Don’t Learn Another Song Until You’ve Discovered This Beginner Guitar Secret
😔 Do you struggle to play along to songs with chord changes in them without stopping to think about where your fingers go?
😢 Are you avoiding learning songs with bar chords in them because they are way too hard?
😭 Do you ever feel like giving up and that becoming a great player is beyond your capability?
If you identify with any of the statements above or have heard that little voice inside your head telling you to quit, don’t worry, because it’s just a normal part of playing the guitar.
Often we feel discouraged when we can’t keep up with the recording or when we can’t even get certain chords ringing out.
After all, our favourite artists and guitarists make it look so easy and effortless.
But that’s because they have been doing it for so long!
The biggest source of your unhappiness as a guitar player will be comparing yourself to your favourite players and wondering why you can’t keep up.
But comparing yourself a couple of weeks to a couple of months into your guitar-playing journey to where your favourite guitarists are 5-10 years into their own journey isn’t a fair comparison.
It’s like expecting to play basketball as good as Michael Jordan did in his prime at a little league level…
It seems like a ridiculous comparison when we’re talking about sports, but from a guitar perspective, we do it all the time.
So instead of trying to learn chords that are too hard for us, we need to take a much simpler approach.
We need to identify the easiest ‘first step’ that will allow you to play along to songs from start to finish.
For whatever reason, this ‘first step’ is unknown to guitarists and guitar teachers around the world who continue to throw their students in the deep end by insisting they learn pieces note for note as they appear in the record.
In my new video “How To Play Along To Any Song (Even If You’re A Total Beginner) I will give you a system you can use to play along to any chord-based song at a basic level on Day 1 and then work towards playing it as it appears on the recording as you level up your skills, learn new chords and improve as a player.
Common Mistakes Most Beginner Guitarists Make
When you start learning how to play the guitar you really have no idea what is what.
You learn a bunch of chords from one place, a scale from another, a song here and there, but basically ample about without direction and make limited progress.
This is like going to the gym and just randomly trying out different pieces of equipment in the hopes of getting fit.
If you want to get fit in the gym you need a plan, you need to know what you’re doing and a routine that will help you shape up.
If you don’t know what you’re doing all you end up doing is wasting a lot of time.
In fact, you might even hurt yourself by using the equipment incorrectly.
If we apply this chain of thought to learning guitar we get a similar outcome.
It might not be as dangerous to try and teach yourself guitar, but you can still develop a lot of bad habits and go through a lot of mental frustration.
If you’re trying to learn how to play songs on your guitar and you keep coming across bar chords, you’re not going to be able to play them straight away.
In fact, it’s going to be like trying to pick up a weight that is too heavy for you.
You’re going to be frustrated that you can’t play the guitar chords and the more you try, the more frustrated you will get.
The problem is, you’ve been set up for failure from the beginning.
A Better Approach To Learning Guitar As A Beginner
If you try and play bar chords on your guitar as a beginner, that’s like going to the gym and trying to bench press 100KG.
If you try standard open chords then you’ve gone from 100kg down to 80kg, which is still too much for most beginner guitar players.
(Not to mention this will be virtually impossible for kids and children learning guitar who haven’t yet developed their fine motor skills…)
Instead what you need to do is start with the simplest, most achievable first step that you need to take as a beginner guitarist.
In the gym, this would involve doing the exercise with a broomstick to make sure you can do all the movements correctly with little risk to yourself.
On a guitar, the simplest first step is playing a bass line.
This is where all beginner guitarists should start!
The Easiest Way To Play Along To Songs On Guitar
The easiest thing you can do to play along to your favourite songs on guitar is to play the root notes on string 6.
This way you can play along to the song using only one finger to play one note on a single string.
It’s really quite easy and even a small child can manage this.
So if a song like Knocking On Heaven’s Door has the chords G, D, Am, Am, G D, C, C then all you need to know is the locations of the notes on string 6.
- G = fret 3
- D = fret 10
- A = fret 5
- C = fret 8.
So you can play along to the entire song by playing the frets 3, 10, 5, 5 then 3, 10 , 8, 8
How simple is that?
It’s amazingly easy!
And the best part is, you can use this to play along to any song on guitar, even if you’re a total beginner.
No more looking up ‘easy guitar songs’ and having to play through boring songs you don’t know or don’t like.
No more being frustrated when you can’t switch your guitar chords in time.
No more having to skip songs that use bar chords or are too fast for you.
You simply put on the track, play the root notes on string 6 and you can play along to the entire song start to finish using one note at a time!
You can see this in action at the video below:
Take Your Guitar Playing To The Next Level
Obviously, this is very simple and won’t sound exactly like the recording.
But that’s okay, we’re just using this as a guitar hack to allow you to play along to any of your favourite songs on guitar from the very beginning.
As you grow and develop better guitar-playing skills you’ll be able to switch between chords more smoothly, add more complex strumming patterns and eventually tackle bar chords.
So as your guitar playing levels up, you can come back to these songs and try to play the ‘next level’
An example of ‘next levels’ for your fretting hand would include:
- bass notes on string 6
- power chords
- movable three-string triads
- simplified open chords
- standard open chords
- bar chords
An example of the next levels for your strumming hand would include:
- picking a single note and letting it ring for four counts.
- picking one note every beat.
- applying a simplified picking pattern
- applying a simplified strumming pattern
- learning the actual strumming pattern.
You should start at the basic level with each of your hands and move to a new activity once you have the basics mastered.
Changing The Way You Think About Learning Guitar
Now you may be saying to yourself “But Michael, this doesn’t sound like the original recording”
You are 100% correct.
The point is that we are not trying to sound like the original recording and that instead, we are playing the most fundamental level of the song that we can.
Then, in a couple of months when we have improved our guitar-playing skills and we can change between chords without pausing, we will come back to these songs and play them with the new chords.
It is a completely different approach to learning how to play guitar
It is going to be revolutionary for beginner guitar players because it allows you to play along to ANY song from day 1 of your guitar playing.
But it will require you to challenge any beliefs you have about the ‘conventional’ way of learning to play guitar.
If you can let go of the idea that you need to use your standard chords and switch your perspective to “I will begin using standard chords when I am at the right level of my guitar-playing journey” then you can use this approach to learn and play along to dozens, if not hundreds of songs on the guitar without ever learning a chord!
Stop Playing Guitar Chords And Stop Being Frustrated
If you make a decision to stop playing your guitar chords and adopt this new approach then I guarantee you that you’ll stop being frustrated and will improve out of sight.
You can use this method to play along to any song from start to finish and you can usually do it in less than 5 minutes.
Are you going to make the decision to stop learning guitar in the (broken) conventional way and adopt a much better approach to learning guitar?
Or are you going to keep on doing the same old thing over and over expecting a different result?
(you know, the definition of madness…)
I hope you make the right choice!
The Best Beginner Guitar Lessons In Melbourne
If you’re struggling to learn how to play the guitar the old way, then I want to show you my new beginner guitar method in person.
If you adopt my approach to beginner guitar lessons you will be able to:
✅ Play an entire song from start to finish (if you’ve never done that before)
✅ Play along to your favourite songs (instead of having to look up ‘easy songs’ you don’t know or like)
✅ Build up a setlist of songs and have the time of your life jamming along to them
If you’re looking for the best beginner guitar lessons in Melbourne then I invite you to fill out the contact form on our home page so that we can organise a free introduction & evaluation session for you.
Once we have a better understanding of the kind of guitar player you wish to be, what problems you’re currently facing and what goals you are working towards we can create a custom guitar lesson plan to help you become a much better guitar player.
We’ll even get you playing along to one of your favourite songs straight away using our Level-Up Beginner Guitar Method.
Great guitar playing and quality guitar tuition is only one click away!
About The Author – Michael Gumley – The #1 Guitar Teacher In Melbourne
Michael Gumley is a professional guitarist, musical educator and entrepreneur from Melbourne, Australia.
He is the founder of Melbourne Guitar Academy, the author of the Guitar Ninjas Curriculum and the Head of Guitar at the music educator website Topmusic Pro. Michael’s goal is to raise the standard of musical education globally by empowering both teachers and students with better tools and resources to learn guitar so that they can avoid learning guitar the hard way as he did.
Melbourne Guitar Academy is Australia’s highest-rated guitar school with a 5-star average rating from over 100 Google Reviews. If you want to take your guitar playing to the next level and are looking for the best guitar lessons in Melbourne then look no further than taking lessons at Melbourne Guitar Academy.
Click Here to book a FREE guitar lesson with one of our professional guitar teachers.