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Learn to Play Guitar Step by Step

from Mike Beatham Mon Jan 18, 2016

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4 subscribes 1,200

Parts of the Guitar  

First, get to know your instrument. In this preliminary lesson you will learn the function of each part of an acoustic and electric guitar. Don't skip it, it's important! 

How to Hold the Guitar 

Learn how to hold the guitar correctly, avoiding problems later on. Includes how to position the body and holding the neck and pick correctly. 

Fretboard Basics 

Learn how the fretboard works, including where to press your fingers and fret numbering. 

Tuning the Guitar 

The very basics on tuning up. 

Guitar Chord Basics 

Learn how to finger chords on the guitar fretboard correctly. This lesson covers the physical aspects of chord fingering and how you should position your fingers. Quick and simple. 

How to Read Guitar Tab 

Tab, short for tablature, is musical notation for guitar (because traditional notation can be a bit of an eyeful). Learn how it works and how to read it so you can then go and learn your favourite songs easily. 

Basic Guitar Chords 

Learn all the essential chords and use the jam tracks to practice changing between chord fingerings confidently. By the end of this 4 part mini-course, you will have a huge chord library with which to create your own music confidently. Over-the-shoulder photos, diagrams, audio examples and of course jam tracks.

 

 

Gaaaahhhhhh!

Unfortunately, when such negative feelings surface during the earlier stages of learning the guitar, we are more likely to throw the sodding thing in the closet with all the other discarded items of woe.Or leave it gathering dust on a stand in the corner of the room, hoping that nobody will request an impromptu gig when they come over.This is the worst thing you could do when times get tough, because it means you never get to experience the easier, incredibly rewarding and satisfying times just around the corner.The only time you should "give up" guitar is when you truly get bored of it, and frustration is not boredom. Frustration is most likely caused by you WANTING to be good at guitar and falling short of your ambition.This frustration is most often born out of impatience and of what hindsight will inform you were very minor obstacles that, at the time, seemed like mountains.If you're wondering whether to pick up the guitar for the first time, or start taking it more seriously, you must not let the knowledge that obstacles are inevitable put you off.Ask yourself this: Is there anything in life worth acheiving that isn't hard at some point?If you just accept and embrace that your guitar playing life will consist of a mixture of dizzying highs, disheartening lows and indifferent inbetweens, you're ready to start learning! Roll with the punches, like with anything in life, and keep moving forward.

Marrying your guitar - the learning commitment

Anyone planning the big move from Guitar Hero to the real deal must be aware - you are not trying to "complete" guitar. Furthermore, there are no high scores or cheat codes. Learning guitar is an ongoing process.It's "till death do us part". You must put in the time, ideally every day, even if it's just half an hour of quality time, or things will soon get stale.Without wanting to delve too much into the marriage metaphor... oh what the hell - learning guitar is a bit like a marriage (or at least my cold, objective, realist interpretation of it).On the one hand, you have to work at it. Sometimes your time spent with the guitar is awkward and uncomfortable, even painful. Sometimes it's plain stubborn. Sometimes it screams at you and makes noises you don't approve of. Deep down you know it's not (always) the guitar's fault, but damn it's making life so difficult for you!Sometimes you just don't understand it. The sex can get bland and predictable - one moment you're making sweet music with free flowing improvisation, the next you're just not harmonising. Just because Hendrix is known for giving his guitar multiple orgasms during a given show, doesn't mean their relationship was always that peachy behind the scenes. Yes, that was another metaphor.So learning guitar can, at times, feel like a struggle, especially with life's many other committments taking up your time.But it is also a wonderful journey of personal growth, adventure and proud accomplishment. Just make guitar one of your commitments, "in sickness and in health". Ok I'm done with the marriage thing now.Remain open to learning, keep challenging yourself and you will be amazed at what you can accomplish.The point is, we (all of us) never stop learning guitar. Even Steve Vai, Jeff Beck, Joe Satriani, B.B. King, *insert highly respected guitarist here* are still learning. I guarantee it. Even Brian "still the hair" May. Ask him next time you see him. Sure, they learned how to play C major a good while ago, but they are still learning and growing as individual musicians.Their relationship with the guitar is constantly evolving.

So what are the hardest parts of learning guitar?

Going purely on questions and feedback from students - barre chords. I've even read of players having nightmares about the dreaded F chord (ok, I may have made that bit up... but they could have).The hardest parts are the physical parts. The pain. The stubbornness of one's fingers. There is a thing called muscle memory, which is basically the ability to finger chords and scales without need for adjustment or much thought. It takes a lot of repeated action to set in this muscle memory.Persistence eventually overcomes those obstacles. I can now play barre chords in my sleep (note: you don't have to sleep with your guitar as part of "the commitment").Good old persistence.Be assured by the fact that squillions of guitarists have learned barre chords. How long did it take them? Some people it'll take a month, others a year. Again, the R word. How much time you're willing to put in per day/week depends on how passionate you are about reaching your goals.I always tell my students "learn at your own pace". Don't feel rushed or anxious. There's no exam/deadline. Just take it easy, keep setting yourself modest goals and shuffle towards them. If you get stuck I'm more than happy to give you the guidance you need.Thanks to the internet, learning guitar is cheaper and easier than ever. No more moving at the tutor's pace over your own, since you're not technically "on a pay meter" like with private lessons.More sophisticated online courses like Guitar Tricks offer a logical step by step structure so all you need to do is go from one lesson to the next on the list, right through to advanced playing.

The bottom line

Nothing I've said in this article is revelationary. But often people need reminding that in life there are no easy rides, just ups and downs.If you can take stock of your progress at any given point, and promise yourself to not make all that effort and progress in vain, keep building on what you already know, keep moving forward and don't be afraid to ask more experienced players (after all, they have ALL been where you are), you are in for a very fun and rewarding journey.Guitar is a wonderful instrument and, although sometimes I feel overwhelmed by certain tasks (e.g. a solo for my band's new song), deep down I always relish the challenge and see it through, because it's an amazing feeling when you nail it.In a nutshell, the more of these challenges you overcome, the easier it gets.Good luck and may you have a long and fruitful marriage.

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