Hey there. I'm really new to the place so if I've posted somthing previously mentioned or if this is in the wrong place, please forgive me.

Well I got my first guitar the other week as I've been 'inspired' to play by John from the Red Hot Chili Peppers.

My guitar is an electric guitar (should I be starting off with an acoustic guitar?) and I'm finding it really hard to make the notes without touching other strings. I also find it hard to reach strings further away and closer to my hand.

So, my question is; are their any 'exercises' that you have made up yourself or have been told about that strengthen up your fingers, keep them in place and/or help you from touching other strings?

Thanks in advance and can't wait to read your replys!

Also because I'm just starting out which would be better for me; Tab, Chord/Lyric diagrams or sheet music? If Tab is the answer, would you please simplify how to play it? - sorry if this has already been said.

Thanks for reading!!
start off with the most basic scale, the C scale. Play that until you can play it cleanly and build your strength and speed.

And start reading actual music notation, not tab. You will learn more that way.
top axes:
Taylor GS8
Fender American Strat (w/DiMarzio pickups)
Epiphone Les Paul
ummm... you could start by mabey having your fingers really curved so your finger tips go straight into the strings and not at an angle.

an exercise that really helps is doing chromatics. all you do for that is play four notes per string going from the first fret, then the second, third, then fourth. Then you go up to the next string and go 1,2,3,4 and keep doing that for all the strings.

Also Do that exercise pretty slow at first and make sure all the notes are clean. Once you can do that you can increase the speed and that should get your fingers strong if you do it enough.

If your willing to spend money on it you could buy the john petrucci "rock discepline" movie. It has some good exercises for streching your fingers.

About the Tab thing that is probably your best way to learn and it is very simple the lines on the tab are your guitar strings and the numbers on the lines tell you what # fret to play for that string.

If you have any questions just ask

Try Palm Muting: put the side of your picking hand lightly against the strings right near the bridge. This will stop the other strings from ringing.

Chord Diagrams and Tab are the easiest to get started on.

Chord Diagrams work like this:

[0 2 2 1 0 0]

The 6 numbers are the strings, going from the Low E string (far left), to the High E (far right), each number corresponds to a fret, 0 being open, 1 being First fret etc. So your strings should be like this:

6th String : Open
5th String : 2nd fret
4th String : 2nd fret
3rd String : 1st fret
2nd string : open
1st string : open.

This is an E chord.

Tab is similar. it is displayed like this:


This tab shows The same E chord, then the Pentatonic Minor scale (In A).
Each horizontal line represents a string. So for the Scale, you play the following:

5th fret, 6th string
8th fret, 6th string
5th fret, 5th string
7th fret, 5th string

and so on.

The 5th fret should be fretted with your first (pointer) finger, The 7th fret with your 3rd (Ring) Finger and the 8th fret with your pinky.

As for exercises, just try playing that scale, up and down. Play it with all downward picking, then all upward picking, then alternate picking (down, up, down up...)

Good luck buddy!
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You'd want to stretch yourself out before you start playing, if you play basketball do the stretches that you do before a game, meaning fingers, wrists, arms, shoulders. Here is the chromatic excersize that you'd want to do everytime you start playing as a warm up.


the user above noted how to read a tab.
Also dont forget to alternate pick, which means you pick with a down stroke then with and up stroke. Meaning if you were playing the excersize above you would play:

1st fret, 6th string: Down Stroke
2nd fret, 6th string: Up stroke
3rd fret, 6th string: Down
4th fret, 6th string: Up.

It willl be a massive advantage you and will help you pick faster, also you would want to check out the lessons on this site as well as the ones on