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How To Play Guitar

So you have bought a guitar and are ready to begin your training. Before you get started there are a few things you will need. Be sure to pick up the following from your local music store.

  • An acoustic or electric guitar. Note that if you purchase an electric guitar, you may want to consider an amp and guitar cord so that you can hear yourself play.
  • Tuner: a guitar tuner will make your life much easier. Let's face it, without a properly tuned guitar you can't practice.
  • Guitar Picks: There are a variety of different sizes and thicknesses for guitar pics. Try out a few to see which ones you like best.

Plucking Your Guitar

time to begin. Start by holding your pick between you index finger and thumb. Point your pick at a 45 degree angle and pick your top string up and down. This is called alternative picking. Practice picking down then up on each string starting on the top string (the thickest one) and working your way to the bottom string (the thinnest one).

Reading Guitar Tabs

Before you can learn how to play a chord or any note for that matter you need to learn how to read guitar tabs. Look at the guitar tabs in the same way you would look at the guitar. As you look at a guitar tab you will notice that there are six lines displayed. Notice that there are also six strings on the guitar. Each line on the guitar tabs correspond to a string on the guitar. The bottom line is the top string on the guitar and the top line is the bottom string on the guitar.

From top to bottom your guitar will have the following notes when you play the string open (left hand is not placed on the guitar).

E A D G B e

Guitar tabs will follow this same pattern and will look like the following

e --------------------------------------
A --------------------------------------
D --------------------------------------
G --------------------------------------
B ------------------2---2---2---------
E ----2---2---2-----------------------

You may have noticed that there are numbers on each line. These numbers represent the frets on your guitar (the lines on your guitar neck). A number two on the bottom line would mean that you would put your finger above the second fret (inbetween the first and second line) and pluck the top string.

Playing Chords

Cords are classified into happy cords (made from the major scale) and sad cords (made from the minor scale). Some cords will require you to use four fingers and others as little as two. As a beginner, it is best that you begin with cords that require two fingers and work your way up to more difficult cords. These two finger cords are called power cords and are what many rock musicians use

To play a power cord you will need to strum two notes instead of plucking just one. Before you can play a power cord you need to learn how to read the notation for it. On the below low example you will notice that the bottom line labeled "E" (this is the top string on your guitar) has the number "2" placed on it. Directory above it on the line labeled "B" (this is the second string down from the top) you will notice the number "5." Anytime numbers are placed directly above each other you are to play them at the same time.

In our example below you would place your pointing finger on the second fret of the first string. Once your finger is placed, take your ring finger and place is on the fifth fret of the second string. Strum those two together. Welcome to rock in roll. You have now played your first cord.

e --------------------------------------
A --------------------------------------
D --------------------------------------
G ------------------5---5---5---------
B ----5---5---5---2---2---2---------
E ----2---2---2-----------------------