How to Play Electric Guitar


This website is here to give you the same information I had to start off with, when I decided I wanted to be a lead guitarist. The decision to play Electric Guitar was unavoidable.

What I found, right at the beginning when I could barely play, was that the moment I switched from acoustic guitar to electric, I started making better progress, mostly because electric guitar is easier to set up for maximum playability.

Acoustic guitars are harder on the fingers, but eventually every guitarist should have one anyway. Some things just suit acoustic better, but if electric guitar is your thing, don't hold back. 

One thing you're going to go through no matter which guitar you play is that you have to develop callouses on your finger tips. Some pain is involved and you're going to get blisters on the finger tips that press the notes. In a couple of weeks, callouses form. Don't give up.

Just so we're not confused. This isn't an online guitar course or step by step instructions on how to play the guitar, but it is a good place to get your fingers and mind accustomed to some of the chords used when playing guitar, some of the more common and essential scale patterns when learning to play lead guitar, and so on.

Most of the lessons one gets when learning guitar come from applying what you've learned when playing in a band or just jamming with other musicians.
Don't skimp on that part.

Before you get started

There's nothing more disconcerting to a professional musician than listening to an instrument that's out of tune.
This is never more true than when playing rock guitar using a distorted or overdrive sound.

What I've done on the  How to tune the guitar page is focus more on how to tune the guitar to itself as opposed to learning how to use a guitar tuner. This will help when you need to tune to other instruments that may or may not be at concert pitch.

There are ways to make sure your guitar stay in tune properly, and for longer as well. I've tried to cover that too, although sometimes there's no sorting a really bad guitar.

Be that as it may, sometimes all a guitar needs is a good setup, preferably by someone who's a guitar technician or luthier.
Alternately, and preferable in the long run, is for you to learn how to setup your guitar yourself.

How to play electric guitar using a plectrum

Learning how to use a plectrum is slightly different for an electric guitar player. An electric guitar is capable of more than just the sound of a guitar string vibrating.
Pick it differently, you get a different effect.

The guitar lesson video on this page also shows a bit about palm muting, which is an important part of learning how to play guitar, as well as how to get pinch harmonics and some general strumming technique.

If you're just starting on guitar, you may want to focus on the strumming for now and holding the plectrum properly, without worrying about pinch harmonics. You can always go back and work on that later. Here's that page - Guitar plectrum technique

How to play guitar chords for beginners

The page - Beginner guitar chords has more than the usual beginner chords most people teach on guitar. The reason for this is that beginner chords alone aren't enough when it comes to playing songs on the guitar.

What I've done is put a star next to each chord that is easy, so learn those guitar chords first, and when you've got the hang of it then try play the others as well.

Whether you play electric or acoustic makes little difference here, although as an electric guitar player you have a definite advantage. The Open chords are the foundation for what comes next

How to play guitar Barre Chords

Most guitarists struggle at first with Barre Chords. On this page I called them Bar Chords because a lot of people hear the name and assume that's how you spell it.

The word "Barre" means pole, so I guess the idea here is that your first finger is the pole that acts as a substitute for the nut when playing guitar chords further along the neck.

The reality is a little different, seeing as your finger won't be as straight as a pole.
There's no video yet on the barre chords page, but it's coming - How to play Bar Chords | Barre Chords

How to play electric guitar power chords

Power Chords are the foundation of that classic rock guitar sound, and you may be tempted, like I was, to ignore most other electric guitar lessons and focus on power chords. It's fine if you want to do that, but it's better to get all the other guitar chords under your belt first.

The natural and easy progression from learning barre chords to playing power chords is what we're aiming at here. Anyway, no-one is saying you can't dabble a bit.

Power chords sound best played with a distortion pedal or through an overdriven guitar amp, but if there's ever a horrible sound, it's an out of tune electric guitar playing power chords. Page - How to Play Power Chords - A Rock Guitar Lesson

How to play the C major scale on guitar - first position

Want to learn to play lead guitar solos with confidence, Knowing that your fingers will always land on the right notes?

When I got the job as lead guitarist in my school band, I knew nothing, but this little first position guitar scale in the key of C major was my ticket to unlocking the rest of the fretboard.

Do what it says on this page and all the major scale patterns will be firmly embedded in your mind. Practice those patterns and moving between them, and eventually your fingers will know what they're doing before you do.

This is a key lead guitar lesson - First Lead Guitar Lesson - C major scale first position

How to play guitar scales - Full fretboard

You should only use this page to check up on what you did with the lead guitar lesson - C major scale first position.

C Major Scale - Full Guitar Fretboard

Of course you can always just go straight here and memorize it in full, but the idea was to really get you to work it out yourself. Either way, keep practicing the scale patterns and working out your own little lead runs to join the patterns together, it should sink in.

The key to playing lead guitar successfully is confidence. You don't want to have to think too much during a solo. To play guitar solos with feeling and passion you need to first get as much technique as possible, and then forget it.

There are more lead guitar lessons to come from, but if you really want to develop your own style of lead guitar, try making up things and practice playing along to other peoples music.

Just recently added the Pentatonic guitar scales page, so you might want to have a look at that as an easier start to playing lead guitar solos.

Additional pages:
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The Electric Guitar

How to tune the Guitar

How to use a Plectrum

Beginner Guitar Chords

How to play Barre Chords

How to play Power Chords

Guitar Scales

The C major scale on Guitar

The Pentatonic Scale on Guitar