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Lyle Ronglien >> Beginning Guitar II - The Basics >>

Beginning Guitar II - Lesson 2

Playing A Song

Lyle: Welcome back! Last lesson was a long and tough lesson where you learned all the name of the notes and fingering patterns. This lesson will teach you a simple song using three chords.

Lyle: The song you're going to learn is the "Happy Birthday" song! It uses three chords, the C chord you learned from an earlier lesson:

C chord

C chord

Lyle: The simple G chord you also learned from an earlier lesson:

G chord

G chord

Lyle: The third chord you need to learn for this song is the F chord. You have to use your index finger to push down on both the 1st and 2nd strings at the same time. This is called barring:

F chord

F chord

David: Does it matter where the other fingers are?

Lyle: David, yes it does. Keep them relaxed and out of the way. Remember, these are the simple ways to play these chords. Later, in future lessons, you'll learn many other ways to play these chords.

Izabella: Can we play the whole chords (typical open ones) or does it sound better with these easy 3 string ones?

Lyle: If you know other ways to play them, sure!

Lyle: Let's learn how to play the song. Here is "the band" that you'll be jamming along to. It's a looping jam track. Load it now and listen to it:

Jam Track - full song

Lyle: This song, Happy Birthday, is in what's called 3/4 time. It has 3 beats per measure. You only count to 3, not 4 like in most music.

Joel: it's like a waltz, isn't it Lyle? :)

Lyle: Joel, yes, a Waltz is 3 beats per measure.

Lyle: Here is the chord chart which helps show you how to count and when to change chords:

chord chart

Izabella: What advantages does it have over just putting a bunch of dotted half notes or something

Lyle: It would look messy on paper that way.

Izabella: I see.

Lyle: First, try strumming on beat 1 of every measure, like this:

rhythm pattern 1

rhythm pattern 1

Lyle: Every beginning guitarist should know how to strum and sing this song. You'll always find a chance to use it on someone!

Lyle: I bet it's someone's birthday today!

Lyle: How's everyone doing with it, are you able to follow along and make the chord changes at the right time?

willie: working on it...

Lyle: Once you have a good feel for that rhythm pattern, I want you to try strumming on every beat of the measure like this:

rhythm pattern 2

rhythm pattern 2

Lyle: That's how I would strum it, once for each beat, because it creates a strong pulse/beat that everyone can follow when they are all singing along.

Lyle: If you are new to this lesson format and software, be sure to click on the TAB file so it loads into the TAB player, then load media, then play media. This way you'll see and hear it playback on the virtual fretboard. You can loop the TAB files and even slow them down. You can even slow down the tempo of the looping jam track if needed.

Lyle: Practice singing along to the jam track while you're strumming too!

Lyle: The whole melody is made from the natural notes, like you learned in the last lesson. Here's the natural notes again, from A to A to A:

natural notes from A to A

Lyle: Just for fun, you should try learning how to play the melody of this song. It's best to learn it it small sections. Here's the first part:

song - part 1

Lyle: If you're using a pick, use all down strokes.

Lyle: Practice this over and over until you can play it good and from memory, then learn the next part:

song - part 2

Lyle: The next part involves three different strings which should give you a nice little challenge!

Izabella: Why all down strokes?

song - part 3

Lyle: Keeps it uniform sounding, and since it's so slow, it's easy to play all down.

Lyle: The 4th part is simply this:

song - part 4

Lyle: Put all the 4 parts together and you have the whole song!

song - all 4 parts

song - all 4 parts

Lyle: Play along to the TAB file to make sure you have all the right notes and fingers. For the melody of this song, anything on the 1st fret will be played with the index finger, anything on the 2nd fret will be played with the middle finger, and the 3rd fret note will be played with your ring finger. The fingerings show up on the virtual fretboard when you playback the TAB file.

Lyle: Once you have practiced the melody and strumming parts enough, try playing along to the looping jam track. You've just learned another song!!!

Izabella: Any hints for embellishments?

Lyle: I could teach you a jazz version, a rock version, and a country version of this song, but they're not easy to play. Maybe in a custom private lesson I could show you if you wanted.

Lyle: That wraps it up for this lesson.

David: Thanks a lot mate for your time..appreciated. Bye.

Lyle: You're all very welcome. Thank you everyone for joining us live for this lesson. I hope you all have a great week playing and practicing your guitar. See you in the next lesson!

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