Playing guitar is a lot of fun, and you can never learn too much about it. That's why I've put together some "off-the-beaten-path" guitar lessons for beginners here that I hope you'll enjoy. Although these lessons won't make you an overnight guitar hero, my hope is that they'll give you some quick insights to advance your skills.
Lesson #1: Fretboard Facts
Did you know that your fretboard is 'doubled' at the 12th fret position? What I mean by 'doubled' is that all of the open-string notes repeat in the same order (as octaves) at the 12th fret.
If you just strum your guitar without fretting (holding down) any notes, you have the following pattern in 'standard' tuning: E-A-D-G-B-E. Then, if you were to place your index finger across all six strings at the 12th fret, you get: E-A-D-G-B-E again!
Why is this useful?
It is useful because it means that all of the chord shapes and scale patterns you learn below the 12th fret are repeated and in the same relative positions. So, once you've learned how things work from the open position and 1st fret onwards, you've automatically got everything at the 12th fret and beyond mastered, too!
Lesson #2: Two-Note 'Drones'
Here's an experiment for you to try: Play an open 'D' note simultaneously with a fretted 'A' note on your third string. Now, keep hitting that open 'D' as you move up the D-major scale on the third string. In other words, keep hitting that 'D' as you slide your finger up the fretboard from A to B to D to E and so on.
Sounds pretty cool, right? You can do this for the E and A string below as well.
If you want a song to follow along with and practice this technique, check out the early U2 song called "Electric Co." The Edge is a big fan of these two-note 'drones' and used the technique in that song.
If memory serves, 'Electric Co.' is in the key of D-major, and the riff progresses like so:
D/A - D/C - D/B - D/E - D/F# - D/D (that second D is played at the 7th fret position) - D/A -D/C - D/B - D/G (open G on 3rd string) - D/E - D/F#
Hint: You may need to tune down a half-step to get in key with the album version of the song.
Lesson #3: Easy 'Thirds' in G-Major
The Beatles' song, 'Blackbird', popularized this sound. The progression of intervals of 'thirds' creates a very cool sounding harmony that feels both 'major' and 'minor' at the same time.
In case you aren't familiar with the concept of intervals, the basic definition of an interval is that it is the difference in pitch between two notes. What you do is count up from the root note of the major scale to find the interval number.
In the key of G-major, for example, the distance from from G to C is an interval of a fourth because C is the fourth note in the scale.
In this example, however, what we're actually doing is taking the thirds relative to the chords being played. Let's go from G-major to A-minor to B-minor. The intervals of thirds for each of these chords is: G/B, A/C and B/D, respectively.
Now, trying plucking these intervals with your thumb and index finger. Start with G on the sixth string and B on the second string, open position. Move to A on the fifth string, open position, with C played on the second string, first fret. Finally, play B on the fifth string, second fret, with D on the second string, third fret.
In 'pseudo-tab', the notation would look like this: (6/3 - 2/0) - (5/0 - 2/1) - (5/2 - 2/3). The first number in the 'fraction' represents which string to play on, while the second number represents which fret on that string to hold down.
The parenthesis indicate that you should play both strings simultaneously, rather than one after the other.
So, (6/3 - 2/0) means play the note on the 3rd fret of the sixth string at the same time as you play the second string (0= open position).
That's it for this round of beginner's guitar lessons. I hope you enjoyed them and try experimenting with them to come up with new sounds of your own!