As some of you might know, I am learning guitar for a learning project. Last week I explored some of the basics of guitar, such as string names and how to read TABS/Chord Symbols. I also learned my first chord, E Major. If you haven’t been following my journey, and want to catch up, click here to see my previous posts.
As I mentioned last week, I’m using a YouTube channel called AndyGuitar for my first couple of posts. I made a slight alteration to my plan from last week however. Andy makes a level 1 beginners course, 57 videos long, and it is an excellent resource for a semester-long study. I am planning on trying other resources eventually, so I opted for Andy’s “Learn Guitar in 10 Days” course, which is like an accelerated and simplified version of beginners guitar.
This week I learned 2 more chords (A Major and D Major), and a couple of tunes that resemble real songs. In terms of content, it wasn’t huge, but the big lesson this week was mastery of chord switching. It is one thing to play an individual chord, but to switch your fingers in rhythm, and with almost no time between the switch, is an entirely different ballgame.
The first big part of this was how to actually place your fingers on the guitar. To play a chord with the best sound and success, you should put your fingers to the lower part of the fret. For example, in the picture above with an A major chord diagrammed, your fingers should be close to that metal bar, without touching it (The yellow dots are almost exactly where your fingers go). This ensures that the string is held tight, and makes it more audible.
Secondly, you will naturally try to flatten your fingers a bit (They are reaching over the guitar neck in this position by default). This results in you holding the strings for chords near the front face of your finger (the fingerprint). This is a habit that has to be broken. Instead, your fingers should push down, fingertip first, into the string. This should look a lot like proper typing posture for your fingers, with a fairly decent bend in your knuckles. By doing this, you will again improve your sound, require less pressure, and avoid the “dead string” sound when your string isn’t tight enough.
The last big part is of course the main one, chord changes. Andy has taught us 3 chords, E, A, and D. The fingering we learned all involved the pointer finger on the B string. This helps with chord changing because you have a home placement for the one finger, and your other finger placements kind of build off of that. Andy also provided a step-by-step learning process for the exact movement when changing chords.
The results? I was able to play something resembling Bruce Springsteen’s “Born in the USA”. I also attempted 500 miles in the video, but my fingers were too sore to hold the chords. I will post a successful video of 500 miles in the future, just to prove I can do it with these chords! Next week I am going to do another large portion of Andy’s course, and I might explore other resources (UltimateTabs is one I will use with 500 miles). Until next week, happy blogging!