In the last blog, Easy Guitar Songs For Beginners , we started with 1st position riffs from songs by Nirvana, Black Sabbath, Led Zeppelin, and Judas Priest. To reiterate, a ‘position” on the guitar is an area of four consecutive frets, using one finger per fret to eliminate the need to shift up or down the neck. Playing in 1st position places the left hand fingers on the first four frets, 1st finger = 1st fret, 2nd finger = 2nd fret, etc. I see a lot of people mix up scale “patterns” with positions. Be cautious not to do this.
For good measure and review, let’s add one more 1st position intro riff to play. La Bamba is an old Mexican folk song that Ritchie Valens recorded in 1958 and turned it into a guitar classic. It outlines a G chord in the pickup measure and then goes to a C and F chord in the 2nd and 4th measures. Be sure to keep the 3rd and 4th fingers down in those measures and let them ring to capture the feel of the original.
Now we’re going to look at the next step in guitar riffage and work our way up the neck to 2nd position where now your first finger will cover the 2nd fret, second finger on 3rd fret, third finger on 4th fret, and fourth finger on 5th fret. We’re in good company here with the two bands that single-handedly ruled the rock n roll world in the 60’s.
1) (I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction (The Rolling Stones) – A great song to start with because it is so easy! Kick on the fuzz (Richards supposedly used a Maestro FZ-1 Fuzz pedal).
2) Day Tripper (The Beatles) – Another great classic riff that’s played twice on the 6th string and then moved down to the 5th string once, and then back up to the 6th.
3) Birthday (The Beatles) – A little more advanced with the addition of a slide from the 3rd to the 4th fret (use the 3rd finger!) and a slight bend upward on the 4th string, as indicated by the arrow (also using 3rd finger).
Remember, practice practice practice! In the next blog, we’ll look at some easy beginner chord songs to play. If you are in the Orange County, Riverside, or Los Angeles areas and looking for guitar lessons or bass lessons, definitely check out Mark Hamrock at Hamrock Music Instruction , chosen by CBS Los Angeles as one of their “Best Places for Guitar Lessons in Orange County ”.