Guitar Lesson 1 - Reading guitar tablature and first string guitar exercises

The Hand

The diagram to your right is rather simple. Throughout the lessons, especially the chord charts you will see references to the numbers located above each finger. Therefore, when you see "place your second and third fingers at..." you'll know what I'm talking about. If your left handed it's all the same with your right hand.

guitar hand

How to read Guitar Tablature (Tab)

Guitar tablature is a unique and simple way of learning how to play the guitar, a song, or riff. Tablature is set up to tell you what fret to play on what strings to play. The top line of tablature is the first string (bottom E string). The next line from the top is your second string (B) and it goes on so forth till you reach the bottom line which is your sixth string (top E string).

The example below shows us that we will be playing the 1st fret of the 1st (bottom E) string. Please do not confuse tablature with the finger chart above. Tablature simply tells you what fret(s) to play but not which fingers to use. As you progress I will teach you more about tab and tell you which fingers to use.

E|---1---| 1st String
B|-------| 2nd String
G|-------| 3rd String
D|-------| 4th String
A|-------| 5th String
E|-------| 6th String
Guitar Fret Diagram


Guitar Finger Exercises - Foundation to Learn

If you are an absolute beginner you should start here. Here will start with some simple tablature and play on one string. Once you get that down we will move onto to the other strings. Getting your fingers accustomed to the guitar is essential, if you don't then I promise it will be harder. These exercises aren't exciting but if you stick with them it will make future learning easier.


Lesson 1 Part 1

Lesson 1 Part 1 Tab/Instruction
E|--0--1--| 1st String
B|--------| 2nd String
G|--------| 3rd String
D|--------| 4th String
A|--------| 5th String
E|--------| 6th String

For the example above, 0 means an open string. For the 1st fret, remember to press down on the area in between the fret and not on the silver bar. (See the image under tab section, just above here)

How to play Part 1:
1. Pluck the bottom E string.
2. Use finger 1 to press down on fret 1 of the bottom string and pluck the string.
Try playing the open string for about a second then the 1st fret for about a second (One.....Two....).


Lesson 1 Part 2

Lesson 1 Part 2 Tab/Instruction
E|--0--1--3--| 1st String
B|-----------| 2nd String
G|-----------| 3rd String
D|-----------| 4th String
A|-----------| 5th String
E|-----------| 6th String

Okay, that first part was easy but this part sometimes gives beginners trouble because there fingers just aren't used to it yet. We're going to repeat what we just did, but this time we will add the 3rd fret. When you play the riff above you will be playing E,F,G on your guitar. Now for the semi-troublesome part for beginners, when you play the 3rd fret you need to use your third finger. Why? You'll never get good at guitar using one finger.

Part 2
1. Pluck the bottom E string.
2. Use finger 1 to press down on fret 1 of the bottom string and pluck the string.
3. Continue to press down on fret 1 with finger 1 and use finger 3 to press down on fret 3 of the bottom string and pluck the string.

Notes:
This can be tricky for someone just getting started. Practice this till you can do it easily. Remember keep that 1st finger on fret 1.


Lesson 1 Part 3

Tab / Instruction
E|--3--1--0--| 1st String
B|-----------| 2nd String
G|-----------| 3rd String
D|-----------| 4th String
A|-----------| 5th String
E|-----------| 6th String

This is just like part 2 except you play it back down. Note: when you play this you will once again have fret 1 pressed down.

Part 3:
1. Place your fingers on the frets, finger 1 on fret 1 and finger 3 on fret 3.
2. Play (pluck) the 3rd fret of the bottom string
3. Release your third finger off the string and play the 1st fret with finger one which should already be pressing down the fret.
4. Release finger one and play the bottom string.
Notes:
Practice this till you can do it easily. Remember keep that 1st finger on fret 1 when playing fret 3.



Lesson 1 Part 4

Tab / Instruction
E|--0--1--3--1--0--| 1st String
B|-----------------| 2nd String
G|-----------------| 3rd String
D|-----------------| 4th String
A|-----------------| 5th String
E|-----------------| 6th String

Now we will put it all together, the tab above will play the following notes E, F, G, F, E.

How to Play Part 4:
1. Play an open E (or play the bottom string)
2. Press and play the 1st fret
3. Keeping you first finger on fret 1, play fret 3 with your third finger.
4. Release finger 3 and play fret 1 with finger 1.
5. Release finger one and play an open E.

Notes:
Although it's not too exciting this is good technique and provides a foundation for learning the guitar. Remember, practice make perfect. Therefore, practice part 4 until you are master at it, then move on to Lesson 2.



Next Lesson: Guitar Finger Exercises
 
     
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