When I first picked up the guitar, I had no idea what I was doing. When I did eventually improve enough to teach others I couldn’t find a simple book that taught the basics in an easy to understand way.
So I wrote one myself.
Fast forward 25 years and ‘Love Guitar’ has been fully road tested into the method it is today; a street style guide for everyone and anyone.
Ever wanted to strum or finger pick your favourite songs round a camp fire, on a beach, or just by yourself quietly at home? I hope this helps.
Hi, my name is Andy Read and I'm a full time guitar coach working out of the beautiful city of Winchester UK.
I've just spent the last year of lockdown filming all 55 lessons of every chapter to turn "LOVE GUITAR" The Real Beginner's Guide, into "LOVE GUITAR" The Real Beginner's Series.
There are 6 different sections:
1. The 10 Basics covers guitar parts, finger names/strings names, how to read a chord box, six must know chords' and tuning.
2. How to play TAB, there are 10 lessons starting super easy and progressing in difficulty. Each lessons has 2 or 3 TAB songs (when I say TAB songs I mean single note melody lines of well known songs).
3. How to Play Chords, here we get to know 6 chords really well, and when I say really well I mean being able to play them and change between them on time, every time. Chords are such an important part of playing the guitar, and once you've nailed 6 really well, all the others will be so much easier. We also get to grips with strumming and different strumming styles.
4. How to Finger Pick, finger picking can be really fiddly but taking time to learn it will be so beneficial for you, it really is one of the most rewarding skills you can learn on the guitar.
5. Understanding Classical Notation. This is a very basic overview of all things crotchets and minims. It may be a little more challenging to read than TAB but it's a universal language that once understood can be read and played by any musician, on any instrument, anywhere in the world!
Back of the Book Extras, this section is full of more challenging songs, chords and riffs. It includes 6 must-know minor chords, full bar and half bar chord shapes, minor and major scales and 10 cool chord progressions. See it as a springboard to the next part of your journey.
The Real Beginner's Series really is what I would have appreciated when I first started out. It's a fully road-tested 12 hour introduction to one of the most amazingly versatile instruments.
Because of copyright, all the songs included may not be the coolest trendiest classics, but they are all classics in the sense of being well-known and familiar. What we are learning here are principles and techniques of guitar playing, so once you're confident in these, you'll be free and in a much better place to go and search out your very own personal favourite songs to learn and play.
THE FINER DETAILS
1. THE 10 BASICS
Welcome to the 10 basics - see this section as your quick start guide, 10 things you need to know and be aware of right at the beginning of your journey.
We'll be looking at guitar parts, finger names and string names, the left hand home position, how to read a chord box, six must know chords, how to read tab, the rest stroke, basic finger picking, strumming, and last of all, tuning.
We'll have more time for drilling down later in the series, so this is more a skimming across the surface.
At the end of it you'll get the low down on a broad range of basics before you attempt get stuck in to the nitty gritty - that's the goal!
2. HOW TO PLAY TAB
TAB is short for 'guitar tablature', and is a form of notation that uses lines (representing the strings) and numbers (fret numbers) to show you where to place your fingers on the fretboard.
It's the easiest and quickest way to start learning songs on the guitar.
There are 10 lessons in this section and we'll be learning to play over 15 well known songs.
We'll start off real easy and the songs will gradually become more challenging as you grow in confidence and ability.
Because of copyright the songs themselves may not be top 10 classics, but they are classics never the less. When I say classics they'll be songs you will mostly recognise, and that's the important thing, that we know how the tune should sound.
Once you become more confident as a player and have the knowledge of TAB you'll have all the time in the world to download and learn to play your own favourite songs.
In this section you'll go from learning very simple tunes, getting used to which finger to use on what fret. As your confidence grows, your speed will increase and the tunes will be begin to sound like 'real' songs.
We'll finish the section with songs and scales that use all 6 strings over 8 bars playing the notes cleanly and smoothly - this is the goal!
3. HOW TO PLAY CHORDS
In this section we'll be focussing on getting confident with 6 chords, and learning to change and move quickly between them, the top priority for every beginner.
Many guitarists lose heart because they never seem to master the quick chord change.
But the key is repetition. Move enough times between E and A and your fingers will soon remember. In a very short while you will not even have to look at your fingers, they will know what to do!
Starting with small steps is often the best way, as struggling through a whole song before you are ready can be very frustrating for you and for everyone else listening.
As you work through the graded 10 chord lessons, your confidence and ability will increase as you progress. We'll start with the easy versions of E, A and B7, and then we'll begin to tackle changing smoothly between 4 chords.
When you've mastered that we'll move on to 8 and finally 16 chords. We'll finish the section with strumming and exploring different strumming patterns.
You'll go from having lots of pauses between chords as your fingers navigate the different shapes, to a place of confident smooth strumming and watching your fingers move effortlessly to the next chord while keeping your right arm swinging throughout. This is the goal!
4. HOW TO FINGER PICK
In this section we'll be focussing on getting confident with a basic finger picking pattern using 6 chords, and learning to change smoothly and move quickly between them.
In much the same way as the Chords section, we'll use the same framework to work our way through the lessons. We'll start off with a super simple picking pattern using the 3 easy chord versions moving all the way up, so that by the end you will be able to play the 16 chord block smoothly and effortlessly using 4 different finger picking patterns. This is the goal!
5. UNDERSTANDING CLASSICAL NOTATION
In this section we'll be learning basic classical notation for the guitar.
Classical notation is a universal musical language that indicates rhythm, timing and much more.
Although it's more challenging to understand than TAB (which is limited to guitarists only) once classical notation is understood, it can be read and played by any musician, on any instrument, anywhere in the world!
There are 5 lessons in this section, and we'll kick off real easy with the open strings, the rest stroke, crotchets and minims.
Lesson 2 introduces us to the stave and learning how to play simple songs with the notes of E, B and G.
In Lesson 3 we look at the dotted minim, semibreve, and the notes of F and G.
Things ramp up in lesson 4 with songs using the notes of B, C and D, until we arrive at lesson 5 and being able to play the major scales of G and C, confident with reading 7 notes of different durations from the stave to the fretboard , and keeping to the right time and rhythm throughout. This is the goal!
6. BACK OF THE BOOK EXTRAS
So you've been learning the guitar for a while and managed to get the 6 basic chords off by heart and able to strum a few songs confidently, but you really need something 'extra''.
This section has been designed to give you a nudge in the right direction, a springboard to the next stage of your journey.
It's got all the goodies I would have appreciated working on after the first few months of learning, and I hope it will help and benefit you.
Let dive it and explore further...
Scales are the bread and butter of good technique. Ask any top classical concert performer. If you want to do one thing to improve above all other things; practice scales.
Over and Over.
Tedious and boring they may be, but an absolutely key to a polished and confident playing performance.
This lesson includes the FF scale, the major scale and the blues scale.
In lesson 2 we check out the 6 must-know minor chords.
Lesson 3 and 4 cover the full bar and half bar chord shapes. (Don't be afraid of bar chords!)
Lesson 5 gives us 10 cool riffs - riffs are just short fun to play pieces of music. They are often what draws people to the guitar in the first place, and they are often what we all love to return to time and time again - you never get fed up of riffs!
Lesson 6 is full of funky cool chord progressions.
While Lesson 7 gets us all 16th century classical with 'minuet in G', Lesson 8 nudges us into the next century with the Tudor classic "Greensleeves" learning the strumming, finger picking and TAB versions.
We finish up with Lesson 9 with 10 easy songs that just use the chords of D, G and A.
So, lots of extras to have a go at, and lots of opportunities to explore and experiment with different riffs, songs and chord progressions. This is big pool of resources to play in, and will give you some valuable experiences to inform your own decisions going forward.
Whatever musical style or direction you go in, I hope this series and these Extras will be a springboard to your next great adventure, go for it!