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Learn how to play the guitar (lesson for beginners)

The guitar is one of the most popular and pleasing of all musical instruments. In addition, it is cheap, easy to transport, and is always a success in a group of friends!

#1 Know the parts of the instrument

You do not need to learn the names of all the components, but learning at least the most important parts is very important, so that you will be able to follow a guitar lesson.

#2 Choosing the right guitar

There are basically two types of guitar: that made of nylon and that made of steel. For beginners, we recommend starting to play with a nylon guitar, as nylon is softer and makes execution easier (you do not need to press the strings with so much strength). This choice shall make your studies much easier.

#3 Learn to hold the guitar before you play it

You can hold the guitar on either your right or left leg. Placing your guitar on your left leg is more recommended for those who wish to play classical music; however, most guitarists, especially those playing pop music, will hold the guitar on the right leg, slightly inclined to allow a satisfactory posture of both hands.

#4 Look at the numbering of the fingers

The numbering of the fingers as used for the left hand is the following:

Notice that the fingers are numbered from 1 to 4, starting with the index finger (number 1) out to finger number 4. This numbering system is very useful to show the formation of chords, showing which finger should press each string in each fret. This will soon be much clearer, when we set up the chords with the left hand.

#5 Play with the left hand for the first time

The left hand (for right-handed people) is responsible for establishing the chords and the notes. The definition of a chord is different from that of a note, as a chord is the union or blend of many notes played at the same time (while a note is the minimum element of sound). A chord can be represented as follows:

  • 1st string: E
  • 2nd string: B
  • 3rd string: G
  • 4th string: D
  • 5th string: A
  • 6th string: E

#6 Compose your first chords and learn basic chord notation

Sometimes it may seem difficult to know how to really play the guitar (practical part, free of any theory) but you need to understand that playing the guitar is essentially a matter of making chords with your left hand at the same time when you make rhythm with your right. This means that, in order to play the guitar, you need to memorize some basic chords in the left hand and at least one rhythm (or beat) in your right hand,

#7 Learn how to play with your right hand

The right hand is responsible for the rhythm (beat) of the music. While the left hand is performing the chords, the right hand sets the rhythm. The two elements together make the harmony of the song. To better understand the difference between melody, harmony, and rhythm, please read this article.

#8 Choose between playing with or without a pick

To play the guitar, you can use a pick (recommended for faster and more active rhythms, and more importantly when steel guitars are used) or play without a pick. When we do not use a pick, it is possible for us to pay rhythms that go up and down, and songs with fingering, which is another interesting technique.

#9 Play your first complete song

To play a song, you must synchronise your left hand with your right, changing chords as you make the rhythm with your right hand.

*Remark: The ideal situation is that of knowing how to tune the guitar so you will be able to play it, but nowadays you can tune a guitar with any mobile phone application, touching one string at a time and either tightening or loosening the strings (using the tuning pegs) as recommended by the app.

#10 Organise your study for progress

Playing the guitar is an art that requires dedication. In fact, this is no different from any other musical instrument in this regard: there is a need to set some time aside for practice. However, there is no need to worry, as it is a mistake to think that you need hundreds of study hours every day to improve. With only 10 or 15 minutes a day, it is possible to see a lot of progress, and within the space of a few weeks you will already feel like a musician.

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