How to Learn Guitar for Beginners
Right now you’re eager to pick up the guitar, and just start shredding away to your favourite tunes for a personalized song lyrics gift. There are a few things that you have to consider before you play.
Stretch. Stretch your arms, hands, fingers, and feet (well, ok maybe not your feet) before every practice session. Not only does stretching make you able to play faster and cleaner, it can help prevent serious injuries. You wouldn’t want to injure yourself, trust me. You won’t be playing guitar for a while!
Don’t rush yourself. Too many people make this mistake. They try to play the fastest that they can play, because they don’t have patience. Mastering the guitar requires discipline.
Find inspiration. If you have no inspiration, you won’t be playing much. You will pick up the guitar for 10-20 minutes, get bored and put it down. With inspiration you then have the drive to succeed. With this drive, then nothing will stop you.
One of the most inspirational things I find to keep me motivated is to watch great musicians. When you watch great musicians, you get the tingling feeling inside of you that makes you want to succeed. One way to do this is to go out, and buy music dvds.
Reading Tablature is a really simple thing to do. All it involves is counting the frets on the guitar fretboard.
Here’s how a blank guitar tab (short form for tablature) looks:
Now each line (———————-) represents a string. The top line being the highest/thinnest string and the bottom line being the lowest/thickest string.
What do the E, A, D, G, B, and E letters stand for?
Those letters stand for the notes that each string is tuned to (EADGBE being standard tuning. Don’t worry about tunings right now, we’ll get to that after).
Now, let’s take a look at a guitar tab with notes
Each of these numbers tell you what frets the notes are to be played on. 0 would result in picking an open string, 1 would mean fretting the first fret, etc. In our example above the first four notes are 3, 5, 7, and 8 on the high E string (the thinnest string). So that would mean pick 3rd fret high E, then pick 5th fret high E, etc.
Pretty simple, eh?
Ok, now let’s take a look at some of the symbols associated with tabs and their meanings:
P – Pull Off
H – Hammer On
/ – Slide Up
– Slide Down
T – Tap Note
P.M. – Palm Mute
~ – Vibrato
If you don’t know what some of these terms mean, don’t worry about it right now.
The downfall to tabs on a website or a text document is there is no real way to tell the time signatures. The only way to do this with tabs is to get tablature software.
Tuning Your Guitar
Tuning your guitar can be the easiest thing you do, and it can also be the hardest thing you do. It all depends on the type of bridge your guitar has. If your guitar has a fixed bridge or a tremolo bridge that only goes up/lowers pitch, then tuning your guitar will be very easy. If you have a floating tremolo bridge then things can get difficult.
In this lesson we will assume you have a fixed or one-way tremolo bridge.
Now assuming that you’re a beginner, I would suggest getting an electronic chromatic tuner. They’re not very expensive. For around $20 you can get the Korg CA-30 Chromatic Tuner . If you’re willing to spend some more money (around $100) then I would suggest the Boss TU-2 Chromatic Tuner . With the boss tuner it’s designed like a pedal so you could use it with ease in a live setting. It also has a great bypass feature.
One thing you have to consider before you completely tune your guitar is to make sure the strings are fully stretched. Or else the strings will keep going out of tune because everytime you bend the string, it will stretch the string and loosen the tension which will cause a change in pitch.
Assuming you’re using an electric tuner, let’s tune the guitar:
Plug in the guitar to the tuner, and make sure you have it set to the guitar tuner. Next make sure that it’s set to the chromatic setting. Hit a string to see if the needle moves.
First tune the low E string (the thickest string). Hit the string, and turn the tuning peg. Now hit the string and see what pitch the string is in. Keep doing this until the tuner reads ‘E’. Now to make sure the note is not flat or sharp you’re going to want to make sure the needle is pointing 90 degrees (straight up). Some tuners have colour displays. The display will go green when the needle is 90 degrees.
Repeat step 2 for the 5 other strings. The notes for the strings are as follows:
(6 being lowest/thickest string, and 1 being thinnest/highest string)
This is what is called Standard Tuning.
There are a lot of other tunings that a lot of newer bands use, but we won’t get into that right now.