Welcome to the Class!

This is the companion blog to my Free Guitar Class, a beginning guitar class for children, taught on a semi-ongoing basis at North Henry Baptist Church in Stockbridge, GA. You'll find what I hope is a clear and easy approach that will help anyone (even adults) learn basic guitar. If you need any help, please email me.

Start with the Contents on the left side of the page to get the lessons in proper order.


3:6 The Blues Scale

The Blues Scale, or Minor Pentatonic Scale is a fun and easy scale for playing along with blues or rock rhythms. Play this scale ascending, descending, mixing up pieces... any way that feels good to you. Once again, here's my backing track to jam along with.

Notice that in the key of G, it begins on the 3rd fret. Remember when I said to think of the 3rd fret as the "G" fret? Here's one reason why. So to play blues in the key of A, move the whole thing up two frets to start on the 5th fret (the A fret). For D, start it on the 10th fret... got it?

3:5 Twelve Bar Blues

Twelve Bar Blues is the most common, most recognizable, simplest and most fun way to get started making music. Based on the I-IV-V progression, the pattern goes like this:

Now to play it in the Key of G, let's substitute the I, IV and V chords:

Now you play it along with my cheesy midi backing track!

3:4 Our First Song, Complete

For "Holy Is The Lord", play through the chorus, then repeat. After the second chorus, we have a bridge section. Now you know all the parts to the song.

(click the music to enlarge)

3:3 The Circle of 4ths & 5ths

If counting up and down frets is not your cup of tea, and you want to find the 4th, 5th and relative minors quickly, use this handy dandy chart.

Major chords are outside the circle in bold letters. Find the major chord for the 1 (the key in which you are playing) Move counter-clockwise one position to get the 4th, or clockwise for the 5th.

Minor chords are inside the circle. For each major chord, the relative minor is just inside the circle, connected by a line.

Cool, huh?

3:2 Common Chord Progressions

(note - in this lesson, I may interchange numerals and Roman numerals, depending on the flow of the sentence.)

As previously stated, a chord progression is a series of chords, played in a sequence that produces a song, or part of a song. We've already looked at the I-IV-V progression. This progression appears over and over in popular music. You just can't get away from it.

How can you find the 1, 4 and 5 chords for a given key? Well the 1 is always the key you're playing in. But how do you find the others? Well, find the note with the same name as the 1 chord. Since we're used to taking the key of G for examples, let's use it. So find the G note on the top string - at the 3rd fret.

To find the 4, count up the string 5 frets. This gives us a C. The C chord is the 4th for the key of G.

To find the 5, count up two more frets. You get a D at the 10th fret. The D chord is the 5th for the key of G.

So now we have the three main chords for the key. But most songs will use more than three chords. Our first song "Holy Is The Lord" uses six. How do we find other chords that are part of the key, chords that are likely to appear in a song in that key?

Relative Minor
Very often, songs will contain chords that relate to our I-IV-V chords, called their "relative minor" chords. To find the relative minor to a given major chord, just find the note of the major chord and count down the neck three frets. What's the relative minor for the G major chord? Counting down three frets tells us it's an E Minor (Em). In the same way we can determine that C has a relative minor of Am, and D has a relative minor of Bm.

So now we know that in the key of G, we very well may find the following chords: G, C, D, Em, Am, Bm... any others? Quite often, you will also find the major chord two frets below the 1 chord, in this case, an F Major.

One of the beautiful things about music and songwriting is that it flows in all sorts of directions, or moods, or colors, or whatever you want to call them, and the possibilities are endless. Given the above information, you can explore music and amaze yourself with what comes out of your guitar.

3:1 Final Three Chords F-Am-Bm

With these three chords added to the six you have already learned, you will be able to play thousands of songs. The A Minor is no more difficult than the others we've learned. You may need to practice the F and B Minor a bit, but don't let that stop you. Knowing them will open up a great deal more songs for you.

2:7 Our First Song, pt 2

Let's continue learning our first song, "Holy Is The Lord" by Chris Tomlin. This time we'll add two more chords and play all the way through the chorus.