About this course
Anybody can play the guitar! Unfortunately, many would-be guitar players give up early, buying into the myth that they lack musical “talent.” This is usually the result of a poor learning experience brought on by a teacher or book that fails to take into account the psychology of the beginning guitar student. There are many physical, mental, and emotional barriers that beginning guitarists have to overcome in order to make music by pressing metal against wood. Though there is no real “right way” to learn or teach the guitar, there are methods that can shorten the learning curve. Therefore, many of the lessons in this book are organized into short, simple concepts that are practical and applicable to most styles of music. Not every musical concept or theory is covered in great detail or at all, as it is my belief that much of this is on a need to know basis and in the beginning you just don’t need to know. These “front loaded” theory methods, as I call them, explain away everything before you’ve even have had a chance to play anything, resulting in more confusion. All of that aside, remember that what you put in you will get out, and every great guitar player achieved their level of prowess not by divine intervention but through dedicated practice. Some things will come easier than others and everybody learns at a different pace. Enjoy!
The modern guitar, as we know it today, was developed in Spain in the mid to late 19th century. Generally looked down upon by the music public of the time, it was through the efforts of Spanish performers and composers, most notably Andrés Segovia, that the guitar continues in popularity.
Knowing how to play in time is one of the most important first steps when learning any musical instrument. The tempo and rhythm act as a framework that gives a song its basic structure. In this lesson, you’ll learn how to strum some basic chords to a specific pattern of beats by reading rhythm slashes.
Now that you’re familiar with how rhythm works, we’ll apply the same concepts
to single-notes in TABLATURE. First we’ll begin by understanding how to read
rhythms in TAB before moving on to your first scale patterns and melodies.
So far we’ve looked at how to strum a chord and play a single-note melody. In this lesson we’ll look at some other commonly used techniques, such as alternate picking and playing an arpeggio pattern.
A staple of blues and rock, power chords can be heard in many popular rock songs such as “You Really Got Me” by The Kinks and “Smoke on the Water” by Deep Purple.
Learning to play the blues serves as a solid foundation for many other genres, especially rock and jazz. Due to the nature of its inherent simplicity, the blues is a great starting point for any guitarist.
Similar to a melody, a riff is a short musical theme that is repeated throughout a piece of music. Many popular songs are often identified by the main riff which can be a simple single note pattern like “Satisfaction” by The Rolling Stones or “Day Tripper” by The Beatles.
In this lesson, we will expand on the power chord shapes that you learned earlier through the use of three-note power chords. You’ll also learn how to incorporate these new power chords with single-note riffs.
Open chords (sometimes referred to as “cowboy chords”) are chords that are played in the open-position, meaning they require at least one open string. Widely used in all types of guitar music, mastering the open chords is essential for anyone wanting to play the guitar.
Once you are able to play the open chord shapes that you learned in the last lesson, the next step is to practice switching between the chords. In this lesson you’ll learn some common chord changes used in many popular songs.
Now that you’ve got a handle on the chord changes, the next step is to put them into a repeated pattern called a chord progression. In this lesson you’ll learn some common chord progressions favored by many musicians.
Most guitar based songs are written with a preset rhythmic pattern called a strum pattern. In this lesson, you’ll learn several strum patterns that have been used in thousands of songs and can be applied to all of the chord progressions that you have learned so far.
Let’s expand your chord vocabulary and add in some seventh chords, also known as dominant seventh chords. Often used in blues and jazz music, seventh chords can add more texture and color to a simple chord progression.
In the last two lessons, the focus has been on the use of common chords and strumming patterns. Now let’s expand on these concepts through the use of different picking patterns and chordal techniques.
Up until now, all of the chords have been played in the open-position. Starting with the power chords, you’ll now learn how chords can be transformed to move up and down the fretboard.
Many power chord based riffs utilize various articulation techniques to achieve different sounds. In this lesson, we’ll explore some common techniques that are in many power chord based riffs.
So far we’ve covered a few basic blues patterns and rhythms that are commonly used in many types of music. In this lesson, we’ll further explore some important riffs and techniques used in blues music.
Just like the power chords, barre chords are moveable chord shapes but require the index finger to fret all of the strings on one fret. In this lesson we will take a look at playing the full major, minor, and seventh barre chord shapes.
So far, you have learned to play many different types of chord progressions without knowing why certain chords are grouped together. In this lesson, you’ll learn how chord families work and the most common chord progressions in popular music.
A guitar solo is a single-note instrumental passage or section of a song that is often improvised but can also be very melodic. The solo examples in this lesson utilize some common soloing techniques that can be applied to various styles of music.
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