Articles, Blog

How to Play Guitar Notes for Beginners

October 15, 2019

Hello everyone, this guitar lesson is about
how to play your very first notes and chords. This video assumes that you have either never
played guitar or played very little. However, I will assume that you know how to hold a
guitar and how to hold a pick. If you don’t know, or aren’t sure how to do either, check
out my other video titled “How to Hold a Guitar and Guitar Pick”. You can find the
links in the description. First let’s go over where the fingers should
be positioned relative to these metallic dividers, which are called frets. From my point of view
looking down at the guitar, I want to have my finger placed as close as possible to the
right fret. I also need to press down hard enough with my fingers so that I make a clear
sound. So for example, this is for me looking down
this fret is to the right of this finger and I just press down hard enough and pick. That’s
how you make a nice clear sound. You just press down hard enough on the right fret. The reason why you want to place your finger
to the right and press down hard (at least hard enough) is because placing the finger
too far to the left will make it very hard to press and will lead to a very unclean buzzing
sound, that doesn’t sound very professional. As you can see, I can’t get a very good
sound from the string if my finger is too far to the left. Make it a habit and try to
keep your finger closer to the right fret. It’s a subtle, but very important point.
As you practice often, you will naturally place your finger close to the right fret
with the right amount of pressure. If you still hear buzzing or no sound at all
with your finger placed on the right side (of whatever fret you are playing on, if you
are getting a sound like this or still a buzzing sound), it means you aren’t pressing down
hard enough with your fingers. Squeeze until you get a good, clear sound. You want to push
it all the way down hard enough so you get a nice clear ringing sound. It doesn’t matter
what fret you play on. You want to squeeze down hard enough. If the strings are hurting
the tips of your fingers, it just means you haven’t developed callouses yet and you
should be okay playing through it. You should be okay playing through the pain. Just don’t
go crazy and play until your fingers bleed. That is NOT good for you fingers. You should
never push yourself so far as to hurt yourself. With these points in mind, let’s run through
some quick improvised exercises. We’ll be using the highest-sounding (or highest for
short) two strings. I’m assuming you don’t know how to read tabs, so I’ll show you
which notes we will be playing. I’m going to be using these two strings which
are closest to the floor and we’re going to be using these notes: This note up here on the fourth fret. You
count frets by counting the metallic dividers one, two, three, four. That’s the fourth fret.
Put your pinky there, put your middle finger on the second fret (one, two) right there,
and I’m placing these fingers on the highest string (highest-sounding string). Your index
finger on the first fret and those are the three notes we’ll be using. In addition to
that, we will also use two notes on the string just above it (or the second highest string)
right down here. Once again, fourth and second fret on the next string. Let me just run through
that again so you understand. Fourth fret, one, two, three, four, on the
high E string (that’s what this highest string is called – the string closest to the ground),
fourth fret. Second fret on that same string, again count frets like “one, two,…” – you
count dividers or the spacing between them. It doesn’t really matter. So we have the fourth
fret – one, two, three, fourth fret, one, two, second fret, first fret on the highest
string, and then the fourth fret on the next string and the second fret on that [same]
next string. Now hopefully that’ll make more sense when we start playing through it, and
I will give you a demo of what I’m trying to show you here and you don’t have to play
with me quite yet. Just watch what I do…. As you can see I played again the fourth fret
on the highest string, second fret on the highest string, first fret on the highest
string, went down and played the fourth fret on the second highest string, and the second
fret on the second highest string. If that doesn’t make sense, go back and look over
my description again and try to get a good feel for the notes that we’ll be playing.
Now for the exercise itself. What I will do is I will play this very slowly
– that same set of notes down and up – and then I’ll play it fast then I’ll play it slow
again. For all of that, I want you to do your best to follow along with me. And again, if
you need to stop and pause at some point feel free to do so. You’re always welcome to do
that. Whatever it takes to help you learn this…. Okay and normally you should be playing with
a metronome but… and usually before I start what you want when you are playing along with
people is to count off beats maybe four beats before if you are playing in 4/4 time. That’s
for the musicians out there. And that’s it. So just practice that and make
sure you use your pinky. Try to use the same fingering that I used – the pinky, middle
finger, and index. Always get your pinky involved in things, especially if you are spreading
your fingers across or spreading your hand across four frets you gotta get your pinky
out there. You don’t want to use your ring finger. That’s just awkward. So run through that exercise again sorry for
the mistake. I’m just not used to playing that slow. But hope that makes sense. Comment
with questions and follow me on twitter (@freelessons) and I’ll see you guys around. Thanks!


  • Reply Carlos P. Cuervo January 12, 2012 at 12:36 am

    i'm sorry, but I did not understand anything at all. Which fingers did you put on what frets on what notes?

  • Reply smpl90s January 12, 2012 at 1:11 am

    @carlospc116 Yeah the audio is terrible. At 4:24 I play 4th finger 4th fret E string, 2nd finger 2nd fret E string, 1st finger 1st fret E string, 4th finger 4th fret B string, 2nd finger 2nd fret B string. The notes in the same order are G#, F#, F, D#, C#. 1st finger = index, 2nd finger = middle, etc. High E string the the string closest to the ground (or highest-sounding string), B string is the string second closest from the ground.

  • Reply Carlos P. Cuervo January 16, 2012 at 2:33 pm

    On the website, I'm confused as to how to play exercise 1 in chords I

  • Reply smpl90s January 16, 2012 at 9:00 pm

    @carlospc116 Ah yes it's actually pretty simple. Have a metronome handy for this and set it to 60 beats per minute. For the exercise you just have to play each chord for 4 beats. Count the beats if you have to – "one, two, three, four, one, two, three, four,…" etc. and play one chord for the duration of four beats, then switch the chord and play that for four beats.

  • Reply smpl90s January 16, 2012 at 9:02 pm

    @carlospc116 you play a new chord every first beat. So if I were to start playing the exercise now, I would play the C chord on the first beat and let it ring out for the other three beats, then on the next beat I would play the D chord and let that ring out, and so on. Does this make sense? If not, try to be very specific as to what you are confused about. You should also be familiar with tabs and how to downstroke to play this exercise.

  • Reply Mersedeh Hakim June 29, 2012 at 12:46 pm

    Thank you 🙂

  • Reply MrECNN March 1, 2013 at 3:48 pm


  • Reply HANKHILLjpg May 25, 2013 at 4:34 pm

    Sounds like a jack rabbit jerking off in the back

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