Basic Guitar Chords And How To Play Them

The first hurdle for the novice guitar player is learning chords. This article puts into perspective the physical and emotional challenges involved in this early stage of playing guitar.

One of the challenges for the novice guitarist is learning the basic chords. You will not only need to know where to put your fingers, but also how to change from one chord to another. The technique of smooth transition between chords is a learning process we are never really finished with. Every time we learn something new on the guitar, that’s another sequence of small movements our body learns, and these sets of movements must be executed smoothly through relaxed, calm practice.

Holding chords with your left hand is a new skill. It uses groups of muscles we do not normally use, so it takes time to learn the chord shapes without experiencing discomfort. There is light at the end of the tunnel, although sometimes the tunnel seems very, very long.

Another physical adaptation that has to be made when you learn your basic guitar chords is the left-hand fingers need to be toughened up. Callouses form on the tips of the fingers after a few weeks playing, but until they do you need to put up with the pain.

Fortunately learning the notes on the guitar is a job that does come to an end. As you learn more songs, chords and scales you will feel your ease with musical theory and notation growing even if you didn’t directly learn much theoretical stuff. If you learnt in your own way the knowledge gets into you by way of constant practice and the enjoyment you bring to your guitar playing.

So the task at hand is to learn a basic group of chords. This is your toolbox you begin your guitar playing with.
Each chord is identified by a letter. If the letter is followed by the word, minor, it’s a minor chord. If it is just the letter alone, it’s a major chord.

Major chords contain the Root note, a major third above the Root plus a fifth above the Root.
Minor chords, which have a more “sad” sound, are the same except that they contain a minor third instead of a major third.

A basic rule of thumb for understanding major and minor chords is for a
major chord play the (1) (3) and (5) of the major scale, and for a minor chord play the (1) (3) and (5) of the minor scale.

A handy thing to know once you start playing barre chords is that if you learn the major chord shape, you only need to lift one left-hand finger to play the minor chord.

The basic chords come from the keys of A G C and D. The chords themselves can be played at all positions on the fret board, but beginners start with open chords at the first position. This means that at least one note is played on an open string.

We group the basic keys into families:
The A family contains the chords A, D and E.
The D family contains the chords D, E minor, G and A.
The G family contains the chords G, A minor, C, D and E minor.
The C family contains the chords C, D minor, E minor, F and G.

 

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Acoustic Guitars – The Best Tuners

Getting your guitar in tune is the first major challenge for the acoustic guitar student. This article helps take the sting out of guitar tuning by taking us through each step of the process.

Tuning your acoustic guitar is the first step in your guitar playing career. Whether by skill, talent or technology, you must be able to get your guitar into tune.

One common obstacle to learning to tune a guitar is a certain natural resistance to aquiring new knowledge. This reluctance is present in everybody to some degree. The prospect of learning to tune a guitar by ear can fill some people with a sense of dread.

Before we start to tackle the job of tuning, we need to get straight which string is which. The first string is the narrow string nearest your knee as you sit with the guitar in playing position. The sixth string is the widest string, and it is closest to your chin.

And the tuning goes like this:
1st string is “E”
2nd string is “B”
3rd string is “G”
4th string is “D”
5th string is “A”
6th string is “E”

The guitar pitch pipe plays the notes when you blow into it so you can compare the sounds with your guitar.

A tuning fork, when you bang it on your knee and hold it on the body of your guitar, sounds the note you get when you play the harmonic at the fifth fret of the fifth string. Once you get this note right, you tune the rest of the strings to the fifth string.

If you have tried the methods of tuning guitars using a pitch pipe or tuning fork, and still feel less than confident in your guitar tuning abilities, then you could think about acquiring a guitar tuner that has a visual aid to tuning. You can always test your skill from time to time by tuning your guitar without the tuner, and seeing how accurate you have become.

You can also use a keyboard instrument to tune your guitar to. Start by finding on the keyboard the E note below Middle C. Then GO DOWN ANOTHER OCTAVE to tune the sixth string on the guitar. This is because the guitar’s music is written an octave higher than it actually sounds compared to a piano!

The electronic guitar tuner is the simplest way of tuning your acoustic guitar. You pluck your guitar string and watch the indicator on the tuner to see how close you are to the correct note. There are also guitar tuners you can get for free on the internet that work the same way.
Online Guitar Tuners often play the notes to you, and you use your ear to see if your guitar is in tune.

 

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Acoustic Guitar Tablature – Is It Real Sheet Music?

Beginner guitarists often get caught up in the question of whether to learn to read sheet music or simply learn from tablature. This article states the case for both forms of musical notation and brings to light the fact that the guitarist must find whether tab or sheet music fits the path he sees for himself as a musician.

As a beginner acoustic guitarist you’re probably wondering whether learning your songs from guitar tablature is as good as getting them from “real” sheet music. Learning to play acoustic guitar is a great adventure which is sometimes spoilt a bit by the prospect of having to learn to read music. But for most acoustic guitar players, learning all the symbols and theory connected with musical notation is not really necessary.

Tablature for acoustic guitar has certain points giving it an edge over standard music notation. Actually historians tell us that tablature was used to record musical compositions long before conventional notation. They don’t seem to have much idea how musicians attributed note values to compositions they has never heard played. Maybe it wasn’t an issue in the sixteenth century.

So what do you learn from tabs? Tablature shows diagrammatically where finger positions are indicated using numbers representing the guitar’s frets along horizontal lines representing the strings. The note G played on the first (thinnest) string is shown by the number 3 written on the top line of the tablature. Sometimes the person writing the tablature will group the notes together to show that they are all the same value but this is not a hard and fast rule.

Hammer-ons, string bends, pull-offs and other techniques are shown by symbols. Each tablature writer has his own idea of the best way to show how to play the music, and he usually includes a legend showing his symbols on each tab. With the aid of guitar tabs, you can learn new music quickly without going to the additional trouble of learning conventional music notation.

Despite the fact that tempo and time signatures are not included, sometimes it’s easier for the guitarist to pick up music from tablature. The ease with which you can learn to read tablature means that your progress on the guitar is not slowed by the need to cope with such things as the use of alternate tunings.

Another bonus is in the ease in sharing acoustic guitar music on the internet. Guitar tab is easily written on a computer by way of ASCII code, which makes it easier to email or post on the web. Maybe when you get some guitar playing experience under your belt you could try writing some music down for yourself. A great chance to see the difficulties facing composers for the guitar. Unfortunately debate over copyright issues has made posting guitar tab a little bit contentious, but you can still share tab privately by email.

A lot of guitar teachers proclaim the virtues of learning to read sheet music. Some even think you are not a “real” musician unless you can read “real” music. If you have a burning desire to follow a career in music then the versatility given you by the ability to read music will be a definite advantage. But if you look at playing music as a way of each individual expressing themselves in their own unique way, then how you write your music down is not one of the biggest issues in your life!

 

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