Checklist For Beginning Guitarists

Learning guitar with the guidance of a teacher is best. But when you're on your own it's important to know WHAT you should learn and in what ORDER you should learn it for maximum effectiveness. This checklist will help you do that.

Ultimate Guitar
Going it alone for a beginner guitar player can be tough simply because you don't get your road map through the musical experience that a instructor can provide. It's harder to educate yourself about intermediate and advanced guitar methods when you don't develop the basic principles down first. I am going to provide you with a check-list of guitar techniques every guitarist ought to learn, along with the order you should master them in for the most effective progression. To begin with, just a few strategies. Don't try to handle all these issues at once. Music is really a cumulative study. Think about the manner by which you'd study math concepts. You can not master calculus until you've already got algebra under your belt. Second of all, do not only just learn all these principles in a vacuum. As much as you possibly can you want to understand all of them in the context of a song. You will understand the techniques better and find they stay in your head alot more if you are using them within a real world context. Plus, it's simply more pleasant to learn in that way! Several of these ideas might overlap each other just a little bit on the way. And some are on-going concepts which you will continually improve at higher stages. But this is a great fundamental order to master all of them in. Reading Standard Music Notation and Tablature Learning to read music is not as hard as it would seem and will definitely make the rest of your personal learning experience much easier. The notation is just the information about how to perform a piece of music. Without it, it's similar to working to set up an item of furniture without being able to read the instructions. You could eventually figure it out, but it really will be more difficult and take longer than it should. Guitar tablature is a simple method to find out, however do not quit with that. Tabs don't include a rhythm notation component. So you already have to be familiar with the rhythm to make sense of the notes. Being equipped to read standard notation with the tab will get you wherever you would like to go. Open Position Notes The open position is going to be 1st 3 frets for each string. You will understand the note names on the open strings, along with a couple of other notes on every string. I recommend taking this one string at a time and getting simple songs to perform with every group of notes. Keep on expanding 1 string each time until eventually you have achieved all 6 strings. You might want to spend a few bucks in a beginning guitar guide by Mel Bay or somebody equivalent. Having these little graded pieces can help you save time and effort hunting all over for some thing to tackle. General Music Theory You might think it's a little premature to do this, however it's definitely not. Music theory is a thing that you'll work with and broaden upon through the entire guitar mastering process. It's just like mastering the grammar of music. By knowing how the music is put together, you will have enough knowledge to apply that knowledge to each and every new tune that you learn to have the learning proceed faster. Here is a good short listing of basic theory concepts you ought to get to: -How chords are built -Tension and release -What a key is -Chord relationships (You'll be ready to answer a question such as What is the IV chord for the key of F major?) -Half, Authentic, and Plagal cadences -Intervals -Borrowed chords Once again, don't simply attempt to memorize all of these techniques. Always try to look for these in actual songs to find out the way they are really applied. Essential Open Position Chords Open chords are ones that utilize a combination involving fretted notes along with open strings. They will mostly happen around the initial 3 frets of the neck. I advise you start with major, minor, and dominant seventh versions for all the natural notes, A-G. Look for songs using some chords and study them within that framework. Don't try to learn any more than five to six at one time. This will let you master different chords as you need them rather than making an effort to cram twenty one different chords into your brain immediately. Strumming Rhythms It is useless having chords if you do not have any rhythms to go along with all of them, right? You can begin with a few basic quarter note/eighth note rhythms and then extend into sixteenth notes plus syncopations. Work your rhythms initially with one chord, and after that begin using pairs of chords to rehearse changing them proficiently. You'll go on to learn and invent rhythm styles in the course of your studies. Tuning By Ear I didn't put this one early on on the listing since you can take advantage of digital tuners to keep yourself under control in the early stages. But as you become more advanced you'll realize that many of those tuners will get you in the ball park, although rarely correctly tuned. Being capable to tune by ear will let you fine tune your guitar to make it sound much better. You are not looking for perfect pitch here. You will get started with a good reference note provided by another source and employ relative pitch to be able to tune the rest of the guitar. Barre Chords After you have gotten all your open chords down, you'll start running across chords that can not be played in that way, like a C#7. Barre chords make use of all fretted notes to make the chords. The wonderful thing is that you truly just need to remember eight forms here because they're portable to other parts of the neck. Make certain to study major, minor, dominant seventh, and minor seventh voicings rooted on the fifth and sixth strings. What makes barre chords a bit harder will be the physicality of holding down 5 or 6 strings at the same time and also trying to keep all of them nice and clean sounding. If you have into a certain amount of trouble with these chords, that is totally normal. Just keep working at them. As a guitarist, you will use barre chords quite a bit. As well, while you are studying all of your barre chords, you can easily learn to read all the rest of your notes on your guitar fretboard. Pentatonic Scales Typical music teaching would have you master major scales to begin with. But for the guitar player, pentatonic scales are usually a lot more immediately useful. Just like anything, don't try and learn all the stuff at once. Start out by using a standard box pattern rooted at the 6th string. Add subsequent patterns once you are confident with the one you are learning. Major Scales Same as with the pentatonics, you'll want to work with a single form at a stretch here. The cool idea is that when you know some major patterns, they may be slightly modified to turn into various other important scales as well. Always consider the way the newer thing you are studying works with the old things you mastered. Position Playing Position playing would mean being able to perform melodies higher up on the neck of the guitar than the open position. Once you have got a few major and pentatonic scales under your digits, this won't be that tough. Minor Scales Your minor scales are based on the major patterns you learned in the past. Here you will want to get to know the natural, harmonic, and melodic minors. Extended Chords Extended chords go beyond the old minor and major. You will need to have all the different kinds of seventh chords, diminished and augmented, ninth, eleventh, and thirteenth voicings. As things progress you'll pick up other chords you stumble upon in songs you are performing. Remember that music is really a cumulative form of study. The more you learn, the easier it is to learn more. The lessons you learn in the early stages will still be essential later while you're playing significantly more difficult songs. If you can make your way around every one of the concepts listed above you'll be ready to go deep into almost any genre or any song you'd like with the proper methods to train yourself. To start learning these beginner guitar subjects now visit, Guitar Notes For Beginners HQ.

17 comments sorted by best / new / date

    Well, ive bene playing about five years and dont know some of this stuff. Now i feel depressed
    [QUOTE=LivinJoke84] Well, ive bene playing about five years and dont know some of this stuff. Now i feel depressed [/QUOTE] Write down what you do know and try to fill in the gaps by going right back to the basics. it's a journey dude, and we all take different paths.
    Absolutely what Myshadow said. Depending on the pace you go, that could easily be more than 5 years of study anyway. I've had plenty of students that have been self-taught for years coming to me for lessons with plenty of those ideas missing. I use it as my own checklist to work with people on.
    Hey, this is a great article. Everyone who wants to be any kind of musician should know this stuff, no matter what. Just one thing though, when learning the open position notes you'll need the first 4 frets, not 3. Otherwise you miss notes like the low G# or C#, or the middle F#, and you wouldn't be able to read in all keys very effectively.
    Let me clarify... I don't mean perfect pitch kind of tuning. I mean relative pitch. Relative pitch can be learned by anyone, with practice. Tuners, unfortunately, are not super accurate. So I recommend getting in the ballpark with a tuner, then fine tuning by ear. It's a skill you'll want, particularly if you don't have a tuner handy.
    McLuvins92 wrote: Tuning by ear has to be the least important of all the skills he listed. Not everyone has the ear to recognize a pitch well enough to tune a guitar.
    I've been playing for the better part of ten years, and I to this day don't do some of this stuff, but like Myshadow 46_2 said...we all take different paths. Guitar is an art. Nobody does it the same as the next guy. Have fun with it and go at your own pace.
    That's a good point. However in the open position portion I was mostly thinking about natural notes. The chromatics get picked up later when dealing with the rest of the fretboard. No harm in learning them early though.
    Creative-Noise wrote: Hey, this is a great article. Everyone who wants to be any kind of musician should know this stuff, no matter what. Just one thing though, when learning the open position notes you'll need the first 4 frets, not 3. Otherwise you miss notes like the low G# or C#, or the middle F#, and you wouldn't be able to read in all keys very effectively.
    Wow this is very helpful.Beginners often get overwhelmed when they first start to learn guitar, but This is a nice starting point.
    Tuning by ear has to be the least important of all the skills he listed. Not everyone has the ear to recognize a pitch well enough to tune a guitar.
    I've been playing for about a year and a half now, I know most all of this, but although this I'm sure is really simple, I would like a simple definition of a scale on a guitar- thanks!
    Hey Sir.. Could you please come back to the 'Open Position Notes'. I do not understand what you mean by that.. Is it just knowing all 18 notes (24 including the chromatics)by heart? Thx
    ByWhat's meant by IV chord of Fmajor? The chord that have the 4th note of Fmajor as root? And Borrowed chords are chords that not originally in the scale you're playing in? I have no idea what Half, Authentic, and Plagal cadences is.. but have just played for a year. Still I know the rest of things mentioned in this thread .