Guitar Crash Course

A quick guide to the basics of guitar and other guitar techniques.

Ultimate Guitar
I'm presenting this in a note format, just bullets and examples. My recommendation is to read this then look at other lessons about the individual techniques, then use this as a reminder or summary. Note - some small knowledge of music might help. Mostly rythyms. Don't worry if you don't know that, it won't affect that much. Just a couple small bits. Also, know your guitar's parts.

Guitar Crash Course

A quick guide to guitar techniques ------------------Basics----------------------------------------- How to Hold the Guitar -Hold the guitar, really however you want to. Watch other players and figure out what best for you works for you. Just try to keep to these guidelines +ALWAYS have good posture. Sit straight up to prevent back problems later on. This also makes you look more confident and will also make you feel so. +Make sure that the guitar is in relatively the same place on your body when sitting and standing. This will prevent you having to relearn things to accommodate the guitar in a different place. -Hold the pic, once again, what works best for you. The pic is topically held between the thumb and first 2 fingers. others do differently, some will say that there is only one way that will ever get you anywhere, but I've seen plenty doing just fine with other grips. Just make sure that don't squeeze to hard, or let it go to loose in your hands (that's what she said). To hard and you will also tighten your arm, and that will restrict your playing and can lead to injury. To loose, and the pic may fly from your hands. Strumming -Start by strumming 8th notes +Strum down on the quarter notes, and up on the upstrokes - Be even!!! +Make sure every not, both up and down strokes, sound like one consistent sound - Use your whole arm +Don't strum with your just your wrist, forearm, or upper arm alone. Use your whole are as one complete machine. -Practice strumming with a metronome +Slow to fast tempos ~Slow tempos to build timing ~Faster tempos to build muscle/endurance -STAY LOOSE!!! + If you feel any part of your arm tensing or tightening up, Stop for a few seconds and allow your arm to relax. ~try to let your arm flow with the rhythm. ~If a certain speed always makes your tight, try a slower tempo until you can do that evenly. Work up ~Remember that tension and burn are different. If your arm is burning, keep fighting! If your arm hurts, without that burn, chances are you should stop for a second. -You should also practice power chords and focus on strumming only the strings that are necessarily for the chord (Watch Tom Morello play Bulls on Parade and you'll see what I mean about being loose) Picking -Picking is used for individual strings -Practice arpeggios (broken chords) and scales often to better your picking -AVOID PICKING ONLY UP OR DOWN!!! TERRIBLE HABIT!!!! +practice alternate and economy picking ~alternate picking - up,down,up,down... ~economy picking - the most convenient picking pattern for the line, riff, etc... Left Hand -Always fret in the correct place +Flush against the fret, NOT RIGHT OVER IT, but rather right behind it. -Start with chords to get your fingers nimble +When practicing strumming, pick random chord changes ~find which changes are uncomfortable and practice them until they are perfect! -Learn scales +know the shapes and practice them up and down the neck to stretch your fingers -There are two basic places to keep your thumb 1)Party Like a Rockstar!!! Many rockers you see keep their thumb wrapped around the neck while they play. This isn't necessarily bad, it is actually very good for bending, but it isn't the best grip 99% of the time. 2)The standard grip. Keep your thumb pointed down to the head of the guitar right in the center of the back of the neck. This gives your fingers more flexibility and room to move. (Note: either of these grips will work. It's completely your choice. Standard grip works best for me, but it might now for you. Do what works) ------------------Brief explanation of other techniques--------- Mutes -Adds a rhythm to chords and fretted notes -Lightly lay your fingers on top of the string + DON'T FRET OR PRESS DOWN!! -To prevent any accidental harmonics, place multiple fingers across the string(s) Palm Mutes -Adds a Chunky, thick sound to chords while still letting the chord be heard -Place the side of your right palm on the strings near the bridge. +Adjust placement until you get that muted sound, while giving the chord room to breathe Slides -A cool way to change between to notes that is very smooth -Start on one fret and drag you finger to the desired pitch. +You can go up and down. Both work exactly the same way Hammer-ons (The one thing you can actually learn from Guitar Hero) -Hammer-ons provide a smooth legato sound and allow for fast riffs with less picking -The trick is to not pick the second note. -Simply use the residual vibrations for the fist note to power the second. -It helps to fret the second note fast and powerfully to prevent stopping some of those vibrations (which would kill the second note) +Not too hard though!!! Bad vibrations!!! -Practice these and try to make them as fluent as possible. Pull-offs -The exact opposite as a hammer-on, slightly harder -Should still be smooth and fluent -This is where guitar hero fails us. It isn't as easy as lifting up your finger. This will certainly kill the vibrations. -Instead literally 'pull off" at an angle to semi-pluck the string with your fretting finger. -This, just like hammer-ons, should be a quick movement Bending -Makes the note change by tightening the string -To bend, push the string up or down across the fretboard untill the desired pitch is heard. -To practice bends, play the desired pitch to hit with the bend, and try to match the pitch by bending from a lower note Pick-Scrapping (electric only... mostly...) -This will create an effect that is popular in metal, nu-metal, and a little punk/alternative -Take the flat end of your pick, and place it on the three lowest strings -Slide or "scrape" it towards the head or the guitar and let the pic scrape across the wraps on the strings. Recognize that sound? -Try it with distortion on or off for different sounds Tableture -Tabs are the fastest/easiest/cheapest way to learn guitar. -They allow you to learn just about any song out there -They are very literal representations of songs -the top string in a tab is your thinnest string +the lowest string in a tab is your thickest string -read left to right -stacked notes are chords ex: G
(This is a chromatic scale. Practice this for finger strength. Also alternate picking!)

8 comments sorted by best / new / date

    Pick sliding doesn't sound good for me, I have 2 semi-cheap guitars and amp and the pick sliding sounds awful, is it the equipment?
    I've never picked up a guitar in my life until a couple minutes ago... And I understood everything you were saying... Great guide for beginners, I would know, I am one!
    thanks a friend of mine gave me a guitar he had. while i understand how to read a tab. i didn't know step on on how to become a good guitaris. to learn my cords and such. will bookmark this and use this often. thank you.
    I'm impressed. I keep looking up lessons and they are so confusing. This was well worded and easily understandable
    nice job my friend .....i wish someone had layed down the basics as simple as u did when i first started playing Cheers