First Guitar Lesson – For Beginners (with pictures)

In these few pages I will guide you through simple steps from how to hold your guitar to playing your first chords and strumming a simple song.
Let’s start!

1. Posture

Sit on the edge of the chair with your back straight making sure your whole body is relaxed, especially your arms and shoulders. There are two popular ways to hold your guitar:

The first one is borrowed from the classical world where you hold the guitar between your legs and the headstock is roughly at the same height as your eyes. Your left foot can be slightly raised on books, a foot stool or the guitar case.

The second one is a very common ‘folk’ way of holding the guitar where the contour of the guitar’s body sits on your legs when crossed.

2. Left hand

The best way to describe the action of your left hand is comparing it to the movement of a train. The neck is the railway and your hand (the train) glides effortlessly over it, in a relaxed way.

Your left hand knuckles should be parallel to the edge of the fretboard but without touching it.

Your fingers should reach for the frets by bending the joints and not by twisting the wrist.

Your thumb should sit opposite your fingers, behind the neck of the guitar, to balance your hand.

3. Right hand

Your arm rests on the edge of the body, allowing the wrist to hang relaxed over the hole of the guitar.

To hold the pic (or plectrum) properly:

Hold your hand out and open as if to shake somebody’s hand.

Bend your fingers.

Place the pic on the top end of your index finger with the tip of the pic facing yourself.

Place your thumb over the pic and hold it by applying light pressure.

Always hold the pic in a relaxed way and when you strum hit the strings with one decisive motion.

4. Your First Song: chords

The song we will learn is something similar to “Brown eyed girl”. I am sure there are many other songs with this progression of chords. Make sure when you learn the shapes, press the tip of your finger just before the metal fret, like in the picture.

The chords are G C G D where each chord fills a whole bar (or ‘a count of four’).

G C G D

| 1 2 3 4 | 1 2 3 4 | 1 2 3 4 | 1 2 3 4 |

The ‘G major’ chord

The ‘C major’ chord…this is a variation on C major that will make your life easier. Just move the index and middle finger down a string.

The ‘D major’ chord

5. Strumming Patterns

When we play chords to accompany a song, we hit the string with two basic rhythmic motions of the arm.

Downstroke:

Upstroke:

These are three of the most popular strumming patterns.

  1. All downstrokes – one per beat

This should sound something like this if used on the song:

  1. Downstrokes and upstrokes 2 per beat

This should sound something like this if used on the song:

  1. Strumming pattern: keep the motion of your right arm going but don’t play some of the upstrokes or downstrokes (those in brackets). Think of it like ‘down-down-up-down-up’ but keep the motion going!!

This should sound something like this if used on the song:

Great job!

This is another post for beginners with a 30 minute video: https://giannichiarello.com/full-first-guitar-lesson-for-complete-beginner-learn-to-play-a-simple-tune-on-guitar/https://giannichiarello.com/full-first-guitar-lesson-for-complete-beginner-learn-to-play-a-simple-tune-on-guitar/


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