Guitar Lessons for Beginners

These guitar lessons for beginners will hopefully help you to get started on this wonderful journey of learning how to play this beautiful instrument.

The best way to learn from all the free guitar lessons on this site, and particularly if you're a complete beginner, is to read all the text before viewing any video lessons that follow. This way you'll have far more understanding of what I am trying to show you in the videos. Although many of these videos are self-explanatory, you will gain the maximum benefit from all the guitar lessons on this site by studying the lessons in this way.

Don't miss the first video of the guitar lessons for beginners at the bottom of this page. As I've already said, I strongly encourage you to read all the preceding text before you view the video at the bottom.

If you want to learn a little more music theory for the guitar then you're in the right place. The following guitar lessons for beginners will guide you through the often confusing aspects of guitar theory and how to apply it when playing. It's important to learn some theory in order to get anywhere on the guitar at all, but the trouble is, music can get very complicated and often unnecessarily so, especially if you aren't musically minded. 

These guitar lessons for beginners aim to make this whole process of learning the guitar as simple and enjoyable as possible, especially for those that are not that musically minded, but also for those that are.

An important thing to remember while studying the guitar and going through the lessons, is to try not to understand why 'this is this' or why 'that is that' so to speak. As you follow the guitar lessons for beginners, try to accept the things you will learn about music as 'musical principles'. Some of it may not make much sense at all at first and there may be times when you might think to yourself - why? In the early stages I found myself asking a lot of questions, which is good, but it can also sometimes put you off of carrying on if things don't make any real sense. 

The thing to remember is, whether following these, or any other guitar lessons for beginners, you'll slowly start to pick things up and begin to understand more and more over-time. Remain diligent in your practice, but also patient for results. Things will then start to fall into place, make more sense and have more relevance, and steady progress will result. 

The most important thing to remember is to enjoy the whole process and that means not getting too bogged down with the theory! The great thing is, these guitar lessons for beginners and all the other guitar lessons on this site are all completely free! 

OK, let's get started.  

Learning How to Read Music

I first started to teach myself how to read music by simply trying to remember the individual written musical notes and then trying to apply what I could remember from memory to a simple piece of written music. I would do this by continually referring to the written notation while I struggled through the musical piece I was trying to play. To say it was frustrating and very tedious is a gross understatement!

If you also want to learn how to read music, I strongly advise you to purchase the brilliant book that I later decided to learn from. The book is called 'Solo Guitar Playing' by Frederick Noad. This is, in my opinion, the best book available for learning how to read music. It's concise explanation of music theory, with simple, single line 'sight reading exercises' that slowly increase in difficulty, is a 'must have' if you want to progress quickly in the art of reading music. Please be aware though, that your level of ability will determine your speed of progress. This brilliant book is available with or without a CD. Seen below as links to the US Amazon website for quick purchase.

I can honestly say, I found this book so effective in its approach that my sight reading ability increased dramatically in a relatively short time. If you do want to learn how to read music, this book is a great addition to any guitar lessons for beginners offered anywhere. There are a few editions now with the latest version (at the time of writing) also includes an accompanying CD. There is also a cheaper version available that does not include the CD.

Bottom line, if you want to learn to read music this book is the perfect addition to any guitar lessons for beginners that you may be following.

What Guitar to Buy

Buying a first guitar can often be a daunting process for a beginner guitarist. What we are all really looking for is a good quality instrument for as little money as possible. If you're not too sure whether you're actually going to stick with playing the guitar or not, you know, if you're one of those types who likes to try different things but never really stays with one thing for long, then don't spend much money, its really not worth it. Maybe something similar to these below? Most of these seen here also have quite a few extras too which makes them even more good value for money.

More Expensive Guitars

Ultimately though, you get what you pay for, and if you have a larger budget then it might be better for you to get a more expensive instrument. Ultimately, it all depends on whether or not you think you'll continue with this journey. There's no point buying twice, because as you progress you may find the very cheap guitar is now insufficient for your needs and therefore find yourself having to buy again.

There's nothing wrong with that either though, as you don't want to spend a shed load of cash if you don't keep up with the practice? Not unless you have money to burn of course! 

I would however advise you to try any instrument first where you are going to spend say over £/$250 though, as all guitars are different and when spending good money, you want to get the one that's right for you. Like I said, it all depends on your budget and what you're prepared to spend.

Guitar Lessons for Beginners - Basics

Guitar Lessons for Beginners - Lesson #1
'Open Strings'

In order to be able to work out what the notes on the fret board are, you will need to know the names of the strings. Firstly, the fret board is where the frets are on the front face of the neck. The frets are the metal strips that you place your fingertips behind in order to create a musical note and a sound from the guitar. An 'open string' is the term given to a string that is plucked without a finger being pressed on the fret board to make a 'note'. The string is thus played 'open'.

Starting at the top of the guitar with the fattest string and working our way down to the thinnest string, the order of the strings are:- E, A, D, G, B, E. You can memorise this by making your own rhyme up. I used to use - Eating Apples Daily Gives Brilliant Energy.

Now you will notice there are two E strings. The fattest, at the top of the guitar, is called the Bottom E string, because it is the lowest note of the two E Strings. In fact, it is the lowest note on the entire guitar neck. The thinner of the two E strings is called the Top E string because it is the highest note of the two E Strings. This is not the highest note of E or pitch though, just the highest E String out of the two. The highest E note is at the twelfth fret of the top E string.

Guitar lessons for beginners - Lesson #2
'Working out Notes'

This second of these guitar lessons for beginners is all about working out the notes on the guitar fret board. We do this by applying the 'Chromatic Scale'. The chromatic scale is a musical scale of twelve notes each a semitone apart from one another. A semitone is the 'interval' or 'jump' from one fret to the next fret in any direction along any string. Therefore, the Chromatic Scale is the order of notes that run one after the other along any string from any one note on the fret board, in any direction. We will learn it now going up the neck towards your strumming hand. To go down the string towards the nut, just reverse it.

If we memorise this, which isn't difficult, we can easily find the name of every single note on the entire neck of the guitar. The notes of this musical alphabet in alphabetical order are: - A, A#, B, C, C#, D, D#, E, F, F#, G, G#.  It then starts back at A. It doesn't have to start on A though. It can start on any of the twelve notes depending on where you are starting from on the fret board. These twelve notes are the only musical notes in existence. There are no other notes in music. This is the principles and laws of music.

Note: Sharps (#) are also known as Flats (b) so A# is also known as Bb. It is the same note. Generally though, a sharp or a flat is named according to whether you are going up or down the fret board. If you are going up from A the next note along the Chromatic scale is considered A#. If however, you are coming down from B, the next note along the Chromatic scale (backwards because you are coming down the fret board) is considered Bb. To clarify further, one fret, (also known as one semitone) up from a note is a sharp. Likewise, one fret or semitone down is a flat. Therefore, D# (D sharp) is the same as Eb (E flat), because it's one fret up (sharp) from D and one fret down (flat) from E.

In truth it doesn't really matter what you choose to call these notes. It comes down to personal preference though some musical purists may disagree. Many musicians recognise both but Bb is often known only as Bb and not A#. However for the purpose of simplicity at this early stage, we are going to call every note in this category a sharp (#).

Now, working out the names of each note on the guitar's fret board is simple. The first note we have is the name of the open string. For example, if we pluck the fattest (Bottom E) string, the note that sounds is E. If we then follow the 'musical alphabet' (chromatic scale), the next note along that string is F, behind the first fret. The note after that is F#, then G, G#, A etc. etc. You get the picture? Do this for every string starting with the name of the open string first and then continuing up the neck using the Chromatic Scale and you will find the name of every note on the guitar neck.

By learning and memorising the chromatic scale shown below, you will easily be able to work out the name of any note anywhere on your guitar. This will open up the entire neck later on for playing chords and scales in different keys easily. If you want to just play a few simple chords on your guitar then that's fine. If however you feel that you'll want to play more on the guitar, then I can't emphasise enough that this is a very simple but important aspect of these first guitar lessons for beginners that should not be overlooked. Learn the chromatic scale now and continue to apply it as you proceed and progress through the lessons.

The Chromatic Scale

A, A#, B, C, C#, D, D#, E, F, F#, G, G# - repeat

Memorise the above!

It will pay dividends later on. All you have to remember is, A-G as in the alphabet but with sharps added for each except for B & E as there is no B# and no E#, simple.

 Don't leave the chromatic scale behind, it's a very simple but crucial aspect of music that makes learning new notes, chords & scales very easy.

It will make the rest of your guitar journey much easier!

Guitar lessons for beginners - Lesson #3
'Only Twelve Notes?'

Now, the thing is, you may have thought to yourself, there's only twelve notes, but there's more than that on one string, so what happens when I get to the twelfth note? Easy, it all repeats itself. When you reach G# the next note is A then A# and so on, and so on.

In fact, the twelfth fret is where it all starts again. The entire fret board repeats itself at the twelfth fret starting with the names of the open strings on the twelfth fret. Therefore the notes on the twelfth fret are the same as the notes of the open strings - E, A, D, G, B, E. Likewise, all the notes on the thirteenth fret of each string are the same as on the first fret of each string. The notes then continue to repeat themselves.

That's why, on a guitar with markers (usually dots) on the fret board, the markers are in the same position in relation to the nut and twelfth fret. Let me explain further. The first marker after the twelfth fret is at the fifteenth fret and relates to the same notes as the very first marker on the fret board at the third fret. Likewise, the seventeenth fret marker relates to the same notes as the fifth fret marker and so on. To put it another way, the fret board markers after the twelfth fret, mark the same note positions as the markers before the twelfth fret.

It's important to start to go over this and remember it because it will open up the whole neck to you in the long-run. Later on, you will easily be able to instantly know the names of chords after moving chords that you already know up or down the neck just by knowing the root notes on the fret board. There will be more guitar lessons for beginners about chords, root notes and the chromatic scale later on.

Guitar lessons for beginners - Lesson #4
'Repeating Notes'

By applying the chromatic scale you will realise that notes repeat themselves all over the fret board. There is more than one 'A' for example. The second string down when played 'open' is A, the fifth fret on the top string (bottom E) is also A. There are also many other notes ofall over the guitar fret board. Take a look at the chart below showing the notes of the fret board up to the twelfth fret. You will see there are seven notes of A including the open A string.

Try to hear that these notes are in fact the very same note when you play them, even though they are at different pitches. This is a good way of starting to train your ear to recognise what is in key etc.

By applying the chromatic scale, the notes of the entire fret board are revealed as seen below.

Guitar Lessons for Beginners Video #1

The following video supports the preceding text and is the first video for beginners.

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Memorise the Chromatic Scale before moving on to the guitar chords for beginners. More guitar lessons for beginners will be added in time.

I hope you found these first guitar lessons for beginners helpful and valuable in your new journey. Please return to this site as I will continue to add more beginners lessons with accompanying instructional videos over time.

Keep practicing and don't give up!

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