In The Beginning

Wondering where to begin? Check out these exercises!

Ultimate Guitar
Well this is my first lesson so lemme know what you guys think. I'm going to start giving lessons to beginners soon and I was sitting with my Axe thinking: Where to begin?? So I decided to write up some exercises and such and post it here. And this is for beginners! But you guy's who like to go through the new lessons or check the beginners to brush up on some stuff or get some finger exercises, your opinions will be helpful. First of all choosing your Guitar: I myself didn't have much choice, didn't have much money and someone was kind enough to sell me their Ibanez starters kit. But you guys blessed with wealth, don't go out looking for the most expensive guitar having no idea of its capabilities, rather go for those made for beginners. Normally the action is very high(meaning the strings are far from the fretboard) and this could help a lot with finger strength building. If there is a variety of such types in the shop ask the guys if you can test tem and just play it a little(don't worry about looking like a noob, you are, that's why you're looking at beginners guitars just play whatever you'd like) the one that feels the best is your fist Axe. Picks: There are some people that say you have to start with a hard pick, others say soft. These guys are stupid and you should treat them that way. Buy a variety(Picks are cheap, and sometime in the future the ones you don't use at first will probably come in handy) get different thicknesses, materials and shapes. I myself prefer the Sharkfin' picks. But to each is own'. Getting started: Okay now you have your equipment, read a lesson about reading tabs and your set to start jamming!! Here's a few finger strength and stamina exercises: Let's first take a look at alternate picking: alternate picking is the act of picking a string from both sides when playing two notes that follow each other by example: D = Downstroke(pick the string from the top) U= Upstroke(pick the string from the bottom)
  D U D U D U D U D U D U D U D U D U
When you've got that down continue to play these exercises: Finger indication(what fingers to use on witch fret) 1= Pointing finger 2= middle finger 3= Ring Finger 4= Little Finger
  1 3 2 4 1 3 2 4 1 3 2 4 1 3 2 4 1 3 2 4 1 3 2 4

  1 2 3 4 1 2 3 4 1 2 3 4 1 2 3 4 1 2 3 4 1 2 3 4
Looks simple enough? It's not: after you've put your finger on a fret don't move it until you have to use it on the next string! I know it's hard at the beginning but it does help a lot! Practice at a slow pace and gradually do it faster as you improve.
  1 3 2 4 1 3 2 4 1 3 2 4 1 3 2 4 1 3 2 4 1 3 2 4 1 3 2 4 1 3 2 4 1
Just continue along the pattern to the highest string. Ok great, well I'm tired so I'm gonna post this and go sleep. Grab your guitars and begin! After you nailed these three exercises and get into the groove of alternate picking get a tab of an easy sounding song you know and learn it. Then search for a lesson containing scales and learn the Major scale and Harmonic Minor scale shapes. If you have any questions feel free to ask!

12 comments sorted by best / new / date

    First of all, good excercise! But I think a beginner guitar player wants to have some result. These 'licks' don't sound very fun doe they?.. I think the first few lessons need to be simple chord playing and learn a song from the first lesson on. This way the student has instant results and will encurrage him to move on. But still, these lessons are very important if you want to grow to the better guitar player.
    Thanks for the advice, sometimes I just forget the mindset of the beginning guitarist. But I was thinking "If I started with this it would've gotten me a lot more in littler time" Silly me didn't take in consideration that most beginners are probably young(like me) and don't yet have that drive to master the instrument. And the guy who rated me, I would
    I disagree with FreekBos. I want to learn to play properly and not just take shortcuts.Exercising my fingers as you have shown me is a great idea. Newbi's need to develop finger strength, and these exercises are fantastic for doing that.
    There we go, a raised grade for ya. I don't know why this was downrated before, it's a good article. I would recommend starting on acoustic guitar though. It's like a gym for your fingers ha. Also, pushing the chromatic scale exercises (You've already done so, but it's not ascending or descending the frets yet.) Once you've mastered that, go watch John Petrucci's Rock Discipline, or just look up the clip online. Or don't, but I find the exercise really helpful.
    hey when your starting out on guitar thats good stuff to do and its a great way to stay in shape,if your patient the songs will be easier to learn later.
    I am just now getting around to learning to play the guitar and these little exercises are great little warm ups gets your fingers a little more orientated with eh strings.
    i know i need to strengthen my fingers while playing its just some people find some of the techniques out there are hard to understand i only ever played a recorder and that was when i was a little boy and havent played it since i was 7 so you kind of see my confusion lol
    I thought after playing recorder, piano and clarint, my fingers would be in good shape, but I was wrong! These exercises are realy useful, keep up the good work!
    thomas w.
    Feel the burn this will be a big help. Great one to remember without logging on. thanks a bunch
    i'm a beginner and i appreciate this. you should have thrown in a note to practice picking the strings with the correct finger as well, though.