Learn To Play Guitar Online - How To Play Guitar - Become A Guitarist: An Introduction
How To Play Guitar
The guitar is the single most popular stringed instrument in the world and many people all over the globe consider learning to play guitar at some point in their lives.
Many people are put off learning to play guitar simply by the fact they have big fingers and therefore believe that their fingers are too large for the fretboard.
This is a myth, legendary guitarist Gary Moore had extremely large fingers and had no problem whatsoever playing guitar. However, being able to play guitar does require a certain amount of dexterity and flexibility (which can be developed).
What Guitar Should I Learn On?
Primarily, you will need to decide if you want to learn acoustic guitar or electric guitar - there is a significant difference. Acoustic guitar is generally used for playing musical styles such as classical, folk, country, blues and soft rock music.
Although electric guitars are often used for the same genres, they are generally more attributed to rock music and metal.
For a combination of both there are such things as a semi-acoustic or electro-acoustic guitars (which are not the same thing) which are a great solution for performing live at gigs.
A semi-acoustic guitar can be considered to be an electric guitar with a hollow body therefore catering for acoustic playing whereas an electro-acoustic guitar is an acoustic guitar with electric pickups attached or built into the body.
If choosing an acoustic guitar you will then need to decide if you want a nylon-strung guitar, generally used for classical/flamenco/spanish music or a steel-strung guitar (dreadnought) which is used for country and western/folk/rock music.
Acoustic guitar strings are often a bit tougher on the fingers than electric guitar strings due to the higher action on an acoustic guitar.
In addition, steel strings are slightly harsher on the fingers than nylon strings.
Note: Learning to play guitar can initially be a bit strenuous on the fingertips and may require short breaks. However, with time and practice the skin on the fingertips eventually starts to thicken - this isn't noticeable by sight but it is by feel.
You will also need to consider your age and size.
Young children may be more comfortable using a half-size or three-quarter-size guitar rather than a full-size guitar which is recommended for adults.
Being comfortable when learning to play guitar is very important.
Does It Matter What Guitar Strings I Use?
Yes, it does!
Guitar strings come in a variety of different gauges (sizes). Many rhythm guitarists choose to use a thicker gauge set of strings than lead guitarists who would be more likely to use a thinner gauge resulting in the strings being easier to bend (which is a technique often used by lead guitarists).
The lower the size number, the thinner the gauge of the guitar string.
Lead guitarists will usually use a gauge-9 (0.09) set of strings which refers to the size of the treble E string whereas a rhythm guitarist may choose a gauge-11 set of strings for playing chords/barre chords/powerchords.
Heavier gauge guitar strings also provide a slightly fuller and more powerful tone and therefore thicker gauges may be used for heavier types of music such as metal or heavy rock music.
How Do I Start Learning Guitar?
First of all it cannot be stressed strongly enough how important it is to remain relaxed when learning to play guitar.
If you are tense or not relaxed enough then you will find it harder to learn to play, there is such a thing as trying too hard!
By remaining relaxed your fingers remain more flexible and you will find it easier to learn your way around the guitar's fretboard.
If you are left-handed then your guitar should rest comfortably over your left leg, if you are right-handed then over your right leg.
It's also important to hold your guitar upright in the proper playing position. You also need to ensure that your guitar is tuned in. If you do not know how to do this you can find more information at this page.
Before you actually begin learning how to play guitar you may want to familiarize yourself with the feel of the guitar first.
Have a mess around with it and play a few notes. Once you have done this then you can actually begin learning how to play.
To do this you will need to learn a few chords. If you already know how to read chord diagrams I have provided an illustration below of all the major, minor and 7 (seventh) chords, if not then see here.
For convenience I have also provided a video of standard E guitar tuning notes below the chord diagrams so you can tune your guitar in.
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