How To Get Better When Just Beginning

This is a lesson to help players starting from the ground up. I will be uploading other lessons for more advanced players and on specific techniques and scales and so on, but this is about the bare basics from day 1.

Ultimate Guitar

This is an example of what you'll find on most written tabs. This is actually from a tab of Joe Satriani's song 'Circles', but that's not important right now. For this lesson I'm assuming you've picked up your guitar, played a few notes, and then looked around for help online and found this page, so you probably won't know what those lines dots and numbers above this text means. That is guitar tab. Each row of lines represents a string on the guitar and the notes of the open strings(played without your fingers on the string) is shown to the left. If you don't know the notes on your guitar yet, the line are laid out so it's as if you're looking down on your guitar as you're playing it, so it's thickest string is the lowest line and thinnest string is the highest line. The numbers along the lines indicate which fret your finger must be on when you sound the note. For this lesson I'll stick to just simple picking, you put you finger on the string shown and the fret shown then pluck the string. Also from left to right is the order and time that these notes should be played for example is shows on the tab above to play 11th fret then 9th fret then 7th fret on the G string in that order. You don't have to play that tab as I'll be showing you a much simpler set of notes to play later on. There are three thing s that you'll have to work on to become a good guitarist: Getting your left hand to do what you want it to do Getting your right hand to do what you want it to do Getting both hands to do what you want them to do at the same time Naturally your playing may sound a bit 'stuttering' at first, but that's your body learning something new to do, it's simply going to take time and effort to do well. Practice by looking at tabs and putting your fingers in the positions they show using your fretting hand(the hand holding the guitar neck) first of all as this is almost always your 'unskilled' hand and will require the most attention. You should practice changing the position of the fingers of your hand on the neck whenever possible be it chords or single notes as this will make you a little bit smoother every time you try it. Your plucking hand(the hand plucking the strings either with your fingers or your pick of choice) is going to be slightly more accurate but it still needs an awful lot of work, and if one of your hands falls behind in practice then your whole guitar suffers. The best thing to do is practice hitting each individual string and developing a feel-point so you can hit the string you want without concentrating totally on that task alone. The evidence for this working is that if you watch guitarists play live then almost all of them will only look at the fretboard if they need to but not their fretting hands. The fretting hand decides the notes to be played and the plucking hand puts them into action. Using a technique called true legato then you can sound all the notes using just your fretting hand but this is and advanced technique and requires finger strength, precision and a bit of musical theory, so I'll go into that in another lesson. You may try getting you fingers to work perfectly synchronized but be warned, there are some problems that may arise from that: If you hear a buzzing, ringing or muffled sound then it means more often than not that your not pressing down on the strings with the correct pressure, so you'll have to feel around for the right pressure, and yes at first it will start to hurt you fingers but that pain will lessen over time, and using surgical spirit on you finger tips will harden then up making a huge difference. I do that. It's kind of cheating but it works. You have to get your fingers in the right position before your plucking hand hits the strings(unless you're using hammer-ons and pull-offs which I'll go into in another lesson) so remember to put your fingers into position first, then hit the strings. Finally, you'll find that after you've finished playing and you then come back to playing later on you hands aren't as fluid, but don't worry. That's just your hand muscles starting to rebuild themselves so they're a bit stiff, but after you start playing again they loosen up after a short while.
This is a short piece of a scale that I'd like you beginners out there to practice. Theory teachers will tell you it's part of the E-minor pentatonic scale, but that's not important at the moment. You don't even have to play the notes in the right order if you think they sound better in a different order, but practicing getting between the notes you want is what's essential. After that, look around the tab websites like this one for other tips and work them into you're playing if you want to. You don't have to put everything they say into your playing, but if you listen to them then you've got the option of ignoring them or not. I'll put up more lessons when I'm able, but that's all for now. I wish you the very best of luck, and I encourage you to message me If you have any major problems with your playing you'd like me to help with. Bye for now!

13 comments sorted by best / new / date

    Thanks for the support guys, and don't be afraid of posting comments on this page as to what lessons you want next. I doesn't cost me or you anything, and I get to play my guitar even more! Even if it's "how do I play fast?" or "how do I do that squeal stuff that Zakk Wylde and Dimebag Darrel do?" I'll see what I can dig up for you.
    hi dude, is there any chance of maybe afew links to easy tabs? im not sure whats easy and what just looks easy but isnt? this lesson is a big help though thank you
    I'll tell you what. I'll upload some tabs of easy songs to play for beginners if you'd like, just let me know what you'd like. As for starter songs, "smoke on the water", "iron man", "don't fear the reaper" and "house of the rising sun should be easy enough for you. Very few chord changes but very distinct memorable riffs. Hope this helps.
    I'll tell you what. I'll upload some tabs of easy songs to play for beginners if you'd like, just let me know what you'd like. As for starter songs, "smoke on the water", "iron man", "don't fear the reaper" and "house of the rising sun" should be easy enough for you. Very few chord changes but very distinct memorable riffs. Hope this helps.
    Ok, now thats what i call a lesson. No fancy shmancy big words and stuff just right for the common folks like me. Keep it up man.. Im mastering this lesson already. Ill be checking in for more lessons later..
    Pretty good lesson, but very poor grammer/editing. Just try to clean it up next time.
    Yeah sorry about that, but when I did the quick spell check function because I'd put you instead of your and so on, it didn't register it as wrong at first, and I can't edit it once it's up on the website. Believe me I didn't put the errors there on purpose but I will double check next time.
    Some nice tips for beginner guitarists!