Showing posts with label z guitar lesson. Show all posts
Showing posts with label z guitar lesson. Show all posts

Changing Your Guitar Strings

Changing Your Guitar Strings

Learn how to change the strings on your acoustic guitar or electric guitar



Take a look at the strings of your guitar. What sort of shape are they in? Are they discolored? Rusty? Are all six strings present and accounted for? If you answered no to any of these questions, or if it's been several months since you put new strings on your guitar, it's time for a string change. New strings make your guitar sound brighter, and generally make it easier to play.

How Often Should I Change My Strings?
Just like brake pads on a car, guitar strings wear out with use. Old guitar strings often behave badly - they'll lose tuning more quickly, sound less "bright", and give you problems with intonation. Old guitar strings also break, often during the most inopportune moment. Be sure to head into any live playing situation with new strings on your guitar, and several more sets of strings packed in your case, should you break a string during performance.
When I'm playing my acoustic guitar a lot, I'll change the strings at least every two weeks (more than that if I'm using it for gigs). It's probably not necessary for beginners to be quite as diligent with keeping new strings on their guitar, but changing strings a minimum of every couple months is a very good idea.

What Sort of Guitar Strings Should I Buy?
Everyone has an opinion on which strings are best, but let's put aside the discussion of guitar string manufacturers for a moment, and discuss the type of strings needed for your guitar. If you own an acoustic guitar, you need "acoustic guitar strings". If you own a classical guitar, you need "classical guitar strings" or "nylon strings". An electric guitar needs "electric guitar strings". And a bass guitar needs... wait for it... "bass guitar strings".
You also need to consider the gauge (thickness) of strings you'd like. This is where personal preference comes into play, but for beginners, I recommend starting with "medium" gauge strings, and varying from that as you develop a personal preference. An oversimplified rule of thumb is thicker strings provide better tone, but are harder to play.

1 - Tuning and Notes

Learn The Guitar Lessons Part 1 – Tuning and Notes

Welcome to part 1 of our learn guitar lessons. We are excited to be kicking it all off today with the first of many free guitar lessons. Over time this will develop into a 40 part series of Beginners Guitar Lessons, all for free!

If you are keen on mastering the fretboard and becoming a proficient guitarist, you’re about to embark on a very exciting journey, joining millions of other guitar players from all walks of life.

Learning the guitar is easier than you think, but like anything, it does take work, and plenty of practice! It is very important that you understand the learning process, and understand that the progress you make is directly relative to the action you take and the effort you put into it.

You won’t learn guitar overnight, and learning will not be entirely incremental. You’ll reach highs, lows, and mid-points in your learning, and all of a sudden, you’ll reach the next level! Don’t give up, and know that you’re never too young, or too old, to learn the guitar. For the first in our series of Beginners Guitar Lessons, we’ll talk about guitar tuning and basic notes.

Learn Guitar – Lesson 1 Guitar Tuning
Guitar Tuning is perhaps the single most frustrating element when you are beginning to learn guitar, and of course, is also among the most important. Even electronic guitar tuners, which are quite helpful, will not be reliable if your guitar is drastically out of tune. Since electronic tuners are only worthwhile if the guitar is semi in-tune – a pitch pipe, or an electronic tuner with audible note tones, is the best starting point.
Starting from the thickest string, proceeding to the thinnest, are the string number and note names as follows: 6E, 5A, 4D, 3G, 2B, 1E (as seen below). Remember EADGBE is also a good start in learning the note names.

The basic method of guitar tuning, is to get a reference low “E” note. You may get a reference “E” note from a pitch pipe, electronic tuner with audible tone, or from another instrument such as a piano or keyboard. If using a keyboard, the “E” you’re looking for is the “E” below middle “C”…don’t worry, keyboard players will know what you’re asking! When the low “E” string is brought up to pitch, it’s time to tune the other strings:
Press down on the 5th fret of the low “E” string, which results in an “A” note. Match up this note with the open 5th (A) string, and bring up to pitch.
When the “A” string is in tune, press on the 5th fret of the “A” string, resulting on a “D” note. Tune the next open string (the 4th or “D”) to this note.
Proceed by fretting the “D” string on the 5th fret, producing a “G” note, and tune the 3rd (G) string to pitch.
This is where things change a bit…
When the “G” string is in tune, press on the 4th fret of the “G” string, producing a “B” note. Bring the 2nd (B) string up to pitch. Now we’re back to the 5th fret again.
On the 2nd (B) string, press the 5th fret, producing an “E” note. Bring the 6th (E) string up to pitch and you’re done! You may now use the electronic guitar tuner to tweak and double check the tuning.

Basic Guitar Notes For Beginners

We’ve already learned that the open strings on the guitar, from thickest to thinnest (low to high) are E,A,D,G,B,E. We’ll be using those note names as a reference for learning more notes.
The guitar is a “chromatic” instrument, meaning that each fret represents one-half step of the chromatic musical scale.
The basic musical scale includes seven notes, placed in alphabetical order: A,B,C,D,E,F,G. Sharps (#) and flats (b) are added to each note except between B and C, and between E and F, resulting in the 12 notes of the chromatic musical scale.
The chromatic scale contains every possible musical note, arranged in half-steps. Incidentally, a whole-step equals two frets on the guitar, and jumps one note in the scale:
A, A# or Bb, B, C, C# or Db, D, D# or Db, E, F, F# or Gb, G, G# or Ab, and back to A again.
The difference between sharps and flats can cause some confusion for beginners, but it’s really not a mystery. For example, A# and Bb sound exactly the same – and they are! They are written and called one name or the other depending on their use in other scales. The primary reason is to keep the note names in alphabetical order. This concept will become a bit clearer as we move on to future learn guitar lessons, but for now, don’t worry about it!
Since each fret on the guitar equals one half-step in the chromatic scale, any one fret movement, up or down, results in the next note in the chromatic scale (also up or down).
For example, play the low “E” string on your guitar, and locate the note in the chromatic scale above. Press on the first fret. You’ve just produced an “F” note, which is the next note in the scale. Press on the second fret, and you’ve produced an “F#/Gb” note. Third fret will produce a “G”, fourth fret will produce a “G#/Ab note, fifth fret produces and “A” note, and so on. As we learned in our guitar tuning exercise, the fifth fret of every string (with the exception of the 3rd (G) string, which is the fourth fret) produces the same note as the next open string. The guitar is laid out this way, in order to offer a certain dynamic range and ease of playability.

Exercise – Notes And Fingering
Learn the chromatic notes on the guitar up to the 5th fret on each string (except the third string, which you will learn to the fourth fret). This grouping of notes is what is called the “first position” on the guitar, starting from the low “E” string. Use your first finger for notes on the first fret, the second finger for the second fret, third finger for third fret, and fourth finger for the fourth and fifth fret…easy enough?
Play and say each note on each string, moving along to the higher strings until you finally come to the fifth fret of the high “E” string…that note will be “A”. This exercise will get your fingers used to the fretboard, and learn all the notes, and proper fingering, in the first position.
We hope you have enjoyed part 1 of our learn guitar beginners series and are excited about learning the guitar. So, what are you waiting for? Get into stuck into guitar tuning and start learning a few of the basic notes as mentioned above. If you can stick to our guitar lessons and get each one nailed before moving to the next, you will be well on your way to becoming a rocking good guitarist in no time!

2 - The Major Scale

Beginners Learn The Guitar Lesson 2 – The Major Scale

Great to have you back for part two of our 40 part series of Beginners Guitar Lessons. We hope you have been implementing the tips from lesson one, where talked about guitar tuning, learning first position notes, and the chromatic scale.

Beginners Guitar Lessons Part 2 – The Major Scale
The major scale is a grouping of eight notes used in every form of modern music. We learned in part 1 of Beginners Guitar Lessons, that the chromatic scale contains all the possible notes in music, separated by half-steps.

The major scale is a taken from the chromatic scale, using a specific formula of steps. If you recall, one fret equals one-half of a step, and two frets equal a whole-step. Using the following formula, it is possible to create every major scale, no matter where you start on any given point of the chromatic scale:

Major Scale Formula: Whole, Whole, Half, Whole, Whole, Whole, Half (WWHWWWH)

Chromatic Scale: A, A#/Bb, B, C, C#/Db, D, D#/Eb, E, F, F#/Gb, G, G#/Ab, back to A and infinity.
Excersice – C Major Scale

We’ll use the “C Major” scale as an example. Note that C major contains no sharp (#) or flat (b) notes. Using the formula, for this example, we’ll start at the “C’ which occurs on the 5th (A) string, on the third fret.

    Fret the “C” note with your third finger. According to the formula, we’ll be going up a whole-step, which would land you on “D”. We’ll use the open 4th (D) string as our “D” note. The second step in the formula is also a whole-step, which will bring us to “E”. The “E” we’re looking for occurs when you press the 2nd fret on the 4th string with your second finger.

    The next step in the formula is a half-step, or one fret. Place your third finger on the 3rd fret of the 4th string to get our next note, which is an “F”. Cool! You’re halfway there…so far, we’ve got C, D, E, and F. Take a few minutes and practice those four notes.

    All set? The next note in “C” major, after CDEF, is the next whole-step in the formula, which is “G” in this example. The “G” we’re looking for can be found by playing the 3rd string open…easy enough! After “G”, we’ll need another whole-step, which is “A”. “A” is located on the 2nd fret of the 3rd string, using your second finger.

    Next, we have another whole-step, which is “B”. Play “B” by picking the open 2nd string. The final note in the scale is another “C”, which is one half-step from “B”. Play “C” with your 1st finger, on the 1st fret of the 2nd string.

You’ve done it! Now play the scale in it’s entirety, saying the notes as you play them: C,D,E,F,G,A,B, and C. Practice playing the C major scale forward and backward, saying the notes while you’re playing them.

3 - Basic Chords

Beginners Learn The Guitar Lessons 3 – Chords

Welcome back to lesson 3 of our Beginners Guitar Lessons series. Now that we’ve discussed guitar tuning, basic notes and basic scales, it’s time to learn about guitar chords.

Simply put, chords are combinations of three or more notes played together.

Just as we’ve learned to use the chromatic scale to create a major scale, the notes in a chord are derived from the major scale. In music, everything builds upon something else.

Beginners Guitar Lessons – Part 3

As scales have formulas, so do chords. Let’s start by taking the notes in the C major scale, and apply numbers to each note:
C=1, D=2, E=3, F=4, G=5, A=6, B=7, C=8
The first note in the scale is known as the “root” note, which in this case, is “C.”
To form a major chord, we’ll use the following formula:
1, 3, 5…that’s it! Simply take the number one note, C, the number three note, E, and the number five note, G, and play them together. It doesn’t even matter if the notes are played in order or not, as those three notes played together, in any order, will always form a C major chord.

Chord Charts

Chord charts are a helpful way to learn guitar chords, and are quite simple to read. Looking at the diagram, the vertical lines represent the strings, low to high E, from left to right. The horizontal lines represent the frets. Unless designated by a number on the top horizontal line, the line represents the “nut” of the guitar, meaning an open string. The second horizontal line represents the first fret, and so on.
Chord charts use a “legend,” which is a map of sorts, to tell you what the other markings mean. Numbers 1 through 4 below the vertical string lines represent the finger number used to place on the dot. An “X” placed above (or below) a vertical string line means to not play that string. An “O” means to play that string open. Here we have a chord chart for a C major chord:
Given your new knowledge of notes, reading the chart from left to right: The third finger is fretting the “C” note, the second is fretting the “E” note, the third “G” string is open, the first finger is fretting the “C” note, and the first “E string is played open. This corresponds to our major scale formula, 1,3,5, in which the notes from the C major scale are C,E and G. The repeating C and E are there in the guitar chord to add fullness, but playing any combination of the three notes will still result in the same chord.
It stands to reason, that since there are many repeating notes on the guitar, that the C major chord, and all other chords, can be played in numerous ways. This example is only one of the common forms of the C major chord on the guitar.
To sweeten the pot a bit, let’s learn another chord before we move on to the next lesson, the G major chord. We won’t get into the specifics just yet, as we haven’t learned the G major scale, but rest assured that the G major chord follows the same 1, 3, 5 formula, only using the G major scale. As it turns out however, the G major chord does fit along with the C major, because it has some of the same notes as the C major scale. This will be an important fact to consider from here on, as every note and chord played within a song, needs to relate to one another in order to sound good.
G Chord
Follow along with the legend which we discussed earlier to play the chord. The notes within the chord, although originally derived from the G major scale, do work within the C major scale as well: From left to right, the 2nd finger is fretting the “G” note. The first finger is fretting the “B” note. The 4th, 3rd, and 2nd strings, D, G, and B, are being played open. Finally, the 3rd finger is fretting another “G” note on the first string- this gives us all the notes in a G major chord – which are G, B and D.

Guitar Lesson 3 – Exercise

Practice playing the C major chord, strumming it 8 times. Switch to the G chord, strumming it 8 times, then back to C, and so on. It will take a bit of getting used to, but you’re well on your way to playing the guitar!

4 - Picking and Strumming

Beginners Guitar Lessons Part 4 – Picking and Strumming

Beginners Guitar Lessons 4 - Picking and StrummingWelcome back to part four of Beginners Guitar Lessons. Today, we’ll learn about picking and strumming. Picking and strumming use varying patterns of up and down strokes, noted in music to form some sort of arrow.
Using combinations of up and down strokes helps make a more efficient use of movement, making the notes and chords easier to play faster, and provide for a more fluid sound. There is no right way or wrong way to pick or strum, only different ways to achieve a certain result.

Using all down or up strokes results in a “choppier” sound with more attack, while playing alternating up and down strokes will result in a smoother sound. Using alternating up and down strokes, is also the method used to play extremely fast and fluid.
Different combinations of up and down strokes are also used to achieve a combination of soft or sharp attach sounds and effects.

Finger Picking

There are many playing who alternative with using a pick, and finger picking, while others use their fingers exclusively. We’ll get into finger picking at another time, but while both methods have merits, using a pick at this point is a good idea. As you progress with these Beginners Guitar Lessons, you will soon decide which method, if not both, are right for the style of music you will be playing.

Anatomy Of A Pick

Picks are made from many different materials, including stone, metal, heavy felt, or even wood, those made of a plastic composite are most popular. Picks come in many sizes and thicknesses also, and choosing the right one for you is a matter of personal preference. Try a few different shapes and thicknesses and you will invariably find one that feels comfortable.

Holding The Pick

There is no right or wrong way to hold a pick, but most guitarists hold the pick between their thumb and index finger. This also frees up other fingers to perform finger picking if you so desire. When you’re starting out, the pick may feel as though it will fall out of your hand at any given time…and it will at first! A firm, but not too tight of a grip, with the hand relaxed, is right about where you want to be.

Guitar Practice – Picking With Scales

Let’s take the C major scale for our first picking exercise. C, D, E, F, G, A, B, C. We’ll use alternative up and down picking for each note:
Beginners Guitar Lessons C MajorPractice the C major scale backwards and forwards, starting with a down stroke on the first note.

Guitar Practice – Picking With Chords

Picking chords is a little different than picking scales. Try playing a C chord with a down stroke, then again with an up stroke. Since you’re hitting the lower notes first on a down stroke, and the higher notes first on the up stroke, the chord will sound slightly different.
Let’s work out a chord picking pattern with the C chord:
Beginners Guitar Lessons C Chords
The beats are listed below, in the beat pattern of: 1 & 2 & 3 & 4 &. We’ll be omitting the & beat between the 1 and 2, and the 2 and 3, so the last three strums will be quicker.
Now add the G chord after a succession of C chords, and play the same pattern.

5 - Hand Positioning

Beginners Guitar Lessons Part 5 – Hand Positioning

It’s very cool to have you back for part five of Beginners Guitar Lessons. Before we advance into other lessons, it will be necessary for you to work on proper hand, fret-hand positioning.

You may think that this is a bit trivial, but wait until you try it. The position of your fretting hand is the key to speed, finger stretching, position and dexterity

Fret Hand Positioning

Think of a ball with a stick attached to it. If you place the stick and one side of the ball on the ground, and move it around in that position, you have only one range of motion- which is to move it around in a circle. Now picture yourself with the stick on the ground with the ball directly above. Not only can you easily duplicate the previous movement, but now you can move it in arches and radiuses, using the stick as a central pivoting anchor point.
Your hand is the ball, and your thumb is the stick. Grab your guitar as you would a broom handle, with the back of the neck against the crook of your thumb and forefinger. Swivel your hand back and forth, noticing the limited range of motion. Now place the tip of your thumb to the middle of the back of the neck, allowing your hand no contact with the fretboard. Swivel your hand again, back and forth, and notice how much more fluid movement you’ve got.
Fret Hand PositioningThis is the proper hand positioning for playing the guitar. Although it may seem awkward and unsteady at first, you will be amazed at how this will help your guitar playing in so many ways when you get used to it.
This thumb and finger position can be likened to holding the guitar neck and fingerboard as though you were pinching it. Your fingers are now free to do the work while your thumb acts as a pivot anchor.
The rest of your hand should be somewhat relaxed. Sometimes it is small things such as this, that make all the difference in making it easier to learn the guitar. Since your hand is relaxed, and your finger muscles and joints are working smarter, not harder, you will have more playing stamina.

Get Comfortable With Your Guitar

How about that fret-hand arm – is it pressed up against your side? Well, let it relax, and try this other demonstration exercise. “Pinch” the guitar neck again with your thumb on the back, and your fingers over the frets and strings. Bring your arm close to your body, and pivot your hand as before, noticing the range of motion. Leaving your hand where it is, allow your arm to relax and hang freely.
With the thumb firmly anchored the back of the neck, move your elbow away from your body, then back to the side several times, and notice how the angle of your hand changes. Once again, we see that a very simple change in our posture can drastically increase the range of motion, and create economy of movement.
Playing guitar doesn’t have to be taxing for the body, and following these simple suggestions will make learning and playing the guitar much more pleasant… and loads more fun!

6 - Guitar Chords Part 2

Beginners Guitar Lessons Part 6 – Guitar Chords Part 2

Guitar Chords Part 2Great to see you back for lesson six! In lesson three of our beginners learn the guitar series, we talked about the basics of Guitar Chords, and learned the C and G major chords. So let’s continue and get a few more chords mastered!
First up, to make learning the guitar easier, we have provided the lesson on audio which goes hand in hand with the written lesson below.

As we mentioned before, chords are taken from major scales. Since we love the C major scale so much, we’ll work on the other chords that work within C major. Remember that chords are simply groups of complimentary notes taken from a particular scale. Therefore, all the notes contained in the chord must also appear in the scale. Music has rules, which rely on other related rules. So learning the basics right from the start will help you all along the way.
Let’s refresh our memories with the notes of the C major scale. It has no sharps (#) or flats (b) so we start at C and move forward alphabetically:
C    D   E   F   G   A   B
1     2    3   4   5    6   7
Since each key and corresponding chord has a number of sharps and flats (with the exception of C), we’ll need to modify the chords slightly so they contain notes which appear in the major scale we are working in. Our chords will be either major or minor, with the exception of the 7 chord, which in the case of C major is B, will be a diminished chord. Diminished chords are marked with the abbreviation: dim
Just as we have formulas for scales and chords, we have a formula for the basic chords within a key. Note that this does not include every possible chord, but it is a starting point for the basic chords, with others built from them. The basic chord formula for any major key (or major scale) is as follows. The numbers represent the notes within the scale as they appear in order.
1=major chord, 2=minor chord, 3=minor chord, 4=major chord, 5=major chord, 6=minor chord, 7=diminished chord, and finally back to the 1, which is a major chord again.
In the case of C major, our Guitar Chords will be: C, Dm, Em, F, G, Am, Bdim, and C.
Notice that the name of major chords are not marked as major. So if you see chord marked only by a note name, it will always be a major chord.
Our next chord to learn will be A minor (Am). As we’ll learn in a future lesson, all major scales have what is called a relative minor key. The relative minor key is always the sixth note of any major scale, which in this case is A. The A minor chord contains the notes: A, C and E, and is played like this:
Am Guitar Chord Diagram
Next, we’ll learn the D minor chord. D minor contains the notes: D, F, A, and is played like this:
Dm Guitar Chord Diagram
Now for the complete C major collection of guitar chords:
C Major Guitar Chord Diagrams
C Major Guitar Chord Tabs
C Major Chord Diagrams
Another quick note: When you see a chord with … next to the name, as with the F and Bdim/A above, this means that this is one of several similar versions of the chord.

Practice – Using Guitar Chords To Form A Basic Song

Let’s work on a song using some of our new guitar chords. A slash above the chord name means to strum each time a slash is present. You may also practice the song using one of the strumming patterns we covered in the Picking and Strumming Lesson.
////  ////  ////  ////  ////  ////  ////  ////  ////  ////   ////  ////  ////  ////  ////  ////
C        C        G        G       Am   Am      G        G       Em     Em      Dm    Dm      G        G        C         C
Try different combinations of Guitar Chords and write them down, creating your own song.