Congratulations and welcome to Shredible.com!
As this blog casts off on its maiden voyage, we are going to cover the following topics:
- How to Hold the Pick (Like a Pro)
- Tuning and String Names
Now, let's take a breath and continue on. We'll get through this together, I promise.
Holding the Pick (Like a Pro)
First and foremost, let's begin with holding your guitar pick.
When I first started, I began learning how to play the guitar by myself. At this time the internet was in its infancy causing me to develop up some bad habits -- the first of which was incorrectly holding the pick, causing me to frequently drop picks. This made learning how to properly hold the pick extremely difficult. To start off right, learn to hold your pick as shown below:
*Just starting out, you may find a thinner pick to be more suitable, as it tends to yield to the strings more, allowing you to strum more easily. But don't be afraid to experiment with different picks, as you may discover a personal preference.
Tuning and String Names
Next we'll cover the topic of tuning your guitar. This can be achieved in several different ways, but for the bedroom guitarist just starting out, I recommend purchasing a clip-on guitar tuner for the sake of ease, here's a link to the very same tuner that I use. There are various different affordable brands out there, but if you're unable to purchase one you can easily find a free guitar tuner app for your mobile phone or tablet, or you can search YouTube for a guitar tuning video, allowing you to exercise your ear by requiring you to sense when your strings are in tune with the audio. In fact, I sometimes use this "E A D G B e string tuner" when I misplace my Snark tuner.
Just note that as a beginner, your ability to recognize pitch may be less developed, making it slightly more difficult to tune your guitar; and if your strings are new, they will tend to stretch as you play, causing them to go flat, so don't be afraid to bend them around a bit to help them acclimate (just don't go all Hulkamania on them, brother!).
As you may have already noticed from the link provided above, the guitar is tuned to the following notes:
E, A, D, G, B, e
This is known as "standard tuning," and the string names correspond with their respective tunings and are often referred to as such:
"E string" or "low E"
"e string" or "high e"
*The terms "high" and "low" have nothing to do with the string's physical location on the instrument, but rather its pitch.
You may sometimes see the strings referred to by number, which correspond to the strings as such:
6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1
E, A, D, G, B, e
*One trick to help you remember this: just think of the numbers as reflecting the string thickness, also known as "string gauge" (i.e. 1 is the smallest, making it the smallest string; 6 is the largest, making it the largest string).
Remember: This all comes with time and practice, but I promise that if you remain persistent, you'll have built a solid foundation for wow-ing your family and friends in no time!
Now that you're an expert in holding the pick and string numbering, it's time to become familiar with playing the major scale and open chords.