The Ultimate Guitar Crash Course for Beginners
Learning to play the guitar is one of the most wonderful things any music enthusiast can achieve. Good thing, it is a beginner-friendly path to take for anyone invested in honing the craft. The guitar is one of the easiest and most popular musical instruments to play ever since. Not only one can get personal enjoyment out of playing it, but it can also carve you a name in the music scene if you are talented enough.
Many are interested in learning how to play the guitar, but some don’t know how and where to start. From a beginner’s perspective, a guitar can be a tricky instrument to play—but worry not, it is pretty easy to learn. You just have to grasp the fundamentals, techniques and several chords to get you started.
Either you have a guitar sitting at home and collecting dust, or you really just want to start playing—you can start with any kind of acoustic guitar. But as for beginners who are still on the lookout for the perfect guitar, you can check out this list of beginner-friendly guitars you can pick.
Now let’s delve into the things you need to grasp to help you get started on playing the guitar.
Parts of a guitar
For starters, you ought to identify the different parts of a guitar to understand each function they bring.
- Headstock – this is the head of the guitar where the tuning machines and the nut are sitting.
- Tuning machines/tuning posts – the tuning machines include the tuning posts which hold each string, and the tuning pegs that allow you to adjust the tune by tightening or loosening it.
- Nut – this is the notched little plastic bar that’s placed between the headstock and the fretboard.
- Neck – this the long wooden plank that rests between the headstock and the body, where the fretboard is installed.
- Fretboard – it is a separate piece of wood that sits atop the neck. It is the home of the frets.
- Frets – these are the pieces of metal installed across the fretboard. It helps produce a different note when you press down a string on it.
- Body – this is the big round wooden block of wood where the strings are found. It plays a big role in producing the sound of the guitar.
- Cutaway – this cut that is found on the bottom of the body where the neck starts to end helps you to reach the highest fret positions.
- Upper bout – this is the upper part of the body that sits near the neck.
- Lower bout – this is the lower part of the body and is the largest part of the guitar.
- Pickguard – this typically lies below the soundhole where the tail of strumming hits. It is installed to protect the lower bout from any scratches due to strumming.
- Bridge – this holds the saddle and ensures the strings are intact with the bridge pins. It is the last stop of the strings and the opposite end of the headstock.
- Soundhole – this is the hole found at the top of the guitar body. The hollowness of the body helps produce the sound of the instrument.
Proper holding of the guitar
You should take note of the proper way of holding a guitar to prevent hand fatigue when playing. When sitting, ensure to keep your feet on the ground and have your back straightened. Place the waist of the instrument on your right leg and have the back of the body of the guitar lie against your stomach and chest. Make sure that the neck of the instrument is horizontal to the ground.
Use your upper right arm to secure the upper body part on preventing the instrument to lie face down. You should feel comfortable in this position.
The string numbers and names
There are six strings on a guitar that you’ll need to memorize. These include the E, A, D, G, B, and E. You have to bear in mind where each string lies as these will be essential on playing different chords.
Here are the names and numbers of the strings in standard tuning:
- 6th string or open E chord – this is the thickest and closest string to you.
- 5th string or open A chord – this is the second to the thickest and the second closest to you.
- 4th string or open D chord – this is third to the thickest and the third closest to you.
- 3rd string or open G chord – this is the fourth to the thickest and the fourth closest to you.
- 2nd string or open B chord – this is the second to the thinnest and the second to the last string.
- 1st string or open E chord – this is the thinnest among all and is the last string.
There are various strumming techniques you will learn along the way when you start digesting guitar lessons. For now, you have to start with the most basic technique of strumming.
To do this, have the tips of your thumb and index finger clinched together and bend the remaining fingers towards the palm of the hand. Then start the strumming by stroking down against the strings with the nail of your index finger, and stroking back up with the nail of your thumb.
First chords to learn
Now that you have the fundamental knowledge of what you need to know prior to playing the guitar, you can now jump right into learning the first few chords any beginner should start with. These chords are enough to start practicing with tons of songs out there.
1. D Chord
- On the second fret, place your index finger on the third string and your middle finger on the first string. While on the third fret, place your ring finger on the second string.
- Leave the fourth string open.
- Strum the bottom four strings and leave out the fifth and sixth strings.
2. C Chord
- On the first fret, position your index finger on the second string. On the second fret, put your middle finger on the fourth string. Lastly, on the third fret, place your ring finger on the fifth string.
- Leave the first and third strings open.
- Strum the bottom five strings and leave out the sixth chord.
3. G Chord
- On the second fret, position your index finger on the fifth string. While on the third fret, place your middle finger on the sixth string and your ring finger at the first string.
- Leave the second, third, and fourth strings open.
- Strum all the strings.
4. E-minor Chord
- On the second fret, position your index finger on the fifth string and your middle finger on the fourth string.
- Leave the first, second, third, and sixth open.
- Strum all the strings.
Practice, practice, practice!
Congratulations! You have just equipped yourself with the basic foundation of learning how to play the guitar. Always remember that in order to get better at playing the instrument, you just need loads of practice. You might be having difficulties in the beginning, but in no time, it’ll be a second nature to you.
You may seek out additional guidance and take guitar lessons for an easier understanding of the instrument. It’s all up to you. Your musical journey doesn’t have to be a drag, you just need that persistence to hone the craft.