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Stan Switek
Member since Apr 2017
69 posts

re: Official: Guitar beginners question and answer thread.
For strumming, try downloading a metronome app and strumming to different tempos. A metronome is one the most important tools for any guitarist.

For songs, just think of songs you like and want to play, then look up the chords on any of the major websites to see if you know all or at least most of them. You'll play a lot more (and get better faster) playing songs you like.


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awestruck
Auburn Fan
Member since Jan 2015
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re: Official: Guitar beginners question and answer thread.
quote:

The key of F has one flat (Bb)

Six sharps would be the key of F# Maj
I stand corrected

Thanks,

It'd been years since using that sentence, much less pondering or rendering sheet music, and never was sight reading a thing. Twas'more like near blind leading the blind.


Blizzard of Chizz
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re: Official: Guitar beginners question and answer thread.
If I may jump in here for just a moment. Since this is a beginners thread, I would suggest the experienced players slow down a bit with the theory, the scales, chords and whatnot and focus on what beginners need. Before they can do any of that stuff, they need a good foundation in proper technique, some good basic exercises that train fingers to be independent and some good simple rhythm exercises. Without it, beginners are gonna get frustrated and lose interest.


Blizzard of Chizz
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Member since Apr 2012
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re: Official: Guitar beginners question and answer thread.
Here are some good rudimentary basic exercises.

#1 toughing up your fingertips: multiple ways to do this, such as regularly taking sand paper to your fingertips. It’s extreme but it works. I prefer to just slide my fingers up and down the low E string. You can pluck and slide up and down the neck pretty mindlessly, almost as if you’re revving a car engine.

#2 Finger independence. You’ve gotta be able to move fingers independently of each other. The best way to do this is to place all 4 fingers on the low E string and lifting a finger at a time off the fret board and then returning it. Next, progress to lifting 2 at a time such as fingers 1 & 3 and then 2 & 4. For an extra challenge, walk vertically up and down the fretboard while doing this.

#3 Walking the fretboard. Get your fingers walking. Start on the low E string, first fret and start walking up and down the neck as you pluck the string using down strokes or alternate picking. All 4 fingers should be involved, 1,2,3,4 shift down a fret and repeat until you reach the end of the string. Now, reverse back up the neck, 4,3,2,1 until you get back to the starting position. Drop down a string and repeat.

#4 Get to chugging. Fretting is optional. Get some basic rhythm going. Just use the low E string, and start playing down strokes. 1,2,3,4 1,2,3,4 1,2,,3,4 throw in some random upstrokes to make it interesting.

You don’t have to spend hours a day doing these things, just 5 or 10 minutes tops. They are pretty mindless but they break down a lot of the technique barriers that hold new players back.


LanierSpots
Auburn Fan
Senior Sidewalk Fan
Member since Sep 2010
47996 posts

re: Official: Guitar beginners question and answer thread.
quote:

Here are some good rudimentary basic exercises.

#1 toughing up your fingertips: multiple ways to do this, such as regularly taking sand paper to your fingertips. It’s extreme but it works. I prefer to just slide my fingers up and down the low E string. You can pluck and slide up and down the neck pretty mindlessly, almost as if you’re revving a car engine.

#2 Finger independence. You’ve gotta be able to move fingers independently of each other. The best way to do this is to place all 4 fingers on the low E string and lifting a finger at a time off the fret board and then returning it. Next, progress to lifting 2 at a time such as fingers 1 & 3 and then 2 & 4. For an extra challenge, walk vertically up and down the fretboard while doing this.

#3 Walking the fretboard. Get your fingers walking. Start on the low E string, first fret and start walking up and down the neck as you pluck the string using down strokes or alternate picking. All 4 fingers should be involved, 1,2,3,4 shift down a fret and repeat until you reach the end of the string. Now, reverse back up the neck, 4,3,2,1 until you get back to the starting position. Drop down a string and repeat.

#4 Get to chugging. Fretting is optional. Get some basic rhythm going. Just use the low E string, and start playing down strokes. 1,2,3,4 1,2,3,4 1,2,,3,4 throw in some random upstrokes to make it interesting.

You don’t have to spend hours a day doing these things, just 5 or 10 minutes tops. They are pretty mindless but they break down a lot of the technique barriers that hold new players back.




I think this is the best post in this thread so far. I am a true beginner and this is exactly what is helpful right now. I am learning some chords but switching between them smoothly is my biggest issue right now


For some reason, going to D and from D to another chord is difficult to me. I will try some of these finger exercises. Thanks BOC




auggie
Auburn Fan
Opelika, Alabama
Member since Aug 2013
12514 posts

re: Official: Guitar beginners question and answer thread.
Only thing I will add right now:
#3 Walking the fretboard. Get your fingers walking. Start on the low E string, first fret and start walking up and down the neck as you pluck the string using down strokes or alternate picking. All 4 fingers should be involved, 1,2,3,4 shift down a fret and repeat until you reach the end of the string. Now, reverse back up the neck, 4,3,2,1 until you get back to the starting position. Drop down a string and repeat.

Might as well be learning a scale while doing this.


tidalmouse
Whatsamotta U.
Member since Jan 2009
28995 posts

re: Official: Guitar beginners question and answer thread.
quote:

composerdave


Your Post on the Fret-Board actually made sense to me.

Thanks for the info.





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awestruck
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re: Official: Guitar beginners question and answer thread.
In all fairness . .



. . . it was a beginner who posted this.


awestruck
Auburn Fan
Member since Jan 2015
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re: Official: Guitar beginners question and answer thread.
Another thought on barre chords.

(And again YMMV)

Your guitar neck may not be friendly to you. There are real differences in size, even in the same brand, and sometimes the same model. Because a company may offer various styles. Some acoustic necks may be near electric thin, some may begin tapered and go wide, and some are always going to feel large to some hands.

And this can be a good or bad thing depending on the style you may play.


Kcprogguitar
Missouri Fan
Kansas City
Member since Oct 2014
628 posts

re: Official: Guitar beginners question and answer thread.
I’m going to bring this back around to theory for a second. Hearing and articulating intervals is day 2 stuff. So my advice to the beginner is learn to sing. No, not for singing songs, although there’s nothing wrong with that.

Playing guitar becomes so much easier when you can croak out the note you’re looking for.

Later, when advancing your knowledge, you’re going to try and imagine the next note. If you can hear it in your head and croak it out, apply that note to the fretboard, you’ve bound that note (with repetition) to your knowledge. The note. Where it is on the fretboard.

So the method is the old do re mi fa so la ti do. Sing it. Play the scale. Repeat.


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bgoodwin
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Cullman, Al
Member since Sep 2011
506 posts

re: Official: Guitar beginners question and answer thread.
Barre chords.
Lots of folks are happy to strum away on open chords (cowboy chords) and just use a capo to change keys, there's nothing wrong with that, you can learn thousands of songs. But if you want to progress beyond that, barre chords are essential. I don't have any secret to make it easier, not sure if there is one. Muscle memory and building muscle is the only way. It WILL get easier. A proper set-up on your guitar can make a huge difference, whether electric or acoustic.
This post was edited on 2/12 at 8:56 am


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Blizzard of Chizz
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Member since Apr 2012
14295 posts
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re: Official: Guitar beginners question and answer thread.
quote:

For some reason, going to D and from D to another chord is difficult to me. I


Do this, grab a D chord. See your third finger on the second string, 3rd fret? Think of it as an anchor. As you go from D to G, that third finger remains anchored in place while fingers 1 and 2 reach up to grab the second string 2nd fret and 6th string 3rd fret. Without even strumming you can practice going D to G and back to D without ever taking your third finger off the fret board. Once you get comfortable transitioning back in forth, start grabbing that first string 3rd fret with your pinky as you transition to G

Same applies transitioning from a C chord to an A minor chord. This time fingers 1 and 2 are the anchors and only the 3rd finger moves. The 3rd finger grabs the 3rd fret 5th string when playing a C and grabs the 3rd string second fret when playing A minor.

Look for common anchor points in different chords and practice smooth transition. It is much easier than the tendency to want to take your entire hand off the fret board every time you want to play a different chord.
This post was edited on 2/12 at 8:45 am


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Blizzard of Chizz
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Member since Apr 2012
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re: Official: Guitar beginners question and answer thread.
quote:

Might as well be learning a scale while doing this


That’s true, but this is about developing the feeling of the fretboard. Gotta be able “walk” before you can skip strings and frets up and down the neck.


McGregor
Alabama Fan
Member since Feb 2011
3447 posts

re: Official: Guitar beginners question and answer thread.
been working on scales and becoming a better solo player. Those damn root notes are the key, obviously.

It's really the best hobby ever, like a never-ending puzzle.

Good thread, thanks for starting/contributing folks.


Blizzard of Chizz
Auburn Fan
Member since Apr 2012
14295 posts
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re: Official: Guitar beginners question and answer thread.
Couple more basic exercises.

First, left hand right hand syncopation or getting both hands to play together as one. The absolute best way to develop this is to practice each hand separate. Start by muting the guitar with your right hand. Next you want to walk through the chords of a song or riff with only your left hand. Do this until you have a good feel for the chord changes. Next, mute the neck with your left hand, and work on the strumming or picking pattern with your right hand. When you feel comfortable doing each independently, then put them together and play.

Also one more tip. If you are struggling to hold chords, use the guitar body to your advantage. Pull back on the neck while simultaneously applying a little back pressure with you forearm on the guitar body. The counter pressure increases the force in your fretting hand and makes it easier to hold the chord. This is extremely effective for barre chords, just make sure you use the side of your finger (the boney part) to barre the strings.


Kvothe
Member since Sep 2016
1052 posts
 Online 

re: Official: Guitar beginners question and answer thread.
quote:

Also one more tip. If you are struggling to hold chords, use the guitar body to your advantage. Pull back on the neck while simultaneously applying a little back pressure with you forearm on the guitar body. The counter pressure increases the force in your fretting hand and makes it easier to hold the chord. This is extremely effective for barre chords, just make sure you use the side of your finger (the boney part) to barre the strings.


excited to try this tonight. I was fiddling with learning River (leon bridges) and it called for a bar across all frets and it stumped me.

Also...I see Open/Cowboy term used... is there a "closed" chord or equivalent? Would this just be a barre chord?
This post was edited on 2/12 at 3:03 pm


composerdave
Los Angeles
Member since Dec 2019
53 posts

re: Official: Guitar beginners question and answer thread.
quote:

First, left hand right hand syncopation


You suggest not getting too deep into theory at first (which I really didn't...what makes a scale is week 1 music theory). Yet, like others you incorrectly use a word which will lead to confusion down the road.

Syncopation is the moving of an acccetned beat to one that is usually unaccented. For instance, accenting the "and" of a beat.

You want the word "synchronization".


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composerdave
Los Angeles
Member since Dec 2019
53 posts

re: Official: Guitar beginners question and answer thread.
quote:

For some reason, going to D and from D to another chord is difficult to me.


One great way to work on changing chords (and this also helps when learning to change positions etc) is visualization.

Get the shapes of the chords firmly in your head. The shape of the D, the shape of the C etc. This takes time and practice, but make an effort to see the chord. Then as you progress, "see" the chord in your head before you need to switch.

Start this slowly. Work on keeping a consistent tempo, even if it is very slow. See the chord before you need to play it. Work on it until you can visualize the chord and shift without a hiccup. Once you can get it smooth at a slow tempo, gradually increase the tempo.

This is a technique you can use your entire life playing. Even if you progress to a high level.


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bgoodwin
Auburn Fan
Cullman, Al
Member since Sep 2011
506 posts

re: Official: Guitar beginners question and answer thread.
Open/cowboy chord refers to the common chords that use open strings, like the 1st position G,C, and D. In those "open" chords the nut serves the same function as your index finger when you play a barre chord.
This post was edited on 2/12 at 3:33 pm


composerdave
Los Angeles
Member since Dec 2019
53 posts

re: Official: Guitar beginners question and answer thread.
quote:

Also...I see Open/Cowboy term used... is there a "closed" chord or equivalent? Would this just be a barre chord?


Open chords (or cowboy chords) are the chords you learn first. These have one or more open strings. Barre (or bar) chords are when you need to use one finger to fret across several strings at once.

Barre chords are usually the second big step in learning guitar once you have gotten the open chords, and moving between them, to a certain point.

Once you learn barre chords, you can apply all the information about scales and intervals and the entire fretboard opens up. You will unlock hundreds of chords in an instant.


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