In order to play your favorite song, you’ll need to learn guitar chords. Use the images and instructions below to learn how to play each chord. The ChordBuddy device can be used for assistance in knowing where to place your fingers In the images the circles represent where you will be placing your fingers (I=index, M=middle finger, R=ring finger, P=pinky). The X’s represent strings that you will not be strumming while the O represents strings that will be played without any frets.
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!
Minutes 60-600. Pick up the guitar everyday for 20 days for 30 minutes or so. You can do this while you do other things like watch TV or chit chat. Get your fingers used to moving around on the fretboard. Start jamming out some John Denver baby. Please do sing along. Eventually try to keep up with tempo of the changes in the actual song. Once you can change your chords on time, focus on improving your “touch” with your right hand. Strum the chords in a way that it adds texture to the recording (if you are playing along with the man himself.)
Position your fingers on the neck. The dots on the chords represent where you should hold down your fingers on the neck. For instance, an A major is played by holding down the string on the second fret on the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th string. An E minor is played by holding down the second fret on the 5th and 4th string. Hold the strings down until they are pressed against the neck of your guitar.
Now I know you might be confused by this diagram, so let's take a moment to explain it. First off, the top of the diagram corresponds to the nut on your guitar, that's the part where the strings end, farthest from your body. Left to right, the strings are 6,5,4,3,2,1. So as you look at the diagram, the string on the left is actually the 6th string on your guitar, the low E string.
I know that for me, I enjoy getting to put the spotlight on my students. I also like haveing concerts for my students to be able to demonstrate their skills for their friends and family. I also can work with students of any age, starting at about age 5 through age 100+. My experiences with teaching children gives me the ability to teach even very young students.
Minutes 30-60. Practice making the basic 5 shapes. This is probably the hardest part. You gotta put your head down for 30 minutes and remember the chords that are demonstrated below. Once you start getting these shapes down, adding to your portfolio will be easy. You can even experiment with adding and removing fingers– you’ll find a lot of cool sounds here and you’ll continue to discover these for years to come.
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.
Play the song with the audio recording. Once you've mastered the individual portions of the song, you're ready to play the song in its entirety. Play the song and strum your guitar along with the song. Try to keep up with the tempo of the song you're covering. Follow the tabs as you play. If you mess up, follow the music on the tabs and come back into the song when you're ready. Once you've become proficient at playing the riff, continue practicing until you don't need the tabs anymore.
Though this decision can be based on preference, we think the best guitar for a beginner is the acoustic guitar. Classical guitars have a wider neck, which can be hard for younger students or physically smaller individuals to handle when learning guitar chords. Meanwhile, the electric guitar is designed to be played with an amplifier, which comes at an additional cost. Acoustic guitars are simple and require little to no additional equipment, making them ideal for beginner guitarists.
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.
After teaching guitar and music theory to thousands of students over past three decades, I thought that I had basically 'seen it all' when it comes to guitar instruction. Then I discovered Justin’s website, and man was I impressed! Justin’s caring spirit, attention to detail, vast knowledge base, and especially his lucid, laidback and nurturing style, allow students to fall in love with the learning process. You see, it’s not enough to simply find out how to play a few cool licks or chords. A truly great teacher will make you fall in love with the process of discovery so that you can unlock the best within you. Justin is one of these great teachers, and I highly recommend justinguitar.com to anyone who wants to tap into their best selves.
When you play the right note or chord, you will hear it. It will be a pleasant sound, it will be clear and won't have any blocked string sounds (unless it needs to, but you'll get to that later). To play a note or chord correctly, you have to get your fingers in the right position and press as hard as you can on the frets; it will become a habit if you practice enough.
Learn the difference between chords and single notes. Chords occur when you play two or more notes on different strings simultaneously to create one unified sound. These are what make up the "rhythm" portion of acoustic music. Single notes are used more for solos and occur when you play a single note at a time. Both are skills that you must become proficient in when learning to play the acoustic guitar.
A few years back, I dusted off the ol' Takamine I got in high school to try some 'music therapy' with my disabled son, who was recovering from a massive at-birth stroke. This reignited my long dormant passion to transform myself from a beach strummer to a 'real' musician; however, as a single mom, taking in-person lessons was financially difficult. Then I found Justinguitar! Flash forward to today; my son is almost fully recovered (YAY!), my guitar collection has grown significantly, and I'm starting to play gigs. None of this would have been possible without your guidance and generosity, Justin. Thank you for being part of the journey!
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.
After you have selected a style and a teacher, you may want to keep some extra questions in mind for your first guitar lesson. An in person lesson can be very valuable, if you show up, and if you do the work that the instructor gives you for when you are not meeting. One of the greatest methods of improving is to consistently play. Play multiple times a week, get those practice repetitions in.
String$: When you're done playing, wipe your strings with a cotton cloth or old T-shirt that's been treated with a small amount of light household oil such as WD-40. This cleans the strings and displaces moisture that can shorten string life. This simple process will extend string life 3 to 4 times compared to untreated strings, saving you money, and giving you more time to spend playing your guitar instead of changing strings.