How to Start Playing Guitar Music and Accompany your Singing

Playing Guitar is Easy, and I will explain how for all my friends & students in China who want to learn Guitar.. These same methods can be used for Ukulele, too, and most other instruments.

I think this is the best way to Learn you target language

Tips for Buying Guitars
Classical vs Acoustic

Classical:
These have Nylon strings and are easier to play for beginners because its easy to push the strings down without hurting your fingers, the sound is softer and more dull.

The neck or “Fret board” is also wider, which means the strings are further apart, so its easier to play the chords without your finger accidentally touching nearby strings. It also means you have to stretch your fingers further to make a chord, which s good practice.

I think the classical Guitar is the best for beginners, especially for people who are worried about their fingers becoming too rough, the classical guitar is very easy to play, and easy to make chords, especially “Barre” chords where you have to hold all the strings down at the same time on the same fret

Acoustic:
These have steel strings that are harder to push, but the sound is louder and more crisp.

Before you buy this guitar, ask the shop keeper to adjust the “tension” for you, by loosening the screw inside the hole of the guitar, at the bottom of the fret board, until the strings are loose enough to make a Barre Chord when all the strings are in tune. (Barre Chord = all 6 strings on one fret are pushed down)

If you cannot make a barre chord even when the screw is loosened, try a different guitar, some acoustics are easier to play than others, some have “softer play” in the strings, meaning they are easier to push down to the fret board to make a clear sound.

When you buy a guitar, its a good idea to buy the Guitar, top-quality strings, a bag, a stand, and picks all at the same time, so you can negotiate a better price.

Strings
The most important part of the Guitar is the strings, so buy the best Guitar strings you can. They should be between 20 to 80 rmb for a set of 6 strings. Buy them from the best Guitar shop you can find. Good Strings can even make a less-expensive guitar sound really nice. You can also get a key-turner to help change strings.

Tuner
The second most important thing is that your guitar is in tune. Some guitars have built-
in Tuners, they are not important. you can also buy an external tuner, you can also get “pitch pipes” which is 6 holes you blow into. or you can use a piano, or tuners online at: http://www.gieson.com/Library/projects/utilities/tuner/ or Download it here: http://www.gieson.com/downloads/utilities/guitar_tuner.zip

If you use an electronic tuner, standard tuning is “A” at 440 in the key of C. (A-440..C)

Frets
The neck of the Guitar should have 21 frets (a fret is the space between the bars, where you push to make the chord). Less than 21 is ok if you are just beginning though,

Pick Up
A pick up is a place to put an audio wire so you can play your guitar through your computer, DVD player, TV, or Guitar Amplifier, if you want to play louder. its not very important, and you can always buy an external one later if you decide you really need it

Guitar Stand
A guitar stand lets you set your guitar upright, so it is not resting on the keys, and keeps it in tune, and keeps it from warping, they run about 20 rmb.. but they’re not really a necessity

Guitar Bags
Make sure you get a good guitar bag when you buy the guitar, try to negotiate for the best one you can while you are negotiating the price of the Guitar and strings.

Picks
You dont need picks. If you want to use them, you can make them from an old credit card or by folding up a name-card, etc.. if you want to buy them, you should get one very soft and flexible pick for strumming, a medium pick for picking and strumming, and a stiffer pick for picking only

Stringing Your Guitar
The first step is to take off the old strings and put on your new high-quality strings. you can find a video here for changing strings at: http://www.workshoplive.com/player/tips.cfm , choose “How to restring an Acoustic Guitar” or “How to restring a Classical Guitar” below the video window

Tuning Your Guitar
Start with the biggest string, the Top string, also called the “Low E” string. Tighten the key for the string until it is in pitch with your tuner. Then tune from top to bottom by doing the next biggest string down, the A string, then do the D, then the G, then the B then the last and smallest string on the bottom, the High E

You can check the tuning of each string by holding the string above it on the 5th fret, except for the second smallest B string, for that you need to hold the string above that, (the G string) on the 4th fret.

Make sure you are pushing the strings firmly against the fret board if you use this method

Guitar Basics
The first step to playing the guitar is learning the chords. I recommend learning the following patterns first, by strumming each chord with your first finger-nail by brushing downwards across the strings 8 times for each chord.

The Chord sheets are at the end of this blog page.
1. G . . . D . . . A . . . D . . . (repeat)
2. D . . . G . . . D . . . A7 . . . (repeat)
3. G . . . G7 . . . C . . . D7 . . . (repeat)
4. G . . . D7 . . . C . . . G . . . (repeat)
5. C . . . D7 . . . G7 . . . C . . . (repeat)
6. E . . . A . . . E . . . B . . . (repeat)
7. Am . . . Em . . . Dm . . . Am . . . (repeat)
8. C . . . C7 . . .F . . . G7 . . . (repeat)
9. B . . . E . . . B . . . F#7 . . . (repeat)
10. G . . G7 . . C . . G . . E7 . . A7. . D7. . G. . (repeat)

Play them over and over until you get them down

Begin by strumming 8 times for each chord, then as you improve, reduce it to 4 strums per chord, then down to 2

You can then mix them up with the ones you have already learned for continuous play
your fingers may become sore, so have a rest when you need it, practice just 10 to 15 minutes a day is enough those are probably the only chords you need, maybe you will need a few others, but thats most of them

Playing a Song
Find a song you like online, just google the name + chords

Here we will use the Chinese song 甜蜜蜜:

 C             G         C
甜蜜蜜 你笑的甜蜜蜜
G                      C
好象花儿开在春风里
Am  G
开在春风里
C            G             C
在哪里 在哪里见过你

G                   C
你的笑容这样熟悉
Am        C
我一时想不起
C       G     C
啊…. 在梦里
Am         C
梦里梦里见过你
Am              C
甜蜜笑的多甜蜜
G
是你是你 梦见的就是你
C               G          C
在哪里 在哪里见过你
G                    C
你的笑容这样熟悉
Am            C
我一时想不起
C        G    C
啊…. 在梦里

The first step is to get the rhythm down by muting your strings and just getting your strum on tempo to go with the flow of the song, and get an idea how you’re going to play it.

Next step is to play the song through without singing, just play through the chords until you can make all the chord changes at the right times and places.

After you can do that, the next step is style your strum so it sounds like the song more, strum up and down, stop sometimes, skip some beats, double strum, use your thumb and other fingers as you like, pick one or two string then strum some strings etc, slap some strings, tap the guitar body, etc, until it sounds like the song when you play it

In general, you need to focus your strum or play louder the strings which you are holding down with your left hand. For example, when you play a D chord you need to strum the bottom 3 or 4 strings on the guitar. When you play an Em chord, you only need to strum the top 3 or 4, and when you play a G chord you need to strum all 6 strings from top to bottom.

Then after it sounds good, you can now play it through while humming it, and then keep practicing it, until you can sing it while playing

The key to singing is to make the song your own style, dont try to copy the sound of another singer, make your own style of the song, with your own voice, and you can even play it faster or slower.

Finding Your Key
In general, most songs you will find will be too difficult for you to play or sing because of the use of strange chords by crazy professionals who write the songs depending completely on the singers voice, in really specific keys, which can lead to many difficult chords. Your Key is the one you are comfortable with. Its higher than you think it is, and generally a bit out of your comfort zone.

So the next step is to Transpose your song

Transposing Your Song
The easiest way is on the computer

Copy the song from the internet and put it into wordpad on your computer.

Many songs are in the wrong format, for example #F instead of F#
and Bmb instead of Bbm so fix all those, and remove any symbols such as (一), —-》 etc.. for example:

Wrong Format:
— C G C
甜蜜蜜 你笑的甜蜜蜜
G // C (一)
好象花儿开在春风里

Right Format:
C             G        C
甜蜜蜜 你笑的甜蜜蜜
G                  C
好象花儿开在春风里

Wrong Format:
#C #G #C
甜蜜蜜 你笑的甜蜜蜜
#G #C
好象花儿开在春风里

Right Format:
C#            G#    C#
甜蜜蜜 你笑的甜蜜蜜
G#               C#
好象花儿开在春风里

Next, copy your cleaned up text from your wordpad and go to this website: http://www.simusic.com/transpose.html

Then Select “guess root key” and choose “into the key of G” or you can try into the key of A, B, C, D, E, F, or G, until your song has been transposed into chords that are familiar to you and easy to play, and the song is in a range comfortable for your voice.

Play the whole song, and hum along to find if it is in the right key for your voice

Many Songs have a chorus or second or third or final verse which is in a different key than the other verses, in this case, divide the song into parts and transpose them separately, until the chorus and all the verses are easy to play and easy to sing

Dont worry that you might change the song, the more you change it, the more it becomes your own song in your own style, and that is the goal.

If you have a chord like “F#” and you want to change the whole song, you can count the “half steps” to the next chord

1 half-step up from F# is G

The scale looks like this:
A . A#/Bb . B . C . C#/Db . D . D#/Eb . E . F . F#/Gb . G . G#/Ab

A# and Bb, etc, are the same note and you can say it either way

“#” is a step up, and “b” is a step down

Notice there is no half step between B and C or between E and F, just like on the piano, the half step jumps to the next whole note in these 2 places on the scale

Manual Transposition:

There are charts you can look at, but really you can just change the first chord to where you want it, then count the steps & half steps it was higher or lower from the original, remember that number, then just count the same number for all the other chords in teh song.

Names of Notes
these can all be (# = sharp) or (b = flat)
A = the standard “A”
Am = A Minor
Guitar and Singing – 天狮鹫的日志 – 网易博客
http://blog.163.com/san_stars/blog/static/13683188020100124114764/%5B12/03/2012 13:02:57]
A7 = A 7th
Adim or A- = A Diminished
Aaug or A+ = A Augmented
A9 = A 9th
Amaj7 or Ama7 = A Major 7th
Am7 or Amin7 = A Minor 7th
A7+5 or A7aug5 = A 7th Augmented 5th
A7-5 or A7dim5 = A 7th Diminished 5th
A6 = A 6th
Am6 = A Minor 6th

sharps (#) and flats (b) are written after the first letter, for example:
A#m6 or Db7+5 or C#maj7

You wont often use most of these, and you can substitute close notes in your song, for difficult ones. For example, if the song calls for Dmaj7, a D7 will usually work just fine
or if it calls for a Bb6, you can try Bb instead, to make it easier on you, and it will still sound great

You can even change the note completely and then just change your voice to match the new way you play it and you can even make your own words up, change some of the words

And you can even make all your own words and put them to a tune you already know how to play

And then, eventually, your can simply make your own songs and as you progress, you can work on different strums, learn them from friends, etc..

Finding Your Own Chords:

I generally just take the melody or the chorus, or a hook or refrain, that represents the song best, and pick it note by note for 2-4 lines.

Then I look at what notes I’m picking when the chord change happens, and note it down

And I check the other notes I’m hitting most frequently, and note them all down, in relation to the chord change, and then figure out which key I’m in based on the strings I’m plucking most.

You can also use a power chord, and move it up the fret while singing the tune and find the note that matches that way.Power Chords let you move up the fret without Barring, going through all the half-steps and steps. For example, your G power chord moved 2 frets would become A, etc, according to the list above.

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