Anyone can play the guitar, may not everyone can play it to perfection. Besides, if you can’t play it at all, you’ve probably played an air guitar at some point. We all know how it is held and how it’s generally manipulated to produce sound. But if you’re going to really perfect the art of real guitar playing, there are things you cannot afford to ignore, whether you are self-taught or not.

Before we start

One of the first things you need to understand is the vocabulary used in guitar language. Learn the guitar parts, the numbering of the strings and the numbering of your fingers. These will help you a great deal to follow instructions so you can learn comfortably whether on your own or with the help of a teacher.

old man playing the guitar
Image Courtesy of Pexels


Guitar chords

In guitar playing, you must know how to play chords. Chords are basically what guitar music is made of. The universality of these chords means you need to learn how to hold them correctly. The basic chords are ABCDEFG. To better understand the concept, the following explains how it’s done.

A chord is a group of notes that create a harmony when they are played together. There are two ways you can play a note on the guitar. You can produce a note by holding the guitar string down at a specific fret on the guitar’s fingerboard, or you can play the string open, without holding down any frets. Via Take Lessons

Chord progressions

Still on chords. The next thing you need to learn is chord progression. Which chords should be played together? You will need to learn how to group these chords correctly. For example, the basic progression for chord A is ADE.

By learning how to play chord progressions, you will find it easy to learn to play many popular songs. A chord progression is just a sequence of chords, usually three or four, that is repeated throughout a song. Via Take Lessons

These are the basics, so you should be able to start playing any song well. You can then venture into more territories, including bar chords, power chords and so on.

Image Courtesy of Maxpixel


Another important aspect of great guitar playing is strumming. The strumming pattern to use depends on the rhythm of the song. It is advisable to stick to the original strumming pattern of a song…unless of course, you have composed your own song!

A few pointers for you as a beginner:

Keep it simple

Try just doing the basic down up down up strumming pattern so that you can hone in on your:

ability to maintain the correct rhythm

chord changing skills (make sure you’re changing on the right note!) Via Jelly Note

To begin with:

Basic strumming patterns

The basic strumming pattern for a classical 4-beat measure is D U D U D U D U (where D is a down strum and U is an up strum) so eight strokes in total. Via Jelly Note

There are so many strumming patterns that you could learn for your enjoyment. Remember to keep the song as original as possible till you master it, then you can add your improvisations.

Michael Gallagher
Image Courtesy of Wikimedia

Guitar Scales

An often forgotten block in the journey toward great guitar playing is guitar scales. You need to practice your guitar scales if you are even going to play with ease. Maybe you’re wondering what those are, here is an explanation:

Before we begin, a scale is a group of notes, arranged by pitch, and played in either an ascending or descending order. Scales can be used to determine the song’s key. Entire songs can be written based on a particular scale (more on this later).

Scales can be completed in whole steps (whole tones) or half steps (semitones) between notes. Two half steps equal a whole step. When you move up or down one fret, this is the equivalent of a half step. A distance of two frets will give you a whole step. Guitar scales are made up of a combination of half and whole steps. Via Coustii

The mastery of guitar scales cannot be overemphasized. The following gives a good case for why you should master the scales:

If you are beginning to learn the guitar, you will need to build up your finger muscles! Practicing your scales can improve dexterity and prevent your fingers from getting tired by increasing your strength.

Having an understanding of the guitar scales will help you comprehend how many frets to move to get you to the next note. By memorizing this, your scales will come quicker. You will also find it easier to improvise and write music. Via Coustii


Just as it is impossible to bake a cake without flour, sugar and an oven, as the very basic ingredients, so is it impossible to learn great guitar playing without chords, strumming patterns and scales. You will make your guitar playing both fun and easy by paying attention to these tips. Try them today!

Featured Image: Image Credit


Related Articles:

Five Scales Guitar Players Need to Practice

Beginning musicians are always pushed to learn scales. If you’ve taken guitar lessons, you’ve undoubtedly spent some time working on scales, but if you’re self-taught, the concept could be entirely new to you.

Andrew Wasson thinks guitarists in particular don’t spend nearly enough time practicing scales. As a result, they tend to not understand some of the more basic concepts associated with the instrument.

“After years of playing with other musicians and being in countless bands, it still blows me away how many times I need to explain basic things to the guitar players that I’ll often end up working with,” he says. “Things like where certain notes are located, or what scale is supposed to be used over a section of a song, or even how to relocate a riff or a lick to another area of the neck. Via Guitar World


8 Guitar Chords You Must Know

In this lesson, I’m going to teach you eight chords you must know if you’re a guitar player. Even if you already know these chords, you can still stick around since I’ll be giving you some tips to make your chords sound clean and your transitions sound smooth. If you want to learn to use these chords to play popular songs, check out these guitar lessons for beginners.
The eight chords we’re going to look at in this lesson are G major, C major, D major, F major, E major, A major, E minor, and A minor. Now, you might be thinking that there’s no way you can remember these chords in one lesson, but don’t worry about that. You can space these out over a few weeks or a few months and take them on at your own pace. Via Guitar Lessons

Basic Strumming Patterns for Beginners Part I

There are two things you need when you want to learn to play songs on the guitar: chords and strumming patterns.

A chord is a set of notes played on the guitar that will give you a particular sound and color. Many popular songs consist of only three or four chords.

A strumming pattern is a preset pattern of down and up strokes played with your fingers or a pick against the strings. The strumming pattern will determine the rhythm for your music.

You can strum with either your fingers or with a pick. Via Guitar Habits