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Guitar Made Easy

By Louise Slavnic

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About the Author

Louise Slavnic is the holder of a Diploma of Teaching

[Primary – Australian Catholic University] and Bachelor of

Education [Primary –Australian Catholic University]. She

has a passion for helping people of all ages reach their

goals, and realize their potential in all parts of life. Louise

learned to play the guitar at 8 years of age. Now with over

20 years playing the guitar, teaching children and adults to play guitar as a

hobby, Louise has combined her educational skills and practical experiences to

develop the Guitar Made Easy video/workbook program. Remember her words of encouragement: “You’ll always be glad you can play.”

Published in Australia

Attention – Disclaimer – Important

This publication is designed to provide accurate and authoritative information in

regard to the subject matter covered. The information herein is based upon the

author/publishers’ experience and opinion only. The author/publisher is not

engaged in professional guitar tuition services. If expert assistance is required, the services of a professional tutor should be sought. Many variables affect

individual results.

© 2002 Potential Plus Publishing : A.B.N 18-068-992-450

A Division of Potential + Plus Corporation Pty. Ltd A.C.N 068992450

PO Box 4112 Knox City Centre VIC Australia

PH: +61-39-753-5221 F: +61-39-222-1499 E: potentialplus@hotkey.net.au

www.guitarmadeeasy.net

Guitar Made Easy For Beginners Of All Ages

Guitar Made Easy - Index

Part 1......................................................................................... 5

1a) Holding the Guitar ....................................................................................... 5

Beginner’s Tips................................................................................................................ 5

How to Hold Your Guitar ................................................................................................ 6

1b) Tuning Methods........................................................................................... 8

1. Piano/Keyboard ........................................................................................................... 8

2. Pitch Pipe .................................................................................................................... 9

3. Tuning Machine......................................................................................................... 10

4. Using 6th String ........................................................................................................ 11

1c) Strumming and using a Plectrum.............................................................. 14

Sounding the Strings...................................................................................................... 14

How to Strum................................................................................................................. 16

Beginner’s Creed ........................................................................................................... 17

Part 2....................................................................................... 18

2a) Chord Structure ......................................................................................... 18

2b) Finger Conditioning and Chord Change Practice...................................... 21

Handy Hint For Chord Changing Practice..................................................................... 22

Handy Hint For Finger Conditioning ............................................................................ 23

Handy Hint For Rapid Chord Familiarisation ............................................................... 23

AM I READY ? ............................................................................................................. 24

Part 3....................................................................................... 25

3a) Fundamental 4/4 Rhythm Strum............................................................... 25

The Rhythm is Gonna Get Ya! ...................................................................................... 25

Handy Tips for Getting the Beat Going ! ...................................................................... 26

When is it “Time For A Song” ? ................................................................................... 27

Blowing In The Wind .................................................................................................... 28

Speak To The Sky.......................................................................................................... 29

Handy Tips for Playing Songs on Guitar....................................................................... 30

3b) 3/4 Rhythm Structure & Practice Routine................................................ 31

Handy Tips for Getting the Beat Going ! ...................................................................... 31

General Rhythm Keeping Information .......................................................................... 33

AM I READY ? ............................................................................................................. 34

Part 4....................................................................................... 35

4a) Chords, Chords, Chords & More Practice Songs ..................................... 35

Practice Song to Include D, A, G and new chord – E ................................................... 36

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Guitar Made Easy For Beginners Of All Ages

Practice Song to Include D, G and new chord – C ........................................................ 38

Practice Song to Include G, C and new chord – F......................................................... 40

4b) OPTIONAL SECTION – Common Chord Combinations........................ 43

The Never Ending Story ................................................................................................ 44

I’ll Find My Way Home ................................................................................................ 45

4c) OPTIONAL SECTION Common Chord Variations................................ 46

Try A Little Kindness .................................................................................................... 46

Top Of The World ......................................................................................................... 46

You’ve Got A Friend ..................................................................................................... 47

Appendix Index ...................................................................... 49

Appendix 1 : Same Chord – Different Positions ............................................. 50

Appendix 2 : 4/4 - Rhythm Sheet Music Indicator.......................................... 51

Appendix 3 : C Symbols – Meaning ‘Common’ Beat [4/4] ............................ 52

Appendix 4 : C Symbols – Meaning ‘Common’ [4/4] with a kick.................. 53

Appendix 5 : Chords for song appear UNDER words in Sheet Music ........... 54

Appendix 6 : Chords ABOVE Words & Chord Structure NOT Shown ......... 55

Appendix 7 : Chord Structure IS Shown in Sheet Music ................................ 56

Resources................................................................................ 57

a) Basic Chords ................................................................................................ 58

b) Common Chord Variations.......................................................................... 61

c) Practice Songs .............................................................................................. 70

Blowing In The Wind .................................................................................................... 70

Speak To The Sky.......................................................................................................... 70

Sing C’est La Vie........................................................................................................... 71

I’d Like to Teach The World to Sing............................................................................. 72

The Purple People Eater ................................................................................................ 73

The Never Ending Story ................................................................................................ 75

I’ll Find My Way Home ................................................................................................ 76

Try A Little Kindness .................................................................................................... 77

Top Of The World ......................................................................................................... 77

You’ve Got A Friend ..................................................................................................... 78

Points of Interest – Index........................................................ 80

1. History of Guitar .......................................................................................... 81

2. Basic Guitar Terminology............................................................................ 85

3. Golden Rules of Guitar Care........................................................................ 87

4. Details on the Parts of a Guitar .................................................................... 88

5. Capo Information ......................................................................................... 93

Reference List......................................................................... 95

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Guitar Made Easy For Beginners Of All Ages

Part 1

1a) Holding the Guitar

When learning to play the guitar it is important to realize that personal style will develop later, and that you should not assume that you will be as accomplished

as those you have seen playing guitar in various bands of sorts (as above

illustration shows).

As previously mentioned, a strap may be used to provide security (some players

do not like the risk of the guitar slipping while they play) whilst sitting or to

allow playing to occur whilst standing up. Again please be aware that this is a

personal thing and you will develop your own style as you practice more you

will discover what is comfortable.

Beginner’s Tips

Some beginners are very aware of how they are holding the guitar and this can

cause undue strain on the body as it is tensed with the anxiety of correct position.

The most important thing about playing the guitar is to enjoy it, to have fun. So

before we even go in to the details of correct position, grip and strumming

action, let’s remember that we are doing this in order to acquire a skill that will bring us great enjoyment all of our lives (and joy to others!).

Naturally some people become more proficient at playing the guitar than others,

and learn very quickly (natural talent one could say). This is not to say that those who take longer do not enjoy it. Remember, whilst some may not have natural

ability, they can still become (very) good guitar players, depending on their

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Guitar Made Easy For Beginners Of All Ages

desire. Often those who have to work harder become better simply because their

commitment is stronger.

How to Hold Your Guitar

1. For starters you should always play sitting down. Make sure it is not a chair

with armrests as you may knock the guitar against them. Although you will

probably be leaning forward to see music, it is best to sit where there is no

danger of the guitar being knocked against anything. Choose a lounge or

table chair that is the right height for you to place music or instructions on a

table in front of you. Try not to use a table that is too low as you will find

yourself leaning forward too much and becoming uncomfortable very

quickly. Plus you will lose your spot on the music/instructions you are

referring to as you are looking too far down.

Obviously a music stand is ideal or a book stand for use on a table. However

these items are not always easy to come by at a reasonable price, but do keep

your eyes out in second hand stores, used goods in newspapers and garage sales

etc. Some people sit on a cushion on the floor! It is up to you how you develop

and practice your style.

Be comfortable, keep the guitar out of danger and be able to see music/instructions clearly.

2. Do not be nervous, simply relax – take things easy and you will learn with

confidence and enjoyment. Once seated appropriately, make sure the strap is

either removed or not touching any of the strings. If you are using a strap,

place it around your neck and shoulders and allow the guitar to sit naturally.

Legs may be crossed or uncrossed, whatever is comfortable. The lower

curved part of the guitar body rests on the right thigh (or left if you are left

handed*). The guitar is lightly supported by the right (*) arm by placing the

hand over the sound hole thereby bending the elbow approximately at the

highest point of the wide part of the guitar body and keeping the wrist slightly

arched.

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Guitar Made Easy For Beginners Of All Ages

3. The neck of the guitar points slightly upward and using your left hand (or

right if you are left handed), nestle the neck in the hollow between your

thumb and forefinger – at the top of the neck. Curve your fingers in slightly.

4. Your left (or right) elbow which is holding the neck should be about 15cm

away from your corresponding side.

This position may feel awkward now, but sooner than you think it will be as

natural as getting comfortable to start driving a car. Remember not to be too

over conscious of the positioning as you will prevent your own comfort and

cause nervousness, thereby affecting your actual playing.

Holding the guitar correctly makes it easier for you to play and you will soon

find out why it is held the way it is suggested here.

IMPORTANT: When playing, the hand around the neck of the guitar is not to

hold any weight of the instrument. This must be on your thigh. The left (or

right) hand is kept free of weight so it can move quickly along the fret board

playing chords or strings.

You will also find that you arms will become sore from being held in these

positions as you are not used to using them in this capacity. The arm over the

top of the guitar and the wrist playing chords will be the most noticeable. Do not be concerned as just like learning any new skill, time is needed for the body to

adjust/strengthen.

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Guitar Made Easy For Beginners Of All Ages

1b) Tuning Methods

1. Piano/Keyboard

2. Pitch Pipe

3. Tuning Machine

4. Using 6th String

1. Piano/Keyboard

As you can see from the illustration, each string has a name that matches a note

on a piano or keyboard. Unless you also happen to know how to play a piano

and have one handy, this method is not really useful. However, if you do have

one around that is perhaps used by others but is available to you, you can always

learn where these notes are. To do this please note:

You tune a guitar from a piano/keyboard from MIDDLE C. This note is found

just below the two black keys near the center of the piano where the maker’s

name usually appears. If you are using a keyboard, sometimes the names of the

notes are written above the keys. Middle C will of course be the ‘C’ that is

closest to the middle.

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Guitar Made Easy For Beginners Of All Ages

Low

MIDDLE C High

To start from the top of the guitar, note that the 6th or top string, is low ‘E’ and therefore you must sound the ‘E’ on the keyboard that is low (as illustrated).

Once you sound the low ‘E’ note on the piano, sound the top string (being sure

that the string is ‘open’), move the tuning key that is attached to it until the

sounds match. If you do not have an ear for it to start, do not worry, with

practice you will become better. However if after 3 months of tuning and

playing you still have trouble matching the sounds, then a tuning machine may

be best for you.

After doing the low ‘E’, move on to A, D, G, B and finally high ‘E’ which is on

the other side of middle ‘C’ matching the sound of the note to the sound of the

guitar string.

2. Pitch Pipe

A Pitch Pipe consists of 6 small tubes which operate on the mouth organ

principle. It is small and much handier to check that your guitar is tuned when

you are not at home. It is designed so that the top 3 (6th, 5th,and 4th strings – Low

‘E’, A and D) are protruding on one side, and the last three (3rd, 2nd and 1st – G, B

and high ‘E’) are on the other side.

Applying the same principle as tuning a guitar using a piano/keyboard, sound the

low ‘E’, then sound the low ‘E’ (open string)on the guitar and turn the attached

tuning key either up or down until the sounds match. Then move on to A, D, G,

B and high ‘E’.

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Guitar Made Easy For Beginners Of All Ages

3. Tuning Machine

Obviously for the development of your musical ear (the ability to detect a pitch),

using a piano or tuning pipe is better. However many guitarists who simply play

for pleasure for themselves or small groups are happy with being able to carry

around one of these machines and tune their guitar quickly with minimal fuss.

The way it works is you simply tell the machine [by selecting the name of the

string on the machine with the switch] which string you are tuning and either

have it on your knee or a small table in front of you where the machine can

detect the sound. (Make sure it is turned on before use and off when you are

finished, keep batteries fresh by storing the machine inside the case with your

guitar which you naturally keep in a cool, dry place).

Start as usual with the top string (6th or low ‘E’), sound the string (open) and the needle will move informing you of the pitch of the string. There is a definite

middle where you want the needle to be pointing that indicates that the string is

in tune. If the needle goes above the middle point, it is too high and must be

lowered using the appropriate tuning key. If the needle stays below the middle

point, it is too low and the string must be made higher.

It is important to remember that you once a string is tuned and you move on to

the next string that you make sure that you have moved the appropriate switch to

match the string you are tuning!!!

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Guitar Made Easy For Beginners Of All Ages

4. Using 6th String

General Info About 6th String Tuning

Once you master this method you can use just about any instrument to provide

you with the low ‘E’ top (6th) string sound, and then you can do the rest yourself.

It is also the best method for tuning when there is no other in tune instrument

around. Of course when you use the top string to begin tuning, it may not be at

the correct pitch. However you can still tune the guitar so that you can practice

or play for pleasure.

As mentioned, any instrument that is tuned can provide you with the starting

point, low ‘E’. Another guitar player may be present that has already tuned their

guitar. You can simply tune your top string to theirs by listening to their OPEN

top string and you match the pitch of your guitar to it by turning the tuning key

up or down. The more you tune your guitar the better you will be able to hear

the pitch and therefore whether you need to go up or down. A handy instrument

is the recorder as it is quite compact and a lot of people have one. You need an

in tune instrument to start so that your instrument matches the pitch of all the

other instruments you may be playing with. Remember, for your own personal

use, you can still use this method to tune your guitar but it may not be at the

correct pitch.

Personal experience has led me to believe that once new string has stretched, the

top 2 strings (6th and 5th – low ‘E’ and ‘A’) generally stay in tune quite well (with the proper care). It is usually the other four strings that slip out of tune and

especially the last two (2nd and 1st – ‘B’ and high ‘E’). So when you have

mastered this method, tuning your guitar is simple, quick and easy and most of

the time, close to the correct pitch. You will notice most accomplished guitarists use this method for tuning.

How to Tune a Guitar with the 6th String Method

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Guitar Made Easy For Beginners Of All Ages

Frets* 1-6

The 5th fret is where 6th string tuning begins and is usually marked with the first position dot between the 4th and 3rd strings (D and G). The 6th String (low ‘E’)

Notes E A D G B E

Strings 6 5 4 3 2 1

Summary of 6th String Tuning

The black dots in the diagram above depict that a finger is placed firmly in that

spot in order to tune the string directly below it.

As previously mentioned, the top or 6th string (low ‘E’) must first be tuned to a

musical instrument matching the note low ‘E’ note sound before this tuning

procedure commences. Remember to play the string OPEN when tuning it to the

instrument available.

Once the 6th string is tuned correctly, the rest of the strings can be tuned

accordingly.

• Pressing on the 6th string in the 5th fret gives the sound for the OPEN 5th

string. So press in this position, sound the string, then sound the 5th string.

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Guitar Made Easy For Beginners Of All Ages

Move the according tuning key (5th string) until the 5th string matches the

sound of the pressed 6th string.

• Move your finger to the 5th string in the 5th fret and press, sound the string and this gives the sound for the OPEN 4th string. Move the according tuning key

(4th string) until the 4th string matches the sound of the pressed 5th string.

• Move your finger to the 4th string in the 5th fret and press, sound the string and this gives the sound for the OPEN 3rd string. Move the according tuning key

(3rd string) until the 3rd string matches the sound of the pressed 4th string.

• Move your finger to the 3rd string in the 4th fret and press, sound the string and this gives the sound for the OPEN 2nd string. Move the according tuning

key (2nd string) until the 2nd string matches the sound of the pressed 3rd

string.

• Move your finger to the 2nd string in the 5th fret and press, sound the string

and this gives the sound for the OPEN 1st string. Move the according tuning

key (1st string) until the 1st string matches the sound of the pressed 2nd

string.

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