The Absolute Beginner. Part 1

Hello there! As a guitar instructor, I figured my first article should be on the very basics of guitar. Meaning, this is for the absolute beginner. That individual who just picked up their first guitar and needs a little direction; a starting place if you will. Please keep in mind, this is a general topic. I will go more in depth later. With that being said, enough chit chat, here we go!

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When a potential student asks me about lessons, my first question is: What is your experience?. 9 times out of 10 it is none. Remember, always be honest with your instructor. It helps them a great deal in finding a good starting place. They were once beginners too! Regardless of the type of music you listen to or want to play, here is a short list of things you MUST know and practice. 1) Strings Can you name the strings? Top to bottom or bottom to top? When I show new students strings, I start bottom to top. (E-A-D-G-B-E) I also use word association to help with this: Elephants - Always - Do - Good - Before - Eating That might sound silly, but children love it and adults think its so silly that they can't stop laughing. Try it yourself and say it out loud! 2) Tuner! Tuner! Tuner! This is an absolute must!!! Regardless if it is on your iPhone, Android or some $20.00 job, you must have one! Now, I might sound a little callus about this, but there is nothing worse than hearing a guitarist out of tune. Once your guitar is in tune, you will be able to develop your ear. You will hear things how they should or should not be. This should be the first thing you do when you pick up your guitar. 3) Chords and calluses I put these two together because both develop over time. The human hand is an amazing thing and your fingers are delicate. When a beginner plays their first chord it is usually the same for everyone: You apply the death grip and your finger tips hurt. Well, honestly there is no way to get around it except practice, practice, practice. Believe me, it will get easier. I recommend starting with some easy chords. For instance, E minor or A major. These are simple chords that are easy to play. Never start with C major or B minor 7! 4) Practice As an instructor I know that learning and practicing two chords is really boring. However, keep in mind, you need to get your fingers to do something they have never done before. Challenge yourself: Can you play the chords correctly? If you had your hand on your lap and I said, Play G!, could you play it? The important thing to remember here is, just because you can play a chord or a scale, does not mean you can apply it. Master what you learn, then move on. One important thing I would like to mention about practicing. If you are not in the mood or have no ambition, do not force it. Even I sometimes get that way where I would rather do something else. If you force something, you will not enjoy it. 5) Reference There is plenty of material on the Internet or your local book store to help you out. Use it all! Hang out with guitarist above your level. Believe me, we all like to talk and show others what we know. 6) Safety Listen to your body. If it hurts, stop playing. Lastly, sit up straight! Thanks for reading! Feel free to contact me anytime! Peace -ancientson

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    ancientson
    Echogirl17 wrote: I have a question why should you never strat learning chords with C major or b7?
    Those chords are ultimately harder in the beginning. For someone who has never picked up a guitar, you should always start with something easy and obtainable. Get your fingers, hands and mind to grow with your instrument. The rewards are faster and you feel good. Make sense? Thanks -ancientson
    Echogirl17
    I have a question why should you never strat learning chords with C major or b7?
    Dave waite
    For the younger generation out there, I am in my 40's and just going to buy my first guitar tomorrow, this type of information is fantastic for those of us that hide in the back of the music store to afraid to ask the dumb questions while the youth are rocking the shop like pros, well done.
    ancientson
    Dave waite wrote: For the younger generation out there, I am in my 40's and just going to buy my first guitar tomorrow, this type of information is fantastic for those of us that hide in the back of the music store to afraid to ask the dumb questions while the youth are rocking the shop like pros, well done.
    Very well put and thank you!!! As an instructor I encourage guitarist of any age or level to ask anything! We were all there once. Again, if you have questions, please email me! I would love to help! Thanks again! -ancientson
    nerrad2466senoj2528
    One question I also need to ask is, when learning chords, is it best to concentrate on changing from one to another regardless of accuracy or to spend time in making sure that the fingers are perfectly placed, before changing to another chord?
    nerrad2466senoj2528
    I am an absolute beginner, aged 54 and the chord that I am struggling the most with is A major. I have tried 3 different ways to place my fingers between the frets yet I cannot seem to press the 3 strings clean.
    amazon4evr
    hey thank you for writing this page... i really liked the way u explained it...it got easier for me to play, thank you
    ancientson
    Morgwath wrote: I would add point 2a: Use a metronome. It helps a lot to get used to keep tempi right from the beginning. Most of the ones nowadays have an integrated tuner so you can hit two birds with one stone. Your band mates to-be will appreciate it!
    Yes, I sometimes recommend the tuner/metronome. I myself do not prefer them. Thanks for the post!
    Lolcohol
    Nice article. I wouldn't say that this is common sense, Ifcagger; at least not to an absolute beginner.
    lfcagger
    Fair enough, but I stand by my position due to the bit about safety. I never said it was a fault though, and it is a useful lesson.
    Ravenholm
    i like this lesson, wish i had this lesson yesterday when i started on a steel string acoustic for 10 hours and woke up with seriously painful fingers and a few blisters hehe. I overdid it a tad.
    Morgwath
    I would add point 2a: Use a metronome. It helps a lot to get used to keep tempi right from the beginning. Most of the ones nowadays have an integrated tuner so you can hit two birds with one stone. Your band mates to-be will appreciate it!
    lfcagger
    Not bad, but fairly basic stuff, most of it common sense. 7, because it will help the absolute beginner.