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Praise & Worship: Guitar Series for Beginners - Part 1

Updated on September 1, 2014
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Quickstart to Learning Praise & Worship Guitar

Have you ever wanted to play guitar but never knew where to start?

Spending time with God, playing the guitar, and singing praises, as an act of worship, is an incredible experience. Taking all of the worries and weight of the day and just giving it to Him. Maybe God has put it on your heart to start playing guitar. If so, this is a great place to start your journey!

Encouraging scripture for this lesson

I will sing a new song unto thee, O God: upon a psaltery and an instrument of ten strings will I sing praises unto thee. – Psalm 144:9

Execuses that may try to hold me back

Usually the first execuses we tell ourselves are:

Excuse #1 – I simply don’t have the time.
My Response – First we need to ask ourselves, “How much time do I spend watching movies, surfing the Internet, and etc?” Can some of this time be used to learn a new instrument? My wise uncle once told me that if you practice an instrument just 15 minutes a day, within a year you’ll be amazed how far you’ve come.

Excuse #2 – I don’t have the money for a guitar.
My Response – A decent guitar starter kit can be picked up for $99! Another option would be to purchase one used.

Excuse #3 – I could never learn the guitar.
My Response – Give this tutorial a try and see just how easy it is to get started.

Excuse #4 – I’m too old to start playing
My Response – You’re never to old to learn. In life we’re constantly growing and learn new things. Be encouraged!

Whatever the reason may be, this could be incredible opportunity to serve the Lord.

Prerequisites

To get the most out of this article, I highly recommend that you become familiar with a basic knowledge of music theory. As a homework assignment, know the answers to the following questions.

  • Scales - What is a scale? What is the key of a song?
  • Chords - What is a chord? How are chords formed?
  • Guitar Capo - How can I use a capo to change the key of the song?

Guitar string names

Before getting started, it’s important to know the names of the guitar strings.

Recommendations

This lesson assumes that you are fluent in guitar fundamentals such as proper hand posturing and beginning guitar techniques. Starting off with these fundamentals ensures that you don’t pick up bad habits along the way. It’s always good to start off with the fundamentals before proceeding to more advanced techniques.

Do a search on the Internet for keywords such as “beginning guitar”, “beginning guitar hand posture”, “beginning guitar proper techniques”, “beginning guitar bad habits to avoid”

Steps for learning - start playing today!

One of the most difficult challenges for beginning guitarist is being able to smoothly transition from one chord to another. To make things easy, we are going to learn chord shapes that are a breeze to play. Before we begin, let's get familiar with the following chord substitutions below:



Step 1 – Substituting Chords: As you can see, from the chart, there is an obvious pattern that becomes evident – the pinky is on the E string (6th string on the bottom) and the ring finger is on the B string (5th string directly above). The beauty of this is that these two fingers can remain stationary while the other 2 finger define the rest of the chord. Next, move the middle and index fingers to their variable positions as shown in the chart! That’s it! Transitioning between chords is now a breeze!

Step 2 – Learn Strum Patterns:For starters, strum by playing a down stroke followed by an up stroke. As you progress, you will naturally start learning new strums patterns.

In the diagram below, an X denotes that the string is not played. The white circle above each string denotes that the string is played as open. The green circle indicates where we place our finger.

Lets start playing a song!

With your new found talent, we can now play a simplified version Tis So Sweet To Trust In Jesus. Play the chord that is directly above the lyric.

Gsus2
‘Tis so so sweet to

Csus
trust in

Gsus2
Jesus,

Em
just to take Him

Csus
at His

Dsus4
word;

With just moving two fingers you can play complete songs!

Playing the song higher or lower with the same chord shapes!

Depending on your vocal range, you may need to sing this song either higher or lower. Musician would refer to this as singing the song in a particular key.

Using the chords shapes above, we can now play a song in many different keys using a capo!


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    • Isaac Ortiz profile image
      Author

      Isaac Ortiz 3 years ago from Olympia, Washington

      I had a friend on Google Plus post the following comment with some additional info:

      Adding the G (7) with the D would make an A12 chord, which is fine too. I might be missing something though too.

      A lot of worship guitarists use sus2 chords (lose the 3 and play a 2 in its place). Example: x02200 it's sort of hollow sounding without the 3rd, but works really well especially on acoustic.