Holding and Playing Guitar (Guitar Lesson)


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Steve Eulberg

Holding and Playing Guitar

Steve explains how to properly hold your guitar. He also explains how the strings are named.

Taught by Steve Eulberg in Kids and Guitar seriesLength: 8:54Difficulty: 1.0 of 5
Chapter 1: (08:56) Finger Numbering, Holding the Guitar and String Names Finger Numbering

A. Left Hand


If you have taken any piano lessons, you know that the thumb is labeled as finger one. However, when playing the guitar, the left-hand thumb is almost never used to fret a string. Consequently, when playing the guitar, the index finger is labeled as finger 1 in musical notation. The middle finger is finger is then labeled as finger 2. The ring finger is labeled as finger 3, and the pinkie is labeled as finger 4.

On the rare occasions that the thumb must be used to fret a note, it is labeled with a "T" in musical notation. Otherwise, when not being used, the thumb should rest perpendicular to the back of the neck. Do not bring the thumb up over the top of the neck!

B. Right Hand

The guitar strings are typically plucked with a pick held by the right hand. However, many pieces of music require that you use the fingers on the right hand to pluck the strings. In these cases, the proper right hand fingering is often indicated in notation. Occasionally, the right hand numbers are labeled with the same numbers that are designated to each of the left hand fingers. However, the right hand fingers are usually indicated with Latin abbreviations for each of the finger names. Typically, the right hand fingers are abbreviated as follows:

Thumb: P
Index Finger: I
Middle Finger: M
Ring Finger: A
Pinky Finger: C

Holding the Guitar

Follow these guidelines to hold the guitar properly:

1. ALWAYS wear a strap. There are two strap buttons on almost every guitar. Classical guitars do not have any. You must use a footstool when playing classical guitar. Many players that find the footstool is uncomfortable and prefer to buy a device fitted with suction cups that prop the guitar up at a the desired angle. Guitars with only one strap button require that you tie the other end of the strap to the headstock. You must have a strap with shoelaces attached to it in order for this to work. This allows the strap to hold the weight of the guitar rather than your hands. This frees your hands to focus on playing. Adjust your guitar like Steve’s so that the body of the guitar is resting against the abdomen. The angle of the neck should create a forty five degree angle with the floor.

2. NEVER cross your legs. This cuts off circulation and will quickly cause discomfort.

3. Get a chair suitable that is suitable for guitar playing. Chairs with arms do not work. Couches are typically way too low. Make sure that the chair that you choose is very comfortable. Comfort and relaxation are the keys to good technique.

String Names

Beginning with the fattest, lowest string and working up to the skinniest string, the open strings produce the following pitches: E, A, D, G, B, and E. Like Steve mentions, you find it useful to come up with a catchy saying to help you remember the pitch of each strings. For example, remember this saying: "elephants are dangerous, gray beasts." Then, all you have to remember is that the highest string is tuned to the same pitch as the lowest string.

When the guitar strings are tuned to these pitches, the guitar is said to be tuned to "standard tuning" or "Spanish tuning." Alternate tunings that deviate from these pitches have become more and more popular over the years. Some common alternate tunings that you might run into are "dropped D tuning" and "open G tuning."

Often, the strings are labeled with numbers instead of the pitch that they produce. From lowest to highest, the strings are labeled as follows: 6th, 5th, 4th, 3rd, 2nd, 1st.

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Member Comments about this Lesson

Discussions with our instructors are just one of the many benefits of becoming a member of JamPlay.


wiserwiser replied on June 10th, 2017

How about: Every Average Dude Gets Better Eventually

wiserwiser replied on June 10th, 2017

hey Steve!! I'm Carver. I'm 9 years old. Looking forward to learn with you!!!!!!!

aamitchell03aamitchell03 replied on July 19th, 2016

Eddie Ate Dynamite Good Bye Eddie

MizzClareMizzClare replied on January 7th, 2016

I did "Every Apple Does Good Being Eaten"

MizzClareMizzClare replied on January 7th, 2016

I did "Every Apple Does Good Being Eaten"

ashley62205ashley62205 replied on October 10th, 2015

better than the guitar teacher at my school

jesswake6jesswake6 replied on January 28th, 2015

how to remember the strings: Eulberg Aced Dynamic Guitar Beats Everytime !!! Mr. Eulberg maybe you can remember that one! :)

salukis97salukis97 replied on February 5th, 2014

hi this is my first time leaning guitar and i was wandering how do you play so good and the other thing i wanted to say is i remember the stings by Eddie Ate Dynamite Good Bye Eddie

ashmad1421ashmad1421 replied on December 30th, 2013

WIERDOS

ashley30ashley30 replied on January 2nd, 2014

I came up with every boy gets dessert after eggs.

ashmad1421ashmad1421 replied on December 30th, 2013

Elephant And Donkeys Grow Big Ears!!!!!

1nimrod1nimrod replied on July 30th, 2013

Even After Doing Good Be Enthusiastic!

baily99baily99 replied on October 15th, 2012

Eddie Ate Dynamite Good Bye Eddie is what we used

jmcgarry21jmcgarry21 replied on August 13th, 2012

Every Alto Digs Good Blues Etiquette :p

istetzistetz replied on January 12th, 2012

Eat all day, get big easy :)

krodderskrodders replied on June 9th, 2013

Even After Dinner Greedy Boys Eat

madinamadina replied on December 21st, 2011

The Easiest way for me to remember the strings is Every Attack Dog Growls Bites & Eats

tattortottaytattortottay replied on August 25th, 2011

The one that helps me remember is Every Awesome Day Guitar Becomes Easier!

deveneydeveney replied on April 1st, 2011

My son, who is 13 and REALLY wants to learn how to play made up his own little thing to remember the names, EVERY American Diva Goes Bad Everytime Dont' know if that will help anyone but thought i would share his teenage perspective.

roberttraversesqroberttraversesq replied on July 17th, 2011

thanks

eberleeberle replied on March 10th, 2011

Elephants Are Dangerous Grey Beasts Everywhere

tomjantomjan replied on January 12th, 2011

Eddie ate dynamite, good bye Eddie

seiser01seiser01 replied on August 8th, 2010

East Afrika dogged giant bad elephanta

bella01bella01 replied on February 14th, 2010

thankz

madock_kmadock_k replied on February 11th, 2010

you are by far the best instructor... now... by far the best teacher I ever had! I want to learn to play the electric guitar, and I started with marck brennan... wich is also very good. But watching him and you is realy helpfull. THX alot!

wishbonewishbone replied on December 29th, 2009

Ellen And Dave Go Bowling Everyday

steveeulbergsteveeulberg replied on December 10th, 2009

both excellent suggestions for remembering the string names!

jacques6068jacques6068 replied on September 15th, 2009

How about: Eddie Ate Dynamite Good Bye Eddie

samplatsamplat replied on July 28th, 2009

Every Ant Does Good Building Elevators

Kids and Guitar

Found in our Beginner Lesson Sets

Playing the guitar can be a fun, educational, and productive activity for children of all ages. Introduce your child to the wonderful world of music with this lesson series.



Lesson 1

Introduction to Guitar

In this lesson, the first in the Kids and Guitar series, Steve Eulberg introduces the guitar and its many wonders.

Length: 7:23 Difficulty: 0.5 Members Only
Lesson 2

Parts of the Guitar

Steve Eulberg talks about the parts of the guitar and how they function. You also get to see some of his wonderful artwork.

Length: 7:30 Difficulty: 0.0 Members Only
Lesson 3

Holding and Playing Guitar

Steve explains how to properly hold your guitar. He also explains how the strings are named.

Length: 8:54 Difficulty: 1.0 Members Only
Lesson 4

Playing Guitar

Steve prepares you to play your first notes in this lesson. Get ready for some fun!

Length: 13:12 Difficulty: 1.0 Members Only
Lesson 5

Finger Placement and More

Steve explains finger placement and proper playing technique. He also teaches a fun new song.

Length: 14:12 Difficulty: 1.0 Members Only
Lesson 6

Tuning the Guitar

Learning how to properly tune the guitar is an absolutely essential skill. In this lesson, Steve walks you through the tuning process.

Length: 8:30 Difficulty: 1.0 Members Only
Lesson 7

Hand Exercise

In this lesson, Steve Eulberg provides a new exercise that will challenge your mind and hands.

Length: 8:07 Difficulty: 1.0 FREE
Lesson 8

Chords and a Song

Steve introduces some basic chords. Then, he teaches the classic song "Hot Cross Buns."

Length: 14:48 Difficulty: 1.0 Members Only
Lesson 9

The Right Hand

Steve explains proper picking hand technique.

Length: 9:34 Difficulty: 1.0 Members Only
Lesson 10

Mary Had a Little Lamb

Steve Eulberg covers the classic children's song "Mary Had a Little Lamb."

Length: 6:37 Difficulty: 1.0 Members Only
Lesson 11

Aunt Rhody

Steve teaches an easy children's song called "Aunt Rhody." We've all heard the song. Now it's time to play it!

Length: 10:59 Difficulty: 1.0 Members Only
Lesson 12

Paw Paw Patch

Steve teaches a classic song called "Paw Paw Patch" in this lesson.

Length: 10:50 Difficulty: 1.0 Members Only
Lesson 13

The Wheels on the Bus

Steve Eulberg teaches the popular kids song "The Wheels on the Bus."

Length: 5:54 Difficulty: 1.5 Members Only
Lesson 14

The Wheels on the Bus Part Two

In this lesson, Steve Eulberg teaches the song "The Wheels on the Bus" in a different key.

Length: 14:11 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Lesson 15

Old MacDonald Had a Farm

Steve teaches the popular kids song "Old MacDonald Had a Farm" in this lesson.

Length: 11:03 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Lesson 16

Ode to Joy

Steve teaches "Ode to Joy," a catchy and highly recognizable tune.

Length: 20:52 Difficulty: 3.0 Members Only
Lesson 17

Scale Finger Practice

Steve demonstrates techniques to accomplish the ability to move your fingers independently.

Length: 6:54 Difficulty: 1.0 Members Only
Lesson 18

E Minor Chord

Steve teaches the E minor chord. This chord was first introduced in the song "Ode to Joy" and serves as an introduction to the remaining minor chords that will be taught in this series.

Length: 5:54 Difficulty: 0.5 Members Only
Lesson 19

A Minor Chord

Steve introduces the A minor chord. You have an opportunity to compare and contrast the difference in sound between major and minor chords in this lesson.

Length: 9:16 Difficulty: 0.5 Members Only
Lesson 20

Picking Technique

Steve breaks away from left hand positions to focus on picking hand technique.

Length: 6:44 Difficulty: 0.5 Members Only
Lesson 21

B Minor Chord

Steve adds yet another chord for your fingers to enjoy. In this lesson, he teaches the B minor chord. Steve teaches the proper fingering for this chord and incorporates it into a few chord progression...

Length: 10:54 Difficulty: 0.5 Members Only
Lesson 22

4 Fret Exercise

Give your fretting hand a workout with this 4 fret exercise!

Length: 9:24 Difficulty: 1.0 Members Only
Lesson 23

12 Fret Movement Exercise

Steve Eulberg explains an exercise that will develop your ability to perform position shifts.

Length: 11:11 Difficulty: 1.5 Members Only
Lesson 24

"Monkey Around" Fret Exercise

Steve shows how to "monkey around" with a fret hand exercise designed to develop creativity and proper technique.

Length: 4:45 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Lesson 25

D Minor Chord

Steve demonstrates the D minor chord.

Length: 3:42 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Lesson 26

Joshua Fit the Battle of Jericho

Steve uses the new D minor chord from Lesson 25 in the classic song "Joshua Fit the Battle of Jericho."

Length: 9:36 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Lesson 27

Smooth Chord Transition (The Pivot Finger)

Steve demonstrates some techniques that help transition smoothly between chords.

Length: 9:35 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Lesson 28

What and When Hands

This fantastic lesson explains that the strum hand determines when we hear the sound, and the "what" hand creates what we hear.

Length: 8:15 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Lesson 29

5th Fret Magic

Steve breaks explains how notes are laid out in first position and how the 5th fret is used to shorten up the work needed to play full scales.

Length: 8:40 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Lesson 30

House of Chords - The Room of G

Welcome to the first installment of a series that details how various chords are formed! Get started by learning some "G" chords.

Length: 4:50 Difficulty: 1.5 Members Only
Lesson 31

House of Chords - The Room of C

Steve moves from room to room in the house of chords. This lesson features the room of C.

Length: 5:01 Difficulty: 1.5 Members Only
Lesson 32

House of Chords - The Room of A

Steve continues through the House of Chords. In this lesson, he has found himself in the room of A.

Length: 14:18 Difficulty: 1.5 Members Only
Lesson 33

House of Chords - The Room of E

Steve welcomes you to the room of E as he continues to take you on a tour of the House of Chords.

Length: 5:01 Difficulty: 1.5 Members Only
Lesson 34

House of Chords - The Room of D

Steve finally completes his tour of the House of Chords with the room of D.

Length: 3:39 Difficulty: 1.5 Members Only
Lesson 35

Advanced Strumming Pt. 1

It's time to introduce a new strumming technique commonly referred to as the "boom-chuck." This lesson will help develop more advanced picking hand skill.

Length: 6:04 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Lesson 36

Advanced Strumming Pt. 2

Steve continues with part 2 of his advanced strumming techniques.

Length: 4:16 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Lesson 37

Advanced Strumming Pt. 3

Diving more in depth and getting a better grasp on the alternate "boom chuck" style of picking, Steve continues with part 3 of his advanced strumming techniques.

Length: 2:44 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Lesson 38

Advanced Strumming Pt. 4

Steve introduces full chord strumming techniques in part 4 of his advanced strumming lessons.

Length: 3:50 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Lesson 39

Advanced Strumming Pt. 5

Steve demonstrates how to "alternate the boom" to a different string in this Advanced Strumming Pt. 5 Lesson.

Length: 3:24 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Lesson 40

Advanced Strumming Pt. 6

Welcome to part 6 in a series of advanced strumming techniques. This lesson demonstrates how to "alternate the boom" on two different strings.

Length: 4:15 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Lesson 41

Advanced Strumming Pt. 7

Steve Breaks down what the D chord looks like when applying the "boom chuck" strum technique.

Length: 2:33 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Lesson 42

Advanced Strumming Pt. 8

Steve finishes off his strumming sessions by demonstrating additional alternating bass patterns within the context of the "boom chuck" strum pattern.

Length: 6:00 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only

About Steve Eulberg View Full Biography 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 “sweet music” 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).

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