Top Beginner’s Guide in Playing Guitar
Beginner’s Guide in Playing Guitar
Music is one of the best things that happened to humanity. Listening to music soothes your soul in so many ways that you can’t get enough of it. But it doesn’t have to stop at simply listening; you yourself can learn to do music with just a simple guide in learning to play the most popular musical instrument, the 6 stringed guitar.
Learning the Basics of Guitar Playing
Of course, you need to know a few things first and that’s getting to know your guitar and learning how to use it properly.
- Parts of a Guitar
- Body – This provides the resonance shaping your tonal qualities. It also determines the volume of an acoustic guitar. For electric guitars, it has an effect on sound sustains.
- Headstock – it is situated at the end of your guitar’s neck. Its sole purpose is to support your tuners. For most manufacturers, they use distinctive headstock shape for identification and branding.
- Tuners – These are the knobs that are attached to tuning pegs on your headstock. It allows you to lower or raise the pitch of the string.
- Nut – Situated at the end of the neck just before your headstock. It is a vertically shaped bar where your strings pass through. Its function is to correctly place your sting’s spacing and alignment.
- Neck – It is the long single piece of wood or pieces glued together where your fretboard is attached to.
- Fretboad and Frets – Your fretboard is a piece of wood glued at the front of your neck. Frets on the other hand will determine where you should press to produce a different note on different frets. Usually, an acoustic guitar will have twenty to twenty four.
- Sound Hole – Found on all acoustics, it allows air pressure to stay equalized so your soundboard can vibrate. It is usually situated at the center of your body. Some are designed with several holes to give a more appeal to a guitar.
- Bridge – Situated at the lower part of your guitar’s body that holds your strings to a relative height to your fretboard. It can be adjusted so that your strings can be aligned properly to your fretboard. Take note however, not all manufacturers may not have an adjustable bridge.
Proper way to hold a Guitar
In learning how to play the guitar, holding one is one of the most important key in progressing. Make sure you are comfortable and sit up straight in a chair or stool. Now the thinnest string should be at the lower end of your neck and the thickest one at the top. Rest your arm on the body of the guitar, while the other one placed at the neck. Your leg should also be the one holding the weight of your guitar for you to move your chord-hands easily from top to the bottom of the neck. Also, make sure your elbow of your strumming hand does not touch any of the strings.
Proper way to hold a Guitar Pick
Also called as plectrum, a pick is usually made of plastic that’s small for your thumb and forefinger to hold. It is used to play out individual notes in plucking or a bunch of notes in strumming. First, make a fist with your picking hand (It is usually the right hand if you’re right-handed, left if you’re left handed) and thumb flat on top of the tip your curled forefinger. At first, you may experience a little discomfort but overtime, you’ll get used to it with a little bit of practice.
Before strumming or plucking your hearts out, don’t forget to tune your guitar at the right notes. A standard tuning is provided and i should be at E, A, D, G, B and E starting from the thickest string of your guitar up to the thinnest one. These are the notes from each of your strings should be without any fingers touching the strings. You can use electric tuners to tune your guitar and is quite easy. If you’re good at hearing, you can do it yourself by matching it with a piano or the internet if a piano is not present.
Learning the Most Common Basic Chords
Each chord produces a different tune, and when played at different timing, it produces a melody. A chord is a group of at least three notes to produce a harmony. Some chords are easy to learn, while some are hard, but with a bit of practice, you’ll eventually learn and memorize all the chords. Here are some of the most commonly used and the basic chords you should learn before taking up advanced chords like diminished, sixth, slash and the like.
Learning how to Read a Tablature
When learning how to finger a chord, videos may not be always available and so reading a tablature can be a suitable compromise instead.
E |—-0—- |—-0—-
B |—-0—- |—-1—-
G |—-1—- |—-2—-
D |—-2—- |—-2—-
A |—-2—- |—-0—-
E |—-0—- |——— –
The letters E, A, D, G, B, and E are actually the tuning of your guitar and so a guitar tablature is basically your guitar facing the ceiling with the thickest string closer to you than your thinnest string. The numbers on the other hand are the number of frets starting from your Guitar’s Nut to your Bridge. These numbers are the ones you press with your fingers, so the number 1 on the G string is pressing the third string from your thinnest string on the first fret. The number 2 on the D string will mean pressing the fourth string from your thinnest string on the second fret. A number 0 on the B string doesn’t need to be pressed, also considered an open string. However, if there are no numbers indicated, you’ll just have to strum your guitar without touching that string.
First Position Chords
These are the chords that you can play with a combination of open strings and while pressing a few strings using only the first three frets on your guitar.
Barre Chords (Bar chords)
These are the chords that you may find difficult to finger when you’ve just started playing the guitar. It requires for your forefinger to press all strings on a fret while your other fingers are pressing on a few strings as well.
Learning to Strum Correctly
First factor to consider in strumming your guitar properly is the way how you hold your guitar. Make sure that none of your hands is carrying the weight of the guitar. Your fret hand will do a bit of support on the neck part but not entirely carry it for you to switch chords easily. Second thing to consider is making sure you strum in-between the sound hole and your guitar’s bridge. Strumming the strings in different places will have your guitar producing different tunes and will likely not be ideal for most songs.
An upstroke is when you slide your guitar pick or fingers from your high E string (thinnest string) up to your low E string (thickest string). Might be difficult for beginners but with a little bit of practice, you’ll eventually get used to it.
A downstroke on the other hand will be from the low E string down to your high E string. Most common and most widely used guitar stroke, you can learn many songs by just doing a downstroke strumming.
Practicing Downstroke with Upstroke Strumming
Now depending on the beat, you’ll eventually catch what stroke you will be using on the song, but to start you off, you can do Down-Up-Down-Up-Down-Up-Down-Up strokes. Keep the same tempo and try to sync your upstroke with every beat. Keep practicing on different tempos and later on, you can change your strokes to a more familiar strum pattern that goes Down-Down-Up-Up-Down-Up. While it may seem to sound a bit differently, practicing it will make it sound a little better in the long run especially when with a familiar beat.
Practice Makes Perfect
Now learning to play the guitar isn’t a one-day deal, it takes time and commitment. Some started young and are now making a living out of it, while some started a bit late but also still manages to make a living out of it. Either way, it doesn’t really matter if it’s for financial means, for a hobby, or for simply impressing someone you like. Learning to play the guitar will need constant practice and commitment. Don’t be too discouraged when you can’t seem to get a sound off the way it’s supposed to, just take a break and practice when you feel like it. Forcing yourself to practice will probably make it right, but it won’t be fun, and guitar playing is what it should be, fun.
Here we have several suggestions for you to learn guitar in Malaysia:
- Classical and Acoustic guitar lessons in Taman Permata KL
- Contemporary guitar class in Wangsa Maju
- Private guitar lesson in Pandan Indah
- Classical guitar lesson in Kepong
- Classical and pop guitar lesson in Mahkota Cheras
- Guitar group class in Kajang
- Classical and Acoustic guitar class in Bukit Rimau, Shah Alam
- Beginner Guitar Class in Sungai Dua, Penang