You Are My Sunshine Guitar Chords – The Ultimate Guide

Ready to learn the guitar chords to You Are My Sunshine? We’ll teach you how to play this song that was written over 80 years ago in today’s lesson.

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In this free lesson you will learn…

  • How to play “You Are My Sunshine” by Jimmie Davis & Charles Mitchell
  • How to play the A, E and D chords
  • How to perfect your chord transitions
  • Pro tips for better practice
  • Why singing & playing guitar is great for your musicality

Let’s Learn The You Are My Sunshine Guitar Chords

If you’re in the market for some pseudo-traditional tunes to learn, you’re in the right place.

“You Are My Sunshine” is a classic tune that has been heard in almost every English-speaking family home, and for good reason.

This is an exceptionally well-written song that uses only three chords, and is ideal for learning how to sing and play guitar at the same time.

In this lesson, we’re going to take a look at the You Are My Sunshine guitar chords as well as the strumming pattern and structure of the song itself.

You-are-my-sunshine-guitar-chords

This song offers a lot of teachable moments for beginner guitarists.

On top of only using three chords, the strumming pattern is extremely steady. This means that we can strum along easily and get used to the feeling of singing along to a chord progression.

Although it’s not something that everyone wants to try, we highly recommend that everyone does.

Singing and playing guitar at the same time teaches us a huge amount of coordination that extends far beyond just music (ever tried rubbing your belly and patting your head at the same time? It’s kind of like that.)

Before we get into how to play the You Are My Sunshine guitar chords, let’s look quickly at the history of this song.

You-are-my-sunshine-guitar-chords

A Brief History On This Traditional Song

The You Are My Sunshine guitar chords were originally recorded by Jimmie Davis and Charles Mitchell in 1939 – over 80 years ago now!

This song has been recorded so many times by so many different artists that it has virtually lost its roots in country music where it once began.

Seriously though, everyone from Bing Crosby to The Civil Wars has taken a turn at the You Are My Sunshine guitar chords at some point.

This song has also been used as a nursery rhyme for young English-speaking children for years since its first recording.

You-are-my-sunshine-guitar-chords

Here’s the thing about the You Are My Sunshine guitar chords and lyrics: Even though this song has made its way into the catalog of songs that you can sing to your child, the lyrics are actually about a breakup (which we find a little twisted, honestly.)

As we’ll see below, the lyrics are based around a lover singing about how they will never recover from their former lover leaving them for someone else.

Weird, right?

Regardless, with only three chords this song does a great job of teaching us how to coordinate chords and sing over them – and if you stick to just the first chorus when singing it to your little one, you should be fine.

Now, let’s take a look at the You Are My Sunshine guitar chords.

You-are-my-sunshine-guitar-chords

Learn the 12 EASIEST beginner chords with our famous FREE guide

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Which Guitar Chords Are We Using For You Are My Sunshine?

This song uses only three chords, meaning it’s especially easy to navigate even for the most beginner of guitarists.

Our favourite part of the You Are My Sunshine guitar chords is that you don’t need any knowledge of barre chords. Check out the three chords in this tune below:

A Major

D Major

E Major

We recommend you take some time at the beginning of this lesson to familiarize yourself with these chords, so take a look at the A major and D major chords below:

A MAJOR

(If you don't understand the above image please read our article "How To Read Guitar Chordboxes In 60 Seconds". It will make everything clear!)

D MAJOR

The A major chord is best played by stacking your index, middle and ring fingers on top of each other at the second fret of the D, G and B strings.

Make a point to leave the A and high E strings open to ring out.

Strum from the A string and leave the low E string out.

The D major chord requires you to strum from the open D string and place your index at the second fret of the G string. Add your ring finger at the third fret of the B string, and your middle finger at the second fret of the high E string.

With two of the You Are My Sunshine guitar chords out of the way, let’s take a look at E major below:

E MAJOR

The E major chord is a bit different amongst the You Are My Sunshine guitar chords because it requires all six strings to play it properly in the open position.

Start by strumming from the open E string, and add your middle finger to the second fret of the A string. From there, add your ring finger to the second fret of the D string and your index finger to the first fret of the G string.

Leave the B and high E strings open and strum all six strings!

Pro Tip: Take some time to practice transitioning from one chord to the next before you look at the chord progression. This will make it easier for you to play along.

You-are-my-sunshine-guitar-lesson

You Are My Sunshine Guitar Chords I: The Progressions

The best part about this song is that it’s so simple to play.

We’ve already learned the three chords of the song, so let’s learn the order to put them in.

There’s really only one chord pattern to learn here, and it looks like this:

A Major // D Major // A Major // D Major // A Major // E Major // A Major

Watch out, however – not all of these chords use the same amount of beats.

Let’s break down the beat pattern for the You Are My Sunshine guitar chords below.

A MAJOR

D MAJOR

 

E MAJOR

This is where this song gets momentarily tricky – we have to count the beats for each chord in order to make sure that we’re playing them for the correct duration of time.

Let’s take a look at the You Are My Sunshine guitar chords again, this time with their beat count listed beneath them:

A Major // D Major // A Major // D Major // A Major // E Major // A Major

8 beats  // 4 beats // 4 Beats // 4 Beats // 4 Beats  // 2 Beats // 2 Beats

Pro Tip: It’s important to count out loud as we learn to play the You Are My Sunshine guitar chords, in order to hear how the chords fit against one another.

Don’t be afraid to shout those beats out loud, and count a very straight “1 – 2 – 3 – 4 – “ throughout.

You-are-my-sunshine-guitar-tutorial

You Are My Sunshine Guitar Chords II: The Strumming Pattern

The strumming pattern in this song is not too much to worry about, but it does help set us up for many other similar tunes in the future.

Let’s take a close look at how to strum the You Are My Sunshine guitar chords. For every count of four beats, we’ll perform a pattern that looks like this:

1     2     3     4

D    D U D    D U

Not so difficult, right?

The key is to time the upstrokes between the numbered beats in order to keep the momentum of the chords moving.

You-are-my-sunshine-on-guitar

Although this is the most optimal way to strum through the You Are My Sunshine guitar chords, there are a multitude of other ways to strum them also!

Try this alternate strumming pattern that involves the same amount of strums as the original:

1      2      3      4

D     D     D  U D U

This pattern helps push the You Are My Sunshine guitar chords a bit harder on beats 3 & 4, whereas the first pattern provides a bit of a bounce in the middle with how it modulates between downstrokes and combinations of down and upstrokes.

Now that we’ve gotten a feel for the chords and how to strum through them, you know what time it is. Let’s put everything together!

Chords-fo- You-are-my-sunshine

You Are My Sunshine Guitar Chords III: Putting The Song Together

With all of the fundamental pieces in place, it’s time to run through this song in full.

Thankfully, there are only two real sections you need to remember (especially if you’re going to sing this to your child at bedtime) – the verse and the chorus.

We’ve assembled the lyrics of both sections for you below, as well as the second verse. Check them out alongside the You Are My Sunshine guitar chords below:

First Verse:

A

The other night dear as I lay sleeping,

 

                     D                        A

I dreamed I held you in my arms,

 

              D                           A

When I awoke dear I was mistaken

 

         E                                   A

So I bowed my head and I cried,

You-are-my-sunshine-guitar

Chorus:

A

You are my sunshine, my only sunshine,

 

                        D                                    A

You make me happy when skies are gray,

 

                       D                                     A

You’ll never know dear, how much I love you,

 

                                       E              A

Please don’t take my sunshine away,

Second Verse:

A

I always loved you and made you happy,

 

                      D                               A

and nothing else could come between,

 

                            D                       A

but now you’ve left me to love another,

 

                  E                           A

you have shattered all my dreams.

Pro Tip: If you’re having trouble placing the chords in their correct spots alongside the right lyrics, briefly ditch the strumming pattern and play solely with downstrokes!

This will help you work out the correct placement without having to worry so much about rhythm.

free-guitar-lessons

Download our lead guitar cheat-sheet to make things easier

It can be disorientating for guitarists to understand which scales work with which keys.

With this in mind, we created a cheat-sheet; a key and scale-finder that you can use again and again.

You Are My Sunshine Guitar Chords IV: Smooth Chord Transitions

Once you’ve worked out the ins and outs of this tune, it’s time to work on tightening the screws!

Remember, it’s one thing to play a series of chords, and another to play them fluidly. We always want to learn to play chord progressions seamlessly, so they’ll always sound their absolute best.

Fortunately, the You Are My Sunshine guitar chords are an easy enough trio to get through.

Try This: Practice chords in pairs. Rotating back and forth between two chords will give you the chance to work out the weak spots in your transitions. This way when it comes time to play a song in full, you never have to worry about a sloppy transition.

national-guitar-academy

Practicing chords in pairs is a much quicker way toward mastering not only the chords themselves and their structure, but also the movement between them.

When we understand the easiest ways to move between chords, we begin to gain a better understanding of their sounds and their notes, as well as the fretboard itself.

Chord movement is one of the most important principles in music, so learn it well and learn it early.

There is one more principle that we’d like to impart upon you before you go today, and it’s one that we feel will help get you out of your musical shell in a big way.

How Singing & Playing Can Drastically Improve Your Musicality

Several of you may have just sighed, but that’s okay – we’re going to change your mind on this before the end of this lesson.

We preach this often, but it bears repeating – singing along to the chords you play is important, especially with the You Are My Sunshine guitar chords.

This does a number of things for your ears and playing:

  1. Helps to sharpen your ability to hear chords and associate them with other notes
  2. Helps to improve your coordination for strumming/playing
  3. Serves as a built-in ear training lesson

Singing along to any song works well, but it’s a more effective process for ear training when you sing along to simple tunes like this one.

The beauty of simple songs is that they can teach us a lot about melodies and how to hear them.

Melody can only truly be learned by listening. The more we listen to music and pick out the melodies in a song, the more we can learn.

Remember, music is just as much about playing as it is about listening, and there’s nothing wrong with listening to a song ten or more times before attempting to play it.

The more familiar you are with a song before you pick up your guitar, the easier it will be to play it – this is one principle of practice that works 100% of the time, so use it to master the You Are My Sunshine guitar chords.

A Few More Practice Tips

If you’re looking to master the You Are My Sunshine guitar chords, you’re going to want to put some time in on figuring out the best finger placements as well as how to get them sounding great.

If you want to tighten the sound of your chords, try using arpeggios to find the strings that you might be muting unnecessarily. Click here for a complete guide to playing arpeggios.

If you want a great alternate version to check out for this song, listen to this version by The Civil Wars. It’s a beautiful, slow and compassionate rendition that we’re especially fond of.

Remember, practice will always make perfect!

Recommended Resources

If you liked this lesson on how to play the You Are My Sunshine guitar chords, you’ll love these other lessons we have for you below:

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How To Learn Guitar: An 11-Step Programme For Beginners

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Guitar Chords For Popular Songs

Learn some of the most popular guitar chords used for popular songs in this in-depth chord lesson.

Over 100,000 guitar-learners get our world-class guitar tips & tutorials sent straight to their inbox: Click here to join them

In this free lesson you will learn…

  • Five different types of popular chords
  • Why stepping stone chords help beginner guitarists in a huge way
  • How to practice these chords
  • Song examples that you can learn

What Are The Best Guitar Chords For Popular Songs?

When it comes to learning popular music, most often we can go with very well-known chord shapes to play the parts correctly.

This is one of the best things about popular music, is its ability to capture so much with such simplicity.

Another amazing thing about using common chords in popular music is that it makes those songs accessible for more people to learn, regardless of their skill level.

Let’s face it – everyone from Neil Young to Ed Sheeran and Maroon 5 have played a C major chord at some point in their discography. If it worked for them, it can work for you!

guitar-chords-for-popular-songs

Guitar chords for popular songs are typically easy to play, no matter the level you play at.

In this lesson, we’re going to discuss the most popular (and most accessible) guitar chords that you will come across in popular music.

If you’re a beginner guitarist, many of these shapes will be ideal for you. We recommend taking a fair amount of time with each section to practice the chords as they’re presented to you.

Focusing on each set of chords as they come up will give your fingers and brain time to coordinate with one another, resulting in better muscle memory in the long run.

This lesson will give you all of the essential guitar chords for popular songs that you’ll need to approach most radio songs with confidence.

Let’s dive in!

guitar-chords-for-popular-songs

What Is It That Makes These Chords Work So Well In Popular Music?

Although there are a few different varieties that we’ll come across in this lesson, not many of them are exceptionally difficult.

Barre chords are the exception to this rule, but we won’t be covering those in this lesson on guitar chords for popular songs.

We want to focus on simplicity for this lesson, and barre chords are a little outside of that scope for what we’re after.

These chords work so well because they are simple in their structure.

All of the guitar chords for popular songs in this lesson have either two or three notes in them, meaning they don’t have the same amount of specific definition that other chords do.

guitar-chords-for-popular-songs

With that in mind, we’re going to look at five types of guitar chords for popular songs:

  • Power chords
  • Stepping stone chords (Stripped down versions of popular chords)
  • Major chords
  • Minor chords
  • Suspended chords

 This specific list will give you a colourful arsenal of guitar chords for popular songs that will work just about anywhere.

Pro Tip: Practice these chords slowly to get the most out of them. Remember that each chord has a unique sound that we’ll want to study in order to understand them more. Slow and steady wins the race!

Let’s start by examining power chords and how to play them.

guitar-chords-for-popular-songs

Learn the 12 EASIEST beginner chords with our famous FREE guide

  Stop struggling. Start making music.

  Learn 12 beginner-friendly versions of every chord.

  This is our most popular guide and it will improve your chord ability quickly.

Guitar Chords For Popular Songs I: Power Chords

Of all the chords on this list, power chords are by far the easiest to get under your hands.

Unlike the other three-note guitar chords for popular songs on this list, power chords contain only two notes – the root and the fifth interval.

These are the two most stable notes in any guitar scale, meaning that these chords fit in just about everywhere without hesitation.

The big thing we want to look for in guitar chords for popular songs is their ability to fit in without changing the arrangement of the song or adding unnecessary notes.

Power chords do this perfectly.

Found in rock music as well as other forms of popular music, power chords look like this:

A POWER CHORD

popular-guitar-chords

(If you don't understand the above image please read our article "How To Read Guitar Chordboxes In 60 Seconds". It will make everything clear!)

C POWER CHORD

popular-guitar-chords-lesson

Power chords can be played primarily on the E or A strings and across two to three strings at a time, making them ideal for a tight-sounding chord inside a progression.

These guitar chords for popular songs also serve as a wonderful primer for pretty well every other chord you will learn as a guitarist.

Pro Tip: These chords can serve as an easy-to-play substitute for major and minor chords.

This is because major and minor chords have another note – the major or minor third – that defines the chord. Power chords do not have this defining note, which means they can replace either chord in a pinch.

You can also play entire chord progressions using only power chords, which makes them especially handy as guitar chords for popular songs.

G POWER CHORD

popular-guitar-chords-tutorial

D POWER CHORD

free-popular-chords

Guitar Chords For Popular Songs II: Stepping Stone Chords

After we’ve gotten through power chords, the next step is to start working our way up to larger chords.

The best way to do this is through learning how to play stepping stone chords.

Stepping stone chords serve as a great entry point to guitar chords for popular songs, as they’re simply the same chords – just cut in half.

To start with, let’s take a look at the C major and G major chords in the open position.

We’re only going to use the lowest three strings in each chord in order to make them easier to play. Give it a shot below:

C MAJOR (STEPPING STONE)

free-guitar-lesson

G MAJOR (STEPPING STONE)

common-guitar-chords

The best part about the principle of stepping stone chords is that they can be applied to any chord that you’re trying to learn that uses more than three strings.

If you’re looking for a good song to practice stepping stone chords over, we recommend trying “Helpless” by Neil Young.

This song uses three chords, two of which can be stripped back to make them easier (A and G).

The strumming pattern is easy on the hands, making it the perfect tune to warm up for other guitar chords for popular songs.

Click here to check out a chord chart for this song.

Check out a few more stepping stone chord examples below before we move on to major chords.

 A MAJOR (STEPPING STONE)

easy-popular-guitar-chords


D MAJOR (STEPPING STONE)

national-guitar-academy

Guitar Chords For Popular Songs III: Major Chords

Once we’ve conquered stepping stone chords and power chords, the next logical step is to move on to full major chords.

Major chords have a happy sound to them due to their included major third interval that we mentioned above.

The difference between these full chords and stepping stone chords is that the notes of the chord repeat in two octaves, whereas stepping stone chords use each note only once.

Now that our hands are all warmed up, take a look at the same two chords from above in their full glory:

C MAJOR


G MAJOR

Pro Tip: To play the C major chord easily, start with your ring finger at the third fret of the A string and work backwards instead of forward.

Starting from the bottom of the chord gives you room to set up the rest of the chord easily. This principle can be applied to almost any chord.

Let’s try it with the G major chord: Begin with your middle finger at the 3rd fret of the low E string and work your way up to the high E string. You can play the B string either at the third fret or open, so use whichever works better for you!

Once you’ve gotten through these two guitar chords for popular songs, try these other two full chords below before moving on to minor chords:

A MAJOR

popular-song-chords
D MAJOR

free-guitar-tutorials

Guitar Chords For Popular Songs IV: Minor Chords

Minor chords are more similar to major chords than you might think.

These chords contain the same root and fifth intervals, as well as a minor third interval instead of a major third.

This minor third interval gives these chords a darker quality, but that’s not a bad thing!

These chords mix well with other guitar chords for popular songs like major and suspended chords.

Let’s start by taking a look at two very common minor chords: A minor and D minor.

A MINOR

most-used-guitar-chords
D MINOR

The A minor chord is super easy to play!

Using the same bottom-up principle from before, start with your middle finger on the D string at the 2nd fret and stack your ring finger on the G string at the same fret.

Finish up with your index finger at the first fret of the B string, and leave the high E string open.

The D minor chord uses only four strings. Keeping the D string open, use your middle finger at the second fret on the G, your ring finger at the third fret on the B, and your index finger at the first fret of the high E string.

Try playing these chords together side by side, and then try the E minor chord to pair with the other guitar chords for popular songs below:

E MINOR

Download our lead guitar cheat-sheet to make things easier

It can be disorientating for guitarists to understand which scales work with which keys.

With this in mind, we created a cheat-sheet; a key and scale-finder that you can use again and again.

Guitar Chords For Popular Songs V: Suspended Chords

Our final section deals with chords that provide a different level of tension than the other guitar chords for popular songs on this list.

Suspended 2nd and suspended 4th chords remove the third interval from major and minor chords and replace them with either the 2nd or 4th interval.

This means that we can often get more mileage out of a similar chord shape without having to move our whole hand!

These guitar chords for popular songs can provide some awesome movement without switching the root of the chord, so give these Csus2 and Csus4 chords a shot below:

CSUS2

CSUS4

If you’re feeling comfortable with the Csus2 and Csus4 chords, you can try out Dsus2 and Dsus4 as well.

These two guitar chords for popular songs turn up in a variety of places, but a great example lies in “Patience” by Guns N Roses.

This song does a great job of showing us how we can use both of them to accent the D major chord without moving the root note around or switching to another chord.

Suspended chords work great in a variety of musical contexts, so make sure you get these under your belt!

DSUS2

DSUS4

The Best Ways To Practice These Chords

If you want to get better at playing guitar chords for popular songs, you’re going to need to put in some practice.

Learning songs is a great way of helping us get new chords under our fingers, so make sure to explore as many popular songs from different genres as you can!

Rock tunes will do a great job of teaching us how to use power chords and stepping stone chords effectively, while many acoustic and pop tunes will teach us how to use a variety of larger, open position chords.

It’s important to keep your horizons wide, so practice everything as much as you can!

guitar-chords-for-popular-songs

If you’re having trouble getting some of these chords under your hands, here are a few other pro tips to help you practice:

  • Work in small chunks of the chord if you need to. Splitting up a chord into stepping stone shapes will help you get the chord under hand in pieces before putting it together
  • Use the bottom-up method for building chords whenever possible, as it will make it a bit easier on your hand and will encourage better wrist rotation for sounding out chords
  • Use arpeggios to sound out chords that you’re not familiar with. Arpeggios are simply chords that have had their individual notes played one-by-one. Give it a shot!
  • Listen to as many songs as you can! You’ll get a feeling for how different guitarists approach chords, and this will leave a mark on your playing over time.

guitar-chords-for-popular-songs

Song Recommendations

We couldn’t write a lesson on guitar chords for popular songs without recommending some popular songs to learn.

These are just a few of the tunes that we feel truly help beginner guitarists master a variety of chords that will help them on their musical journey.

Hit the links below to listen to (and learn) a few awesome and easy-to-play tunes:

We encourage you to seek out and learn as many songs as possible along the way. Guitar chords for popular songs have a unique way of teaching us not just how to play them in song, but also how they interact and play with other chords.

Remember, experimentation is everything!

Recommended Resources

If you liked this lesson on guitar chords for popular songs, you’ll love the other lessons we have for you below:

What Type of Guitarist Are You?

Take our 60-second quiz & get your results: Take The Quiz

Want free guitar tips and video lessons delivered to your inbox?

Join over 100,000 other guitar learners and subscribe to our guitar-tips-by-email service. (It's free.)

We'll send you a series of lessons that will move you to the next level of your guitar journey.

Learn how everything fits together quickly, easily and effectively. We share ninja tips (for instant fun!) but also timeless fundamentals that will deepen your understanding.


Popular Lessons

How To Learn Guitar: An 11-Step Programme For Beginners

10 Easy Songs For Beginners

How To Strum A Guitar

How To Choose The Perfect Beginner Guitar

Guitar Notes Explained: A Guide For Beginners

How To Play Lead Guitar

3 Easy Ways To Play Bm

More Cool Guitar Stuff

Learn about the National Guitar Academy: About Us

Visit our YouTube channel for fun guitar videos.

Join us on Facebook for daily guitar tips.

Listen to our Learn Guitar Podcast for rapid guitar progress.

Check out our free chord lessons.

 

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Get our best guitar tips & videos
Where should we send it?
Where should we send it?
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Guitar Warm Ups – The Ultimate Guide

Do you want to feel more relaxed when you play guitar? We’ve got a series of guitar warm ups to get you playing more effectively

Over 100,000 guitar-learners get our world-class guitar tips & tutorials sent straight to their inbox: Click here to join them

In this free lesson you will learn…

  • Why stretching is so important for guitarists
  • Warm up stretches for your whole upper body
  • How to prepare for a practice session
  • Why yoga is so beneficial for musicians
  • 2 playable guitar warm ups to get your fingers moving

Guitar Warm Ups Lead To More Productive Practice Sessions

Pop Quiz: What’s the first thing you should do before you pick up the guitar?

If you answered with “stretch,” you answered correctly!

Whether you’re a beginner guitarist or a seasoned professional, you’ve all got one thing in common:

You need to look after your body in order to play effectively.

 Being a guitarist in any capacity is no joke. Your hands, forearms and arms go through a lot of stress to be able to accommodate you playing “Smoke on the Water” on repeat.

Guitar-warm-ups

With that, we want to make sure that our bodies get the treatment they deserve both before and after we practice.

This comes from using effective guitar warm ups to get our hands and bodies in shape to play guitar effectively.

In this lesson, we’re going to help you build a quick and comfortable pre-practice warm up routine.

You won’t need any weights or external gear for these exercises, just yourself!

Before we dive into these guitar warm ups, let’s talk a bit about how to prepare yourself for playing guitar, and why these warm ups are so important.

Guitar-warm-ups

How To Properly Prepare For A Practice Session

There are a few things we can do to really help us make the most of our practice sessions on guitar. Let’s have a look at a few “best practices.”

First and foremost, we need to talk about posture.

Whether you decide to use the guitar warm ups below or not, you won’t help yourself at all by playing hunched over your guitar.

It’s important to practice good posture in all things, but especially when we play guitar.

Once you’ve warmed yourself up one way or the other, make sure to keep your back straight as you play. If you’re sitting down, try elevating the leg that your guitar sits on with a foot stool.

Guitar-warm-ups

Elevating your foot helps straighten your back and avoid hunching, so don’t skip this one!

Secondly, make sure to follow the principle of comfort when playing guitar (and during guitar warm ups as well).

To put it simply: If it doesn’t feel good, don’t do it!

Pay attention to how your body feels when you play. If you’re working on an approach to a chord and you find that it gives you a painful level of discomfort, it’s totally okay to find another way to play that chord.

Above all else, listen to your body. It will always tell you what it needs.

Guitar-warm-ups

Learn the 12 EASIEST beginner chords with our famous FREE guide

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Why Should You Stretch?

“Mike, I just want to play guitar. I’m not trying to run a marathon here. Why should I bother?”

 Great question! The answer: So that you can play longer and more effectively.

Stretching promotes better blood flow in the muscles of our body, and allows our blood to reach all of the places it needs to more easily.

Daily stretching can also:

  • Help increase our range of motion and flexibility,
  • Aid in decreasing stress levels and calming the mind
  • Improve overall posture
  • Help to decrease headaches that are caused by muscular tension

If these all sound great to you, then we’ve got just the set of guitar warm ups for you that will help you stretch out all the important muscles you’ll need to shred for years to come.

Guitar-warm-ups

Carving out a 15 minute time slot every day will help you feel better on the whole.

You’ll also find that there is far less standing in your way as a guitarist when you start implementing these guitar warm ups before you play.

Pro Tip: With a solid warm up routine, your hands will have a much easier time playing those hard-to-reach chords that you’ve previously had difficulty with.

Barre chords and larger chord shapes will begin to feel easier because we’re promoting good blood flow to our hands and fingers.

Now, let’s get down to some guitar warm ups and give our bodies what they need!

Guitar-warm-ups-stretches

Guitar Warm Ups I – Start At The Top! Neck & Shoulders

You’d be surprised how stiff your neck and shoulders can get on a daily basis.

The first set of guitar warm ups we’re going to look at will loosen up that area.

Start by stretching your neck side to side.

Bring your left ear toward your left shoulder, and find a comfortable spot where you can feel the stretch in the right side of your neck. Hold for 10 seconds.

Do the same now for the other side, and bring your right ear to your right shoulder.

Finally, do this again but up and down. Bring your chin to your chest for 10 seconds, then tilt your head to the sky for another 10.

Guitar-stretches

How’s your neck feeling? Good? Good.

Let’s move to some shoulder rolls!

Begin by rolling your shoulders in full forward circles for 10 seconds, then reverse backward for another 10 seconds. If it feels good, you can go for longer.

To end off our neck and shoulder guitar warm ups, bring your hands straight up above your head and point them to the ceiling. Hold them there for 30 seconds to a minute and practice some deep breathing to get yourself feeling great.

Inhale for 5, exhale for 10. Repeat as needed for as long as you like until you’re ready for some awesome stretches for your arms.

Guitar-exercises

Guitar Warm Ups II – Arm Stretches

If you did everything from the neck and shoulder section above (including the deep breathing), you should already be feeling pretty fantastic.

We’re going to follow up with a few low-impact guitar warm ups in the arms to get the blood flowing to our hands.

First, find a wall in your home – preferably one with a corner if you can find it.

Extend your right arm, place your right hand against the corner and begin to turn your body outward, away from the wall. Keep your arm straight, and you should feel this all through your arm.

Hold for ten seconds, then do the same for the left arm. Don’t forget to breathe!

Hand-stretches

The second exercise is one you’ve probably done in gym class before.

Cross your left arm over your chest, and grab your left shoulder with your right hand.

Turn your body to the right to feel the stretch in your left arm and shoulder. Hold for 10 seconds, as usual.

Pro Tip: Be careful not to overextend with this exercise. We want to turn our bodies to the side just enough so that we can feel the stretch extend through our shoulder and arm.

Listen to your body and don’t overdo it – guitar warm ups are meant to prep you for a productive practice session, after all.

Now, let’s look at some hand stretches.

finger-stretches

Guitar Warm Ups III – Hand & Forearm Stretches

Your hands and forearms take care of a lot of the heavy lifting when you play guitar, so it’s important to take care of them.

For this next section of guitar warm ups, start by extending your left hand straight out in front of you.

Lightly grab your left fingertips with your right hand, and begin to pull backward. You should feel this stretch in your left wrist and forearm. Hold this position for 10 seconds and then release.

From here, do the same for the left thumb – lightly pull backward to feel the stretch through the side of your forearm.

arm-stretches

Finally (still stretching the left hand), place your right hand on top of your left hand and push down. You should feel this through the top of your forearm.

This three-piece sequence of guitar warm ups for your forearm will help to open up any constricted muscles that might be feeling tense.

Once you’ve done all three segments of this exercise, do the same for the right arm.

Pro Tip: Once you’ve completed these guitar warm ups up until this point, your upper body should be starting to feel pretty awesome. Ask yourself how you’re feeling right now.

Before we get to a playable exercise to warm up your hands on guitar, we’ve got some body stretches that will get you feeling lighter.

warm-up-to-play-guitar

Guitar Warm Ups IV – Body Rotation Exercises

The last bit of exercise we’ve got for you involves some full-body movement.

Start with your feet spread apart just enough so that they line up with your shoulders.

Extend your hands outward, then bend over slowly and touch your toes. Hold for 10 seconds and breathe deeply in and out.

Once you’ve hit 10 seconds, come back up and bring your hands up to point to the ceiling again like we did at the end of the neck and shoulders section.

Hold this position for as long as you like, and breathe deeply.

When you’re comfortable, shake it out and move on to the last of our guitar warm ups for the body.

Warm-ups-for-guitar

This last exercise is mostly just to get us feeling good before we pick up the guitar, but it’s awesome nonetheless.

With your feet still planted firmly and aligned with your shoulders, bring your elbows out to the sides and rotate your upper body from left to right.

Keep as wide of a rotation as you can in order to really “feel it” in your hips and upper body.

You can do this for 10-20 seconds or as long as you like. By now, you should be feeling ready for just about anything.

We’ve got one more quick note on wellness before we move on to some guitar warm ups that you can do with your guitar.

national-guitar-academy

Download our lead guitar cheat-sheet to make things easier

It can be disorientating for guitarists to understand which scales work with which keys.

With this in mind, we created a cheat-sheet; a key and scale-finder that you can use again and again.

Guitar Warm Ups V – Why You Should Try Yoga

Yoga isn’t just for hippies! Although, they’ve got the right idea.

If we’re talking about guitar warm ups that can really make a beneficial difference in our lives, we need to talk about the benefits of yoga.

Apart from promoting mindfulness and overall wellness, yoga is an amazing tool for strengthening our muscles and promoting great blood flow throughout our body.

Yoga focuses on your whole body, meaning you’ll find yourself feeling aligned and refreshed after even a short session.

If you’re at all intrigued about the benefits of yoga for musicians, we strongly encourage you to check out this article here from LessonRating.com on how yoga can make you a better musician.

We’ve also sourced a little 25 minute yoga routine for you to try from Yoga With Adrienne – our favourite yoga YouTuber!

Toss on some sweatpants and let this lovely lady help you to open up your body and your chakras with some guitar warm ups that you might not have thought about.

Finally, let’s move on to some playable routines to open up the fingers and hands even more.

Guitar Warm Ups VI – Playable Guitar Exercises

Now that we’ve gotten our upper bodies warmed up with some awesome stretches, it’s time to pick up our guitar and play!

We’ve got two guitar warm ups for you that will help you stretch out your fingers and get your forearms feeling relaxed, so let’s take a look.

These two exercises are based on the chromatic scale (or the “1, 2, 3, 4” scale as it’s often called). The first one is the chromatic scale itself played forwards and backwards.

Pro Tip: You’re going to want to assign one finger to each fret in order to play this exercise effectively.

When playing through guitar warm ups like these, make sure to avoid any excessive movement between frets.

You’ll want to use alternate picking to make the most of these exercises.

Downpicking won’t help us get the economy of motion that we’re looking for in our picking hand, but picking up and down will.

The second version of these guitar warm ups involves non-linear motion with our fingers.

Rather than play the “1, 2, 3, 4” pattern above, we can move these notes around in the same hand position to try something different.

Let’s try “1, 3, 2, 4” and “4, 2, 3, 1” in the example below.

Pro Tip: Make sure every note rings out in this exercise.

We don’t need to worry about playing fast, only playing clearly.

And now, to answer one final question:

How Often Should You Do These Exercises?

It’s important not to over-exert ourselves with guitar warm ups, but these exercises can be done as often as you play guitar.

We always recommend stretching and warming up before you pick up your guitar. Not only will you feel more flexible and confident, but you’ll also feel aligned and centered enough to focus completely on your practice.

Stretching helps wake our bodies up to feeling better, so don’t skip your warm ups!

Recommended Resources

If you enjoyed this lesson on guitar warm ups, you’ll love the other lessons we’ve got for you below:

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Guitar Notes Explained: A Guide For Beginners

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3 Easy Ways To Play Bm

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Beginner Guitar Lessons Online – Where To Find The Best Ones

Let’s have a look at some of the best spots to find beginner guitar lessons online so you can thrive on guitar!

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In this free lesson you will learn…

  • The best places to find beginner guitar lessons
  • How to use search engines to find what you’re looking for
  • Why mailing lists and Facebook groups are so amazing for learning
  • How to spot “great content”
  • The five questions you should ask yourself when evaluating guitar lessons online

Where Can We Find The Best Beginner Guitar Lessons Online?

When we start out playing guitar, we’re immediately bombarded with guitar teachers on the internet advertising their “one easy method” for learning the guitar.

 That can get pretty stressful, and it makes learning the guitar less of an enjoyable experience.

What we need to do is identify the best beginner lessons online so we don’t have to spend hours sifting through search results and YouTube videos.

We at National Guitar Academy pride ourselves on having some of the best beginner guitar lessons online, but we’ve got a lot of them.

beginner-guitar-lessons-online

In this lesson, we’re going to map out a pathway for your beginner guitar experience with lessons from our website, as well as some of our best YouTube videos.

Don’t get it twisted, though – we’re not just throwing in lessons that we’ve created. Later on in the lesson, we’ll link to a few of our favourite online guitar teachers so that you can see what other people offer as well.

Ready to make a clear path for your learning with some of the best beginner guitar lessons online?

Scroll down and let’s get started.

beginner-guitar-lessons-online

Beginner Guitar Lessons Online – Finding The Right Content

There’s an art to teaching and explaining the fundamentals of guitar.

On top of that, everyone’s needs are different when it comes to how they learn – some folks prefer video examples of the things they learn, while others prefer written content and so on.

This is why we like to provide all of the above with our beginner guitar lessons online – so that different students can have the learning experience they need, rather than simply the one that we offer.

As you progress with your own musical education, you will quickly find that you develop a preference for specific learning platforms and styles. Take note of what they are so you can learn more comfortably!

beginner-guitar-lessons-online

If you’re looking to narrow your search for beginner guitar lessons online, here are a few questions that you can ask yourself when reviewing a lesson from any online guitar teacher’s library of content:

  • Do I understand the lesson based on how the teacher explains it?
  • How many questions am I left with after the lesson that I now need to find answers to?
  • Does the teacher explain the concept in detail, or are they skimming the surface?
  • Do I feel fulfilled and accomplished after completing the playable material from the lesson?
  • Do I feel confused at the end of the lesson?

beginner-guitar-lessons-online

Learn the 12 EASIEST beginner chords with our famous FREE guide

  Stop struggling. Start making music.

  Learn 12 beginner-friendly versions of every chord.

  This is our most popular guide and it will improve your chord ability quickly.

Beginner Guitar Lessons Online – Using Search Engines

At this point, we’re all (at least) somewhat familiar with how search engines work – but they’re getting smarter every day lately.

Search engines can not only find information for you, but they can now also answer direct questions asked of them by compiling the most detailed and accurate answers relative to your inquiry.

This means spending less time searching for the right answer to those burning guitar questions in your mind.

Try This: Think of a question you have in regards to guitar playing, and type it into Google.

The most popular answer will populate at the top of the page – this is called a snippet, and it’s super useful!

beginner-guitar-lessons-online

Search engines are one of the best tools you can use to find beginner guitar lessons online, as well as just about everything else.

Whether you’re an absolute beginner just trying to find your way or an intermediate to advanced player who’s trying to tighten up their screws, you should start by looking for answers on your favourite search engine.

Pro Tip: The way you search for things makes a huge difference online. Always make sure to ask specific questions or use specific keywords to get as close to your ideal answer as possible.

For example: Instead of searching for “how to play guitar,” try searching with a keyword like “best beginner guitar lessons online.”

guitar-lessons-online

Beginner Guitar Lessons Online – Right Here!

Call us conceited, but we’re pretty big fans of the work that we do here at National Guitar Academy.

Our website is packed to the brim with beginner guitar lessons online that are designed to take you from Day 1 to Day 1000 and beyond.

Whether it’s chords, scales, songs or theory; we’ve got plenty here to keep you occupied for days on end.

We pride ourselves on detailed explanations that leave zero stones unturned, so click here to head to our front page and see what beginner guitar lessons online would be right for you!

beginner-guitar-tutorials-online

Want a tried-and-true set of lessons to get you off on the right foot as a beginner guitarist?

We took the liberty of assembling some of our best beginner guitar lessons online for this article to help get you sorted.

It’s important to have a pathway to help you build a good practice routine, so do yourself a favour and click here for our “Guitar School” series of beginner guitar lessons online.

Pro Tip: Get yourself a notebook for this series of lessons so you can keep up with everything you’re learning and take notes. You’re going to want to have references for later.

best-guitar-lessons-online

Beginner Guitar Lessons Online – YouTube Video Lessons

Video-based education is quickly becoming a new normal for many of us, but it’s an incredibly accessible means of learning to play guitar.

We love filming video content for YouTube because it gives us a chance to explain things from different angles rather than just through text and images.

When it comes to topics like re-stringing your guitar or strumming, it helps to have a visual representation with a good narrative to help guide you along.

Video lessons are practical and extremely accessible nowadays, making them ideal for almost every type of student.

free-guitar-lessons-online

The big advantage of online video content is being able to see exactly what’s happening with an instructor in front of you. This is the closest we’ll get to having a personal instructor giving us beginner guitar lessons online or in person.

Every instructor is a little bit different with how they approach teaching guitar, but you’re bound to find someone who’s teaching style resonates well with you.

If you’re new to beginner guitar lessons online through YouTube, click here to head to the front page of our channel where you’ll find over 70 free instructional videos designed to push you forward on guitar.

online-beginner-guitar-lessons

Beginner Guitar Lessons Online – Instagram Content

By now, you’re probably at least slightly familiar with how social media works.

Instagram is an amazing place to learn guitar because many content creators (ourselves included) create content specifically for that platform.

As Instagram supports both photo and video content, it’s very easy to find new beginner guitar lessons online through the Explore page on the platform.

Instagram makes it easy to follow your favourite creators and stay up to date with everything they publish online, so make sure to hit that Follow button!

online-guitar-lessons

Pro Tip: Instagram will customize your feed to show you the content you want to see, so the more guitar teachers you follow, the more content you will be exposed to.

You can also follow specific hashtags in order to see a variety of content in different niches.

Try searching for any of the following hashtags for some free beginner guitar lessons online through Instagram:

  • #guitarlessons
  • #learnguitar
  • #learnguitareasy
  • #learnguitaronline
  • #freeguitarlessons

If you want more free beginner guitar lessons online from your friends at National Guitar Academy (as well as to have some input on the content we create next for Instagram), then click here to check out our IG page!

learn-guitar-online

Beginner Guitar Lessons Online – Facebook Groups

On the topic of social media, Facebook groups are another great place to find free guitar lessons.

The best part about Facebook is the communities it allows us to build quite easily with other like-minded people

If you’re looking for beginner guitar lessons online that allow you to ask other people questions while you learn, Facebook groups are a great place to get started.

The big advantage here is that a lot of music-focused Facebook groups draw players of the same or similar level, meaning that you have plenty of room for productive and inspiring conversations with players who are going through a similar time as you on guitar.

Pro Tip: More highly-focused Facebook groups will give you a better experience on social media than more broad groups will.

Our open Facebook group prides itself on a positive atmosphere that helps guitarists thrive by answering questions in detail and with links to relevant lessons.

By delivering lesson suggestions every day online, we’re able to keep our community thriving on the guitar on a day-to-day basis. We don’t know about you, but that makes us feel pretty awesome.

If you’re looking for daily beginner guitar lessons online sent straight to your Facebook news feed (and some good vibes too), click here to join our open Facebook group.

Download our lead guitar cheat-sheet to make things easier

It can be disorientating for guitarists to understand which scales work with which keys.

With this in mind, we created a cheat-sheet; a key and scale-finder that you can use again and again.

Sign Up For Mailing Lists!

Your email inbox doesn’t have to be a pool of spam!

We know – crazy, right?

But seriously, there are some great mailing lists out there that provide some serious value for the cost of your email address.

The frequency of emails depends on the mailing list, but every email you receive will be full of useful information that you can apply to your playing.

Sometimes you’ll even get advanced notice and promos on courses and other paid material if you’re looking to step into something more structured. It’s a win-win really!

national-guitar-academy

When it comes to beginner guitar lessons online, email lists are a great place to start with a series of broad information that will point you in the right direction.

These lists are often a place where a creator will voice their revelations that they’ve had that week in regards to music. This means that you get a tonne of inspiration from someone who’s been in your shoes before, meaning you can relate a little easier.

Email lists are often candid and ultra-motivational, sometimes even a little conversational. They’re definitely worth signing up for in exchange for free info.

Pro Tip: If you want to get started filling up your inbox with some motivational guitar content, click here to visit our homepage and join our mailing list!

Keep An Index Of Resources

Here’s where things get super important – let’s talk about how to stay organized.

Organization leads to a clear thought process, and a clear thought process leads to better learning.

If you’re learning on your own using beginner guitar lessons online, the best thing you can do is keep a folder on your computer with saved links to your favourite and most helpful lessons.

Make 5 folders for yourself (and click the folder titles for a lesson you can add to each):

Once you’ve collected some solid lessons for each of these folders, you can decide what you want to work on that day and bring up the relevant beginner guitar lessons online.

Pro Tip: Goal-setting is super-important! Make a list of what you want to accomplish each week (or month, depending on time) on the guitar and check your accomplishments off as you smash through them.

There’s something highly motivational about crossing a goal off of a list, and we recommend everyone do it to boost their sense of confidence on their instrument.

Bonus Pro Tip: It might sound rudimentary, but little things like crossing goals off a list help push our brain toward progress.

Visually representing your accomplishments on paper will stimulate the mind and make you feel great about the work that you’ve been putting in. It’s also a great opportunity to pat yourself on the back, and why shouldn’t you?

Tips For Finding More Beginner Guitar Lessons Online

There are some amazing guitar instructors out there with years of experience waiting to teach you, you’ve just got to know where to find them!

Every online teacher has their own approach to creating beginner guitar lessons online, and that’s one of the best parts about it all.

It’s important to find a teaching approach that works for you. When you do, you’ll find that you learn faster and more easily.

Check out a few of our favourite other guitar teachers below on YouTube for some more great guitar content:

Recommended Resources

If you loved this lesson on where to find beginner guitar lessons online, you’re going to love the ones we’ve got laid out for you below. Stick around for more free lessons from your friends at National Guitar Academy!

What Type of Guitarist Are You?

Take our 60-second quiz & get your results: Take The Quiz

Want free guitar tips and video lessons delivered to your inbox?

Join over 100,000 other guitar learners and subscribe to our guitar-tips-by-email service. (It's free.)

We'll send you a series of lessons that will move you to the next level of your guitar journey.

Learn how everything fits together quickly, easily and effectively. We share ninja tips (for instant fun!) but also timeless fundamentals that will deepen your understanding.


Popular Lessons

How To Learn Guitar: An 11-Step Programme For Beginners

10 Easy Songs For Beginners

How To Strum A Guitar

How To Choose The Perfect Beginner Guitar

Guitar Notes Explained: A Guide For Beginners

How To Play Lead Guitar

3 Easy Ways To Play Bm

More Cool Guitar Stuff

Learn about the National Guitar Academy: About Us

Visit our YouTube channel for fun guitar videos.

Join us on Facebook for daily guitar tips.

Listen to our Learn Guitar Podcast for rapid guitar progress.

Check out our free chord lessons.

 

Get our best guitar tips & videos
Where should we send it?
Where should we send it?
Get our best guitar tips & videos
Get our best guitar tips & videos
Where should we send it?
Where should we send it?
Get our best guitar tips & videos
Get our best guitar tips & videos
Where should we send it?
Where should we send it?
Get our best guitar tips & videos
Get our best guitar tips & videos
Where should we send it?
Where should we send it?
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Every Rose Has Its Thorn Chords – How to Play Poison’s Hit Song

In the mood for a hair metal ballad? We’ve got just the thing – let’s explore Poison’s Every Rose Has Its Thorn chords.

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In this free lesson you will learn…

  • An easy way to break down songs for easier learning
  • How to commit songs & chords to memory more easily
  • How to pivot between chords
  • How to play Every Rose Has Its Thorn by Poison

Poison’s Every Rose Has Its Thorn Chords Are Easy To Play

When we think of the hair metal bands of the 80’s, we usually think of a few things right away:

  • Big hair
  • Hairspray
  • Tight pants
  • Awesome guitar riffs

These are the obvious ones, sure, but there’s one more thing that comes with almost every hair metal band of the 1980’s:

Ballads.

That’s right folks – a slow, brooding song you can slow dance to and sing to the guy or girl you’ve been crushing on since high school.

Every-Rose-Has-Its-Thorn-Chords

Ballads became an unlikely staple in hair metal bands.

For a single song, the band would hang up all their attitude, slow down the tempo and serenade the audience in a way that would make you think just for a second that any one of them might be worth bringing home to meet your parents.

As funny as that might sound, it was a thing that many heavier bands did to garner themselves radio popularity, and it worked.

Poison was no exception to this marketing rule of thumb, and their unforgettable tune “Every Rose Has Its Thorn” skyrocketed their success in a big way.

The Every Rose Has Its Thorn chords are simple and easy, and we’re going to take you step-by-step through every aspect of the song today.

Click here to listen to the track.

Every-Rose-Has-Its-Thorn-Chords

Wait a minute – Before we begin!

This song is not tuned to standard tuning, although it might look like it from the chord shapes you’ll see. Poison tune their guitars one half-step down from standard tuning, so your strings should look like this:

Eb

(If you don't understand the above image please read our article "How To Read Guitar Chordboxes In 60 Seconds". It will make everything clear!)

Ab

Db

Gb

Bb

 

Learn the 12 EASIEST beginner chords with our famous FREE guide

  Stop struggling. Start making music.

  Learn 12 beginner-friendly versions of every chord.

  This is our most popular guide and it will improve your chord ability quickly.

Every Rose Has Its Thorn Chords I – The First Two Chords

When it comes to learning songs, there’s a process that will always stand to push you further ahead, quicker:

  1. Learn the chords one-by-one
  2. Learn the strumming pattern
  3. Practice your chord transitions
  4. Learn the lyrics
  5. Put it all together

It can be easy to want to learn all the things about a song all at once, but it doesn’t get us far.

We’re going to practice this process today with this lesson on the Every Rose Has Its Thorn chords by first looking at the order in which the chords pop up.

Every-Rose-Has-Its-Thorn-Chords

The Every Rose Has Its Thorn chords are centered mostly around G major and Cadd9 for the bulk of the song, which gives us an amazing advantage toward learning it.

Where these two chords are concerned, you can simply leave your pinky and ring fingers on the B and high E strings at the third fret.

This will let you focus your energy on your index and middle fingers, who will have to switch back and forth between string groups to accommodate each chord.

Let’s start by practicing the motion back and forth between these two chords:

G MAJOR

C ADD9

Every Rose Has Its Thorn Chords II – Completing the Progressions

We’ve only got three other chords we need to master in order to be able to play all of the chords in this song.

Easy, right? Fairly. The other Every Rose Has Its Thorn chords are ones you might already know.

After the initial back and forth of G major and C add9 for the first three stanzas, we see a D major chord pop up at the beginning of the last line of the verse (“though I tried not to hurt you…”).

This one is easy enough to take care of (see the diagram below), but we’re faced with a C major chord immediately afterward. This transition is worth taking some time on.

D MAJOR

 

When you move out of D major, lead with your ring finger down to the A string on the 3rd fret and allow that to help you set up the rest of the C major chord.

Pro Tip: Many times, leading a chord transition with the finger that takes the lowest note of the next chord can help set you up for success much more easily.

Before we move into the next section of the Every Rose Has Its Thorn chords, it’s a good idea to give these four chord transitions some practice altogether.

Let’s take a few minutes to rehearse our transitions from:

  • G major to Cadd9
  • Cadd9 to D major
  • D major to C major
  • C major to G major

To start with, strum each of the Every Rose Has Its Thorn chords and hold for a count of “1-2-3-4” before switching to the next chord.

It’s worth noting that we see an E minor chord pop up later on in the bridge, so take a bit of time to get that one under your fingers as well if you haven’t already.

C MAJOR

E MINOR

Every Rose Has Its Thorn Chords III – The First Strumming Pattern

Now that we’ve mastered the chords we need to play this whole song, we can move on to the rhythm.

Rhythm is how we carry the groove of the song, and so it’s important to pay attention to how the song flows.

Remember: Guitar isn’t just about the chords you play, it’s about everything put together. You can play some wonderfully defined chords, but they need to have rhythm behind them in order to go somewhere.

Thankfully, the strumming pattern that accompanies the front-end of the Every Rose Has Its Thorn chords is super-straightforward.

We’re going to count in 8th notes for this chord progression, and it looks like this:

Every-Rose-Has-Its-Thorn-Chords

Why do we count this way?

8th notes leave room for stressed and non-stressed strums to ring out, giving us plenty of room to learn the strumming pattern.

The strumming pattern for the intro and first verse of the Every Rose Has Its Thorn chords goes like this (with the count):

D         D          D                U          U   D          D    U          U

1          &          2          &          3          &          4          &

Did you see how some of the strums land in between the beats?

This is an important concept that we can master easily with some practice – keep reading to find out how.

Every-Rose-Has-Its-Thorn-Chords

Try This: Counting in 8th notes like we have above, take a G major chord and strum down for every number you count, and up for every & that you count. This should give you a consistent down-up pattern.

From there, strum only on the downbeats (1, 2, 3, 4) – then only on the upbeats (&).

Finally, try strumming in between the beats to get a feel for how playing between the beats works.

As you can see, this is a technique we need to employ to play through the Every Rose Has Its Thorn Chords effectively, so give this exercise a good shot!

Every-Rose-Has-Its-Thorn-Chords

Every Rose Has Its Thorn Chords IV – The Second Strumming Pattern

First and foremost, if you’re a beginner there’s one thing we should clear up:

You don’t necessarily need to play this second strumming pattern to effectively play the Every Rose Has Its Thorn chords, but it helps to put a variation in your back pocket regardless.

If you’re feeling like smashing some goals, keep reading to learn the second pattern.

The first strumming pattern for these chords gave us some room to play in between the beats, and this pattern does the same.

You’ll hear the following pattern prominently in the 2nd verse, choruses, bridge and solo sections.

D         D          D    U         U    D         D          D     U         U

1          &          2          &          3          &          4          &

Although only slightly different than the first strumming pattern, this pattern puts a little bit more push in our Every Rose Has Its Thorn chords which serves to drive the song a little harder – not a bad thing at all!

Before we move into the next section, take some time to practice your chords that you’ve learned so far with these two strumming patterns. Check out the diagrams below:

G MAJOR

CADD9

D MAJOR

C MAJOR

E MINOR

Every Rose Has Its Thorn Chords V – Practicing Chord Transitions

Okay, so this is where it gets fun and where we start to put things together.

This might seem like we’re rambling on about the fine details of the Every Rose Has Its Thorn chords, but deconstructing a song in this way really is the most effective way for us to learn about all its moving parts.

The more we learn, the better we play. Period.

As we discussed above, moving from G major to Cadd9 isn’t that big of a deal, but we can hash a few more details out with the other ones.

Try moving from Cadd9 to D major first.

CADD9

D MAJOR

C MAJOR

E MINOR

When we position our fingers in the shape of Cadd9, our ring finger should be on the 3rd fret of the B string.

We can keep that finger in that same position as we move to play D major.

This is commonly known as pivoting – where you use one common finger between two chords to pivot from one to the next with increased stability. You’ll see this technique pop up a bit between the Every Rose Has Its Thorn chords you’ve learned.

Pro Tip: Pivoting isn’t always an available option to move between two chords, but it’s a good idea to look out for commonalities between chords to use it when possible.

As we said above, we can use our ring finger to lead us from D major to C major, setting up the rest of the chord simply by working backwards.

D MAJOR

Every-Rose-Has-Its-Thorn-Chords

C MAJOR

Every-Rose-Has-Its-Thorn-Chords

C major and E minor are another two Every Rose Has Its Thorn chords that we can pivot between, this time using our middle finger as the pivot finger instead.

Now that we’ve mastered the chords, strumming patterns and chord transitions, we can begin to put it all together and turn this progression into a song!

C MAJOR

Every-Rose-Has-Its-Thorn-Chords

E MINOR

Every-Rose-Has-Its-Thorn-Chords

Download our lead guitar cheat-sheet to make things easier

It can be disorientating for guitarists to understand which scales work with which keys.

With this in mind, we created a cheat-sheet; a key and scale-finder that you can use again and again.

Every Rose Has Its Thorn Chords V – Four Sections/Four Progressions

As we’ve said, most of the bulk of this song relies on the interplay between G major and C add9, but we’re going to lay out the chord progressions of each section for you so you’ve got all your goalposts sorted for this song.

Remember: Practice each chord progression individually before you attack the whole song – you’ll spend less time going back and forth on chord formations and more time feeling like a rockstar.

As with every song, learn to master the Every Rose Has Its Thorn chords individually as well and you won’t miss.

Intro & Verses:

G major & Cadd9

End of Verse 1 (“Though I tried not to hurt you…”):

D major & C major

Chorus (laid out with lyrics for reference):

G                             Cadd9

Every rose has its thorn.

          G                                   Cadd9

Just like every night has its dawn.

                    G       D                      C                 G

Just like every cowboy sings a sad, sad song.

G                   C

Every rose has its thorn.

Pro Tip: Notice the placement of the Every Rose Has Its Thorn chords over specific words in each line? It’s important to take note of this so we can accurately measure the amount of time needed between chords.

Bridge:

(4 beats per chord evenly)

E minor – D major – C major – G major

E minor – D major – C major

Every-Rose-Has-Its-Thorn-song-lesson

Solo Section:

G major – Cadd9 – G major – Cadd9

Eminor – D major – C major – G major

Eminor – D major – C major – C major

G major – Cadd9 – G major – Cadd9

Pro Tip: If you want to be really clever about learning the Every Rose Has Its Thorn chords, play the track back and strum once per chord as the song plays while you count 8th notes like we have above.

This will help increase your time feel, as well as your sense of rhythm on the whole.

Once you’ve done this a few times, start working in the strumming pattern!

Every-Rose-Has-Its-Thorn-Chordboxes

Putting It All Together

Want to know the best way to master any tune?

Practice repeatedly and sing along!

Repeated practice helps us internalize the chord progression, while singing along will help us place the chords in their appropriate spots a lot more easily.

Throughout this lesson we’ve tried to break everything down into small steps that will not only help you master the Every Rose Has Its Thorn chords, but master the formula for practicing new music as well.

The more we learn about a song’s individual parts, the easier it is to learn it as a whole.

Remember: Every song is just a series of moving parts, and as we master each of them the bigger picture of the song itself becomes clearer.

Every-Rose-Has-Its-Thorn-on-guitar

Want More Out Of Your Every Rose Has Its Thorn Chords?

These same chords are used in a massive amount of other songs.

While it’s great to learn them just for this song, it’s a good idea to take some time each day to practice these chords separately as well. The more songs you learn, the more you’ll realize just how common these chords are in popular music.

Practice will take you farther than anything else, so make sure to keep picking up that guitar!

Recommended Resources

If you enjoyed this lesson, you’ll be happy to know that there’s plenty more to choose from.

Take a look at some of the awesome lessons we’ve got for you below:

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How To Learn Guitar: An 11-Step Programme For Beginners

10 Easy Songs For Beginners

How To Strum A Guitar

How To Choose The Perfect Beginner Guitar

Guitar Notes Explained: A Guide For Beginners

How To Play Lead Guitar

3 Easy Ways To Play Bm

More Cool Guitar Stuff

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Guitar Tutorials – Your Ultimate Guide To Top-Quality Guitar Education At Any Level!

Guitar tutorials help us learn and improve our skills. We’ve compiled a list of some of our best guitar tutorials to help you level-up your guitar playing. Let’s dive in!

 

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In this free lesson you will learn…

  • Proper posture & how to hold a pick
  • 8 Scale-based lessons
  • Major and minor chords as well as their intermediate cousins
  • How to find the best guitar tutorials on our website!

Guitar Tutorials Help Us Improve At A Faster Rate Than Learning On Our Own

Everyone needs a push in the right direction every now and again when it comes to their guitar journey. 

When it comes to the Internet however, many pieces of information can be misleading and often downright wrong.

  • Some guitar websites unknowingly teach bad guitar habits, or explain concepts in a way that can be extremely confusing to the beginner guitarist.
  • Confusion takes the fun out of learning guitar and leads to frustration – nobody wants that.

At National Guitar Academy, we’ve spent ages constructing guitar lesson content that is geared toward the beginner guitarist.

guitar-tutorials

We try to keep our explanations straightforward so that you can get the most out of your online guitar tutorials while avoiding confusing and conflicting information.

However, we know you don’t have all the time in the world to cruise our website looking for the best lesson to push you forward to the next stage of your guitar journey.

With that in mind…

guitar-tutorials

We’ve Compiled A Number Of Free Guitar Tutorials For You Right Here

Not only that – We’ve categorized them for you to make the right ones easier to find.

  • From the very beginner fundamentals like how to hold a guitar all the way up to lead guitar technique and music theory.
  • We make a point of creating guitar content that will steer your playing in the right direction and point you down the road of effective practice and progress.

We didn’t just want this to be another list-style article like all the others you see on the internet, so we’ve scattered brief little tidbits of guitar advice into this article with links to other guitar tutorials that will elaborate on those pieces of advice.

guitar-tutorials

The Internet has enough list-style guitar articles as it is, so we figured we’d make this one fun for you.

  • Grab your guitar and some paper as well as a pen and get ready to do some serious learning.
  • Whether you’re just starting out or getting ready to shred up your next venue on tour, we’ve got something for you to push your playing forward.

Let’s dive in!

guitar-tutorials

Learn the 12 EASIEST beginner chords with our famous FREE guide

  Stop struggling. Start making music.

  Learn 12 beginner-friendly versions of every chord.

  This is our most popular guide and it will improve your chord ability quickly.

Guitar Tutorials – Fundamentals

Sometimes ‘start at the beginning’ just doesn’t cut it. 

  • Thankfully, we’ve broken down ‘the beginning’ pretty well in this guitar tutorials rundown.
  • If you haven’t yet purchased a guitar, click here for some tips on what to look out for.
  • Once you’ve found your ideal ax, start with learning proper posture as well as how the right way to tune the guitar.

These may seem like boring concepts that don’t mean much, but posture and tuning will take you a lot further than you might think.

Your back and ears will thank you further down the line – we promise.

guitar-tutorials

Getting a good start on the guitar can be difficult, so we’ve outlined 5 tips for a great start to your guitar journey here.

  • This lesson outlines the need-to-know fundamentals like the parts of the instrument and the note names.
  • Take the time to learn these concepts early, as they will help you communicate better later on in your musical journey.
  • Don’t forget about learning the different types of guitar notation such as chord charts and TAB – these concepts will carry you far on your guitar journey.

Lastly, our 11-step method for learning guitar will help keep you on the right track with proper instruction on things like how to hold a pick, how to avoid frustration and how to find the perfect guitar teacher.

Pro Tip: Developing proper pick posture is important and will help to keep your playing fluid and smooth. Pay attention to the way you hold your pick!

guitar-tutorials

Guitar Tutorials – Learning Basic Chords

Chords are the foundation for pretty well everything in music. The more chords we know, the bigger our musical vocabulary becomes. 

  • It’s important to focus on chords early on in our guitar journey. Contrary to popular belief, learning more chords will not just help you as a rhythm player, but as a lead guitarist as well.
  • Chords give our ears something to latch onto, and it’s important to learn how to play them well.

Our mini-program for learning guitar chords effectively will help you learn how to articulate your chords with precision and musicality.

guitar-lessons

Learning the ‘easy versions’ of chords first can help us to break them down easier and understand them quicker.

  • In this free guitar lesson here, we break down the regular and easy versions of 14 popular chords to help you get started.
  • Lastly, if you’re still having trouble playing your chords well, we’ve got a lesson for you on correct hand placement and finger technique for playing chords.

This lesson helps build good habits in your hands, so don’t pass it up!

free-guitar-lessons

Guitar Tutorials – Beginner Songs

Developing our library of guitar songs is important, and these guitar tutorials will help you tighten up your chops in no time.

  • Not all songs are difficult to play – in fact some are just two or three chords!
  • This lesson on 5 guitar songs for beginners gets your fingers primed with plenty of chord practice on some famous songs you probably already know.

When you’re done with those, you can hop on over here for another set of guitar songs that will get your fingers moving comfortably through the chords you have learned.

free-guitar-tutorials

If you want another round of easy guitar songs, this 2-chord songs lesson should do it for you.

Pro Tip: The guitar may come off like a complicated instrument, but some of the best and most memorable songs are quite simple in their structure.

Learning two and three-chord songs helps us to grasp the concept of simplicity in music early on, which helps us to build a better learning foundation.

Many guitar tutorials that you will find online will preach this same concept – Keep it simple.

Complexity can come later – make sure you get the fundamentals down first before you get too crazy.

online-guitar-tutorials

Guitar Tutorials – Beginner Rhythm

Ah yes, rhythm – the backbone of any piece of music.

Rhythm is a crucial part of music as well as guitar playing, and we’ve got some great guitar tutorials that will help you tighten up your playing.

  • Counting as we play is important, and can help us gain a better sense of timing as we progress.
  • This lesson on how to play in time provides some good instruction on the fundamentals of timing in music, so don’t skip out on this one!

Pro Tip: Learning to tap your foot to keep time early in your guitar journey is a lifesaver further down the line. If there’s one thing you should be practicing regularly, it’s your rhythm and timing. Stay on it!

how-to-play-guitar

Guitar Tutorials – Strumming

Another essential part of rhythm for guitarists is strumming.

Strumming is how we convey the vast majority of our rhythm on guitar, and so we’ve got a few guitar tutorials to help keep you on the right track with your strumming.

Your first stop should (obviously) be our lesson on how to strum a guitar. This lesson will break down all the essentials you need to get your pick hand in shape for any campfire or jam session.

beginner-guitar-tutorials

Once you’ve gotten a feel for playing in time as well as strumming, you should check out these 5 strumming patterns that will help enhance your sense of rhythm.

Pro Tip: When learning a new song, experiment with the strumming patterns! You don’t have to play the song exactly how you hear it – Instead, you could use that song as an opportunity to see how it sounds when you play it differently.

Don’t be afraid to experiment!

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Guitar Lessons Price – The Ultimate Guide

What is an appropriate cost for guitar lessons? Let us break down your average guitar lessons price for you.

 

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In this free lesson you will learn…

  • The average cost of guitar lessons
  • What makes a good guitar teacher
  • The different types of guitar lessons available
  • Why online guitar lessons are almost as good as in-person lessons

A Fair Guitar Lessons Price Doesn’t Have To Be Expensive

There are loads of apps and websites you can use to learn to play the guitar, including our own!

  • Free apps in particular are very attractive, for obvious reasons: cost, pace, and convenience.
  • It’s possible to learn a fair bit as a beginner from these apps and sites, and some of them even give you a bit of feedback so you can measure your progress.

For some examples of free guitar lessons that you can take online, we’ve got some  breakdowns below:

The Best Online Guitar Lessons

The Best YouTube Guitar Lessons

Additionally, we’ve got loads of free course material right here on our website for you!

Check out our guitar lessons index here.

guitar-lessons-price

At some point however, your progress as a musician will absolutely depend on finding a human being to give you guidance and feedback.

Guitar lessons are amazing. You become part of a lineage of guitar lessons – learning from your teacher, who learned from their teacher, who learned from their teacher and so on.

Guitar lessons give you a game plan for practicing and achieving small musical goals in the service of bigger musical goals.

Needless to say, good guitar lessons are worth every penny – but how many pennies are we talking about, exactly?

guitar-lessons-price

Types Of Lessons & The Impact On The Guitar Lessons Price

When we are talking about guitar lessons in this context, we’re talking about having a live teacher.

There are different types of lessons that can impact the guitar lessons price, based on how many people are in the lesson.

  • You could have a private, one-on-one lesson. You and your progress are the entire focus of this type of lesson.
  • You could have a semi-private lesson, where you and one or two other students are with a teacher. The teacher provides help to each of you individually, but you are both learning the same concepts at the same pace.
  • You could be part of a guitar class, where you are in a room with anywhere from three to ten other students. These classes provide some individual attention, but that may not happen in every class. Each student is provided with the same learning material.

guitar-lessons-price

Learn the 12 EASIEST beginner chords with our famous FREE guide

  Stop struggling. Start making music.

  Learn 12 beginner-friendly versions of every chord.

  This is our most popular guide and it will improve your chord ability quickly.

Guitar lessons are typically scheduled weekly.

  • Where private lessons are concerned, your teacher may let you schedule more per week upon request.
  • The private guitar lessons price ranges between $20 and $80 – depending on duration, location, and the quality or teacher’s credentials.
  • The semi-private guitar lessons price tends to be a bit less expensive per person, and there is a bit more flexibility in pricing.
  • You and a friend could take lessons together and share costs, which can run anywhere between $30 and $100.

Guitar classes generally happen at community centers, music schools, or local colleges, with the price ranging between $15 and $25 per class.

It’s important to note that group guitar classes also give us the benefit of having a collection of people to study and make friends with.

The people in your class are all as excited as you to be learning guitar, so don’t hesitate to put a study group together!

guitar-lessons-price

How Do I Know How Much I Should Be Paying?

If you are looking at a list of guitar lessons price quotes and you’re unsure how to evaluate the prices and lessons, you are not alone.

  • It’s a little difficult to figure out how lessons should be priced, especially if you are a beginner or are unfamiliar with your teacher in question.
  • Setting expectations for ourselves and our lessons can help us solve this problem efficiently.

It’s best to be as clear as you can on your goals, budget, and commitment level when you set out to sign up for guitar lessons, even if your goal is just wanting to fit the guitar into your life.

Here are some factors that you can consider, and questions that you can ask to help you determine whether the teacher and/or guitar lessons price is a good fit for you.

guitar-lessons-price

The advantages of guitar classes:

  • Everyone is in there helping each other and asking questions.
  • They tend to be less expensive than private guitar lessons.
  • Good guitar classes are wonderful places to go if you are a beginning to intermediate student. They are loads of fun.

The advantages of semi-private lessons:

  • Because you have a fellow student, you also have a practice buddy.
  • You and your fellow student can work on the type of music that interests you.
  • Having a fellow student takes a bit of the pressure of individualized attention off of you.

The advantages of private lessons:

  • Your curriculum and the music you learn is tailored to your tastes, for the most part.
  • Your teacher’s time and attention are devoted entirely to you during your lesson.
  • Your progress is only limited by the amount of time you have to practice between lessons.

guitar-lessons-price

Pro-Tip: When researching guitar lessons price ranges, be sure to ask about the cancellation policy. 

Good teachers are busy and do not always have a lot of scheduling flexibility if you have to cancel a lesson, but every professional teacher has a consistent and well-conceived cancellation policy. You should know what it is ahead of time.

Location & Guitar Lessons Price

When you are looking at guitar lessons price ranges, consider how and where your lessons will fit into your life and what that’s worth in terms of how much you can invest.

  • Schools can be the least expensive, and music schools have everything you need for a lesson: tuning and string changing services, stands, and playback devices.
  • Sometimes there are jamming spaces and extra jamming events during the course of the week that you can attend for zero (or minimal) extra charge.

Lessons in the teacher’s home or studio tend to be less expensive than lessons in your home, because a teacher’s commuting time and expenses are always built into the guitar lessons price.

guitar-teacher

Your geographic location impacts your guitar lessons price in terms of teacher availability as well.

  • If you’re living in a remote location, it may be difficult to find a reasonably well-qualified and compatible teacher near you, whether or not that teacher can come to your home.
  • This may make it more expensive to find a teacher to travel to for regular lessons, but you can always discuss the possibility of scheduling less frequent and longer lessons.

On the other side of the coin, online lessons are wonderful!

  • Many teachers of all different levels and genres teach via Skype and Zoom, making it easy to connect provided you have a strong internet connection.
  • An additional advantage to online guitar lessons is digital lesson packs.

Many online guitar instructors will send copies of your homework to you digitally following your lesson, sometimes in a PDF and other times in the form of a playable TAB that you can jam along to!

lessons-for-guitar

Another factor with a major impact on guitar lessons price is your current level of skill.

Here is a breakdown of general expectations for guitar lessons by level.

Guitar Lessons Price for Children

If you’re pricing guitar lessons for a child, the lessons may or may not be less expensive than teen/adult lessons.

The same factors apply – duration, location, number of students in the lesson – and there are the added considerations of developmental level and skill level.

A good children’s guitar teacher knows that kids’ developmental progress is a highly individualized thing, and you can work with your potential teacher to create a lesson and practice schedule that best suits the child student.

Children’s guitar lessons are 30 to 45 minutes in length, and can cost $20 to $50.

Children’s group classes are generally 45 to 60 minutes in length and can cost $15 to $25.

guitar-teacher-price

Guitar Lessons Price for Beginner Students

As inexpensive and convenient as online guitar lessons can seem for beginning students, the best time to invest in a teacher who is paying attention to you personally is when you are just starting out.

A 30-minute private guitar lesson for a beginner will likely be priced at between $20 and $35.

In a series of beginning guitar lessons, you can expect your teacher to cover the following subjects:

  • Seated and standing posture
  • The parts of the guitar: strings, frets, note names and directions
  • Basic chord shapes
  • Hand alignment and finger positioning
  • Picking
  • Fundamentals of rhythm, counting & strumming
  • Simple melodies and songs
  • Changing between chords without losing the beat
  • Elementary music theory

price-for-guitar-teacher

Guitar Lessons Price for Intermediate Students

At the intermediate level, your guitar lessons may feel too short at 30 minutes, as there are more skills to work on and different techniques to pursue.

The average intermediate guitar lessons price range is $20 to $40 for a half hour, and $25 to $50 for 45 minutes.

In a series of intermediate guitar lessons, you can expect your teacher to reinforce the concepts you know already, and to cover topics like:

  • Barre chords and moveable shapes
  • The notes on the E and A strings
  • The notes in the chords and some different ways to play basic chords
  • Scale patterns and finding melodies on the guitar
  • Ear training and learning songs from recordings
  • Understanding the interplay between melodies and chords
  • Basic improvisation
  • More intricate rhythmic skills

Guitar Lessons Price for Advanced Students

Advanced students, you’ve got goals! You can dig much deeper into the questions about who your guitar teacher should be and what you would like to learn.

For this reason, the advanced guitar lessons price range is a lot wider.

  • Lessons of 60 minutes can range from $60 to $150, depending on your curriculum and the frequency of your lessons.
  • You can take a single lesson from someone who is a professional at what you would like to do either live or via Skype.

Alternatively, you can set yourself up with an expert in your area for regular lessons to help you achieve your guitar goals.

Advanced guitar lessons can cover such concepts as:

  • Song arrangement
  • New chord progressions
  • Interlocking scale forms
  • Jazz chord colorations
  • Composition

Download our lead guitar cheat-sheet to make things easier

It can be disorientating for guitarists to understand which scales work with which keys.

With this in mind, we created a cheat-sheet; a key and scale-finder that you can use again and again.

Selecting a Guitar Teacher

No matter where you are, there is a guitar teacher available for you.

  • It’s important to remember that not every guitar teacher is right for every student.
  • In many cases, you can look up a guitar teacher’s bio online and find out whether the teacher’s style and tastes seem compatible with yours.
  • You can also check out your regular social media outlets and neighborhood discussion boards to see who other people recommend.

Most independent guitar teachers find many of their students through word-of-mouth.

Your first couple of lessons with any teacher will be partly taken up by getting to know each other and figuring out how best to learn together.

While it’s not a marriage, you may want to give it two or three lessons to figure out whether it’s likely to be a good teacher-student relationship.

Where Do I Go From Here?

When it comes to guitar lessons, the appropriate price comes down to how you want to invest in your progress as a musician.

It’s true that you get what you pay for, but signing up for a $100 lesson with a big name does not guarantee that the big name is also a great teacher.

When you find a teacher who is interested in your progress, who explains things in a way that you can understand, and who inspires you, the guitar lessons price will be right!

Recommended Resources

If you enjoyed this article on the cost of guitar lessons, you’ll love these other free guides we have for you below:

What Type of Guitarist Are You?

Take our 60-second quiz & get your results: Take The Quiz

Want free guitar tips and video lessons delivered to your inbox?

Join over 100,000 other guitar learners and subscribe to our guitar-tips-by-email service. (It's free.)

We'll send you a series of lessons that will move you to the next level of your guitar journey.

Learn how everything fits together quickly, easily and effectively. We share ninja tips (for instant fun!) but also timeless fundamentals that will deepen your understanding.


Popular Lessons

How To Learn Guitar: An 11-Step Programme For Beginners

10 Easy Songs For Beginners

How To Strum A Guitar

How To Choose The Perfect Beginner Guitar

Guitar Notes Explained: A Guide For Beginners

How To Play Lead Guitar

3 Easy Ways To Play Bm

More Cool Guitar Stuff

Learn about the National Guitar Academy: About Us

Visit our YouTube channel for fun guitar videos.

Join us on Facebook for daily guitar tips.

Listen to our Learn Guitar Podcast for rapid guitar progress.

Check out our free chord lessons.

 

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Reading Guitar Tabs: Learn To Read Tab In 5 Easy Steps

Reading guitar tabs will change your life as a guitarist. In this lesson we’re going to show you everything you need to know about guitar tabs.

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In this free lesson you will learn:

  • How to read guitar tabs in 5 easy steps.
  • The no1 tab secret that will make turbo-charge your guitar progress.
  • 3 epic tabs that will make you sound amazing.

Reading Guitar Tabs Can Be Difficult If We Don’t Know What We Are Looking At

Often dubbed the “guitarist’s sheet music,” tablature doesn’t look like a lot when we see it for the first time.

  • Tablature, however, is riddled with information that will tell us most of what we need to know in order to play a song.
  • This innovative method of reading music for stringed instruments without notation has been an asset to many guitarists over the years.
  • With the aid of technology, we now have apps and software that can read tablature and audibly play it back for us as well.

In this guitar lesson, we’ll dive into the essential must-knows about reading guitar tabs to get you playing along to your favourite songs in no time!

reading-guitar-tabs

What Are Guitar Tabs?

Guitar tabs (or tablature) is a method of reading ‘music’ without the use of traditional music notation.

  • Although this method has served various other stringed instruments over the years in different forms, it is most commonly associated with the guitar.
  • Tablature traditionally contains six lines, with each line representing one string of our guitar.
  • Our strings our laid out with the thickest string (low E) on the bottom, and our thinnest string (high E) on the top.

This is what our standard tablature staff looks like without notes:

reading-guitar-tabs

Our frets are represented by numbers on the staff. Each of these numbers represent not just the fret itself, but a note also.

The downside of tablature is that we can’t tell how long each note should last for.

When reading guitar tabs of our favourite songs, it’s important to listen to the song while we read to ensure we know the pace and tempo of the song.

Learning to read tabs in this way will help us learn quicker and more efficiently, so make sure you always keep a set of headphones at the ready.

Here’s what tablature looks like with frets:

reading-guitar-tabs

Download our lead guitar cheat-sheet to make things easier

It can be disorientating for guitarists to understand which scales work with which keys.

With this in mind, we created a cheat-sheet; a key and scale-finder that you can use again and again.

Why Choose Guitar Tabs?

Reading guitar tabs takes much less time to pick up and learn than it does to efficiently read traditional sheet music.

As a result of this, learning to read sheet music can be off-putting for many guitarists, and thus they gravitate towards reading guitar tabs instead.

While guitar tablature is straightforward and shows us exactly what to play and where to play it, it also challenges us to use our ears and develop our hearing in a musical context.

Picking apart a song in order to learn it is not an easy task, but reading guitar tabs can help us make sense of complex sections that we cannot learn by ear.

reading-guitar-tabs

The added bonus of reading guitar tabs is that with the help of technology, we have apps that can help us read tablature.

Programs like Guitar Pro by Arobas Music are able to play written tablature and slow down the speed in order to help us practice efficiently and understand more about what we are playing.

  • As a bonus, Guitar Pro also transcribes our tablature into traditional music notation.
  • This gives us the extra opportunity of learning how to read sheet music, which can benefit us as we progress on our journey.

Now, let’s break down some of the essentials for reading guitar tabs!

reading-guitar-tabs

Reading Guitar Tabs – Breaking Down The Essentials

In order to read guitar tablature, we need to understand the mechanics of it first.

  • Tablature is designed to read similar to sheet music, and we should treat it as such.
  • One thing that tablature lacks is bar lines. This means that we cannot divide the music into pieces as easily as we can with traditional sheet music.
  • The upside however, is that we have ears!

One of the easiest ways to learn a song through reading guitar tabs is with the song on hand.

Play back small sections of the song at a time and focus on each part as you learn the song.

reading-guitar-tabs

  • Never forget that listening will always teach you exactly what you need to play, regardless of your skill level.
  • Take the time to listen closely to what your favourite artist is playing, and how they are playing it.
  • Once you’ve mastered one section, move on to the next and work on connecting them together.

Learning music in this way will help us maintain a consistent workflow from the beginning of the song to the end.

This principle can apply to learning music at any level of skill.

Much like traditional sheet music, tablature uses a variety of different symbols to convey different techniques that should be used throughout a piece of music.

Reading guitar tabs with attention to these details will help us learn to play songs as close to the recording as possible.

reading-guitar-tabs

Many tabs that we find online can be written with the bare minimum amount of information.

Some that are made on public forums like Ultimate Guitar can have some minor (or major) mistakes as well, so make sure to always rely on your ears.

If it sounds wrong, it may very well be.

Remember, details matter in music. Listen for them, and always try to replicate what you hear when learning.

reading-guitar-tabs

Reading Guitar Tabs – Horizontal and Vertical Fret Numbers

Our fret numbers are displayed both horizontally and vertically when reading guitar tabs.

  • When we read our frets horizontally, that indicates that those notes should be played one after the other.
  • When we see fret numbers displayed vertically, this indicates that a chord should be played.

Bear in mind that not every chord is six strings in length. Quite often we will see chords that use only three or four strings.

In these cases, it’s important to watch out for the strings we shouldn’t play.

The strings that we should not play in a chord are often marked with an X on their respective string line.

 reading-tablature

It’s important that we adjust our hand and pick to accommodate the amount of strings needed for a chord.

Strumming strings and notes that aren’t in a chord can often result in an unpleasant clash of notes.

Top Tab Tip!

When reading guitar tabs to learn a piece of music, break up the sections so that you can focus on smaller pieces of the song at a time. When we first start out learning to play guitar, reading large passages of music can seem like a heavy task.

This is why it’s important to learn in small sections. Give your brain and hands a chance to get on the same page and you’ll find yourself learning to play guitar more effectively.

Try this exercise below, and play as you read:

 reading-tablature

Learning To Read From Line To Line

Guitar tablature does a great job of teaching us where to play, but one of the more difficult aspects is learning to play from one string to the next.

  • Developing our hand-eye coordination to practice reading guitar tabs while we play is a skill that takes time to craft.
  • We should dedicate a good amount of time to honing our skill of reading guitar tabs while playing.
  • Read slowly, practice effectively and you will find that you’ll start reading guitar tabs more fluidly.

Let’s look at an example that requires us to switch strings every other note:

guitar-tablature

In this exercise, we only play two notes per string on the second and third frets.

Use your index or middle finger to play this exercise, as well as the open strings.

Pro Tip: Using alternate picking in this example will help you to develop a more fluid playing style. Alternate picking helps us smooth out our guitar playing, and develop our speed at a faster and more efficient pace.

guitar-tablature

Intermediate Skills

uitar tablature has its own set of commonly used symbols that are meant to convey different techniques.

It’s important that we become familiar with these symbols, as they will help us to develop our technique in a musical context.

Some of the most common techniques that we will see while reading guitar tabs are:

  • Hammer Ons & Pull Offs
  • Slides
  • Alternate Picking
  • Tapping
  • Vibrato

We can see these examples all throughout classic guitar songs like the ones in the tabs below.

montage 3

Reading Guitar Tabs – Hammer Ons & Pull Offs

‘Thunderstruck’ by AC/DC is a classic rock song which frequently uses hammer ons and pull offs.

  • For ‘Thunderstruck,’ we want to aim to alternate fingers between the index and ring as we hammer-on and pull-off on the high E string.
  • Like the name implies, we want to hit our string with some force behind our fingers so that the notes will sound out properly.
  • Aim to hit the center of the fret for the hammer-on; then pull off in a quick downward motion off the edge of the fretboard.

In this example, the ‘H’ stands for hammer on and the ‘P’ stands for pull off.

Reading Guitar Tabs – Slides, Bends and Vibrato

understaning-guitar-tablature

In the example for ‘Purple Haze’ by Jimi Hendrix, we want to slide into the first main note of the riff. This slide gives us momentum, and powers the rest of the riff.

In the tab, ‘sl’ tells you that you need to slide into the note.

  • We should aim to play this riff in a smooth fashion, with clear and easy transitions from one note to the next.
  • On the notes that are held longer, we can add some vibrato by moving our finger back and forth on the string. This is indicated by the squiggly lines on top of the staff.
  • Vibrato is a great way to add life and character to our playing – Give it a shot!

As well as this, whenever we see an arrow that points up, this is telling us to bend the note. Often you’ll see these numbers and notes by the bend:

  • ¼
  • ½.
  • Full.
  • 1 ½.

This tells us how far we need to bend the note. Here’s what each number and notes mean:

  • 1/4 – bend this note slightly.
  • ½ – bend this note a semitone.
  • Full – bend this note up a tone.
  • 1 ½ – bend this note up three semitones.

understaning-guitar-tablature

Reading Guitar Tabs – Finger Tapping

In the third example, we see the basic layout for what finger tapping looks like when reading guitar tabs.

In this example the:

  • ‘T’ refers to the note that you tap.
  • ‘H’ refers to the note that you hammer.
  • ‘P’ refers to the note that you pull off.

Remember to use two hands when playing this tapping lick.

Use one finger in your picking hand and one in your fret hand to conquer this lick. In our fret hand, we should use our index finger to tap the 3rd fret.

  • Our index or middle finger is the best one to use when learning how to use two-handed tapping with our pick hand.
  • We can pull-off to the open position from the tenth fret with our picking hand, and hammer-on to the third with our fret hand.

It’s the fine details such as technique that bring these guitar riffs to life, so don’t hesitate to spare some extra time practicing them!

easy-guitar-tab

Where Can I Find Guitar Tabs Online?

The easiest and most accessible place to find tabs online is Ultimate Guitar.

This website features user-submitted tablature for many of your favourite songs, as well as new music to discover.

  • One thing to keep in mind when searching for tablature is the star-rating system that Ultimate Guitar uses.
  • Users are able to rate tabs on the website based on how well-written they are.
  • When reading guitar tabs that were not written by a professional transcriber, there can be some mistakes.

This is why it’s so important that we use our ears when learning music.

easy-guitar-tab

When selecting a tab for a song you’re looking for, try to find one with a five-star rating.

This means that the tab is well-written. and likely contains a lot more detail than some of the user-submitted content you will come across.

Another thing to be mindful of is that some guitar tabs are not available for free online.

  • Many tablature transcription companies such as Sheet Happens Publishing pride themselves on helping musicians transcribe their music for tablature and notation.
  • Bands will then sell these transcriptions as tab books that you can purchase online or at concerts.
  • Even though they aren’t free, purchasing a tab book from your favourite band or artist helps support them and their livelihood.

It’s also a huge compliment to any musician to have someone learn their music!

Where Do I Go From Here?

Want to keep learning more about reading guitar tabs? Fantastic! We recommend:

  • Search for guitar tabs of your favorite songs and learn them.
  • Pick up some Artist-approved tab books over at Sheet Happens Publishing.
  • Try Guitar Pro to be able to hear your tabs and play along to them.
  • Try writing out tablature by hand – You can buy blank tab sheets at your local music shop.
  • Check out our lessons on reading guitar tabs and more here.

Recommended Resources

Looking for more information on reading guitar tabs? Check out some of our other free lessons below:

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10 Easy Songs For Beginners

How To Strum A Guitar

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How To Play Lead Guitar

3 Easy Ways To Play Bm

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Types of Guitar Strings: The Ultimate Guide

Types of guitar strings are often tricky to understand, this can be confusing and overwhelming for guitarists. In this ultimate guide we’re going to show you everything you need to know about guitar strings.

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In this free lesson you will learn:

  • 6 essential secrets about every type of guitar string.
  • How to find the perfect string type that will make everything easier for you as a guitarist.
  • 3 essential tone tips that are guaranteed to make your guitars sound amazing.

Types of Guitar Strings – What’s Out There?

Our choices in guitar strings can have a major impact on our playing comfort, as well as our guitar tone.

While old and worn out strings can often lose their brightness and tone, keeping up on your guitar maintenance can make a world of a difference for your instrument, your skill development, and most importantly – your hands.

  • By understanding the differences between the types of guitar strings we have the ability to make well-informed buying decisions.
  • This will help improve our playing, and prevent the risk of unnecessary damage and repairs.

Although finding the right strings for your guitar should be a personalized process, we’re here to help you better understand your options.

types-of-guitar-strings

In this article we’re going to look at the different types of guitar strings available to us, as well as the most ideal scenarios for different string gauges.

Let’s go!

Types of Guitar Strings – Gauges

The term ‘string gauge’ refers to the size of the string in diameter.

  • When we buy a pack of guitar strings, the heaviest and lightest gauges will be displayed on the packaging. For example, ‘10-46’.
  • String gauges are measured in 1/1000th of an inch.
  • Therefore, a 46-gauge guitar string (typically a low E) would be 0.052 inches in diameter.

Naturally, guitar strings with a lower gauge will be lighter than a string with a higher gauge.

types-of-guitar-strings

Guitar strings come in all sorts of string gauge varieties, which can introduce a whole world of different guitar pairings and tones.

While different guitar strings can pair better with some guitars than others, a lot of that distinction is up to you as a guitarist and player.

For starters, there are a view basic principles we can observe with different types of guitar strings:

#1 Lighter strings will typically be easier to play, but may also be too easy to play.

Although these types of strings are great for the beginner guitarist, they don’t give us a lot of stability with techniques such as bending and vibrato.

types-of-guitar-strings

#2 Medium gauge strings are great for rock-hard stability

They provide a good amount of push against our fingers and allow us to dig in without losing control.

#3 Heavy and extra-heavy gauge strings are for the guitarist who attacks their guitar with their pick.

Often favored by punk, metal and funk musicians, this gauge of string will fight back when played.

This is a great choice for the advanced and confident guitarist who wants that extra bit of punch in their tone.

types-of-guitar-strings

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Types of Guitar Strings – Electric Guitar Strings

These types of guitar strings are most often made from one of three different materials.

#1 Nickel Plated Steel Guitar Strings

  • The most common choice due to its warmth and brightness.
  • Can sustain heavy pick attack with ease.

#2 Stainless Steel Guitar Strings

  • The least prone to string noise when we move around the fretboard.
  • Great for long and sustained notes.

#3 Pure Nickel Guitar Strings

  • Warmer tone than nickel-plated steel with a bit more bass response.

While each material lends its own voice to the guitar, it’s important to experiment with different types of guitar strings to find your own voice on the instrument.

types-of-guitar-strings

Some guitar string companies have begun experimenting with different materials to develop stronger guitar strings.

Ernie Ball has released a brand of string called cobalt (wrapped in 17% iron & cobalt) which they claim attracts the magnets in your pickups better than any other string.

D’Addario’s NYXL strings are made from carbon steel alloy core beneath a nickel winding, which they claim increases your note sustain and keeps your guitar in tune longer.

Pro Tip: Electric guitar strings may appear similar, but they are all made quite differently.

When finding the right type of guitar string, it’s important to listen for the fine details and how a string feels when you play it.

types-of-guitar-strings

Types of Guitar Strings – Acoustic Guitar Strings

It’s a bit easier to tell the difference between different types of guitar strings when playing an acoustic.

  • Since the body of an acoustic guitar resonates so loudly by itself, we don’t need an amp to hear or feel the difference.
  • Acoustic guitar strings originated as steel-string instruments, but over time string companies have improved the formula for better resonance and string definition.
  • Acoustic strings are usually made of 80/20 bronze or a phosphor-bronze wrap.

Typically the core of an acoustic guitar string will be made of brass-plated, high-carbon steel.

Bronze presents a clear and defined tone, while phosphor gives us a warmer variation.

types-of-guitar-strings

Pro Tip: String sets for an acoustic guitar will be heavier overall than they are for an electric guitar. This is because the strings have more body to contend with on an acoustic guitar.

  • Lighter types of guitar strings are available for acoustic guitars, but they can make the guitar sound thin very quickly.
  • These lighter gauges are often labelled as custom light strings.
  • Heavier gauge acoustic strings will give extra boom to our guitar’s sound in the low end, but at the risk of stiffness.
  • This stiffness can also contribute to a lack of sustain in the guitar, so be careful!

types-of-guitar-strings

Types of Guitar Strings – Nylon and Classical Strings

Can you guess from the title what these types of guitar strings are made of?

  • Nylon guitar strings are used on classical style guitars. These strings are mainly used for classical and flamenco guitar  as well as other genres of music.
  • Nylon strings have the softest tone to them and are the easiest to play with the least amount of initial discomfort.
  • These strings have fantastic note definition and easily let the instrument sing clearly.

The three treble strings (G, B & E) are made of single nylon filament. The bass strings are often made of the same, wrapped in a thin, silver-plated copper wire.

types-of-guitar-strings

Nylon strings are favoured by classical musicians as well as many guitarists in the Latin music world.

  • This is primarily due to their ability to react to fingerpicking, especially with guitarists who pick with long fingernails.
  • These types of guitar strings are great to learn on but can often lead guitarists to not develop calluses on your fingers as quickly as other types of guitar strings.

Nylon strings provide excellent resonance and note definition, but they are less often used by beginner guitarists because of their drawbacks with calluses.

types-of-guitar-strings

Other Types of Guitar Strings

Over the years, innovative minds have put their heads together to create better guitar tone through different string materials.

  • Our most common types of guitar strings are referred to as roundwound strings for the way in which they are made.
  • One of the different types of guitar strings favoured in the jazz world are flatwound strings.
  • These strings have a warmer response to them, but also a darker tone that might not be suitable for all styles of music.

Flatwound strings create less string noise when we move around on them, and are ideal for smoother styles of music.

different-guitar-strings

It’s worth noting that flatwound strings are not ideal for the guitarist who enjoys bending their notes, as they have a lot more tension than regular strings.

Coated strings are also very much worth mentioning.

  • Roundwound strings can sometimes be coated with a plastic-polymer material that can increase string life and brightness.
  • Coated strings are great for people with acidic hands, or those who sweat a lot when they play. This coating will keep your strings from rusting when exposed to sweat.
  • Coating can save us time from constantly changing our strings, but they can be almost twice as expensive.

For some, this will save them time and money – for others, it won’t. It all depends on how long your strings last.

different-guitar-strings

Pro Tip: Using string wipes after each practice or jam session is another great way to remove acid and residue buildup. This helps give our strings a long and tone-filled life.

Different Strings For Different Things

One important thing to note is that as you progress on your guitar journey, you may find yourself in need of different guitar strings for the different types of music you play.

It’s okay if not all of your guitars are set up for the same string gauge.

Try and give a unique voice to each one of your guitars. You’ll find a whole new world of tone within your assortment of guitar strings.

What-guitar-strings-are-best

For example, if you play in an indie rock band, you can get away with using light to medium gauge strings.

If you play in a rock band or funk band, you might consider using medium or heavy-gauge strings due to their thickness and tone.

The type of string you use is determined by your ears and what you think sounds the best!

What-guitar-strings-are-best

How Much Should You Spend On Guitar Strings?

This question is asked all the time by guitarists however the price of your guitar strings completely depends on you.

This may not seem like the most direct answer, but let us explain:

The types of guitar strings that you end up using depend strongly on your taste and ears, but you should typically budget anywhere from £10/$10 to £30/$30 per pack.

“But can’t I just buy really cheap guitar strings?”

Cheap guitar strings will rust quickly and not hold their tuning the way a well-built guitar string will.

Before buying a new set of guitar strings in a different gauge, you should always consult with your local guitar tech.

best-strings-for-guitar

Getting Your Guitar Set Up for New Strings

This is one of the most crucial points of understanding different types of guitar strings.

  • The reason for this is that changing guitar string gauges too often can damage the neck of our guitar.
  • Every guitar is set up for a certain degree of tension on the neck. This tension is determined most often by the types of guitar strings being put on the instrument.
  • If our guitar is set up for medium gauge strings (10-52) putting on a set of heavy gauge strings may cause unwanted pressure and tension on the neck.

This can make our guitar very hard to play, and can warp the neck. Worse, it can bend the truss rod of the guitar.

best-strings-for-guitar

It’s important to find yourself a good and reputable guitar tech to help you with such things.

  • The best guitar techs often work independently and can be found online or by word of mouth.
  • The next time you meet a guitarist with a well-balanced guitar, ask them who they hire to do their tech work.
  • Make sure to ask around in local Facebook guitar groups as well as your local music shop.

Pro Tip: Behind every great guitarist is an amazing guitar tech who helps keep their instruments in peak-performance condition.

Finding a reliable tech will save you a lot of hassle down the road. Ask around!

guitar-string-types

How Often Should I Change My Strings?

As we’ve said above, different types of guitar strings can rust and damage quicker depending upon our hands and how much we sweat.

  • We can extend the life of our strings by using wipes and other materials, but how often we play can determine how often we should swap strings.
  • If you’re just learning the guitar, you can change your strings every couple of months without worry.
  • For gigging guitarists who are playing regular shows, you’ll need to change your strings a bit more often.

Playing live often means we sweat more and our strings may damage quicker.

Expect to change your strings once a month, or after every other gig if you’re touring with a bigger band.

e6-easy-guitar-chord

If you’ve made the right decision and bought one of the higher-end types of guitar strings, you should see a longer life than you would in a cheaper set.

  • String life is not just made up by the strings themselves.
  • The environment we keep our guitars in also plays a large factor.

Is your guitar kept in a room-temperature area? Do you have a good case for it?

These are just a couple things that affect our guitar’s overall playability and life.

Make sure to take good care of your instruments and keep them stored in a healthy environment!

acoustic-strings

String Brand Recommendations

There are a variety of different string brands on the market, and that can make it difficult to know where to start looking.

We’ve outlined a few recommended brands for each of the three main types of guitar strings mentioned in this article.

Electric Guitar Strings

Acoustic Guitar Strings

Nylon and Classical Guitar Strings

Happy tone-hunting!

Classical-strings

Where do I go from here?

If you want to keep learning about the different types of guitar strings, we recommend:

  • If you play lighter music (jazz, country, indie rock) try flatwound guitar strings
  • If you want a challenge and find your guitar tone is ‘thin’, try a slightly heavier gauge string (consult your guitar tech first).
  • Try a baritone guitar! These guitars use much heavier strings.
  • Try a variety of different brands to find the sound you like best.
  • Watch Ryan Bruce talk about string gauges here.

Recommended Resources

If you enjoyed this article, make sure to check out some of our other free lessons below:

What Type of Guitarist Are You?

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Join over 100,000 other guitar learners and subscribe to our guitar-tips-by-email service. (It's free.)

We'll send you a series of lessons that will move you to the next level of your guitar journey.

Learn how everything fits together quickly, easily and effectively. We share ninja tips (for instant fun!) but also timeless fundamentals that will deepen your understanding.


Popular Lessons

How To Learn Guitar: An 11-Step Programme For Beginners

10 Easy Songs For Beginners

How To Strum A Guitar

How To Choose The Perfect Beginner Guitar

Guitar Notes Explained: A Guide For Beginners

How To Play Lead Guitar

3 Easy Ways To Play Bm

More Cool Guitar Stuff

Learn about the National Guitar Academy: About Us

Visit our YouTube channel for fun guitar videos.

Join us on Facebook for daily guitar tips.

Listen to our Learn Guitar Podcast for rapid guitar progress.

Check out our free chord lessons.

 

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One String Guitar Songs: 10 Easy Songs That Sound Great

One string guitar songs are great for developing finger dexterity, technique and repertoire. In this lesson we’ll show you 10 of our favourite one string guitar songs.

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In this free lesson you will learn:

  • 10 easy one string guitar songs.
  • 5 essential technique tips that will turbo-charge your playing.
  • The top-secret tip that will allow you to learn songs quickly and easily.

Looking For One String Guitar Songs?

One of the best ways to start learning guitar is to learn one string guitar songs.

  • Learning these songs will improve your dexterity, technique and most importantly will allow you to have LOADS of fun on the guitar.
  • Stringed instruments like the guitar are versatile because they can play chords as well as melodies. However, the focus in this guitar lesson is on melodies.

We’re going to teach you a whole load of easy riffs and tunes that will get your guitar journey off to a flying start.

Guitar Hack!

In this lesson, we’re going to be using tablature to teach all of the one string guitar songs.

Tablature, usually called tab, is simplified notation, with lines representing guitar strings and numbers representing frets.

If you don’t know how to read tab, take a look at this lesson: How To Read Guitar Tabs

One-string-guitar-songs

One String Guitar Songs #1 ‘Seven Nation Army’ by The White Stripes

The first song anyone thinks of when thinking of one string guitar songs is ‘Seven Nation Army’ by The White Stripes.

It has been appropriated by sports fans all over the world.

Very shortly, you will be playing that amazing bass intro to the song, which is really the structure of the whole song.

You only need one string and one finger to play this amazing song. Follow this tab to find all the notes.

One-string-guitar-songs

When learning this song, take your time with it. There are a lot of huge gaps between each note of the piece, take your time to fret the notes correctly and you’ll be rockin’ in no time!

Download our lead guitar cheat-sheet to make things easier

It can be disorientating for guitarists to understand which scales work with which keys.

With this in mind, we created a cheat-sheet; a key and scale-finder that you can use again and again.

One String Guitar Songs #2 ‘Running Down a Dream’ by Tom Petty

This classic intro riff for Tom Petty’s 1993 “Running Down a Dream” goes pretty quickly, but with a little practice, you can get it.

This riff happens in the intro and also throughout the song. Here is the tab.

One-string-guitar-songs

It’s significantly faster than “Seven Nation Army,” so don’t be discouraged if you can’t play it at the proper speed right away.

Begin slowly and once you are used to the notes and rhythm, gradually increase your practice tempo until you are at the same speed as the song.

One-string-guitar-songs

Pro-tip: Most of us begin picking one note guitar songs entirely with down strokes with our pick.

However, if you want to advance with your picking, it’s essential that you learn how to alternate pick.

To learn more about alternate picking, check out this lesson: Alternate Picking: The Ultimate Guide

One String Guitar Songs #3 ‘Sunshine of Your Love’ by Cream

When learning one string guitar songs, it would be rude not to include ‘Sunshine of your love’ by Cream.


This riff is perfect for beginners as it uses only one string and can be played with just one finger.

  • This epic riff is played on the D string and actually uses the ‘blues scale’.
  • Don’t worry too much about this for now, just enjoy this rocking riff from one of the greatest rock bands of all time.

If you’d like to learn the blues scale, go here: Blues Scale – 4 Things You Need To Know

Here is the tab.

One-string-guitar-songs

The timing off this riff can be tricky for most beginners, so be careful when attempting this for the first time. Here are a few tips and tricks you can use when learning this riff:

  • Play the riff slowly and make sure all your notes are correct.
  • Listen to the recording a lot for the tricky rhythm.
  • Slow the recording down and play along with it. Once you’re comfortable with playing it slowly, speed it up.

One-string-guitar-songs

One String Guitar Songs #4 ‘Smoke On the Water’ by Deep Purple

One of the first one string guitar songs everyone has been learning for the last 46 years is this simple and heavy rocker from Deep Purple.

Generation after generation of guitar players have learned this main intro riff and that’s why it’s made it onto our list of one string guitar songs.

The riff on the recording is played across two strings. However, to make this riff easier, you can just play it on the G string.

One-string-guitar-songs

If you want an extra challenge you can also play the riff on the G and D strings at the same time.

This is tricky, however, if you persevere you will be able to play one of the great one string guitar songs of all time.

One String Guitar Songs #5 ‘Thunderstruck’ by AC/DC

The next of your one string guitar songs is a bit more lengthy and challenging, but it is completely worth it to have learned this finger-melter by AC/DC.

There are two parts to the intro riff. We’re going to focus on the first one. Here is the tab.

One-string-guitar-songs

Angus Young, king of the rock riff, plays the intro to “Thunderstruck” without using a pick at all, but you can practice this riff with alternate picking, playing ‘down up down up’ on the string.

Keep your hand motion small to avoid hitting other strings.This is a major dexterity and timing challenge, and if you keep at it, it is guaranteed to make you a better guitarist.

One-string-guitar-songs

Pro-tip: Difficult riffs make great exercises! Go very slowly to coordinate your fretting hand and your picking hand.

One String Guitar Songs #6 ‘Mamma Mia’ by ABBA

So far, the one string guitar songs you’ve been exploring have been riffs, part of the song’s guitar part.

For ABBA’s “Mamma Mia,” you’ll be playing the melody of the chorus.

“Mamma Mia” was initially released as the opening track on ABBA’s self-titled album in 1975.

  • It became the title track of a jukebox musical featuring ABBA’s songs in 1999, which in turn became a hit musical film in 2008.
  • Ten years later, the sequel, ‘Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again’, was released in theatres in the US and the UK.

Clearly, the song has something going for it, so check out this tab:

songs-on-one-guitar-string

Top Tip! 

Learning one string guitar songs can show you how pitch rises and falls on the guitar. The closer to the sound hole, the higher the pitch, and the closer to the headstock, the lower the pitch.

One String Guitar Songs #7 ‘Perfect’ by Ed Sheeran

The next melody in your one string guitar songs collection is this beautiful ballad by Ed Sheeran.


You’ll be playing the lovely chorus from this song.

The recording is in the key of Ab, which is a terrible key for the guitar, so in order to play with the recording, you can put a capo on the first fret and play it on the G string.

What’s a capo? You’ll need one at some point when you’re ready to move beyond one string guitar songs. Check out this lesson to learn more about capos: How To Use A Capo In 3 Easy Steps

Here is the tab, so you can play this song on the G string.

easy-guitar-songs

What makes a melody fun to sing and play is simplicity. The main melody of the song is very similar to the one you’ve just learned. If you fancy a challenge, experiment with the melody you’ve just learned and see if you can work out the rest of the song.

simple-songs

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One String Guitar Songs #8 The Office (US) Theme

While the original version of “The Office” got “Handbags and Gladrags” as a theme song, when it was adapted for US television, a new theme song was written by former member of Spirit and “Thunder Island” composer Jay Ferguson.

This theme moves around on the G string quite a bit, making it one of your slightly more challenging one string guitar songs, but it is a nice catchy melody. Here is the tab.

easy-guitar-songs

Pro Tip!

When notes happen in quick succession, try to minimize your hand movement by using multiple fingers. This melody is a lot easier to play on the melodica, which is the instrument in the recording, but with plenty of slow repetition, you will be able to play this in no time.

simple-guitar-songs

One String Guitar Songs #9 ‘How Far I’ll Go’ by Auli’i Cravalho

This is just a great song. Written by Lin-Manuel Miranda, the man who brought you “Avenue Q” and “Hamilton,” this number from the movie ‘Moana’ fits nicely into your collection of one string guitar songs.

This melody goes on the high E string. Here is the tab.

easy-songs-on-one-guitar-string

The notes come a little quickly, so try to play the second and fourth frets with your first and third fingers. It will come with practice.

This is your chance to begin piling up one string guitar songs to amaze and delight all of your family members under 12 years of age.

If you are looking for a crowd-pleaser, this song definitely fits the bill!

easy-songs-on-one-guitar-string

One String Guitar Songs #10 ‘Game of Thrones Theme’ by Ramin Djawadi

And here’s a song from the opposite of a Disney movie, the TV show ‘Game of Thrones’.


The theme was composed by Ramin Djawadi, who also scored the movies and TV shows:

  • A Wrinkle in Time.
  • Clash of the Titans.
  • Warcraft.
  • Prison Break.
  • Westworld.

As one string guitar songs go, the melody in this song moves quickly along the fretboard. So, it’s important to take your time when playing this song.

Fun Theory Tip!

The main melody here is a minor key. This means that it expresses sadness. However, some people describe this melody as ‘beautiful’ and ‘melancholic’.

easy-guitar-songs-to-play

Some guitarists avoid fretting the guitar with the fourth finger, mostly because the pinky is an indolent and unenthusiastic member of the guitar fretting team.

But you should try involving your fourth finger in playing melodies wherever possible, like reaching for the highest fret in this melody.

It takes some time getting the fourth finger accustomed to doing any work, whether participating in a chord or playing a melody, but in the end, it’s better to have four functioning fingers instead of two or three.

easy-songs

Completed All One String Guitar Songs? Where Next?

Some of these one string guitar songs are significantly more lengthy or challenging than others, so be patient with yourself if you don’t get some of them right away.

There are always going to be songs you can pick up straight away and there will be others which may take a little longer.

However, if you enjoyed these songs and want to learn more, check out these lessons:

If you are interested in learning more about how melodies work, you will want to know about intervals and scales. You can start here to learn more about these cool concepts:

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