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First Beginner Guitar Lesson - Day 1

Gary Heimbauer

What should you learn on your first day of playing guitar? Here are the things that are worth learning in the first 10-15 minutes of picking up a guitar:


1. First, you'll learn some terminology about the parts of the guitar so that we can communicate better.

This includes:

     -The body

     -The neck

     -The headstock

     -The bridge/tailpiece

     -The tuning pegs

     -The frets and the fretwire, and their numbers

     -The strings and their names

     -The pickups (or sound hole if acoustic)

     -The volume, tone knobs, and pickup selector switch

2. Next you'll learn how to hold the guitar when sitting down. You should have three contact points between the guitar and your body. The first is the curve of the guitar body to sit on your thigh. The second is for the back of the guitar to rest against the front of your body, and the third is for your forearm to touch the front of the guitar. With these three contact points secure, the guitar neck should be pointing slightly upward towards the ceiling. This helps you to be able to put your fretting hand on the guitar without your wrist being bent too much. 

3. After this, you'll start playing your first notes, and then your first song melody. First we’ll play the open strings from toes to nose, and then from nose to toes. So first we have E, B, G, D, A, E going toes to nose, and then from nose to toes we’ve got E, A, D, G, B, E. You can remember them in this order by learning the phrase Eddie Ate Dynamite, Good Bye Eddie. Now we’ll play our first fretted notes, going up the high E string (high in pitch, so the one closest to your toes) from open up to fret 12 and back again. As we go up we’ll call out the fret numbers and note that the 12th fret is the octave.

4. Now that you have single notes down, we’ll learn our first chords! Chords are where you play 3 or more notes at the same time. We’ll go over 3 very easy chords to get started that only use the 3 strings closest to your toes. We'll then use these chords to play a chord progression.

We’ve got Easy G, Easy C, and Easy E minor, and then as a bonus we’ll go over the D chord, which is much more difficult. For the Easy G chord, you’ll hold down the third fret of the high E string with your ring finger and strum the top three strings. 

For Easy E minor, you’ll simply strum the top three strings open. For easy C, the hardest of these three, you’ll play the first fret of the second string (counting toes to nose) but you’ll have to point your fingertip straight into the note so as not to touch the two adjacent strings. Again, you’ll strum the top three strings. Now we'll use these three chords to play a famous chord progression used in songs like “I Got a Feeling” by the Black Eyed Peas.

So, in that first 10-15 minutes you’ve now played a melody song, and a chord progression! You’re on your way to playing some of your favorite songs in no time!

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