Apparently the hardest part for beginners is changing between chords. I can assure you, this rumor is correct. The callused fingers are nothing compared to trying to get your left hand moving quick enough to catch up to your right hand. Justin guitar has an exercise called One Minute Change where you set a timer for one minute and see how many times you can go between two chords. The goal is to switch chords 60 times in 60 seconds. This takes time and practice to get to; most people start with about 15 changes in a minute.
I start off with D and A, set the timer on my phone and start counting. It doesn’t sound quite as pretty, but I get through 29 changes in a minute. Nice for the first try! I switch to D and E and then E and A and get through a similar amount of changes. Now I can switch between chords! Now it’s time to learn a song… but wait! It’s almost the end of the month!! Nooooooo!
So, I really haven’t been spending as much time as I should practicing chords and moving through the beginner program at http://www.justinguitar.com, but have I mentioned I’m trying to buy a house, and I worked 6 days this week, and I’m very busy and important?? Oh. I’ve mentioned that already? Well, it’s true. 🙂
Today, I took 15 minutes out of my aforementioned very busy schedule to learn anchor fingers. If you keep your first finger on the string, it’s easier to move your other finger to their positions when you change chords. I practice the 3 chords I know while keeping my first finger down instead of picking all my fingers up and trying to find the right strings again. It does make it much easier.
This is the chord I was most excited to learn because it is the major chord in the song I want to learn to play. My finger still feel a bit sore from learning the other two chords, so I don’t practice this one as much as I did the D and A. But it’s definitely getting easier for my fingers to find the right strings.
The first chord taught in the beginner course of http://www.justinguitar.com is the D Chord. Pretty easy. Looks like this.
Oh yeah, I know how to read that! The line on the left represents the string on the top, going all the way down to the string on the right, which would be the one on the bottom. The “X” at the top of the picture means you do not hit that string when strumming. The “O” at the top means you strum it as an open string. Then you place your fingers on the fret where the black dots are. Now you know the D Chord, too! You can strum it together, and then pic all the strings individually to make sure they are all clear.
So, I started watching the beginner section of all these Justin Guitar videos (www.justinguitar.com.) Took me a few to realize that these first videos don’t really need to have your guitar in front of you. So, I took my iphone and headphones to get a pedicure and watched the rest while I ignored the girl next to me giggling annoyingly as if every touch of her foot was too ticklish to bare.
Okay, I got the guitar. It’s tuned to the appropriate notes. I even have a pick to play with. Now what?
Seriously. What do I do next?
A friend recommends a website: http://www.justinguitar.com
There’s a bunch of short videos for beginners. Guitar anatomy, body posture, how to read chords, getting in tune, etc. It’s all hosted by a professional teacher who has over 500 hours of guitar lesson videos. It’s completely free and based on donations. Amazing!