Unlike a piano or the voices of a choir, the guitar (in standard tuning) has difficulty playing the chords as stacks of thirds, which would require the left hand to span too many frets, particularly for dominant seventh chords, as explained below. If in a particular tuning chords cannot be played in closed position, then they often can be played in open position; similarly, if in a particular tuning chords cannot be played in root position, they can often be played in inverted positions. A chord is inverted when the bass note is not the root note. Additional chords can be generated with drop-2 (or drop-3) voicing, which are discussed for standard tuning's implementation of dominant seventh chords (below).
The hardest thing about playing chords when you get started is changing between them. To effectively change between chords, you need to be economical with your movements. Spend a bit of time thinking about where your fingers need to be for each chord, and work out the most efficient way to move from one to the other. For example, from a C major, you can flatten your index finger so it covers the first string too and move your middle and ring fingers both down a string to switch to an F. Easy changes to start with are between C major and A minor and G major and E minor.
So with that in mind, would you like to learn the guitar on your own or with others? The choice is yours at Guitar Center. If you prefer one-on-one instruction, that's absolutely doable - in fact, you'll find our schedule to be very flexible. Of course, learning in a group is an excellent way to meet like-minded musicians with similar tastes and share ideas on how to improve one another's craft. Who knows, you might even leave a group guitar lesson with plans to start a band with your newfound musical companions. Either way, our group and private guitar lessons are very entertaining and informative.
While the free guitar lessons here will help you get started, we always recommend committed students to invest in their guitar skills by starting a Guitareo membership. That’s where you’ll get a more comprehensive library of step-by-step video lessons so you always know exactly what to learn next, play-along songs so you can apply your skills to real music, and community support so you’ll get all of your questions answered. Click here to learn more about Guitareo.
Paul Gilbert has made Guitar World's "50 Fastest Guitarists of All Time", and his guitar shredding is legendary. Paul picked up his first guitar when he was 5 years old. By the time he was 15, he was featured in Guitar Player magazine. After graduating from the Guitar Institute of Technology (GIT) in Los Angeles, Paul immediately joined the faculty as a guitar teacher. While teaching, he formed the band Racer X and Grammy-nominated group Mr. Big. Paul breaks down his iconic playing techniques and practice drills. He's known for his enthusiastic and approachable guitar lessons, which are founded on decades of experience.
The two most common types of acoustic guitar are the steel-string guitar and the classical guitar. The classical guitar, also known as the Spanish guitar, usually uses nylon strings. Steel-string guitars originated in the United States and are also referred to as western guitar and folk guitar. Steel-string guitars sound louder and brighter than classical guitars, which have a warmer, mellower sound. Steel-string models usually have larger bodies and narrower necks, and they often have a pickguard to protect the body against scratches by picks and fingernails. Most acoustic guitars have six strings, but there are also 12-string versions. When an acoustic guitar is hooked up to an amplifier, it is referred to as acoustic/electric. Some acoustic/electric guitars incorporate a cutaway design, which makes it easier for electric guitar players to cross over to acoustic.
With that in mind, the inverse to this rule isn’t always true. During the Folk Boom of the 1950s and 60s, there were actually quite a few musicians who put nylon strings on steel string acoustics. This gave the guitar a very warm and relaxed tone, though should you choose to do this be aware that you’re going to get a lot less volume and a reduced response across the entire frequency range.
This unique degree program combines contemporary music performance training with the rigorous study of traditional disciplines including sight-reading, music history, arranging, conducting, recording and more. The comprehensive program instructs students to demonstrate stylistic depth, creative maturity and professional competence in preparation for careers in today’s music industry.