Mudcat Café message #991154 The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #61497   Message #991154
Posted By: Mark Clark
26-Jul-03 - 02:36 PM
Thread Name: Learning to play the guitar
Subject: RE: Learning to play the guitar
Frank Hamilton's advice at 9:17 this morning is very good advice indeed. The D and A7 chords are easy to form and easy to change between and allow for the use of correct thumb position. Whenever I let someone talk me into teaching them guitar, I always start them in this same way. It gives them something useful to work on and provides for early success so the student will feel encouraged and anxious to extend his new knowledge.

Then, as Frank says, start some simple scales. You need to know how a diatonic (do re me…) scale should sound, then, by all means, practice the scale while reading it on a proper musical score. (Check out the ABC threads here for free programs that will let you print out any musical score you want.)

Say you start with a C Major scale
(e.g., string/fret—5/3, 4/0, 4/2, 4/3, 3/0, 3/2, 2/0, 2/1),
watch the score as you work through the scale and before you know it, your hand will start moving to the correct string and fret when your eye sees the note on the page.

For a piano player, each scale is different but for the guitar player, the fingering for one scale can be used to play a great many scales in other keys. The guitarist doesn't have to worry about which notes are sharp or flat. Once you've learned the C Major scale, try a D Major scale. This is the same scale as your C Major scale but played two frets higher on the finger board. Play it so each noting finger is assigned to a fret and stays there
(e.g., str/fret/fngr where the index finger is #1—5/5/4, 4/2/1, 4/4/3, 4/5/4, 3/2/1, 3/4/3, 2/2/1, 2/3/2).
This will help your noting hand learn to stretch and the scale you've learned can be moved up and down the neck of the guitar to play in keys ranging from C# on up to high C and even to F# or G up where the neck meets the body of the guitar.

Learning scales in this way, with the score in front of you, also makes it easy to transpose (play in a different key than written). You can be reading a melody in the key of D (two sharps) but play it in, say, Ab (four flats) without having to relearn anything. Just move your scale up the neck.

Good luck and happy pickin',

      - Mark