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Learn Guitar 1: First Steps for Beginners

Welcome to Learn Guitar 1: First Steps for Beginners. Our accelerated, hands-on method is specifically designed to get you up and running on guitar quickly and painlessly.
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Overview

Welcome to Learn Guitar 1: First Steps for Beginners. Our accelerated, hands-on method is specifically designed to get you up and running on guitar quickly and painlessly. No reading music, no boring exercises, and no tedious theory to struggle through. You’ll be strumming your first beginner guitar chords, in the very first guitar lesson. In fact, you’ll play your way through the entire course! You’ll learn more guitar chord shapes, how to keep a steady rhythm on guitar, and how to change guitar chords smoothly. By the end of this guitar course, you’ll also have a handful of guitar songs in your repertoire. Our beginner guitar lessons are presented in easy-to-digest, bite-sized chunks so that you’ll never feel overwhelmed or frustrated. TrueFire educators guide you through our unique playalong practice sessions every step of the way, unlike other learning methods that send you off to practice on your own. Ready to finally learn how to play guitar? Grab your guitar and let’s dig in!

About

Learn how to play guitar with free online guitar lessons and interactive video guitar courses at TrueFire, the world's most comprehensive library of guitar video lessons.
Introduction

01: Introduction

Welcome to Learn Guitar 1: First Steps for Beginners! Glad you are here! Whether you have just picked up a guitar for the first time, or tried to play before but got frustrated and quit, we're going to get you playing now! So grab your guitar and let's get started!

1 min
How Do I Practice?

02: How Do I Practice?

Here's how this course will work: first I'll show you something, then I'll have you play it along with me. You should go over the Practice Session video as many times as you need to get it down. Once you have it, then move on to the next Practice Session, or the next lesson. This way you'll make sure you're progressing and getting a solid foundation. Take as long as you need, and don't just skim over anything. These lessons are designed to take you step by step, so if you gloss over anything you'll be missing some valuable skills you'll need later.

3 min
Foundations

03: Foundations

Here are just a few basic things you'll want to know about holding your guitar, the pick, and simple guitar knowledge. But don't worry too much about learning a ton of stuff before you get playing! Check out the info in this video and then get to the first lesson!

7 min
The E Minor Chord

04: The E Minor Chord

The Em chord is essentially the simplest chord to start off with. Plus, it sounds cool and is used in a ton of songs! So take your time to work on this one, making sure it sounds clean before you go on to the next chord.

5 min
The A Suz2 Chord

05: The A Suz2 Chord

Now let's look at a chord with a weird name (Asus2), but really simple fingering! It's just like our E minor but moved over a string. Don't worry if your fingers hurt after you practice - that will get better the more you play. Just keep at it!

3 min
Whole & Quarter Note Strums

06: Whole & Quarter Note Strums

Learning to play in time is really important! We're going to talk about whole notes and quarter notes here. During this course, you'll see the beat in numbers on the screen, as well as hear the metronome. This will help you hear and see the beat. Eventually you'll be able to tap your foot to the metronome or a drummer and know that you're synced up with the music.

2 min
Practice Session 1

07: Practice Session 1

Now let's use whole notes and quarter notes with the metronome. Keep a steady pace, and if you get off the beat or get a bit lost, just stop and count until you are back on and then start playing from there. Rhythm isn't easy, so don't get frustrated if it takes you a little while to get yourself in sync with the beat. It will get easier!

2 min
Practice Session 2

08: Practice Session 2

Now let's use whole notes and quarter notes with the metronome. Keep a steady pace, and if you get off the beat or get a bit lost, just stop and count until you are back on and then start playing from there. Rhythm isn't easy, so don't get frustrated if it takes you a little while to get yourself in sync with the beat. It will get easier!

2 min
Practice Session 3

09: Practice Session 3

Playing with the band! This is what it is all about - playing with other musicians and making music! Same as playing with the metronome, just relax and get your foot tapping to the beat, and if you get lost just count yourself back in and start again. Sometimes it can feel distracting when there are other instruments playing while you are, but just focus on the beat and you'll be jammin'!

2 min
Eighth Note Strums & Variation

10: Eighth Note Strums & Variation

Building the foundation of your rhythm is a matter of adding strums and different note values as you go. Here we'll take a look at the all-important eighth note strum. This will be really crucial to all the rhythms you do going forward so make sure you take the time to get this down. The "Up" strum is where a lot of cool accents come in so you'll find it starts to get more fun here!

3 min
Practice Session 4

11: Practice Session 4

Let's play some quarter and eighth note strums. The on-screen beat keeper will help you with the beat and the little pick icons show you when to strum (when you see the pick pointing upward that's your eighth note up strum). Take your time and don't forget to keep your right hand moving down, up, down, up constantly!

2 min
Practice Session 5

12: Practice Session 5

Let's play some quarter and eighth note strums. The on-screen beat keeper will help you with the beat and the little pick icons show you when to strum (when you see the pick pointing upward that's your eighth note up strum). Take your time and don't forget to keep your right hand moving down, up, down, up constantly!

2 min
Practice Session 6

13: Practice Session 6

Now we'll play with the band. It's really starting to sound like music now! Keep that right hand moving and keep it relaxed. If you find yourself getting tense, just stop, stretch out your hands, shake out your shoulders, take a few deep breaths and start again. Being tense when you play is not good, so be aware of how you feel and chillax! You are a musician!

2 min
The E Chord

14: The E Chord

OK, we have to learn some other chords so we can play some songs, starting with our E Chord. Get the fingering down and make sure you are getting all the notes to ring out. Playing up close to the upper part of the fret will make the notes clean with no buzzing. These are the chords that ALL pro musicians play, not just for beginners! You're playing the same stuff here that thousands of songs use - so have fun!

2 min
The A Chord

15: The A Chord

Here is our A Chord; get the fingering down and make sure you are getting all the notes to ring out. Playing up close to the upper part of the fret will make the notes clean with no buzzing. These are the chords that ALL pro musicians play, not just for beginners! You're playing the same stuff here that thousands of songs use - so have fun!

2 min
The D Chord

16: The D Chord

Here is our D Chord; get the fingering down and make sure you are getting all the notes to ring out. Playing up close to the upper part of the fret will make the notes clean with no buzzing. These are the chords that ALL pro musicians play, not just for beginners! You're playing the same stuff here that thousands of songs use - so have fun!

2 min
Switching Between E, A & D

17: Switching Between E, A & D

While there are some songs that just have one chord in them, that can get pretty boring pretty fast! So here we're going to learn to switch back and forth between the three chords we just learned. Take as much time as you need to do this! Practice the first slow session until you get the switching comfortable.

4 min
Practice Session 7

18: Practice Session 7

Switching chords with the beat can seem intimidating, but going slow really helps. This is in a slow tempo to help you be successful. If you have trouble switching, just think about where your fingers will go in the next chord as soon as you strum the last one.

2 min
Practice Session 8

19: Practice Session 8

Same chords, just changing our strum a bit. There gets to be more to think about here as you're changing chords with your fretting hand and changing strums with your picking hand. Take your time and work on this as long as you have to in order to get it down before you move on to the next session.

2 min
Practice Session 9

20: Practice Session 9

This is a little bit faster, so if you have trouble with this speed, just go back to the last practice session and work on that until you have it and then try this one again.

2 min
Practice Session 10

21: Practice Session 10

This could be a rhythm groove in any song, and it sounds great! So make sure you get the strums down and if you have to pause, remember you can just do quarter notes or even just whole notes! Whole notes will sound great with the band keeping the groove going and you just playing on the first beat of each measure as you switch chords!

2 min
More Rhythm Variations

22: More Rhythm Variations

There are a ton of rhythmic variations out there, and as we talked about before, you'll be learning more and more and adding to your arsenal of strumming patterns as you go. Don't be afraid to experiment but remember to always keep it solid! Simple and solid is always better than complex and sloppy!

3 min
Learning to Play Songs

23: Learning to Play Songs

No guitar player ever starts to play because they want to learn scales, or study theory, or play licks....they pick up the guitar because they want to learn songs! Once you master a few chords like you've done, then you have lots of options for playing songs! For these next few songs I'm going to show you, the rhythm changes but we're using the same three chords! These three chords will give you a thousand songs!

1 min
Crazy Thing

24: Crazy Thing

Let's look at some simple changes to a classic song. Play this as slow as you need to get the timing down, then when ready tackle doing it with the band!

2 min
Practice Session 11

25: Practice Session 11

Keep thinking of the beat here even if the drums and bass are sounding cool! Your job is to just drop your guitar part into the mix. If this is too fast, it may be best to work on it for a while without the backing track and even set your metronome to a much slower tempo until you get the changes and the rhythm down. It's better to get it down slow and steady and then gradually work it up to speed. So take as much time as you need doing it slow before you jam with the band!

1 min
Glorious Gal

26: Glorious Gal

These changes seem pretty straight forward, but remember to think about getting your fingers in place as smoothly as possible. Practice it slowly until you get the changes down.

2 min
Practice Session 12

27: Practice Session 12

Keep thinking of the beat here even if the drums and bass are sounding cool! Your job is to just drop your guitar part into the mix. If this is too fast, it may be best to work on it for a while without the backing track and even set your metronome to a much slower tempo until you get the changes and the rhythm down. It's better to get it down slow and steady and then gradually work it up to speed, so take as much time as you need doing it slow before you jam with the band!

1 min
Louie Times Two

28: Louie Times Two

An interesting combination of chords, many people play this song wrong by using the E Major chord in there, which actually sounds pretty cool as well! Getting the timing of this one down will help you "feel" different rhythms, so make sure you can hum it without the guitar as that can help you get your feel for it.

3 min
Practice Session 13

29: Practice Session 13

Keep thinking of the beat here even if the drums and bass are sounding cool! Your job is to just drop your guitar part into the mix. If this is too fast, it may be best to work on it for a while without the backing track and even set your metronome to a much slower tempo until you get the changes and the rhythm down. It's better to get it down slow and steady and then gradually work it up to speed, so take as much time as you need doing it slow before you jam with the band!

1 min
Rockin’ America

30: Rockin’ America

More chord switching here and this may take a little getting used to, so take your time with this one. Going half speed to get the timing down is perfectly acceptable!

3 min
Practice Session 14

31: Practice Session 14

Keep thinking of the beat here even if the drums and bass are sounding cool! Your job is to just drop your guitar part into the mix. If this is too fast, it may be best to work on it for a while without the backing track and even set your metronome to a much slower tempo until you get the changes and the rhythm down. It's better to get it down slow and steady and then gradually work it up to speed, so take as much time as you need doing it slow before you jam with the band!

1 min
The Things I Like

32: The Things I Like

All of the rhythms we've done until now have been just the same pattern over and over. However, many songs will have one pattern for a couple of measures, then a different one, etc. This song changes things up a bit with one variation. Go slow at first and make sure you're putting the variation in there before you get it up to speed. If you can play this one, you're ready for anything!

3 min
Practice Session 15

33: Practice Session 15

Keep thinking of the beat here even if the drums and bass are sounding cool! Your job is to just drop your guitar part into the mix. If this is too fast, it may be best to work on it for a while without the backing track and even set your metronome to a much slower tempo until you get the changes and the rhythm down. It's better to get it down slow and steady and then gradually work it up to speed, so take as much time as you need doing it slow before you jam with the band!

1 min
Wrap Up & Next Steps

34: Wrap Up & Next Steps

Congratulations! You're a guitar player! If you've worked through all of these lessons, then you're definitely in the game. No turning back now! If some of these lessons were difficult, that's fine, just go back to the one that you feel comfortable doing and keep working on that. Remember, if you follow the lessons in this course and get them down one at a time you'll be progressing!

1 min