Learning to play the guitar is like learning to write – you’ll have a hard time forming words without knowing how to make individual letters first. With the guitar, you won’t be able to become a good player without knowing how to form chord shapes and keep time, among other things.
Aspiring guitar players would need to understand and master a number of fundamental skills in order to progress and face the more challenging intermediate and advanced methods of playing guitar. One good way to make sure you’re not missing out on learning the basics is by signing up for guitar lessons. There’s probably a few offered in your area and there are also online guitar lessons you can check out from sites like Guitartricks which are reviewed here.
Whichever learning method you choose, it would be a plus for you to know you’re on the right track and not skipping anything essential to becoming a guitarist. Here’s a checklist of fundamental guitar skills you can expect – and should – learn and master.
Being able to read standard music notation and tablature will make your guitar-learning experience richer and easier in the long run. It also opens up a lot of new possibilities for you, especially if you’d like to be able to play a wider variety of music arranged for the guitar and write your own songs.
Basic music theory
The word ‘theory’ makes it seem complicated, but the simple way to comprehend this is that music theory helps you understand how music is put together. Some essential concepts for beginners include what a key in music is, how chords are built, the relationships between chords and intervals. As you progress through your training, you’ll be able to understand a bit more if you’ve got the basics down.
Learning open chords is a good way to start, because many songs use open chords, which have both open strings and fretted notes. Moving between two open chords is a good way to practice fretting and also contributes to ear training. Eventually you’ll learn more chords, including barre chords.
Strumming patterns go hand-in-hand with chords to really make the guitar sing. Without strumming patterns, there would be no rhythm nor any variations of it. Strumming in rhythm can be achieved by practicing with a metronome – slowly at first, then at an increased pace as you go.
Identifying notes on the fretboard
Another skill that can make the rest of your guitar learning easier is learning the notes on your guitar fretboard. When you’ve got all the notes memorized, you’ll be able to know where you are at any time, and know where you can go next.
Pentatonic scales and major scales are the two most fundamental scales for beginners to learn – consider them building blocks for later knowledge. It’s best to learn one pattern at a time then add you gain more confidence. Minor scales can come after, as these scales have their basis on major scale patterns.
Those are just some of the most basic skills every guitar player should learn from the beginning of their music journey. If you find yourself quite lost and in need of direction, don’t hesitate to consult guitar course outlines or consider signing up for comprehensive lessons.
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