Music Theory for Guitar: Major Scales

I’ve talked before about the music theory behind guitar scales some, but for this guitar lesson, I want to back up just a bit.

In that lesson, we learned that a scale is simply a group of notes (pitches) arranged in ascending and descending order. There are different types of scales: major, pentatonic, melodic minor, harmonic minor, whole tone, etc. We’re not going to get into the differences between each one in this lesson, but we are going to look explicitly at the major scale. Most of the music we hear on the radio is based on the major scale, so if we know the major scale, this will give us a huge foundation from which we’ll learn other things in the future.

Before we talk more about the major scale, we need to know about half steps and whole steps. All of the pitches (C, D, E, F, G, A, B) are separated by whole steps except that E to F and B to C are separated by half steps.

If you start on the 1st fret of the low E string, which is an F note, and move up one fret to the 2nd fret of the low E string, which is an F#, you’ve moved up one half step. If you were to move up two frets, you would have moved up a whole step. A whole step equals two half steps. […]

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11 Easy Guitar Lessons for Beginners

One of the most challenging aspects as a beginning guitar player can be knowing where to start. That’s why I introduce to you Guitar Friendly’s twelve easy guitar lessons for beginners. These guitar lessons are perfect for beginners and an excellent place to start.

1.) Frequently Asked Questions by Beginning Guitarists – Are you thinking about playing guitar? Did you just take the dive into learning guitar? Find out some answers to the most frequently questions asked by beginning guitar players like: how much will I need to devote to practicing guitar? how bad do your fingers hurt when you first start playing? is it better to learn on electric guitar or acoustic guitar? how much is guitar going to cost me? These are just a few questions.

2.) Basic Guitar Chord Chart Library – If you are a complete beginner, then you will want to start learning the basic finger positions for guitar chords.

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How to Tune a Guitar in Standard Tuning

It’s an absolute necessity that every guitar player have a guitar tuner. If you don’t have one, go out and buy one (check out our review of the best guitar tuners). Tuning the guitar by ear is a difficult thing to do for most people, and even if you can tune your guitar by ear, a guitar tuner will likely give you the most accurate tuning.

If your guitar is even slightly out of tune, it will sound really bad. It’s important when your first learning how to play guitar to have a tuned guitar, because an out of tune guitar will make you much worse than you really are. Talk about discouraging!

Tuning Your Guitar by Ear

Before we try to use the audio samples below to tune our guitar by ear, we need to discuss a bit about tuning your guitar. If you go from the lowest string (the fattest string) to the highest string (the thinnest string), standard tuning is where the the guitar is tuned to the notes EADGBE. […]

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The Parts of the Guitar

There are many different types of guitars: acoustic, electric, classical, acoustic-electric, but generally, they all have some distinguishing parts in common.

Parts of the Acoustic Guitar

Starting at the very right in this picture, we have the headstock. The headstock holds all the tuners. Each of the strings wrap around the tuning pegs of the tuners and rest on the string grooves of the nut (plastic or bone) on the guitar as they are laid out across the fretboard. From this angle, we only see the fretboard. The fretboard lays on top of the neck of the guitar. On some guitars, the wood for the fretboard will be different than the neck.

The frets are the “bumps” or bars that lay perpendicularly across the fretboard. Sometimes the frets will be to long on the fretboard so you might feel the frets poke or rub your hands in an uncomfortable way as you move your hands up and down the neck of the guitar. Luthiers, or people who make guitars or work on guitars can fix this problem by filing down your frets.

At the body of the guitar, we have the sound hole, which allows the sound to be amplified and project out of the guitar. The strings go over the sound hole and then meet at the bridge. On the bridge, we have the saddle, which is similar to the nut in that it has grooves for the strings to rest on. When a string is plucked on the guitar […]

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5 Tips for Buying Your First Guitar

Buying Your First GuitarSo, you’ve decided you want to learn how to play guitar, but how do you go about choosing or buying your first guitar? You may have noticed already if you’ve been in any music store that there are hundreds of options before you. However, it’s not as overwhelming as it might seem.

1.) Consider Your Learning Goals

Before you drop some dough on a guitar, you need to think through what types of music you want to be able to play or the style of music you want to play. Somebody who wants to play jazz guitar isn’t going to get the same guitar as someone who wants to play metal. And somebody who wants to play folk music is going to stay far away from the guitars a metal guy/girl is going to look at (well, generally, anyways!).

Who are your favorite artists? Who do you want to sound like?

If you can start to answer these questions, it really starts eliminating the type of guitar you might consider buying. […]

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Frequently Asked Questions by Pre-Beginning Guitarists

Beginning Guitar QuestionsAre you considering to learn how to play guitar? If you are, you might have quite a few questions rolling through your mind. These are some common questions that I’ve been asked by beginning guitar players.

Click on a question below to jump to the answer:

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4 Guitar Performance Tips for Overcoming Nerves & Anxiety

When I took public speaking in college, I found out that some surveys report that public speaking ranks as one of the biggest fears for people, even above death, heights, spiders, and flying. For many, this statistic also translates into a fear of performing on stage in front of a large group of people or just playing your guitar for a group of friends.

I started playing piano when I was six. I remember in second grade I entered into a talent show at my school for piano. I played a piece for the judge and I ended up doing so well that I got asked to perform it for a special music piece for the church affiliated with the school. My response to the invitation was absolutely, “NO WAY! Are you crazy?! In front of all those people?”

This story just goes to say that a lot of people have a talent and gift for guitar but hesitate to share their gift because of fear and anxiety. However, performing guitar doesn’t have to be as intimidating as it might seem and can actually be really fun. Here are few guitar performance tips. […]

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Introducing: GuitarGear.org

At Guitar Friendly, I’ve focused most of my efforts on the more instructional aspect of guitar with lessons, tips, tricks, etc. and I’ve had many people tell me that Guitar Friendly has been a really helpful resource for them in this way. However, what I don’t cover a lot here (although I do sometimes) is the other side of playing guitar that focuses on gear like: guitars, amps, effects, etc. That’s why I’m excited to introduce a new guitar blog to you: GuitarGear.org.

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How Do I Start Out as a Beginning Guitar Player?

Beginner Guitar PlayerSo you want to learn how to play the guitar, but where do you even begin? Whenever you start something new it might feel a little daunting, but generally, if you keep these few things in mind, you’ll be off to a great start.

Identify Your Goals

Why do you want to learn how to play the guitar? Do you want to just be able to sit on your front porch and pick the blues? Or maybe you aspire for fame and want to write your own song? Whatever it is, it’s important to know your goals, so that way you know how to best practice the guitar.

Someone who is just playing the guitar for fun will have a different attitude towards practice than someone who wants to play guitar professionally. Different goals require different amounts of work and time. Recognize these things and be okay with them. One goal is not better than another. You have to pick ones that are most realistic and desirable for yourself.

Find a Source of Instruction

In order to learn how to play the guitar, you need to be taught in some form. This does not necessarily mean you have to sign up for private lessons or find a local instructor (although this isn’t a bad idea), but you do have to find some source of guitar instruction. This just might be a friend you know who plays guitar and inspired you to learn guitar, or it might mean searching for instructional videos on Youtube.

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Guitar Scales for Beginners 101

Learning guitar scales is one of the best ways to start learning how to solo and improvise over the guitar fretboard. In this guitar lesson, we will not only learn two guitar scales: major and pentatonic, but we’ll also learn when to use these scales and when not to use them.

Major Guitar Scale

In a previous lesson, we learned the theory behind a major scale. We learned exactly what makes a major scale a major scale and how to build a major scale from any starting note. For this lesson, let’s look at the C major scale on the guitar fretboard. […]

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