Acoustic Guitar for Beginners- Lesson 2 – Fingering chords
In order to begin enjoying the acoustic or electric guitar, one has to master chording, strumming and perhaps picking (whether flat-picking or finger-picking). Chording the guitar is fairly simple, but very challenging at first. One must persist in order to build strength, muscle memory, and fluidity, but with consistency, a beginner acoustic guitar player can be playing songs in no time.
If one is a right-handed player, he/ she will chord with the left hand and fingertips while strumming or finger-picking with the right hand. All chords for guitars are written in a universal format regardless of the language and are known as guitar chord charts and tablature.
In order to understand guitar chord charts and tablature, one must learn how the fingers and thumb are numbered on the charts. The thumb is universally marked as a “T”. The pointer or index finger is finger #1, the middle finger is #2, the ring finger is #3 and the small finger is #4. Whenever one views tablature charts and guitar chords, they are marked with the 6 strings as lines going in 1 direction and the frets as lines perpendicular to the 6 string lines. The fingers are depicted as numbered dots on specific frets and strings. (see example 1) Every chord is a specific combination of fingertips on the correct strings, and the correct frets.
While forming chords with the left hand, one should keep the wrist fairly straight and relaxed, and the fingers should be curled as if holding an imaginary egg. The fingertips of the left hand press the strings firmly into the fretboard on the appropriate strings. The particular chord in example 1 is a G. Please see the rest of the basic chords on the chart to learn and practice other common chords. Ultimately, the beginning guitar player should practice switching between different chords until it becomes fluid, fast and natural. At first, a beginning player will have to refer to the charts and work slowly to get the right placement, but with time and consistency, playing common guitar chords will become second nature.
Strumming should begin with a basic down strum. Hold the pick comfortably between the right index finger and the thumb (for a right-handed player). The index finger should be curled and the pick should be trapped with the thumb, without being too tight or applying too much pressure. If the tension is too great, strumming will be rigid and not sound very well. As one practices, the balance of the grip and strumming will improve, as will the strumming and the “touch” or “feel” of the player.
Begin strumming by listening to a clock or metronome. Strum down for each “tick”. Then work on your upward strums. Strum upward with each “tick” of the clock. Finally, learn to strum fluidly by alternating downward strums and upward strums together i.e. down-up-down-up-down-up and so on. With time, the strumming should become more smooth and even sounding.
This basic guitar lesson was provided by Aaron Schulman. An avid guitar player since 1990, he has built a website offering honest reviews about acoustic guitars. If you are searching for the best beginner acoustic guitar, be sure to read more at Strumviews.com.