Electric Guitar Lesson for Beginners (Part 1)

Electric Guitar Lesson for Beginners (Part 1)

In this lesson, we’ll cover basics like how to create your personal practice zone as well as how to wire up and hold your guitar. We’ll then get into some techniques such as how to strum (with your pick) and strengthen your hands as well.

Getting in the Practice Zone

Create a healthy practice environment with a comfortable chair, a reading lamp and a music stand.

Getting the Guitar Plugged in

It’s necessary for an electric guitar to be connected to an amplifier in order to create sounds. You’ll need a right cable to do so. The 6.3mm (or 1/4”) mono connector is commonly used for connecting a guitar to an amplifier. A good patch cable will be constructed using high quality connectors. At the point where connector and cable meet, there should be a reinforcing sleeve or spring-type arrangement offering some strain relief. A good patch cord often comes with rubberized jackets or fabric jackets, which minimizes the noise (e.g. hum) added to the sound of the guitar. Connect the cable to the output jack as well as the amplifier. Switch on the amplifier and turn its knobs to control the tone and volume.

Holding the Guitar

If you’re right-handed, rest your guitar on your left leg which is slightly elevated. Start holding the guitar by orienting it to your chest and your right arm. The guitar neck should be tilted at 30 degrees from vertical. If you intend to hold a guitar standing, do so with a strap. Make sure you adjust the strap so that the guitar doesn’t really move up or down.

Strumming and Fretting

If you’re right-handed, your right hand will be your strumming (or picking) hand. This hand will be used to pluck the strings of guitar and create the sound. Most likely, you will be using a pick to pluck the strings.

Again, if you’re right-handed, your left hand will be your fretting hand. You will use this hand to press the strings down onto the fretboard and create the individual notes.

Picking Your Pick

Guitar picks are generally made of plastic, a common kind of which is celluloid. Picks vary in shapes, sizes and thickness, which all have an impact of the sound created. Stick to a certain pick once you find it suits you the most.

Holding a Pick

Hold your pick between your thumb and index finger. The pick should be positioned on the edge (instead of pad) of the index finger. The thumb pad then comes across and sits on top of the pick. While you are playing the guitar, you are not actually picking with your fingers, but with your loose wrist and elbow.

Fretting hand

Let’s begin with a coordination test. Grab a very thick book using your right hand. Position your left-hand thumb on the front page of the book and the other fingers on the back page. Close your eyes and try to point your thumb towards your ring finger. Open your eyes and see if they are in the same level. Yeah! You made it!

The same principle applies to strumming the guitar. The correct placement of your thumb is crucial to positioning the remaining fingers, which allows you to play chords cleanly and swiftly. Wedge your left thumb behind the neck and between the index and middle finger when you are moving towards the lower strings. Wrap your thumb over the edge of the neck for bending strings. Just bend the first knuckle and place the crease of the thumb at the edge of the fretboard. Press the strings hard enough with your fingertips.

There is a numbering system for the fingers on your fretting hand. Your index finger is your first finger, middle finger is your second finger, ring finger is your third finger, and your little finger is your fourth finger.

Now, let’s begin with a coordination exercise called the 1-2-3-4 exercise. Hold a pick with your right hand first. Then place your thumb on the second fret. Press the first fret on the first string (the thinnest one) with your index finger. Then pluck the string. Remember, you are picking by lowering your wrist instead of your fingers. Hold that position of your index finger. Then place your left-hand middle finger to the second fret of the first string and pluck the string. The same way, do not move your index and middle finger. At the same time, place your ring finger on the third fret of the first string and pluck the string. Likely, place your little finger on the fourth fret of the first string and pluck the string afterwards. Repeat the steps on the second, third, fourth, fifth and sixth string.

Bear in mind the following when you are having the exercise. Avoid any excessive movement such as tilting up of the fingers when you are supposed to press the strings. Make sure every movement is done with the shortest distance. For example, minimize the movement of your pick and keep your fingers as close to the frets as you can. Last but not the least, make all the movements relaxingly.

In part 2:

Electric Guitar Lesson for Beginners (Part 2)

we’ll be looking at how to tune your guitar.

See you!