Acoustic Guitar Basics
4.3 (238 ratings)
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Acoustic Guitar Basics

The first steps to learning how to play guitar
4.3 (238 ratings)
Instead of using a simple lifetime average, Udemy calculates a course's star rating by considering a number of different factors such as the number of ratings, the age of ratings, and the likelihood of fraudulent ratings.
14,974 students enrolled
Created by Francis Long
Last updated 4/2016
Price: Free
  • 2 hours on-demand video
  • 4 Articles
  • Full lifetime access
  • Access on mobile and TV
  • Certificate of Completion
What Will I Learn?
  • Learn Basic strumming patterns
  • You will learn all the basic chords that will allow you to play hundreds of songs
  • How to hold the guitar & how to tune the instrument
View Curriculum
  • You will need a Guitar (acoustic steel string or classical nylon string) a plectrum, and a desire to learn

This Free course will get you playing the acoustic guitar in no time.

I will show you:

  • how to hold the guitar
  • exactly where to place your fingers to play the basic guitar chords
  • how to read chord diagrams
  • how to play chords of G, D, C, Em, Am, Cadd9
  • basic strumming patterns
  • how to tune the guitar
  • how to use a capo

You will learn all the basics needed to get you started, along with strumming patterns that will have you playing songs in a very short period of time. During the videos any chords that are being used will appear onscreen and there are video inlays to give you a closer look at what my left-hand fingers are doing. A visual representation of the strumming patterns will also be shown onscreen where necessary.

The strumming patterns and chord diagrams are included as supplemental materials so they can be downloaded and studied separately from the videos.

The course should take approx. 5 weeks to complete if you are an absolute beginner with no previous experience. Also if you've always wanted to play guitar or tried to learn guitar before but found changing chords or strumming was difficult then this is the course for you.

Who is the target audience?
  • This course is designed for absolute beginners with no previous experience
  • If you have tried to learn guitar before and found changing chords or strumming was difficult then you should take this course
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Curriculum For This Course
21 Lectures
Before we get started
2 Lectures 07:17

I'd like to take this opportunity to thank you for taking this course. I hope you will enjoy learning the guitar.

0:00 Welcome to Acoustic Guitar Basics
0:13 How long will it take to complete this course?
0:47 Let's get started!

In this lecture the differences between steel-string acoustic guitars and classical nylon-strung guitars are explained.

0:00 Intro
0:35 Acoustic guitar
3:00 Classical guitar
4:55 How much should you spend on a guitar?
What guitar do I need?
Getting started
6 Lectures 21:25

It's important to be able to identify the parts of your instrument so in this lecture you will learn the names of the main parts of the guitar.

 0:09 Headstock, Tuners, Nut 
 1:02 Neck, Frets, Fingerboard 
 2:15 Sound-hole, Body, Top 
 2:31 Bridge, Saddle, Bridge pins 
Parts of the guitar

Learn to identify your guitar strings by letter and by number. This is important both for tuning and being able to communicate with other guitarists.

 0:00 Intro 
 0:25 Letter names for the strings 
 1:16 Guitar strings by Number 
 2:00 Conclusion 
Names of the strings

Keeping your guitar in tune is going to be really important, learn how in this lecture.

 0:00 Intro 
 0:25 Electronic Tuners 
 1:08 How to tune the strings 
 3:08 How often should I tune the guitar?
How to tune the guitar

Learn the correct way to hold the guitar and also some pitfalls to avoid.

 0:00 The correct sitting position 
 1:40 Bad posture 
 2:20 The right arm position 
How to hold the guitar

Let's get you playing your first chord, with tips and advice on the best positions for your fingers and left hand.

 0:22 Review of strings and frets 
 1:53 Where to place your fingers for Eminor chord 
 2:59 Left-hand position 
 5:58 Strumming your first chord 
 6:18 Checking each string to get the best sound 
Your first chord: Eminor

A few questions on what you've learned so far

A quick test
4 questions

In the early stages of learning the guitar you will need to keep checking that you are doing the basics correctly. Here are some pointers.

Overview: 10 things to watch out for
Your first song
2 Lectures 15:22

How to read chord diagrams. Also learn the basics of an easy 2 chord song 'A Horse With No Name' by America.

 0:00 How to read chord diagrams 
 0:44 Eminor as a chord diagram 
 1:40 Your second chord D6/9 
 3:50 Changing between chords 
 6:17 Downward strumming 
 8:42 Advice for practising 
Your first song - A Horse With No Name - America

This lessons shows you how to expand on the rhythm learned in the previous video.

 	0:19 Explaining how to include upward strums 
 	1:35 Upward strumming 
 	2:40 Upward strumming with just Em chord 
 	3:55 Upward strumming with Em and D6/9 chords 
 	4:35 Some tips on what to watch out for 
More chords
5 Lectures 23:19
Another test
4 questions

Some reminders about what to watch out for when you are practising

Things to remember

Learn 3 new chords in this lesson with some tips to help you change between them easily.

 	0:39 'A Horse With No Name' at faster pace 
 	1:49 The D chord 
 	3:59 Cadd9 chord 
 	5:10 The G chord 
 	6:18 Alternative way of playing the G chord 
 	7:10 Changing between the chords 
D major, C add9 and G major chords

In this lesson we are going to take the 3 chords from the previous video and start to turn them into 'Sweet Home Alabama' by Lynyrd Skynyrd

 0:29 The chord sequence 4 beats per chord 
 3:01 The chord sequence with 2 beats for D, 2 beats for Cadd9 and 4 beats for G 
 6:01 Strumming through the chord sequence 
Sweet Home Alabama - Lynyrd Skynyrd

Keep checking that you are doing everything the right way

Things to remember

For some chords we don't want to play all of the strings. This lesson explains how.

 0:22 What strings to play for D chord 
 0:55 What strings to play for Cadd9 chord 
 1:04 What strings to play for G chord 
 1:14 Adding some rhythm 
 2:10 Tips on how to practise for this lesson 
Targeting the root notes of the chord
Putting all the chords together
2 Lectures 21:55

This lesson shows you how to put 4 of the chords you have learned into a song by Green Day, 'Good Riddance (Time Of Your Life)'

 0:55 First chord sequence in the song 
 3:08 Bars explained 
 3:45 Strumming the first sequence 
 5:00 Changing between Em and D 
 6:00 Second chord sequence 
 8:21 Third chord sequence 
 10:00 The entire song 
 12:03 Practising slowly 
Good Riddance - Green Day

Learn how to improve your rhythm in this lesson

 0:35 Review of downward strumming 
 1:06 Down and up strums 
 1:22 New rhythm without up strum after 1st beat 
 2:58 Rhythm without downward strum on 3rd beat 
 4:47 Adding this rhythm to 'A Horse With No Name' 
 6:38 Adding rhythm to 'Good Riddance' 
More Rhythm
The C major chord
1 Lecture 12:09

Your next chord is C major, learn where to place your fingers for this chord and add it to Em, G and D to play 'Stand By Me'

 0:00 C major chord 
 1:10 Chord sequence for <em>'Stand By Me'</em> 
 2:00 Changing from Em to C 
 3:08 Changing from C to D 
 4:12 Strumming the chord sequence 
 5:58 Review of the rhythm 
 6:31 Adding the rhythm to the chords 
 7:38 Using a Capo 
 10:26 Strumming the song with capo at 2nd fret 
 11:16 Avoiding the 6th string 
Stand By Me - Ben E. King
The A minor chord
3 Lectures 07:36

Learn the A minor chord and combine it with G, D and C chords to play 'Knockin' On Heavens Door'

 0:00 The A minor chord 
 1:00 Chord sequence for 'Knockin' On Heavens Door' 
 2:51 Strumming the sequence 
 3:49 Changing from Am to G 
 4:40 The chord sequence with twice the number of beats per chord 
 5:30 Sequence with correct amount of beats per chord 
Knockin' On Heavens Door - Bob Dylan

Well done for completing this course, I hope you enjoyed it. Remember that regular practise is the best way to improve.


Bonus Lecture
About the Instructor
Francis Long
4.5 Average rating
434 Reviews
17,199 Students
4 Courses
Music Teacher dipABRSM, LTCL

I have been involved in the music business for many years. At the age of eight I joined the Artane Boys Band, where I received a great introduction into the world of music, learning how to play the clarinet, oboe and the bell lyre. When I left this marching band (which is compulsory at age 16) I discovered the guitar and began the next phase of my musical journey playing rock, pop and blues in various bands in Dublin. Looking for a further challenge I decided to study classical guitar in which I have earned both an Associated Board ABRSM diploma and a Licentiate LTCL diploma. Along the way I worked in different music shops, where I got the opportunity to try other instruments and ended up also learning banjo, mandolin and bodhran. I have been teaching guitar, banjo, mandolin and music technology at Waltons New School Of Music in Dublin since 2003 and have also given lessons at several Dublin-area primary schools through Waltons In-School Music Programme.