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Learning To Play Guitar

Beginner guitar lesson: So, you’re learning to play guitar. Well, you need to know a few things to get you started.  

You have 6 strings on your guitar. Each of these have a name and you need to learn them. Starting from the thickest string they are 
E A D G B E. This order appears to make little sense so here is a little phrase to help you.

Elephants
And
Donkeys
Grow
Big
Ears

Elephants is easy to remember as it is the biggest string just like an elephant. Simple. It’s a doddle this guitar playing stuff.
Remember this, you need to know which strings are which so you know which fingers to put where. 

Now each string has a  number of frets under it. These allow you play different notes. These also have different note names.
There are 12 different notes in western music and they are as follows. 

A A# B C C# D D# E F F# G G#. Pretty simple really. How are you going to remember these? Well take the first 7 letters of the alphabet A -G, now lets put a sharpened version of each note between each one apart from B and E. So all you need to remember is A to G and give them all # except B and E. Got it? Good.

Now you might think this is a bit simple, basic and not as cool as learning the latest shred lick. But if you don’t know where the notes are you will find things tricky. I have found this is the main struggling point for most players progressing. 

Now each of the strings have all of these notes on them, they just have different starting points.

So for example the A string starts with A and runs through in that order. The E strings starts from E and runs through to E.

See the circular pattern for a clearer idea.

Note-circle_web

Now you need to set aside a few minutes a day to learn these notes of the guitar. Here is a simple exercise to do so.

  • Make 12 Flash cards for each of the notes
  • Decide on your string of the day. 7 days a week, 6 strings, you can get them all done in under a week
  • Select a flash card at random
  • Find that note on your string for the day
  • Repeat for 2 minutes.

To begin with you may only manage 1 or 2 notes in the time allotted, but with practice you will soon know all the notes on all the strings and this will be completely invaluable and you will thank me by sending gifts and offerings.

The end goal with this exercise is that you can find any note on any string instantly. Once you can do that finding all the chords and scales we are going to cover is going to be much much easier. Now get to it.

Article by Geoff Lea. You can read more from Geoff on his web site: http://www.southamptonguitarist.co.uk

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