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.
4. RIGHT-HAND POSITION
Now place your right-hand palm on the lower three strings (thickest strings). Then gently strum the other 3 strings with your pick. It’s okay to swivel your palm while you strum, but don’t remove your palm from the guitar. This action is called right-hand muting. It stops the annoying buzzing of strings you don’t want to play. When you play the highest three strings (thinnest strings), you are playing your first chord, called E minor.
5. LEFT-HAND POSITION
Once you have your posture correct, and you have managed to strum your E minor chord, we will now get ready to play our second chord called G major. 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.
6. FRETTING THE GUITAR STRINGS
Fret the guitar with the third finger on your left hand. Place it on the third fret on the thinnest string. It is really important to use the tips of your fingers, and 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 your posture is correct.
Remember, your nails must be cut on your fretting hand. It’s impossible to play the guitar with long finger nails.
7. YOUR FIRST SHEET OF CHORDS
Use the picture above to help you read a chord diagram. Now look at your first chord diagram below. Can you see the E minor chord (minor chords sound sad) and also the G major chord (major chords sound happy). Try C major later 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.
8. FIRST CHORD PRACTICE
Play song 1 until you feel comfortable playing it at a steady tempo. Each vertical line represents one strum. Do the same with song 2 and 3 when you’re ready.
9. PRACTICE & OUR REWARD SYSTEM
Every week, we give our students lesson goals to complete for the following lesson. Every time a student achieves a goal, they win one star. When they achieve four stars in a row (i.e. four weeks in a row), they win a small prize. The student can cash in for the small prize right away, or collect 6 diamonds (small prizes) for a 15 euro voucher from their favourite shop. Examples of vouchers are Penney’s, X-box, Smiths Toys, etc. Students that consistently reach their goals are entered into Student Of The Month. You can see this month’s Student Of The Month on Facebook here.
10. 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.