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What’s the easiest way to learn how to play guitar?

Question by Charlye Ann: What’s the easiest way to learn how to play guitar?
I really want to learn guitar to add some music to the songs I write.. I heard that all you really need to know is 3 chords.. any advice or hints would help.

Best answer:

Answer by Pixandstix
I taught myself. Not hard. Look up how to read tablature. Tabs pretty much show how to play anything on guitar.

Know better? Leave your own answer in the comments!

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Riff Master Pro

Riff Master Pro Review

The biggest problem when you’re trying to learn a new guitar solo is that you’re not Jimi Hendrix, Jimmy Page, or Eric Clapton, or whoever’s solo it is that you’re trying to play. Even if you’ve got the guitar tab in front of you, you just can’t get it right.

If you’re learning the solo from guitar tab, you’re playing the right notes but it still doesn’t sound right when you’re playing along to the music. If you’re learning to play it by ear, you just can’t seem to pick out all the notes, especially if it’s one of those lightning fast guitar solos.

Riff Master Pro is software that you install on your computer and it lets you slow down music without changing the pitch so that you can play along to it, perfect it, and speed it up gradually, until you’ve got it mastered at full speed.

If you’re as old as me and tried doing this with vinyl records you’ll know it doesn’t work too well. You can slow down a 45 rpm single to 33 1/3 rpm but the pitch changes. I could even slow down 33 1/3 long play records to 16 rpm (not that I’ve ever seen a 16 rpm record).

With Riff Master Pro, you can slow down a whole song, or just part of it, and the pitch stays the same. You can get the timing of all the notes right and then speed it up until you can play along at full speed. You can even change the pitch if you want to learn the song in a different key.

Slowing the song down but keeping the pitch correct will help you transcribe or tab tunes if you learn them by ear. It will also help you get them spot on if you learn them from tabs or sheet music. It doesn’t just work for the guitar, you can use this for any instrument.

Riff Master Pro has a 10 day free trial – well worth trying it out.

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Why Learn Guitar Scales?

How Learning Scales On The Guitar Can Make You A Better Guitar Player

One very basic reason is that practicing guitar scales helps to improve finger strength and co-ordination and your overall technique. Learning guitar scales will also improve your playing speed and help you to improvise and play riffs and solos. Many guitar solos you hear are formed from them.

If you just want to be a rhythm guitarist in a group playing covers of other group’s songs, you probably don’t need to bother with scales. Even if you’re the lead guitarist in the same band, you might get by without learning scales, just learn the songs from tabs.

If you know your scales, when you perform with a group of musicians, and they tell you the song is played in a particular key, you’ll know which notes to play and be able to jam along with them.

If you understand just the standard major and minor scales, you can understand how to form chords, produce melodies, and harmony parts, as well as lead parts and solos, and not hit a note that sounds out of tune. Here’s one tip, there’s no difference between the major scale and the minor scale, they just start at a different position on the neck of the guitar.

A lot of people just starting to learn guitar want to learn rock guitar. The main scale for this is the minor pentatonic scale. Again, the major pentatonic scale is exactly the same but is just played in a different position.

You will find that guitarists that haven’t learnt scales, actually play scales but just don’t realise it. They have picked them up from learning songs. If they had made the decision to learn them, their knowledge and ability would have been so much better.

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G Minor Pentatonic Scale

Minor Pentatonic Scales Part 2 – G Pentatonic Minor Scale

If you’ve practiced playing the E Minor pentatonic scale in the previous lesson, Minor Pentatonic Scale, you should be starting to get familiar with it. What I’m going to do now is very quickly show you the G Minor pentatonic scale. I’ll show you the tabs and fretboard diagrams for the five positions.

This is the first pentatonic box with the root note, G, on the third fret of the sixth string:

e |----------------|----------------|--------3---6---|
B |----------------|----------------|3---6-----------|
G |----------------|--------3---5---|----------------|
D |----------------|3---5-----------|----------------|
A |--------3---5---|----------------|----------------|
E |3---6-----------|----------------|----------------|

G Minor Pentatonic Scale First Box

G Minor Pentatonic Scale First Box

Second box:

e |----------------|----------------|--------6---8---|
B |----------------|----------------|6---8-----------|
G |----------------|--------5---7---|----------------|
D |----------------|5---8-----------|----------------|
A |--------5---8---|----------------|----------------|
E |6---8-----------|----------------|----------------|

G Minor Pentatonic Scale Second Box

G Minor Pentatonic Scale Second Box

Third box:

e |-----------------|-----------------|--------8---10---|
B |-----------------|-----------------|8---11-----------|
G |-----------------|--------7---10---|-----------------|
D |-----------------|8---10-----------|-----------------|
A |--------8---10---|-----------------|-----------------|
E |8---10-----------|-----------------|-----------------|

G Minor Pentatonic Scale Third Box

G Minor Pentatonic Scale Third Box

Fourth box:

e |------------------|------------------|--------10---13---|
B |------------------|------------------|11---13-----------|
G |------------------|--------10---12---|------------------|
D |------------------|10---12-----------|------------------|
A |--------10---13---|------------------|------------------|
E |10---13-----------|------------------|------------------|

G Minor Pentatonic Scale Fourth Box

G Minor Pentatonic Scale Fourth Box

Fifth box:

e |------------------|------------------|--------13---15---|
B |------------------|------------------|13---15-----------|
G |------------------|--------12---15---|------------------|
D |------------------|12---15-----------|------------------|
A |--------13---15---|------------------|------------------|
E |13---15-----------|------------------|------------------|

G Minor Pentatonic Scale Fifth Box

G Minor Pentatonic Scale Fifth Box

After the fifth box, it repeats again from the first box an octave higher:

e |------------------|------------------|--------15---15---|
B |------------------|------------------|15---18-----------|
G |------------------|--------15---17---|------------------|
D |------------------|15---17-----------|------------------|
A |--------15---17---|------------------|------------------|
E |15---18-----------|------------------|------------------|

G Minor Pentatonic Scale First Box - One Octave Higher

G Minor Pentatonic Scale First Box – One Octave Higher

If you’re wondering what happens below the first box at fret three, it repeats backwards, i.e., the fifth box one octave lower. This is what happens when you start in a higher key and run out of fretboard to fit all the patterns in:

e |----------------|----------------|--------0---3---|
B |----------------|----------------|0---3-----------|
G |----------------|--------0---2---|----------------|
D |----------------|0---2-----------|----------------|
A |--------0---2---|----------------|----------------|
E |0---3-----------|----------------|----------------|

G Minor Pentatonic Scale Fifth Box - One Octave Lower

G Minor Pentatonic Scale Fifth Box – One Octave Lower

Finally, this is the fretboard diagram for all of the notes on the guitar in the G Minor pentatonic scale:

G Minor Pentatonic Scale - All Notes

G Minor Pentatonic Scale – All Notes

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A Minor Pentatonic Scale

Minor Pentatonic Scales Part 3 – A Pentatonic Minor Scale

If you’ve been practising the E Minor and G Minor pentatonic scales from the previous lessons, you should know them quite well now. I’m not going to show you all the scales, you should be able to work them out for yourself now. What I am going to do is quickly show you the tabs and fretboard diagrams for the A Minor pentatonic scale.

This is the first pentatonic box with the root note, A, on the fifth fret of the sixth string:

e |----------------|----------------|--------5---8---|
B |----------------|----------------|5---8-----------|
G |----------------|--------5---7---|----------------|
D |----------------|5---7-----------|----------------|
A |--------5---7---|----------------|----------------|
E |5---8-----------|----------------|----------------|

A Minor Pentatonic Scale First Box

A Minor Pentatonic Scale First Box

Second pattern:

e |-----------------|-----------------|--------8---10---|
B |-----------------|-----------------|8---10-----------|
G |-----------------|--------7---9----|-----------------|
D |-----------------|7---10-----------|-----------------|
A |--------7---10---|-----------------|-----------------|
E |8---10-----------|-----------------|-----------------|

A Minor Pentatonic Scale Second Box

A Minor Pentatonic Scale Second Box

Third position:

e |------------------|------------------|--------10---12---|
B |------------------|------------------|10---13-----------|
G |------------------|---------9---12---|------------------|
D |------------------|10---12-----------|------------------|
A |--------10---12---|------------------|------------------|
E |10---12-----------|------------------|------------------|

A Minor Pentatonic Scale Third Box

A Minor Pentatonic Scale Third Box

Fourth box:

e |------------------|------------------|--------12---15---|
B |------------------|------------------|13---15-----------|
G |------------------|--------12---14---|------------------|
D |------------------|12---14-----------|------------------|
A |--------12---15---|------------------|------------------|
E |12---15-----------|------------------|------------------|

A Minor Pentatonic Scale Fourth Box

A Minor Pentatonic Scale Fourth Box

Last of the five patterns, the fifth box:

e |------------------|------------------|--------15---17---|
B |------------------|------------------|15---17-----------|
G |------------------|--------14---17---|------------------|
D |------------------|14---17-----------|------------------|
A |--------15---17---|------------------|------------------|
E |15---17-----------|------------------|------------------|

A Minor Pentatonic Scale Fifth Box

A Minor Pentatonic Scale Fifth Box

First box, one octave higher:

e |------------------|------------------|--------17---20---|
B |------------------|------------------|17---20-----------|
G |------------------|--------17---19---|------------------|
D |------------------|17---19-----------|------------------|
A |--------17---19---|------------------|------------------|
E |17---20-----------|------------------|------------------|

A Minor Pentatonic Scale First Box - One Octave Higher

A Minor Pentatonic Scale First Box – One Octave Higher

Fourth box, one octave lower:

e |----------------|----------------|--------0---3---|
B |----------------|----------------|1---3-----------|
G |----------------|--------0---2---|----------------|
D |----------------|0---2-----------|----------------|
A |--------0---3---|----------------|----------------|
E |0---3-----------|----------------|----------------|

A Minor Pentatonic Scale Fourth Box - One Octave Lower

A Minor Pentatonic Scale Fourth Box – One Octave Lower

Fifth box, one octave lower:

e |----------------|----------------|--------3---5---|
B |----------------|----------------|3---5-----------|
G |----------------|--------2---5---|----------------|
D |----------------|2---5-----------|----------------|
A |--------3---5---|----------------|----------------|
E |3---5-----------|----------------|----------------|

A Minor Pentatonic Scale Fifth Box - One Octave Lower

A Minor Pentatonic Scale Fifth Box – One Octave Lower

Finally, the last of the diagrams shows all of the notes on the guitar for the A Minor pentatonic scale:

A Minor Pentatonic Scale - All Notes

A Minor Pentatonic Scale – All Notes

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A Major Pentatonic Scale

Major Pentatonic Scales Part 2 – A Major Pentatonic Scale

If you’ve read the first article G Major Pentatonic Scale, I don’t need to explain the difference between major and minor pentatonics scales and moving the minor scale three frets down the fret board. I’m just going to quickly show you the scale diagrams and tabs for the A Major pentatonic scale.

Fifth pattern one octave lower:

e |----------------|----------------|--------2---5---|
B |----------------|----------------|2---5-----------|
G |----------------|--------2---4---|----------------|
D |----------------|2---4-----------|----------------|
A |--------2---4---|----------------|----------------|
E |2---5-----------|----------------|----------------|

A Major Pentatonic Scale Fifth Box - One Octave Lower

A Major Pentatonic Scale Fifth Box – One Octave Lower

First position with the root note, A, on the fifth fret of the sixth string:

e |----------------|----------------|--------5---7---|
B |----------------|----------------|5---7-----------|
G |----------------|--------4---6---|----------------|
D |----------------|4---7-----------|----------------|
A |--------4---7---|----------------|----------------|
E |5---7-----------|----------------|----------------|

A Major Pentatonic Scale First Box

A Major Pentatonic Scale First Box

Second of the five positions:

e |----------------|----------------|--------7---9----|
B |----------------|----------------|7---10-----------|
G |----------------|--------6---9---|-----------------|
D |----------------|7---9-----------|-----------------|
A |--------7---9---|----------------|-----------------|
E |7---9-----------|----------------|-----------------|

A Major Pentatonic Scale Second Box

A Major Pentatonic Scale Second Box

Third of the five patterns:

e |-----------------|-----------------|---------9---12---|
B |-----------------|-----------------|10---12-----------|
G |-----------------|--------9---11---|------------------|
D |-----------------|9---11-----------|------------------|
A |--------9---12---|-----------------|------------------|
E |9---12-----------|-----------------|------------------|

A Major Pentatonic Third Box

A Major Pentatonic Third Box

Fourth box:

e |------------------|------------------|--------12---14---|
B |------------------|------------------|12---14-----------|
G |------------------|--------11---14---|------------------|
D |------------------|11---14-----------|------------------|
A |--------12---14---|------------------|------------------|
E |12---14-----------|------------------|------------------|

A Major Pentatonic Fourth Box

A Major Pentatonic Fourth Box

Fifth box of the five boxes:

e |------------------|------------------|--------14---17---|
B |------------------|------------------|14---17-----------|
G |------------------|--------14---16---|------------------|
D |------------------|14---16-----------|------------------|
A |--------14---16---|------------------|------------------|
E |14---17-----------|------------------|------------------|

A Major Pentatonic Scale Fifth Box

A Major Pentatonic Scale Fifth Box

First box repeated one octave higher:

e |------------------|------------------|--------17---19---|
B |------------------|------------------|17---19-----------|
G |------------------|--------16---18---|------------------|
D |------------------|16---19-----------|------------------|
A |--------16---19---|------------------|------------------|
E |17---19-----------|------------------|------------------|

A Major Pentatonic Scale First Box - One Octave Higher

A Major Pentatonic Scale First Box – One Octave Higher

Finally, the diagram showing all the notes:

A Major Pentatonic Scale - All Notes

A Major Pentatonic Scale – All Notes