ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

First Guitar Lesson

Updated on September 17, 2012

Guitar - getting started

Hi folks - it's the start of a new term at college, and I'll show you the basic material we are going to use to learn guitar fast. It has to be fast, because it's easy to lose motivation in the early days, especially if your fingers hurt, which they will!

  • Check your guitar is in tune, with a tuner - or use a tuner from the internet. At this stage you may wish to have a guitar playing buddy give you a hand.
  • Try the Em7 chord - just first finger is all you need. The thickest string is on the right, the strings are the vertical lines, and the frets are the horizontal lines. Play all the strings together, but then play each one in turn to get the sound in your memory.
  • Next chord, A7 - just move across one string and add another finger, now you are playing strings 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 only.
  • Now play each chord 4 times, very slowly.
  • Next two chords - Em and A. These will sound very similar, Again, move your fingers across one string. Move both fingers together, as a unit. This will be easier if they are making contact as much as possible, up to the knuckle.
  • The cross shown just means " Don't play this string", the 0 is open string.

Easy Guitar Chords

Next chords - D, E, Am

Playing a D chord: we are using strings 1 - 4 only. First finger is on string 3, second finger is on string 1, third finger is in the middle. This looks like an arrow shape - visual recognition will really help you learn fast. The next 2 chords are an example of this: Play the E chord, then move the pattern across one string to make an Am (A minor) chord.

  • Play E four times, then Am four times, and continue to alternate the chords, slowly.
  • Again, try to move the fingers together, as a unit, making contact.
  • Then Play D twice, A twice, E four times, as shown
  • These are the chords to the chorus of With A Little help From My Friends, a classic Beatles tune. Try singing along for the full picture.

Next chords - G, C add9, Em, D

These chords are getting a bit harder, so don't be discouraged if they take a while. Starting from the G shape, just move the chord pattern in one string from each side to make C add9, a great sounding but easy chord. Using these chords together, you can play songs like Good Riddance (Green Day) - but that make take a week or two. These chords are all in the key of G.

  • A key is a network of chords that work together, and consequently you will find them used together all the time in songs.
  • Any song in the key of G will use these chords: G, Am, Bm, C, D, Em. (Note that there are three major chords and three minor chords. This pattern is the same for all the different keys.)

Blues chords

Next up: E7, A7 and B7 - the only three chords you need to play blues, and also a lot of rockabilly and rock n' roll songs. The B7 is shown as a stripped down version, but it works fine like this.

The Em pentatonic scale shown in guitar tab fits well with these chords, and will also work with the chords in G we have just looked at - guitar tab is explained in my other hubs. Each string has a line of its own, and the numbers are the fret numbers. 0 is the open string.

Easy scales in guitar tab

Guitar Tab scales

If you find fret 12, usually there is a double dot inlaid at this fret, you can play the major scales shown here. Again, we have learned one pattern, and by moving it across the strings, we can play many different major scales. From this scale you can see that every major scale has eight notes, starting and finishing on the same note, but an octave apart.

More chords: C, F, G7

The C chord shape is sometimes difficult, as it involves a bigger stretch, over 3 frets. One way around this is to use a capo, which will mean that the frets are closer together - try fret 3 or 4.

  • There is a good case for using a capo all the time when you are first learning the guitar, as it will reduce the action (string height) as well as the size of the frets.

Moving across to the F chord, you can see a similar pattern. This chord is technically F maj7, but in practice you can use it most of the time as an F chord. G7 is shown as an easy version.

Again, using these three chords you can play a lot of songs.

As the key of C uses C, Dm, Em, F, G, Am as the main chords you will only have to learn Dm and you have covered all the important chords in this key. Meaning, almost all the songs in this key will be playable without learning too much more.

Right hand stuff

It's good to use a pick - try 73mm Jim Dunlop picks. This gives you more power and a cleaner rhythm in general. You should also try finger picking - thumb for the bass note, next three fingers for the chord tends to work well for most songs.

Which Guitar?

A steel string acoustic with a small neck such as the Yamaha FG series is ideal for beginners. A Fender Stratocaster or similar is also a really good option. Whenever possible, buy a used guitar when you are starting out. Have a look at my hub How to buy a Guitar for more advice.

  • Practice routine - if you don't call it practice it will seem more fun!
  • Minimum 10 mins every day please, or it won't work!
  • Leave your guitar out of the case
  • Have a look at some lessons on YouTube, and bear in mind that you can ignore any advice. One of the nice things about guitar is that you can play it any way you want. Even the best players have some very different approaches to playing, and you can find your own way.

I'll try to answer any questions through the comments box.

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • Jon Green profile imageAUTHOR

      Jon Green 

      3 years ago from Frome, Somerset, UK

      Thanks Helen - hope you're enjoying playing.

    • profile image

      Helen Campbell 

      3 years ago from Chippenham

      Having just had my first lesson, found this helpful to use to practice with prior to lesson 2. Thanks.

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)