Electric Guitar Lessons: How To Sound Like A Rockstar

Looking for electric guitar lessons? You’re in the right place. This article will show you everything you need to know about electric guitar.

electric guitar lessons

In this free electric guitar lesson you will learn:

  • 3 epic (& iconic) guitar riffs which will make you sound like a rockstar.
  • 4 power chords which will make you sound amazing.
  • 3 awesome licks and tricks instantly improve musicality.
  • 4 must-know guitar scales.

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The electric guitar has formed some of the most iconic sounds in popular music over the last 50 years. Nothing beats playing huge riffs or rippin’ up a killer guitar solo!

In today’s lesson we’re going show you 4 electric guitar lessons which will make you sound like a rock star. Hold tight, you’re in for an awesome ride.

Lesson 1) Learn Power Chords

The main electric guitar chords you should learn are, ‘power chords’. Power chords are perfect for creating a tighty chuggy sound on an electric.

electric guitar lessons

Aren’t all guitar chords the same?

It’s true, you can play electric chords on an acoustic, and acoustic chords on electric.

However, one of the most important electric lessons you can learn is that:

Some chords sound better on acoustic than electric and vice verca.

When you play open chords on a distorted sound, they can sound messy. If you play power chords on acoustic, they sound dull.

As a general rule:

  • Play power chords on an electric.
  • Open chords on an acoustic.

Download a free beginner chord guide and learn easy versions of every chord

 Say goodbye to frustration and twisted fingers. Say hello to MAKING MUSIC.

  Learn beginner-friendly versions of every chord.

  This is one of our most popular guides and will improve your chord ability quickly. Click here to download the guide.

 

What are power chords?

Power chords are smaller voicings of standard chords. They use less notes than standard open chords.

Here’s a standard G major chord.

electric guitar lessons

To learn this chord, go here: 4 Easy Ways To Play The G Chord On Guitar

Here’s what it sounds like:

Here’s a G power chord:

electric guitar lessons Here’s what it sounds like:

Can you see the difference between the two?

The G power chord has LESS notes than the G chord.

Can you hear the difference between the two?

The G power chord has more of a powerful, dark sound and is more suited to styles like rock, punk, grunge and metal.

Where as the standard G chord, is a little brighter and is more suited to acoustic genres like folk and country.

electric guitar lessons

How do I learn power chords?

To play a power chord you only need to use two fingers. Your 1st finger and your 3rd finger.

electric guitar lessons

(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!)

.

  • Place your 1st finger on the 3rd fret of the low E string. (6th string.)
  • Place your 3rd finger on the 5th fret of the A string. (5th string.)
  • Strum the E (6th string) and A (5th string) together.

It should sound like this:

If you’re struggling to reach over with your third finger you can use the fourth finger instead.

The hardest part about playing chords is muting the strings. To learn how to do this, watch this video:

Moveable Power Chord Shapes

Power chords are moveable shapes, this means that you can use the EXACT same shape all over the fret board.

To do this, you just have to change the starting note of a chord. This is also known as a ‘root note’.

To learn more about root notes, go here:What Is The Root Note Of A Chord?

As the root note for this chord, is on the low E string. (6th string.) We must learn what the root notes are on this string. Here they are:

electric guitar lessons This means if you want to play a ‘A power chord’ you must move this shape up to the 5th fret.

Try this as a cool bonus challenge:

Move your power chord to the following frets.

  • 3rd fret. (G note.)
  • 5th fret. (A note.)
  • 7th fret. (B note.)

If you find it hard to remember the note name for each fret, just remember ‘GAB’.

Learn more about guitar notes here: Guitar Notes Explained: A Guide For Beginners

How do I practice power chords?

The easiest way to practice power chords is to use them in a musical situation.

Let’s say the chord progression is:

G Major | C Major | D Major |

Here are the chords that you would normally play:

G Major

electric guitar lessons

To learn this chord, go here: 4 Easy Ways To Play The G Chord On Guitar

C Major

electric guitar lessons

Learn this chord here: Easy Ways To Play The C Guitar Chord

D Major

electric guitar lessons

Learn this chord here: 3 Easy Ways to Play the D Chord on Guitar

When playing the electric guitar, it’s far more appropriate to use power chords.

So instead of playing:

  • G major, C major and D major.

Now we play:

  • G5, C5 and D5.

Let’s learn this chord.

G5

To play a G5:

  • Place your power chord shape on the 3rd fret of the low E string (6th string.)

electric guitar lessons

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C5

To play a C5:

  • Place your power chord shape on the 8th fret.

electric guitar lessons

D5

To play a D5:

  • Place your power chord on the 10th fret.

electric guitar lessons Now we’ve learned how to play chords, let’s learn to play some epic riffs.

Lesson 2) Learn To Play Epic Guitar Riffs

One of the best things about having electric guitar lessons, is learning huge sounding guitar riffs.

We’re going to show you 3 of our favourites.

Epic Riff #1 ‘Sunshine of your love’ by Cream

This riff is fantastic to learn. Make sure you crank up the gain on your amp when you learn this one.

Here’s the tab:

Sunshine of your love

Watch this video to learn how to play this riff:

Pro Tip!

An acoustic is being used in this video, but you can play this on your electric guitar.Just make sure you get an awesome crunch sound on your amp.

Here are some suggested settings:

Dirty

Rock music is full of awesome rock intros, find out what 20 of the best ones are in this article by Guitar World: The 20 Best Rock Guitar Intros Of All Time

Epic riff #2 ‘Beat It’ by Michael Jackson

Even though Michael Jackson was famous for writing pop tunes, he was secretly a massive rock fan.

This is shown in his song ‘Beat It’. The riff in this song is killer.

Here’s the tab:

electric guitar lessons Watch this video to learn this riff:


Epic riff #3 ‘Seven Nation Army’ by The White Stripes

This electric guitar riff put The White Stripes on the map. It sounds huge!

There’s no greater feeling than putting your amp on full blast, and rippin’ out this riff to the high heavens.

Here’s the tab:

electric gutiar lessons Watch this video to learn this guitar riff:

If you want to learn more epic guitar riffs, go here: Guitar Tabs For Beginners: 20 Easy Songs That Sound Great

electric guitar lessons

Lesson 3) Learn Electric Guitar Scales

Guitar scales are essential for any electric guitarist to know, they form the basis of solos and riffs and enhance our musicality.

What’s a scale?

A scale is a group of musical notes which work well together.

There are loads of scales in music. However, the 4 main scales you must-know are:

  • The major pentatonic scale.
  • The minor pentatonic scale.
  • The major scale.
  • The minor scale.

Major and Minor Pentatonic Scales

It’s important to know the full major and minor scales, but first things first, we want to get to grips with some pentatonic scales.

The two main pentatonic scales are:

  • The major pentatonic.
  • The minor pentatonic.

Let’s learn them.

The Minor Pentatonic Scale

This scale has a great bluesy sound to it and can be used in a variety of genres.

Here’s the chord box:

electric guitar lessons

If you only ever learn one scale, make sure it’s the minor pentatonic scale. This scale is SO useful.

How do I play this scale?

Just like power chords, you can move this scale shape ALL over the fret board. All you have to do is change the root note.

For example, let’s say you wanted to play a A minor pentatonic scale, you would start this scale pattern on the:

  • 5th Fret.

Or, let’s say you wanted to play this scale in the key of B. You would start this scale pattern on the:

  • 7th fret. This would become a B minor pentatonic.

By moving your root note, you’re changing the key of the scale.

To learn more guitar scales, go here:Learn Guitar Scales In 8 Easy Steps

As a challenge, try and play this scale on the following frets:

  • 3rd fret. (G note.)
  • 5th fret. (A note.)
  • 8th fret. (C note.)
  • 10th fret. (D note.)
  • 12th fret (E note.)

The Major Pentatonic Scale

Whereas the minor pentatonic has a darker sound, the major pentatonic has a bright, happy sound. You must-know this scale if you want to become a versatile guitarist.

electric guitar lessons

As this is a moveable shape, you can play this scale anywhere on the fret board. However, it must start on the low E string.

The main keys you should play this scale in are:

  • G. (To play a G major pentatonic start it on the 3rd fret.)
  • A. (To play a A major pentatonic start it on the 5th fret.)
  • C. (To play a C major pentatonic start it on the 8th fret.)
  • D. (To play a D major pentatonic start it on the 10th fret.)
  • E. (To play a E major pentatonic start it on the 12th fret.)

Once you’ve mastered these keys, try and move this pattern to a different fret on the low E string. (6th string.)

Here are the root notes for the E string. (6th string.)

electric guitar lessons

Remember, to play this scale in a different key, you MUST change the starting note. For example, to play this scale in the key of ‘B’. Start it on the 7th fret.

Once you’re happy with both pentatonic patterns, it’s time to move onto the major and minor scale.

Major Scale

electric guitar lessons

Can you see how the full major scale uses more notes than the major pentatonic?

The major pentatonic and the major scale often get treated as two entirely different scales, however, they’re not.

Both scales use the exact same notes, however the pentatonic uses less. Think of a major pentatonic as the smaller brother of the major scale.

The Minor Scale

electric guitar lessons

The minor scale is a larger version of the minor pentatonic scale. Like the minor pentatonic, the full minor scale is ideal for dark and moody music.

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. Click here to download your copy.

When Can I Use These Scales?

Scales are essential as they help you to create solos and melodies. However, you must know WHEN you can use them.

Here are a few tips which will help you:

  • If something is in a major key. Use a major scale or major pentatonic.
  • If something is in a minor key, use a minor pentatonic or minor scale.

electric guitar lessons

Lesson 4) Learn To Play Awesome Guitar Licks

Guitar licks form the foundation of guitar solos. Without guitar licks, guitar solos would be incomplete.

What’s A Guitar Lick?

A guitar lick is a fragment of a scale which can be used in a solo or guitar riff. In this lesson, we’re going to learn 3 essential rock licks. Let’s get stuck in.

Lick #1 The Fast One

This lick is FAST. So make sure that you practice this one slowly.

You could use this killer guitar lick over:

  • Anything in the key of A minor.
  • A blues in the key of A.

Here’s the tab:

electric guitar lessons

To play this lick correctly, you must know how to alternate pick. To learn how to do this, watch this video:

Lick #2 The Bendy One

This lick contains a few essential bends, so make sure you take your time getting those bends right. Angus young from AC/DC has been known to sneak this lick into his solos.

Here’s the tab:

 

lick-2

This lick based arond the A minor pentatonic and can be used over anything in the:

  • Key of A minor.

Or:

  • Over an A blues.

You must know to bend if you want to learn this lick, watch this video to learn how:

Lick #3 The Smooth One

This lick is based around the A major pentatonic scale and uses hammer on’s and pull off’s.

To learn hammer on’s and pull offs, check out this video:

Here’s the tab:

lick-3

You can use this lick over:

  • Anything in the key of A major.
  • Anything in the key of F# minor.
  • An A blues.

How do I practice guitar licks?

The best way to practice guitar licks over a backing track. Here’s a backing track in the key of A to practice all of these licks over.

Find Out What You Should Learn Next With Our Guitar Map

If you want to understand where you’re up to in your guitar journey you should take a look at our Guitar Map. It will show you what you ‘should’ know by now (and also what you need to learn next to move forward as a guitarist).

Most people find that the Guitar Map shows them how everything fits together and best of all, it will help you identify gaps in your knowledge that are holding you back.

(There is often just one piece of information that holds people back, 1 key insight that they need to know so they can continue moving forward and improving in their guitar journey.)

We made the Guitar Map so people like you can quickly identify what you don’t know, that you need to know next. We hope that makes sense!?

NOTE: The Guitar Map is now included in our free special report: 'The 7 Steps To Guitar Mastery'.

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

Join over 30,000 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.

NGAEM

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