|Playing the Guitar Guide
Playing the Guitar Guide
Preparing to Play
What is this musical instrument called the guitar? Where did it come from? What
types of music can be played on it? What different types of guitars are available,
and what’s the best instrument to buy? Before you even pluck a note, you’re faced
with all of these questions, and more. But don’t worry. We’ll be with you every
step of the way. In this first part of the site, we’ll answer all of these questions—and
others—and then you’ll be ready to play your first notes.
Tunes and Tablature
Now we’re ready to play. First, we’ll establish a good playing position and find
some chords with the left hand. In Chapter 6 we’ll bring in some right-hand variety,
and after practicing this with a song we’ll move on to learning about broken chords,
known as arpeggios.
So far, so good. We’ve learned and practiced some basic techniques for both hands.
Now it’s time to learn how to read guitar tablature—the simplest method for notating
(writing down) guitar music. This notation enables us to recognize notes quickly
and easily. Then we can practice the new techniques by playing some familiar songs.
After working on different time values, we add valuable new skills to our repertoire
in Chapter 10—the left-hand hammer-on and pull-off.
Guitar tablature is fine, as long as we have music written that way. But if we
want to read from “ordinary” scores or want to understand the rhythmic values of
the notes, we have to learn how to read standard notation. This will be very important
if we want to arrange our own guitar music. And we also have to understand a little
bit of music theory: how scales are made and formed. We’ll also master the advanced
technique of playing more than one melody part at the same time—an integral part
of classical guitar technique.
All of us have our own favorite musical style, but most guitarists like to be
at least conversant with different styles. You never know when you might have to
accompany a hoedown or be called on to help out a Spanish dancer in need! But seriously,
knowing different styles enables you to expand your technique—and eventually develop
your own style. The chapters in this part of the site examine some of the most popular
styles around, demystifying them and making them easy to learn.
You’re just about ready to leave the nest and take off on your own. But before
you go there are a few more things I’d like to show you. Learning how to form chords
will enable you to be a good allaround accompanist. Moving up the fingerboard will
enable you to take full advantage of the guitar’s range. Some secrets that guitar
virtuosos have learned over the years will also be revealed. And finally, as my
last gift to you, I have two beautiful showpieces for you to learn to impress your
family and friends—and yourself!
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