Guitar learning resources?

I finally bought a guitar (from this thread, and I’m looking for a good book/dvd to learn from. (I know lessons are the best and will be signing up for private lessons once the guitar is paid off… no worries there).

I want to learn all types of guitar playing. I got an Epiphone Les Paul Special II electric and want to play everything from classical to heavy metal.

Suggestions? The reviews on Amazon only get me so far.

First off, I’d get a chord book or find diagrams online and learn to make chords. If you know chords, you can play many, many songs.

I’d start with G, C, and D. Many songs use this pattern; it’s very popular in country music. My first song to play was Sweet Home Alabama. All it uses is D, C, and G (with some picking for intros and solos, but you can get by with just the basic chords)

E, A, and B are blues chords if you’re into that sort of thing.

You’ll eventually need to learn F, which most people find most difficult but it is a common chord in many songs.

The minor chords, Em, Am, and Bm are semi frequent as well.

Once you learn these 10 chords and can switch between them seamlessly, you are ready for almost any song.
Practice every day, even if it’s only for 20 minutes. The more you play (and more often), the faster your hands and fingers get used to where they go on the neck.

After you’ve got a few chords down and are looking for songs you think you might like to play, has good tabs and chords.

Congratulations on the new guitar, FilmGeek! I hope you two will be very happy together.

I agree with your OP re lessons – they’re really indispensable. Having said that, there are about a zillion books available, although you may find the crap/quality ratio is pretty high. I’ve seen a boatload of free video guitar lessons on YouTube, but the same warning applies.

If at all possible, try to play guitar every day, even for a few minutes. Your left hand and wrist will get sore, as well as your fingertips, but be patient, this passes after a relatively short time.

I think feppytweed’s advice is good – go find a chord chart, and learn as many of the open major and minor chords as you can, in the order feppytweed mentions (although I’d add Dm).

After (or during) that, pick a song you’d like to play, find the tablature if you can, and work on it. For your first assignment, choose something simple using open chords. “House of the Rising Sun” is a perennial beginner’s song if you like that one. Its four or five chords, picked as arpeggios, so it works out your chord-changing muscles as well as your picking accuracy. But it really is a dead-simple song. My son, who is nine, picked it up pretty quickly, although I can’t say his rendition is very smooth yet. :slight_smile: Or choose another song, and give yourself a time limit to learn it, or give yourself a reward when you can play along with a recording of that song without too many mistakes.

ETA: report back here and tell us how you’re doing, once you’ve chosen how you’d like to proceed, and have taken some baby steps.

Good luck!!

House Of The Rising Sun lyrics and chords.
ETA: Diagrams of the chords are displayed on mouseover. (But omit the base-E – at the bottom – of the F chord.)

You don’t pick the lowest note of the F chord to play that song, so I can see why they’d omit it; it certainly makes that chord easier to finger.

ETA: wait a sec – when I wave my mouse over the F chord, I do see all six string positions are defined.

They didn’t omit it. They show it. But you’re right; it’s a lot easier to finger without it. I never do the base-E, and it was only when I saw it on that page that I remembered that ‘properly’ it should be there.

Ah, I misunderstood you – I thought you were complaining that the chord chart was incorrect. Sorry![/hijack]

I’ve been playing for 20+ years, so I’ll give you my advice for what it’s worth…

First, learn how to read tablature. This was great for me when I started learning. As a matter of fact, I still can’t sight read regular music notation very well. When learning a new tune, I almost always go find the tab somewhere.

Second, as others have said above, learn your open position chords. Once you know them, you can move them up and down the neck (bar chords) and expand your chordal vocabulary.

Third, get a metronome. THIS IS REALLY IMPORTANT!! I can’t tell you how many guitar players I’ve come across that can play licks for days, but you sit them with a drummer and their rhythm timing is crap. Once you get to the point of learning strumming and picking techniques, a metronome is indispensible.

Fourth, start playing along to some of your favorite tunes. You can find the tab to almost anything on the web. Try and learn your favorite song and play along to it. It’ll sound like poo at first, but it’ll come with practice. Even if you can’t find tablature, play along anyway. Start playing any old notes you want. You’ll start to hear with your ear what sounds good and what doesn’t. Developing my ears was probably the hardest part for me when I was starting out, but once I did, everything came much easier.

That’s all I got…

I’ve been playing for 25 years, but only now am I learning barre chords. It was so easy to play the songs I wanted to play just by strumming chords up near the head. Now I’m getting into electric guitars* and I’m taking lessons that focus on the barre chords. It’s almost like starting from scratch! My fingers don’t know where to go. I need to sit down and practice until they do. But in any case, there are a LOT of songs that can be played up near the head.

*I bought a '96 Tele, built another Tele from 2008 American parts, I’m modifying a Squier Tele, and I just couldn’t resist the Epiphone Les Paul Plus Top (Cherry Sunburst) I found. :o

I got a question about online tabs. Are they often… wrong? I’ve had to put my guitar lessons on hiatus for time reasons, and I was trying to work out something with online tabs and it Just Did Not Sound Right. I played the piano for decades and minored in it in college, but that isn’t really “chord-centered”, you know, so I’m thinking maybe my ears just aren’t tuned to this completely different way of thinking about music. But I tried two or three folkish songs and they sounded wrong, wrong, wrong.

[quote=“Johnny_L.A, post:9, topic:470810”]

I’ve been playing for 25 years, but only now am I learning barre chords. It was so easy to play the songs I wanted to play just by strumming chords up near the head. Now I’m getting into electric guitars* and I’m taking lessons that focus on the barre chords. It’s almost like starting from scratch! My fingers don’t know where to go. I need to sit down and practice until they do. But in any case, there are a LOT of songs that can be played up near the head.


Dude, that’s great. :slight_smile: More power to you. Keep with it. New chord voicings open up all kinds of possibilities…

Somtimes they are wrong, yes. Specifically, ones you can download from the internet, however most of the time they’re close. Most of the tabs you buy in your standard music books at Guitar Center are, for the most part, very close if not spot on.

The problem with music notation for guitar (as with some other instruments) is that it’s very hard to notate the inflections and feel of the original performance. That’s what gives a guitar player his style. I can sit down and learn the entire AC/DC catalogue note for note (and I have :D) and still not come close to sounding like Angus (and I don’t ;)).

And by the way, I’ve built my own tele too. :stuck_out_tongue: Build thread here:

I’ve been teaching guitar (among other things) for about 15 years. I work with all age and experience levels. For beginning guitarists (including those up to about a year’s time with the instrument) I almost always use this book as my teaching resource.

It’s a fantastic method book that easily teaches chords, progressions, rhythms, melody and music reading. It’s got a great reference section of chords and theory as well.
Before I ever start teaching advanced techniques, concepts and styles I test students with the material in the book and consider the information in there to be a prerequisite to further study.

I am completely self-taught so the wrong person to offer advice - I just want to say congrats and keep at it!! And, as I have said a number of new to / learning guitar threads - make sure your guitar is properly set up!!

And **BigShooter **- I assume you visited the last Guitar Building project thread I started - did you see that body I got? I’m pretty psyched! (sorry for the hijack!)

Another thing to mention that I don’t think I saw up thread:

Get a tuner


learn relative tuning, ie the low E string in the 5th fret is an A, and so on. That way, if you don’t have a tuner, the guitar will at least be in tune with itself and sound good!

[Continuing the hijack]

Day-um! You did a lot more work than I did. I just bought parts.

I don’t have a thread on it, but this is how it goes: I got a 2008 Fender American Telecaster body, semi-transparent wine-coloured thin nitro. I used copper tape to shield all of the cavities. I bought some Fender SCN pickups, but at the time I didn’t have a soldering iron so I had them soldered in – as well as the new control panel. That has better pots, an ‘orange drop’ capacitor, a four-way switch, and better knobs. I used a vintage-style Fender bridge with the ‘ashtray’ cover, and a three-ply pick guard. For the neck I used the maple one with tuners leftover from the (still unfinished) Squier project. I thought it would be funny to have a Fender that everyone thought was a Squier. :stuck_out_tongue: Well, the amusement has worn off, so I’ll be putting a 2008 Fender maple neck and tuners on soon.

The Squier looks like my '93 Fender (not '96 – I got that wrong in my last) now that I put a Squier rosewood neck on it. I’ve shielded the cavities with copper tape, and I’ve drilled holes for the strings (new Fender bridge). Only my hand-held drill jig didn’t work quite as planned and the holes are a little crooked. I have the same electronics as I put in the FrankenCaster. I have a soldering iron now, so I’ll solder this one myself.

I bought a Boss TU-12 when I took my Beginning Folk Guitar class 25 years ago. Still works like a charm and I recommend it.

Those damn string-thru holes are a bitch, ain’t they? I’ve got a drill press and I still couldn’t get them straight. I don’t know how pro luthiers do it…

No I haven’t seen it. Please post a link!! And then we can give this FilmGeek his/her thread back…