Beginner rock guitar lessons for n00bs and rusty rockers
You can find free guitar lessons for beginners all over the net, giving you basic chords and general information. Heck, I've covered chords and progressions right here on this site as well as choosing a guitar and amp, lessons from guitar heroes and great links to other guitar sites.
However, I haven't talked about some of the additional things you'll need (or eventually want) to play guitar. None of these are essential to have, but they can make learning to play a bit easier.
Obviously you've taken care of the guitar acquisition - otherwise you wouldn't be hunting down free guitar lessons for beginners, right? If you haven't gotten your hands on an axe yet, here are some guidelines.
To pimp out your axe, you'll want to look at guitar straps, capos, guitar stands and electric guitar cords (to plug into your amp). Also, don't let me forget to talk about guitar tuners and metronomes, 'cause these will help you reach that rock star status sooner!
To get on with your rock guitar playing, you'll need to try out and decide on guitar picks. Don't get hung up on all the different picks available - just find something that feels good to you.
Maybe at some point you'll want to try your hand at slide guitar, although that's not something I'll be covering any time soon in these free guitar lessons for beginners. That's 'cause playing slide guitar ain't so simple - probably not something anyone should put in free guitar lessons for beginners! Anyway, let's get started.
Everything I cover in this section are "nice to haves". You don't need a guitar stand or case, but your guitar is certainly more safe on a stand than leaning in a corner.
There are all sorts of guitar stands available on the market, but they mainly come in two varieties: a floor stand and a wall bracket. The most common floor stand is typically a tripod design with folding legs and an adjustable neck support. There are also low prifile stands that have support to the mid-section of the guitar body.
Wall brackets are mounted on a …, well, a … a WALL! The guitar hangs on the bracket at the point the neck meets the headstock (right at the nut).
If you plan on straying from the free guitar lessons for beginners that you find on the internet and go for some paid lessons at a local music store, you'll want to invest in a guitar case to protect your axe.
The shape of your guitar will dictate what type of case you need. For example, most Strat style bodies or irregular shaped guitars (Gibson Flying V or BC Rich Mockingbird) will require either a soft gig bag or a rectangular hard-shell case. Gibson Les Pauls typically come with a form-fitted case.
The more you move your guitar around (like for lessons or gigs), the better off you'll be with a hard case. When you're travelin' the world for your shows, you can get that expensive Anvil road case for your baby…
Speaking of your baby, when you want to get close to her, you should get a guitar strap. Straps come in all colors, designs, shapes and sizes. I've seen them furry, shiny, spiky and plain. And if you really love your baby, get her some Strap Locks.This is one of those free guitar lessons for beginners that will save you pain in the long run...
Strap Locks are replacement strap pegs that are installed on the strap and clip the strap into the pegs on the guitar body. These will save your baby's life when you're on stage playing! Every guitarist out there has had a Maalox moment (or near moment) when their strap let loose and dropped their guitar.
If you have an amplifier, you need a guitar cord. No two ways about it. And it doesn't hurt to have a spare around either.
How you play your guitar is as personal an experience as it is a technical one. You can rip up the neck at supersonic speeds, but without putting some feeling into your playing, it's only going to sound so-so.
Part of developing your sound comes from the guitar pick (or plectrum) you choose - or choose not - to use. Some people pick up guitar and start strumming, using only their fingers and nails. They might take to finger picking right away. They never get around to using a pick, maybe even finding it restrictive. You'll find this a lot when a guitarist sticks with acoustic guitar.
Most rock musicians will play using a pick, though. Picks come in all shapes and sizes, not to mention their different thickness guages. When you start free guitar lessons for beginners, you might try out a thin pick, then based on your playing, move to a medium or thick. As I was learning, I started with thins and now play with mediums.
As pick thickness increases, they become more rigid. Not only does this affect your attack on the strings, it also affects the tones produced. A thin pick will produce a softer tone, while medium and thick provide a more solid, heavy tone.
Another playing accessory is a slide. While slide guitar isn't something easy to master, it can't hurt to tell you a bit about slides here.
Truthfully, you could use just about anything for a slide. A beer bottle, a copper pipe, heck even a juice glass. But you'll have the most success early on with a pre-made glass or steel tube slide. You can get these pretty inexpensively at the music store, usually around $10.
A slide fits over one of your fretting fingers and "slides" over the frets to produce very unique tones. As an example, listen to "The Long Run" by the Eagles from The Long Run album. You'll hear both Joe Walsh and Don Felder playing slide guitar. Used to be able to watch a studio video of the band recording the song, but it's really hard to find. If you ever have a chance to see it, watch carefully, at about 2:50 in, you'll see Joe using a small medicine jar for his slide, and Don has a metal tube. Check it out:
Speaking of the Eagles, another accessory used by them on their huge, probably most well-know song "Hotel California", is the capo. A capo is a device used to change the pitch of the strings by creating an artificial nut on the fingerboard. The capo attaches to the neck of the guitar.
Check out Don Felder in this live video of "Hotel California". Don is playing the white Gibson Double-neck. The capo is attached to the 12-string neck (top) at the seventh fret. He plays the famous intro to the song on this neck. Glenn Frey is playing a 12-string acoustic with a capo on the second fret.
You're also going to need a good guitar tuner and metronome to get the most out of free guitar lessons for beginners. I've covered online tuners here, but as I mentioned there, you might want to have a tuner on hand that doesn't rely on an internet connection - ya know, like when you're gigging or jamming with your buds.
A metronome is probably one of the most essential tools you can get. You may have a good, natural sense of rhythm, but you have to learn how to play nicely with others if you're planning on being in a rock band. Check out the free online metronomes here.
To wrap up these free guitar lessons for beginners, here's a listing of links (and future links) to get you going on guitar accessories.
Let's get on with more of those free guitar lessons for beginners.