Guitar Lesson Material

Below are a few different instructional areas that need to be included in the lesson plans for guitar:

  • The Open Strings on a guitar are:

    • thick 6E
    • 5A
    • 4D Acronym to remember the open strings….
    • 3G “Elvis Always Does Good Before Eating”
    • 2B
    • thin 1e
  • Tuning:

    Standard tuning is 440hz. Be sure your tuner is set to this number to be correctly in tune. If you want to tune down a whole step you would set the tuner at 438hz. The same is true if you want to tune up a whole step – set tuner to 442hz. For beginners, always tune to standard 440hz tuning.

  • The main parts of the guitar are:

    Nut / Bridge / Sound Hole / Saddle / Tuning Machines / Head Stock / Neck or Fretboard / Fret Markers / Pick Guard / Body

  • The following are various kinds of guitars:

    Acoustic / Electric / Bass

    Jumbo / Standard / Auditorium

  • 12 Bar Blues is a progression using the three primary chords in a particular key. The progression uses the 1 chord, 4 chord, and 5chord in a variety of sequences. For example, the 1/4/5 in the key of A major would be A / D / E. The 12 bar blues progression at a basic level is as follows: (Each letter represents a chord and 1 measure)

    A A A A D D A A E D A A = 12 bars or “measures” of this progression.

  • C/G D/F# G/B …

    Are all examples of chord forms that have alternative bass notes other than the chord name. For example, a C major chord contains obviously a “C” bass or root note. However, with the three examples above, the bass note changes to the note to the right of the slash. The first one, C/G, tell you to form a C shape, but play a G bass note. This is the case for all chords that look like the examples.

    You have to find that bass note either as an open string/note or a closed note on strings 6 and 5 usually. Try string 6 first to see if you can easily finger the new “bass note”. If the located note is too high on the fret board and you can’t reach it, try finding that note on string 5.

  • Each key is comprised of major chords, minor chords, seventh chords, and many more. In Guitar I, you will learn only those three kinds of chords. In each key we can basically locate three primary chords known as major chords. Major chords are happy chords that sound pleasant to the ear. The three secondary chords are the minor chords. Minor chords have a sad sound. Seventh chords are neutral chords usually used in passing from the other kinds of chords. Chords are played by the rhythm player. Scales made up of individual notes, are played by the lead player. The bass player thumps bass notes (the first note of a chord) as well as utilizes walking bass lines.
  • The sixteen most common open chords are: A Am A7 B Bm B7 C D Dm D7 E Em E7 F G G7

    Other popular open chords that are easy to finger: Gsus2 Cadd9 Dsus4 Dsus2 Dm7 Am7 Em7 Fmaj7

  • Flat-Picking technique is a very useful way to play songs that utilize arpeggios (breaking a chord down). We know that G chords and E chords have 6 notes/strings in them / A chords and C chords – 5 strings/notes in them / F chords and D chords – 4 strings/notes in them. When flat-picking a chord the following breakdown of each chord is used (all of which are broken down into thirds / three parts)

    G’s and E’s Area 1 = strings 6E and 5A / Area 2 = strings 4D and 3G / Area 3 = 2B and 1E

    A’s and C’s Area 1 = strings 5A and 4D / Area 2 = 3G / Area 3 = 2B and 1E

    F’s and D’s Area 1 = 4D / Area 2 = 3G and 2B / Area 3 = 1E

    Areas 1 and 2 are usually down pickied / Area 3 is usually up-picked

  • Scales are a way of playing lead guitar. You can learn guitar riffs specifically or simply improvise in the given key. Your middle finger begins with the proper root note on all major scales (happy scales) and the index finger starts on the root note for all minor scales.

    Scales can be played using all six strings or the bottom 5 strings (the high five). The first four scale patterns you should learn in guitar are the 6th root major scale, the 6th root minor scale, 5th root major scale, 5th root minor scale.

    Popular scale patterns for rock and blues are the minor pentatonic scales (5 boxes/or separate scale patterns) They are the easiest to play as these scales eliminate two notes out of the normal 7 note chromatic scale. These scales are 5 note repetitive scales spanning at least two octaves from top to bottom.

  • Transposing Keys

    When you want to change the key of a song you can use two methods:

    1) Use a capo to keep chord structures simple

    2) Transpose the key of the song to another key by lining up chord progressions (Teacher Demonstration)

    *Basic Process: Line up all the chords the in the key the song is currently in. Underneath that progression

    put the chord progresion of the key you want the song to go in. See below

    Example Key of C Major C Dm Em F G Am

    Key of A Major A Bm C#m D E F#m

    Wherever you see a C chord in the original progression, you would change that now to the chord lined up below it. In this case, the new chord would be A major. Wherever you would see an Am, you would scratch that out and now play an F#m.

  • 5th Fret Tuning Method:

    You don’t have to use a tuner to get your strings to sound just right. You can tune by “Matching Pitches” called the 5th Fret Tuning Method. To begin, you simply do the best you can to tune the 6E string by ear. This takes some practice and concentration in order to “memorize” so-to-speak what that low E note sounds like. Next steps: press down or “close” the 6th string at the 5th fret. This note is now an A. Pluck it and then pluck the open A string below it. You match the open A string to the closed A note above it. This process repeats itself as you move down the fret toward the 1e string. One exception: When you tune the open B string, you must close the B on the fourth fret of string 3 (the G string).

  • Alternating Bass Notes From the Root to the 5th Note

    For many major/popular chords it is very easy to change the root or bass note by alternating with another open string. Below is a list of how you would change the bass note for the chords given…

    A major chord (5th string and the open E string)

    D major chord (4th string and the open A string)

    E major chord (6th string and the open A string)

    C major chord (5th string and the closed 6th string/3rd fret)

    G major chord (6th string and the open D string)

What are some other items you include in guitar lessons?

About the Author

Ronnie Currey (Editor)


  1. Guitar Sensei Paddy

    One thing that I’ve found very helpful for students when introducing them to the 5th fret tuning method (as well as enabling them to pay closer attention with their ears in general) is giving them a point of listening reference when tuning.

    First I play the low E held at the 5th fret and play that against the open A string and point out the lack of oscillation between the 2 notes. (Or as I call it during the lesson, no “wubwubwubwub” between the 2 strings.)

    Then, I hold the low E at the 6th fret and play that followed by the open A. The descending interval sounds like what I call “the demonic doorbell”. I instruct them that when they hear the “ding-dong”, the string that they’re tuning is too low and needs to be adjusted accordingly.

    Then I play the same 2 strings while holding the low E at the 4th fret. The resulting minor second sounds like “Jaws”. I tell then tell them that if it sounds like that, the string will need to be loosened to bring it in tune.

    I then once again demonstrate what it is supposed to sound like at the 5th fret.

    For an extra $5 I show them how to perform an emergency tracheotomy with a spork!

    Just kidding… that lesson actually costs $20!

    Wishing you a thousand years of peace, prosperity and well intonated instruments,

    Guitar Sensei Paddy

  2. Phyllis

    Hi! I don’t agree with your statement regarding tuning frequency. I think it’s incorrect:

    “Standard tuning is 440hz. Be sure your tuner is set to this number to be correctly in tune. If you want to tune down a whole step you would set the tuner at 438hz. The same is true if you want to tune up a whole step – set tuner to 442hz. For beginners, always tune to standard 440hz tuning.”

    Orchestra players often tune their A to 442, which is still an “A” — it’s not a whole step higher, which would make it a “B”. In Europe some go to 447, but that’s still an A. Remember, to get from A to the next A (one octave), the frequency goes from 440Hz to 880Hz. This covers A, B, C#, D, E, F#, G#, and A again. Going from A to B is greater than 440 to 442. (Sorry, don’t have the exact freq., but I recall it’s around 10percent higher).

  3. Brian

    You should use a chromatic tuner for any alternate tunings( drop d, Eb( down a 1/2, etc.)

    442 is not a half step higher. See mention in previous post. A 1/2 step is a little more than 8% higher or lower . B flat would be 476-477Hz appox

  4. wolf jeff

    hello,im having interest in register two of my childs to your music lesson so let me know how much it wil cost them for 6month lesson.