Basic Guitar Knowledge

Basic Guitar Knowledge

Lesson Description

This lesson covers the parts of the acoustic and electric guitar, tuning, proper right and left hand technique, and a simple exercise to get your fingers moving and practice proper technique.  It is normal to find this exercise difficult at first.  It is OK to move forward with the lessons after practicing this exercise for a few days even if you do not have it mastered.  It is a work in progress.

Lesson Exercise

Practice the finger exercise presented in lesson #1. If you are having trouble stretching your fingers, remember it takes time and practice. Watch this Quick Tip video.

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Jam Tracks

There are no Jam Tracks for this lesson.

Video Transcript

In lesson one today we’re gonna talk about some basic guitar knowledge before you even pick

the guitar up and start picking or playing you need to know some basic knowledge. first we’re

gonna talk about the parts of the guitar here we have the body this is the bridge this is your

sound hole this is what allows the sound to come out and amplify these obviously are your

strings. this piece right here is called the neck these silver things right here are the frets this

white piece right here is the nut this piece right here as a whole is called the head or the

headstock these are your tuning pegs that allow you to tune the strings if you’re playing electric

guitar the parts are pretty much the same there is a few minor differences. again this is the body

the neck the head or headstock you got your frets you got the nut you got your tuning pegs on

an electric guitar you got pick ups that pick up the sound to be amplified through your amplifier

on this guitar this is a Fender Telecaster deluxe which has two humbucking pick ups so this pick

up back here is referred to your treble or bridge pickup because it’s closest to the bridge right

here this pickup right here is referred to as your neck pickup becausee it’s closest to the neck.

you toggle between these two with your toggle switch right here. so with the toggle switch in the

down position you are using your bridge pickup. with the toggle switch in the middle position you

are suing both pickups together. with the toggle switch in the up position you are using your

neck pickup. on an electric guitar you have these controls that control your pickups these are

volume for each pickup volume for your bridge pickup volume for your neck pickup tone for your

bridge pickup and tone for your neck pickup tone with adjust your treble of bass ofor each

pickup. now we’re gonna be talking about how to tune your guitar which is one of the most

important things when playing guitar cause you want to make sure you’re in tune or anything

you play will not sound right there’s a lot of different ways you can tune your guitar the easiest

way for a beginner who’s ear is not trained yet is to use an electric tuner I have this electric

tuner. It’s a pedal version there’s much cheaper that you can buy with meters there’s ones you

can stick on the head of your guitar that picks up the vibrations and you can tune that way 10,

15, 20 bucks is really all you need to spend on a tuner but it makes it a lot easier when you’re

first starting out and I’m going to show you how to use an electric tuner i’ll also show you how to

tune by ear as you can see here i have a tuner with a cable going into it that’s becaise my

acoustic guitar has a pickup in it. yours may not if your guitar does not have a pickup in it make

sure you get a tuner with a microphone on it all the principle still apply on how to read the

meters which notes your tuning we’re gonna tune the first string on the guitar which is this one

right here and that string should be tuned to E so you want to make sure that when you hit your

tuner its showing an E and then the idea is you want the meter to be right in the middle this one

when it’s in tune it’s gonna show a green light yours might just have a meter on it that you want

right in the middle at zero so we pick that and we tune our tuning peg for that string until it hits

right in the middle like that it might jump around a little bit but as long as its on the green you’re

good. so the red light thats back here that means your string is flat so you want to tighten it ok

so we’ll go to our next string which is the B string and as you can see I’m pretty much in tune I

might be a little sharp so adjust that And now we’re in tune the next string the third string that

should be tuned to a G see there we’re in tune the next string is the fourth string that should be

tuned to D pretty close there the fifth string should be tuned to A we’re in tune there and the

sixth string should be tuned to E thats how you use your electric tuner now you want to make

sure again that when you pick the string it’s showing the correct note cause if it’s showing C

you’d be cranking it to C and it’s not going to be right. OK if you don’t have an electronic tuner

and you’re trying to tune by ear this is the way you want to do it first you’re going to need a point

of reference so you’ll either needa, if you have a piano at home, a keyboard, youcould probably

find something online that will give yu a reference note a pitch pipe will also work These easiest

thing to do is tune to what’s called concert A, youre gonna tune your fifth string your A string to

whatever reference you have pian a keyboard pitch pipe so we’re gonna assume that that is in

concert A which its also referred to as four forty so once that’s in tune then we’re gonna tune our

sixth E string to that string So what we have to do is we have to find A on the E string and that

would be right here at the fifth fret so youre gonna push that string down on the fifth fret your

gonna hit that and your fifth string A thats already in tune together. And makes sure that those

sounds match up and those are in tune then you’re gonna move down and you’re gonna play a

D on your fifth string and then you’re gonna play the fourth string which is D, and make sure

those match up then we’re gonna move down again the fifth fret on the D string we’re gonna

find a G this is G on the D string we’re gonna match that up to our open G string which is the

third string make sure those sound alike now I’m gonna make this go out of tune so you know

what to listen for you can hear that that doesn't sound very good now what you want to be

listening for are what are called beats anytime you have 2 sound waves that are close but not

quite the same they’re gonna beat against each other you’re gonna hear this wavering so what

you listen for you can hear that wave going like this you're gonna tune it so that wave gets

further and further apart until you don’t hear it anymore now did you hear it smooth out now

we’re back to being tuned to G, so that's what you wanna listen for is those beating waves

against each other its kind of complicated it will take a while for your ear to adjust to that so now

we have our six string E in tune our fifth string A in tune our fourth string D in tune and our third

string G in tune now we have to find B on the G string which is right here on the fourth fret play

that along with the second string which is supposed to be B and those sound alike then we’re

gonna find E on our now tuned B string which is back to the fifth fret right here lay that and out

first string together and make sure those sound alike that’s how you tune by ear youre gonna

want to double check that a couple of times sometimes if your guitar is really out of tune by the

time you get to your high E string or your first string the rest might be out of tune again and its

going to take a couple of times and that’s how you tune by ear. Now we're gonna talk about the

proper way to hold the guitar. As you can see the guitar has an arch right here this fits pretty

perfectly over your thigh. so for guys you can hold it like this this would maybe be more

appropriate for a woman. that will sit pretty comfortable over your thigh. Now, your righthand

you want your forearm right here resting comfortably on the body of the guitar about right here

in this area. you want the palm of your hand this part right here to rest lightly on the bridge not

in front to where your muting the strings right behind there. that gives you a good pivot point

it'll give your rght hand a lot more control. you definitely don't want to be floating around out

here. At least for the exercises we'll be doing in the beginning here. so you wanna plant that so

you can pivot right there on the bridge of the guitar. now your left hand you want your thumb on

the back of the neck like that not the pad, you want the pad of your thumb not the tip you dont

want to hold it like this you want to hold it like that then you want to wrap your hands around so

that when you're pressing down on the fret that your fingers are arched like that so you always

want to be playing with the tips of your fingers not the pads of your fingers you always want to

try to b e on your tips. your fingers are going to get really sore at first but that will go away over

time as you practice. so you want to wrap it around and arch your fingers like this. you always

want to be able to have a gap between your palm here and the bottom of the neck. you don't

want to be resting the palm up against the bottom of the neck. you should always be able to fit

a pencil between there or something. ok now we're going to go bakc to our right hand we got

our palm lightly on the bridge our pivot point. you gonna hold your pick with either your thumb

and two fingers or your thumb and your first fingereither way is acceptable. you do not want to

hold the pick like this. This is kind of a bad habit to start. So that would be the proper way to

hold it or like that. so with our right hand resting on the bridge i just want you to pick the sixth

string, that's your E string and just pick one time down. Now we do something in guitar called

alternating picking where you do down strokes and upstrokes so goingdown toward the floor

would be a downstroke and going up would be an upstroke. So i just want you to hit the sixth

string the E string that's also referred to as the low E string I want you to hit that four times

alternating your picking up and down. so one, two, three, four. now i want you to go down to the

fifth string that's your A string iwant you to pick that four times alternating your picking. Now

we're gonna go to the fourth string that's your D string. pick that four times. now to our third

string which is G pick that four times. remember to keep your palm rested on the bridge pick

our second string that's B pick that four times and finally our first string which is E or often

referred to as the high E string pick that four times. Just make sure before you move on you

have that alternating method down. its also really important to memorize the notes of the open

strings when i say open strings i mean the note that you're playing without putting any fingers

down with your left hand so when i pick this string the sixth string, that is a low E or an E note.

the fifth string is A fourth string is D the third string is G second string is B and the first string is

E or high E. it's important to memorize those notes. I wouldnt worry about memorizing any other

notes on the fret board accept for the open strings for now. now we're going to finish up the

lesson and I'm going to show you a simple exercise incorporating our left and right hand this is

just a simple exercise to work on your muscle memory and your finger dexterity your

coordination between your right and your left and right hands, so with your left hand now, thumb

on the back of the neck arched fingers playing with your finger tip, with your first finger that

would be your index finger, on the fifth fret now when you fret you want to be right behind the

actual fret. the silver piece. you want to be right behind it. as close to it as you possibly can

without being on top of it. that will give you the best tone, the best sound. if you're back here a

lot of times you'll get kind of a bad buzzing sound so you want to be right up against that fret

that will give you a nice clear tone. so now with your right hand technique palm on the bridge i

want you to press down you're gonna have to press down really hard i want you to pick that

four tines alternating your picking. Now, with your second finger i want you to go one fret up on

the sixth fret leaving your first finger down pick that four times. then with your third finger your

ring finger go to the next fret up thats the seventh fret still leaving all fo your fingers down pick

thatfour times. and finally your pinky or your fourth finger on the eigth fret remember the whole

time to be alternating your picking up and down strokes. Now we're going to go to the A string

and do the exact same thing starting with our first finger four times. Second finger, third finger,

fourth finger. then we're going to go to the fourth string the D string same thing again this is just

an exercise to get your fingers moving and build up the coordination between your left and right

hand. we're just going to work all the way down on all the strings. when you get to there, I want

you to go backwards all the way down until you get back to where you started. Go as slow as

you need to go if its thats fine it's better to be slow and precise than fast and sloppy. you can

always work up to faster. Now once you get that down where you're playing each note twice

then I want you to just play each note one time you're still with your palm on the bridge still

alternating your picking and what you're really working toward is something that sounds like

this. Once you get it down slow you can work on your speed. Now i want you to practice this all

over the neck. so you can start on the first fret... then go to the second fret... third fret... and so

on. all the way down. now i want you to make sure that your notes are even. evenly spaced out.

so you want to avoid being like.. you want to make sure they are all even. You especially want

to work on going from one string to the next. When you go from your pinky to your first finger

back down here to the A string. So you want to make sure you have smooth transitions going

from each string. So once you get that down then you'll be ready for lesson two but I would

strongly encourage you to not move on until you can play that pretty smoothly without thinking

about it too much.