Maybe you have already bought your guitar, and you need to know where to start. So you have come to the right place. Lets start here at the beginning. Then we will cover:
10 things every Beginner Guitar Player Needs to Know. How to choose the best beginner guitar. How to hold a guitar & pick properly. How to hold your thumb & fingers on the guitar neck. How to tune your guitar. What strings to use. Whats the Difference between open chords & barre chords.
In this article I want to give you some great starting tips to make it easier to get started playing.
If your still wondering what kind of guitar you want to play. Here is a link that will get you started if you need to know “How to Choose the Best Beginner Guitar”. This will help you learn about all the different guitars to consider. Also which one is a better choice and why, when you are first starting out.
How to Hold an Acoustic Guitar
This may seem like a no brainer, but if you start out with a poor posture, and don’t hold the guitar proper then you will tire easily. It is also possible to injure yourself due to bad technique.
Repetitive pains and strains. All beginner guitar players hands and fingers are not used to being used in the manner as when you play the guitar. So if you are practicing and you feel any pain. Stop and rest.
You are using ligaments that are not used to a work out like this. Stop rest and start again. There are exercises that will help strengthen your fingers. Click this link to learn guitar finger strengthening and technique.
3 Ways to Hold the Guitar
There are actually two ways to hold the guitar. Well three if you include standing up. But as a beginner I would recommend you learn sitting down. Then later you can tackle standing up and playing the guitar. That is a whole other beast.
Most people sit the guitar on there lap. If you are right handed place your guitar in position on your right leg. If you are left handed the guitar would be on your left leg.
Keep both feet on the floor. You want to make sure your keeping good posture. Keeping your back upright and straight. The back of the body of the guitar should be against your stomach.
The neck of the guitar should be angled about 45 degrees upward. This will make fretting easier for you. Your right arm rests on the upper part of the body of the guitar.
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How to Hold a Classical Guitar
If you have shorter arms then you might want to play the guitar like this. A right handed guitarist normally plays the guitar with there guitar on there right leg.
A Classical guitar player will move the guitar over to there left leg, and play the guitar. The minute you do that you will notice that the guitar neck is automatically up higher. This gives makes it easier to play. The down side is you are sitting up straighter and you will tire quicker.
It is always a good idea to use a guitar strap. Even if your sitting it will help prevent the drop an accident. Such as dropping your guitar. A good strap will help keep it in the playing position.
How to Hold a Guitar Pick Properly
Second tip is holding the guitar pick properly. This will make all the difference in how easy you will be able to pick the individual strings. Holding the pick properly has everything to do with the tone that you here when you play the strings. Whether you are picking an individual string or strumming all of them at once.
With playing the guitar it is so easy to fall into bad habits. These can make things a lot difficult down the road to “retrain” yourself to do it the right way. So lets learn the proper way right of the bat.
You want to hold the Pick in your right hand if your right handed between your thumb and first finger. Facing it towards the guitar. Some people place the pick between there thumb and second finger. Some with there pick on the side of there first finger, and held in position with there thumb.
Which may seem comfortable, but this is incorrect. The reason is because it becomes very hard to pick individual strings like this. Just make it easy on yourself, and place the pick between your index finger and thumb.
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How to Hold Guitar Neck Thumb
Lets take a look at the fretting hand. This is the hand that will hold the strings down on the fingerboard. If you are not holding the strings properly then your guitar will sound terrible. You will hear a lot of noises like buzzing, or a dead string.
The Proper way is to place your thumb on the middle of the guitar neck. You shouldn’t see your thumb peeking over the top of the guitar. This allows room at the bottom of the neck. When positioned properly you should be able to see between your hand and the neck.
How to Set Your Fingers on Guitar
Your fretting hand fingers are positioned on the guitar fretboard. When they are placed on the strings you use the tips of your fingers. When I say “Tips of Fingers” I mean the very end of your finger. If you took a pen and put a dot on the end of your finger. That’s the “tip”. You won’t be able to see it, as the string will cover it.
- Thumb position low towards the middle of guitar neck
- Space between guitar neck and hand
- Play on the tips of your fingers
- Play right behind the fret.
You want to play directly behind the fret. The fret is the steel bars going vertically down the guitar neck. If when you make a chord your finger is away from the fret. This will cause a buzzing noise. Also if you are not holding your fingers tight on the fingerboard. You will get a dead sound from that particular string.
When you get ready to make your chords take your time, and think about each step. Then strum the strings one at a time. If the strings don’t ring out properly then take a closer look at your hand. Find out what the problem is. Make the adjustment and try again.
When you are learning new things on the guitar it is better to start out slow. You will find you can learn it faster. Rather than going fast, doing it wrong and having to learn it again. There is a lot of muscle memory involved. So train your fingers to remember it the correct way.
How is a Guitar Tuned?
Next if your going to learn guitar you will want to know how to tune it. There is nothing more frustrating than trying to play a chord, or a song when your guitar is out of tune. Then not knowing how to tune it is even more frustrating. That’s where a lot of people set the guitar down and leave it there. Click this Link to learn how to tune your guitar.
What Strings Do I Need?
Depending if you have an electric guitar, or an acoustic guitar will determine what strings to buy. The strings on an electric guitar are different than the acoustic guitar. In either case a lighter gauge string starting out would be better on your ability to play with ease.
Electric Guitar Strings
To get a nice clear tone the strings on the electric guitar should be Nickel. Which is a more versatile string. Great for Blues, Rock and Jazz. A light gauge string would be a .09-.042. Click the link to learn What Are Electric Guitar Strings Made Of?
Acoustic Guitar Strings
Phosphor Bronze strings sound so nice on an acoustic guitar. This is a coating that is on the strings to give it that Bright tone. Usually a mix of 80/20 Bronze.
Also a good gauge of strings is again a lighter string starting out. To make it easier on your fingers. A Good place to start is .011- .052. To learn more about the gauge of guitar strings click this link:Which acoustic Strings to Buy for Acousticu Guitar.
Whats the Difference Between Open Chords and Barre Chords?
Lets start with a Guitar Chord. What is a chord? A chord is three or more notes put together to create a chord. There are different kinds of chords. For the purpose of this topic, which is whats the difference between a Barre chord and Open chord. lets look at a Barre chord.
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Barre chords are when you “barre” across some, or all the strings with your finger. Usually your first finger.
The nut of the guitar is at the top of the guitar. Where the strings go through at the headstock. When you use your first finger as a “Barre.” Where ever you place that barre is like moving that nut of the guitar to that position on the fretboard. To see how to make a Barre chord click this link.
This also changes the key that you are in. We will get more into barre chords after you learn open chords. Which leads me to the subject of; What’s an open chord?
There are chords that are played at the first 3 frets of the guitar. These are basic chords that every guitar player needs to know. These are the first guitar chords you should learn.
They are called open chords or first position chords. When you make the chords there are strings that are “open”. Meaning there is no finger on that string. Once you learn open chords there are 1000 of songs you will be able to play.
Click this link if you want to learn some First position chords.
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