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Top 5 things you should know as a beginner guitarist

Top 5 things you should know as a beginner guitarist

Are you thinking that you are a beginner guitarist? Do you know the chords, songs and scales a beginner guitarist should know? Read till the end to find out.

If you are reading this, you probably own a simple acoustic guitar or an entry-level electric guitar and an amp. However, you do not know how to measure your progress.

So here is your master checklist through which you can evaluate if you are a beginner guitar player or just a novice.

Guitar Chords

As a beginner guitar player, you should be knowing most of the open chord positions in both major and minor key. The chords should include:

Major Chords in open position: C, A, D, G, E, B, F

beginner major chord chart
Major chord chart for beginner guitarists

Minor Chords in open position: Am, Em, Dm

minor chord chart for beginners
Minor Chords chart for beginner guitarists

If you know the above chords by heart, you can easily learn most songs and be the star of a camp-fire.

Strumming and chord changes

Do you know how to change chords without breaking the rhytm? If yes, well done! However, instead of just doing the regular up-down strumming motion, you should also know more strumming patterns with a few rests in-between chord changes.

Few strumming examples below which you can also practice as an exercise:

| down | down | up | rest | up | down | up |

| up | down | down | rest | down | down | up |

| up | rest | down | up | down | rest | up | down |

Guitar Scales

By now, you should be knowing you basic pentatonic scale shapes, in major and in minor key. Also, you should be exploring these shapes and discovering how to link them across the fretboard (at least upto the 12th fret). Here are a few pentatonic scale patterns for you to practice:

minor pentatonic scale patterns
minor pentatonic guitar scale patterns
major pentatonic scale patterns

Guitar Music Theory

As a beginner guitarist, you should know the basics of music theory such as:

  • how chords are formed?
  • how scales are formed?
  • the concept of the chromatic scale – flats and sharps
  • rhythm changes and timings – 4/4 rhythm pattern or the 12 bar blues rhythm if you are learning specifically the blues genre.

What’s next?

Congratulations, if you all the above mentioned points. Now, to go beyond you should be knowing the following (this however, won’t make you an intermediate guitarist):

  • open chords such as add9, 7th, minor 7th
  • Major and Minor scale patterns
  • Techniques/skills such as – palm muting, not looking at your picking hand while playing, easily switch between strings, able to play your scales across the fretboard.
  • Able to cover some beginner guitarist songs – happy birthday, Christmas song, Wonderful Tonight by Eric Clapton, Smoke on the Water, Highway to Hell by AC/DC, etc.

Once you have mastered the above, you can now explore the intermediate level of guitar playing. Stay tuned for my next blog to know what you be knowing if you are an intermediate guitarist.


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