Monday, December 21, 2009

Easy Guitar Lessons

Guitar and music in general is personally one of the most satisfying hobbies you can pick up. Music is one of the few mediums that can completely cross language and cultural barriers. There is nothing quite like belting out a power chord on your electric guitar and hearing it rip out the amp. Or strumming your acoustic at a party and having the whole room singing along with you. It is truly is an electrifying feeling that really gets you down deep. So here are some easy guitar lessons to get you going.

First I would like to say a quick note to the beginners. Do not give up and have patience. I know the first time I picked up a guitar I thought I would be instantly jamming out my favorite tunes from the radio. Well needless to say I was in for a shock. I couldn’t even get a single note to ring out clearly and definitely couldn’t hold multiple fingers to form a chord. But I stuck to it and after a few months I was getting there.

Your fingers are probably confused and in pain and it maybe just plain awkward when you first pick up the guitar. So you need to do exercises to get them better. Just like anything repetition will help you reach your goal. Practice makes perfect and all that stuff. When I was just starting out I liked to sit in front of the TV and just repeat exercises kind of unconsciously just to get my fingers strong.

So you have two hands that need to be on the same page with each other so you will have to do exercises that help both of them out. Also play through the pain. Calluses will build up on your finger tips and the pain will go away. Trust me the worst part about beginning guitar is beginning guitar. Give it a little time and you will reap so much more out of it.

So let’s start with our strumming hand. This is our rhythm hand and our plucking or picking hand. If you are playing with a pick you can practice just slowly picking up and down alternating as you go. Start slow and play along as you tap your foot to keep in time. Down, up, down, up, down, etc. alternating slowly. Build up speed as you go. Practice this on one string then move on to two strings, then three strings and so on as if you were playing chords. You don’t even need to use your other hand at this point or use it just to mute the strings so you can watch TV.

Now let’s discuss your fretting hand. This is the hand that is going to pick out the notes to be played. This is the hand that also may start to hurt and the hand that doesn’t seem to know what it is doing when first starting out. Be patient, take your time, and go slow and steady. We need to get all four fingers working with each other. Don’t leave your pinkie out because it is harder to get going. In guitar whatever you find difficult, practice more.

So here is my favorite exercise to help you play like butter. On your top string, the thick string, your E string, press your pointer finger on fret one. While still pressing use your middle finger on fret two. While holding both down press your ring finger on fret three. And of course the pinkie on fret four. The picking should be a down, up, down, up alternating for each finger. Then reverse the process lifting your pinkie, then index, etc. So press 1, 2, 3, 4 and then reverse 4,3,2,1 while alternating your picking down and up.

Practice this exercise until your fingers bleed. Build up speed and try it on all strings everywhere on the guitar neck. This will really start to open your fingers up. Start slow and build up. Guitar is my favorite thing to do and teach. Check out a ton of easy guitar lessons here. Pictures and videos will help you get a better grasp of the concept.