Learning How to Play Guitar

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I still remember the first time I picked up a guitar. My dad let me strum his Ovation style guitar and I was quickly frustrated by the terrible sound that resulted from my strumming the strings. I didn’t realize how much more complex it was than I thought to position your fingers in the right places in order to produce a pleasant sound. And then on top of that I needed to move my fingers to other positions in order to put sounds together to play an actual song.

My dad, however, made it look so easy. When he played it looked as simple as picking up a cup of coffee. It seemed so effortless for him to reposition his fingers in order to put sounds together and actually make music.

I wanted to learn and finally realized that even though it looked easy to simply pick up a guitar and start playing music, it actually required time and dedication. At least more than simply picking up a guitar one time and expecting to play a real song like the rock bands and country singers.

So I asked my dad to teach me. He was quick to tell me that I couldn’t just casually approach learning to play the guitar but he assured me that once I learned the basics I would progress very quickly and be playing real songs like the ones I heard on the radio. So he bought a guitar just for me. It wasn’t as nice as his. In fact, he only paid eight dollars for it at a yard sale. But it could hold a tune once he tuned it correctly and that was all that I needed. So he sat me down and showed me my first chord, an E minor. He told me that once I could put my fingers in the correct position for that chord naturally without having to slowly place them that I’d be ready to learn the next chord. So he taught me another chord, a B. Once I could make an E minor and a B chord without slowly placing my fingers in position, he instructed me to practice switching from one chord to the other. When I could change chords quickly and without having to look at my fingers, he taught me a G and other chords.

Once I had those chords learned, it was easy to learn others. And then I could play songs that I heard on the radio because many songs only consist of three or 4 chords at different points. Then it’s a matter of working on rhythm and learning to sing while you play. To this day my dad and I both play guitar and admire those who do it well.

Today’s students have more advanced and entertaining methods to learn how to play, such as DVD series that teach you guitar as though you were receiving one on one lessons from a professional guitar teacher at a much lower cost than hiring a personal instructor. You’ll see results quickly which will encourage you to stick with it and truly master the guitar.

Jeff Godes is a classical guitarist who offers private instruction to help people of all ages learn to play guitar.  He has written numerous articles on guitar techniques and offers reviews of various Learn to Play Guitar DVD series.

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