Distorted image of Red & White Electric Guitar: Guitar lessons, Newburgh, Fife

Acoustic & Electric

Prices / sharing your lesson
Dave with Soul Inferno  Finegans Wake, Edinburgh in 2006

With the approach taken here with the guitar you can get almost instant results. You'll be asked your favourite music. If you have a CD`/ MP3 player great but these days with Spotify one can call up just about anything instantly.

We'll play a bit of your music & if it's suitable (which is usually), you’ll be told the chords of your song, how to play them & how to simplify them with a cappo if necessary. Before the end of you’re first lesson we’ll you should be able to play a snatch of your song.

Close up of Epiphone V electro acoustic guitar graphic equaliser controls: Acoustic Guitar tuition, Newburgh, Fife

It may only be 2 chords of the 6 or so likely to be there but it’s a start. Sometimes a wee rif stands out & we’ll learn that. Here you’re just playing one string at a time & it's just as easy to learn. We’ll explore guitar ‘tab’ & how to read it. Later, you’ll be making some rhythm with the chords you’ve learned.

The guitar is an excellent instrument to faff around on. You’ll be encouraged to make up your own chord patterns, alter the chords, make up rifs - if that's your bent - but you're in charge, lessons will be lead from what you want to learn.

You’ll be encouraged to play along with your favourite music. The ultimate pleasurable way to practice your instrument. Eventually you’ll be encouraged to pick out rifs from your trax yourself.

Later still you’ll be taught how to recognise chords that are played in real time & replicate the chord patterns. This is perhaps the ultimate goal.

Close up of Black Acoustic Guitar: Guitar lessons, Newburgh, Fife

It's handy to have:

  • A guitar !
  • An electonic tuner
  • A cappo
  • a few thin plectrums
  • A chord chart (though a paper one can be provided free)
Close up of Red & White Electric Guitar control knobs: Electric Guitar lessons, Newburgh, Fife
We will touch on tuning by fret / ear, now & again but with an electronic tuner, much of the initial frustration will be eliminated of not being able to get your guitar in tune.
  To hear James on Guitar visit the MP3 page  
You’ll be shown the correct chords, rifs, of your songs to begin with but you’ll be encouraged to start to find them yourself. Don’t think that you’ll never achieve this. Thinking like that is the biggest hurdle.
Guitar neck: Electric Guitar tuition, Newburgh, Fife

It’s best if you can come to some subsequent lessons having tried already to work something out by guitar tab found on the web, or by ear. We’ll then be off to a flying start as you’ll already have immersed yourself in the song, however little progress you believe you may have made on your own.

Fish eye type shot of acoustic guitar: Guitar lessons, Newburgh, Fife

You’ll have to start registering the structure of your songs, the intro, the verses choruses, bridges, etc & counting strictly to understand how many beats / bars there are of one before it moves to another. You’ll be surprised how ‘square’ most music is. 8 bars of 4 beats each is the morm, but then again you’ll be surprised how often it’s just not quite square somewhere in the song – a 6 beat bar here, a 9 bar chorus there…

This will all be pointed out to you in your lesson but hopefully you’ll be starting to clock these interesting aspects to your favourite music as you stroll along with your i-pod. It’s these aspects that add the spice to ‘square’ music.

  The ultimate goal of your lessons is to get you to recognise & play chords as you hear them, to replicate solos, or make up your own to fit the music you’re listening to. This won’t come instantly, but if you have the will & the confidence, the guitar will reward you with the steepest learning curve experience of any instrument. Red & White Electric Guitar: Guitar lessons, Newburgh, Fife
Guitar neck: Guitar lessons, Newburgh, Fife
So go on... put on some of your favourite music!
  5 String bass: Bass lessons, Newburgh, Fife


The Bass gives massive clues to the chords being played. Try to ignore your favourite rifs & lyrics & concentrate on the bass. Turn up the bass tone control on your hi-fi & if you can bear it, turn down the treble.

The bass nearly always hits the root note - that is the note of the chord, on the first beat of the bar.

So if you can count along to your music, usually 1,2,3,4,1,2,3,4 etc pause the music if you can or turn down the volume after you've just said "one" & try to sing the note the bass played in your head. Whilst humming away, try to find the note on your guitar. Not the chord, just find the note that you heard.

If you're new to this you might find it impossible at first but have a break & try again later. Once you can do this accurately, you've made a huge leap into analysing your music. If you can reproduce one note, you can reproduce them all. Once you have the note you have the beginnings of your chord. A good beginners book will help you identify the note by name. Of-course it helps if your guitar is in tune too...

5 String bass machine head: Bass lessons, Newburgh, Fife
Once you have the note you have the chord. Of course you then need to be able to play it! - If you don't know say, the chord of 'D' yet, get yourself a chord chart from any music shop.

If the note was D, play a D chord on your guitar. There are probably only 3-6 chords in your song if it’s Pop or Rock or Folk music so don’t be daunted. If it’s Jazz you’re into, there'll be rather more.


lots of guitars: Guitar lessons, Newburgh, Fife
Carry on building up your sequence of notes - & chords. You'll find it painfully slow at first & sometimes won't be quite sure if you've selected the right note or not but do keep at it.
Close up of guitar sound hole: Guitar lessons , Newburgh, Fife

Most songs sequences - a verse or a chorus only have 2 - 4 chords in them, so you'll find the same ones cropping up again & again.

Write down your sequence & if you can play chords already, try them out along with the music.


Red acoustic guitar: Guitar lessons Edinburgh: Guitar tuition, Newburgh, Fife Trying them out without the music playing is also useful as a contrasting way to establish which chords, if any are wrong.
Major & Minor
just when you thought you were getting it:
Red & White Electric Guitar: Electric Guitar lessons, Newburgh, Fife So you've established you're after an 'E' chord. But is it an E major or an E minor? Being able to spot a major chord from a minor is crucial. The bass alone won't tell you. But you're half way there having found the right key, in this case ‘E’. There's only a tiny difference between a major chord and a minor chord. The third in a minor chord is one note (or fret) lower (a semi-tone) than it's major counterpart.



The best way to learn how to identify the difference by ear is to play both on your guitar. Your chord chart will tell you how to play both major & minor chords. Close you eyes & give each a good listen. Play them in turn thinking about the different sounds & what they mean to you. Most people think minor suggests ‘sad’, & major ‘happy’. Spotting this subtlety in live music is sometimes tricky but one of the worst mistakes one can make in music is to play a minor over a major - or visa-versa.

If you have a chord book for your favourite artist, put on some of their music & try working out the chords. Use the book to check if you were correct - & to check majors & minors.


With bar chords you can play similar sequences in any key just by moving everything up or down the fret board a fret or 2. The patterns often change only slightly (when you run out of fret board!- in which case you find the same chord further up).
Stretched image of guitar neck
Stretched image of acoustic guitar: Guitar tuition, Newburgh, Fife

If you can already play a song chord sequence on your guitar, try it in another key. All you really have to do is move everything up or down the fret board by the same number of frets. Try 2 frets up first. It sometimes helps to 'bar' standard chords first. You may need to work out all the chords first in your new key but if you do this exercise often enough in different keys & with different songs, you should get a feel before long for what needs to be played without working it out. You're on the road to playing intuitively by ear & without the need to know the next chord - you just end up playing it.

The Chord of E major: Chords explained in Guitar lessons, Newburgh, Fife The Chord of F 'barred' on the second fret: Chords explained in Guitar lessons, Newburgh, Fife
Standard 'E major' chord
Barred & up 1 fret it becomes 'F major'
This means playing a D barred on the 5th fret or a G barred on the 3rd. A chord chart will help you if this puzzles you. If you can't find a barred version of commons chords you can work them out. For example: The G barred on the 3rd fret is exactly the same shape as an F (which you'll definitely find in a chord chart - & pictured above) - only up by 2 frets. Your D is the same shape as a B (also to be found) only you bar it on the 5th fret. Seeing a pattern yet?? So you can find any chord you like. Just go up a fret & you've gone up a 'semi-tone' chord. Right is a list of the chords you'll go through by adding a fret. Be aware that going up 1 fret doesn't take you from D to E because there's a note between the two! It' s Eb (E flat) & this note can also be referred to as D#. Flat means 'lower' & sharp 'higher'.
A Bb B


Congratulations! You've just transposed a song!

If you sing, try singing it in your new key. No probs? Then start singing it in a random key, then find this key on your guitar.



Rhythm guitar is the main subject of this page but..

If you want to play lead guitar, you'll still need to listen carefully to chord sequences though you often don't need to know what the chords are. Try it out... just play away and see if your playing sounds cool coz at the end of the day that's all that matters. It's surprising how you can pick up what to play just by playing along to a series of chords, either played by your mate or by Jimmi Hendrix on you iPod. You just get a feeling after a while for what sounds right. Strange 'down the back of the neck' shot of Red Electric Guitar: Chords explained in Electric Guitar tuition, Newburgh, Fife
    If you find after a lot of persistence that you're not getting it, have a go at establishing the chord sequences. Or just get a chord book for your stuff.


If you've tried the above but have problems, give me a phone or an email to arrange a lesson. The object of lessons is to teach you how to progress on your own. Contact details & email links are at the foot of the page

Close up of Epiphone V electro acoustic guitar graphic equaliser controls: Acoustic Guitar tuition, Newburgh, Fife


Theory: I will from time to time introduce theory of music when appropriate. I will endeavor though always to make chunks of theory relevant, interesting & short. With the guitar, there is the best chance of paperless music theory. A chord chart is really all you need.


Close up of Red & White Electric Guitar Jack Socket: Electric Guitar tuition, Newburgh, Fife


Weavers Hall, Bank Close, Newburgh, Fife
KY14 6EG

email: james

mobile: 07970 744986
landline:01337 842434

Dave J Ford peering through  ice sculpture