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How to Play the Guitar

By: Peter Lenkefi

If you think learning to play a musical instrument is difficult,
then you haven't learned how to play the guitar. You may not become a
musical genius overnight, but in just a few short lessons you can learn
how to play the guitar and be well on your way to a consummate professional.

There are essentially two elements of learning to play the guitar: positioning
and chords. Once you learn these elements you will be equipped with all you need
to begin playing the guitar.

While you are anxious to play the guitar, you must first learn how to hold the guitar.
Many people think they only need to place the guitar in their lap and they're ready to
play. Holding your guitar incorrectly can actually affect the sound your instrument
generates. When you play your guitar you will either play it sitting or standing.
When you play your guitar sitting down, you want to be sure the guitar rests comfortably
in your lap. The main thing to remember is that you don't want your body to support the guitar.
Standing and playing the guitar is more of a presentation style.

You will hold the guitar
like you would if you were sitting, but you place one foot in front of you to prevent stress
on your back. When you first learn how to play the guitar, holding the guitar may seem awkward.
Just give it some time and it will eventually seem natural to you.

Once you feel comfortable holding your guitar, it's time to focus on positioning. Positioning
refers to what you do with your hand to play music using the guitar. Let's start with the left
hand. The longest part of the guitar, the neck, is the area of the guitar where you will
position your fingers and thumb so that you can create the great music afforded to the guitar.
You should not place too much force against the fretboard when you play a note.

Your right hand is responsible for picking, plucking, or strumming the strings.
You can decide for yourself how to play the guitar using either method. The proper
way to hold your hand when you play the guitar with a pick is to make a fist with your
thumb on the outside of your hand.

The pick slides between your thumb and index finger.

You then pick the strings in an upward motion. To play the guitar with your fingers, or
pluck the strings, you use your thumb and index finger. Like when you use a pick, you pluck
the strings in an upward motion. Strumming involves playing all the strings all at once.
If you're wondering how to play the guitar if you use a left-handed guitar, you will
position your fingers in mirror image of the instructions presented here.

Although you are just starting out, you are probably anxious to start actually learning
how to play the guitar. There is one more important element to learn before you can actually
playing music. It doesn't matter what genre of music you are interested in playing, you will
need to be able to recognize chords to play music. A chord chart represents the neck of the
guitar and indicates by using "X" marks, hollow circles, and numbered circled how to play a
particular chord.

The fretboard consists of six strings and five frets. The hollow circles in a chord chart
indicate strings that you play.

The numbered circles indicate which finger to use to play
the chord. Neglecting to include your thumb, associate each finger with a number beginning
with the number one (for example, the index finger would be 1, the middle finger would be 2,
and so on). The "X" on the chord chart indicates that you should not play that string. Once
you learn how to play the guitar and learn the five major chords (C, A, G, E, D) it will be
easier to learn how to play just about any song.

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