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.
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Once you have made it to your first lesson, there are some questions you should consider asking. Ask the guitar teacher about their experience. How long have they been playing? How long have they been teaching? What are they best at? What styles do they teach? What is their method of teaching guitar lessons? What extra resources can you use to further your learning? It is key to ask these questions and listen.
I’m not going to walk through each of these chords individually with you, because you should be able to figure out where to put your fingers by looking at the diagrams. Once you’ve got each chord sounding nice and clear, then you can begin working on changing between the chords. You can switch between all five of these chords in any order you please and they will sound good together. There’s a reason for that, but we won’t get into that just yet.
This article was co-authored by Ron Bautista. Ronald Bautista is a professional guitarist and guitar teacher at More Music & Los Gatos School of Music in California. He has over 30 years of playing experience and over 15 years of teaching experience. He performs mainly as a jazz musician, but also teaches Jazz, Rock, Fusion, Blues, Fingerpicking, and Bluegrass. As an instructor, he focuses on understanding the fretboard and applying music theory to any genre of music.
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.
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.
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