Playing a guitar may look a lot of fun when a rock star does it. However, when a beginner holds a guitar for the first time, the harsh reality dawns on them. Playing a guitar is not that easy. It requires a set of skills and knowledge of the guitar, not forgetting some knowledge in music. As much as it may look hard there are easy steps that would help you play some basic songs on your guitar if you are a beginner.
How to Hold Your Guitar
Playing a guitar will require you to hold the instrument in the correct manner and sit in the correct position. First, attain an upright position on a sit without arms. A stool is most advisable. Hold the back of the guitar so that it touches your stomach and chest and also rest on your leg. Use your left arm to stabilize the neck and fret the strings. Ensure your fingers are placed in the middle of the frets. Your knees should be at least at a right angle to be able to support the instrument. Above all let both your hands be free of any and all obstruction. If you do the above, then you can quickly learn how to play an acoustic guitar.
Parts of A Guitar
To play a guitar you do not really need to understand its anatomy. Instead just know the important parts. Whether electric or acoustic, the instrument is just wood and metal. The fretboard is where you place your fingers to play different notes and chords. Usually done by the left fingers. The machine heads contain the headstocks and keys that can be tuned. Tuning the guitar is important when using an acoustic guitar. The bridge is where the strings are held in place. The strings run between the guitar’s headstock and the bridge. In the case of an acoustic guitar, the strings are held in place by small pegs.
Chords And Notes
Beginners will find it overwhelming to use both chords and note when playing guitar. Trying to understand all the notes is frustrating hence a beginner should focus on chords. Chords are groups of notes played together. A note is a solitary pitch.
There are different strings/ notes on a guitar which are of different thickness. The 6th string is the thickest and is tuned to E. It is referred to as ‘low’ E string. The 5th one is tuned to A. the 4th one tuned to D. the 3rd one tuned to G. The 2nd one tuned to B and the first tuned to E. The 1st one is the thinnest hence it is called the ‘high’ E string. For you to accurately play the acoustic guitar, you really need to know and understand chords.
Tuning The Guitar
When using a tuner, ensure the room is silent so that other sounds are not picked up. Electric tuners are very easy to use. You can also tune your guitar by matching each note to the corresponding note of a piano. When tuning, practice to fret and strum (upward and downward movement).
First, play the chords. Common major chords are A major, G major, E major and D major. Switch between the chords as quickly as possible. It is important to write out the chords you want to play to make it easy for you. Finger placement is key when playing your basic song. For G major, place your ring finger on the top string (the sixth string), on the third fret. Your middle finger goes a string below on the second fret.
Then use your small finger to play the third fret on the lowest, thinnest string (the first string). For C major, place your fingers to form a diagonal line up towards your face. Your ring finger is placed on the fifth string (the A string), third fret. Your middle finger is on the third string, second fret, and the index goes down on the second string, first fret. For a D major, place your index finger on the third string, second fret.
Place your middle finger on the first string, second fret, then finally lay your ring finger on the second string, third fret. You will have a little triangle with your fingers on the bottom three strings. You only strum the bottom four strings. For an E major, place your index finger on the third string, second fret.
Place your middle finger on the first string, second fret, then finally lay your ring finger on the second string, third fret. You’ll have a little triangle with your fingers on the bottom three strings. You only strum the bottom four strings.
Practice makes perfect. Start playing your basic songs and keep on practicing. Practice achieving clean sounds from every string on the chord. Strum with relaxed and loosened up emotions to make it more fun. Your wrist should help with the strumming. Remember to keep your elbow tight towards the guitar.
As you practice, try to learn barre chords. In barre chords, let the index finger of your fretting hand bar all the notes at a single fret. Play songs that you love or those with few chords. Mostly between 3-4 chords. Always start slow then gradually increase your pace.
A pick also called a plectrum is made of plastic and is used to pick out individual notes and also strumming the guitar. It takes the shape of a small tear. It helps prevent sore fingers when playing. If it is not available, use your thumb instead.
Do not look at the complexities of playing the guitar but at how much fun it is to play. Find songs that you love and play them. In the long run, you can always make your own music and be proud of yourself.
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