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Ultimate Beginner

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Active Member
Joined: 18 years ago
Posts: 5
Topic starter  

Hey all,

I'm really new to this, I got a guitar just under a week ago, but I've been playing almost 5 hours a day I love it so much! Anyways, I just had a couple really basic questions. First, the fingering for the D chord. From what I've seen the "proper" fingering is the first finger on the second fret of the third string, second finger on the second fret of the first string, and the third finger on the third fret of the second string. I'm having some trouble with that fingering, mostly that its really hard to get that first string free. I've found that its alot easier to play the chord by reversing my first and second fingers, so that the first finger is playing the first string on the second fret, and the second finger is on the second fret of the third string. However, with this fingering I'm having trouble switching to the d chord quickly, oviously some of the lack of speed is because I haven't been playing for very long, but I'm wondering if the recommended fingering would allow me to be able to switch quicker.

My next question is regarding pick strumming versus hand strumming. I've mostly stuck to using a pick, my hand strumming is awful, especially on the up-strum. Does anyone know of a lesson on the internet showing proper hand strumming, showing how to shape your hand/fingers properly and all that? Also, whats the best method of percusive stroke when using a pick?

Finally, I noticed in some of the tabs, a curved line tieing some notes together. I think this might be a hammer? What is it, and how do you play it?

Anyways, sorry for all the dumb questions! I've saved up for a long time to buy/play a half-decent acoustic, and I really hope I'll be able to get good at it. Any comments/suggestions for beginning would be greatly appreciated :D



- It hurt like hell to type all of this lol

Famed Member
Joined: 19 years ago
Posts: 2957

Welcome Will

I am only learning myself but have mastered the open D chord as you mentioned .

I know when I first started D and G and C were pretty hard for me but I persisted with it then it one day it just happens .. You strum the thestrings and every one of them rrings out so nicely .

I wish I could offer advise but like I said I'm only learning myself , I will be watching this post with interest and hopefully pick up a few hints myself..

Typing is like doing Barre chords for me I know where my fingers are suppose to go but I have to stop and make sure before I move on :lol:


Here is to you as good as you are
And here is to me as bad as I am
As good as you are and as bad as I am
I'm as good as you are as bad as I am

Trusted Member
Joined: 18 years ago
Posts: 64

Congratulations on buying your first guitar, and welcome to the forum!

Keep using the "proper" fingering for the D chord. It sounds like your 3rd finger is hitting the high E string, after a little more practice it will get easier and you won't have to try so hard to keep it out of the way. In order to get faster at switching chords, switch back and forth between two chords (try D-C to start with) without strumming - just put your fingers down where they need to be, then move back to the other chord, repeat. Eventually you'll develop muscle memory - your fingers will know where to go without involving your brain (this takes several thousand correct repetitions).

I don't ever hand strum, I either use a pick or play fingerstyle (or both). You can get a percusive stroke by muting the strings lightly with the side of your palm just in front of the bridge. It also helps to hold the pick between your thumb and the side of your first finger (not like your pinching the pick) - make a loose fist and slide the pick in between your thumb and first finger, then make slight adjustments until you find a spot that feels right.

Hammers are where you pick a note and then play another note on the same string by "hammering" your finger onto the fretboard without picking.

My other advice would be to keep asking questions, and to look for a good teacher.

Noble Member
Joined: 21 years ago
Posts: 2337

Hi and welcome.

After playing for awhile you'll decide what works best for you. Try learning things say the proper way then branch off and use what works best for you. learning a good technique will in the beginning can save you from problems later on. There are many different ways to finger the same chord. have fun.


Trusted Member
Joined: 18 years ago
Posts: 35

Will342 - I also am a beginner, playing for around 5 months. Your first question about the proper fingering of the D chord, the information that I have shows the fingering as hi e is your middle finger, 2nd fret, b is your ring finger 3rd fret, and g is your index finger 2nd fret. Some tabs have the chords and the fingerings listed which is great for us beginners, and there is a lot of great information here on Guitarnoise. Here are a few links for info on chords etc.

Question #2 - I personally don't know the answer, but the website below is pretty interesting. I've just started messing around with fingerpicking, but there seems to be good info on this site.

Question #3 - to the best of my knowledge, which is minor, the curved line tying notes together can have at least 3 meanings. If the line ties the same note together, I believe it means let it ring another beat, depending on note value. (ie: 1/16 note, 1/4 note, whole note, etc) If the line ties together different notes, it can either be a hammer-on or a pull-off.

The final suggestion is go to the lessons page. Great information there about everything. Welcome and good luck.

Prominent Member
Joined: 20 years ago
Posts: 724

I don't know about proper but I play a D as Follows, middle finger second fret G string, Ring finger second fret e string and pinkie third fret B string. This fingering makes it easy to go from D to A7 which is a popular transition in the type of music I play.

Tim Madsen
Nobody cares how much you know,
until they know how much you care.

"What you keep to yourself you lose, what you give away you keep forever." -Axel Munthe

Eminent Member
Joined: 19 years ago
Posts: 21

I tend to stick to the standard fingering for most chords, but don't be afraid to experiment and find something that works for you.

In order to improve chord switching I would suggest analysing the fingering of the chords you are playing and look for pivot points for those chords. For example if you take A-D-E chord progression and look at the fingering for these chords:

A Chord
1st finger - G string 2nd fret
2nd finger - D string 2nd fret
3rd finger - B string 2nd fret

D Chord
1st finger - G string 2nd fret
2nd finger - E string 2nd fret
3rd finger - B string 3rd fret

E Chord
1st finger - G string 1st fret
2nd finger - A string 2nd fret
3rd finger - D string 2nd fret

If you look at A chord you will notice that you already have your 1st finger in place if you want to change the the D (or D to A.) So you can keep this finger in place and pivot your other fingers around to the required chord.

Also to change from A to E you can keep your 1st finger in place and slide it up to the 1st fret (lift it slightly to reduce that string scraping noise)- the position it is required for the E chord.

Looking for these sort of short cuts when changing chords will improve speed as you wont need to lift the whole hand off the fretboard. Of course this doesn't work for all chord changes, but other common open chord ones are D7 to C, D7 to G and A to C.

Famed Member
Joined: 19 years ago
Posts: 2801

Welcome to GN. Keep working on the proper fingering of each chord. It may be slower now but that will work itself out in time.

Personally, I wouldnt say "Dont ever use your hand to strum" but its a very good idea to get used to a pick. Sounds like it happens to be easier for you anyways.
I've saved up for a long time to buy/play a half-decent acoustic, and I really hope I'll be able to get good at it.

There is no doubt in the world that if you practice regularly, you WILL get good at it. But dont let yourself get too frustrated during times when you plateau because eventually you will get over them and progress. Dont treat this as something you need to be great at in a short time, playing guitar is a craft and a journey to be enjoyed, and realize that no matter how good you are, you will always want to be better. I've read guitarist that have been playing for a couple decades (Here at GN) still say that they wish they could do this or that.

Also, recording yourself in any manner you can is a big help. Plus, 6 month from now you can listen back on them and see how much you have progressed.


“The hardest thing in life is to know which bridge to cross and which to burn” - David Russell (Scottish classical Guitarist. b.1942)

Famed Member
Joined: 18 years ago
Posts: 2736

Illustrious Member
Joined: 20 years ago
Posts: 10264

I don't very often use a pick - I lose them too easily! But if you pinch your thumb and first finger together as if you were actually holding a pick, you'll catch the strings with your first fingernail on the downstrum, and your thumbnail on the upstrum....

:D :D :D


"Sometimes the beauty of music can help us all find strength to deal with all the curves life can throw us." (D. Hodge.)

Famed Member
Joined: 19 years ago
Posts: 4338

Welcome to GuitarNoise, Will342! We look forward to seeing you around the forums! :D

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"Don't wanna ride no shootin' star. Just wanna play on the rhythm guitar." Emmylou Harris, "Rhythm Guitar" from "The Ballad of Sally Rose"

Active Member
Joined: 18 years ago
Posts: 5
Topic starter  

Thanks for all the kind replies and suggestions everybody! I'll keep hacking away here, and staying in touch ;)