Knowing Your Guitar (Guitar Lesson)

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David Wallimann

Knowing Your Guitar

David introduces you to all the parts of your new instrument in this lesson.

Taught by David Wallimann in Basic Electric Guitar with David Wallimann seriesLength: 11:18Difficulty: 0.5 of 5

Parts of the Guitar


The long, thin part of the guitar is called the neck. This is where you will play notes with your left hand.


The fretboard is placed on top of the neck. It is the part that the fingers of your left hand touch to make notes. The metal bars all along the fretboard are called frets.


The large part at the base of the guitar is called the body. In acoustic guitars there is a hole in the body where the sound comes out of, but that isn’t necessary in an electric guitar. Instead, electric guitars have pickups. You will also find the pickup selector switch and volume/tone knobs on the body.


Pickups are located on the body of the guitar underneath the strings. They generate an electrical signal from the vibration of the strings that is sent to an amplifier, which in turn produces sound. Humbuckers, or double coil pickups, produce a bigger sound with more body than single coil pickups. The switch that can be found on the side of the body lets you select which pickup you are using.


Most guitars have 2 knobs located on the body. One knob is used to adjust the volume of the guitar. Changing the volume knob will give your guitar a different sound as well. This is a result of the overall gain level being reduced as the volume knob is rolled down. The tone knob controls the amount of high frequencies generated by the pickups. If the tone knob is turned up, the sound will be more crisp and defined.


The part of the guitar on top of the neck is called the headstock. This is where the tuning pegs are located.

Tuning Pegs

The tuning pegs are the knobs protruding from the head of the guitar. Turning them will change the string’s tension and lower or raise its pitch. Scene 2: Frets Playing Notes

When playing a note, you do not want to put your finger right on top of a fret. The note will not be defined and will not sound good if you do. Instead, put your finger between two frets. Generally, it is best to use the finger tips to play notes.

Naming Frets

Frets are numbered starting at the headstock of the guitar. When a fret number is used, it refers to the space below that fret. For example, to play the second fret, you will actually put your finger in the space between the first and the second frets.

Scene 3: Strings Naming Strings

Most guitars have 6 strings. The strings can be referenced by a number 1 through 6. For beginning guitar players, it is natural to think of the string that you see on top as the first string, but that is incorrect. When holding the guitar, the string closest to the ground (the thinnest string) is the first string and the thickest string is the sixth string.

Practice identifying your strings and frets by choosing a string number and a fret number. Then, find the corresponding note. Over time this will come naturally to you.

Scene 4: Pick Different Picks

There are many different types of picks. You can find picks made from a range of materials with different thicknesses and shapes. Each pick will feel different in your hand when playing, so the type of pick that is right for you is a personal and stylistic preference. You will find which picks are good for you over time as you play more.

Holding the Pick

There are also different ways to hold a pick. The right method for you is a matter of personal preference. There are two common ways to hold a pick that David discusses.

One way is to place the pick on the tip of the thumb with the point going in the same direction as the thumb. Hold the pick in place with the middle and index fingers.

Alternatively, you can curl your index finger and place the pick on top of it with the point going in the same direction as the base of the finger. Then hold the pick in place with the tip of the thumb.

However you choose to hold the pick, make sure that there is no tension in your right hand and that the pick stays firmly in place.

Begin practicing by playing notes around the fretboard. Make sure that when you play a note, whether it is high or low, you get a nice tone.

Video Subtitles / Captions


Supplemental Learning Material



Member Comments about this Lesson

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

RuthfredcsRuthfredcs replied

Appreciate taking the time to explain

camaihofercamaihofer replied

Goo tip on the pick, ive been using an alternate way. Im going to give that a shot, as my strumming is subpar replied

I will have to master the pick, have been finger strumming an acoustic thus far. Part of the reason for me taking this course

brojakbrojak replied

Thank you David for this lesson. I am just starting out and I found your lesson the best so far for me. I think you keep things simple enough and I like how you seem to be going at the right pace for me. I appreciate it. Like someone else said, you don't assume we know what your talking about, so thank you for that lol.

ranamaeranamae replied

Thank you! Very simple and clear. It's tough when you're trying to learn and instructors just assume you know certain things.

mrgibsonmrgibson replied

Is David still an active instructor here at Jamplay?

jguitarsjguitars replied

I cant believe I was holding my pick wrong for so long! No wonder I wouldn't play accurately! Now its all coming together! David, love your teaching style!

alexaffectsalexaffects replied

great lesson!

punderpunder replied

Just joined Jamplay and while the other instructors I've sampled are great and I will work through their lessons, I must say your teaching style is fantastic and I will start off with your lesson set. Please don't stop making those lessons! Watched your "Clouds" video and am deeply impressed. Maybe you've covered this in a lesson I haven't watched (this is, most of them) but a lesson on how to get different guitar/amp tones (such as the one in the Rock lesson) would be very helpful. Again, please keep 'em coming!

David.WallimannDavid.Wallimann replied

Thank you sooo much guys! You are all so encouraging!

sanctumzerosanctumzero replied

Crystal clear teaching :D

dearlpittsdearlpitts replied

hey david did not know you were actually getting some reg. lessons in,wish they were phase 2 but thats cool I/ll do the bwhole they from the beging over again, always somtjhing to be learned and sure theres thing I/ve missed, so cool I on board.

jboothjbooth replied

Phase 2 is coming in the very near future :)

jackiejackie replied

Great stuff David. I'm so happy your lesson's has started. I will be a disciple of all your lesson's, and follow them to the letter.

oldrockeroldrocker replied

David... I'm very glad you are doing a lesson set! I've been extremely inspired with your Jamchats so I can't wait to follow each lesson you put out. As I've said, I'm a beginner, I know quite a bit but I have a long way to go! I hope you can get me there!!!

toledo12toledo12 replied


J.artmanJ.artman replied

I don't usually watch Phase 1 but I watched it cause it was you David. Nothing I don't already know, but I just wanted to comment on your teaching method, its very good. I'd imagine a beginner getting a lot out of this lesson. Keep

J.artmanJ.artman replied

Keep the lessons coming*

Basic Electric Guitar with David Wallimann

Found in our Beginner Lesson Sets

David Wallimann will start you on your electric guitar playing journey in this Phase 1 series.

Series IntroductionLesson 1

Series Introduction

David Wallimann introduces himself, talks about his background, and offers advice to new players.

Length: 4:28 Difficulty: 0.5 Members Only
Knowing Your GuitarLesson 2

Knowing Your Guitar

David introduces you to all the parts of your new instrument in this lesson.

Length: 11:18 Difficulty: 0.5 Members Only
Reading TablatureLesson 3

Reading Tablature

This is a crucial lesson that explains tablature, how to read it, and why it's important.

Length: 7:03 Difficulty: 1.0 FREE
Callus DevelopmentLesson 4

Callus Development

David introduces some great exercises for callus development and finger independence.

Length: 10:54 Difficulty: 1.5 Members Only
Learning ChordsLesson 5

Learning Chords

David Wallimann provides an introduction to chords. In this lesson, you will learn how to read chord charts. David also explains how to play your first eight chords.

Length: 17:03 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Barre ChordsLesson 6

Barre Chords

David Wallimann teaches six barre chords in this lesson beginning with F major. Get ready for a hand workout!

Length: 10:26 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Making MusicLesson 7

Making Music

David walks you through some easy chord progressions and encourages you to make up some of your own.

Length: 8:17 Difficulty: 1.5 Members Only
Rhythm & TimingLesson 8

Rhythm & Timing

David Wallimann talks about the importance of rhythm and timing. You will learn the basics of notes, time signatures and measures in this lesson.

Length: 14:00 Difficulty: 1.5 Members Only
Rock TechniqueLesson 9

Rock Technique

David Wallimann goes over some basic rock techniques in this lesson.

Length: 16:45 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Playing TechniqueLesson 10

Playing Technique

David Wallimann provides some tips that will improve both your right and left hand technique.

Length: 13:45 Difficulty: 1.5 Members Only
The Blues ScaleLesson 11

The Blues Scale

David Wallimann shows how adding one note to the minor pentatonic scale creates the minor blues scale.

Length: 10:54 Difficulty: 1.5 Members Only
David Wallimann

About David Wallimann View Full Biography David was born in Aix-en-Provence, South France in 1977. At the age of 15, he picked up the guitar and started developing a true love for instrumental music and composition.

In 1999 he was recognized by Ibanez for his promising musical achievements and received an artist endorsement. That early recognition in David's musical career encouraged him to consecrate more time on crafting his musical art and apply to the school of modern music Artist' in Cavaillon, France. He received a full scholarship there where he graduated with honors.

In 2001, David won first place for the Tal Farlow French national jazz contest which gave him a full paid scholarship to the CMA school of modern music in Valenciennes, France. He graduated specializing in advance guitar with honors.

Following his school years, David spent the next 5 years working with several bands recording, writing and playing shows in France and Belgium. It's during that time that Wallimann was exposed to the world of progressive rock which opened new doors to his musical creativity.

Deep inside the Mind is his first release as a solo artist in which he exposes his Christian faith. The album was well received in the specialized press and was compared several times to some of Frank Zappa's approach to music adding an element of humor to deep subjects.

In 2005 he joined the internationally renown progressive band Glass Hammer based in Chattanooga, TN. He released several studio albums and live DVDs with the band.

David is today working on his next upcoming solo release and is also spending quite a bit of time teaching guitar in his studio and online at JamPlay.

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