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.


Hold your guitar correctly. When you are sitting down, there are two main ways to hold your guitar. For a casual playing style, lay the guitar over your dominant leg. On the other hand, the classical method has you set your guitar on your non-dominant leg. In both instances, make sure that the guitar is held close against your body. Holding your guitar properly makes it easier to play and prevents you from becoming fatigued. Play around with both styles and figure out which one is most comfortable for you.[2]
Strum your guitar with a pick or your fingers. Hold down the strings with your fingers in the appropriate shape and try to strum with your other hand. Acoustic guitar strings often have higher actions than electric guitars, so you may have to press down very hard to get a good sound. If the chord comes out muted, try holding down the strings with more force. If your string is buzzing, move your finger further away from the metal fret on your neck.
Learn how to read guitar tabs. Guitarists have their own system of music notation called guitar tablature, or guitar tabs for short. The basic idea is to look at each line in the "staff" of the tab in the same way you look at your guitar. Each line corresponds to a string, and each number tells you which fret to hold down when plucking that string. For example, to play this tab-notated lick from the Lynyrd Skynyrd song "Sweet Home Alabama," you would play two notes on the open D string, the B string at the third fret, the G string at the second fret, etc.[10]

Okay, so if the diagram had O’s across the whole thing, then you wouldn’t even have to touch the fretboard at all, you would just strum it. However, this diagram has a couple of other marks on it, and those indicate where we need to place our fingers. In this case, they are on the 2nd fret of the 4th and 5th strings. The frets are the metal parts running perpendicular to your fretboard; they are what the string makes contact with when you press your fingers down. On the diagram, the frets are the horizontal lines. So count up to the second fret, and put your fingers down just behind the fret, like in the diagram.


Now many people are going to ask about other brands, like why don’t I suggest Gibson guitars? It really is a personal taste thing, and it’ll ultimately depend on yours. Perhaps by the style of music you play or the artists you admire. For me, Fender guitars represent the best in quality and feel. Many Gibson style guitars have fatter necks, bigger frets, are heavy, and feel and sound “muddy” to me, whereas the feel of a Stratocaster– light, slender, classic– feels, plays, and looks fast.  :)
C-chord: Place your ring finger on the third fret of the fifth string. Place your middle finger on the second fret of the fourth string, and your index finger on the first fret of the second string. Strum all but the sixth string. Then, go back and play each string individually, while still playing the chord. Make sure each string rings out clearly.
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If you just want to learn a few chords to strum along to some songs, then learning to play the guitar really isn't that hard for most people. Many students are able to learn a few chords and get a decent strumming pattern going after a few weeks. If you've had prior experience playing an instrument, you can expect to pick it up after just a few lessons.
I adapt my teaching style for each student to better fit your needs! I know firsthand the frustrations of wanting to get better in a certain area and feeling like a teacher is holding you back. You tell me what your goals are and I will adjust our learning so we can start heading towards that goal. For piano, we can work on classical, chord theory, or by-ear playing! We'll set the music theory foundation together and then I'll take you learning as fast as you like so you can get to playing stuff that you actually ENJOY. For vocal lessons, I like to focus on understanding the structure of the voice in the body, resonation placement, and breat ... View Profile
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!
Music has been the cornerstone of my work as a teacher and mentor. Through music, I have found a career, a life path, and a passion to give back to the world. I have survived as a musician overseas in Belize and I learned a lot about the world from my experience in the Caribbean. I have been a professional performer in Dallas since 1999. I have a wide range of influences and since I play drums, guitar, bass, piano and sing... I feel I have a very well-rounded grasp of music that can enhance anyone's style even if you're more experienced than I... I was awarded: John Phillip Souza Leadership Award- 1998 Louis Armstrong Jazz Award- 1998 ... 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'.
Am Strut Solo 1 is a free guitar lesson that will teach you how to play a blues solo over our original Am Strut jam track. Peter Vogl will show you how to use the Am pentatonic scale in the open position, the A natural minor scale, and some outside notes to create a solo. We’ll use hammer-ons, slides, and our right hand to create a more expressive solo. Specifically, we’ll use the thumb instead of a pick to play the strings and add a plucky and funky vibe. Peter will start by walking you through the theory choices and how to play the solo in detail. Next, we’ll practice the whole solo at a reduced speed with a metronome before advancing to playing along with the track. Sign up for a free 7 day trial and access a PDF of the tabs, a downloadable mp3 jam track, and three more solos over this progression.
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