What To Learn On Guitar In Order

A guide to what to learn on guitar and the order you should learn it

Welcome to the Wonderful World of Guitar Playing!

As an experienced guitar teacher who has helped countless students embark on their musical journeys, I’m thrilled you’ve decided to start playing this incredibly versatile and expressive instrument. 

Learning to play the guitar will enrich your life in countless ways – it provides an outlet for creativity, reduces stress, sharpens your mind, and allows you to make truly beautiful music.

In this comprehensive guide tailored for beginners, we’ll cover everything you need to know as you start out on this exciting path. We’ll map out what to learn and the best order to tackle new skills in simple, manageable steps. 

Most importantly, remember that consistency and patience are key – set realistic goals for yourself rather than expecting overnight mastery. With commitment and regular practice, you’ll be strumming confidently in no time! 

Now, let’s dive in and get started…

Chapter 1: Mastering the Fundamentals

Getting Comfortable with Your Instrument

The first priority is getting acquainted with your guitar both visually and physically. You need to know the various parts and how to hold the instrument properly before attempting to play anything.

Parts of the Guitar: Take time to familiarize yourself with the key components visually. Learn the anatomy – the body, neck, fretboard, strings, bridge, tuners, pickups, etc. 

Understanding what each part is called allows you to communicate clearly as you progress.

Holding the Guitar: Posture is vital from the start, whether you play while sitting or standing. The guitar should rest comfortably against your torso as you maintain good spine alignment. Your fretting hand should curve gently to access the fretboard. Avoid hunching over or squeezing too tightly, which leads to fatigue.

Tuning Your Guitar: Use an electronic tuner to match the open strings to proper pitches before playing. Mastering how to tune by ear takes time, but do your best to train yourself by listening closely. Strings should have a bright, vibrant tone when tuned correctly.

Building Dexterity with Basic Open Chords

Chords are the building blocks used to play songs, so they should be your first focus. Start by learning the most fundamental major and minor open chords.

E Minor: Use your 1st, 2nd and 3rd fingers placed on the 2nd fret of the 5th and 4th strings and 3rd fret of the 3rd string. Play all six strings to let the chord resonate brightly.

C Major: Lay your 1st finger on the 2nd string, 1st fret. Add your 2nd finger to the 4th string, 2nd fret, then your 3rd to the 5th string, 3rd fret. Another essential major chord complete!

G Major: A fun one to build strength. 1st finger goes on low E string, 2nd fret. 2nd finger on the A string, 2nd fret. 3rd and 4th fingers then stack respectively on the 3rd fret of the thin and thick E strings.

Chord Transition Exercise: Practice moving smoothly between E Minor, C Major and G Major. Say chord names aloud before switching to guide your movements.

Fundamentals of Strumming Technique

Once you conquer your first chords, strumming them and producing actual music is tremendously gratifying! Let’s cover the proper right-hand technique.

Rest stroke vs Free Stroke:  With a rest stroke, the pick rests against the next lower string after striking. For free stroke, the pick doesn’t make contact after striking.

Alternation Picking: Strictly alternate between downstrokes and upstrokes to ingrain right hand independence early on. This later enables complex rhythmic patterns.

Strumming Across Strings: Be mindful of how you transition across strings as you strum. Strive for control and clarity, avoiding accidentally striking the wrong strings.

Keeping Time: Use a metronome or drum track to practice strumming your open chords steadily. Internalize essential timing before attempting full songs.

Chapter 2: Expanding Your Fretboard Knowledge

By now, you should feel reasonably comfortable with both hands in terms of form. Now, we augment the complexity by widening your chord vocabulary and developing strength and accuracy with foundational finger exercises.

More Open Chords and Easy Chord Progressions

Expand your open chord arsenal with essential chords like D major, A minor, E major and B minor. Once calloused and strengthened sufficiently, utilize barre chords to translate up the fretboard.

Chord Progressions: Chords naturally flow one to the next in sequences known as progressions. For example, G – Cadd9 – Am7 – D7. Memorize some basic backbones like I-IV-V that form verse foundations.

Chromatic Scale Finger Dexterity Exercise

Now let’s ingrain your left hand form and accuracy. The chromatic scale introduces every fretted note ascending one at a time up each string.

Start on low E string, 1st fret. Using all four fretting fingers in order, chromatically progress up the string, then shift position slightly and descend back down. Move to the A string and repeat to span the whole fretboard.

This nimble exercise strengthens both synchronization and independence between each fingertip. Master solid contact behind every note to eliminate buzzing. 10 minutes daily works magic.

Chapter 3: Understanding Notes, Rhythm and Music Theory Basics

Reading Chord Charts and Guitar Tablature

As you take on more songs, you’ll encounter two key notation systems:

Chord Charts: Display chord symbols above song lyrics, showing the player when to switch chords. Often the rhythm must be interpreted intuitively.

Tablature: Represents fretboard using horizontal lines and numbers to depict finger positions and rhythm explicitly. It is easily readable once the basic concept clicks.

Playing by Ear: You’ll eventually recognize chord progressions and melodies by simply listening attentively. This is especially helpful when improvising or if lacking sheet music.

Rhythm Fundamentals in 4/4 Time

Up to now we focused mainly on left and right hand mechanics. Let’s work rhythmic sensibilities using simple time signatures.

The top number indicates beats per measure. 4/4 is overwhelmingly prevalent in popular Western music. Count and internalize “1, 2, 3, 4” repeatedly as your strum exactly once per beat.

Play quarter notes, eighth notes, syncopations, triplets and dotted notes over your chord progressions. Tap feet and speak counts aloud to entrench essential timings into your musicianship. Metronome perfection coming soon!

Intervals and Major Scale Theory

Understanding relationships between notes reveals how melodies and chords are constructed, unlocking deeper musical insight.

The Major Scale: Memorize the sequence formula: whole step – whole step – half step – whole step – whole step – whole step – half step. This pattern starting from various root notes forms major scales which generate respective chords.

Intervals: Intervals indicate relative pitch distances between notes like thirds, fifths and octaves that sound emotionally consonant together. Recognizing them while playing lines and harmony conveys far greater expression.

Putting it All Together!

You now hold a wealth of fundamental guitar proficiencies – chord vocabulary, dexterity through scales, strumming abilities and timing. Let’s apply this well-rounded base toward real musical application. Namely, learning complete songs!

Chapter 4: Tackling Your First Songs

Equipped with versatile basics, you’re ready to combine skills toward playing full songs. 

This is tremendously rewarding and keeps motivation high. Here are best practices for breaking down and managing your first tune:

Choosing an Appropriate Song

Select based on current ability level – better too simple than overly advanced to ensure success. Fun familiar melodies inspire perseverance through repetitive practice.

Isolating the Main Sections

Study the overall structure and isolate verse, chorus, bridge, solo, etc. Compile the chords used in each section for quick reference. Record short audio clips vocally strumming each part.

Gradual Tempo Increases

Set the metronome appropriately slow. Once fluid at a fixed tempo, notch upwards 5 bpm or so. Be patient in increasing speed to nail rhythmic nuances, syncopations, and changes.

Becoming Performance Ready

You’ve conquered the whole song! Now, sharpen it to perfection. Simulate a live scenario by recording a full playthrough without stopping. Listen back with a critical ear to address subtle imperfections so they vanish before sharing your musical gift with an audience!

Maintaining Passion and Progress

Congratulations on making it this far along fretboard enlightenment! You hold so many profound skills and knowledge now. 

Retain inspiration to practice by reminding yourself what originally made you fall in love with the guitar. 

Remember, Minor Pentatonic soloing, advanced chord voicings, and heightened rhythm mastery await down your path of musical glory!

I commend your dedication fully and enjoy sharing helpful tips to get you started on our beloved instrument! 

Never hesitate to reach out for guidance or encouragement to lift your spirits. 

Now go – manifest your legendary musical dreams through consistent, passionate practice!

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