Babysteps - The Beginners Guide To Guitar. Part 1

author: guitar-guy01 date: 05/07/2009 category: for beginners
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Hey it's John Paul (more commonly known as JP or Johnny) here and this is my opening lesson in a series of guitar lessons. Clearly this lesson and the ones that follow it are aimed at the beginner guitarist. In these lessons I'm going to be passing on the information that I learned in my short life with my guitar teacher along with information and techniques that I've learnt from playing, experimenting, jamming, watchin other guitarists and teaching guitar part time. I'm predominantly self taught (having only gone to 5 lessons) and I rely more on my ear and theory. I think everyone here would agree that the learning and playing of guitar is meant to be an enjoyable experience. That being said, some aspects of practisin may prove to be less enjoyable..especially if you're having difficulty, but hindsight is twenty twenty and you will realise it was all worth it when yu gain a very admirable skill of the frets, and you never know this could lead to you starting your own band. It's all down to you and your committment. Who else is excited? Guitar Holding And The Pick There is no definite way to hold a guitar... I was never told how to hold it exact..and this has been a benefit. My guitar playing stance and position is an invention of my own and has been custom adapted to provide comfort and ease to my guitar playing which in turn makes me a better player. It corresponds to me and my body shape..which is uniquely me. As we know everyone is different. Different body shapes mean different people have different guitar stances for comfort. You should just hold the guitar in a position that is comfortable to you and doesn't restrict your guitar playing. However I will reccommend a position I used starting out which later allowed me to develop my own stance and style. # Sit Up, preferably straight to avoid any back pain. # Rest the area of your arm just below your elbow on the top corner of the guitar. Even if you just follow that roughly, you'll still do fine. This same type of theory (theory already? Wow we're off to a start lol) applies to pick holding. Only real rule is not to use more than 2 fingers on the pick as this hinders playibility. Ready for the next step? Strumming (A quick brief for your right hand) As the title suggests, this is a quick talk on strumming before we hit open chords. Strumming is the most important aspect of guitar playing, but I'm probably biased in saying that. Your dreams of being the next amazing lead guitarist are lost if you don't have a strong rhythm guitar skill. So without fretting any notes I want you to use your strumming hand and do the following strums of all 6 strings - up, down, up, down etc. You should be using the area of your arm - from elbow to fingers_ to create a smooth flowing rhythm pattern. The resulting sounds should be smooth and not sound like each string is being picked at different times ( which is called arpeggiating.. A lil theory for you; )). Strumming shouldn't feel forced so avoid exerting too much energy and effort. If you start to feel your arm go stiff, stop and pretend you're a dish cloth I.e. floppy. Try to keep the same timing with the strums, so strum them at the same pace or beat. Keep practising and it'll soon come easy. Open Chords (Your New Friends) Alright, open chords are the easier to play chords but that doesn't diminish their credibility in the slightest. They are called open chords because at least one of the strings are played open i.e. Not fretted by a finger. They are usually the first chords that I teach my guitar students and it is vital that you learn to change between them with ease and fluidity. So now I'm going to teach you how to read chord diagrams. Chord diagrams show you where to place your fingers, what strings to play and what fingers to use. To start off this segment of the guitar lesson, I'm going to show you an example of a chord diagram and how it works, then I'll give you a list of the 12 basic open chords and their diagrams for you to practise off of. Now obviously there are more than just these 10 open chords but to begin with I'm going to show you these basic ones. Throughout the other lessons you will learn other open chords and their loads of other chord types. Practise the basics over and over again until you get them right, know them off by heart and can switch between them easily. Okies so here's the chords and their diagram. Here is the sampler.

  0  1   2   3   4   5

Alright this is an example of a chord diagram. The letter on top tells you what chord it is. It is an A a letter of the musical alphabet. There is nothing beside the A which means that it is a major chord. The chord is A Major. The horizontal line of numbers below the A tell you what frets are being shown. 0 is another name for the open strings. 1 is the first fret and so on. The horizontal lines are your strings. The letters to the left of these tell you the name of the string. The capital E is the thickest string on your guitar. A is the one below that and so on.. The vertical lines show your frets and the space between them is where you put your fingers. The numbers in these spaces tell you what fingers to use. 1 = index finger (beside your thumb), 2 = middle finger, 3 = ring finger, 4 = pinkie. Alright so how do you play this chord? First look at the 0 column. The o's at the e and the A mean that you play these strings open. The x' at the E means that you don't play this string. Now look at the 2 column. The 4 on the B string means you put your 4th finger on the B string at the 2nd fret. The 3 on the G string means you put your 3rd finger on the G string at the 2nd fret. The 2 on the D string means that you put your 2nd finger on the D string at the 2nd fret. When you have your fingers in place, strum all the strings except for the E string which we're not meant to play. You've just played an A major chord (way to go newbie... You're on your way). Here are the other basic open chords.
           A                                         Am
  0  1   2   3   4   5                       0  1   2   3   4   5 

e|o|---|---|---|---|---|                   e|o|---|---|---|---|---|
B|-|---|-4-|---|---|---|                   B|-|-2-|---|---|---|---|
G|-|---|-3-|---|---|---|                   G|-|---|-4-|---|---|---|
D|-|---|-2-|---|---|---|                   D|-|---|-3-|---|---|---|
A|o|---|---|---|---|---|                   A|o|---|---|---|---|---|
E|x|---|---|---|---|---|                   E|x|---|---|---|---|---|
          B7                                          C
  0  1   2   3   4   5                       0  1   2   3   4   5 

E|-|---|-4-|---|---|---|                   e|o|---|---|---|---|---|
B|o|---|---|---|---|---|                   B|-|-1-|---|---|---|---|
G|-|---|-3-|---|---|---|                   G|o|---|---|---|---|---|
D|-|-1-|---|---|---|---|                   D|-|---|-2-|---|---|---|
A|-|---|-2-|---|---|---|                   A|-|---|---|-3-|---|---|
E|x|---|---|---|---|---|                   E|x|---|---|---|---|---|
          Cm                                          D
  0  1   2   3   4   5                       0  1   2   3   4   5 

e|x|---|---|---|---|---|                   e|-|---|-2-|---|---|---|
B|-|-2-|---|---|---|---|                   B|-|---|---|-3-|---|---|
G|o|---|---|---|---|---|                   G|-|---|-1-|---|---|---|
D|-|-1-|---|---|---|---|                   D|o|---|---|---|---|---|
A|-|---|---|-4-|---|---|                   A|x|---|---|---|---|---|
E|x|---|---|---|---|---|                   E|x|---|---|---|---|---|
          Dm                                          E
  0  1   2   3   4   5                       0  1   2   3   4   5 

E|-|-1-|---|---|---|---|                   e|o|---|---|---|---|---|
B|-|---|---|-3-|---|---|                   B|o|---|---|---|---|---|
G|-|---|-2-|---|---|---|                   G|-|-2-|---|---|---|---|
D|o|---|---|---|---|---|                   D|-|---|-4-|---|---|---|
A|x|---|---|---|---|---|                   A|-|---|-3-|---|---|---|
E|x|---|---|---|---|---|                   E|o|---|---|---|---|---|
          Em                                          G

  0  1   2   3   4   5                       0  1   2   3   4   5 

e|o|---|---|---|---|---|                   e|-|---|---|-3-|---|---|
B|o|---|---|---|---|---|                   B|o|---|---|---|---|---|
G|o|---|---|---|---|---|                   G|o|---|---|---|---|---|
D|-|---|-4-|---|---|---|                   D|o|---|---|---|---|---|
A|-|---|-3-|---|---|---|                   A|-|---|-1-|---|---|---|
E|o|---|---|---|---|---|                   E|-|---|---|-2-|---|---|
          Em7                                          Cm

  0  1   2   3   4   5                       0  1   2   3   4   5 

e|o|---|---|---|---|---|                   e|x|---|---|---|---|---|
B|-|---|---|-3-|---|---|                   B|-|-1-|---|---|---|---|
G|o|---|---|---|---|---|                   G|o|---|---|---|---|---|
D|-|---|-2-|---|---|---|                   D|-|-1-|---|---|---|---|
A|-|---|-1-|---|---|---|                   A|x|---|---|---|---|---|
E|o|---|---|---|---|---|                   E|x|---|---|---|---|---|
So these are the 12 basic open chords. As you can see I've put two different ways of playing C minor open. There is more than one way of playing a chord. These are called chord voicings and we'll get more into that later on. Quite a few of those chords will be used in upcoming lessons so learn them well. Okay so that's it for my first lesson. Lesson 2 is on its way folks so dont worry... Peace And Thanks.
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