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Guitar Playing Intro Level | Table of Contents | Index | Brian's Home

© Brian Gregg

Buying a Guitar | Tuning the guitar

Table of Contents

The Guitar Neck

Lesson #1

finger numbers

Exercise #1. Playing a C note

Exercise #2. Rhythm

Exercise #3 Dynamics

Exercise #4 Adding a B note

Reading Chord Diagrams

Major Chords F, C, G, D, A, and E

Lesson #2 Learning how to play chords

Chord Change Exercise #1

Reading a chord progression chart

Chord Change Exercise #2

Chord Change Exercise #3

Lesson #3. The Box

Box exercise #1.

Box exercise #2.

Box exercise #3.

Box exercise #4.

Lesson #5 Doe Rae Me on one string

Lesson #6. D chord and A chord and E

Chord Change Exercise #4

Chord Change Exercise #5

Chord Change Exercise #6

Chord Change Exercise #7

Chord Change Exercise #8

Chord Change Exercise #9

Lesson #7. G Major Scale

Lesson #8. Up and Down Picking

Lesson # 9 Strumming and Eighth note Rhythms

minor chords

minor chords Dm, Am, Em, Bm, F#m, and C#m

Chord Change Exercise #10

Chord Change Exercise #11

Chord Change Exercise #12

Barre Chords

Chord Change Exercise #13

Chord Change Exercise #14

Chord Change Exercise #15

Appendix A

Buying a Guitar

Tuning the guitar

Appendix B ( Theory )

Tones and Semitones

Notes in music

Sharps (#) and flats (b)

Diatonic Scales

Root

Octave

Pentatonic scale

Blues Scale

Key

Circle of fifths

Keys minor

Keys Major and relative minor

Key Signature

Intervals

Index

Lesson #1

To play a note on the guitar press a finger of your left hand on a string behind a fret and then

pluck the string with a finger of the right hand or with a pick.

Behind the fret means on the side towards the nut and the tuning pegs.

 

tips:

Press only as hard as you have to, to get a nice sound.

If you press harder than you have to your finger will get sore.

Press as close behind the fret as you can.

However if you get so close you are right on the fret the note will sound dead

Exercise #1. Playing a C note

With your first finger, press in first position, on the second string and pluck that string.

repeat this a few times, keeping in mind the tips, until you get a nice sounding C note.

Exercise #2. Rhythm

Keep your finger pressed on the C note; in a rhythm like a slow steady walk, pick the string.

Count in fours as you pick; 1-2-3-4-1-2-3-4 etc.

Pick a little bit louder on the 1 counts

Exercise #3 Dynamics

Play the C note for four counts very quietly

then for four counts a little bit louder

and then for four counts quite loudly

repeat this over and over a few times without stopping,

keeping a rhythm like a slow steady walk and counting 1-2-3-4-1-2-3-4 etc.

Exercise #4 Adding a B note

Playing a B note is easier. It is played by picking the 2nd string when it is open. Open means

that you don't press your finger on the string at all, so that it rings from the nut instead of a fret.

Play B for 4 counts and then C for 4 counts

repeat this over and over a few times without stopping,

keeping a rhythm like a slow steady walk and counting 1-2-3-4-1-2-3-4 etc.

Keep the rhythm steady even if the first few C notes don't sound right.

After 10 or twenty repetitions it will sound better.

Your fingers learn faster if you don't stop and if you don't go too fast.

 

Chords Tuning the guitar

Reading Chord Diagrams

To read the following chord diagrams you must know that:

the wide line at the top is the nut and the other lines across are the frets

up and down lines are the six strings

X means you don't pick that string; O means you play an open string

the numbers are finger numbers

Major Chords F, C, G, D, A, and E

Lesson #2 Learning how to play chords (see the diagrams above)

When you play a chord it is good to hold your left thumb fairly straight up and down

behind your middle finger. Some people like to swing the thumb out to left a bit

Do what is most comfortable.

At first while your fingers are learning how to play a new chord

pick each string separately one at a time to check that each note is clear.

When you have all the notes sounding nice strum the whole chord.

To strum you drag the pick across all the chord quite quickly so all the notes

sound almost at once.

When you have tried the first two or three chords enough that your fingers can find the chord

fairly fast you can begin to practice changing chords.

 

Chord Change Exercise #1

|| C / / / | F / / / | C / / / | F / / / ||

Reading a chord progression chart

Above is a chord progression chart

The double lines mark the beginning and end. The up and down lines are called bar lines

Rhythm in music is made up of small groups of beats that repeat

Usually four beats

This is called a bar

The beats of the bar are counted 1-2-3-4

The bar line marks where you finish counting one bar and start the next

The letters like "C" or "F" mean you strum that chord

The slashes, " / " , mean you strum it again

--------------------------------------------------------------------

So this chord chart means that you strum C four times and then F four times,

then again C four times and F four times

repeat this over and over a few times without stopping,

keeping a rhythm like a slow steady walk and counting 1-2-3-4-1-2-3-4 etc.

Keep the rhythm steady even if the first few strums of the chord don't sound right.

After 100 or 200 repetitions it will sound better.

Your fingers learn faster if you don't stop and if you don't go too fast.

Chord Change Exercise #2

|| C / / / | G / / / | C / / / | G / / / ||

repeat this over and over a few times without stopping

Chord Change Exercise #3

|| F / / / | G / / / | F / / / | G / / / ||

Keep the rhythm steady even if the first few strums of the chord don't sound right.

Your fingers learn faster if you don't stop and if you don't go too fast.

Summary note:

Once you become comfortable with these first three exercises you will know how to play

6 chord changes CF, FC, CG, GC, FG, and GF

There are millions of songs you could learn to play now

millions of songs use only these 6 chord changes

Lesson #3. The Box

This pentatonic scale pattern can be played in any position on the neck

Each different position puts the scale in a different key

Box exercise #1.

With your first finger play the note on your 6th sting in Vth position.

Keeping your first finger in this place, if you can, stretch your fourth finger up to VIII position

and play that note with your fourth finger.

Lift your fourth finger and play the first note again with your first finger

repeat this over and over going back and forth between the two notes.

note: you will probably find the forth finger is quite weak. This exercise will strengthen it.

Box exercise #2.

this is the same as the previous exercise except you try it on the 2nd string

and the 1st string

as you are playing this exercise think of it sort of as walking

left foot, right foot, left foot, right foot

1st finger, 4th finger, 1st finger, 4th finger,

Box exercise #3.

With your first finger play the note on your 5th sting in Vth position.

Keeping your first finger in this place stretch your third finger up to VII position

and play that note with your third finger.

Lift your third finger and play the first note again with your first finger

repeat this over and over going back and forth between the two notes.

Practice this also on the 3rd and 4th strings

Box exercise #4.

Now put them all together and play the scale in this order

6th string 1st finger then 4th finger

5th string 1st finger then 3rd finger

4th string 1st finger then 3rd finger

3rd string 1st finger then 3rd finger

2nd string 1st finger then 4th finger

1st string 1st finger then 4th finger

Practice this over and over until you don't have to think to do it

Box exercise #5.

Play the scale backwards starting with your 4th finger on the 1st string.

Lesson #5 Doe Rae Me on one string

"Do, Rae, Me, Fa, So, La, Ti, Do" is the Major Diatonic Scale

Musicians more often refer to the scale notes by numbers.

Scale note #1

Pick a string any string and play the open note. That will be "Doe".

Scale note #2

move up a tone to II position and play "Rae"

Scale note #3

move up another tone to IV position and play "Me"

Now play "Do, Rae, Me, Rae, Do" a few times to get used to this first part of the scale.

Scale note #4

"Fa" is only a semitone above "Me" in V position

Now play "Do, Rae, Me, Fa, Me, Rae, Do" a few times

Scale note #5

"So" is a tone above "Fa" in VII position

Play "Do, Rae, Me, Fa, So, Fa, Me, Rae, Do" a few times

Scale note #6

"La" is a tone above "So" in IX position

Play "Do, Rae, Me, Fa, So, La, So, Fa, Me, Rae, Do" a few times

Scale note #7

"Ti" is a tone above "La" in XI position

Play "Do, Rae, Me, Fa, So, La, Ti La So, Fa, Me, Rae, Do" a few times

Scale note #8

"High Doe" is only a semitone above "Ti" in V position

That's it. Now play the whole scale up and down.

note: you can now see the pattern of steps in the scale is:

tone, tone, semitone, tone, tone, tone, semitone

The easy way to remember this is that there are only 2 steps that are semitones.

They are the steps between 3 and 4, and between 7 and 8.

All the other steps are a full tone apart.

Lesson #6. D chord and A chord and E

Look at the chord diagrams and learn D Major and A Major and E Major

Practice the following exercises:

Chord Change Exercise #4

|| D / / / | G / / / | D / / / | G / / / ||

Chord Change Exercise #5

|| D / / / | C / / / | D / / / | C / / / ||

Chord Change Exercise #6

|| D / / / | A / / / | D / / / | A / / / ||

Chord Change Exercise #7

|| E / / / | A / / / | E / / / | A / / / ||

Chord Change Exercise #8

|| E / / / | D / / / | E / / / | D / / / ||

Chord Change Exercise #9

|| F / / / | C / / / | G / / / | D / / / | A / / / | E / / / ||

Lesson #7. G Major Scale

Start with your 2nd finger on the 6th string in position III. This is the low G note.

Then with your 4th finger play A on the same string in position IV.

Practice G A G A a few times then add B on the 5th string.

Practice G A B A G a few times.

Keep adding notes one at a time and the practicing going up to the note and back down to G.

Notice this scale pattern runs up and down two octaves.

tips:

Try and keep your fingers in position; 1st finger over position II, 2nd finger over position III,

3rd finger over position IV, and 4th finger over position V.

Keep your fingers as close to the strings as you can lifting them only a tiny bit when you do.

Practice the scale at a slow steady pace counting 1, 2, 3, 4.

Lesson #8. Up and Down Picking

Until now you have probably been picking with only down strokes as shown in the first bar below

Now try picking down and then up, as in the second bar below

At first practice down picking and up picking a single note

Count 1, 2, 3, 4, 1, 2, 3, 4, etc. Keep a slow steady rhythm.

Once you think your picking hand has got this try playing G Major Scale picking down and up.

You want to keep your picking steady down up down up

When you go to play a note on the next string you may find your hand wants to pick

down down or up up. Practice the scale until you can keep a steady down up down up.

tip: touch your fourth and maybe third fingers of your picking hand on the guitar

to anchor your hand. You want to pick mostly with a wrist movement; not from the elbow.

When you are picking notes on the lower strings ( 6th, 5th, or 4th ) you may not be able to

reach to anchor your fourth and third fingers on the guitar. In that case you can anchor your

picking hand by touching on the 1st or 2nd string with those fingers.

Lesson # 9 Strumming and Eighth note Rhythms

As with picking you can strum a chord with a down or an up stroke.

To understand Eighth notes, first lets review quarter notes.

Strum your favorite chord with down strokes and count 1, 2, 3, 4, 1, 2, 3, 4

You are playing quarter notes; four per bar.

This may seem silly, but notice that you have to lift your pick up after each down stroke

to get ready to play the next one.

Now, when you are lifting your pick up for the next stroke,

try strumming up instead of just lifting.

You can now play twice as fast without moving your hand any faster.

Practice strumming down, up, down, up, down, up, down, up.

Count 1, an, 2, an, 3, an, 4, an, 1, an, 2, an, 3, an, 4, an

The " an " counts come on the up strokes.

These are eighth notes they sound twice as fast as quarter notes.

You can play 8, eighth notes in a bar where you can play 4, quarter notes.

Try some chord change exercises using this eighth note strum.

Practice it until it is smooth and feels comfortable.

 

minor chords

minor chords Dm, Am, Em, Bm, F#m, and C#m

Chord Change Exercise #10

|| F / / / | Dm / / / | F / / / | Dm / / / ||

repeat this over and over a few times without stopping

Chord Change Exercise #11

|| C / / / | Am / / / | C / / / | Am / / / ||

Keep the rhythm steady even if the first few strums of the chord don't sound right.

Your fingers learn faster if you don't stop and if you don't go too fast.

Chord Change Exercise #12

|| G / / / | Em / / / | G / / / | Em / / / ||

Barre Chords

Barre chords are chords where you press your whole first finger across most of the strings

behind a fret .

At first they take quite a bit of time for your fingers to learn but once you learn the fingering

for a barre chord you can play many chords using that same fingering by moving to different

positions on the guitar neck which are indicated on the chord diagrams by Roman numerals.

For example if you look on the diagrams of minor chords above you will notice that

Bm chord and C#m chord use the exact same fingering

The only difference is Bm is played in II position and C#m is in IV position.

Chord Change Exercise #13

|| D / / / | Bm / / / | D / / / | Bm / / / ||

Chord Change Exercise #14

|| A / / / | F#m / / / | A / / / | F#m / / / ||

Chord Change Exercise #15

|| D / / / | Bm / / / | D / / / | Bm / / / ||

 

Appendix A

Buying a guitar

If you are a beginner take with you, a friend or a friend of a friend who knows guitars.

You want to be sure the instrument works properly and sounds nice.

 

Tuning

I recommend buying and using an electronic tuner to tune your guitar.

However it is good to know how to tune by ear too.

The most common way to tune by ear is illustrated above

1. Play an A note on the 6th string by pressing in Vth position

Then tune the open 5th string to this note by turning its tuning peg

2. Play a D note on the 5th string by pressing in Vth position

Then tune the open 4th string to this note by turning its tuning peg

3. Play a G note on the 4th string by pressing in Vth position

Then tune the open 3rd string to this note by turning its tuning peg

4. This is different. Play a B note on the 3rd string by pressing in IVth position

Then tune the open 2nd string to this note by turning its tuning peg

5. Back to the same. Play an E note on the 2nd string by pressing in Vth position

Then tune the open 1st string to this note by turning its tuning peg

Appendix B ( Theory )

Tones and Semitones

When you play a note on the guitar and then play the very next note by moving your finger up

to the very next fret on the same string you are moving up a Semitone.

When you move up 2 frets you are playing a note that is a tone higher .

Notes in music

There are 12 notes in music. 7 have the plain letter names; A,B,C,D,E,F, and G. No "H"

The next note after G is called A again

Sharps (#) and flats (b)

There are 5 in between notes that have two names

For instance the note in between A and B can be called A sharp or B flat

There are 2 places where there is no note in between. No note between B&C nor E&F

C sharp or D flat is the note between C&D

D sharp or E flat is the note between D&E

F sharp or G flat is the note between F&G

G sharp or A flat is the note between G&A

Diatonic Scales

Diatonic scales are 7 note scales. The (Doe, Rae Me, etc. ) scale is a diatonic scale.

Musicians more often use numbers to name the steps of the scale 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8

Doe or 1 is often referred to as the Root

The high Doe or 8 at the top of the scale is called the Octave

The Root and the Octave always have the same letter name

For example if you are playing a C scale the root will be C and the octave will be C.

The notes of the scale move up by steps that are either tones or semitones.

Most of the steps are tones but the steps between 3 and 4, and between 7 and 8 are semitones

Pentatonic scale

A Pentatonic scale is a wonderful thing. It is a scale of only 5 tones unlike most other scales which

have 7 tones. The normal Major scale goes Doe, Rae, Me, Fa, So, La, Ti, and Doe again.

The Major Pentatonic scale omits Fa and Ti

So it goes Doe, Rae, Me, So, La, and Doe again.

I call The Major Pentatonic Scale The Cowboy Scale because it works so well with

Country music or Folk music. It even works with Pop music.

I call the minor Pentatonic scale the Blues Scale

It has the very same notes as the Major Pentatonic

The only difference being that instead of starting on Doe and ending on Doe

It starts on La and ends on La. It is the scale to use for playing blues or minor music.

The Box is the easiest fingering for playing Pentatonic scales

Shown below, the names of the notes in The Box, from La to Doe

 6th string  Doe      La
 5th string    Me    Rae
 4th string    La    So
 3rd string    Rae    Doe
 2nd string  So      Me
 1st string  Doe      La

 

Key

For a beginning guitar player all you really need to know about Key is that if we say a song is

in the Key of C it probably starts on a C chord and probably ends on a C chord.

If you want to know more read the following.

There are 12 notes in music but in a song or piece of music, usually only 7 notes are used

and the other 5 are left out. There are 12 different sets of 7 notes.

These are the 12 Major Keys:

A, B flat, B, C, D flat, D, E flat, E, F, F sharp or G flat, G, and A flat,

Keys and how they relate is easier to understand if we see them arranged in a circle of 5ths

The Key of C has no sharps or flats. In the sharp Keys clockwise to the right G has 1 sharp

D has 2, A 3, E 4, etc.. Counter clockwise, the flat Keys start with F which has 1 flat, Bb 2, etc.

The Keys of G flat and F sharp are the same Key

It is also interesting to know that when you have one sharp it is F#

When you have 2 they are F# and C#

When you have 3 they are F# and C# and G

When you have 4 they are F# and C# and G# and D

When you have 5 they are F# and C# and G# and D# and A#

When you have 6 they are F# and C# and G# and D# and A# and E#

Similarly in the flat Keys Bb, Eb, Ab, Db, Gb, Cb

minor Keys

Each Major Key has its own related minor Key. They are related because they use exactly the same set of notes and they therefore share the same Key Signature. The difference is that when you play a scale in a Major Key you play it from Doe , Rae, Me, etc, up to Doe but in the related minor Key you start the scale from La and play up the scale to La again.

Keys Major and relative minor

 Major

 minor  signature
 C  Am  none
 G  Em  1 sharp
 D  Bm  2 sharps
 A  F#m  3 sharps
 E  C#m  4 sharps
 B  G#m  5 sharps
 F#  D#m  6 sharps
 Gb  Ebm  6 flats
 Db  Bbm  5 flats
 Ab  Fm  4 flats
 Eb  Cm  3 flats
 Bb  Gm  2 flats
 F  Dm  1 flat

A Key Signature:

is a group of one or more sharps or flats shown at the start of a music manuscript.

It tells you which Key the music is in. The Key signatures are shown above.

Intervals

You can think of intervals as two notes played together. More than just a note but not quite a chord

Different intervals are named to show how far apart the two notes are.

Each interval has its own sound which you can learn to recognize by ear.

The flat 5 interval and the minor 2 sound quite horrible just by themselves.

The unison, octave, 4, and 5 have a sort of hollow sound.

The Major 3rd sounds sweet.

Below, capital "M" stands for Major; small "m" minor

 interval name

 lower note

 upper note  semitones apart
unison  root  root  0
m2  root m2  1
M2  root M2  2
m3  root m3  3
M3  root M3  4
4  root 4  5
flat 5  root flat 5  6
5  root 5  7
m6  root m6  8
M6  root M6  9
m7  root m7  10
M7  root M7  11
octave  root octave  12

 

 

 

Index

Barre Chords

The Box

Buying a Guitar

Circle of fifths

Chord Change Exercises

  • Chord Change Exercise #1
  • Chord Change Exercise #2
  • Chord Change Exercise #3
  • Chord Change Exercise #4
  • Chord Change Exercise #5
  • Chord Change Exercise #6
  • Chord Change Exercise #7
  • Chord Change Exercise #8
  • Chord Change Exercise #9
  • Chord Change Exercise #10
  • Chord Change Exercise #11
  • Chord Change Exercise #12
  • Chord Change Exercise #13
  • Chord Change Exercise #14
  • Chord Change Exercise #15
  • finger numbers

    flats (b)

    Intervals

    Key

    Keys minor

    Keys Major and relative minor

    Key Signature

    open string

    pentatonic scale

    positions on the guitar neck

    Reading Chord Diagrams

    Root (chords)

    Root (scales)

    Scales

  • Blues Scale
  • Diatonic Scales
  • pentatonic scale
  • Semitone

    Sharps (#) and flats (b)

    Tone

    Tuning the guitar

    COPYRIGHT NOTICE

    Copyright 2000 Brian D. Gregg All Rights Reserved.

    These Guitar Lessons may be used and modified free of charge by anyone so long as this

    copyright notice remains intact.

    Selling these lessons without prior written consent is expressly forbidden.

    In other words, please ask first before you try and make money off of my lessons.

    Obtain permission before redistributing this software over the Internet or in any other medium.

    In all cases copyright and header must remain intact.

    Brian Gregg can be contacted by e-mail at:

    bzgregg@telusplanet.net