Deciding to play the guitar is a significant first step when interested in learning an instrument. Sometimes students choose to learn on their own, but truth be told, beginning music classes and having the assistance of a knowledgeable teacher is often the only true way to accomplish your goals. The music teachers at Fundamental Music Instruction have incredible expertise and experience, eager to share with their students during guitar lessons at select schools or Online. We offer lessons for many other instruments too, music courses!

There are a Few Basics to Remember When Learning to Play Guitar 

Commitment and drive are fundamental, but the essential piece to learning a new instrument is practicing consistently. Even in short sessions, but consistency is key.

There are some basics you learn when taking guitar lessons. Many of them will begin right from the start-

  • Chords and Chord Charts
  • Strumming Patterns
  •  Notes and Scales
  • Exercises

Here is a quick overview of the basics:

Chords and Chord Charts   

Chords are groups of notes played together. These sounds combine into harmonies. The best way to learn which strings to use and where to place your fingers is by using a visual aid is known as a chord chart. To be successful with this, you will learn new words like – Fret and Fret Bars, which string is the highest pitch, and proper finger shapes.

The first chords students typically learn are C Major, G Major, E Minor, and D Major. These can be played using limited strings, or all strings depending on your ability to learn finger shapes. There are many great songs that can be learned using just this basic list.

Strumming Patterns

Once you get over this first hurdle of learning a few basic chords, you can begin applying this new skill to a technique known as Strumming. This is a skill used (usually with your Right Hand) to activate the strings that form the chord, most likely using a pic. You can form a pattern of down and up strokes in a rhythmic repeating pattern.  

Try the tips below when learning to play the guitar with online guitar lessons:

  • Keep your wrist loose: When you’re strumming a chord, you want your motions to feel fluid. Not hard and choppy. Keeping a loose wrist will help you smoothly move from one chord to another.
  • Angle your pic: Holding your pick at a slight angle can help you create a more pleasing sound when you strike a chord.
  • Vary the strength of your strike: It takes a little while to develop your ear, but it also takes time to learn to “feel” the music. With time and practice, you’ll learn when you want to strum a chord with a hard stroke for emphasis or play with soft, light strokes to create a more mellow feel.

Notes and Scales

In addition to chords, you will learn the notes of the guitar and form these into scales. There are seven letter names for music notes, but many combinations of these seven will form scales. A quick way to understand this is by starting on the letter C and form the note names of a scale this way – A B C D E F G. Once you pass the letter G, you begin on A again. The beginning scale is the C scale – C D E F G A B C.

This will take some time to understand, as you need to learn where the notes are before you can form them into scales. Just know that this is an integral part of your studies on any instrument.

Beyond the Chords, Strumming, Notes, and Scales, you will learn finger exercises and various techniques. Some of them are unique to the guitar. You will learn things like – Hammer and pull off plus slide….but these all come much later. For now, remember:

  • Chords are a cornerstone of playing guitar. Many songs contain simple chords such as the C, D, G, and E minor chords. 
  • Strumming patterns help you learn the “Feel” of a song and when to “Accent” or take a lighter approach.
  • Notes and Scales are a great way to train your ear and form the basis of music theory.
  • Practicing finger exercises are a great way to build speed, strength, dexterity, and accuracy. 
  • Once you advance far enough, even guitar techniques that seem complicated—like the hammer-on and pull-off—can be easy to execute with a little practice.

Learn More About Guitar Lessons and All Music Classes Available at Fundamental Music Instruction 

Fundamental Music Instruction is for everyone! Learn more about each music class and the wide variety of instrument classes available through FMI Instrument Demonstrations. We would love to hear from you about your experiences with your child’s online music class or answer any questions you may have. Please do not hesitate to contact us at [email protected], call us at 908-244-4943, or sign up for a free music lesson Enroll in a Trial Class! We can’t wait to fill your world with music because, without music, our minds would be quiet.