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!
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!
Strum with loose, relaxed motion.[7] 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.
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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.
Manage the finger pain. There'll be a point at which things will seem bleak: you can't quite get to each chord as fast as you want, your fingers are killing you, and it seems easier to put the thing back in its case. The reason most guitar players stop playing a few weeks in is that it hurts. After a couple of months and years of playing, callouses will build up on the fingers of your fretting hand that will greatly reduce the pain of pushing down the strings for long periods of time. Everyone who learns to play the guitar has to deal with sore fingers at the beginning. Learn to love the pain and associate it with everything that you love about music and the guitar.
Learning to play the guitar is a life-long process; it will not happen overnight despite what many of the hucksters on the internet may tell you. As such, you are best to develop some reasonable expectations of how quickly you will progress. There will be challenges along the way (yes, your fingers will hurt!) and too many budding guitarists have given up prematurely, slid their brand new guitars under their bed, and walked away in disappointment… not realizing that they were oh-so-close to a breakthrough that would have taken them on to the next level. Having a mindset that allows for setbacks here and there will really help you in the long run, because you will find that through every challenge you come out a stronger player on the other side.
Beginning Guitar Class - Open to all beginners age 13 and up, or intermediate players who want the review. Begins with holding and tuning your guitar, names of guitar parts, and quickly progresses to chords, scales, tabulature, and playing basic songs. A variety of styles are introduced to encourage students to explore and find the styles they like best. Classes are organized according to age and skill level, so it's an easy way to make new friends too. Classes start every month and may be repeated as often as you like. Cost is $70 per month (4 hours).
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