What should a beginner learn first on guitar? Download the Chord Chart?

The chords of C A Am G E Em D and Dm

It’s as simple as that really. I work on the presumption that when people decide to learn to play the guitar they get a buzz out of being able to play things that they recognise and like as quickly as possible? In the early stages this can be acheived by getting to a situation where they can change between a bunch of the easiest chords to hold down (note there is no F chord on the sheet!).

The first chords that a novice guitar player should learn?

generally regarded as the easiest chords for a novice to play

Some people prefer to teach them what the notes of the open strings are called or what the various parts of a guitar do but my feeling is that a novice really needs to do three things

  1. Get a tuner
  2. Use it to get the guitar in tune
  3. Learn some (comparatively) easy chord shapes
  4. Become competent at moving from one chord to another (definately not the same as learning a chord shapes)

(oops! that’s four things)

There are literally thousands of songs (or recognisable fragments of songs?) that can be played using the chords on the sheet in the photo.

You can download and print the free student handout with the chords on it shown above from my “other” site at http://teachwombat.com

I also have an article up there on a great site called “ultimate guitar” that looks at the process of giving a first lesson in much greater detail and here’s a link to it if you feel like reading further?

“Ultimate Guitar” Article

The first few of months of a beginner guitarist’s career could (and maybe should?) be largely taken up with becoming firstly aware of, and then familiar with the chords that make up the caged system (the chords of C A Am G E Em D and Dm mentioned above)

Some of the CAGED chords work particularly well in the key of G and by becoming familiar with just four of them (G Em C and D) a novice guitarist can develop an extensive and varied repertoire of stuff to practice and play.

examples include

“His latest Flame” G to Em

“Itchycoo Park” G to Em (Chorus)

“The Locomotion” G to Em (verse:1 bar each chord)

“Shout” G to Em

“Hallelujah” G to Em (ok I know its Em7 but it still works?)

“You Really Got A Hold On Me” (G to Em)

“Stand By Me” (All four chords in the order presented)

“Every Breath You Take” (All four chords in the order presented)

“Simply The Best” (ditto)

“Blue Moon” (ditto)

“Crocodile Rock (ditto)

“Hungry Heart” (and again?)

This list is really just  intended to help the student to realise that they are capable of making reasonably rapid progress. Some of the songs detailed above are not in the original keys of the recorded versions and there are occasionally some simplifications going on there but the idea is to encourage the student to believe that they will get better with a little work.?

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Guitar Teaching Tricks and Tips (an overview)

fender strat guitar fading away
I’ll soon be blogging about guitar teaching tricks and tips and I suppose I’d better get the disclaimer in first?

They are not designed to work for every guitar teacher in every situation. They are just things that (sometimes) work for me and might (sometimes) work for you?

Every teacher is different. Every student is different and every lesson is different. There is an old saying that “you can never step into the same river twice” and while you need to have a plan it is important to be able to adapt (or even abandon) it should the occasion demand or the opportunity present itself.

You may find that a student needs to go back over some old ground that you thought they were comfortable with or it could be that you discover that they are more competent with regard to theoretical knowledge or technical ability than you expected at the start of the session.

The list of potential variables that exist at the beginning of any lesson means that it is almost inevitable that the experience that you deliver to your student will not be quite the same as the one that you thought that you would be providing at the start of the session?

For me, the key to teaching guitar is to work out the answer to the question “what is the best thing you can do for this person’s musicianship within the next hour”?

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How do you get to be a guitar teacher then?

guitar and D chord

A guitar and a chord shape. Just about sums the whole thing up really?

How did you get to be a guitar teacher then (I imagine) I  hear you ask?

Well………  I’d love to pretend that there always lay within me a deep and abiding passion to educate. A burning desire to light the way for other musicians setting out on the same journey that I took only a few short years before but the truth is that I started teaching guitar because I  wanted money to buy beer with.

There I was fresh out of music college and cohabiting with a woman who seemed to be of the opinion that she was not about to go to work in an office all day to see her hard earned wages poured down the throat of a workshy toad who spent all day sat round in his underpants picking his nose and watching daytime television.

Not content to bask in the reflected glory that came from living under the same roof  and breathing the same (admittedly stale) air as the man  destined to rewrite the rules of popular music, she seemed strangely taken by the  notion that the security of my status as a cohabitee (with associated rights and privileges) was somehow dependant upon my ability to contribute meaningfully to the household budget.

As an act of finely crafted revenge , I married her

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