Beginner Guitar - 38 Easy Lessons You Needs to Get Started

Learn the basic building blocks of playing the guitar that you would get from your first few private guitar lessons!
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  • Lectures 39
  • Length 3 hours
  • Skill Level Beginner Level
  • Languages English
  • Includes Lifetime access
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About This Course

Published 9/2013 English

Course Description

In this class you'll learn everything you need to know to get started playing the guitar from SQUARE ONE! These are lessons that all guitar players need to master no matter what genre they want to play. This included:

  1. Anatomy of the Guitar
  2. The Differences Between Guitar Types
  3. How to String a Guitar
  4. How to Tune a Guitar
  5. Getting Setup to Play
  6. How to Read Guitar Music
  7. Basic Chords
  8. Advanced Chord Types

What are the requirements?

  • None - You don't even need a guitar to get started. We'll help you understand which one is right for you!

What am I going to get from this course?

  • By the end of the course you'll be able to play the chords that make up +90% of popular music

What is the target audience?

  • Anyone looking to learn how to play the guitar

What you get with this course?

Not for you? No problem.
30 day money back guarantee.

Forever yours.
Lifetime access.

Learn on the go.
Desktop, iOS and Android.

Get rewarded.
Certificate of completion.

Curriculum

Section 1: Anatomy of the Guitar
00:50

To get started, you'll need to know some basic information about the anatomy of the guitar. In our first few lessons we cover the important vocabulary terms that apply to all types of guitars. These are really important terms to know if you are going to buy your first guitar or if you are just starting to learn how to play. If you want to play anything from Metal, to Blues, to Samba, to Rock, understanding the anatomy of the guitar will get you headed in the right direction.

01:03
LESSON SUMMARY: THE BODY OF THE GUITAR
Here's a review of what was covered in this video lesson. Feel free to print this page out so you have something to review while you practice.

GENERAL FACTS ABOUT THE BODY OF THE GUITAR
body of the guitarThe body is the largest part of the guitar, where you strum or pluck the strings.
The body consists of the top, back and sides. The top is the front where the strings are attached. The back is the side that presses against the guitar players body.
THE BRIDGE
The part of the guitar where the strings attach to the body of the guitar.
On acoustic guitars, the bridge tends to be made of wood and are glued or screwed into the body of the guitar.
On electric guitars the bridge tends to be made from metal and are screwed or bolted into the body of the guitar.
THE SADDLE
guitar saddleThe smaller piece that stops the strings from vibrating on the body of the guitar.
This piece of the bridge can be made of various materials, like wood, bone, plastic, graphite or ivory depending on the guitar.
BRIDGE PINS
The pegs that fasten the strings to the bridge.
Bridge pins are generally only found on acoustic guitars and are used to keep the strings tension constant while you strum the guitar.
THE SOUNDHOLE
Sound hole of the guitarThe hole cut out of the center of the body of the guitar.
This is where the the air inside the body of the guitar, which moves because of the vibration caused by strumming of plucking a string, comes out of the guitar as acoustic sound.
Soundholes are generally in the center of the guitar; however, they can be on various parts of the guitar body.
THE PICKGUARD
pickguard guitarThe flat, protective piece of plastic beneath the soundhole. The pickguard protects the top of the guitar from damage by the pick or fingers.
01:23
LESSON SUMMARY: THE NECK OF THE GUITAR
Here's a review of what was covered in this video lesson. Feel free to print this page out so you have something to review while you practice.

THE NECK
neck of the guitarThe long skinny piece of wood that extends out from the body. It is the area of the instrument played by your left hand (assuming you are right-handed).
Glued to the neck you will find the fretboard and the frets. These are used to help shorten the vibrating length of the string, which changes the pitch when playing the guitar.
THE FRETBOARD
fret board of a guitarThe thin, flat slab of laminated wood on top of the neck. The fretboard is generally made of a hardwood such as rosewood or maple.
It is also sometimes referred to as the fingerboard.
THE FRETS
The thin metal bars laid into the fretboard.
The frets are used to shorten the vibrating length of a string being played.
Most guitars have between 18 and 24 frets.
FRETTING NOTES
Fretting notes on a guitarGently press a fingertip onto a string to the left of one of your frets.
This shortens the length of the part of the string which vibrates.
When you pluck that string, it will vibrate from the saddle up to the fret where you are pressing.
By shortening the vibrating the length of a string, you raise the pitch of a string.
OPEN STRING
  • The sound a string makes when you pluck it without pressing any of the frets.
01:34
LESSON SUMMARY: THE HEAD OF THE GUITAR
Here's a review of what was covered in this video lesson. Feel free to print this page out so you have something to review while you practice.

THE HEAD (A.K.A. HEADSTOCK)
head headstock of the guitarThe head, or headstock, is at the end of the neck of the guitar.
It is the part of the guitar where the strings are attached—with the other end attached to the bridge (on the body of the guitar).
Attached to the headstock is the nut, tuning pegs and tuning posts, all which help the strings stay aligned and in tension.
THE NUT
The small skinny piece of bone, plastic or metal, where the neck ends and the headstock begins.
The nut has slots in it that hold the strings into place.
When plucked, a string vibrates along its length from the nut (on the headstock) to the saddle (on the bridge) of the instrument.
TUNING POSTS
tuning post on guitar headThe six posts which are used to attach the six strings to the headstock.
The tuning posts are typically made of metal and can either be lined up on one side or with three posts on each side of the headstock.
The tuning posts are used to fasten the strings onto the head (headstock) of the guitar.
TUNING PEGS
tuning pegThe part of the tuning post that rotates, so you can tighten or loosen the tension of the string by twisting the peg.
Tuning pegs allow you to change a string's tension, which alters the pitch of the string when it is plucked or strummed.
02:30
LESSON SUMMARY: THE STRINGS OF THE GUITAR
Here's a review of what was covered in this video lesson. Feel free to print this page out so you have something to review while you practice.

STRING NUMBERS
guitar string numbers6th String: The thickest string that is closest to the ceiling.
1st String: The thinnest string that is closest to the floor.
STRING NAMES:
Pitches are assigned letter names so guitar players can have a language to express what they are playing:

guitar string letter names

6th String: E
5th String: A
4th String: D
3rd String: G
2nd String: B
1st String: E
ACRONYM TO REMEMBER STRING NAMES
Our favorite trick to help remember the names of the strings: Elephants AndDogs Got Big Ears.
  • Elephants (6)
  • And (5)
  • Dogs (4)
  • Got (3)
  • Big (2)
  • Ears (1)
01:45
LESSON SUMMARY: REVIEW OF THE ANATOMY OF THE GUITAR
Here's a review of what was covered in this video lesson. Feel free to print this page out so you have something to review while you practice.

THE BODY
Body of the GuitarThe body is the largest part of the guitar. Assuming you are right-handed, the strings attached to the body of the guitar are strummed or plucked by your right hand to produce sound.
THE BRIDGE
Bridge of the GuitarThe bridge is the piece of wood where the strings are fastened to the body of the guitar.
THE SADDLE
Saddle of the GuitarThe saddle is the piece of bone or plastic laid into the bridge of the guitar. It stops the vibration of the string on one end when plucked or strummed.
THE NECK
Neck of the GuitarThe long skinny piece of wood that extends out from the body is called the neck. It is the area of the instrument played by your left hand (assuming you are right-handed).
THE FRETBOARD
Fretboard of the GuitarThe fretboard is the thin, flat slab of laminated wood on top of the neck. It is generally made of a hardwood such as rosewood or maple. It is also sometimes referred to as the fingerboard.
THE FRETS
Frets of the GuitarThe thin metal bars laid into the fretboard, the frets are used to shorten the vibrating length of a string being played. Most guitars have between 18 and 24 frets.
THE HEAD (OR HEADSTOCK)
Headstock Head of the GiutarThe head or headstock is at the end of the neck of the guitar. It is the part of the guitar where the strings are attached, other than the bridge (on the body of the guitar.)
THE NUT
Nut of the GuitarThe nut is the small skinny strip of bone, plastic or metal, where the neck ends and the headstock begins. The nut has slots that hold the strings into place, and stops the vibration of a plucked string on one end. The saddle provides the same function on the other end of the instrument.
TUNING POST

Tuning post of the Guitar

Tuning posts are the six posts that are used to attach the strings to the headstock. The tuning posts are usually made of metal and can either be lined up with all six posts on one side or with three posts on each side of the headstock.

TUNING PEGS

Tuning Pegs of the Guitar

Tuning pegs are the part of the tuning post that, when rotated, tighten or loosen the tension of the string. Tightening or loosening a string's tension will change the pitch of the string.
Section 2: Types of Gutiars
02:25
HOW THE STEEL STRING ACOUSTIC GUITAR WORKS
acoustic guitar This type of guitar is well known for its large and hollow body.
When played, the vibration of the steel strings causes the air inside the hollow body to reverberate and come out of the sound hole as acoustic sound.
STEEL STRINGS
steel stringsSteel strings are made with a steel core that is wrapped with a different type of metal (usually copper, nickel or bronze).
Steel strings are generally the toughest/stiffest type of string and therefore can be the most difficult to play for a beginning student.
STEEL STRING ACOUSTIC GUITAR MUSIC & MUSICIANS
  • Rock: Dave Matthews, Ben Harper, Eric Clapton, Elvis Presley, Matt Nathanson, Paul Simon, Jason Mraz, Neil Diamond…
  • Folk: Bob Dylan, Ray LaMontagne, Indigo Girls, Woody Guthrie, Joan Baez, Joni Mitchell, Peter Paul & Mary, John Denver, James Taylor…
  • Country: Johnny Cash, Garth Brooks, Pat Green, Kenny Chesney, Alabama, Kenny Rogers, The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, Robert Earl Keen…
  • Bluegrass: Dolly Parton, Steve Ivey, Emmylou Harris, Bill Monroe and the Blue Grass Boys, Earl Scruggs, Jimmy Martin, Lester Flatt…
03:04
LESSON SUMMARY: THE NYLON STRING GUITAR
Here's a review of what was covered in this video lesson. Feel free to print this page out so you have something to review while you practice.

THE NYLON VS. THE STEEL STRING GUITAR
nylon string guitarSimilar to the steel string guitar, the nylon has a large hollow body—although it is typically not quite as large as the steel string.
Unlike the steel string guitar, which uses bridge pins, the strings on a nylon stringed guitar are fed though holes in the bridge and fastened using knots.
At the other end of the guitar the strings are fastened to the head (headstock) using rollers instead of bridge pins.
Typically the nylon string guitar is played fingerstyle, although it can be played with a pick as well.

Note: The nylon string guitar is also commonly referred to as a Classical Guitar.

NYLON STRINGS
nylon stringsAll nylon strings are generally softer and more flexible than than those used on a steel string guitar.
  • Strings 6-5-4: A silk core wrapped with a light metal (silver or bronze) wire.
  • Strings 3-2-1: A plastic or nylon filament.
NYLON STRING GUITAR MUSIC AND MUSICIANS:
  • Brazilian: Raphael Rabello, Romero Lubambo, Yamandu Costa, Laurindo Almeida, Luiz Bonfa, Baden Powell, Brian Moran (StrumSchool’s personal favorite!)
  • Flamenco: Tomatito, Manolo Sanlucar, Vicente Amigo, Miguel de la Bastide, Charo, Sabicas, Paco de Lucia, Paco Pena, Juan Serrano, Tomatito, Vicente Amigo, Gerardo Nunez, Gipsy Kings, Ottmar Liebert...
  • Classical: Julian Bream, Antonio de Lucena, Andres Segovia, John Williams, Elliot Fisk, Christopher Parkening, Julian Bream, Narciso Yepes, Scott Tenant...
05:12
LESSON SUMMARY: THE ELECTRIC GUITAR
Here's a review of what was covered in this video lesson. Feel free to print this page out so you have something to review while you practice.

ABOUT THE ELECTRIC GUITAR
Electric guitars have the thinnest bodies, which generally makes them more comfortable to play than acoustic guitars at first.
Unlike an acoustic guitar, which uses its large hollow body to create sound, an electric guitar requires an amplifier to get its full sound.
THE PICKUPS
electric guitar pickupsPickups are the set of magnets placed where the sound hole would be on an acoustic guitar; they measure the vibration created when you pluck a string.
ELECTRIC GUITAR ACCESSORIES
electric guitar stringsStrings: Similar to the strings used on a steel string acoustic guitar, electric guitar strings are made from a steel core wrapped in other metals such as bronze or nickel. However, electric guitar strings come in a lighter gauge (thickness of string) than acoustic guitar strings, thus making them more flexible and easier to play.
Cord: The wire that transmits the signal created by vibrating guitar strings from the guitar to its amplifier. Electric guitars universally use a 1/4 inch cord.
guitar ampAmplifier (A.K.A. Amp): The piece of equipment that interprets the vibrations sent from a guitar’s pickups and broadcasts them through a set of speakers. Guitar amplifiers have various controls—including volume, tone and distortion—this can change the original sound coming from the guitar.
Whammy Bar: A lever attachment to the guitar that, when pushed, flexes a joint in the bridge that increases or decreases the tension on the strings. This change in tension creates changes in the pitch being played.
ELECTRIC GUITAR MUSIC AND MUSICIANS
  • Classic Rock: Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd, Lynyrd Skynyrd, The Who, Rolling Stones, Grateful Dead, Jefferson Airplane, The Eagles, The Doors...
  • Alternative Rock: Pearl Jam, Nirvana, Foo Fighters, Radiohead, Kings of Leon, Red Hot Chili Peppers, The Shins, Soundgarden, Fiona Apple, Alanis Morsette...
  • Punk Rock: Green Day, The Ramones, Rancid, Blink 182, Sex Pistols, The Clash, Sum 41, The Misfits...
  • Metal: Metallica, Black Sabbath, Iron Maiden, Judas Priest, System of a Down, Pantera, Anthrax, Motley Crue, Korn...
  • Jazz: Charlie Christian, Grant Green, Wes Montgomery, Django Reinhardt, Pat Martino, George Benson, Kenny Burrell...
  • Blues: Stevie Ray Vaughan, B.B. King, John Mayer Trio, T-Bone Walker, Robert Johnson, Buddy Guy, Albert King...
04:22
LESSON SUMMARY: BUYING A GUITAR
Here's a review of what was covered in this video lesson. Feel free to print this page out so you have something to review while you practice.

THE ACTION
Action = the distance between the strings and the frets or fretboard.
high action guitarHigh Action: When the strings are very far away from the fretboard, a guitar with high action is harder to play because it requires more finger strength to press the strings down against the frets.
Low Action: When the strings are very close to the fretboard. A guitar with low action is usually easier to play, but can also give off a “buzz” sound because the strings may hit the fretboard in multiple places.
THE SADDLE
The piece of plastic or bone on the bridge that raises the strings away from the body of the guitar. The height of the saddle can be adjusted to raise or lower the guitar's action.
STRING SLOTS
string slotsThe spaces carved out of the nut that hold the strings in place. The depth of the slots determine the height of the action on the neck of the guitar the same way the saddle does on the bridge.
THE SCALE LENGTH
The distance from saddle to nut. The longer the scale length, the more tension there is on the strings.
STRING SPACING
The distance between each string. The larger the string spacing is, the more finger flexibility is required.
  • Classical Guitars often have wide string spacing to accommodate plucking individual strings one at a time.
  • Acoustic & Electric Guitars generally have less string space which makes it easier to strum multiple strings at a time.
ACOUSTIC GUITAR PICKUPS
To enable an acoustic guitar and make sounds louder than those naturally produced by its hollow body, a pickup, cord and amplifier are needed. While some acoustic guitars have pickups installed, most do not. If you decide you want to amplify an acoustic guitar that does not have a pickup, an aftermarket one can either be clipped onto the sound hole or permanently installed inside.
GUITAR SETUP
When a professional technician adjusts the action and intonation (making sure the guitar plays in tune at all points of the instrument) and makes any other adjustments necessary. When you buy a guitar, always ask if the first setup is included with the price.
Section 3: Stringing Your Guitar
01:55
LESSON SUMMARY: TOOLS FOR STRINGING YOUR GUITAR
Here's a review of what was covered in this video lesson. Feel free to print this page out so you have something to review while you practice.

CHOOSING THE CORRECT STRINGS:
guitar stringsImportant Tip: Make sure to use strings that are designed for your type of guitar. For example, if you're playing an electric guitar, only use strings that say "Electric Guitar Strings" on the packaging. Using strings that are not designed for your guitar can cause permanent damage.
STRING WINDER:
string winder guitarA tool that is primarily designed to help you twist the tuning pegs, and depending on the direction you twist, loosen or tighten the tension of your strings.

String winders usually come with a built-in string cutter and a notch that makes it easier to remove the bridge pins from the guitar.
02:05
LESSON SUMMARY: REMOVING A STRING
Here's a review of what was covered in this video lesson. Feel free to print this page out so you have something to review while you practice.

LOOSEN THE STRING:
Loosen guitar stringDrag your finger all the way to end of the string that you want to change to make sure that you are loosening the correct tuning peg. Use the string winder (or your fingers) to rotate the tuning peg which loosens the strings. Pluck the string you are loosening.
If the tone of the string you pluck gets lower, you are turning the right tuning peg in the correct direction.
  • The Top 3 Strings (6-5-4): Rotate the tuning peg clockwise.
  • The Bottom 3 Strings (3-2-1): Rotate the tuning peg counter-clockwise.
CUT THE STRING
cutting a guitar stringMake sure you loosen the tension on the string before cutting. Use the wire cutter or a string cutter to cut the middle of the string.
REMOVE THE STRING
Removing a guitar stringUse the notch on the back of the string winder (or a pair of pliers) to pull the bridge pin up and out of the bridge. Use your hand to carefully unwind the string from the tuning post and be careful, string ends can be sharp!
  • Nylon String Guitars: For guitars that don’t have bridge pins, once the string is loosened and cut, simply untie and remove the string from the bridge.
05:54
LESSON SUMMARY: STRINGING AN ACOUSTIC GUITAR
Here's a review of what was covered in this video lesson. Feel free to print this page out so you have something to review while you practice.

FIND THE RIGHT STRING
finding the right guitar stringBe sure to select the correct string. Packaging varies by string manufacturer.
Some strings are color-coordinated, some are organized by string size (in inches).
FASTEN THE STRING TO THE BRIDGE
fasten the guitar string to the bridgeFind the end of the string that has a ball on it and insert it into the open hole in the bridge.
Place the bridge pin into the hole. The groove in the bridge pin should point toward the nut when you put the pin in the hole.
Gently push the pin almost all the way into the bridge.
While holding the bridge pin, pull the string with the other hand so that the ball on the string locks into the groove in the bridge pin.
Push the pin all the way down.
Pull on the string to make sure the bridge pin is well fastened.
FASTEN THE STRING TO THE HEADSTOCK
fasten the string to the headstockFeed the string into the correct slot on the nut.
Lay the string against the inside of the tuning peg.
Wrap the string around the tuning peg 1-3 times. Make sure you are wrapping the string below the hole in the tuning post.
Feed the string through the hole in the post. Exit the hole above the loops you've made to ensure that the string is locked into position on the post.
When you begin tightening by turning the tuning peg, make sure you are going in the right direction. Test a neighboring tuning peg if you aren’t sure.
TIGHTEN THE STRING
tighten the guitar stringUse your sting winder (or fingers) to rotate the tuning peg. Be careful not to tighten it so much you risk breaking the string.
Top 3 strings (6-5-4): Rotate tuning peg counter-clockwise to tighten.
Bottom 3 strings (3-2-1): Rotate tuning peg clockwise to tighten.
Pluck the string you are tightening. If the tone gets higher while you tighten, you are rotating in the correct direction.
CUT THE EXCESS STRING
Use your string cutter to clip off any loose ends like you did when you removed the string. Remember, be careful of the sharp ends of the strings.
04:07
LESSON SUMMARY: STRINGING AN ELECTRIC GUITAR
Here's a review of what was covered in this video lesson. Feel free to print this page out so you have something to review while you practice.

REMOVE THE OLD STRING
removing an electric guitar stringLoosen and cut the old string. On most electric guitars, you will need to push the ball end of the string though the back of the guitar.
FASTEN THE STRING TO THE BRIDGE
fastening a string on an electric guitar bridgeSelect your string. Be careful to choose the correct replacement string! Feed the non-ball end of the sting through the correct hole in the back of the guitar. Pull the non-ball end of the string though the hole in the front of the guitar until the ball end of the string catches in the back of the guitar.
FASTEN THE STRING TO THE HEADSTOCK
Fasten an electric guitar to the headstockFeed the string into the correct slot on the nut. Lay the string against the inside of the tuning peg. Wrap the string around the tuning peg 1-3 times, depending on which string you are fastening. Make sure you wrap the string below the hole in the tuning post. Feed the string through the hole in the post. Exit the hole above the loops you've made to ensure that the string is locked into position on the post.
When you begin tightening by turning the tuning peg, make sure you are going in the right direction. Test a neighboring tuning peg if you aren’t sure.
TIGHTEN THE STRING
Tighten electric guitar stringUse your string winder (or fingers) to rotate the tuning peg. Be careful not to tighten so much you risk breaking the string. Unlike stringing an acoustic guitar, the tuning posts for electric guitars are normally all on the same side. Pluck the string you are tightening. If the tone gets higher while you tighten, you are rotating in the correct direction.
  • If the tuning pegs are on the top of the headstock, turn the tuning peg counter-clockwise to tighten the string.
  • If the tuning pegs are on the bottom of the headstock, turn the tuning peg clockwise to tighten the string.
CUT OFF THE EXCESS STRING
Use your string cutter to clip off any loose ends.
03:43
LESSON SUMMARY: STRINGING A NYLON STRING GUITAR
Here's a review of what was covered in this video lesson. Feel free to print this page out so you have something to review while you practice.

SELECT THE RIGHT STRING
Be careful to choose the correct replacement string!
  • Wound Strings (Bass Strings): A string with a metal core wound with silk. These are used for strings 6-4-5.
  • Nylon Strings: Clear and unwrapped plastic-like strings that are used on strings 1-2-3.
FASTENING THE STRING TO THE BRIDGE
feed the nylon string though the bridge guitarFeed the non-braided end of the string through the correct hole in the back of the bridge.
Pull the non-braided end of the string through the hole in the front of the bridge until there is 2-3 inches of string remaining behind the bridge.
tying the nylon string guitarTake the short end of the string and loop it under and around the longer length of string.
Wrap the short end of the string around the loop you just made. Do this once for wound strings and 2-3 times for the nylon strings.
fastening the nylon string guitarTuck the short end of the string behind the bridge.
Pull the string tight and secure the knot on the back of the bridge.
FASTEN THE STRING TO THE HEADSTOCK
wrap nylon string around roller guitar Feed the string into the correct slot on the nut.
Twist your tuning peg so the roller faces up.
Wrap the string all the way around the roller twice and feed the string through the hole from the bottom of the roller.
Wrap the short end of the string around the long end of the string 2-3 times.
TIGHTEN THE STRING
Tightening nylon string guitarUse your string winder (or fingers) to rotate the tuning peg. This will use the loops you’ve created to lock the string in place. Be careful not to tighten so much as to break the string.
Pluck the string you are tightening. If the tone gets higher while you tighten, you are rotating in the correct direction.
CUT OFF THE EXCESS STRING
  • To secure the other end of the string to the tuning roller, wrap it around the roller twice. Then feed the string end through the hole in the roller.
02:50
LESSON SUMMARY: TIPS FOR STRINGING YOUR GUITAR
Here's a review of what was covered in this video lesson. Feel free to print this page out so you have something to review while you practice.

STRETCH YOUR STRINGS
Once your string has been fastened, grab it and gently pull up and down the length of the string. Stretching strings helps to prevent them from going out of tune.
HOW TO AVOID BREAKING A STRING
Use your finger to follow the string you want to tighten to make sure you are using the correct tuning peg.
Pluck the string you are trying to tighten. If the tone is changing while you rotate the tuning peg, you are tightening the right string. If the tone doesn’t change, check to see which tuning peg you are twisting.
WHEN TO CHANGE YOUR STRINGS
Check the color of your strings. If they are old and brown or rusty, it’s time for a change.
If you notice that the sound of the strings isn’t crisp, it’s time for a change.
In general, we recommend you change your strings every 2-3 months but you can get away with leaving old strings on for longer.
REPLACING A STRING
Everyone breaks strings… Always keep extra strings with you!
If you break a string, you don’t have to buy a full pack. Most guitar shops will sell you individual strings at a time.
Section 4: Tuning Your Guitar
02:00
LESSON SUMMARY: INTRODUCTION TO TUNING YOUR GUITAR
Here's a review of what was covered in this video lesson. Feel free to print this page out so you have something to review while you practice.

WHEN TO TUNE YOUR GUITAR
It is very important to make sure your guitar is in tune EVERY time you play! If your guitar is not in tune, you will not sound good even if you play the right hand positions with the correct rhythm.
TYPES OF TUNERS
tuning fork guitar tunerPitch Fork: A metal fork that, when struck, makes a specific tone which matches the tone your guitar makes when you pluck a string.
Microphone Tuner: An electronic tuner that uses a microphone to listen to the tone a string makes. These are much easier to use than a tuning fork but require that you tune in a quite environment.
Vibration guitar tuner clipVibration Tuner: An electronic tuner that clips onto the headstock of your guitar and measures the vibration from a string that you pluck. Because this type of tuner doesn’t use a microphone, you can use it in a noisy room.
04:04

LESSON SUMMARY: READING A GUITAR TUNER

Here's a review of what was covered in this video lesson. Feel free to print this page out so you have something to review while you practice.

READING AN ELECTRIC TUNER
Electric tuners use either the string number and/or letter names:
E(6)
A(5)
D(4)
G(3)
B(2)
e(1)
In Tune: Make sure that the name or number on the tuner corresponds correctly to the string you are plucking. If the tuner points at the center mark in its display dial when you pluck a string, that string is in tune.
Sharp: When a pitch is too high. When tuning, if the needle goes past the center mark of the dial that string has too much tension and is sharp.
Flat: When a pitch is too low. When tuning, if the needle does not make it to the center of the display, the string you are tuning needs more tension and is flat.
TUNING TIPS
  • When you turn your tuning pegs on your guitar, a little goes a long way!
  • The musical alphabet goes in order, and repeats: A-B-C-D-E-F-G-A-B…
    • If you are tuning your D string, and the tuner says C, or C#, that means you are flat and need to tighten the string until the tuner reads D.
    • If you are tuning the C string, and your tuner shows a D, the string is too sharp. Loosen the string.
  • Most tuners work best when you pluck each string close to the 12th fret.
  • Keep plucking your string to give the tuner the best chance at reading your pitch correctly.
Section 5: Preparing to Play Your Guitar
05:30

LESSON SUMMARY: PLAYING GUITAR WITH PROPER POSTURE

Here's a review of what was covered in this video lesson. Feel free to print this page out so you have something to review while you practice.

GUIDELINES FOR PLAYING GUITAR WHILE SITTING:
Proper Guitar Sitting Posture Sit in a comfortable chair with your chest up and your feet on the ground. Keep your knees at a right angle to the floor (90 degrees). Some prefer to elevate one leg to help raise the guitar.
POSITIONING AN ACOUSTIC OR ELECTRIC GUITAR:
Right Leg guitar posture electric acousticBoth electric and acoustic guitars should rest against your right leg.
Push the bottom of the guitar away from your body a few inches and angle the top of the guitar towards you. This will help you see the strings while you play.
guitar angle electric acousticAngle the guitar neck slightly up towards your eyes. This will help you see the fretboard while you play. In general, it is better to bring the guitar to you than for you to lean over to see the guitar.
GUITAR STRAP:
guitar strap posture A piece of cloth, nylon, leather or plastic that attaches to the guitar goes over your right shoulder to hold the guitar in place while you play.
The guitar strap should keep your guitar pressed into the same place on your body whether you are sitting or standing.
POSITIONING A NYLON STRING GUITAR
posture guitar nylon stringNylon string guitars should be placed on the left leg. This allows you to rest your wrist on the guitar so you can easily pluck strings with your right hand.
Keep the neck of the guitar at a higher angle than you would for an electric or acoustic guitar so that you can see the strings easier.
Rest the top back edge of the body of the guitar against your chest. By not pressing the whole back of the guitar against your body, you avoid deadening the guitar's vibration and allow the sound to project.
02:54
LESSON SUMMARY: HOLDING THE GUITAR
Here's a review of what was covered in this video lesson. Feel free to print this page out so you have something to review while you practice.

STABILIZING THE GUITAR
stabilizing the guitar right armPlace the crease of your right elbow onto the top edge of the front of the guitar to lock the guitar against your body.
Keeping your arm in this position will keep the guitar secure while still giving you enough range of motion to reach all of the strings.
If you remove your arm the guitar's head should fall towards your feet and not away from you.
SWINGING YOUR RIGHT ARM
guitar swinging your right arm Your arm should be placed in a position that allows you to freely swing your forearm from the elbow. If held correctly, nothing on the guitar should impede the motion of your forearm swinging.
follow through guitar strumWhen you swing your arm, your right hand should pass by the pickup (on your electric guitar) or sound hole (on your acoustic guitar).
EXERCISE:
strumming practice exercise guitarPractice dragging your right thumb over all of the strings slowly. This will get your arm used to swinging and get you ready to start strumming. While doing this exercise, try to get all six strings to ring out equally as loud.
05:20
LESSON SUMMARY: PLAYING THE GUITAR WITH A PICK
Here's a review of what was covered in this video lesson. Feel free to print this page out so you have something to review while you practice.

PICKS:
various guitar pick shapes sizesAn tool used to help pluck the strings of the guitar. Picks are made from various materials (plastic, nylon, shell, etc.) and come in different thicknesses and sizes.
We suggest you try out different types of picks to find the shape and size that is comfortable for you. You should also load up, because picks tend to get lost very easily.
HOW TO HOLD A PICK
hand shape for guitar picksMake a relaxed fist so you can see a one-inch circular hole in the middle.
balancing a guitar pick on your handBalance the pick on your index finger so the tip points away from the palm of your hand.
holding a guitar pickLightly place your thumb on the pick to secure it against your index finger.
MAKING THE STRUMMING ARCH:
elbow motion guitar strumWhile you strum, the pick should start away from the guitar and dip down into the strings, then raise back away from the guitar in a fluid arching motion. Slowly swing your arm from the elbow.
rotate wrist guitar strumRotate your wrist in rhythm with the movement of your elbow. Rotate counter-clockwise while your arm is moving down and clockwise as it returns.
wrist flex guitar strumBend your wrist so it's far from the guitar at the top and bottom of your arc, and close to the guitar in the middle.
Flex your thumb slightly to angle your pick. This will stop the pick from getting caught on the strings and round out the sound when you strum.
EXERCISE:
  1. Practice making a strumming motion against all six strings.
  2. As you get more comfortable, minimize the motion so you're strumming only a few strings at a time while still making an arching motion.
  3. Work your way down to strumming one string at a time by making very small arches.
06:17

LESSON SUMMARY: PLAYING THE GUITAR WITH YOUR FINGERS

Here's a review of what was covered in this video lesson. Feel free to print this page out so you have something to review while you practice.

FINGERSTYLE GUITAR
Playing the guitar using your fingers (without a pick). This is possible with any guitar but mostly used when playing a classical (nylon string) guitar.
BASIC POSTURE
Finger style guitar hand postureRest your right thumb on the 6th string, allowing your hand to stay in place over the strings. Try to keep your thumb reaching out towards the head of the guitar, so it doesn't collide with your other fingers when you use it to pluck.
finger position fingerstyle guitarCurl your fingers up so that your index finger rests on the 3rd string, Middle finger rests on the 2nd string and your ring finger rests on the 1st string. Try to avoid putting your pinky finger down to anchor your hand.
FREE STROKE
free stroke guitar fingerstyleWhen your fingers pluck inward toward the palm of the hand to pluck a string and then follow through in a natural motion. Any finger can make a free stroke, including the thumb. When playing free strokes, try to keep your hand on the guitar. Free strokes are generally used when playing chords.
REST STROKE
When you pluck the string by pushing the string downward into the face of the guitar, and the follow-through lands the finger on whatever string is adjacent. Rest strokes are generally used when playing a melody.
COMMON TECHNIQUES:
  • Alternating Fingers: Playing a note with your thumb, followed by a note with your finger.
  • Chording: Playing all notes at once.
  • Arpeggiating: Letting a note you play with your thumb ring out while you play a series of notes with your fingers.
EXERCISES:
  1. Practice plucking with your fingers, while keeping your thumb totally still.
  2. Practice alternating plucking a note with your thumb, followed by plucking all three strings with the index, middle and ring fingers.
  3. Practice plucking all strings in succession. Start plucking with your thumb. Then pluck with your index finger, followed by your middle finger and then your ring finger. As each finger plucks, it hovers above the strings. Do not return the finger to the string you just plucked. When you get to the ring finger, begin the cycle again.
  4. Try exercise #3 but this time as one finger plucks, the next finger immediately goes to rest on the string it will pluck. This way, there is always at least 1 finger touching a string, which provides stability and consistency for your hand.
03:53

LESSON SUMMARY: TIPS FOR YOUR RIGHT HAND

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WHY THE RIGHT HAND IS IMPORTANT
Since the right hand is responsible for plucking or strumming the strings, it is the hand that is responsible for both making sounds and keeping rhythm when you play.
HOW TO BE ACCURATE WITH YOUR RIGHT HAND:
Try letting the three fingers that are not holding the pick brush up against the pickguard on the body of the guitar. This will give you a better sense of where you are in relation to the strings.
WHAT NOT TO DO WHEN STRUMMING
  • Don't Anchor Your Wrist to the Bridge: If you anchor your hand behind the strings you won't be able to reach the pickups or sound hole. If you strum too closely to the bridge, the tone your guitar makes won't be as rich.
  • Don't Make a Tight Fist: Whether you are playing with a pick or with finger style, making a tight fist will restrict your accurate and natural movements. Try to keep your hand loose and flexible.
TIPS FOR ACCURACY WHILE PLAYING FINGERSTYLE:
  • Move from the Large Knuckle: The best way to stay accurate while using your fingers is by using your whole finger and not just the last joint. Think of it like you were kicking a ball... you wouldn't just move your leg from the knee down because that joint doesn't have the mobility you need to make the motion you want.
05:12

LESSON SUMMARY: POSITIONING YOUR LEFT HAND

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BASIC LEFT HAND PRINCIPALS
  • Keep Your Wrist Straight: Bending your wrist too far either forward or backward can cause injury over time.
THUMB PLACEMENT:
thumb placement guitar handPlace the pad of your thumb on the back of the neck of the guitar. Point the thumb at a 45-degree angle, away from the body of the guitar so your fingers are slightly farther away from the headstock than your thumb. It is OK to roll onto the outside of the thumb or move your thumb below the middle of the neck at times.
FINGER PLACEMENT
finger placement guitar left handSecure your thumb on the back of the neck of the guitar. Move your hand forward so the line where your fingers connect to your hand is slightly beyond the bottom edge of the fretboard. Curl your fingers so they are arched and the tips face the fretboard. Push the tips of your fingers (not the pads) against the strings.
FINGER NAMES
  • 1: Index Finger
  • 2: Middle Finger
  • 3: Ring Finger
  • 4: Pinky Finger
  • Thumb: Thumb
EXERCISE
Bounce the tip of your finger on the strings. Starting with your first finger (1) and moving in order to your fourth finger (2... 3... 4). When you get to your fourth finger, move your first finger up to the next string and make the same motion. When you get to the top string (6th string) work your way back down making the same motion.
06:19

LESSON SUMMARY: FRETTING NOTES

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FRETTING NOTES
Press a string down until it is firmly pressed against the frets. As a reminder, the frets are the little metal bars laid into the fretboard, which is the thin piece of wood glued across the top of the neck.
HOW TO FRET A NOTE
Place your left hand in the proper position on the neck.
Place the tip of your finger onto one of the frets.
Slide the finger back so it is placed slightly behind the fret.
Press your finger down until it rests firmly against the fret.
TIPS FOR FRETTING NOTES
  • Don't Press Too Hard: You don't need to make the string you are pressing touch the fretboard. If you press too hard, your hand will get tired very quickly.
  • When to Press Harder: If the string you are fretting makes a "buzz" sound or no sound at all, you need to press a little harder.
  • Keep your Fingers Close to the Fretboard: If you can keep your fingers hovering over the fretboard, you will have an easier time pressing the right fret at the right time.
THE SPIDER EXERCISE:
  • Using your right hand, either pluck the first string with a pick using all down strokes, or play using fingerstyle and use rest strokes with your 1st finger.
  • Align your hand so that each finger can easily touch a fret in sequential order (similar to the exercise in lesson 24).
  • Fret and pluck one note at a time, in order; starting with your first finger and ending with your pinky while trying to get an even and consistent tone from each note.
  • When you fret a note with your pinky finger move your first finger to the next string up and repeat the same motion.
  • When you reach the top (6th) string, work your way back down the strings until you reach the fret that you started on.
Section 6: Reading Guitar Music
04:26
LESSON SUMMARY: INTRODUCTION TO READING THE GUITAR
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THE BASICS OF CHANGING THE TONE:
You can change the tone your guitar makes by changing the note you fret when you strum or pluck.
  • Up or Down: As you move from a fretted note on the 6th string down towards the 1st string, the tone you play gets higher. If you move the opposite direction, your tone will get lower.
  • In or Out: As you fret notes in closer towards the soundhole and away from the headstock, the tone you make gets higher. When you move out away from the soundhole towards the neck, your tone will get lower.
MELODY
The tune—or series of note played one after another. Melody is generally the part of the song that you can hum or sing.
HARMONY
Chords, or a series of tones played all at the same time. Harmony is generally used for the background of a song, which is known as accompaniment.
GUITAR SYSTEMS
As the guitar can play both melody and harmony, it is an amazing instrument and somewhat complicated. This being the case, guitar players have developed multiple systems to be able to communicate what notes to play and when.
  • Standard Music Notation: This is the shared language between all instruments. It is comprised of lots of little dots and other figures on a long staff. Because standard music notation is not a guitar-specific system, we don't focus on it that much on this site.
  • Chord Diagrams: A graphical representation of a guitar neck that tells you which finger to use and where to put it. Chord diagrams are useful because they are easy to read but they don't tell you anything about when to play (i.e. rhythm).
  • Tableture (A.K.A. Tabs): A mixture of chord diagrams and musical notation that can express what notes to play and when to play them. Tabs are great for giving a guitar-specific language that can express melody and harmony, but they don't tell you which fingers to use.
13:59
LESSON SUMMARY: READING GUITAR TAB
Here's a review of what was covered in this video lesson. Feel free to print this page out so you have something to review while you practice.

TABLATURE (A.K.A. TABS)
A system used by guitar players to understand what notes to play and when. Tabs are organized so they look similar to the strings of your guitar and are laid out like a timeline.
TAB STAFF
tab staff tablature guitarThe 6 horizontal lines that are meant to represent the 6 strings on your guitar. The strings on a tab staff are laid out in the opposite order from your guitar:
  • The 6th string (E) is represented by the bottom line on the tab staff.
  • The 1st string (e) is at the top of the tab staff.
NUMBERS ON THE TAB STAFF
The numbers on a tab staff are meant to represent the note that is fretted. Numbers on a tab staff are NOTwhat fingers you use or what strings to press.
PLAYING ONE LINE OF THE SPIDER EXERCISE
one line of spider exercise guitar tablatureThe numbers get higher when you read them from left to right. This means the 3rd fret on the 6th string was played first and the 6th fret on the 6th string was played last.
PLAYING MULTIPLE LINES OF THE SPIDER EXERCISE
The numbers on the 6th String (E) are placed before the numbers on the 5th string (A). This means that you should play the notes on the 6th string first.
USING TAB FOR PLAYING HARMONY
harmony using guitar tabNotes placed on top of each other are strummed at the same time. Lines without a number are not strummed.
OPEN STRINGS
An open string is a string that you strum without a pressing any of the frets.
Zeros (0) on a tab mean open strings.
EXERCISE: A-MINOR (AM) PENTATONIC SCALE
Major Pentatonic Scale AM6th String (E): Press 5th fret then 8th fret.
5th String (A): Press 5th fret then 7th fret.
4th String (D): Press 5th fret then 7th fret.
3rd String (G): Press 5th fret then 7th fret.
2nd String (B): Press 5th fret then 8th fret.
1st String (e): Press 5th fret then 8th fret.
08:14

LESSON SUMMARY: READING CHORD DIAGRAMS

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CHORD DIAGRAM
Chord Diagram BlankSometimes known as a "chord grid," this is a chart that is used by guitar players as a snapshot of where to put their fingers to play multiple notes/strings at once at a time.
READING CHORD DIAGRAMS
guitar like chord diagram verticalChord Diagrams are displayed like the guitar neck is being held so it is pointing into the air. Lines that run from left to right represent the frets on the guitar. Generally, the top line represents the nut unless there is a number outside the grid that indicates otherwise.
VERTICAL LINES ON CHORD DIAGRAMS
Vertical line on chord diagram stringsLines that run up and down represent the strings of the guitar.
The farthest line on the left represents the 6th (E) string. The line on the right represents the 1st (e) string.
FRETTING ONE WITH CHORD DIAGRAMS
Fretting Singel Notes Chord Diagram 2nd finger > 5th String (A) > 2nd fret
FRETTING MULTIPLE NOTES WITH CHORD DIAGRAMS
Fretting Multiple Notes Chord Diagram2nd Finger > 5th String (A) > 2nd Fret
3rd Finger > 4th String (D) > 2nd Fret
OPEN STRINGS ON CHORD DIAGRAMS
Open String Guitar Chord DiagramStings that have the number zero (0) on the top of the chord diagram represent open chords.
UNPLAYED STRINGS
Unplayed String Guitar Chord DiagramLines with an "X" over the top of the chord diagram represent strings that you should not play.
EXERCISE
  • Switch between these two chord diagrams.
  • Try to move your fingers at the same time.
  • Try to keep your fingers controlled.
  • Make the smallest movements possible.
04:54
LESSON SUMMARY: REVIEW OF READING THE GUITAR
Here's a review of what was covered in this video lesson. Feel free to print this page out so you have something to review while you practice.

SIMILARITY BETWEEN CHORD DIAGRAMS AND TABLATURE
Both guitar tablature and chord diagrams are systems used by guitar players to explain which strings and frets to use to play a particular tone or set of notes on the guitar.
DIFFERENCES BETWEEN CHORD DIAGRAMS AND TABLATURE

guitar tablatureChord Diagrams: A grid that gives you a snapshot of what strings and frets to press at a single point in time. Chord diagrams also tell you what fingers to use.

Tablature: A set of six lines that tells you what strings and frets to press in a timeline format. Tabs can express both harmony and melody.
TABS AND CHORD DIAGRAMS REPRESENTING THE SAME THING
E-Minor in Chord Diagram
E-Minor in Tablature

E Minor Em Tablature Guitar

EXERCISE: PLAYING MELODY AND HARMONY IN TABLATURE
  • 1st String (e): Open > 3rd Fret > 2nd Fret > Open
  • Strum: E-Minor (eM) Chord
  • 2nd String (B): 1st Fret > Open > 1st Fret > Open > 1st Fret > Open > Open
  • Strum: E-Minor (Em) Chord
Section 7: Learning Basic Chords
05:30

LESSON SUMMARY: INTRODUCTION TO CHORDS

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CHORDS
Chords are three or more different pitches played at the same time. On the guitar, any time you are playing three or more strings at once, you are technically playing a chord.
THE D MAJOR (D) CHORD
Open D Major Chord DiagramFirst Finger (1): 3rd String (G) > 2nd Fret
Middle Finger (2): 1st String (e) > 2nd Fret
Ring Finger (3): 2nd String (B) > 3rd Fret
Play the open 4th String (D)
Don't strum the 6th (E) or 5th (A) strings.
TIPS FOR PLAYING THE D CHORD
Open D Major ChordKeep your wrist straight.
Place your thumb about 3/4 the way up on the neck of the guitar.
Keep your fingers curled in a tight arch shape.
Try to put your first two fingers down together and then place your third finger.
Strum slowly & listen to which strings are buzzing. Adjust your fingers to make each string ring out.
06:00

LESSON SUMMARY: TRANSITIONING BETWEEN CHORDS

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E MAJOR (E) CHORD
E Major Chord Diagram2nd Finger (Middle): 5th string (A) > 2nd fret
3rd Finger (Ring): 4th string (D) > 2nd fret
1st Finger (Pointer): 3rd string (G) > 1st fret
Strum all six strings
A MAJOR (A) CHORD
A Major Chord Diagram 1st Finger (Pointer): 3rd string (B) > 2nd fret
2nd Finger (Middle): 4th string (G) > 2nd fret
3rd Finger (Ring): 2nd string (B) > 2nd fret
Strum open 5th (A) and 1st (e) strings
Don't strum the 6th (E) String
TIPS FOR TRANSITIONING CHORDS:
  • Strum slowly!
  • Make your movements as small as possible.
  • Keep as many fingers as you can on the guitar.
  • Try to put all of your fingers on the guitar at the same time.
EXCERCISE
Open E Major ChordStrum E-Major (E) chords four times in an slow and even pace.
Let each chord ring out for two seconds.
Slowly switch chords moving your fingers as little as possible.
Open A Major ChordStrum 4 A-Major (A) chords four times in an slow and even pace.
Let each chord ring out for two seconds.
Slowly switch chords moving your fingers as little as possible.
08:29
LESSON SUMMARY: OPEN MAJOR CHORDS
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OPEN CHORD
An open chord is a combination of three or more fretted notes played in combination with a series of open tones. These chords are a some of the most full sounding chords made by a guitar.
OPEN MAJOR CHORD
The happy-sounding chords! Open major chords use a combination of open and fretted strings. Also know as the "campfire chords," these are the building blocks of playing the guitar. Most of the chords that you've learned up to this point (E-Major, A-Major, D-Major) are open major chords.
C-MAJOR (C) CHORD
Open C Major Chord Diagram 1st Finger (pointer): 2nd String (B) > 1st Fret
2nd Finger (middle): 4th String (D) > 2nd Fret
3rd Finger (ring): 5th String (A) > 3rd Fret
Play the open 3rd (G) and 1st (e) strings
Don't play the 6th (E) string

Open C Major Chord

G-MAJOR (G) CHORD
Open G Major Chord Diagram4th Finger (pinky): 1st String (e) > 3rd Fret
3rd Finger (ring): 2nd String (B) > 3rd Fret
2nd Finger (middle): 6th String (E) > 3rd Fret
1st Finger (pointer): 5th String (A) > 2nd Fret
Strum all six strings
It is OK to move your thumb up to the top of the neck to keep your wrist straight

Open G Major Chord

F-MAJOR (F) CHORD
Open F Major Chord4th Finger (pinky): 2nd String > 1st Fret
3rd Finger (ring): 3rd String > 2nd Fret
2nd Finger (middle): 5th String > 3rd Fret
1st Finger (pointer): 4th String > 3rd Fret
Don't strum the 6th (E) or 1st (e) string (mute 1st string)

Open F Major Chord

MUTING A STRING
Muting a Guitar StringUsing one of your fingers to deaden the vibration made when you strum a string. This is done on the F-Major chord on the 1st string to prevent that string from ringing out.
EXERCISE
You now know 6 open major chords... Have some fun with them! Try switching between all the various combinations that you know and figure out easy ways to get from one chord to an other.
05:06

LESSON SUMMARY: MUSICAL KEYS

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MUSICAL KEYS
A family of seven notes (or chords) that sound good together. Of the seven notes that make up a musical key, three of them are always major. There are a total of twelve musical keys, but the most commonly used by guitar players are C, G, D & A.
KEY OF C
Musical Key of C GuitarC-Major (C)
F-Major (F)
G-Major (G)
KEY OF G
Musical Key of G GuitarG-Major (G)
C-Major (C)
D-Major (D)
KEY OF D
Musical Key of D GuitarG-Major (G)
C-Major (C)
A-Major (A)
KEY OF A
Musical Key of A GuitarA-Major (A)
D- Major (D)
E-Major (E)
EXERCISE
  • Memorize the major open chords in the four most common keys.
  • Practice switching between the chords in each of the most-used keys.
Section 8: Other Types of Chords
07:48
LESSON SUMMARY: MINOR CHORDS
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MINOR CHORDS
Unlike major chords, which generally sound happy and triumphant, minor chords are the sad and brooding sounding chords. For each major chord there is a minor chord. Unlike major chords, which are simply referred to by their letter names (A, E, D, G, etc), minor chords are always labeled "minor."
E-MINOR CHORD (EM)
E Minor Em Chord Diagram2nd Finger (middle): 5th String (A) > 2nd Fret
3rd Finger (ring): 4th String (D) > 2nd Fret
Strum all six strings
E Minor Em Chord
A-MINOR CHORD (AM)
A Minor AM Chord Diagram2nd Finger (middle): 4th String (D) > 2nd Fret
3rd Finger (ring): 3rd String (G) > 2nd Fret
1st Finger (pointer): 2nd String (B) > 1st Fret
Strum the open 5th (A) and (e) 1st strings
Don't strum the 6th (E) string

A Minor AM Chord

D-MINOR CHORD (DM)
D Minor Chord Diagram Dm1st Finger (pointer): 1st String (e) > 1st Fret
2nd Finger (middle): 3rd String (G) > 2nd Fret
3rd Finger (ring): 2nd String (B) > 3rd Fret
Strum the open 4th string (D)
Don't strum the 6th (E) or 5th (A) strings

D Minor Chord Dm

EXERCISE:
Strum each minor chord one time in this order:
  • D-Minor (Dm)
  • E-Minor (Em)
  • A-Minor (Am)
11:32
LESSON SUMMARY: POWER CHORDS
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POWER CHORDS
Chords that only use two or three fretted notes to make a chord. Power chords always use the same two hand positions and allow you to move quickly between notes without a ton of finger gymnastics.
While they are super easy to use when transitioning between chords quickly, power chords don't have the same rich sound of an open major chord.
ROOT-6 POWER CHORD
Root-6 Power ChordWhen your 1st finger is on the 6th string (E). This type of chord can be played with either 2 or 3 fingers.
F-POWER CHORD (F5)
root-6 power chord F5 diagram1st Finger (pointer): 6th String (E) > 1st Fret
3rd Finger (ring): 5th String (A) > 3rd fret
Don't strum the non-fretted strings. You can do this by flattening out your first finger to mute the non-fretted strings.
3 STRING POWER CHORDS
three finger power chord These are played the same as the 2 string power chords but with an added pinky finger in the same fret on the string below your ring finger. Playing your power chords with three fingers will make the tone of your chords slightly richer.
A-POWER CHORD (A5)
  • 1st Finger (pointer): 6th String (E) > 5th Fret
  • 3rd Finger (ring): 5th String (A) > 7th fret
ROOT-5 POWER CHORDS
root-5 power chord When your first finger is placed on the 5th string (A). These chords can also be played with 2 or 3 fingers.
D-POWER CHORD (D5)
D Power Chord D5 DiagramFirst Finger (pointer): 5th String (A) > 5th Fret
Third Finger (ring): 4th String (D) > 7th Fret
Only strum the fretted notes
EXERCISE
Practice Sliding with Power Chords
  • Strum Root-6 Power Chord on the 1st Fret
  • Strum Root-6 Power Chord on the 3rd Fret
  • Strum Root-6 Power Chord on the 5th Fret
  • Reverse this pattern to return back to the 1st fret
Practice Changing Power Chords
  • Strum the Root-6 Power Chord on the 1st fret
  • Strum the Root-5 Power Chord on the 1st fret
  • Strum the Root-5 Power Chord on the 3rd fret
  • Reverse the strumming pattern to return to the Root-6 Power Chord 1st fret.
09:11
LESSON SUMMARY: BASIC BARRE CHORDS
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BARRE CHORDS
Similar to Power Chords, Barre Chords are easily movable chords that only require you to master a few hand positions.
While these hand positions are some of the more difficult ones to master, Barre Chords are also like Open Chords in that they allow you to play as many as six strings at a time. This type of chord gives guitar players the best of both worlds because it is a full-sounding chord and easy to move around the neck of the guitar.
A BARRE
When you use one finger to press multiple strings at the same time. This is used to make all Barre Chords and requires a fair amount of hand strength.
BARRE TECHNIQUE
  • Lay the flat part of your finger on the strings you want to barre.
  • Move your left elbow into your ribs, which will roll the fleshy part of your finger off of the neck of the guitar.
  • Press the bony edge of your finger down across the string you are trying to barre slightly behind the fret.
  • Don't bend the knuckle joint on your thumb.
ROOT-6 MAJOR BARRE CHORD: F-MAJOR (F)
Root-6 F Major Barre Chord Diagram Fmaj3rd Finger (ring): 5th String (A) > 3rd Fret
4th Finger (pinky): 4th String (D) > 3rd Fret
2nd Finger (middle): 3rd String (G) > 2nd Fret
1st Finger (pointer): Barre 1st (e), 2nd (B) and 6th String (E) > 1st Fret

Root-6 F Major Barre Chord Fmaj

ROOT-5 MINOR BARRE CHORD: B-MINOR (BM)
Root-5 Minor Barre Chord Diagram Bm B Minor3rd Finger (ring): 4th String (D) > 3rd Fret
4th Finger (pinky): 3rd String (G) > 3rd Fret
2nd Finger (middle): 2nd String (B) > 2nd Fret
1st Finger (pointer): Barre 1st (e), 5th String (A) > 1st Fret
Don't Strum the 6th (E) string

Root-5 Minor Barre Chord Bm B Minor

EXERCISE:
Sliding Barre Chords
  • Strum Root-6 Barre Chord > 1st Fret
  • Strum Root-6 Barre Chord > 3rd Fret
  • Strum Root-6 Barre Chord > 5th Fret
  • Reverse and repeat the strumming pattern to return to the 1st Fret
Switching Barre Chords
  • Strum Root-6 Barre Chord > 5th Fret
  • Strum Root-5 Barre Chord > 5th Fret
  • Strum Root-5 Barre Chord > 7th Fret
  • Reverse and repeat the strumming pattern to return to the 5th Fret on the 6th string (E)
09:11

LESSON SUMMARY: MAJOR AND MINOR BARRE CHORDS

Here's a review of what was covered in this video lesson. Feel free to print this page out so you have something to review while you practice.

TYPES OF BARRE CHORDS
There are two variables that determine what type of Barre Chord you are playing. The first variable is the root, which is the string your 1st finger (pointer) anchors on. The second is whether the chord you are playing is a major or minor chord.
This means there are four possible Barre Chords: Root-6 Major, Root-6 Minor, Root-5 Major and Root-5 Minor.
ROOT-6 MINOR BARRE CHORD
Root-6 Minor Barre Chord Diagram3rd Finger (ring): 5th String (A) > 3rd Fret
4th Finger (pinky): 4th String (D) > 3rd Fret
1st Finger (pointer): Barre 1st (e), 2nd (B), 3rd (G) and 6th (E) Strings > 1st fret
Strum all six strings

Root-6 Minor Barre Chord

ROOT-5 MAJOR BARRE CHORD
Root-5 Major Barre Chord A Major3rd finger (ring): Barre 2nd (B), 3rd (G), 4th (D) strings > 4th fret
1st Finger (pointer): 5th string (A) > 2nd fret
Don't strum the 6th (E) or 1st (e) string

Root-5 Major Barre Chord A Major

EXERCISE
Root-6 Major and Minor Barre Chord Strum Pattern
  • Strum F-Major (F) Root-6 Barre Chord - Fret 1
  • Strum G-Major (G) Root-6 Barre Chord - Fret 3
  • Strum A-Minor (Am) Root-6 Barre Chord - Fret 5
  • Reverse the strumming pattern to return to Fret 1
Root-5 Major and Minor Barre Chord Strum Pattern
  • Strum D-Minor (Dm) Root-5 Barre Chord - Fret 6
  • Strum C-Major (C) Root-5 Barre Chord - Fret 4
  • Strum B-Major (B) Root-5 Barre Chord - Fret 2
  • Reverse the strumming pattern to return to Fret 6
Using All 4 Barre Chord Types
  • Strum E-Major (E) Root-5 Barre Chord - Fret 7
  • Strum B-Major (B) Root-6 Barre Chord - Fret 7
  • Strum C-Minor (Cm) Root-5 Barre Chord - Fret 4
  • Strum A-Major (A) Root-6 Barre Chord- Fret 5
  • Reverse the Strumming pattern and return to Fret 7
Summary of Chords
08:06
Section 9: Conclusion
Next Steps with StrumSchool
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