Learn The Guitar Lessons Part 1 – Tuning and Notes

Welcome to part 1 of our learn guitar lessons. We are excited to be kicking it all off today with the first of many free guitar lessons. Over time this will develop into a 40 part series of Beginners Guitar Lessons, all for free!

If you are keen on mastering the fretboard and becoming a proficient guitarist, you’re about to embark on a very exciting journey, joining millions of other guitar players from all walks of life.

Learning the guitar is easier than you think, but like anything, it does take work, and plenty of practice! It is very important that you understand the learning process, and understand that the progress you make is directly relative to the action you take and the effort you put forth.

You won’t learn guitar overnight, and learning will not be entirely incremental. You’ll reach highs, lows, and mid-points in your learning, and all of a sudden, you’ll reach the next level! Don’t give up, and know that you’re never too young, or too old, to learn the guitar. For the first in our series of Beginners Guitar Lessons, we’ll talk about guitar tuning and basic notes.

Learn Guitar – Lesson 1 Guitar Tuning

Guitar Tuning is perhaps the single most frustrating element when you are beginning to learn guitar, and of course, is also among the most important. Even electronic guitar tuners, which are quite helpful, will not be reliable if your guitar is drastically out of tune. Since electronic tuners are only worthwhile if the guitar is semi in-tune – a pitch pipe, or an electronic tuner with audible note tones, is the best starting point.

Starting from the thickest string, proceeding to the thinnest, are the string number and note names as follows: 6E, 5A, 4D, 3G, 2B, 1E (as seen below). Remember EADGBE is also a good start in learning the note names.

The basic method of guitar tuning, is to get a reference low “E” note. You may get a reference “E” note from a pitch pipe, electronic tuner with audible tone, or from another instrument such as a piano or keyboard. If using a keyboard, the “E” you’re looking for is the “E” below middle “C”…don’t worry, keyboard players will know what you’re asking! When the low “E” string is brought up to pitch, it’s time to tune the other strings:

• Press down on the 5th fret of the low “E” string, which results in an “A” note. Match up this note with the open 5th (A) string, and bring up to pitch.

 When the “A” string is in tune, press on the 5th fret of the “A” string, resulting on a “D” note. Tune the next open string (the 4th or “D”) to this note.

 Proceed by fretting the “D” string on the 5th fret, producing a “G” note, and tune the 3rd (G) string to pitch.

This is where things change a bit…

 When the “G” string is in tune, press on the 4th fret of the “G” string, producing a “B” note. Bring the 2nd (B) string up to pitch. Now we’re back to the 5th fret again.

 On the 2nd (B) string, press the 5th fret, producing an “E” note. Bring the 6th (E) string up to pitch and you’re done! You may now use the electronic guitar tuner to tweak and double check the tuning.

Basic Guitar Notes For Beginners

We’ve already learned that the open strings on the guitar, from thickest to thinnest (low to high) are E,A,D,G,B,E. We’ll be using those note names as a reference for learning more notes.

The guitar is a “chromatic” instrument, meaning that each fret represents one-half step of the chromatic musical scale.

The basic musical scale includes seven notes, placed in alphabetical order: A,B,C,D,E,F,G. Sharps (#) and flats (b) are added to each note except between B and C, and between E and F, resulting in the 12 notes of the chromatic musical scale.

The chromatic scale contains every possible musical note, arranged in half-steps. Incidentally, a whole-step equals two frets on the guitar, and jumps one note in the scale:

A, A# or Bb, B, C, C# or Db, D, D# or Db, E, F, F# or Gb, G, G# or Ab, and back to A again.

The difference between sharps and flats can cause some confusion for beginners, but it’s really not a mystery. For example, A# and Bb sound exactly the same – and they are! They are written and called one name or the other depending on their use in other scales. The primary reason is to keep the note names in alphabetical order. This concept will become a bit clearer as we move on to future learn guitar lessons, but for now, don’t worry about it!

Since each fret on the guitar equals one half-step in the chromatic scale, any one fret movement, up or down, results in the next note in the chromatic scale (also up or down).

For example, play the low “E” string on your guitar, and locate the note in the chromatic scale above. Press on the first fret. You’ve just produced an “F” note, which is the next note in the scale. Press on the second fret, and you’ve produced an “F#/Gb” note. Third fret will produce a “G”, fourth fret will produce a “G#/Ab note, fifth fret produces and “A” note, and so on. As we learned in our guitar tuning exercise, the fifth fret of every string (with the exception of the 3rd (G) string, which is the fourth fret) produces the same note as the next open string. The guitar is laid out this way, in order to offer a certain dynamic range and ease of playability.

Exercise – Notes And Fingering

Learn the chromatic notes on the guitar up to the 5th fret on each string (except the third string, which you will learn to the fourth fret). This grouping of notes is what is called the “first position” on the guitar, starting from the low “E” string. Use your first finger for notes on the first fret, the second finger for the second fret, third finger for third fret, and fourth finger for the fourth and fifth fret…easy enough?

Play and say each note on each string, moving along to the higher strings until you finally come to the fifth fret of the high “E” string…that note will be “A”. This exercise will get your fingers used to the fretboard, and learn all the notes, and proper fingering, in the first position.

We hope you have enjoyed part 1 of our learn guitar beginners series and are excited about learning the guitar. So, what are you waiting for? Get into stuck into guitar tuning and start learning a few of the basic notes as mentioned above. If you can stick to our guitar lessons and get each one nailed before moving to the next, you will be well on your way to becoming a rocking good guitarist in no time!

 

 

 

Learn Guitar – Lesson 1 Guitar Tuning

Guitar Tuning is perhaps the single most frustrating element when you are beginning to learn guitar, and of course, is also among the most important. Even electronic guitar tuners, which are quite helpful, will not be reliable if your guitar is drastically out of tune. Since electronic tuners are only worthwhile if the guitar is semi in-tune – a pitch pipe, or an electronic tuner with audible note tones, is the best starting point.

Starting from the thickest string, proceeding to the thinnest, are the string number and note names as follows: 6E, 5A, 4D, 3G, 2B, 1E (as seen below). Remember EADGBE is also a good start in learning the note names.

Beginners Learn The Guitar Lessons 3 – Chords

Welcome back to lesson 3 of our Beginners Guitar Lessons series. Now that we’ve discussed guitar tuning, basic notes and basic scales, it’s time to learn about guitar chords.

Simply put, chords are combinations of three or more notes played together.

Just as we’ve learned to use the chromatic scale to create a major scale, the notes in a chord are derived from the major scale. In music, everything builds upon something else.

Beginners Guitar Lessons – Part 3

As scales have formulas, so do chords. Let’s start by taking the notes in the C major scale, and apply numbers to each note:

C=1, D=2, E=3, F=4, G=5, A=6, B=7, C=8

The first note in the scale is known as the “root” note, which in this case, is “C.”

To form a major chord, we’ll use the following formula:

1, 3, 5…that’s it! Simply take the number one note, C, the number three note, E, and the number five note, G, and play them together. It doesn’t even matter if the notes are played in order or not, as those three notes played together, in any order, will always form a C major chord.

Chord Charts

Chord charts are a helpful way to learn guitar chords, and are quite simple to read. Looking at the diagram, the vertical lines represent the strings, low to high E, from left to right. The horizontal lines represent the frets. Unless designated by a number on the top horizontal line, the line represents the “nut” of the guitar, meaning an open string. The second horizontal line represents the first fret, and so on.

Chord charts use a “legend,” which is a map of sorts, to tell you what the other markings mean. Numbers 1 through 4 below the vertical string lines represent the finger number used to place on the dot. An “X” placed above (or below) a vertical string line means to not play that string. An “O” means to play that string open. Here we have a chord chart for a C major chord:

Beginners Learn The Guitar Lesson 2 – The Major Scale

The major scale is a grouping of eight notes used in every form of modern music. We learned in part 1 of Beginners Guitar Lessons, that the chromatic scale contains all the possible notes in music, separated by half-steps.

The major scale is a taken from the chromatic scale, using a specific formula of steps. If you recall, one fret equals one-half of a step, and two frets equal a whole-step. Using the following formula, it is possible to create every major scale, no matter where you start on any given point of the chromatic scale:

Major Scale Formula: Whole, Whole, Half, Whole, Whole, Whole, Half (WWHWWWH)

Chromatic Scale: A, A#/Bb, B, C, C#/Db, D, D#/Eb, E, F, F#/Gb, G, G#/Ab, back to A and infinity.

Excersice – C Major Scale

We’ll use the “C Major” scale as an example. Note that C major contains no sharp (#) or flat (b) notes. Using the formula, for this example, we’ll start at the “C’ which occurs on the 5th (A) string, on the third fret.

  • Fret the “C” note with your third finger. According to the formula, we’ll be going up a whole-step, which would land you on “D”. We’ll use the open 4th (D) string as our “D” note. The second step in the formula is also a whole-step, which will bring us to “E”. The “E” we’re looking for occurs when you press the 2nd fret on the 4th string with your second finger.
  • The next step in the formula is a half-step, or one fret. Place your third finger on the 3rd fret of the 4th string to get our next note, which is an “F”. Cool! You’re halfway there…so far, we’ve got C, D, E, and F. Take a few minutes and practice those four notes.
  • All set? The next note in “C” major, after CDEF, is the next whole-step in the formula, which is “G” in this example. The “G” we’re looking for can be found by playing the 3rd string open…easy enough! After “G”, we’ll need another whole-step, which is “A”. “A” is located on the 2nd fret of the 3rd string, using your second finger.
  • Next, we have another whole-step, which is “B”. Play “B” by picking the open 2nd string. The final note in the scale is another “C”, which is one half-step from “B”. Play “C” with your 1st finger, on the 1st fret of the 2nd string.

You’ve done it! Now play the scale in it’s entirety, saying the notes as you play them: C,D,E,F,G,A,B, and C. Practice playing the C major scale forward and backward, saying the notes while you’re playing them.

Get stuck into our learn the guitar lessons and you’ll be ripping up the fretboard in no time!