Learn How To Play Guitar Online – Master The Basics

I started learning how to play guitar over 50 years ago, way back before the internet. I know I’m the old guy trying to give advice, take it easy.

Anyway, now anyone can learn how to play guitar online. There are endless YouTube videos and web-based instructions available.

One thing I have noticed while researching guitar lessons online is the really boring but critical basics are overlooked many times. Unfortunately, I did not have lessons starting out and learned by observing others (and driving them crazy). I know now if I had a better understanding of the basics, I would have accelerated my playing exponentially.

So I want to give you an overview of those fundamentals that will pay off BIG TIME as you progress. All the discussion included will be based on standard tuning. Alternative tuning is a subject all it’s own.

  1. More Than Chords – The Importance Of Each String
  2. Tuning Without Electronics
  3. It’s All About Your Hands – All The Pro’s Get It
  4. Choose A Song You Know and Like

More Than Chords – The Importance Of Each String

The picture above shows the base notes of each string from the heavy #6 string to the light #1 string. Unfortunately, Every Good Boy Does Fine you learned in school doesn’t quite fit as an acronym to help you remember. I found a few examples on the web that might help but are pretty hokey:

  • Every Acid Dealer Gets Busted Eventually
  • Elephants And Donkeys Grow Big Ears
  • Eddie Ate Dynamite, Good Bye Eddie

The E A D G B E are the root notes for each string. As you start to learn about chords or melodies, knowing the notes up the fretboard is going to be very helpful. Again, not too exciting but extremely valuable to understand. So Let’s take a look at this chart to understand what it all means.

Taking the “G” chord as an example. The notation picture shows numeric positions versus notes. The 3rd position is called the root note or “G” followed by the 2nd position “B” and 4th position of “G”. G, B, D, G, B, G are the sequence of notes from the low to high strings. If you were using a bar chord (more advanced), you would be on the third fret and the sequence would be G, D, G, B, D, G. Notice the same notes as the first position but in a different sequence to produce the same chord.

The basic chords every beginning guitar player learns are E, D, G, A, and C. Knowing those basic chords covers a lot of songs believe me. Knowing the inner notes of those chords will enable you to find variations of those chords on the guitar similar to the G chord example. This allows variation on the same thing when you play with others and it sounds cool too.

Tuning Without Electronics

OK, I love electronic tuners, what a great invention! BUT, it doesn’t hurt to know how to tune up without one or if, God forbid, the batteries die. Here is a tip, buy yourself an E Harmonica so you can off on the right foot. Blow on the first hole and match the sound to your guitar.

Alright, now we are cooking with gas!

Remember the strings from low to high are E A D G B E. For low E find the A note on the chart above. It will be on the 5th fret. Press it with your index finger and play it. Tune the A string (#5) by matching the sound. Move on to the next string and continue the process for Strings D and G. For the B string, depress the G-string at the 4th fret and match the sound. For the high E the B string on the 5th fret as you did for A-G.

It’s All About Your Hands – All The Pro’s Get It

One of my favorite and probably the world’s best fingerstyle guitarist, Tommy Emmanuel, said in an interview “give me any guitar and I will make it sing”. If you are not familiar with Tommy take a break and click here.

So much emphasis is on the what I will call the “chord hand” but the pro’s know that mastering “strumming hand” is what separates a good player from a great player.

I could write an entire blog post on the strumming hand techniques. Fingerpicking, how to use a pick, and muffling techniques all define your sound. The “chord hand” is important for sure. Proper arching of the fingers, how to change chords seamlessly, and techniques for applying pressure in time with the music to reduce fatigue are all important.

Choose A Song You Know and Like

Choosing a song you know and like is a great way to learn guitar quickly. Don’t start out by trying to play Bohemium Rhapsody or some other crazy difficult song. Chose a 3 chord song, master the chords and work on mirroring your strumming to that of the guitar player on the song.

Wrap Up

I hope this post opens your eyes to how important the basics for guitar are if you really want to become a “Rock Star”. I gave you several sources I trust to put in your toolbox.

I would love your feedback, comments on your progress, and, of course, any questions regarding anything about guitar playing. It is my passion and I love to talk guitar as much as I like playing the guitar.

To hear my guitar playing check out Seaside Funk featuring Bill Hammond on Sax at our video page. Bill is the star and I do all the heavy lifting backing him up on guitar and vocals :-).

To learn more about learning guitar visit How Long Does It Take To Learn Guitar for more tips.

To Your Success!



2 Comments on “Learn How To Play Guitar Online – Master The Basics”

  1. WOW! I feel like I just hit the jackpot! This is exactly what I need to get started. I’m so happy I found this information to get my guitar dusted off!! Thank you for breaking it down, keeping it simple, & motivating me! Plus, bonus was the Tommy break! Amazing

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