I remember when I got my first guitar. It was Christmas and I was so excited. But the excitement quickly went away once I realized I didn’t know how to play it. So if that’s you too… I want to tell you the top 3 things a beginner guitar player should learn.
Before the excitement goes away of owning your new guitar. Let’s get right to some things that will keep it interesting.
How to Hold a Guitar Properly
I know you may know how to place the guitar on your lap. But a lot of new beginners still place it on there lap with the sound hole facing up. Which makes it easier to see the strings. This is Wrong!
What you want to do is place the guitar on your lap right leg if you are right handed. Well you may want to hold it classical style. We will cover that in a minute.
Place the guitar on your lap use your right arm to hold the guitar. Simply rest your arm over the top body of the guitar. This will help prevent the guitar from falling off your lap.
Then your fretting hand (left hand) should be holding the neck of the guitar. Lightly hold the neck. You need to be able to move it up and down the neck. So you don’t want to have a death grip on it.
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Holding the Guitar Classical Style
Another way to hold the guitar is Classical style. One advantage of playing the guitar classical style it shortens the distance of your arm to the fretboard. And makes it easier to play if you have a shorter arm length.
So what you want to do when you hold the guitar like a classical guitarist is place the guitar on your left leg.
I use a foot stool and prop your left foot on it. Now the guitar is at a different angle. The neck is up at about 45 degrees. Shortening the distance your arm is to the neck of the guitar.
If you don’t have a foot stool, but you want to get the best one get it here Best Foot stool.
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Finger Dexterity Exercise
Your fingers are not ready to play the guitar. So you need to exercise them. And get them nimble.
First place each finger in there own fret box. Start any where on the neck but for a bigger stretch you want to start at the third fret.
Place your first finger on the first string. At the 2nd fret box.
When I say fret box that is between frets 4 and 3.
Next place your second finger at the 4th fret. Also on the 6th string.
Your third finger is on the 6th string at the 5th fret.
And your pinky is on the 6th string 6th fret.
Now keep those fingers in those boxes. The exercise goes like this. start with your first finger, place it on the 6th string and pick the string.
Then remove that finger and place your second finger on the six string. In it’s respective fret box. Pick the 6th string.
Do the same with fingers 3 and 4. This is not a speed test. This is for accuracy. You want the string to sound good when you pick it. Also you are strengthening your fingers.
After you have completed stretching on string 6. Go down a string, to string 5 and do the same. Work your way down to the first string.
Then work your way back up from 1 – 6. What is great about this exercise is you can switch up the fingers and have different combinations.
Some things to remember:
- You want to play on the very tip of your finger.
- You want to play directly behind the fret.
- And you want to go slow.
Do this exercise about 5 minutes a day and watch your fingers get better.
Right Hand Guitar Skills
Before you start strumming your going to want to get a feel for the guitar and specifically the strings.
So instead of hacking at the strings when strumming you will already be familiar with the way the strings move on the guitar.
The best way to get familiar with the strings is using what’s called a pick rest technique. Take your pick and pick the 6th string and let it rest on top of the 5th string.
This seems like it’s easy, but if you have never done this it takes a little bit to get the hang of it. Concentrate and really watch the string.
After you pick the 6th string. Go to the 5th string and pick it making sure it stops on top of the 4th string.
Your going to work your way down to the first string. So 4th string stop on the 3rd string and so on.
Once you get to the first string go back up. Starting on string 2 then 3.
Related Article:10 Things Every Guitar Player Needs to Know
Strumming the Guitar
First things first. Place your right hand lightly on the strings. Lightly so that the guitar is muted when you strike the strings.
Take your pick and strum down. If this is your first time strumming it may take a minute to get used to it. No worries that’s why it’s called practice.
You want to strum down 4 times. And each time you want to count. 1 2 3 4 , 1 2 3 4.
See most songs you hear are in 4/4 timing. So counting to 4 helps keep your timing.
There are somethings you need to remember:
- Keep your strumming hand moving.
- Have an even strum from top to bottom.
- Continue to Count.
Your First Open Chord to Learn is E minor
Em is the first chord to learn. Why this was my first chord and you only need to fingers.
So what you want to do is place your second finger on the 5th string at the second fret.
Then place your third finger right below on the 4th string. Remember to play on the tips of your fingers.
When your ready with your finger position. Begin strumming the Em chord. Use proper technique when strumming and count out loud. As a guitar player you will always count. In the beginning counting out loud helps. Then eventually you can count to yourselves.
Holding the Guitar Pick Properly
If you don’t hold the pick properly when it comes time to make intricate music on your guitar with picking. It’s going to be hard. So start off on the right foot. And hold the pick right from the get go.
The easiest way to describe this is place your first finger out facing up. Then take your pick and place it on top of your finger. With the pointed edge facing out.
Next place your thumb on top of the pick and you are ready to. Check out the pictures for clarity.
Well I think that was more than 3 things. But if you are ready to learn how to play your guitar and you want a proven system to get you playing quicker then invest in you! Get Sharon’s Guitar Academy here.