Rock Guitar Starter Course - Introduction

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Hi guys, welcome to the online version of my Electric Guitar Starter Course!

Here we're going to focus on the essential skills needed for beginners to play Rock Guitar!

As electric guitars can have many accessories such as an amplifier, guitar lead, etc, I thought I'd create this video to give you my complete guide to electric guitars and the gear that can be used with them!

I demo various things in this video, but this is not a 'playing' lesson. If you'd prefer to get playing something straight away, check out lesson 1 here.

Electric Guitar Overview

Here's what all the parts are called. Images all from Andy's Beginner Course Book.

electric guitar anatomy

Electric guitars come in all shapes and sizes. However, most are variations on the following three guitar types. Each type has an identifiable look, shape and sound, which countless other makes and models have tweaked and copied.

Fender telecaster

 fender-stratocaster-standard-mex-bsbFender Stratocaster (aka 'Strat' or 'S type')

The best are made by Fender. Affordable copies are made by brands such as Squire and Vintage

Thin body and neck, easy to play.

Single Coil Pickups give a clean sound that is suited best to pop, blues, classic rock, pretty much anything!

Think Jimi Hendrix, Eric Clapton, John Mayer, Mark Knopfler, Stevie Ray Vaughn


fender-american-deluxe-ash-teleFender telecaster (aka 'tele' or 'T type')

Again the original and best are made by Fender. Affordable copies are made by Squire and vintage

Less flash than the strat with a much less tailored body (kind of like a flat block of wood). Seen as more of a 'working mans' guitar.

Pickups give a 'twang' that is suited best to indie, blues, classic rock. Think Keith Richards, Bruce Springsteen, Status Quo, modern 'Indie' bands like Block Party

Single coil or humbucker pickups available


LPTDHSCH1-Finish-ShotGibson Les Paul or 'LP type'

Originals made by Gibson. Affordable copies made by Epiphone and Vintage. Similar models made my PRS.

More flash than this others, and more 'meaty' sounding humbucker pickups,

Great for all rock and metal, though originally a jazz and blues guitar

Think Jimmy Page, Slash, Joe Perry, Thin Lizzy, The Darkness



Guitar Amplifiers

A guitar amplifier is not essential to learn guitar. If budget or availability is an issue, just get hold of a guitar itself and start practicing, don't delay!

However, electric guitars sound quiet and similar to acoustic guitars when unplugged from an amp. The amp (or amp simulator) is essential to get the sounds and tone we'll be focusing on in this course!

My recommended budget electric guitar amplifier out of total personal preference is the Blackstar HT-1, which I demo in the video above! 

Here is a quick guide to all the controls on a typical guitar amplifier so you know how to set it up (set to my recommended default settings!)

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Controls on the amplifier

Most of these controls are found on all amplifiers. Many amplifiers have 2 'channels' named Clean & Overdrive switchable by a button or pedal.

Volume – Loudness

Gain/ Drive - Technically signal level, but in reality it’s the amount of fuzz, aka overdrive! There are 2 types of Gain or fuzz;

Overdrive – More natural sounding ‘fuzz’ sound similar to old valve amplifiers Distortion – A massive amount of fuzz, generally artificially created

EQ/ Equalisation - How we affect the treble, mid and bass

Bass – Low frequencies, deepness, boominess, etc

Middle – in between low and high. Boosting can make your sound more prominent or clearer (great for solos), reducing can fill out your sound, making your amp sound bigger ?

Treble – High frequencies, brightness

Common guitar FX

Some amplifiers have effects built in, many don't. I prefer choosing an amplifier without effects as you tend to get a better quality amp if it doesn't have a lot of flashy effects on it. You can then choose the effects stomp boxes you like, or purchase a multi FX to cover all the bases. in my experience, FX that come in stomp box or multi FX format tend to be of higher quality than those that are built into an amplifier.

Reverb – the sound of a space, a room or hall sound, basically a lot of echoes but they sound just like a room or a big hall.

Delay - can be a single echo, or many echoes, but each ‘delayed’ sound can be heard think the guitar sound of U2 songs, or when you shout down a tunnel

Chorus - The sound is duplicated to sound like many guitars at once, like a 'chorus' of singers. Very 80s sounding with a watery/ ripple like sound quality, used in the intro of Knocking On Heavens Door by Guns n' Roses!

Phaser - Similar to chorus, but sounds different. Hear it on the intro of Mystery Song by Status Quo!

Flanger - again similar effect type to chorus, but sounds more like a jet plane taking off! Hear it on Breakdown by Foo Fighters!

Other Electric Guitar Accessories

There are countless guitar pedals, leads and effects on the market. I have listed most of the gear I use and recommend on this page, which also has links to dealerships or Amazon.com and .co.uk

Right, that's enough gear talk. Let play some rock riffs!

Next Up: Lesson 1 - Easy Power Chords E5 and A5

Well done! Let's jump into the next lesson of the course.