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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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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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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How to Play the 12 Bar Blues on Guitar

This is a guest post by Matt Warnock from Guitar Player Daily. Today, Matt will be talking with us about how to play the 12 bar blues on guitar.

The 12-bar blues is one of the most common chord progression in traditional blues music, jazz, country, rock, pop, funk and almost every other genre of modern music. The simplicity of the chords and the easy to follow form of the 12-bar blues have made it a favorite songwriting, and soloing, vehicle for guitarists as diverse as Buddy Holly, Muddy Waters, Pat Metheny and Slash. By learning to recognize the basic form of the 12-bar blues, and which chords make up this form, we will be well on our way to jamming along with some of our favorite songs and artists. […]

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How to Transpose or Change the Key of a Chord Chart

What do you do if you find a chord chart of your favorite song, but it’s not in the right key?

The term transpose simply refers to changing the key of a song. You can transpose a piece to either a lower pitch or a higher pitch. So for example, you find a chord chart is in the key of A but you want to play it in the key of G. Surprisingly, this isn’t very difficult to do if you know a small bit of the theory behind it.

Let’s look at this.

Scales and Roman Numerals

Each song is generally based upon a scale. Most popular songs that you play on the guitar are based on the major scale. There are seven notes in a scale. So in the key of C major, you have the notes: C D E F G A B.

The chords of that song are then built off of each note of the scale, which would give you seven chords for that key. However, each of these chords will have a different sound. Based upon a major scale, some chords will be major, others minor, and one chord will be diminished.

We don’t have time to look into how each of these chords are built, but a major scale has this structure, which can be represented by roman numerals:

I ii iii IV V vi vii^o

The uppercase roman numerals represent major chords. The lowercase roman numerals represent minor chords. The lowercase roman numeral with the superscript circle represents a diminished chord.

So let’s take a C major scale and use the above roman numerals. In a C major scale, you will have the following chords […]

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Major Triad Positions: One Way to Learn the Guitar Fretboard

Are you up for a challenge?

In a recent previous post, “Guitar Lessons: Scales & Learning the Guitar Fretboard,” I mentioned a few things you can put into practice to master the guitar fretboard. One of these suggestions was to learn your triads over the fretboard. Triads can help “connect the dots” for how individual notes across the fretboard interact and relate to one other.

Just a forewarning, this discussion needs some understanding of how guitar scales work. This might make more sense to more intermediate players. If you are just beginning, you will want to check out guitar scales explained.

What are triads?

A triad is a group of three notes played simultaneously. Triads are made up of one note with a major third and a perfect fifth above it. In plain speak, a triad is just a three note chord. There are different types of triads: major, minor, augmented, and diminished.

For now, we just want to talk about and focus on major triads. If we understand major triads, we can understand the other ones better. […]

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Guitar Lessons: Scales & Learning the Guitar Fretboard

It’s true that knowing guitar scales and learning the guitar fretboard is invaluable for taking your playing to the next level. A knowledge and understanding of your instrument opens up a wide variety of creative possibilities (e.g. soloing, improvising, etc.) for how you actually play your instrument.

In the past, we’ve explained the theory behind guitar scales and we’ve also took a more in depth look at how to build a major scale. This information is essential to your growth, but we’ve never really had any guitar lessons that look at the ways you can actually learn guitar scales and learn the guitar fretboard.

In this guitar lesson on scales, let’s look at a three ways you can learn guitar scales and learn the guitar fretboard […]

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So, You Want to Learn How to Play Guitar?

In talking with a lot of my non-musical friends about music, it’s not uncommon for me to hear them saying something like, “Oh, I wish I knew how to play guitar. It’s such a cool instrument.”

At my university, all students, regardless of your major, are required to take two applied arts courses. Some will take voice, others piano, and the really weird ones will take theatre (kidding of course!). However, most people take at least one guitar class.

What I’m noticing is that there is just something that draws people to want to play the guitar. I’m not sure if it is because everyone and their mother seems to know how to play and they feel left out, or if it’s because it seems cool. And to be real, playing guitar tends to be seen as a cool thing.

I’m not sure what it is, but if you find yourself drawn to learn how to play guitar, there are a few things to keep in mind before you get yourself into it.

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