Category Archives: Beginners Guitar Articles

A series of selected articles and posts on beginners guitar to help you start off on the right foot.

Beginners guitar help LIst of articles

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10 Guitar Learning Problems

10 Guitar learning problems

What are the main learning difficulties you encounter in the majority of students that come to your school?

First of all, I must say that all students that attend the Creative Guitar School, either in the classroom context, or through the e-learning program, are all eager to learn, play and immerse themselves into the journey of music. It does not matter whether their goal is to become a songwriter, a blues guitarist, a jazz guitarist or simply a solo musician, as they all wish to enjoy playing their favourite songs on such a beautiful instrument as the guitar, anywhere and at any time. 

1.To accept that learning guitar is not an easy task.

The main difficulty I perceive in all beginner guitar students, is overcoming the initial surprise that learning a new instrument is not as easy as they thought.

Why? 

Students need to understand that when they play the guitar, they are actually speaking a language through an instrument. Therefore, if they are not aware of the musical language, they will not be able to play with much fun and they will start to experience constant frustration.

 2. The lack of understanding of the musical language.

Music is an aural language where we create or reproduce a sequence of pitches in relation to a pulse.  Students need to develop a competent aural understanding of melody and rhythm and this takes time.

My courses are designed to help students not only physically play the guitar, but to be able to hear and understand what they will play before such occurs.  This approach will help reduce your guitar learning problems .

3. Previous internet studying has lead to confusion.

Most of my student’s first understanding of how to play the guitar, comes from the internet. This is a virtual world where they see a lot of guitarists doing a lot of fancy stuff on their own. The stuff they see, generally only lasts a few seconds,  and initially it seems cool to follow, listen and also want to do. 

4. Learning is not only about playing chords. 

Also, most of these guitarists share the impression that playing a song is about playing a set of chords and that is that. When students try to copy what they see, they soon realise they cannot do it right or it does not make sense,  and that is when they encounter their first major guitar learning problem.

It is hard to explain initially what should make sense in your guitar learning,  but it generally comes down to playing in a group format where you must define your role as melody and accompaniment in sync with others. If your learning allows such, then you are in the right direction. If not,  please get a music teacher to show you what the language of music is all about.  A teacher will help you overcome initial guitar learning problems.

  5. Learning guitar through you tube.

I strongly recommend to avoid learning with any youtube video that does not have the support of a teacher, and any youtube video that does not teach you how to hear what you are playing. 

6. Lack of understanding of what a song is.

Also, most guitar youtube videos show you how to play chords and this really is not what you should learn,  as the most important aspect of any song is its melody. Do not learn licks, don’t learn chord progressions, learn full songs and learn how to create your own accompaniment, no matter what style you wish to play. You can  apply this rule to blues, jazz, funk, rock, classical or flamenco guitar, but please, play full songs. Then, after you can play full songs, you will be ready to learn licks and how to create them.

If you choose to only mimic the movements of others, then your creativity may be blocked and as a consequence, anxiety or anguish may appear at your doorstep. 

7. To not be able to hear what they play.

My videos teach you how to hear and play. With each guitar video, the students must consolidate their learning by completing a series of assignments. The final objective of all basic guitar learning is for the guitar student to be able to play a melody, accompaniments and solo of any simple song. You must be able to achieve this in a relatively short period of time, in a musical context where you hear it all happening at once, just like in the real world. 

As a guitarist, this will require a lot of practice on your behalf. Music learning is not easy and the guitar learning can be a slow but rewarding experience. 

Please consider that music is a relaxing therapy and you will only be able to relax when you express a full musical idea. A full idea includes the melody, the accompaniment and variations from start to end.  And, all of these played in a musical context that includes tempo. This last recommendation will greatly help you reduce your guitar learning problems.

8. Not understanding what it means to be creative.

In order to be creative on the guitar as a performer, you need to be skilled in a variety of melodic, harmonic and rhythmic resources that will allow you to develop the chosen composition. 

It must be your objective as a performer to tell a story on the guitar with the composition you are playing. The song will always be a repeating structure and as the song progresses you will need to add variations of rhythm, harmony and melody to achieve a flow in the song, and also to strive for a climax, which all songs have. 

You will use your creativity to play all these variations on the go. 

9. Overcoming boredom of repetition

Guitar students tire quickly from trying to learn something new. This is another major guitar learning problem.

Music is a discipline that requires a lot of repetition to memorise sound and technique. There is no shortcut to this.  However, repetition can be fun.

How ?

By playing the guitar in tempo and in the context of a song.

The more you practice as if you were playing a full song or playing live with others, the sooner you will overcome the boredom of repetition. 

It is good to repeat in the context of a song as this will give you the framework to be creative. A repeating structure is the best scenario to be creative in the long term.  

10. Not playing in tempo 

If you are playing the groove correctly your ideas will flow effortlessly. The structure is what allows the maximum creativity, it is a frame work with boundaries that will allow you to bounce around endlessly.

Please notice that I mention you need to play the groove correctly. The groove is the pulse of the song, the underlying heartbeat, you must feed this pulse and make it vibrate so the song can flow and breathe. 

In all my guitar courses, both those that I offer in a classroom setting or those that I offer online, the main element  which I am always insisting upon, is the pulse, the beat and rhythm.  Please also visit my main site to hear examples of my musical productions that reflect all the above concepts.

The more you play to a beat, in tempo,  the more relaxing your music will be and as a consequence the better you will feel. 

Lesson 6 – How to subdivide the beat

Lesson 6 – How to subdivide the beat

This is the video transcript of lesson number 6 of the Beginners Guitar Course: How to subdivide a beat.

You may read the transcript of the Beginners Guitar Course lesson one, here.

You may read the transcript of the Beginners Guitar Course lesson two, here.

You may read the transcript of the Beginners Guitar Course lesson three, here.

You may read the transcript of the Beginners Guitar Course lesson four, here.

You may read the transcript of the Beginners Guitar Course lesson five, here.

What are you going to learn?

  1. To identify the beat of a song, the bar and how to subdivide the beat, to create more intensity.
  2. A new song with the Dm and F chords.  

What will you do differently after completing the assignments for this lesson?

  1. You will have proved to yourself that you are capable of learning on your own a song, by listening and understanding what you hear.
  2. You will be able to listen to music, feel the beat and hear what you need to play, to create the rhythm. 
  3. You will further consolidate your learning, to help you progress quickly towards the song learning goal.

The Beat

What is the beat ? 

The beat of this song is the pulse that all members of the band sync to, to play the melody and accompaniment. You identify the beat by simply tapping your foot to the music.

DO IT WITH ME!

Tap your feet to this song and when you are ready say one! Fill in the gaps between the ones! 

The beats are grouped in units of generally two, three or four beats. We name the unit a bar. 

Have fun with the beat  

You will now learn to talk musically about the beat and start having fun with it. When we play rhythm, we define the beat and we talk about the beat with its subdivision.

Subdivision of the beat

Play with muted strings the following routine to learn to how to subdivide the beat. Read once, then play twice, non stop:

  • 1 2 3 4  
  • 1 & 2 &3&4 
  • 1 potato 2 potato 3 potato 4 potato 
  • 1 potato 2 potato 3 potato 4 potato

Play with your hands the following routine learn to ow to subdivide the beat. Read once, then play twice, non stop:

  • 1 2 3 4  
  • 1 & 2 &3&4 
  • 1 potatoe 2 potato 3 potato 4  potato 
  • 1 potatoe 2 potato 3 potato 4  potato

The beat is constant in this exercise, and when you play more notes per beat, the music feels more intense. When you count 1 and 2 and 3 and 4, you divide the beat in two, the potatoes divide the beat in four.

Feel the intensity

How to subdivide the beat: Intensity

Play with me the C and Am chord with these variations, and feel how the intensity changes.  Learn how how to subdivide the beat

Complete the assignments and submit.

Dm and F Chords

The Goal

Listen to the song you will learn.

Learn the song in steps. 

Step one – Chord Learning routine

Learn the Dm and F chords.

Apply the chord learning routine.

When you have practiced sufficiently complete the assignment of step one. 

Have you submitted it, if so, press play and continue.

Step 2 – Join them 

The chords share this common note that I highlight in red. In order to join them, practice the following routine. 

On your own 

Please stop the video and practice the routine on your own.  Apply the check questions for self assessment and complete the assignment of Step 2. 

Step 3- Play the chords 

The Goal

Your goal in step 3 is to play the chords with potato subdivision, and accents on beat 1 from start to finish. 

How to subdivide the beat: write it

Learn how to do it ?

First of all you need to count how many beats each chord lasts, and then how many times they are repeated from start to finish.

The first chord is a Dm. How many beats does it last?

The second chord is an F. How many beats does it last?

How many times are they repeated?

Download the audio file dmfchordsstep3 and apply the L.I.S.P routine to answer the previous questions and to learn to How to subdivide the beat Practice the chords with the audio file until you are fluent with the accents and structure.

Complete the assignment and send it.

Press play and continue.

Step 4 –  L.I.S.P Melody 1

Download the audio file dmfmelody1. Complete the assignment and send it.

Step 5 – L.I.S.P Melody 2

Download the audio file dmfmelody2. Complete the assignment and send it.

Step 6 – L.I.S.P Melody 3

Download the audiofile dmfmelody3. Complete the assignment and send it.

Step 7- Play the full song

Play along with me the full song. On the screen you will be able to see the choices you have to play.

Chord + melody 1

Play the chords and then melody number 1.

Chord + melody 2

Play the chords and then melody number 2.

Chord + melody 3

Play the chords and then melody number 3.

Assignments 

The Beat Assignment 1 

  • Listen to the songs I have shared with you, clap your hands on one, fill in the rest of the beats and write the answer to the question, how many beats in a bar in each song?, and submit to the forum.
  • Listen to the songs I have shared with you, clap your hands on one, fill in the rest of the beats and sing the most comfortable subdivision the song uses. Write down your replies to what is the subdivision of each song and submit to the forum.
  • Record yourself playing your three combinations of 4 bars of muted rhythms. 

For example: 1st bar one note per beat, next bar 4 notes per beat, next bar two notes per beat, next bar 4 notes per beat.

Before you play your combinations, count in sync with a metronome:

  • 1 2 3 4  
  • 1 & 2 & 3 & 4 & 
  • 1 potato 2  potato 3 potato 4 potato 
  • 1 potato 2  potato 3 potato 4 potato

Then play your 4 combinations. 

Please choose the slowest tempo you are comfortable with, and apply the corresponding check questions for your own self assessment. Once you are satisfied with your results, please submit your recording to the teacher. Practice your combinations until they sound correct, then record, so you can assess how well you are progressing.

Dm and F Chord 

  • Step one – Record yourself

Record yourself in video, with your phone, playing the Dm and F chord learning routine. Your recording must answer yes to the following check questions. Once you are satisfied please submit your recording to the teacher.

Check questions 

  • Did you turn on your metronome?
  • Did you tap your feet while recording?
  • Are you in sync with the beat?
  • Did you count it in?
  • Did you sing what you were doing?
  • Did you play the chord for 4 bars non stop ?
  • Step 2 – Record yourself

Record yourself in video, with your phone, playing the routine of Step 2. Your recording must answer yes to the following check questions. Once you are satisfied please submit your recording to the teacher.

Check questions 

  • Did you turn on your metronome ?
  • Did you tap your feet while recording ?
  • Are you in sync with the beat?
  • Did you count it in ?
  • Did you say when you are changing fingers and have you moved them exactly as you count them ?
  • Did you sing what you were doing?
  • Can you hear every single note with clarity?
  • Step 3 – Record yourself 

Record yourself in video, with your phone, playing along to the backing track called dm f chords step 3.If you are able to do so then you have successfully learnt the chords.Once you are satisfied please submit your recording to the teacher. Please proceed to Step 4

  • Step 4 – L.I.S.P melody 1

Write the replies to: 

  • Per Beat: How many notes?
  • Per Note: Same, up or down?

Practice the melody with the track you L.I.S.P to. When you are comfortable that you have learnt it, record yourself in video, with your phone, playing along to the backing track dmfmelody1.

Once you are satisfied please submit your recording to the teacher. Please proceed to Step 5

  • Step 5 – L.I.S.P melody 2

Write the replies to: 

  • Per Beat: How many notes?
  • Per Note: Same, up or down?

Practice the melody with the track you have L.I.S.P to. When you are comfortable that you have learnt it, record yourself in video, with your phone, playing along to the backing track called dmmelody2. If you are able to do so then you have successfully learnt Melody 2. Please proceed to Step 6

  • Step 6 – L.I.S.P melody 3

Write the replies to: 

How many bars before the melody starts?

Then 

  • Per Beat: How many notes?
  • Per Note: Same, up or down?

Practice the melody with the track you have L.I.S.P to. When you are comfortable that you have learnt it, record yourself in video, with your phone, playing along to the backing track called dmmelody3. Once you are satisfied please submit your recording to the teacher. Please proceed to Step 7.

Music Production and Songwriting

Music is fun and the most enjoyable experience is to write your own music. Read some of my articles on how to write a song, record and produce it to your utmost satisfaction .

Lesson 5 How to memorise a melody

Lesson 5: How to memorise a melody

This is the video transcript of lesson number 5 of the Beginners Guitar Course: How to play a melody.

You may read the transcript of the Beginners Guitar Course lesson one, here.

You may read the transcript of the Beginners Guitar Course lesson two, here.

You may read the transcript of the Beginners Guitar Course lesson three, here.

You may read the transcript of the Beginners Guitar Course lesson four, here.

Consolidation exercises 

As mentioned, every week I add one more exercise to your daily 20 minute practice session. The new exercise builds on the previous. Do not practice only the new exercise because you will not learn, and you will feel very frustrated and give up.

You must consolidate all the previous musical examples on a daily basis. The better you know them, the easier it will be to learn new musical material. It will take you10 weeks to consolidate all

I have designed every exercise to help you improve your aural rhythmic and performance skills gradually. You need to work and build on these three skills on a daily basis.  Please practice the program in order, so as you may achieve the learning goals that I established.

Do not concentrate your practice on what you do not know, practice and have fun with what you know and then add new music new every week.  You must practice every exercise exactly the way your learnt it. If you cannot do such please go back to the video to refresh.

How to hear music

L.I.S.P Melody number 3

  • Listen
  • Imagine 
  • Sing 
  • Play – Comprehend 

Before you play, comprehend what happens on each beat of the melody, in order, so as to help you in the how to memorise a melody. Ask your self the following questions, sing and point to your fingers:

  • Per Beat: How many notes?
  • Per Note: Same, up or down?

Beat one 

How many notes are there? One ,it is a C.

Beat two

How many notes are there? It is the same note that starts on beat one as is maintained. 

Beat three

How many notes are there? It is the same note that starts on beat one.  

Beat four 

How many notes are there? One. 

Where does it start ? on 4 &.

Same, up or down? It is the same.  

On your own

The following three bars follow the same pattern as the first.  Stop the video and figure them out  using the same process. Do not worry if you do not get them perfectly right.

Play along with me 

  • Play along with me at half of the original tempo.
  • Play along with me a the original tempo original.
  • Rewind and Repeat full L.I.S.P of Melody 3
How to memorise a melody?

L.I.S.P Melody number 4

  • Listen
  • Imagine 
  • Sing 
  • Play – Comprehend 

Before you play, comprehend what happens on each beat of the melody, in order, so as to help you in the how to memorise a melody. Ask your self the following questions, sing and point to your fingers:

  • Per Beat: How many notes?
  • Per Note: Same, up or down?

Bar 1

Beat one  

How many notes are there? Two.

Are they both the same? Yes they are two Gs.

Beat 2, 3 and 4 

How many notes are there? Two per beat.  

Are they all  the same? Yes they are repeating G notes.  

Bar 2

Beat one  

How many notes are there? Two

Same, up or down? Same, again they are repeating G notes.

Beat two 

How many notes are there? Two.

Are they both the same? No.

  • 1st note, is it same as the previous, does it go up, or down? It is the same note. 
  • 2nd note, is it same as the previous, does it go up, or down? It goes up.

Beat three 

How many notes are there? One. 

Same, up, or down?It goes down.

Beat four

How many notes are there? One.

Same as the previous, does it go up, or down? It goes down. 

On your own 

Apply the routine to bars 3,4,5,6,7 and 8  

Ask yourself: 

  • Per Beat: How many notes?
  • Per Note: Same, up or down?

Sing and point to your fingers to help you understand. 

Play along with me 

  • Play along with me at half of the original tempo.
  • Play along with me a the original tempo original.
  • Rewind and Repeat full L.I.S.P of Melody 4

L.I.S.P Melody Number 5

Listen

  • Imagine 
  • Sing 
  • Play – Comprehend 

Before you play, comprehend what happens on each beat of the melody, in order, so as to help you in the how to memorise a melody. Ask your self the following questions, sing and point to your fingers:

  • Per Beat: How many notes?
  • Per Note: Same, up or down?

Play along with me 

  • Play along with me at half of the original tempo.
  • Play along with me a the original tempo original.
  • Rewind and Repeat full L.I.S.P of Melody 5

Play along with me 

Now it’s time for you to start playing the full song. Please follow the instructions and make sure you have the 5 five melodies clearly memorised, and the chords. On the screen you will see me playing the melodies I want you to target.

  • Play melody 1, 2, 3.
  • Play melody 1, 2, 4. 
  • Play melody 1, 2, 5.
  • Play chords – melody 5.

Assignments

Repeat the video as many times as you need to until you have memorised how to play the scale and melody number 1 and 2.

L.I.S.P  Melody 3, 4, 5 

After you have L.I.S.P the melody, write in detail your replies  to:

  • Per beat: How many notes ?
  • Per note: Same up or down ?

Record yourself

Once you have memorised the melody (pitch and rhythm).  Record yourself in video, with your phone, playing along the corresponding melody track. 

Your recording must answer yes to the following check questions. Once you are satisfied please submit your recording to the teacher.

Check questions 

  • Did you turn on your metronome ? 
  • Did you tap your feet while recording ?
  • Did you count it in ?
  • Did you sing what you were doing? 

You have access to tabs of all melodies in your drop box folder.

Music Production and Songwriting

Are you interested in the final goal of your learning which should also include the experience of how to write a song, record and produce it to your utmost satisfaction .Read more about how to write a song.

Lesson 4 – How to play a melody

This is the video transcript of lesson number 4 of the Beginners Guitar Course: How to play a melody.

You may read the transcript of the Beginners Guitar Course lesson one, here.

You may read the transcript of the Beginners Guitar Course lesson two, here.

You may read the transcript of the Beginners Guitar Course lesson three, here.

Consolidation exercises 

As mentioned, every week I add one more exercise to your daily 20 minute guitar practice session.

The new guitar exercise builds on the previous. Do not practice only the new exercise because you will not learn and you will feel very frustrated and give up.

You must consolidate all the previous musical examples on a daily basis. The better you know them the easier it will be to learn new musical material. It will take you 10 weeks to consolidate all.

I have designed every exercise to help you improve your aural rhythmic and performance skills gradually. You need to work and build on these three skills on a daily basis.  Please practice the program in order so as you may achieve the learning goals that I established.

Do not concentrate your practice on what you do not know, practice and have fun with what you know and then add new music new every week. 

You must practice every exercise exactly the way your learnt it. If you cannot do such please go back to the video to refresh.

The song

This is the new song you will learn, where I combine the C, Am, Em, and G chords. It also has four  eight bar melodies, that I created with the C scale.

What new vocabulary do you need to learn to master, play this song and learn how to play a melody:

  • The C scale with open strings 
  • 4 melodies of 8 bars duration 

How are you going to learn ?

(Step by step + LISP routine + aural comprehension + repetition ) x 4 = Happiness

Step by step, applying the LISP routine with a lot of aural comprehension, then you add quite a few repetitions and you will end playing fluently the song .  

Step one 

In Step one you will learn the C scale, with open strings, the alphabet, with which all these melodies are constructed. In other words, you will practice the pathway, where to find all the melodies. This the first step for how to play a melody.  

Step two

In Step two you will learn to play slowly each of the individual 4 melodies using the L.I.S.P routine.

Step three

In Step 3 you will consolidate with: On your own routine.

Step four

In Step four you will combine all the 8 melodies.

Step 1 – The C scale

I will start on the 6th string and play it from E. Play along with me and sing the sound.  I will now play it descending from the G note. 

C scale first position How to play a melody

Let’s play now two notes per beat.  How do you count two notes per beat ? You add the word and, in between.  In order to play each note two times per beat you will need to alternate your index and middle fingers as in the video.

Play along with me. 

Play along with me descending from G.

Rewind and repeat.

Step 2 – L.I.S.P Melody 1

  • Listen
  • Imagine 
  • Sing 
  • Play Comprehend 

Before you play, comprehend what happens on each beat of the melody, in order. Ask your self the following questions, sing and point to your fingers. This will help learn how to play a melody.

How to play a melody on the guitar?

Per Beat

How many notes?

Per Note: 

Same, up or down?

Beat one  

How many notes are there? None.

Beat two

How many notes are there? Two. 

Are they both the same? Yes. 

Beat three  

How many notes are there? Two.

Are they both the same? Yes. 

Beat four 

How many notes are there? Two.

Are they both the same? No.

1st note, same, up or down?It goes up. 

2nd note, same, up, or down? It goes up. 

Next bar 

Beat one

How many notes are there? One. 

Same as the previous, does it go up, or down? Same.

Beat two

How many notes are there? One.

Same as the previous, does it go up, or down? It goes down. 

Beat three

How many notes are there? One. 

Same as the previous, does it go up, or down? Same.

Beat four 

How many notes are there? One. 

Same as the previous, does it go up, or down? Down.

Note: These two bars are repeated twice.

On your own 

Stop the video and play the two bars on your own. Consolidate your how to play a melody.

Play along with me 

Play along with me at half the tempo.   

Play along with me at the original tempo 

Rewind and Repeat full L.I.S.P of Melody 1

L.I.S.P. Melody Number 2

  • Listen
  • Imagine 
  • Sing 
  • Play Comprehend 

Before you play, comprehend what happens on each beat of the melody, in order. Ask your self the following questions, sing and point to your fingers. This will help you learn to play a melody.

Per Beat: How many notes?

Per Note: Same, up or down?

Beat one 

How many notes are there? One, it is a D. 

Beat two

How many notes are there? One.

Where does the note start? On beat 2 and. 

Same as the previous, does it go up, or down? It goes up.

Beat three and four 

Same as one and two.

Next Bar 

Beat one and two  

Same as previous  beats one, two, three and four.

Beat three

How many notes are there? Two.

Are they both the same?No

1st note, same, up or down?It goes down. 

2nd note, same, up, or down? It goes down

Beat four

How many notes are there? One.

Same as the previous, does it go up, or down? It goes down.

On your own 

Stop the video and play the two bars on your own. 

Play along with me 

Play along with me at half the tempo.   

Play along with me at the original tempo. 

Rewind and Repeat full L.I.S.P of Melody 2

Practice the song 

  • Play along with me Melody one and two 4 times. 
  • Play along with me the chords of Melody one, 4 times. They are the same as you have played in Song number one and two. 

Assignments

Repeat the video as many times as you need to until you have memorised how to play the scale and melody number 1 and 2.

L.I.S.P  Melody 1, 2 

After you have L.I.S.P the melody , write in detail your replies  to:

  • Per beat: How many notes ?
  • Per note: Same up or down ?

Record yourself

Once you have memorised the melody (pitch and rhythm).  Record yourself in video, with your phone, playing along the corresponding melody trac.k

Your recording must answer yes to the following check questions. Once you are satisfied please submit your recording to the teacher.

Check questions 

  • Did you turn on your metronome ? 
  • Did you tap your feet while recording ?
  • Did you count it in ?
  • Did you sing what you were doing? 

You have access to tabs of all melodies in your drop box folder.

Music Production and Songwriting

A thorough understanding of how to hear and play a melody will help you write your songs matching closely your emotions and words to the appropriate chord and melody. Read more about how to write a song.

How to FIND notes on the Guitar Fretboard – Video transcript

This is the transcript of lesson 1 of the Beginners Guitar Course. Please follow this link for next available starting times.

What are you going to learn 

To identify by sound and name the notes of C scale, on all strings and frets on the guitar.

You will also learn a song,  a rhyme that you will sing and play, to teach you how to anticipate aurally and visually, the next note of the scale you wish to play.

You will also learn to think in a musical way so as to emulate what goes through the mind of the professionals, when we play.  This will drastically increase the speed and fun of your learning, on how to find notes on the guitar.

Why learn how to find notes on the guitar?

So you can locate visually and by sound, the scales, chords and melodies we will use in our course.

What will you do differently after this lesson

You will be able to create musical phrases of four beats duration, which are one of the basic building blocks of music. As a consequence, this will open up  a pathway for your learning that simulates the real thing. 

You will be able to coordinate your left and right hand to play the C scale in tempo, all over the guitar to help you in your how to find notes on the guitar.

And you will be able to look  for sounds horizontally or vertically,  as  on the guitar ,pitch can increase vertically, decrease vertically, or increase horizontally, or decrease horizontally.

How are you going to learn to find notes on the guitar?

You will learn to find notes on the guitar in four simple steps

  1. First of all , you will learn the names of the strings, that correspond to pitches, musical sounds.
  2. Then you will learn the relationship between the pitches of the C scale, and the frets on the guitar.
  3. In step 3, you will learn a melodic rhyme to help you find all the notes in relation to a beat. 
  4. In step 4, you will create your own practice routine, to develop the skill with fun.

Rules

Apply at all times when you play the following 3 rules:

  • Always sing what you are playing. 
  • Always play in tempo.
  • Always tap your feet or move your body to the beat. 

If you do not, you will not be feeling the context, the music,  therefore you will not learn.

Names of the strings 

The guitar has 6 strings: E A D G B E. Each string is adjusted to produce a specific pitch, a musical sound we can sing. These pitches have defined names. In English, we use the letters of the alphabet C D E F G A B to define them.

The fatter guitar string produces the lowest pitch. As we jump from string to string,  the strings get thinner, they also vibrate more quickly  and the sound increases in pitch.

The fatter string is tuned to a frequency we call E. It is commonly called the E string but please remember that this is relative, as this can change, this is not an E string but a string tightened until it produces this pitch, we call E .

So if I press the string somewhere else, Do I produce a new sound? Yes.
Is this new sound an E?

No . It is not  since it  does not sound like an E. It sounds higher in pitch. There fore it has a different name. It is called the G note .

So what frequencies do we generally tune the open guitar strings to ? 

Starting from fat to thin they coincide with the frequencies  of :

E

Acronym

You can remember the names of the pitches, frequencies of the strings, by using an acronym. I like to use the following: 

E very to remember the name of the E string

A  pe  to remember the name of the A string

D  eserves to remember the name of the D string

G  reen to remember the name of the G string

B ananas to remember the name of the B string

E veryday ( to remember the name of the high E string

Play along with me this acronym

Every, Ape, Deserves, Green, Bananas, Everyday

Stop the video, rewind and repeat this exercise as many times as you need too.

Step 2  Find the notes of C scale

Take it easy

All musicians including myself,  struggle with new exercises. This is absolutely normal.  However, music is a discipline where you learn by repetition. Do not expect to fully understand the following new concepts until you have repeated the exercises, a lot. So , just sit back and enjoy the ride and in a few minutes time you will have learnt the C scale all over the guitar.

The C scale has seven notes

The C scale has seven notes: C D E F G A B . After the B we go to C D E F and so on.

So this is a low c and this is a high c. The high C doubles the frequency of the low C. The frequency is the number of times the string vibrates per second.

Therefore, as I go up in pitch, I start  to repeat the same notes, but in a higher octave, a higher pitch,

Frets and notes

In order to answer how to find notes on the guitar,  all you need to understand is that between the notes of E F,  and B C there is only one fret distance and between all the other notes there are two.

How to find the notes on the guitar
How to find the notes on the guitar

This is one fret distance. This is two frets distance.

So let us start with the sixth string.

What is the frequency we tune the 6th string to  ….. E  ? So this is an E sound. 

Play the note

Sing the sound

What is the next letter in the alphabet ?

F

How many frets is F away  from E? 

One 

Play the F  

Sing the sound 

So F is a musical note that is higher in pitch than E, and we produce the sound by shortening the string by one fret. 

Next note

What is the next letter in the alphabet after F  ?

G

How many frets is G away from F  ?

Two

Play the G

Sing the sound

So G is a musical note that is higher in pitch than F, and we produce the sound by shortening the string two more frets.

Next note

The next letter in the alphabet is: 

A

How many frets is it away from G ?

Two

Play the A 

Sing the A 

So A is a musical note that is higher in pitch than G, and we produce the sound by shortening the string two more frets.

Next note B

The next letter in the alphabet is: 

B

How many frets is it away from A ?

Two

Play the B

Sing the B

So B is a musical note that is higher in pitch than A, and we produce the sound by shortening the string two more frets.

Next note C

The next letter in the alphabet is: 

C

How many frets  is C away from B?

One

Play the C

Sing the C

So C is a musical note that is higher in pitch than B, and we produce the sound by shortening the string one more fret.

Next note D

The next letter in the alphabet is:

 D

How many frets  is D away from C?

Play it

Sing it

So D is a musical note that is higher in pitch than C, and we produce the sound by shortening the string  two more frets.

Next note E

The next letter in the alphabet is: 

E, So we are back to the E , but a higher E 

How many frets  is E away from D

Play it

Sing it 

So  E is a musical note that is higher in pitch than D, and we produce the sound by shortening the string by two more frets.

Step 3 The Musical Rhyme

You will now learn a short musical rhyme to play in tempo the notes of the C scale, in a manner that will help you memorise both names and sounds and increase the speed of your learning drastically and ther fore learn how to find notes on the guitar.

The C scale on the 6th string 

Notice: that I sing the sound of the note I play,   and then sing what I will do next with the same sound,
Also notice that the rhyme lasts 4 beats, four taps of your foot.

Play along with me, 6th string

Let´s play together the rhyme on the 6th string.

Play along with me 

Stop the video , rewind and repeat this exercise as many times as you need too.

Play along with me, 5th string 

Let´s play together the rhyme on the 5th string.

What is the frequency we tune the 5th string to  ….. A  ? 

So this is an A sound. 

Play it

Sing it

Play along with me 

Stop the video, rewind and repeat this exercise as many times as you need to.

Play along with me, 4th string

Let´s play together the rhyme on the 4th string.

What is the frequency we tune the 4th string to  ….. D  ? 

So this is a D sound

Play it

Sing it

Play along with me 

Stop the video, rewind and repeat this exercise as many times as you need too.

Play along with me, 3rd string

Let´s play together the rhyme on the 3rd string.

What is the frequency we tune the  3rd string to ?

So this is a G sound. 

Play it

Sing it

Play along with me 

Stop the video, rewind and repeat this exercise as many times as you need too.

Play along with me, 2nd string 

Let´s play together the rhyme on the 2nd string.

What is the frequency we tune the  2nd string to  …?   B  

So this is a B sound. 

Play it 

Sing it

Play along with me  

Stop the video, rewind and repeat this exercise as many times as you need to.

Play along with me, 1st string 

Let´s play together the rhyme on the 1st string.

What is the frequency we tune the 1st string to  …?  E

 So this is an E sound. 

This is also an E sound,  but this E is higher and this E is lower in pitch.

This low E vibrates exactly four times slower than this E.  They are the same notes, but in different octaves.

Play it 

Sing it

Play along with me  

Stop the video, rewind and repeat this exercise as many times as you need too.

Assignments

Now it is time for you to complete the assignments for this lesson on how to find notes on the guitar.

  • Play along 

Repeat twice a day all the play along examples of lesson one.

  • Fill it in 

Fill in the blank sheet with all the notes of the C scale .

  • Quiz

 Please submit your replies to our google group for peer review. 

  • Why are there different Cs on the guitar ?
  • Why are there different As on the guitar?
  • Why do we have two strings tuned to E?
  • Indicate with an X on what two other strings and positions can you play the C note, you create on the B string  when you press the second fret.
  • Record and create

Record yourself singing the rhyme, non stop on 6 different strings and send it to me.

Note: Choose a very slow tempo 

Check questions

  • Are you singing the notes in exact relation to the beat?
  • Are you tapping your foot non stop while singing and playing ?
  • Are you moving to the new note only just before you sing it ?
  • If your answer is no to any of the these questions, repeat 4 more times all the play along examples.

What will you be able to do at the end of the course?

Students that complete the two beginners course will move on directly to Guitar for songwriters focused towards music production.

5 questions Beginner guitar

How to find the notes on the guitar fretboard?

Musical notes represent sounds of definite pitch. When we perform, we are constantly searching for sounds and notes, there fore, we need to learn how to find them on the guitar fretboard.

How to find notes on the guitar fretboard

We generally will not remember, with precision, where they are, by solely memorising, visually the position, or by using any form of logic. You will remember where to find a sound, better said a combination of notes, as no note comes alone, by identifying the sound previous to its location on the guitar fretboard.

Once you are able to sing what you want to play, you will be ready to find the sound on the guitar. All groups of sounds, phrases, melodies, passages, are generally in a specific tonal centre . This means, that the note you are looking for, will be one, of more or less, seven notes to choose from.

Why sing before you play?

At the Creative Guitar School, I will teach you where to find the notes by learning the scale patterns, but above all, how to find the desired note effectively, by recognising its pitch, and singing it before you play it on the guitar fretboard.

Further more, the pitch on the guitar fretboard can increase in different directions. If you first understand that the sound you are looking for, is going up or down in pitch, then you will not be confused, by which direction you take on the guitar, to find this increase of pitch.

In our first lesson, of all beginners guitar courses, we learn all the notes of the C scale, on all strings. We learn them quickly, by singing and naming them in tempo. We quickly identify the distance between notes, and understand the concept of semi tones and tones.

I strongly urge all students, to repeat this exercise daily, in tempo, to get quickly acquainted with the sound, and as a consequence the notes on the guitar fretboard.

When you practice guitar, please keep in mind that all exercises must be repeated daily, to ensure you can properly memorise the task. However, repetition can sometimes be tiring. Do not worry, I am there for you, to give you new weekly challenges, and to modify any exercise, so you may maintain your constant interest in your daily practice routine .

Why do we learn chords on the guitar?

Not all musical instruments can play chords, however, it is presumed that beginner students, first must learn to play chords on the guitar.

A chord is only part of the tools we can use, to create the accompaniment for a song. A song has tempo, groove, melody, background lines, bass lines, harmony and sections. We need to learn all the basic tools, required to play a song from the beginning to the end. A song is really a melody, the vocal line, and all the rest are tools, to help that vocal line come alive.

Chords can be used to define the groove of a song. A drummer definer the groove with sounds that are not specific lyrical pitches, a bass defines the groove by playing melodic lines in the low register, that define the chords.

As a guitarist, when you play a chord, you define the groove of the song, with more than one note at a time, and since the difference in between chords, create changes in intensity, we get a sort of flow, a forward motion in our playing.

However, we also need to learn to play melodies, the vocal line, which is what the song is about. At the Creative Guitar School, you will learn how to play chords, create your own rhythms and especially, learn how to play the melody of the song, and create variations, to keep the flow going.

The melody, the vocal part with no lyrics, is the essence of a song. You need to master how to play melodies immediately, to avoid frustration, and to avoid getting stuck, in what to do on the guitar.

How to create strumming patterns?

At the Creative Guitar School, l I teach you how to develop your own strumming patterns. For such, you only need to know the ingredients of the patterns which are: the subdivisions of the beat , accents, how to identify a groove and reproduce it.

You will be surprised on how quick you are able to create your own powerful grooves and strumming patterns. This is must for all your musical productions.

However, you need constant practice in your daily routine to achieve the musical goal with satisfaction. You must strive to always play in tempo, as such will reduce the time you will take to learn. It helps focus and reduces unnecessary, never ending repetitions. The more you play in tempo, the quicker you will learn .

When should I start concentrating on technique?

In the initial stages of your learning, you must be able to identify melodic values, rhythmic patterns, understand song structure, maintain a tempo, ect.

Once you are efficient in the basic musical knowledge, then you will be ready to develop speed, accuracy and  guitar technique to help you further your expression.

Technique, may come naturally, by completing the exercises and learning of all songs. However, as a teacher, I will quickly identify your learning obstacles, which we all have, and I will give exercises to overcome specific technical difficulties.

In order to improve your technique, you must practice at the slowest speed possible, anticipating position change and sound. You must try to avoid, to place your finger in any position, if your are not sure of the sound you are looking for. Please, have first, the sound you want to reproduce, in your mind, sing it, and then place your finger where you believe that sound is. If you do not have the sound in your head, you will not remember where to find it again.

This obstacle may be overcome by reading, but reading may block our capability of hearing the sound. When we read, we follow placement and tempo instructions, and in the early stages of our guitra learning, we will not hear the sound until we have played it. The process of learning can be daunting and very frustrating.

I already know my scales, what is next?

Scales are groups of 7notes that identify a tonal centre, the resting point of a song. The scale is a tool we use to make melodies, to create bass lines, to improvise, to create variations of chords, to create fill . In other words learn the scale and start playing . The scale will give the location knowledge, where the sounds are, that you are looking for on the guitar.

You will need to learn how to create melodies, bass lines, melodic harmonic groove. At the Creative Guitar School I will teach you how to have never ending fun, with this beautiful instrument in all styles of music, either if it is jazz, rock, blues, funk, flamenco .

Please remember that all students at all levels regularly must compose and record their song at my Recording Studio.

I would like to invite you all to my upcoming concerts in Melbourne and beyond.

Best way to learn guitar: What does a beginner guitar student really learn in their first course ?

Best way to learn guitar

Best way to learn guitarIt is my educational objective to make sure all guitar students in our lessons engage in educational outcomes that will allow them to enjoy music as they understand, create and reproduce what they hear and like.

How is this accomplished with new arrivals and beginners at our Guitar School?

The best way to learn guitar is to reproduce in class the real life musical context. We do not play segments of songs but we play full songs.   We play full songs by understanding tempo, song structure, chords, melody and accompaniment. At first we might not be able to play complex phrases or rhythms but from lesson one we will always be able to play a full song in a simple manner that makes us feel good and where music is constantly happening..

In a 10 week beginners guitar course all students will learn to:

  • Strum in subdivision following a tempo and create intensity throughout the accompaniment

  • Play a full diatonic melody in one scale at a solid tempo – (Verse Chorus)

  • Play along with a recording

  • Analyse the structure of choice of a song identifying: verse, chorus, introduction and endings.

  • Read with numbers a melody

  • Read notes in the first position

  • Read and write rhythms: Pages 1 to 10 a Paul Hindemith

  • Play scales with articulation: soft loud and accents

  • Play triads in open position creating bass lines and generating symmetries

  • Plays scales in various keys and the chords generated

  • Tune without a metronome

  • Transcribe a simple melody

  • Write an 8 bar melody with numbers

  • Explore the modes in major scale

 All above topics create a solid foundation of a course that proves to be the best way to learn guitar if you wish to play with others and understand what music is all about.

Further viewing

Click to view instructional videos on guitar riffs

how to choose A classical guitar?

How to choose a nylon string guitar?

 

Choosing the right guitar?

Either as a beginner or a professional, we always face the hard choice of choosing the right guitar for our daily needs. Here at my studio in Melbourne I will gladly help you select the right guitar for your budget and needs so as to be able to achieve the desired results we set fourth in our courses and lessons.

The Classical Guitar

Let´ s start off with some basic tips on how to choose a classical guitar which can be also referred  to as a nylon string guitar but I personally prefer flamenco guitars which have stronger attack and broader dynamics. These following tips will help you make the right choice avoiding the influence of price or brand.

45 minutes 45 minutes.

4 simple steps that can help you choose the right guitar.

  1. Select 3 guitars in your budget

    In order to make an efficient decision you must compare guitars of the same price, range and make. I would suggest to go into the guitar shop, choose the guitar that suits your budget, maybe 200 dollars to start off with and ask the attendant if you may try out three guitars, of the same price and manufacturer.Choose 3 guitars to compare

  2. Check the tuning

    First of all you should check which guitar has the best tuning.

    Once the open strings are in tune, check if the tuning is maintained all over the fingerboard.
    How?

    Play octave notes on various sections of the fingerboard and ask yourself: Do they maintain their tuning ?

    Play barred chords and ask yourself: Do they sound in tune all over the fingerboard?

    Does the 12th fret harmonic note of each string coincide in an octave lower with the 12th fret pressed note of that same string?

    You will be surprised that cheap chain produced guitars may create a more efficient overall tuning than expensive ones.
     How to check the tuning on the 12th fret

  3. Timbre, dynamics and projection

    Play the three guitars and create awareness of timbre, dynamics and projection.

    How?

    Play a short phrase loud then soft, and listen to the difference.

    Play in a sweet and aggressive manner and listen to the difference.

    Try to figure out where the sound of the guitar comes from. Is it created near you or further away from you?

    Play a single high note and let it ring and ask yourself: Does the note produce vibrations in other strings? Can you hear any other higher notes that are produced at the same time?

  4. Choose

    One you have heard these variables choose the cheapest guitar that has the best overall tuning, that can sound sweeter or harsher and whose sound comes from all around you.

    You might then have just chosen a 200 dollar guitar that can sound just as good as a 1000 dollar guitar.

All these tips in action comparing two flamenco guitars

I have inserted this video and you will be able to hear and see how I compare two guitars. In this case, I am comparing two flamenco guitars but theses tips are also valid on the how to choose a classical guitar.

You can also check out some more videos I have on guitar comparisons on my you tube channel.