1. Laying The Foundation and Understanding Chords
The first step to do anything successfully is to lay a strong foundation. Buildings collapse without a strong foundation. You wouldnít run a marathon without training, would you? Itís no different with guitar. In order to build that foundation for successful guitar playing, the first thing you need to know is proper positioning. By this we mean sitting positions, holding positions, fret hand positions, and pick hand positions. Included in positioning is how to fret strings, how to hold the pick, positioning the guitar, etc. This may sound somewhat elementary, but the benefits of doing this correctly are numerous. You will be comfortable playing/practicing guitar; you will have minimal tension in your hands and arms. Overall, this makes guitar playing an enjoyable experience and pave the way for great playing.
The second part of the first step is understanding chords. At the most basic, chords are 3 or more notes played together. One note is the root note. The root note is the same as the chord. For example, the note A is the root note of the A chord. Certain chords sound better together than others, but weíre getting ahead of ourselves a bit. The main thing to take away is that chords are 3 or more notes played together, and they are the foundation of guitar music.
2. Tuning Your Guitar To Itself
This concept may sound confusing. Guitars need to be in tune to sound correct. There are 2 main ways to tune a guitar. You can use an electronic tuner, or you can tune your guitar to itself. Tuning the guitar to itself is a vital skill and will train your ear like no other exercise. The best part is that you start developing your ear for pitch early in your guitar playing. Believe it or not, your ear is your most valuable tool in guitar playing. Being able to recognize notes and chords by ear will give you the enviable skill of playing songs by ear.
3. Reading Guitar Tablature
Guitar tablature is a very common method of writing guitar music. It is much easier to understand than traditional music notation. Beginning guitarists are often in a state of information overload with new skills, sounds, etc. Tablature, or tab, is a way to combat the confusing nature of traditional written music. In guitar tab, there are six horizontal lines representing the 6 strings of the guitar. The numbers you will see represent the fret that should be played on that string. Also, chord diagrams are written in tabs. These chord diagrams spell out exactly which notes to play to play a certain chords. Understanding guitar tablature will make the process of successfully learning guitar simpler.
4. Chord Progressions
Once you have a working knowledge of guitar tab, you can use chord diagram tabs to learn specific chords. Chord progressions are nothing more than 2 or more chords played sequentially. For example, you may strum a D chord and then change to an A chord. This is a chord progression. Playing chord progressions will help you determine which chords go together-a benefit of your ear training from step 2. There is also a simple formula for determining which chords go together, and your ear will confirm this. Once you have three or four chords that appeal to you, or a few chords that you have mastered, practice playing them one after the other. This will enhance your chord knowledge and playing skill.
As you can see, each step builds on the previous. They also work in conjunction with each other. There are many avenues for more advanced guitar instruction, but learning these 4 simple steps will lay the best foundation possible for successfully learning to play.
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Article Added on Wednesday, July 15, 2009
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