- The standard number of strings on a guitar is six, and they are named from top to bottom: e1, a, d, g, b, e. E1 is the fattest string, e is the thinnest one.
- The distance between two notes is known as an interval. You know the C major scale: C, D, E, F, G, B, C. The interval between C and E is known as a major third, the interval between C and G is called a (perfect) fifth, and the major seventh interval is the distance between C and B. The distance between two root notes (C1 and C2) is called an octave.
- You will not go wrong if you pick a Fender Stratocaster as your first guitar. A legendary instrument, suitable for almost any type of music.
Any true master of guitar (or any musical instrument probably) will say that they are never done with learning. Mastering something in just two weeks is, by all means, impossible. Even if you dedicate all 24 hours of a day throughout two weeks, you are still 9600+ short of the 10,000 hours limit, one that is often mentioned as the one you need to reach to master anything. Here is what you can do in just two weeks if you want to start learning to play the guitar.
Choosing The Right Instrument
Guitars can be acoustic or electric (and electro-acoustic if you like a slightly atypical acoustic guitar sound), and you should choose the one you are drawn to the most. If you want to play hard rock riffs and solos, then you should pick an electric guitar.
If you want to be able to play something more "classical," and be the heart of the party, choose an acoustic guitar. Have in mind, there are no strict rules, you can create exceptional music on a ukulele that has only four strings, or create heavy prog-metal riffs on an 8-string guitar. It is up to you.
Do Not Pick The Cheapest One!
One thing people often think is that choosing a budget option is better for an absolute beginner. This is absolutely not true because a beginner would struggle even more if the instrument itself has issues. If guitar playing is something you want to pursue, check your budget and see if you can invest a few bucks more for your first instrument.
The Only Word You Need To Remember: Practice
For the next 14 days, you should practice every day. Yes, your fingertips will hurt, and your hand could cramp up a bit, but nothing should stop you from picking up the guitar every single day. Having a proper practice routine is critical, and if you dedicate an hour or two a day, progress is guaranteed.
Adjusting your fingers on the fretboard when switching between different chord shapes is something that will be a pain in the beginning. It is not your fault. You are not impaired in any way, it is just the way this works. Repeating the same exercises over and over again is crucial if you want to have seamless transitions between the chords that you are playing. You just have to be consistent and wait for your neural synapses to establish the connection between your mind and your hands.
Harmonization Of Scales: Learn All The Chords
Chords are made out of three or more notes that are played simultaneously. They are constructed when we take the first, third, and fifth notes from a specific scale. For example, the C major scale has these notes: C-D-E-F-G-A-B-C. Now, let us take the first, third, and fifth note: C-E-G. This is called a major triad, and the notes C, E, and G, create a C major chord. It is honestly that simple, but you need to know what is the "emotional quality" of the chords.
Major And Minor Chords
If you continue to use the example above, let us see what the next chord from the C major scale would be. If we apply the same principle, we have the following triad: D-F-A. This is the second chord derived from the C major scale, but it is not major. If you play it, you will hear how it sounds more sad, while the C major sounds happy. The D-F-A triad constructs the chord that is called D minor.
Know This By Heart!
Now you know how to construct chords from a C major scale. But, what is the quality of the chords if we completely harmonize either a major or a minor scale. The order of chords is always the same, only the name of the scale (and the chords) will change. So, for any major scale, the order of chords you get when you harmonize it is this: major, minor, minor, major, major, minor, diminished.
You might be wondering why there are only seven, yet we have eight notes in the scale. Well, technically, the eight note of the scale is just an octave above, so we are back again to the first note where you started. Thus, a harmonized C major scale and the chords you get from it are these: C major, D minor, E minor, F major, G major, A minor, B diminished.
The principle stays the same when you harmonize a C minor scale, but because the relationship between the notes change the quality of the chord would change as well: C minor, D diminished, Eb major (reads as "e flat major), F minor, G minor, Ab major, Bb major.
Once you figure out how to play basic chords, and what scales accompany them, you will quickly realize there is much more to music than playing scales up and down the fretboard. Some notes and chords are played softer, meaning you pick the notes lightly, while others are played more aggressively, to sound louder and more in your face.
This interplay between soft and hard playing is crucial if you want to create a dynamic movement in your songs and performances. That is why practice is so vital: you need to know the basics and develop muscle memory, so you could free your mind from thinking about the technical details so that you can focus more on the artistic side of music creations.
Listen To Blues
There is a reason we are recommending a specific genre of music if you truly want to understand your instrument. The blues, with all its variations, is the foundation of probably all modern R'n'B songs, as well as a keystone for all types of rock and metal. Robert Johnson, B.B. King, and Muddy Waters are the guys you want to draw inspiration from, as they were doing this 100 years ago.
Later, you step in the world of Jimi Hendrix, Buddy Guy, and Eric Clapton to get a feel of how massive their influence was on guitarists that came after them. Do not skippy on Stevie Ray Vaughan, and his brother Jimmy's music, and if you prefer a more modern approach to blues, John Mayer's "Continuum" is a masterpiece of an album (John Mayer even included a cover of a Jimi Hendrix song "Bold As Love," as an homage to the master himself).
Listen To Everything Else
Once you realize how influential blues was as a genre to all guitar players around the world, you will quickly see value in every other type of music. If you want to be a good guitar player, you should listen to as much different music as possible—anything from country to pop-rock, and even black metal.
Listening to the harmonies and melodies is something you should focus on from day one of your guitar learning journey, and you should never dismiss anyone's attempt to create a musical piece. If you do that, you can be sure you will not be rejected as a guitar player in the future.