How to Play Electric Guitar for Beginners

How to Play Electric Guitar for Beginners

After playing the acoustic guitar, learning how to play the electric guitar is the first step in taking your skill to the next level. This article has some tips for beginners learning the electric guitar...
"My best songs came from making a lot of mistakes and a lot of garbage." - Eric Johnson
Some people want to learn to play the guitar as a hobby, while others may take it to be a serious profession to enter the music industry. When it comes to learning to play this musical instrument, beginner guitar players should take in mind to start out with the acoustic guitar first. If you learn the acoustic guitar at the start of the skill, you will easily be able to grasp a majority of the techniques required to play the electric guitar. Guitar playing on the acoustic and electric is till an extent the same, with some exceptions associated with advanced techniques on the electric one. In the following, we are going to learn how to play the electric guitar step by step.

Chords and Notations
There are two types of chord holding methods on the fretboard viz. open chord and barre chord. Open chords relate to standard chords played typically on the acoustic guitar; mostly on first, second, and third frets. On the other hand, barre chords are those wherein you normally have to place the first finger of your fretting hand on all strings on a specific fret. Therefore, in such chords, there is no string left which does not get pressed on the fingerboard. These kinds of chords can be used anywhere on the fingerboard. Both open and barre chords can be used on acoustic as well as electric guitars. However, open chords are more specific to the acoustic guitar, whereas barre ones to the electric. Considering that you are familiar with reading guitar tabs, below are figures that depict the difference in an open and barre chord, just for your understanding.

Open and Barre Chords - Difference
Open 'F' Chord
e(1st) ----------1----------
B(2nd) ----------1----------
G(3rd) ----------2----------
D(4th) ----------3----------
A(5th) ----------3----------
E(6th) ----------X----------
Barre 'F' Chord
e(1st) ----------1----------
B(2nd) ----------1----------
G(3rd) ----------2----------
D(4th) ----------3----------
A(5th) ----------3----------
E(6th) ----------1----------
Open 'G' Chord
e ------------3---------------
B ------------0---------------
G ------------0---------------
D ------------0---------------
A ------------2---------------
E ------------3---------------
Barre 'G' Chord
e ------------3---------------
B ------------3---------------
G ------------4---------------
D ------------5---------------
A ------------5---------------
E ------------3---------------
Below are barre chord tablatures which you can refer to for playing chord combinations.
Electric Guitar Chords - Barre Majors
'A' Chord
e ------------5---------------
B ------------5---------------
G ------------6---------------
D ------------7---------------
A ------------7---------------
E ------------5---------------
'B' Chord
e ------------2---------------
B ------------4---------------
G ------------4---------------
D ------------4---------------
D ------------2---------------
D ------------2---------------
'C' Chord
e ------------3---------------
B ------------5---------------
G ------------5---------------
D ------------5---------------
D ------------3---------------
D ------------3---------------
'D' Chord
e ------------5---------------
B ------------7---------------
G ------------7---------------
D ------------7---------------
D ------------5---------------
D ------------5---------------
'E' Chord
e ------------7---------------
B ------------9---------------
G ------------9---------------
D ------------9---------------
D ------------7---------------
D ------------7---------------
'F' Chord
e ------------1---------------
B ------------1---------------
G ------------2---------------
D ------------3---------------
D ------------3---------------
D ------------1---------------
'G' Chord
e ------------3---------------
B ------------3---------------
G ------------4---------------
D ------------5---------------
D ------------5---------------
D ------------3---------------
Rhythms and Strumming Patterns
Though there is a similarity between strumming patterns of an acoustic and an electric guitar, there are some notable variations. Barre chords are generally played on the electric guitar for creating a punchy sound. Therefore, the rhythms should also be played accordingly. In order to get a punchy kind of strumming, you mostly need to strum the bass strings, with occasional strums on the lead ones. In addition, holding barre chords is also used to give breaks to the rhythm, which completely brings a drastic change in the primary strumming pattern. There is another good technique known as 'muting', wherein the player has to strum the strings with placing the edge of his palm on the strings just near where they are strummed. Muting can be done on the acoustic guitar, but is more effective on the electric guitar.

These are few of the basic techniques and tips on how to play electric guitar for beginners. Today, since music has become experimental, there are not many techniques that are totally generic. Musicians and guitarists experimenting with their instruments is the main reason why we can learn so many different techniques in the skill.
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