Playing the guitar is a good way to relax and have fun with music. Many people want to learn the art of playing the guitar, but not everyone has the time and patience to learn this skill.
With practice and a little bit of help from resources available, one can learn the basics in playing the guitar.
How to hold a guitar
Knowing how to hold a guitar properly will give you good posture and prevent you from getting easily fatigued. A casual way to hold a guitar is to set the guitar on your right leg, if you are right-handed.
Preferably, use a footstool to elevate your leg and bring the guitar close to you in a comfortable position. Hold the guitar close to you tightly with your strumming arm to keep it from slouching.
Numbering system for your fingers on your fretting hand
Your index finger is the first finger, middle finger is the second finger, the ring finger is the third finger and the pinky as the fourth finger.
Numbering system for the strings of the guitar
Start counting from the thinnest string, which is the first string and so on until you reach the thickest string which is the sixth string. Just remember the difference between these two strings so you won’t get confused.
Numbering system for the frets
Frets are the metal lines along the fretboard. The metal strip nearest to the guitar’s headstock is the first fret and so on. Most guitars have fret markers, these markers help the player keep track of his hand’s position on the guitar.
Guitar string names
Knowing the names of the strings is important when you start tuning your guitar. The sixth string, which is the thickest, is named E. Next is A, which is the fifth string, fourth is D, third is G, second is B, and the thinnest string or the first string is E.
Tuning your guitar
Depending on your preference, tuning your guitar can be done through an electronic tuner or by training your ear.
Basically, to tune your guitar you need to be familiar with the natural musical alphabet, which is the first seven letters, A, B, C, D, E, F, G. You also need to be aware of the sound of a flat or sharp note. In tuning the guitar, if a note is flat, it needs to come up a little.
Strumming the guitar
Again, depending on your preference, you can use a pick or just your fingers. If you choose to use your fingers, strum the strings with your thumb and index fingers.
To use a pick, hold it with the pointy end to your left side with your thumb and index finger gripping it naturally. Angle the pick downwards when you strum.
Learn the basic chords
Learning how to play these chords will let you create simple melodies. Most songs can be played using the basic chords.
The first four chords you need to learn are G, C, D, and E minor. For better sounding chords, remember to place your fingers right behind the fret. The further you place your finger from a fret, the more buzz it will produce.
Put your first finger on the second fret of the G string, your second finger on the high E string, and third finger on the third fret of the B string.
Use your pick, strum the first four strings and check if the chord sounds muted, if it does, make sure that you are pressing down with the tips of your fingers.
Place your third finger on the third fret of the sixth string. And then your second finger on the second fret of the fifth string. Lastly, place your fourth finger on the third fret of the E string.
This finger placement may not be used as much, but with this position, you will find it easier to shift from a G chord to a C which is very common. Be familiar with the shapes that your hand forms with each cord as this will help you memorize the different chords.
Put your third finger on the third fret of the fifth string, second finger on the second fret of the fourth string and first finger on the first fret of the second string. When playing the C chord, do not include the sixth string when you strum.
While a major chord sounds lively, a minor chord will sound quite sad. For the easiest minor chord, place your second finger on the second fret of the fifth string.
Next, place your third finger on the second fret of the fourth string. Strum all the strings.
Practice all the chords, experiment on switching from one chord to another until you get the hang of it. As you get yourself familiarized with these chords, eventually it will be easier for you to add more chords as the songs become more complex.