: EADGbe. That means that the thickest string, String 6 will be tuned to the note E. The string next to it (String 5) will be tuned to the note A. The string next to it (String 4) will be tuned to the note D. String 3 will be tuned to the note G. String 2 which is right next to the thinnest string will be tuned to the note B. And finally string 1, the thinnest string, will be tuned to the note E which will be two octaves above the lowest string.

3. Let's talk about the musical alphabet for a second. Something that I didn't know when I first started out which led me to breaking a great deal of strings. There are 12 notes within the alphabet and they go as follows (I'm gonna use sharps for my notation because that's how I learned). C, C#, D, D#, E, F, F#, G, G#, A, A#, B and then it goes back to C. So that means that if your low string is tuned to the note D and you want to get it to standard, you'll have to tune it UP a step to the note E.

4. Let's talk about chords. The basic chords. Majors to begin with. Major chords are the foundation of music, because the major scale (specifically in C Major) is the foundation of most western music. Let's play a C Major chord.

C Major: (Number means what fret to press down) (X means muted string)
e:0
B:1
G:0
D:2
A:3
E:X
That's your C major chord. Ideally you want every single note to ring out, so you can hear it clearly and beautifully. This means you need to press down the frets with some force. For beginners it WILL HURT. Your fingers will be sore and you will have pain at the beginning. But your fingers will heal and then you'll get these protective layers over them(Science Bitch). Next up we have a D Major chord.

D Major:
e:2
B:3
G:2
D:0
A:x
E:x
For muting those top two strings it's actually just better to not strum them. So start the strum at the D string.

E Major:
e:0
B:0
G:1
D:2
A:2
E:0
F Major: (For this one, use your index finger to hold down the first fret of the top two strings.)
e:1
B:1
G:2
D:3
A:x
E:x
G Major:
e:3
B:0 (or 3. Both G Major but have different sounds)
G:0
D:0
A:2
E:3
A Major:
e:0
B:2
G:2
D:2
A:0
E:x
I know I skipped B major but that's a barre chord and those aren't for beginners.

5. Let's talk about strumming. No matter what type of guitar you are playing strumming is extremely important. The strumming comes in the arm movement. You want to brush (with some force) through the strings with you pick by just moving your elbow. The hand and wrist will stay roughly still. Kind of like you are a robot strumming something. (We'll get into wrist movement in a more advanced lesson).

6. A basic strumming pattern and chord progression for you to practice. Down, Down, Up for each chord, and play the chords E Major, then A Major, then D Major, then A Major. So:
EMaj,AMaj,DMaj,AMaj
DDU DDU DDU DDU
Practice that for a while until the chords "click." And by that I mean at one point while you are switching between the chords, your hand will just do it. You won't have to think about it, it'll just happen. It's instantaneous. But practice is needed. Anyways! Thanks for checking out the lesson, this is really just for basics.

My band Sleeping With The Lights On released our first single on May 9th 2014 and that's available to listen to at https://www.facebook.com/SleepingWithTheLightsOnBand and on my profile.
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