Strum with loose, relaxed motion. Strumming consists of downstrokes and upstrokes in various combinations, striking all the notes of the chord evenly and rhythmically. Use your wrist to practice smooth up and down motions. Keep your elbow in tight towards the guitar and sweep the pick down all the strings. Your elbow should not move very much, as you strum mostly from the wrist.
I've seen so many guitar lessons where the instructor simply dives right in and begins teaching chords. Unfortunately, that assumes that the student's guitar is already in tune! Guitars are made out of wood, and wood reacts to our environment, be it hot, cold, dry or humid. As such, guitars frequently go out of tune, and they must be tuned to make them sound good. If you begin learning to play guitar on an out of tune guitar, it will not sound good to the ear no matter how hard you try, and as such, it will become discouraging pretty quickly.
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Wow! This post really seems to have helped a lot of folks get started with the guitar. It has been read by – I kid you not – millions of aspiring guitarists. Thank you! As many of you have noted in the comments below, no, I’m not selling anything here related to playing the guitar. My motivation to write this post was that musicians, and especially guitar teachers, can often make learning the guitar sound way too hard. It’s actually easy.
Practice fretting the strings. The frets are the metal strips that run perpendicular to the strings that mark each note. To play a note, press your finger down between the metal strips, not on them. To say that you're playing the third fret means that you place your finger on the string in the gap between the second and third fret. If you hear buzzing, move your finger away from the lowest fret and closer to the higher fret. Hold the string down firmly so that it only vibrates between your finger and your strumming hand, with the tip of your finger doing the pressing.
To get good touch in your strumming hand, it’ll take longer than 10 hours. It’s about reps. Try to consider the amount of finesse you are hitting the strings with. Do a little research on palm mutting and other useful strumming techniques. If it sounds nasty at first, that’s cool. Your fingers and wrists will start to adjust. Focus on getting quality sounds out of the guitar.
Justin is an instructor with that rare combination that encompasses great playing in conjunction with a thoughtful, likable personality. Justin's instruction is extremely intelligent because he's smart enough to know the 'basics' don't have to be served 'raw' - Justin keenly serves the information covered in chocolate. Justin's site is like a free pass in a candy store!
3/4 Size Acoustic: I also have a 3/4 Scale Guitar in my apartment because they are awesome to sit beside your couch and just pick up easily and jam with. I bought the guitar a few months ago, and when I was playing it a concerned shopper came up to me and reminded me “that’s for kids you know.” I laughed. Fair enough, but I think little guitars are cool to have around the house, so if you do too (or if you have really small hands) perhaps this could be the guitar for you.
While there are in fact a number of songs you can play with simply the Em and Am chords, I know you're going to want a little bit more than just that. If you're still working on those first two chords, that's okay, they might take a bit to get comfortable with. Bookmark this page, work on the chords for a bit, and come back when you're ready for a few more. I'll still be here!
I've started off a new series with the awesome Ariel Posen, The Captains Privates series is popular as ever and I've also been filling in some beginner lessons of things I get asked about all the time... I'm about to re-kindle the Blues Lead 3 series which fell off the wagon somewhere and also get the gear videos rocking again... so lots in the works, lots going on and still loving it!
4.) Check the guitar’s string height by pressing down on the first, second, and third fret. You should be able to do so with minimal effort. Come to the 12th fret and press down. The distance from the top of fret to the bottom of the string should be no more than three times. If it is five times, the guitar may have a warped neck or too high of a bridge.
Electric tuners are easy to use and very accurate. Hold it to the guitar and pluck the high E. The tuner will tell you if the guitar is "sharp" (too high) or "flat" (too low). Pick each note and tighten the string to make it go higher, or give it some slack to lower it. Make sure the room is quiet when using a tuner because the microphone on the tuner can pick up other sounds.
My teaching approach: I tailor my lessons to fit the students goals. Beginner students want to learn songs, not theory. So I get the student playing /singing before I focus on scales and theory. I want to teach the student what they want to learn as well as giving them the skills to be a good musician/vocalist. I also determine what your learning style is, so that I can effectively teach you. I have over 14 years teaching experience in guitar and voice, and I teach songwriting and ukulele as well. I've been performing locally and internationally for over 7 years. My influences are: The Beatles, the Killers, Patty Griffin, Ray LaMontagne ... View Profile
I would especially like to stress the gentle approach Justin takes with two key aspects that contributed to my development as a musician - music theory and ear training. Justin has succeeded in conveying the importance and profoundness of understanding music both theoretically and through your ears while maintaining a simple and accessible approach to them, all while sticking to what is ultimately the most important motto: 'If it sounds good, it is good'.
Make-up Policy - 24 hour advance notice required to receive make-up credit. Make-up lessons may be either private or group lessons, based on your instructor's availability. If an instructor misses a lesson for any reason, a full cash credit will be applied to the following month's tuition. If you must miss a lesson, please be courteous and give your instructor as much advance notice as possible.