Anyone Can Play Guitar - Lesson No. 1

Welcome to the first in a weekly series of mental_floss guitar lessons. We're starting at the very beginning and presume that an air guitar is the only guitar you've ever strummed.

Tune in every Monday and we'll see how far we can take these.

In Lesson No. 1, you'll get a taste of what to look for when picking out your first guitar. Special thanks to Dave, the manager at West L.A. Music, for taking time out of his day to drop a pantload of 6-string knowledge. You can watch the video on our site below, or if you want to see it in better quality, go over to our YouTube page and click the link under the video screen that says watch in high quality.

Incidentally, the title of this new feature was suggested by one of our loyal readers, Johnny Cat, who sent us the following comment when we asked who'd be interested in watching weekly guitar lessons (thanks Johnny!):

"¦just wanted to suggest the series be called "Anyone Can Play Guitar" in honor of flossy band, Radiohead.

YouTube / Prometheus Freddie Mercury
Queen's Brian May Teaches You to Play His Hit Songs
YouTube / Prometheus Freddie Mercury
YouTube / Prometheus Freddie Mercury

Here's one for the guitar geeks—a 1984 video featuring Brian May, the guitarist from Queen. May starts out introducing "Red Special," the guitar he built himself (and still plays), then dives into 40 minutes of technical detail on how he plays various licks and solos from Queen songs.

This is pretty geeky, but invaluable for guitarists, and fun to see May's quiet demeanor and intelligence (incidentally, he's also an astrophysicist in addition to a guitarist).

If you don't want to watch the whole 40 minutes, check out 33:33, when he plays the "Crazy Little Thing Called Love" lick. Awesome.

For a look at his modern touring setup, here's another long, detailed look at his gear and how it's used onstage:

Anyone Can Play Guitar - Lesson No. 12

Today we're getting into some real basic 12 Bar Blues. We might repeat this lesson next monday, but after that, the lessons will be on hiatus for a while. Stay tuned for updates in the near future. We hope you've enjoyed the first 12 in the series.

As always, you can hit our YouTube page for "high quality" video or just watch the normal quality here. If you missed our older lessons, check them out below.

Lesson No. 1 - Buying your first guitar
Lesson No. 2 - How to hold the guitar & playing your first chord
Lesson No. 3 - New chords and chord transitions
Lesson No. 4 - "It's Only Rock'n'Roll" verse
Lesson No. 5 - "It's Only Rock'n'Roll" chorus
Lesson No. 6 - How to read TAB and chord charts
Lesson No. 7 - Notes on the fretboard
Lesson No. 8 - Bar chords
Lesson No. 9 - "Jingle Bells"
Lesson No. 10 - Power chords
Lesson No. 11 - Finger picking


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