The playing of conventional chords is simplified by open tunings, which are especially popular in folk, blues guitar and non-Spanish classical guitar (such as English and Russian guitar). For example, the typical twelve-bar blues uses only three chords, each of which can be played (in every open tuning) by fretting six-strings with one finger. Open tunings are used especially for steel guitar and slide guitar. Open tunings allow one-finger chords to be played with greater consonance than do other tunings, which use equal temperament, at the cost of increasing the dissonance in other chords.
I strongly recommend beginner guitar players to use the Uberchord app (click for free download) for practicing chord progressions and chord changes, and use the real-time feedback to improve your playing skills. While, I’ll help you expedite the process of grabbing chords confidently on the neck and get you on your way to playing along expertly with your favourite band, or better yet, running a band of your own.

The pickguard, also known as the scratchplate, is usually a piece of laminated plastic or other material that protects the finish of the top of the guitar from damage due to the use of a plectrum ("pick") or fingernails. Electric guitars sometimes mount pickups and electronics on the pickguard. It is a common feature on steel-string acoustic guitars. Some performance styles that use the guitar as a percussion instrument (tapping the top or sides between notes, etc.), such as flamenco, require that a scratchplate or pickguard be fitted to nylon-string instruments.
An open tuning allows a chord to be played by strumming the strings when "open", or while fretting no strings. The base chord consists of at least three notes and may include all the strings or a subset. The tuning is named for the base chord when played open, typically a major triad, and each major-triad can be played by barring exactly one fret.[60] Open tunings are common in blues and folk music,[59] and they are used in the playing of slide and lap-slide ("Hawaiian") guitars.[60][61] Ry Cooder uses open tunings when he plays slide guitar.[59]
Piezoelectric, or piezo, pickups represent another class of pickup. These employ piezoelectricity to generate the musical signal and are popular in hybrid electro-acoustic guitars. A crystal is located under each string, usually in the saddle. When the string vibrates, the shape of the crystal is distorted, and the stresses associated with this change produce tiny voltages across the crystal that can be amplified and manipulated.
The BMus in performance with a concentration in guitar is a program that focuses on the study of classical guitar literature and techniques. Goals include enabling students to express themselves musically while emphasizing the skills necessary to pursue careers as professional musicians. The course of study includes extensive performance experiences.
Only two or three frets are needed for the guitar chords—major, minor, and dominant sevenths—which are emphasized in introductions to guitar-playing and to the fundamentals of music.[87][88] Each major and minor chord can be played on exactly two successive frets on exactly three successive strings, and therefore each needs only two fingers. Other chords—seconds, fourths, sevenths, and ninths—are played on only three successive frets.[89]
Some piezo-equipped guitars use a hexaphonic pickup. "Hex" is a prefix meaning six. A hexaphonic pickup produces a separate output for each string, usually from a discrete piezoelectric or magnetic pickup for each string. This arrangement lets on-board or external electronics process the strings individually for modeling or Musical Instrument Digital Interface (MIDI) conversion. Roland makes hexaphonic pickups for guitar and bass, and a line of guitar modeling and synthesis products. Line 6's hexaphonic-equipped Variax guitars use on-board electronics to model the sound after various vintage instruments, and vary pitch on individual strings.
The nut is a small strip of bone, plastic, brass, corian, graphite, stainless steel, or other medium-hard material, at the joint where the headstock meets the fretboard. Its grooves guide the strings onto the fretboard, giving consistent lateral string placement. It is one of the endpoints of the strings' vibrating length. It must be accurately cut, or it can contribute to tuning problems due to string slippage or string buzz. To reduce string friction in the nut, which can adversely affect tuning stability, some guitarists fit a roller nut. Some instruments use a zero fret just in front of the nut. In this case the nut is used only for lateral alignment of the strings, the string height and length being dictated by the zero fret.
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.
Body size, shape and style has changed over time. 19th century guitars, now known as salon guitars, were smaller than modern instruments. Differing patterns of internal bracing have been used over time by luthiers. Torres, Hauser, Ramirez, Fleta, and C. F. Martin were among the most influential designers of their time. Bracing not only strengthens the top against potential collapse due to the stress exerted by the tensioned strings, but also affects the resonance characteristics of the top. The back and sides are made out of a variety of timbers such as mahogany, Indian rosewood and highly regarded Brazilian rosewood (Dalbergia nigra). Each one is primarily chosen for their aesthetic effect and can be decorated with inlays and purfling.
Inlays are visual elements set into the exterior surface of a guitar, both for decoration and artistic purposes and, in the case of the markings on the 3rd, 5th, 7th and 12th fret (and in higher octaves), to provide guidance to the performer about the location of frets on the instrument. The typical locations for inlay are on the fretboard, headstock, and on acoustic guitars around the soundhole, known as the rosette. Inlays range from simple plastic dots on the fretboard to intricate works of art covering the entire exterior surface of a guitar (front and back). Some guitar players have used LEDs in the fretboard to produce unique lighting effects onstage. Fretboard inlays are most commonly shaped like dots, diamond shapes, parallelograms, or large blocks in between the frets.
As previously stated, a dominant seventh is a four-note chord combining a major chord and a minor seventh. For example, the C7 dominant seventh chord adds B♭ to the C-major chord (C,E,G). The naive chord (C,E,G,B♭) spans six frets from fret 3 to fret 8;[49] such seventh chords "contain some pretty serious stretches in the left hand".[46] An illustration shows a naive C7 chord, which would be extremely difficult to play,[49] besides the open-position C7 chord that is conventional in standard tuning.[49][50] The standard-tuning implementation of a C7 chord is a second-inversion C7 drop 2 chord, in which the second-highest note in a second inversion of the C7 chord is lowered by an octave.[49][51][52] Drop-two chords are used for sevenths chords besides the major-minor seventh with dominant function,[53] which are discussed in the section on intermediate chords, below. Drop-two chords are used particularly in jazz guitar.[54] Drop-two second-inversions are examples of openly voiced chords, which are typical of standard tuning and other popular guitar-tunings.[55]
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.
You can tell whether or not strings are of a thin or thick gauge based on the numbers on the package. The smallest number, which is the gauge of thinnest string, will usually be .9 or lower on thin gauge strings. On thick gauge strings this number will be .12 or higher. Strings that are .10 or .11 are generally considered to be “mediums”, and produce a tone and feel which is the middle ground between these two extremes.
Only two or three frets are needed for the guitar chords—major, minor, and dominant sevenths—which are emphasized in introductions to guitar-playing and to the fundamentals of music.[87][88] Each major and minor chord can be played on exactly two successive frets on exactly three successive strings, and therefore each needs only two fingers. Other chords—seconds, fourths, sevenths, and ninths—are played on only three successive frets.[89]
Try one that starts with C, moves to F, then G and then back to C. This is the most basic progression, and uses the major chords you know. If you start with an A minor before going to C you can make a more interesting progression which incorporates both major and minor chords. Generally speaking, you want to focus on the chord with the same name as the key (the root), which in this case is C. Think of the other chords as either springing from it or leading back to it. Play around with the chords and see what you can come up with!
With that being said, nickel strings definitely have a richer tone with more body than steel strings. This warmth is especially pleasing when used to play older genres of music, blues in particular. The strings are also a great fit for rhythm work, because the warmth inherent to these strings helps to increase the overall body and richness of a mix.
The saddle of a guitar refers to the part of the bridge that physically supports the strings. It may be one piece (typically on acoustic guitars) or separate pieces, one for each string (electric guitars and basses). The saddle's basic purpose is to provide the end point for the string's vibration at the correct location for proper intonation, and on acoustic guitars to transfer the vibrations through the bridge into the top wood of the guitar. Saddles are typically made of plastic or bone for acoustic guitars, though synthetics and some exotic animal tooth variations (e.g. fossilized tooth, ivory, etc. ) have become popular with some players. Electric guitar saddles are typically metal, though some synthetic saddles are available.

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.
A few years back, I dusted off the ol' Takamine I got in high school to try some 'music therapy' with my disabled son, who was recovering from a massive at-birth stroke. This reignited my long dormant passion to transform myself from a beach strummer to a 'real' musician; however, as a single mom, taking in-person lessons was financially difficult. Then I found Justinguitar! Flash forward to today; my son is almost fully recovered (YAY!), my guitar collection has grown significantly, and I'm starting to play gigs. None of this would have been possible without your guidance and generosity, Justin. Thank you for being part of the journey!
There are many different styles of play. Chords are played by strumming all of the strings. Classical guitarists pluck the strings with their fingers and always play sitting down. Slide guitarists slide along the strings with a slide made of metal or glass. Whether you're interested in classical, bluegrass, flamenco, folk or blues, the acoustic guitar is something you can enjoy playing alone or in a group.
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