Welcome to glanworth guitar lessons. This page will help you get started playing your guitar. We will start by looking at the different parts on the guitar. Then we’ll look at posture, fretting a note on the guitar, how to read chord diagrams and finally play our first song.
1. GUITAR ANATOMY
In the picture above you can see the two main types of guitar used today. Acoustic guitar and electric guitar. See if you can find the ‘frets’, ‘nut’ and ‘bridge’ on the guitars.
The most important part of posture for a beginner guitarist is that the neck of the guitar goes up in a 45 degree angle. This allows you to see the fret board clearly, keeps your left arm below the neck, and makes it much easier to fret the guitar. The easiest way to achieve this is with a strap. Notice in the pictures that crossing your legs or using a foot stool can give similar results.
Remember also that playing the guitar with bent wrists will cause injury over time!
3. HOLDING A PICK
First make the ‘A-okay’ or ‘perfect’ sign with your right hand. Make sure your thumb is touching the side (not the bottom) of your index finger like in the picture. Now with your left hand place the pick pointing in the same direction as your index finger.
Now try playing down strokes with your left hand playing only the thin strings. Fix your arm on the body of the guitar, so you’re able to play those strings without looking.
4. LEFT HAND POSITION
Once you have your posture correct and pick in your hand, make a ‘thumbs up’ behind your guitar neck. Plant your thumb on the back of the guitar neck. Now curl your fingers around the front of the guitar. The palm of your left hand should not need to touch the guitar neck.
5. FRETTING THE GUITAR STRINGS
Fret the guitar with the tips of your fingers not the sides. Your fingers should come straight down onto the fretboard. If you find this difficult to do, check the previous steps above to see if you posture is correct.
Remember your nails must be cut on your fretting hand. It’s impossible to play the guitar with long nails.
6. YOUR FIRST SHEET OF CHORDS
Use the diagram and picture above to help you form your first chords which are shown in the chord sheet below. Start with G major (major chords sound happy) and then try E minor (minor chords sound sad). Try C major when you’re ready. Be careful not to touch the other strings with your index finger while making the chord. Only when you are comfortable making the C major chord try making the F major chord.
7. FIRST CHORD PRACTICE
Play song 1 until you feel comfortable playing it at a steady tempo. Do the same with song 2 and 3 when you’re ready.
8. PRACTICE GUIDE
HOW LONG SHOULD I PRACTISE FOR ?
This depends on how quickly you want to learn. Everybody is different but I have found that success on the guitar is directly in relation to how much time a student dedicates to their instrument. The times written below are in relation to quality practice i.e following the lesson materials as layed out on the website.
8. TUNING THE GUITAR
Do you need a guitar tuner? Yes, most definitely. Otherwise your playing will sound terrible no matter what you play. Here are a few examples of tuners you can use.
Here you see the old pitch pipe type of tuner. Players would blow into the pipe and then tune the guitar string by ear to the pitch they wanted.
ELECTRIC CLIP ON TUNER
Next is an example of a electric clip on tuner. These tuners are clipped onto the headstock of the guitar. You play a string and the tuner listens to the string and tells you how out of tune your guitar is.
GUITAR TUNER APPS
Last but not least is the guitar tuner app. This is probably the most convenient tuner because you don’t need to buy a real tuner and they’re free to download. If you have a smart phone you can download one here. I recommend the GUITAR TUNA app. Click the links below depending on the type of phone you have.