Posts filed under ‘guitar lessons’
When you first learn guitar, you’re just happy if you make some progress and can play a few songs on the guitar.
Just getting over the initial discomfort of developing blisters on your fingertips and seeing them turn into callouses so you can actually play the guitar without too much pain is a big step forward.
What happens later on though. What differentiates the novice from the professional.
Is there a missing ingredient to becoming a master on the guitar?
It’s my opinion and experience that what really propels your guitar playing forward is a sense of urgency, coupled with trying something new all the time.
Let me explain this a little further.
For a long time after I had my first guitar I was kind of in cruise mode. Just going over what I already knew and every now and then maybe working out a guitar riff or two.
I had no real instruction on guitar to speak of, and I wasn’t playing guitar in a band or anything. That was three years of wasted time.
Then I got asked to join a band, and they needed a lead guitarist. I wasn’t one.
My sense of urgency went through the roof, and I quickly became a lead guitarist. When I say quickly I mean it took me 6 months before I was doing anything substantial on the guitar.
Nevertheless, it was only after I had spent a lot of time rehearsing with the band, gone out and gigged a good number of times and actually used my guitar scales to creating solos on the fly, that I realised my goal and actually started playing solos that where meaningful.
It’s how you apply what you learn as a guitar student that makes the difference.
Here’s my breakdown of the formula for success when you learn how to play the guitar and master it.
Please forgive me for sounding a bit arrogant and assuming I’m a master guitar player. There are many guitarists that are way better than me, but a heck of a lot that aren’t.
There’s always room for improvement.
Anyways, here’s the guitar success formula.
- Start out with a decent quality beginners guitar that’s easy to play.
- Get decent guitar instruction that takes you step by step from absolute beginner to lead guitar level. Understanding what to do is vital.
- Make time to practice every day, and always try something you can’t do yet, as opposed to just going over what you know already.
- Start playing guitar in a band as this will give you a definite advantage with applying everything you learn.
- Train your ears by working out other peoples songs on the guitar by listening to them. You also train your ear when you practice soloing on the guitar by playing over other peoples music.
- Get as much guitar technique as you can under your belt, and then forget it. The secret to creating amazing guitar solos is to become so proficient at all the guitar scales and tricks that it becomes automatic, like second nature, and then you can really let rip without even thinking about it. That’s what I mean by forget it.
Here’s an article you may find helpful:
The Best Guitar Instruction DVD – Here’s the Method to Master Guitar
By Andrew Gavin Webber
The lesson that’s been missing from guitar instruction.
The traditional method of guitar instruction has always been a teacher student arrangement, but there is only so much that a guitar teacher can pass on to a student.
Talent isn’t one of them, but I have to agree with the old saying that talent is 90 percent effort, and while it’s true that the right guitar instruction will help greatly with bringing out your talent, the greatest tool for developing it is applying what you’ve learned.
While the classical musician has often had the opportunity to rehearse in an orchestra, usually a small school orchestra, the guitar student, especially when learning to play more modern forms of music, is excluded.
The guitar lesson that really rounds off your music study and practice, is when you learn to play in a band. The term “seasoned musician” springs to mind.
Maybe I’ve set my sights a little high, but I truly believe that in order to really become a master of the guitar, one needs a guitar course that mimics the real life lessons of being an active musician in order to truly maximize all the theory and practice contained in most guitar lessons.
So what do you do? You may not feel ready to go out and start a band, and even if you did, you wont necessarily be applying all the guitar instruction you’ve received on DVD or otherwise. You would need to play specific music pieces in the band, geared towards specific lessons.
Not a likely situation for a band that’s just starting up.
The solution for this is to use backing tracks, or Jam tracks. While this seems like an insignificant addition to guitar lessons, the resulting improvement in skill can be considerable.
What else should the best guitar instruction dvd teach you?
Ear training, better described as the ability to recognize notes and chords simply by hearing them, is an essential part of being a musician.
This does develop over time as a natural progression of learning to play guitar, or any musical instrument for that matter, but having a set method for learning and practicing this art can really speed things up.
Why is it important? Well, when you get to writing songs and playing guitar solos this is a handy talent to have. When you get this right you’ll realize you’re a lot more talented than you thought you where.
The true value of getting the best guitar instruction dvds.
Most people don’t really consider the long term benefit of learning to play guitar properly, and by properly I mean learning to read music, music theory, different styles of guitar playing, and getting lessons that go all the way from beginner to advanced lead guitar and soloing styles.
Getting a complete education in guitar puts you in a position to not only learn for yourself, but with time can turn into a fairly lucrative career teaching others how to play the guitar.
A complete guitar instruction DVD set gives you all the materials with video, and preferably a book should accompany that, so you have a reference for years to come.
The other reason to get a complete guitar course.
If you have it, you’ll use it. I’ve seen many guitarists who are stuck at a certain level. They want to play lead guitar, or blues solos and so on, but they’re still playing the same old rhythm guitar they learned way back.
When the drive to learn and master the guitar is there, it’s best not to stand in its way, and if two years from now you get the urge to learn something new on guitar, you’ll actually do it because the lessons are there already.
Andrew Webber is a professional guitarist and music arranger.
Get the best guitar lessons here – The Best Guitar Instruction dvd’s
Nothing could be more helpfull on the net for a beginner guitar player than having videos to show how to play those beginner guitar chords, so I recently invested in a decent video camera to take some simple beginner guitar instruction videos.
If you get a message that says “This video is no longer available”, then just hang ten for a few minutes. They ARE available, it’s just youtube that’s slowed up sometimes.
I guess it’s been bugging me for a while now that I’ve taken them and not posted them here, so without further ado, here’s the first three.
Beginner guitar chord video – A Major.
You’ll notice in this video that I’ve put a few extra things there that you can do with an A chord. If you want to just keep things simple for now, then ignore the extra notes and variations. The extra notes I play here actually form different A chords, namely the A sus4 and A sus2.
Beginner guitar chord video – D Major.
The same thing here with the extras is that they’re D sus4 and D sus2. If you can play the extra things I show you in these videos it’ll mean that you’re fingering the chords correctly and have good control with your fretting hand. A good test is to see if you notice a difference in the sound.
If it all sounds the same, then chances are good that one of your fingers is blocking off one of the strings. Remember to try and keep your fingers as perpendicular to the fretboard as possible.
If your nails are too long, it could hinder your ability to place your fingers as straight down as possible.
And finally – The open E beginner chord.
The E major chord in this video only has an option for playing an additional E sus4, but hey, this is supposed to be part of a beginners crash course in guitar, so don’t worry about it too much.
If you need a little more info on these guitar chords, and a few others, then just pop over to this page on the blog: Beginner guitar chords – Crash course part 3
Beginner guitar chords – Easy chords to start playing guitar with.
Like most guitarists, the first thing I learned to play on the guitar where chords. A chord is basically a group of notes played simultaneously.
The unfortunate thing about beginner guitar chords, is that, being the easiest guitar chords to play, they don’t cover all of the chords sometimes required to play a song.
There’s still quite a lot of songs you can play with them, so let’s find out what these chords are. I’ll try and show you how to play them correctly as well.
The first thing we have to do is number the fingers on your left hand – the one that’s going to be pressing the chords. If you’re left handed, that would be your right hand, but seeing as I’m right handed, let’s go with the left hand.
Now that we’ve got that down, these are some of the easiest guitar chords to learn. We’ll start with A, D and E major. these three chords are in the Key of A major.
First, the A chord
then the D chord
And the E chord
There are two extra things you need to know about the pictures.
- The nut is that thing the strings go over, between the fretboard – or fingerboard and the head – where you tune the guitar.
- The strings marked with an X must not be strummed or played in any way, cos they’re not part of the chord.
The way your fingers should be placed on the fret board is in such a way they’re as perpendicular to the fretboard as possible. Here’s a picture I took with my cellphone, of a D chord, just to show what your fingers should look like relative to the fretboard.
Okay well, now that we’ve got the basic idea of how to play guitar chords, here are the rest of the beginner guitar chords.
Major guitar chords for beginners.
Major guitar chords are mostly written without any suffix denoting that they are major.
They are written simply as C or G or whatever they are.
Here you go then
So between these chords we’ve got all the beginner major guitar chords. What I’ll do at a later stage is give you some other chords that are more advanced, so you’ll have something to work on when you’ve got the hang of all these beginners chords.
Minor guitar chords for beginners.
Minor chords are written with the suffix “min” behind them, like A min and B min etc.
Cool, know we also know what a suffix is.
I think the E minor must be the easiest guitar chord to play.
7th guitar chords for beginners.
Seventh chords are written simply with a 7 behind the chord letter.
That’s it for now – Next post, some more advanced chords and some tips on strumming.
How to hold the plectrum for maximum tone and playability.
To use a plectrum most effectively, it’s important not to have too much plectrum sticking out past your fingers. If you think about it, it makes perfect sense. The deeper the plectrum goes into the strings, the more resistance there is and the more difficult it is to play.
Here’s what it should look like. The first picture shows how the plectrum should be placed on the index finger, the second one with closed fingers and the third one is just a side view to give you a better idea.
As you can see from the above pictures, the plectrum, or “pick” as some people like to call it, is held between the index finger and thumb. the index finger is in a curved position with the plectrum resting on the side of the finger. The thumb then comes along to seal the deal.
Before we learn to play guitar, let’s first tune the guitar.
The easiest way to tune the guitar is with a guitar tuner, so we’ll start with the note names of the strings.
After that, we can look at tuning the guitar to itself, and some advanced tuning techniques to make sure that we get the best out of the instrument.
Here are the note names of the strings
- 1st string – E (thinnest string)
- 2nd string – B
- 3rd string – G
- 4th string – D
- 5th string – A
- 6th string – E
Starting with the first string, every string up to the sixth string is tuned lower in pitch. I’m sure you knew that, but it just needs to be mentioned for those that don’t. Most stand alone guitar tuners will have this quite clearly marked out, but some guitar tuners are integrated into certain amplifiers and guitar effects processors. These usually just give the note name of the string or note you’re playing, so it helps if you know what you’re supposed to be seeing.
Some pointers to help with the accuracy of your tuning.
When a guitar string is first plucked, it will sound a note that is slightly sharper (higher in pitch) then settle down to its actual frequency. It’s easy for a beginner guitarist to think that the initial reading on the tuner is the true pitch. Steel string acoustic guitars and electric guitars with light gauge strings are more likely to show this phenomenon than classical and Spanish nylon string guitars, mostly because of the material the strings are made of.
The best thing to do is wait a second till the string vibration dies down a bit, and take that as the true reading. Some guitarists prefer to tune the thicker strings down slightly to compensate for this when playing. I prefer to use harmonics and my ears when tuning a guitar, as this gives a better result than just believing everything the guitar tuner is telling me.
We’ll get into tuning the guitar with harmonics a little later, but for now, we’re off to a good start.
Tuning the guitar to itself.
When you haven’t got a guitar tuner handy, and you just want to get the guitar in tune without worrying about whether or not you’re in tune with any other musical instruments, or you want to be in tune with the other instruments but you only have one note as a reference, then tuning the guitar to itself is the other option.
Here’s how you do it.
First, find a reference note for the 6th string (the thickest one) which should be E. If there’s no other instrument to use as a reference, you could try putting on a CD of a song that you know the chords to, otherwise you can right click and choose “save target as” to download this E reference note to tune your guitar from and save it somewhere like on your mp3 player or Ipod.
Now that we’ve got a reference for Low E, we can start.
First tune your 6th string as close as possible to E, then do the following: Play the note at the fifth fret of the 6th string and tune the open 5th string until the pitch matches. You should hear the two notes sound like one, and no oscillations.
The strings make a strange rhythmic oscillation when they are out of tune with each other, which slows down as the two strings come closer in tune, until eventually, when they’re perfectly in tune, the oscillation stops.
Now we move on to the 5th string and do the same. Play the note at the 5th fret of the 5th string and tune the open 4th string till the pitch matches. The same is done on the 4th string, playing the note at the 5th fret and tuning the 3rd string until the open 3rd string matches.
On the 3rd string, you press the note at the 4th fret and tune the 2nd string up until it matches, and then on the 2nd string, you play the note at the 5th fret and tune the open 1st string until the pitch is the same.
Making sure the guitar stays in tune longer.
When tuning the guitar, it’s always better to tune up to the note as opposed to down. If you have to tune a string down, then rather go further down than you need to, and tune it back up from there.
The reason for this is quite simple – When you tune down, you loosen the string windings around the tuning post, which means that the string will slowly slip even lower in pitch as the string starts to vibrate. When you tune up from a lower pitch, you force the strings to tighten around the post, which makes for a more stable tuning.
Another thing that’s good to keep in mind when putting new strings on the guitar, is to try and keep the number of windings down to a minimum. A maximum of three should do just fine.
With less windings around the posts, there’s less slippage.
When you put new strings on the guitar, it’s also a good idea, in fact it’s essential to first stretch the strings before tuning it up properly. This can be done by pressing each string at the 12th fret and gently tugging them one at a time by pulling upwards away from the guitar body. You pull between the bridge and 12th fret.
Guitar strings sometimes take a while to settle in properly, so your tuning may go out a bit during the first day. Guitars and guitar strings are also susceptible to temperature changes, so that will also affect your tuning.