You’re ready to start learning guitar. That’s fantastic. You’re about to embark on a lifelong journey – it’ll be a challenge, but seriously rewarding.
To help get you started, I’ve put together five things that a beginner guitar player should learn. From how to hold your instrument to playing open chords, these basic skills are vital in developing a strong technical foundation.
Ready? Let’s get started.
1. Guitar anatomy 101
If you’re going to start playing guitar, it’s helpful to become familiar with its basic anatomy. The above diagram is a great place to begin. Here’s a little more information about some of the key parts:
- Tuning pegs: these are the pegs on the headstock of your guitar. Use these to adjust the tension of the strings, and in turn, tune the instrument.
- Frets: located on the neck of your guitar, frets are strips made from metal embedded on the fretboard. These help you play different notes.
- Sound hole: on acoustic guitars, the sound hole allows the instrument to project a louder sound.
- Saddle: Adjusting the action on a guitar is key to producing great sound. The action refers to the distance between the strings and the fretboard. To change the action, you’ll need to adjust the saddles, where the strings sit.
2. Holding a guitar
This may seem a little too basic, but, if you’ve never actually held a guitar before, you might need a little guidance.
If you’re right-handed, grip the neck with your left hand. Your right hand should naturally sit on the sound hole. If you’re left-handed, you have a few options. First, purchase a guitar specifically for lefties. Second, re-string the guitar in reverse order and flip the whole thing upside down, so your right hand is gripping the neck. Finally, leave it as is, and see how ambidextrous you are!
3. Tuning a guitar
Playing an out-of-tune guitar can seriously hinder your playing experience. As a beginner guitar player, your best bet is to purchase a tuner. These are easy-to-use devices that give you a perfect result every time.
You can also try tuning apps, but these aren’t as reliable. Of course, you can learn to tune a guitar manually, but this is a little trickier, especially if you’re just starting out.
4. Playing open chords
Open chords are one of the first skills a beginner guitarist will learn. Master just three, and you can play a whole host of popular songs.
Aside from attending guitar lessons, following a chord chart is one of the best ways to get acquainted with the basics. Check out this chord chart as a place to start. Remember to take it slow – make sure every string rings clearly.
Once you feel confident playing three or four chords, you can start practicing transitions. These may seem near impossible at first, but you’ll develop muscle memory – these chords will soon become second nature.
5. Strumming in rhythm
Playing chords accurately and clearly is one thing – strumming them in rhythm is another. Start with a simple one-stroke-per-beat pattern. You might like to use a metronome to keep you in time.
Then, you can begin experimenting with more advanced strumming patterns.
Trying something new can be scary, especially when it’s as complicated as playing guitar. The best way to overcome these obstacles is to work with an experienced teacher. They can teach you all the basics properly, so you can reach your full potential. If you’d like to learn more about our guitar lessons, get in contact on 02 9602 9774 or fill out the form on this page, and we’ll be in touch.