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Beginner

Like I mentioned on the main Lessons page it’s my goal to help you down your individual musical path but honestly all guitar players learn the same things when they start playing. To oversimplify a little there are two types of guitar playing, rhythm (playing chords) and lead (single note soloing). Every guitar player starts by learning the same chords and the same scales and because of the recurrent nature of these musical devices you’ll find countless songs are built with the exact same building blocks.  With the first batch of chords you’ll learn you can literally play thousands of songs. Most pop songs use the same chords jumbled up in different ways, or sometimes in exactly the same way.  My favorite example of this is a video by the comedy trio the Axis of Awesome; they play the same four chords and sing dozens of different well-known songs over them.

I try to encourage my students to learn as much as they can on the guitar and one of the most accessible ways to do this is through YouTube and sometimes Tablature. The internet is fantastic for learning new things, I use YouTube videos, forums and online discussion groups to supplement what I learn by ear from albums.  Internet resources can be great tools but private lessons will save you time now and down the line.  It’s intimidating learning to play guitar; there is a ton of information out there and it’s not exactly clear where to start.  Learning an instrument is a linear process, you have to learn certain things before you can move on to others.  Having an instructor who understands where you are and what you need to learn can be invaluable.  Playing chords and scales correctly from the beginning will also save you headaches down the line.  When you learn an instrument you are developing muscle memory.  It is a long and arduous process to retrain your hands after you realize you’ve been using poor technique for months or years.  If you’re just starting out on the instrument I would recommend sitting down at least once or twice with a more experienced player just to make sure you aren’t developing any bad habits.  If you are making progress on the instrument, keep doing what you’re doing!  The bottom line is that taking lessons will help you make progress faster.  Good Luck!

There are many steps to becoming a guitar player but it only takes one decision to start the process

Here is a short list of some possible topics covered in beginner lessons

  • Open Position Chords
  • Bar Chords
  • The Blues
  • Exposure to New Music
  • Song Writing
  • Flatpicking
  • Fingerpicking
  • Alternate Picking
  • Bends, Hammer-on’s, Pull-off’s
  • Importance of Using Your Ear
  • Power of the Major Scale
  • Pentatonic Scale
  • Guitar Tuning
  • Guitar Components/Maintenance
  • Read Music
  • Proper Technique

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