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How To Learn To Play The Guitar On Your Own

Learning how to play the guitar is not particularly difficult, it just takes concentration and lots of practice. You can purchase a good guitar on which you can learn the basics for around $100 at any music store. Then you need to purchase a chord book for about $10, or go online and download the various chords and print them out.

The biggest challenge you will face initially will be to get the fingers on the left hand toughed up enough to make a firm 'stop' at the frets. (it will be the opposite if you are left handed, but everyone should strive to learn guitar where you fret with your left hand).

This will not be an attempt to teach you how to read music for the guitar, and for that you will have to take formal lessons from an instructor. Rather this method will teach you how to play guitar chords by ear, and fit them to the appropriate songs for which they are written.

By learning to play the guitar in this manner, you will learn patterns that all songs consist of and you will readily see this as you progress.

Learn The Chords First!

The first chord you will need to learn is the 'C' chord. This takes 3 fingers. This will be the forefinger, the middle finger, and the ring finger on the left hand. There should be a diagram in your chord book showing you the positions of the fingers. Notice that the fingers must press down on the strings between the frets, like little hammers.

You will need to practice this one chord until you are able to attain clear notes on all strings. You will see how the process works by being able to position the tips of the fingers like little hammers at the proper positions. It will take a few days for you to accomplish this because it will make your fingers sore, and they will have to heal a bit and get them toughened up.

Eventually, the fingertips will form calluses on the ends. It will take a little time for them to be tough enough to play regularly. Even accomplished guitarists will lose some of that toughness, if they cease to play for a while.

Once you have mastered the 'C' chord, next move on to the 'F' chord. This is accomplished by the forefinger covering two strings and the second and third fingers hammering down on two other strings. Then the same drill needs to be mastered. Keep practicing the position of the fingers until you can get them into position firmly enough to be able to elicit tones from the guitar that are not muted or muffled.

Next learn the 'A minor', or 'Am' chord. You will use the first three fingers of the left hand, and learn the positioning and how to apply the correct pressure onto the strings. Practice until you are able to accomplish that.

Now you can practice moving from the 'C' chord to the 'F' chord. Practice that move until it is relatively easy to switch the positioning of your fingers relative to each chord. Strum all of the strings with your pick (the pick is held in the right hand, loosely between the thumb and forefinger for the purpose of strumming.)

Next you need to learn the 'G' chord, and go by the diagrams for the chords in your chord book. The same drill applies, practice until you can physically master the positioning and the proper pressure on the strings.

Practice, practice, practice...

By learning these four chords, you have learned what is called a chord pattern. There are songs that use just these four major chords in the song. Of course there are other chords that may be used in addition, such as transition chords, but the entire song can be played using these chords.

An example of this it the song, “Home On The Range.” Go to the internet and find that song in the key of 'C' and play it, while fitting in the chords as your hear them. You can probably find a printout of the song with the words and the chord notations above the words of the song. This will tell you when to change chords.

There are hundreds of songs that you can learn in the key of 'C' where the chord progression of C, Am, F, and G. Songs like “Young Love”, “Moon River”, “Love Me Tender” by Elvis Presley, and “I Want To Hold Your Hand” by the Beatles can all be played in the key of 'C'.

By now, you will have discovered that most of this art of learning how to play the guitar is just hanging in there and toughening up your fingers. Once you train you fingers to perform the gymnastics of getting into the proper positions, you are well on your way.

Now you can learn different chord progressions such as the key of 'F' where the progression is F, Dm, Bm, and C7. Or the key of 'G', which is G, Em, C, and D. Each chord progression will fit songs and you will suddenly find yourself entering a new world that has opened up.

Find More Songs Online

You will find yourself looking up songs on the internet along with the chord charts that can be found for those songs. For example you could look up the tune “Unchained Melody” which is really an old standard, but was popularized by the Righteous Brothers and the Platters in the '60s. You will be able to fit your newly learned chords to the song as you play it from YouTube and sing along.

This is certainly not the way to learn to play the guitar if you are interested in reading music or learning in a classical sense, but you will learn to play. This is the way that probably 75 to 80 percent of people learn. It is mostly repetitive playing and you just get better as you play and learn more chords and their combinations.

Category: How To


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