guitar lessons Archives

I Learned To Play Acoustic Guitar At Age 47

adult-guitar-lessons-125It’s been almost 10 years since I learned how to play acoustic guitar and the only thing I regret is not learning earlier. I wanted to learn back when I was just 27 but was a bit too shy to even play with friends and soon just gave my guitar away.

Twenty years past and I constantly regretted giving up just because I was afraid others would make fun of me but that’s life and at least I didn’t go any longer before learning to play guitar. It was kind of funny because I became a computer instructor and it was one, well two, of my networking students that got me started.

Now that we have the Internet and especially Youtube I have no problem because I never have to play in front of people, if I don’t want to. I’m still as shy and nervous as I was way back in the 70s but still learned because of online help.

There is a bucket load of online sites one can learn from and many courses, a few of them I have taken myself, and they are very affordable. And I don’t have to have some jerk that feels he’s better than I am make me feel small.

I was using CB Engine this morning to see what I could find for ‘Guitar Lessons’ on the Clickbank marketplace and found a site specifically for helping those of us who aren’t 20 any more, learn how to play guitar. It’s called Adult Guitar Lessons.

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Acoustic Guitar Tablatures or Tabs

playing guitarI didn’t learn how to play acoustic guitar to impress others. Instead I saw guitar as a great way to entertain myself and enjoy my favourite songs, even when the radio wasn’t available. I could head to my bedroom, pick up my and play without bothering others in the family.

Today I play my acoustic guitar right in the living room while we’re watching TV and not really bother anyone. Note that I don’t bang on my guitar like some of my son’s friends do. That would bother anyone trying to do anything, in my opinion of course.

Learning From Tablatures AKA Tabs

When you look at a guitar tab you are looking at the neck of a six string guitar. If you look at the Happy Birthday tab below you’ll see that it’s marked on the left with the names of the six strings, E B G D A E.

happy birthday tabs

If you flip your guitar over so the strings are facing you it’s easier to see how they match.

acoustic guitar strings

I don’t read music very well but I do find it pretty easy to read guitar tabs.

Most tabs I find today look very similar to the one I’ve shown above but these don’t give any timing, however I have found many tablatures that are broken into measures so it’s easier to get the timing right. Usually I have the song playing in the background while I’m learning the tabs, just so I have the right timing.

Finding Tablatures For The Songs You Like

When I am looking for song tabs I will do a simple search using Google. If I am looking for Margaritaville tabs by Jimmy Buffett I will type the following:

Margaritaville Jimmy Buffett tabs

Note: You will find that a lot of people will use the word tabs when posting songs lyrics and chords, just to get more traffic but it doesn’t mean that they will all have the tablatures. Most will be likely to have only the chords, so you may have to look through a few of the links in the listings.

guitar tab for margaritaville

Like the tab above it most often gives you that distinctive melody that sticks in your head but isn’t always so easy to figure out. Usually when you play a riff like the Jimmy Buffett Margaritaville everyone recognizes it immediately. So it’s nice to know them to give a bit of an intro to the song.

I don’t do so well at learning by ear. I can get some of the chords but then get so frustrated with it. So when I want to learn a new song quickly I look for the guitar chords and to learn the intros or riffs in the song I look for guitar tabs.

There are literally thousands upon thousands of guitar tabs available and I’m still finding them for songs I know that I had forgotten about for years. So much fun learning how to play guitar using tablatures.

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acoustic electric guitarOne can learn many musical instruments, but when you learn to play acoustic guitar, it’s a completely different story. Something about the acoustic guitar makes it different from the rest. I believe it’s due, at least in part, to its versatility.

A Variety of Guitars

I’ve got a few friends who not only have an and another has a but by far it’s acoustic guitars that most start with. Unlike the solid electric guitar, the acoustic one has a hollow body and doesn’t make use of amplification to produce sound. Instead, it relies on natural sound produced by strings when its vibrations bounce around inside the guitar body’s hollow cavity.  So, there’s no need for an amplifier, well unless you own an .

Most people who are trying to learn how to play acoustic guitar often end up frustrated. That may be because they fail to pay heed to things that could help make the lessons easier. That’s not to say that acoustic guitar lessons are difficult. It’s far from it.

Start Simple And Hang In There

Today, with the Internet at your fingertips there’s no reason learning to play guitar should be difficult. There are just too many places online for you to learn to play a guitar that there really is no excuse other than you really don’t have your heart in it. My experience is that most who give up do so because their fingers begin to hurt. We all went through that so just hang in there for another week or two and they will toughen up and it will all be behind you.

My recommendation for two site where you can’t go wrong are Jamorama and Jamplay. Both are well worth the membership fee. Then you can add Youtube and learn just about any song by searching for it as a cover tune. I have learned so many songs there but it all starts with the two sites I mentioned first so that you can a good solid learning background.

The key to your success at learning to play guitar is to stay focused while practicing and to find songs that match the chords and stage you’re at right now and for me that’s where Youtube really shines.

As much as possible, you need to start with a song that has a simple chord progression. When I first learned I started with easy chords like C, G Am and D, which makes hundreds of songs available to learn.

I use Google to search for songs I like so I can find them with the chords included. That way I can download them to my computer and then follow along as I play the song on Youtube or from my collection of songs. But I do prefer Youtube over just having the song because so many people do covers for songs and use their acoustic guitars.

Keep Your Guitar Tuned Properly

The first thing you want to do before you ever start playing guitar is . This way you can be sure the guitar is tuned so that you are producing the right notes, otherwise something will not sound right. When a song doesn’t sound right it’s discouraging as well as frustrating because most people thing they are doing something wrong when it’s only the guitar not tuned correctly.

Example: Just yesterday the high temperatures and high humidity broke so the temp dropped and the humidity was gone. Almost immediately my acoustic guitar started to sound different. It had gone out of tune in just one hour and needed tuning.

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acoustic guitarWhy do some people prefer acoustic guitars to other instruments like the piano, for instance? One reason is the versatility and portability of an acoustic guitar.

Just the fact an acoustic guitar is portable means you can play it whenever you like and wherever you are, without the need for amps or trucks.

Some people learn how to play through books while others scour the Internet for online lessons at places like Jamorama.com, JamPlay.com and I wouldn’t want to leave out my favourite place which is Youtube.com.

An Acoustic Guitar And A Place To Learn

Using the three sites I mentioned above you can go from knowing nothing to learning how to play acoustic guitar like a pro. I started with pop and rock but now my interests have moved into blues and bluegrass as well. All on my trusty .

If you really want to learn how to play the acoustic guitar, you need to have self-discipline. This involves setting up a system for learning that you will dedicate yourself to following. Just as it is with everything, you need to have focus, discipline, and the determination when learning how to play the acoustic guitar.

I set aside time every day it’s possible, for practicing what I’m learning. If you’re practicing in the house, choose a favourite spot where you can lay all your guitar books and chords open as you play.

I am one of those people would tries to practice at least an hour or more every day, again when possible. I will allow myself to miss a practice if I just have to go fishing. By the time I get back home I usually don’t have the energy to pick up the guitar.

If you don’t practice you’re likely NOT to go far so give yourself at least a half hour of dedicated practice, while you’re learning how to play your acoustic guitar. This way you will be less likely to give up like so many of my friends have done.

playingguitarbyearRealistically, you can’t expect yourself to be a genius playing guitar chords if you’re just learning how to play the acoustic guitar. Everyone who plays the guitar, even the famous ones like B.B. King, Eddie Van Halen, Jimi Hendrix, and Slash all had to start with basic, simple, and easy acoustic guitar chords for beginners.

The truth is these basic chords lay down the foundation for all succeeding lessons. So once you have mastered the easiest chords, you’ll be well on your way to learning intermediate and then more advanced chords.

guitar-neckYou may find that you breeze through the basic chords which is great however if you want to be really good at learning guitar chords, you need to acquaint yourself with the basic anatomy of an acoustic guitar.

You need to keep in mind that the chords are usually show in a pattern that’s printed making it important to learn how to read chords charts.

The main component of an acoustic guitar that you will be working closely with are your guitar’s strings and the fingerboard of your guitar.

guitar strings (2)Your acoustic guitar will most likely have 6 strings, although I have a few guitar playing friends who have 12 string guitars.

A right handed guitar player holding their guitar facing away from them will have the six strings starting with the top as Low E, A, D, G, B, High E. Just like in the image to the right.

Going down the neck of your guitar you will have metal bars that cross the neck at specific locations. These are called Frets and allow you to change notes while you’re playing.

If you play or pluck each individual string without placing any fingers on the strings they are called open strings. When you place a finger on one of the strings at a fret it will give you a specific note.

Example: When you put your finger on the first fret holding the low or high E string down it will produce the note F. If you move that finger down one more fret so that it’s on the second fret and pluck it you will hear a F# or F Sharp. Holding the string down at the third fret will produce a G note.

g-chordThe diagram on the left shows a G chord. The black dots show where to place your fingers and the blank circles at the top of the chart show which strings to play open. Open means you don’t put a finger on that string. So this combination will product a G chord and is just one of many ways to play a G chord and is the most basic.

d chordNow if you wanted to play a D chord you would use the finger positioning shown in the diagram on the right. Again the black dots are where you place your fingers and the blank white dot is played open.

The other two strings in this case don’t get played at all. So when you see a chart like this one and it has no black dots on a string or no white dot above the string it doesn’t get plucked.

Here is a diagram of the basic chords I learned first. Learning these simple chords allowed me to learn dozens and dozens of songs I have loved over the years.

simple or basic guitar chords

Do you feel overwhelmed already. Don’t fret, ‘pun intended’ it’s not as hard as most people tend to think it is. Although the ends of one’s fingers can get a bit tender when first learning but you can soon get over that as you practice.

There are hundreds of combinations that make up chords at various positions along the fret board but concentrate on the basics and you’ll find it less frustrating or overwhelming.

There are options for learning how to play guitar today. I started with books and chord charts I picked up at a local guitar shop. I also learn a ton of cool stuff at local guitar jams but where I learned the most is from online sites such as Jamorama.com, Jamplay.com and YouTube.com.

I do prefer the online methods of learning as I do so much better with show and tell than learning from books, but that’s just me. I also tried hiring a guy to teach me but he was an ass and it cost me more than I wanted to pay.

If you’re keen on learning acoustic guitar chords for beginners, you will find these tips indispensable:

  1. Take advantage of the power of the Internet. It’s rife with online tutorials and instructional for learning chords. Just be wary of choosing the right website, as there are those that require payments so you can access the lessons. Patience is the key to finding sites that provide free lessons.
  2. When it comes to acoustic guitars, it pays to spend time studying the instrument and familiarizing yourself with its different parts. You don’t just play the guitar. Instead, you need to know it like the back of your hand. This is important as it lets you understand how each component of the guitar works together to produce sound.
  3. Rather than just strum the strings on your acoustic guitar, try to understand how the tension in the string affects the sound emitted by the guitar. You’d be surprised to find out that the sound differs depending on the length and size of each string.
  4. You need to know that there are different ways to play acoustic guitar chords. This allows for versatility. In addition, once you’re able to play chords in various ways, it would be easier for you to transition from one chord to the next.
  5. It may be cliché, but practice makes perfect. Hence, devote 20 to 30 minutes each day in practice. Don’t try to learn the chords in one go, or you’d end up frustrated and overwhelmed. It’s impossible to learn everything in one sitting, so make do with the pace you’re most comfortable with and don’t rush yourself.

By following these simple tips, you’d be reading chords like a pro in no time. 

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acoustic-guitar (2)I would have to say there are two things I had a real problem with when I started learning to play guitar, other than not being able to sing. One was not using a pick right from the start and second I continually watched my chording hand.

Watching your chording hand is okay when you are learning to form chords but once you can form the chords and switch between chords you need to take your eyes off the chording hand and get used to finding the right chord and fret without looking.

When I was learning to play my jamorama-125x125I have a membership with Jamorama.com so I can learn more and more but prior to that I learned most of what I know because of the free content, including videos, I found online. Youtube is by far my favourite site for both learning and sharing about how to play guitar as a beginner all the way to advanced.

The only downside to using the net for free content is that it’s scattered all over the place meaning you’ll need to go from site to site. But hey, I did it and learned a lot before joining Jamorama to learn more advanced lessons. Wish I had started with them as I spent a lot of time searching for the exact stuff I needed where Jamorama has it all in one place, just like JamPlay.com does.

How To Find Free Guitar Lessons Online

If you don’t think there are a lot of people who want to “learn how to play guitar online” just do a search in Google for that phrase and you’ll find about 60 million pages. Fortunately you don’t have to search through all of those to find the best as Google does a great job of giving us the best content for our search phrase.

Check Out YouTube For Free Guitar Lessons

I go to Youtube.com for free guitar lessons almost every single day. Most of the time it’s to find songs I hear on the radio I like and want to learn. To do this I look for the song, the artist and the word ‘cover’ which usually gets me a list of those doing cover songs. I will also add the word guitar into the search to be sure I find those playing guitar.

I just did a search for “how to play guitar for beginners acoustic” I added the word acoustic because I don’t have an electric guitar and would rather learn things for my Yamaha Beginner Gardening Tips For The Home Gardener

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