Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Guitar Tips: Where To Start

The Quick And Easy Way To Learn To Play Guitar Without Getting Ripped Off By Money Hungry Guitar Teachers.

So you want to play guitar? What if I told you that it is easy to learn the guitar? You will either have the mindset that I am telling the truth and you will want to find out more. Or you will be skeptical and think that I am telling lies.

Decide right now which way you think, as this will determine your level of success. If you think that learning the guitar is hard, and will cost you a lot of time and money taking lessons then that is exactly what will happen.

Your success in any endeavor, be it guitar or sports or even tying your shoelaces all begins in your belief system. If you believe you can do something then you will do it.

Everyone starts out equally. No one was born with the ability to play the guitar. Everyone starts as a rank amateur. Every guitar player, whatever their ability now, was at one time a beginner. In other words, at some stage their guitar playing sucked.

The first thing you need to play the guitar is determination. You have to want it bad. You need to make up your mind that this is what you really want. Don't just have some romantic notion that it would be a cool thing to do. You either want it or you don't. Be committed, not half committed.

The next thing you need is a time frame. How long do you expect it to take before you can play guitar good enough to play a few songs? I'll tell you how long, three months. You should be able to go from the outhouse to the penthouse in three months.

So now you have determination. You are 100% sure you will become a good guitar player. You also have a time frame. You are 100% sure you will become a good guitar player in three months time. At this point you haven't even touched a guitar but you have set the wheels in motion.

What do you do next? You need to learn some chords. The good thing is that 90% of songs use the same chords. Also 90% of popular songs use only three chords. There is a formula called 1,4,5. Don't worry about it too much at this stage as you need to learn the chords and their names first.

Start by learning the open chords. A, B, C, D, E, F, and G. Just do a search on the net and you will find these chords. When it comes to playing the B chord play it as an A shaped bar chord. And play the F as an E shaped bar chord.

Start playing them in the following order.

A / D / E / A //: then repeat it over four times
D / G / A / D //: then repeat it over four times
G / C / D / G //: then repeat it over four times
C / F / G / C //: then repeat it over four times
E / A / B / E //: then repeat it over four times

By doing this you are playing 1,4,5,1's in the key's of A, D, G, C, and E. Again just take this for granted and don't worry about it too much. The idea is to practice changing between the chords. You'll probably recognize a few songs in these exercises as well. Music is very repetitive. You will often find different songs having the same musical backing with only the lyrics being different.

Next play the following.

A / D / E / D //: then repeat it over four times
D / G / A / G //: then repeat it over four times
G / C / D / C //: then repeat it over four times
C / F / G / F //: then repeat it over four times
E / A / B / A //: then repeat it over four times

By doing this you are playing 1,4,5,4's in the key's of A, D, G, C, and E.

Next play the following.

A / E / D / A //: then repeat it over four times
D / A / G / D //: then repeat it over four times
G / D / C / G //: then repeat it over four times
C / G / F / C //: then repeat it over four times
E / B / A / E //: then repeat it over four times

By doing this you are playing 1,5,4,1's in the key's of A, D, G, C, and E.

Next play the following.

A / E / D / E //: then repeat it over four times
D / A / G / A //: then repeat it over four times
G / D / C / D //: then repeat it over four times
C / G / F / G //: then repeat it over four times
E / B / A / B //: then repeat it over four times

By doing this you are playing 1,5,4,5's in the key's of A, D, G, C, and E.

Next play the following.

A / D / A / E //: then repeat it over four times
D / G / D / A //: then repeat it over four times
G / C / G / D //: then repeat it over four times
C / F / C / G //: then repeat it over four times
E / A / E / B //: then repeat it over four times

By doing this you are playing 1,4,1,5's in the key's of A, D, G, C, and E.

Next play the following.


A / E / A / D //: then repeat it over four times
D / A / D / G //: then repeat it over four times
G / D / G / C //: then repeat it over four times
C / G / C / F //: then repeat it over four times
E / B / E / A //: then repeat it over four times

By doing this you are playing 1,5,1,4's in the key's of A, D, G, C, and E. Notice how you are playing the same three chords in each example, but in a different order.

This is how people write songs. They pick a group of chords that sound good together and they arrange them in a particular order. A group of songs that sound good together is called a key.

There are only twelve keys in music and we have used five so far. The reason I chose the keys of A, D, G, C, and E is because they cover the seven basic chords you have learned so far.

Keys consist of seven chords arranged in logical sequence. For example the key of C goes like this. C, D minor, E minor, F, G, A minor, B diminished.

Don't worry about the minor chords and the diminished chord at this point. You are only concerned with the major chords. Can you see that if you start counting from C you get C = 1. F = 4 and G = 5. This is how we get the 1,4,5 formula.

It is the same with the other keys as well. 1,4 and 5 will always be major. But you can learn more about this later on down the track. For now focus on playing the chords in the above exercises.

What you are doing is building finger memory on your left hand. You don't even need to strum the guitar while you are doing this. Just get used to changing between the chords. Once you know how to hold each chord you can practice without your guitar. Sounds a bit crazy but you you should do this exercise if you want to learn fast.

Just picture yourself in your mind playing the chords and changing between them. You will notice the fingers on your left hand will begin to move while you are doing this. This is a good thing.

What you are doing is working the same mental pathways that operate while you are physically playing your guitar. As a beginner this is a very significant and important step. You need to be able to see a chord and know where to put your fingers in a split second. So lets break it down into small steps.

1. Learn the seven chords. A, B, C, D, E, F and G. You don't have to be good at playing them, you just need to know what they look like and how to finger them. Once you can do this you will be able to picture them in your mind, and you can start to practice them without your guitar. The hands always follow the head. So get them into your head first.

2. Now that you know the names of the chords and what they look like, you need to start moving between the chords. Changing from one chord to the next. Start with the 1,4,5's as these combinations appear in almost every song. This is not just a boring exercise, you will actually play all of the 1,4,5's as you begin to learn songs.

By doing it now you are getting a head start on other beginners as you are actually learning some music theory. You are learning to transpose. It will all become crystal clear later on. Think of it this way. You learnt how to talk as a child before you learned what the English language was about. You know, nouns and verbs and all that sort of stuff.

So at the moment you are learning the practical side of guitar playing in the shortest possible time. You are also setting yourself up to understand the language of music. By following this method you will progress faster than other beginners. You don't need to be able to read music to play the guitar. You do need to understand a bit of theory.

3. Once you can move between the chords. Then start learning the songs that you like, or start writing your own songs. When you start learning guitar you will usually have in mind the songs of your favorite artists.

It is good to start with songs that you are familiar with. Keep in mind that song books can be wrong. Especially the way they show the chords. If you see a B chord for example. There may be three or four ways to play that chord. Just play the one you know. You don't have to play the songs exactly as they are written in order for them to sound good.

Playing the guitar is a long journey. It takes a lifetime, even then you still won't be able to play all the styles.

So just stick with what you like, it's supposed to be fun after all, that's why it's called "playing" guitar. When you play, you have fun. Use the method's that I've told you about. Especially the mental rehearsal techniques.

You've got nothing to lose and everything to gain by applying these techniques, so dive in and give them a go. Make sure you at least know the chords A, B, C, D, E, F, and G. Do this before you go to a guitar teacher. These chords are the bare minimum you will need. Don't waste your time and money taking lessons until you can freely move between these chords.

When you go to a teacher, you should feel comfortable with them. They should make the learning process easy and fun. If they don't, go and find another teacher. Don't be afraid to walk away.

You can also order some courses over the net, but nothing compares to a real live person if they are a good teacher. Also one teacher will not be able to teach you everything, shop around a bit.

I hope you have enjoyed this article.

P.S. Guitar playing is a journey. You will feel frustration, and also immense joy. Don't worry if you don't get it at first, by simply doing things over and over, you will improve.

Just picture yourself a year from now. How good a player will you be? You should be able to play in a band easily in that time. Every guitar player started out from the same position. And only those who persevered became great players.

The time will pass, that is for certain. It's what you do with that time that will make massive difference. Always start with the end in mind and don't forget to enjoy the ride.


About the Author:

John Stockwell is the author of the acclaimed Mind Over Music For Guitar ( http://www.greatguitargiveaway.com/mindovermusic.html ) and also Real Guitar For Real Guitarists ( http://www.greatguitargiveaway.com/realguitarcourse.html ). He has been a musician for 21 years. His website is http://www.greatguitargiveaway.com

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1 Comments:

At 9:11 AM, Blogger Caroline Boisvert said...

Thanks, I love this! Simple and comprehensive and a lesson for other things in life... Visualisation :)

 

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