Comfortability and proper posture are extremely important to playing guitar. If you find your hand getting cramped or uncomfortable, you are applying poor technique that could potentially lead to permanent injury. To loosen things up, perform these stretches before you pick up the guitar.
Taught by Steve Eulberg in Basic Guitar with Steve Eulberg seriesLength: 8:12Difficulty: 0.5 of 5
Regardless of whether you are playing in a sitting position or standing up, the following posture guidelines should be followed at all times.B. Stretching Exercises
1. The feet should always be shoulder length apart. The strongest, sturdiest geometric shape is the triangle. The ancient Egyptians were highly aware of this concept and applied it to their architecture. The crotch area, legs, and feet should form an isosceles triangle. In order to accomplish this, the feet must be parallel to one another. Also, the legs must be spread slightly apart.
If the hands are primarily used to play the guitar, why is leg posture so important? The answer is quite simple. As Steve explains, tension in one muscle group can easily spread to another. I once watched an undergraduate recital that demonstrated this concept perfectly. The performing student was experiencing some lower back and upper leg pain as a result of falling off a high bunk bed. The pain in his legs caused him to sit unnaturally while playing. By the time he had reached the third piece on the program, his hands had completely locked to the point that he could no longer continue. The tension in other muscle groups, combined with high nervous energy caused the joints in his hands to become completely stiff. Unfortunately, he learned his lesson the hard way. If you pay close attention to the information in this lesson, you can avoid unpleasant experiences such as these.
2. ALWAYS PLAY WITH A STRAP ON YOUR GUITAR REGARDLESS OF WHETHER YOU ARE SITTING DOWN OR NOT! Most guitar-related injuries can easily be avoided if this time-tested rule is followed. The majority of guitarists have their guitar way too low. Many beginners see professionals such as James Hetfield or Jimmy Page playing with their guitars slung around their knees and emulate such a look. Although it may look cool, this frequently causes problems with the back and left hand. When the guitar hangs too low, the left hand is forced to arch outward more in order to accommodate certain left-hand fingerings. Also, with your guitar hung low, its weight is distributed more towards the smaller back muscles. This may not be a big deal if you are playing half hour sets with a Parker Fly. If you are playing three hours with a Les Paul however, this posture will make a noticeable difference.
Although it is a less common problem, hanging the guitar too high can also cause injury as well as less control over the instrument. One of my guitar teachers in college injured himself in this manner. This particular guitarist played a large Ibanez hollowbody for a number of years. His strap was adjusted to the appropriate height, but the guitar was simply too big for him. Consequently, he wound up with back problems that kept him from playing for a whole month.
In order to determine the perfect height for your guitar, sit with both arms hanging loosely towards the floor. Make sure you are sitting up straight and that your shoulders are relaxed. Now, slowly raise your left arm solely with the bicep muscle. At a certain point, your bicep will feel no tension while you continue to raise your arm. Adjust your strap so that the neck of the guitar meets your left hand in this spot. For most players, the guitar will no longer rest in the lap. Rather, it will rest against the chest and abdomen, hovering a few inches above the lap.
3. Relax the shoulders. Do not raise them as if you were shrugging. Tension in the shoulders spreads very rapidly to the forearms, wrists, and fingers. Play Recuerdos de la Alhambra or any tremolo piece with your right shoulder raised, and you will see what I mean.
4. If you feel any uncomfortable tension in any muscle group, immediately stop what you are doing and relax for a few minutes. Prolonged tension in the muscles frequently leads to injuries such as tendinitis. 5. Keep the thumbs relaxed. Do not squeeze the neck or pick. This kills your endurance.
Steve demonstrates several stretching exercises designed to free up tension in the fingers, wrists, and forearms. Make a habit of doing these exercises before you begin your regular warm up routine. As you watch Steve demonstrate each exercise, emulate him carefully. If you feel any pain or discomfort, you are stretching your muscles too far. Weightlifters frequently refer to the cliché phrase “no pain, no gain.” This saying is only true of large muscle groups. Playing the guitar involves much smaller muscle groups. If you experience pain in these small muscle groups, you have damaged them, not made them stronger.
Phase 1 Acoustic Lessons with Steve Eulberg is a great place to begin your journey as a guitarist. With over 30 years of playing experience, Steve appreciates the importance of beginning your guitar training the correct way - no bad habits! These lessons are not just for acoustic players. Electric guitarists will receive the same benefits from this lesson series.
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Three simple chords will literally enable you to play millions of songs. In this lesson, you will learn the primary chords for the key of G.Length: 40:00 Difficulty: 1.0 Members Only
Now that Steve has taught some chords, he will go over the proper methods of strumming and right hand technique.Length: 42:00 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
This lesson is all about the various aspects of chords.Length: 39:00 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Steve explains how basic triads are formed in this lesson. He also explains the relationship between scales and chords.Length: 40:12 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Steve Eulberg introduces you to the wonderful world of fingerpicking.Length: 51:00 Difficulty: 3.0 Members Only
Steve starts to weave the strings of the past lessons together.Length: 47:00 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
This episode delves further in the realm of chords, scales, keys and the relationships between them. You will also learn some new chords.Length: 34:25 Difficulty: 3.0 Members Only
This lesson covers power chords and barre chords. You will learn how these chords are formed and how to apply them.Length: 38:24 Difficulty: 3.0 Members Only
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This lesson gets you into the basics of playing melodies on the guitar. Playing melodies and solos is often referred to as "lead guitar."Length: 45:00 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Steve demonstrates some great stretches for the hands, wrists and upper arms.Length: 8:12 Difficulty: 0.5 Members Only
Steve discusses the difference between the steel string acoustic, classical, and 12 string guitars.Length: 12:00 Difficulty: 0.5 Members Only
This lesson is all about changing guitar strings. This process can be very frustrating, but it doesn't have to be. Learn some great tips from Steve.Length: 37:00 Difficulty: 0.5 Members Only
Steve Eulberg delves into the wonderful world of rhythm and time signatures.Length: 29:00 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Steve Eulberg introduces the Circle of Fifths. He demonstrates a song that features a Circle of Fifths progression.Length: 15:30 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
In this lesson Steve attempts to clear up some confusion with previous lessons. He will talk about reading tablature, note names, chord names and more.Length: 15:52 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Steve Eulberg does a quick review of this lesson series and talks about moving on.Length: 12:44 Difficulty: 2.0 FREE
Steve answers the popular question, "When should I move on to the next lesson?" by sharing his personal goals and some important advice.Length: 6:19 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
About Steve Eulberg
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An Award-winning multi-instrumentalist and singer-songwriter, Steve Eulberg weaves mountain and hammered dulcimers with a variety of unusual instruments to create thought-provoking, smile-inducing, toe-tapping acoustic experiences.
He has sung and composed for religious communities, union halls, picket lines, inter-faith retreats, mountain-top youth camps, as well as the more familiar venues: clubs, coffeehouses, bookstores, festivals, charity benefits and showcase concerts.
Born and raised in the German-heritage town of Pemberville, Ohio, Steve was exposed to a variety of music in his home. Early piano lessons were followed by trumpet in school band, and he became self-taught on ukelele and guitar and harmonica. Mandolin was added at Capital University where, while majoring in History, he studied Ear Training, Voice and took Arranging lessons from the Conservatory of Music.
While at college, he first heard hammered and mountain dulcimers, building his first mountain dulcimer just before his final year. Seminary training took him the west side of Denver where he built his first hammered dulcimer. With these instruments, he was able to give voice to the Scottish, English and Irish traditions to which he is also heir.
Following marriage in 1985 to Connie Winter-Eulberg he settled in Kansas City, Missouri. There he worked cross-culturally in a church of African-Americans, Latinos and European Americans, with music being a primary organizing tool. He moved with his family in 1997 to be nestled beside the Rocky Mountains in Fort Coillins, Colorado.
Founder of Owl Mountain Music, Inc. he teaches and performs extensively in Colorado and Wyoming with tours across the US and the UK. He delights in introducing the â€œsweet musicâ€ of dulcimers to people in diverse settings and in addition to his own recordings, has included dulcimers in a variety of session work for other musicians.
In 2000 he was commissioned to create a choral composition featuring dulcimers for the Rainbow Chorus in Fort Collins. It was recorded in the same year (BEGINNINGS). He is currently at work on a commissioned symphony that will feature hammered dulcimer and Australian didjeridu.
Eulberg passionately believes that music crosses cultural and language barriers because music builds community. Influenced by a variety of ethnic styles, his music weaves vital lyric with rap, rock, folk, gospel and blues. Audiences of all ages respond well to his presentation and to his warm sense of humor.
Steve is a member of Local 1000 (AFM), The Folk Alliance, BMI and BWAAG (Better World Artists and Activist's Guild).
Our acoustic guitar lessons are taught by qualified instructors with various backgrounds with the instrument.
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Take a minute to compare JamPlay to other traditional and new methods of learning guitar. Our estimates for "In-Person" lessons below are based on a weekly face-to-face lesson for $40 per hour.
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