How Would You Help a Beginning Guitarist Get Started? - 011

podast Mar 13, 2018

Today, I ask the question: How would you help a beginning guitarist get started?




On today's episode we are going to help new guitar players get started in the right direction.

You would think learning guitar should be so simple with all we have available to us. But, in my experience we have a new problem on top of just the regular difficulties of learning the guitar.

It’s Overwhelm.

There is just too much. Too much information. What should I do to start? Who should I learn from? How can I keep from wasting my time and money? Should I use a course or books or videos?

So, I wanted to have a resource that I can point new players to. Something that would block out all of the noise and give you a game plan. And not in a way where I force my preferences on someone.

I wanted something that would put a player in the right mindset for success. Something that would prepare them for the obstacles that are coming, and we know what’s coming, we know what they are in for. It’s tough, but learning the guitar can be much easier if you can plan ahead. If you can see the pitfalls ahead of you and adjust so you don’t have to struggle.

Last week I asked for your help. I asked you how would you help a beginning guitarist get started. And thank you for all of your responses. This has been a great week for feedback and I have a great listener feedback section later on in the episode.

I have what I prepared to help new guitarists in the main section and right after I go through the comments that are extremely helpful as well. Very exiting for me to be able to get in touch with you all .

I’m thinking of different ways we could all share our experiences on gutiar, and a place that would be easy for your questions to be answered, and for us to help answer questions others have.

So, I’m thinking of starting a facebook group for the community we are building through the show. Tell me what you think. Or if you have a better idea of a way for us to make this happen. I’m open to suggestions.

Point being, thanks for your help with the show today and I’m trying to make it easier for you to leave your comments and questions.

I teased a bit on the last episode about some really good news I got last week. I didn’t want to say anything about it then, but now I think it’s ok. Ready… I won something. Something very cool that is really going to help the show get off the ground. A few weeks ago, I entered Pat Flynn’s 2018 YouTube Giveaway.

If you aren’t familliar with Pat Flynn here is a bit from wikipedia:

“Pat Flynn is an American entrepreneur, blogger and podcaster best known for his blog and podcast Smart Passive Income, where he conducts income experiments and shares the results.
The Smart Passive Income podcast is consistently ranked in the top 10 podcasts in iTunes’s Business category.
Pat is on the board of the non-profit Pencils of Promise and is an advisor to tech startups LeadPages and ConvertKit.
Forbes recognized Flynn as one of the 25 Marketing Influencers to watch in 2017.”
Forbes said that his podcast has been downloaded over 10 million times
And I’m adding this in (he’s a musican as well) It’s funny how musicians tend to gravitate towards other musicians In non related life things. Realtors, mortgage brokers etc…

Any way I’ve been a big fan of Pats for a long time and the things I have learned from him are the reason you are hearing me here today.

So any way I saw that he had a contest where you get a virtual coffee (an hour 1 on 1) with him and a spot in one of his upcoming youtube videos. I thought man that would be great so I entered and went on about my life. I didn’t think about it, because I have never really won anything like this at all.

Then last week, the day before I record the podcast (I record on tuesdays and release on Wednesdays) so monday I was getting ready to go teach my afternoon guitar classes and I got the email, I was one of the three winners.

The first thing I thought is “this is big”. And it took me a few days honestly for it to sink in. I was in shock. I haven’t heard about the specifics yet but I’m very excited. I’m attending Podcast Movement (which is the bigges podcast convention) in Philadelphia in July and Pat is one of the Key Note speakers. How awesome is that.

So I just wanted to share the good news with you and I’ll keep you updated along the way. I’ll definitely provide links to the video when it is time.

So on to the main topic: How would you help a beginning guitarist get started?

Let’s help beginning guitar players!


Check out the complimentary post to this show to follow along with the main content:


Listener Feedback

This is listener feedback. This is where. If you have a comment or question that I can help you with I will try my best to help you.

To get in touch, you can always email me at feedback [at] playguitarpodcast [dot] com, use the comments on the show notes page, or use the contact form on the site.

But, the coolest way to leave a question for the show is by my speakpipe voicemail. When you go to the main page of, to the right of the screen you will see a button call send voicemail. That will allow you to record a short message for me to use on the show. You can also get to this voicemail on my contact page.

So that was my Idea of pointing new guitarists in the right direction. But what was yours. The first I recieved was from Andrew on Twitter.

Andrew says: New students need a reference point such as a guitar teacher be it online or face to face to set them on the right path, e.g. correct a basic chord or scale, once a student is set on the right path with the correct foundation, they can continue to build on this.

Thank, you Andrew: Very true. I think establishing a strong foundation is so important. And it’s difficult to know what the knowledge and skills you need as a beginner are with out good guidance. When things are just one way, you learning from some sort of content, it’s too easy to move forward before you are ready.

This is from an email I received from Chris. ( who has been great in sharing his progress on the guitar)

Chris says: Ideas for beginners, 1) know how to tune the guitar (or someone who does) and also know when the guitar isn’t in tune. 2) know the notes of the open strings, and the order. 3) teach a simple melody on one string 4) set short, medium and long term goals. These are the ideas that came into my idea after listening to your podcast 😉

These are great as well. I did’t touch on a lot of the specifics, I went more general mindset. But, what Chris touches on here are some of the essential things you need as a beginner. Know how to tune. We all take that for granted, but I can’t tell you how many new students I have who come in with snapped strings that need to be fixed from experimenting with tuning. Those strings can only be cranked so far. Sometimes I thing they should supply eye protection with starter guitar packs. Getting some sort of melody or riff as soon as possible is also very important. To keep people playing they need to hear something familiar coming from their guitar. Great ones, Thanks Chris.

This is from a comment on Podbean from soilcreep78. He says: I think the Parkening Guitar method is the best way to start. Then move on to something more personal.

Very good, especially if you are interested in Classical guitar. Even if you are not, the christoper parkening method is very good at getting guitarists up and running. With my background being in Jazz, I didn’t start that way but when I went to University of the Arts the Jazz and Classical guitar departments shared many classes togheter. I made a lot of friends and I learned a lot about the method and thinking of classical guitarists. And I agree the parkening method is a great way to get beginners headed in the right direction.

I also received an awesome email from Ryan! Thanks Ryan for the kind words. I’m glad you are getting a lot out of the show and it is helping you. Let me know if you have any questions or I can help. I’m happy to!

And finally I received a comment from Alan on one of the episode show notes pages.

He says:

Hi Lee,This podcast is helping my playing quite a bit. I appreciate you creating and sharing it.In 008 you were playing a DACG chord progression and when playing over the C chord you changed scales from D major to G avoid the C#. My question is how do you pick a good scale? Would an A minor scale work? Can anything with a C note work?Thanks for your help.

I have had a few questions about this and so I thought for the rest of the show I would take some time to better explain my process and other ways of soloing over this chord progression:

I chose this chord progression for a reason. It seems so simple but it’s very tricky. There are several ways approach this. But, to directly answer your question, I wouldn’t play just anything with a C note in it.

The easiest way, that most would do is play a D major pentatonic over the whole thing. That bypasses the whole C# – C situation. The notes in D major Pentatonic are D E F# A G.If you were going to stay with pentatonics, The next thing that is common would be to play

D major pentatonic over the D and A, and then go bluesy with a switch to a D minor pentatonic over the C and G chords. You have to be careful with this though because the F note in the D minor pentatonic can sound very sour if you don’t bend it a bit toward the F#. But we weren’t trying to play pentatonics, we were trying to find the full scale that matches the best. You can see from above that our two problem areas in this are the C – C# and the F – F#.

The path I chose in the podcast was to think of the D and A as the key of D major and then to think of the C and G chord as a temporary change to G major. Your other question about the A minor scale is answered best here.

The A minor scale comes close to working over the C and G chords but if you listen to it, one note sound very funny: The F. It has that same sour sound that it did when we played it in the minor pentatonic. It just doesn’t fit. It needs to be an F#. Well if we just changed the F to F#, that A minor scale becomes an A dorian, which has the same notes as the G major scale.This is where it gets very tricky to describe in text, where it is so simple to hear. So… If you don’t mind, I would like to make this a part of episode 11 next week, in the listener feedback section. Let me know if that’s OK with you.I hope everything is good for you today and thanks again for the comment!

So even trying to use the a minor scale and changing it to fit it still takes us to playing the temporary key change using the G major scale. Why does the G major scale work over the last two chords. The chords are D A C G. I’m thinking of the D as the 1 chord in D major and the A as the 5 chord. When we move to the C chord I treat it as the 4 chord in key of G and then the G chord as the tempory 1 chord. If this doesn’t make sense to you classifing the chords as a number, don’t worry I’ll be having a show in the future that talks about chord progressions and how to understand a certain chords function in a key.

You see, I told you it was a tricky chord progression. I hoped I helped you understand a bit better.


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