Now we're getting somewhere! In order to become skillful on the guitar, we'll need to build the muscles in our hands, and learn to stretch our fingers. Scales are a good, albeit a not very exciting way to do this. Before we start, look at the diagram above to understand how fingers on the "fretting hand" (the hand that plays notes on the neck) are commonly identified. The thumb is labeled as "T", the index finger is the "first finger", the middle finger is the "second finger", and so on.
Each song is very well laid out and easy to understand, especially for beginners. It is recommended to play these songs along with a metronome so that you can also practice your tempo and rhythm as you begin playing guitar. Alternatively, if you don’t know how the song goes, you can also play the original song in the background as you play along with it.
This diagram illustrates the first chord we are going to play, a G major chord (often simply called a "G chord"). Take your second finger, and put it on the third fret of the sixth string. Next, take your first finger, and put it on the second fret of the fifth string. Lastly, put your third finger on the third fret of the first string. Make sure all of your fingers are curled and are not touching any strings they're not supposed to. Now, using your pick, strike all six strings in one fluid motion. Notes should ring all together, not one at a time (this could take some practice). Voila! Your first chord.
Berklee College of Music was founded on the revolutionary principle that the best way to prepare students for careers in music is through the study and practice of contemporary music. For more than half a century, the college has evolved to reflect the state of the art of music and the music business. Berklee serves distance learners worldwide through its award-winning online extension school, Berklee Online.
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Strum your guitar with a pick or your fingers. Hold down the strings with your fingers in the appropriate shape and try to strum with your other hand. Acoustic guitar strings often have higher actions than electric guitars, so you may have to press down very hard to get a good sound. If the chord comes out muted, try holding down the strings with more force. If your string is buzzing, move your finger further away from the metal fret on your neck.
This course aims to get you ready to play the guitar as soon as possible, so we only cover the absolute essentials. Learn how to maintain your guitar and gain the basics to play both lead and rhythm guitar. This is great for those who have played some guitar in the past but want to brush up the basics. For complete beginners, try our Introduction to Guitar Playing course.
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