Online Guitar Lessons From The National Guitar Academy

Online guitar lessons that actually make a difference to how you sound? Now you’re talking! You’ve come to the right place amigo, let’s get started.

What’s here on this page?

We’ve grouped everything together to make it as easy as possible for you. On this page you will find two things:

  1. Links to our 10 most popular online guitar lessons.
  2. Scroll down to find 4 essential online guitar lessons that will make you sound amazing.

Our 10 most-popular online guitar lessons

1) How To Play Lead Guitar – This is one of our best online guitar lessons, it’s perfect for people who want to get started learning lead guitar.

2) Guitar Notes Explained: A Guide For Beginners – This is one of the most useful online guitar lessons we offer. It helps you navigate the fretboard and understand the musical alphabet.

3) 10 Easy Songs On Guitar – This is perfect for beginners who want to play easy songs right NOW!

4) How To Strum A Guitar – Of all our online guitar lessons, this is the one that will boost your rhythm and musicality the most.

5) 10 Guitar Tips I Wish Someone Had Taught Me – Shortcuts and great advice. I wish I’d found online guitar lessons like this when I was learning! 🙂

6) How To Use A Capo – Capos are fantastic tools for beginners. If you’re looking for online guitar lessons that can help you sound drastically different immediately, this is a great place to start.

7) Guitar Tabs For Beginners: 20 Easy Songs That Sound Great – This is one of those online guitar lessons that you have to bookmark and return to again and again. Jack did a great job with this lesson. Check it out!

8) Learn Guitar Scales In 8 Easy Steps – This is a brilliant way to learn all the scales you need in a simple way. Simplicity!

9) What’s The Difference Between Sharps & Flats? – This is a simple lesson that explains an important issue. I refer my students to this lesson all the time. I wish all our online guitar lessons were as helpful as this!

10) How To Choose The Perfect Beginner Guitar – This is a brilliant guide for helping you find a perfect guitar to take on your guitar journey.

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4 Essential Online Guitar Lessons

Ok guys, you can use the above list as an ‘index’ to our best free lessons, now let’s jump in and learn 4 essential guitar lessons that will make you sound amazing. 🙂

online guitar lessons

In this free article you will learn:

  1. The secret to learning chords at lightning speed: Stepping-Stone Chords
  2. A pro technique for navigating around the fretboard quickly: Springboards
  3. Using the coolest & most versatile scale of all: The Minor Pentatonic Scale
  4. The 1 simple shape for rocking out & chilling out: Powerchords

Does that sound useful? Ok, let’s dive in!

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National Guitar Academy

Online guitar lessons are everywhere. YouTube teems with guitarists who will share their wisdom with you and they hope you will click on their ads.

But here’s the thing. Not all online guitar lessons are created the same.

There are tons of great guitarists offering online guitar lessons, but there aren’t many great guitar teachers offering online guitar lessons. (There is a huge difference between those two things as I’m sure you’ve already seen.)

I own two guitar teaching schools so trust me, this is something I have a lot of first hand experience with! 🙂

One of the problems with online guitar lessons…

One of the issues I have with online guitar lessons is they tend to teach lots of “tips and tricks” but few fundamentals, things that will actually improve you as a guitarist long-term.

So in this article we’re going to do something different to most online guitar lessons.

You’ll see 4 very different lessons that teach you powerful techniques that fundamentally change how you play and the benefit to you will be long-lasting and profound.

Let’s jump straight into lesson one.

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online guitar lessons

Stepping-stone chords (a lesson for beginners)

[If you’re not a beginner guitarist feel free to skip forward to the next lesson.]

Stepping-stone chords are a fundamental principle of our guitar teaching philosophy. (Our company motto is “Make Things Easy & Fun”.)

There is an easy version of every chord and I recommend that all beginner guitarists take the easy option and learn these easy chord versions.

(Most online guitar lessons spend ages teaching you complicated chord patterns; it’s simply not necessary.)

It’s not cheating to learn the easy versions. It’s common sense.

The ‘secret’ to learning guitar is to learn in a series of ascending steps and make each step as small as possible.

Stepping-stone chords make life easier for you

Every time you fret the easier chord versions you will develop and improve your dexterity and accuracy. This improved finger-control and strength will ultimately make it easier for you to ‘graduate’ to playing the standard chord versions

There are some chords that are simply too hard for beginner guitarists to play. (Chords like B Minor, F Major and C# minor.)

B Minor

online guitar lessons

If you don’t understand this chord diagram read this: How To Read Chordboxes

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  • Attempting the difficult standard versions of these chords leads to frustration, lack of progress and a feeling that you’re ‘not good enough’ or ‘not talented enough’.
  • Learning the easy versions leads to you making music and thinking ‘I can do this!”, while feeling a positive sense of progress and confidence.

Learning the guitar is all about momentum and you should do everything you can to reduce hurdles that block your path. Taking the stepping-stone approach is smart.

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.

Stepping-Stone chords video lesson

Watch this video to learn more about this fundamental principle:

Stepping-stone examples

Let’s take a moment to look at some specific stepping-stone chord examples.

This is a standard B minor chord.

online guitar lessons

This is a really cool-sounding chord, it crops up very early on in the guitar journey because it’s in the key of G (the most common key of all in guitar-based music).

Check out this acoustic track by Paul Weller called ‘Wild Wood’. This entire track is built around B minor.  Just listen to the mood…. So cool.

So B minor is a great chord, but it’s too hard for beginners to play. (Something most online guitar lessons brush over with barely a thought.)

So what do we do here?

We adopt a stepping-stone approach and use this easier version of B that’s called Bm11:

Bm11

online guitar lessons

As you can see this is a much simpler chord. It requires just two fingers to play and that makes it much more accessible for beginner guitarists who are searching the internet for easy online guitar lessons!

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Let’s a look at another stepping-stone example…

This chord is C major. It’s one of the most common guitar chords of all and it’s one of the first guitar chords that you need to learn.

online guitar lessons

For a beginner guitarist this chord is a nightmare. It requires three fingers spread across three different frets and makes it very difficult to play.

So we use a stepping-stone version, called “C Major Seven”.

Cmaj7

online guitar lessons

This guitar chord is much easier to play because it only requires two fingers, and they’re bunched together in an easy finger pattern.

Cmaj7 has an interesting jazzy sound. As cool as it sounds it has a different feel to a standard C major (and of course your ultimate aim should be to graduate to the standard version of C major).

Don’t think of the stepping-stone chords as “baby chords”. Advanced guitarists use these chords all the time. (Because they still sound good, no matter what your experience level is.)

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easy online guitar lessons

A pro technique for navigating around the fretboard quickly: Springboards

Now we’re going to talk about something that you rarely see in online guitar lessons – springboards. Using springboards is a brilliant way to navigate around the fretboard at high speed.

I used to think that as a guitarist I needed to memorise all of the notes on every string. I was wrong.

Really, as a beginner, you only need to memorise the notes of the sixth and fifth strings. Springboards will allow you to figure out the rest of the fretboard.

Springboards save you time and frustration

This is such a cool technique, and such a huge time saver. I can’t tell you how many hours of hard work and frustration learning this technique has saved me. And it will save you too!

The basic principle of springboards is that rather than committing notes to your memory, you use the guitar as a tool to work things out.

I love this approach because it so guitar-centric. It encourages you to think about music theory in a different way too, and this is beneficial for things that will come later in your guitar journey.

The springboard is a pattern, a shortcut if you will, that allows you to figure out any note on the fretboard.

Watch this lesson to learn more…

As you can see using springboards is a really cool and simple technique.

Of course you need to know the notes of the sixth and fifth strings to make this work. But I’m sure you’ll agree that’s better than having to learn all of the notes on all six strings!

  • 12 frets x 6 strings = 72
  • 12 frets x 2 strings = 24

Remember the notes of the musical alphabet go like this: A, A#, B, C, C#, D, D#, E, F, F#, G, G#, then we move into a higher octave and repeat the notes: A, A#, B, etc.

Every note has a sharp apart from B and E.

I teach my students to remember this, simply, as the word “BE”.

“To be or not to be! That is the question…”

So the basic principle for using springboards is very simple.

Let’s just be clear on string numbers:

online guitar lessons for beginners

How to work out the notes on the 3rd and 4th strings

If you want to work out any note on the third or fourth string you simply go down the neck 2 frets and down 2 strings. Those two notes will always be the same. They are the same note but they are an octave apart.

Try it. Can you hear how they harmonise perfectly?

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free online guitar lessons

How to work out the notes on the 2nd string

To work out any note on the second string is slightly different. For this string we have to go down the neck 3 frets and down 2 strings. These two notes will always be the same.

How to work out the notes on the 1st string

To work out notes on the first string is easy. This string is tuned to E, the same as the 6th string. This means that the notes on each fret of the first string will always be the same as their counterparts on the sixth string.

The notes of the 1st string are the same as the notes of the 6th string. (Albeit the 1st string notes are two octaves higher. They are the same notes but they have a higher pitch.)

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.

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