11 Quick and Easy Tips for Reading Guitar Chord Charts

11 Quick and Easy Tips for Reading Guitar Chord Charts

While it’s true that you don’t need to read music to play the guitar, you should learn how to read guitar chord charts. A guitar chord chart is a visual representation of a chord.

This helpful visual is a little like music-by-numbers; it tells you which finger goes where and on what string, so in case you come across a chord you don’t know, you’ll be able to play it. Here’s an example of a guitar chord chart, also known as a guitar chord diagram:

Guitar Fingering Diagram E minor

Guitar chord charts are a cinch to read once you learn what all the lines, numbers, and circles mean. Are you ready to start learning how to play songs on the guitar? Here are 11 things you need to read guitar fingering charts.

11 Tips for Reading a Guitar Chord Chart


The grid of six vertical and five horizontal lines represents the guitar fretboard. If you’re having trouble understanding the basic layout of the image above, hold your guitar in front of you so that the strings are facing you and the headstock is pointing up.

The image of the guitar chord chart represents this same view of your guitar, with strings running vertically and frets horizontally.

Which End Is Up?

Guitar chord charts are more commonly situated vertically (like above) rather than horizontally, especially in songbooks. It’s good to learn to interpret both vertical and horizontal grids though.

Righty or Lefty?

Since guitar chord charts are typically written for right-handed guitarists, they provide a challenge to left-handed players, who have to do a bit of re-visualization by flipping the chart around. If a given source doesn’t provide a left-handed version, you can download left-handed guitar chord charts online.

Chord Name

The letter at the top of the chart is the name of the chord.

RELATED: 20 Easy Songs with Basic Guitar Chords

Vertical Lines

The vertical lines on a guitar fingering chart represent the six strings of the guitar. The low E string (the thickest one) is on the left of the diagram, followed by the A, D, G, B and high E string, which is on the right of the diagram.

The string names are sometimes noted at the bottom of the guitar chord chart.

Horizontal Lines

The horizontal lines on the chart represent the metal frets on the neck of the guitar. The top line will generally be bolded or marked by a double line, which indicates the guitar’s nut. Fret numbers are sometimes noted to the left of the sixth string.

Chords Beyond the 4th Fret

If the guitar fingering chart is depicting frets higher than the fourth fret, the top line on the chart will not be bolded (or doubled) and fret numbers will be shown, either to the left of the sixth string or to the right of the first string, to help orient you on the fretboard.

SEE ALSO: How to Read Guitar Tabs

Black Dots

The black (or red) dots on the diagram tell you which frets and strings to place your fingers on. The numbers inside the dots indicate which fingers to use on each of the frets. They correspond to the four fingers of the fretting hand.

Number 1 is the index finger, 2 is the middle finger, 3 is the ring finger, and 4 is your pinky. You don’t use the thumb to fret, except in certain unusual circumstances. In those cases there would be a “T” inside the black dot.

Fingerings can also sometimes be found written along the bottom of the strings of a chord chart, or between the nut mark and the chord name instead of inside the dots.

X’s and O’s

An “X” above the bolded nut mark indicates a string you don’t pick or strum. An “O” in the same location means to play the string open.

Alternate Fingerings

You may come across a suggested chord fingering that you simply cannot contort your fingers to play. In this case try experimenting with alternate fingerings. The most commonly used chord fingerings, however, will work for most guitarists.

How a Barre Chord Is Charted

As you probably already know, barre chords are chords that involve using one finger, usually your index finger, to hold down multiple strings in a single fret simultaneously.

A barre is noted on a guitar chord diagram by a curved or solid line running through a fret from the first note to the last note of the chord, or by a series of dots in the same fret that all bear the same number.

Ready to give it a shot? Check out this infographic from Guitar Domination to learn 32 essential chords. [Preview below]

Learn to Read an Acoustic Guitar Chord Diagram


About The Author

Guitartricks.com is an online subscription service that has provided video guitar lessons for beginners and advanced players since 1998. The site has more than 11,000 video lessons and 600+ song tutorials. Learn more about the site with this Guitar Tricks Review.

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What Language Should I Learn? [Quiz]

What language should I learn

Have you ever asked yourself the question, “What language should I learn?” There are so many unique and beautiful languages you can learn, that choosing just one can be a challenge.

Some individuals are a perfect match for the romantic tones of la langue française (the French language), while others are more suited for the staccato rhythms of modern Italian. Are you up for the challenge of learning a new alphabet for Korean and Japanese, or would you prefer a more accessible language like Spanish?

This helpful quiz will show you which language best suits your interests and personality. Keep reading after the quiz for more helpful tips on how to decide which language you should learn!

What Language Should I Learn?

There are over 6,900 living languages spoken in the world today, which means when you’re considering which one you’d like to learn, you are definitely spoiled for choice!

Some of the most common languages for English speakers to study are the Romance tongues – Spanish, French, and Italian. That’s because there’s a long tradition of contact between the speakers of these European languages and English culture.

Languages from Asia, including Japanese and Korean, are also growing in popularity as more Westerners consider living and working abroad.

Deciding which of these exciting languages to learn is a process that involves some inward reflection on your goals and interests, as well as how much time you can realistically commit to studying. Keep reading to learn more about five of the most popular languages to learn and discover which one is the best fit for you.  

5 Popular Languages to Learn


What language should I learn - Spanish

Spanish is one of the easiest languages for English speakers to learn. There are a number of reasons for this, including the prevalence of Spanish speakers in the world. Spanish is the second most spoken language in the world, and the second most spoken language in North America! So you’ll always be able to find a native speaker to practice with.

You should be aware that there are two main dialects of Spanish – the language spoken in Spain, and Latin American Spanish. The two are broadly similar in grammatical structure but the accent and vocabulary can be quite different. Decide early on where you hope to use your Spanish and choose a tutor accordingly.

The Spanish culture is famous for being extremely open to foreigners. No matter where you travel, the locals will appreciate your willingness to learn their mother tongue. 


What language should I learn - French

One advantage of learning French is that about 25% of our English vocabulary comes from French, so you’ll have a big head start if you choose this language! Even as a complete beginner, you’ll already know the meaning of a number of words such as intelligent (intelligent), liberté (liberty), thé (tea), and more.

What’s tricky about French is that there are some complicated word-endings and new vowel sounds. However, you won’t be complaining when you’re indulging in the abundance of wine, cheese, and delicious croissants in France! If that sounds wonderful to you, French just might be the answer to your question – What language should I learn? 

If you’re lucky enough to visit France, you will find the locals think very highly of their language. If you show them you love it too and are willing to learn, they’ll appreciate your effort. Bonus tip: Kissing on the cheeks in France is called faire la bise and it’s how they say “hello”! 


What language should I learn - Italian

Unlike English, the Italian language is pronounced exactly how it is written. It really requires you to get your mouth muscles moving in order to form the different sounds – think of “bru-sche-tta,” where the “ch” sounds like a “k.”

Italian has a sing-songy rhythm that people either love or hate – but almost everyone falls head over heels for it! It helps that Italy is a country rich with history (Rome – the capital of the Roman Empire), beauty (the Sistine Chapel and Michelangelo’s “David”), and pasta (there are over 250 different, locally-produced types).

Remember that if you decide to learn Italian you will probably only be able to use it in Italy. But there is so much to see in Italy, from the fashion runways of Milan to the canals of Venice. Just don’t forget to learn a few hand gestures along with vocabulary as they can make a big difference in getting your point across to the locals.


What language should I learn - Korean

Korean may seem difficult from the outside, but at heart, it’s a made-to-order language for eager learners. That’s because its alphabet was developed back in the 15th century with the primary goal of being easy to learn. It only contains 24 letters and is entirely phonetic, so if you can read a word, you can pronounce it correctly 100% of the time.

Yes, there are Chinese characters to master and politeness is a big deal so you need to make sure you understand how to show respect, but that’s just a part of the fun of learning this new language.

There are about 80 million people in the world who speak Korean. Korea is also home to Samsung technologies and some US military bases, so there are plenty of expats around if you decide to go abroad for work or travel.


What language should I learn - Japanese

People who like a challenge will love learning Japanese. That’s because it has not one, not two, but three different writing systems (including those ever-present Chinese characters). The good news is that unlike Chinese, Japanese is a lot easier to speak. In fact, Japanese only has five vowel sounds and the consonants generally overlap with English sounds.

Japanese grammar is different, but not nearly as complicated as some Romance languages can be. Another benefit of learning Japanese is that you’ll have plenty of opportunities to practice your listening skills, as Japan exports the famous Manga and Anime programs that make for great learning material.

Japan itself is full of variety, from the modern city of Tokyo to the ancient temples of Kyoto and the snow-capped tip of Mount Fuji. It’s also very fun to visit because your Japanese will surely come in handy, unlike other countries where you can get by with just knowing English.

We hope this article helped you answer the question, “What language should I learn?” Now that you know which language suits you best, leave us a comment to let us know what you decided. Still haven’t made up your mind? Consider signing up for TakeLessons Live where you can sample beginner-level classes in a variety of languages for free!

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Guest Post Author: Meredith C. is a linguist and polyglot who has spent the last 10 years in various roles from teaching to curriculum development. She holds a Master’s in Applied Linguistics and Second Language Acquisition from the University of Oxford.

12 Expert Tips on How to Learn Korean Fast!

How to learn Korean fast

There are dozens of reasons you might be wondering how to learn Korean fast. For starters, South Korea has the 11th largest economy in the world. In addition, Korean is the 12th highest spoken language with more than 77 million speakers.

The possibilities that stem from learning Korean are endless! Whether you want to learn Korean for business or pleasure, (or watching K-dramas), there are several strategies that can propel you to fluency faster. Here are 12 expert tips on how to learn Korean fast.

How to Learn Korean Fast

Tip #1: Learn Hangul

As with any new language, mastering the alphabet is a great way to kickstart your journey to fluency. While the unfamiliar Hangul characters may seem intimidating at first, the Korean alphabet is not very difficult to learn.

Unlike other languages which evolved from pictographs, Hangul was purposely invented by King Sejong in 1443 to be as easy as possible for Koreans to learn.  

Hangul is made up of 24 letters including 14 consonants and 10 vowels. The shapes of the written consonants are based on the shape that the mouth forms when making each sound. Vowels are made up of vertical and horizontal lines. It’s no exaggeration to say that you could learn Hangul within the next hour or two.

As an added bonus, Hangul is an entirely phonetic language, meaning that it will always sound exactly how it is written. In English, more than 60% of words contain silent letters (for example – knee, wrist, daughter, island, etc.). Hangul is much more straightforward and easy to master. 

Tip #2: Build Your Vocabulary

Once you have Hangul down, you can start building up your vocabulary. Begin with the basics such as numbers, days of the week, and basic conversational phrases, then add to your vocabulary depending on the reason you’re studying Korean.

If you wish to learn Korean for an upcoming trip, focus on words related to directions and transportation. Interested in Korean food? Work on your kitchen and cooking-related vocabulary.

As you start learning more new words, write them down in a notebook. The simple act of writing words down will help you practice Hangul and commit the word to memory. It’s even better if you can think of a fun picture or story to help you remember the word!

Tip #3: Konglish is Your Friend

There are many “Konglish” (Korean+English) words that make up a significant sum of everyday language.

Loan words are words which borrow both the sound and meaning from the English word. These words are very easy to recognize as they sound like the word in English, only with a Korean accent. Some examples include:

  • 컵 (kuhp) = cup
  • 카페 (ka-peh) = cafe
  • 초콜릿 (cho-kol-lit) = chocolate
  • 카메라 (ka-meh-ra) = camera
  • 택시 (tek-shi) = taxi
  • 인터넷 (in-tuh-net) = internet
  • 스무디 (soo-moo-thee) = smoothie

Other Konglish words sound like English words but have different meanings. Often, Koreans will shorten an English word to make a new Konglish word. Some examples include:

  • 에어컨 (air-con) = air conditioner
  • 노트 (note) = notebook
  • 밴드 (band) = band-aid
  • 헬스 (health) = health club, gym

Do a quick online search of common Konglish words. You’ll be surprised at how much Korean you already know!

Tip #4: Surround Yourself with Korean

One of the best ways to keep your brain engaged with Korean is to expose yourself to the language daily. This can be as simple as changing your phone’s language settings, or sticking post-it notes on everyday items around the house with their Korean words.

Surrounding yourself with Korean doesn’t have to mean hours upon hours of grueling study every day. On the contrary, you can keep Korean on your mind by using downtime wisely. Take advantage of your commute to work and lunch breaks to practice Korean.

Quiz yourself with flashcards or play games on a fun Korean app. If you prefer to go hands-free, make use of the many Korean podcasts and audio books as you work out or drive. Downtime adds up quickly and can be very useful if you want to learn Korean fast.

Tip #5: Discover your Learning Style

One simple, but crucial tip for how to learn Korean fast is to understand your unique learning style. There are three main learning styles:

  • Visual (learning by seeing)
  • Auditory (learning by listening/hearing)
  • Kinesthetic (learning by actions)

While some students are a mix of all three, knowing what your particular learning style is can help you maximize your Korean studies and learn more efficiently.

Learning styles for how to learn Korean fast

By using specific study methods that work best with your learning style, you will find that things like memorizing new vocabulary will become much easier. Take the learning styles test here to find out which method works best for you.

Tip #6:  Take Lessons with a Korean Teacher

Structured learning through private lessons with an experienced tutor can provide the extra push you need to truly fast track your learning. Not only will you have someone to guide you through tricky concepts like grammar rules, but you’ll also have someone to hold you accountable to reaching your goals.

A good Korean tutor will be able to cater to your learning style and develop a personalized lesson plan for you. Whether your language goals are work-related or personal, learning from a qualified Korean teacher provides the one-on-one guidance you need to learn Korean faster.  Interested in working with a Korean tutor near you, or online? Find a Korean teacher here.

Tip #7: Find a Language Partner

There’s no doubt that the best way to improve your language skills is to get as much speaking time as possible. Find a Korean language group near you on sites like Meetup. If you don’t have any Korean communities nearby, you can also try finding language partners online through forums or groups on Facebook.

Commit to meeting weekly with your language partners, and establish a rule that you’ll only speak in Korean. Come prepared with a topic to discuss, so rather than going through the same small talk each week, you will be able to have a more in-depth conversation.

You can also chat with language partners using KakaoTalk, the most widely used chatting app in Korea. Chances are, if your new language buddies are Korean, they already have the app installed on their phone! By practicing with native Korean speakers, you’ll be introduced to local slang, idioms, and be able to improve your accent. 

Tip #8: Take a Group Korean Class

While learning a language can (and should) be a lot of fun, you might find yourself losing some motivation after a period of time. Find ways to keep your practice routine fresh, such as taking a group Korean class with other like-minded learners.

Group Korean classes are more dynamic than independent learning, with instant feedback from an instructor and interaction with other students. They’re another excellent way to practice your conversation skills while learning about important topics such as grammar and pronunciation.

TakeLessons Live offers fun and interactive group Korean classes for students at every level. With a free month-long trial for all classes, it’s a no-brainer to try it out for yourself. Classes are held at varying times throughout the week to fit into any busy schedule.

Tip #9: Watch K-dramas and Listen to K-pop

Watching Korean dramas, movies, and TV shows is a fun way to incorporate more Korean into your daily life and increase your vocabulary. If subtitles are available, turn them on in case you come across a word you haven’t learned yet.

After a while, you’ll be surprised at your brain’s ability to connect phrases and vocabulary with their meanings, even if you haven’t exclusively studied them yet!

Listening to Korean artists or radio stations is another good habit to get into. While you won’t understand everything at first, try to pull out keywords and piece together the general meaning of a song. Then, try singing along with the Hangul lyrics to improve your pronunciation.

It’s a well known fact that music or melodies can help you memorize new ideas, so go ahead and indulge yourself in some K-pop!

SEE ALSO: 7 Reasons Why Learning Korean Isn’t As Hard As You Think

Tip #10: Have an Immersion Experience

If you have the time and resources, the best way to learn Korean fast is through complete immersion in Korean culture. Take a trip to Korea and you’ll be challenged to speak and read in Korean at every turn.

Although many Koreans will be able to speak to you in English, commit to only speaking in Korean. If you have to, explain that you are trying to learn the language.

If visiting Korea is not a possibility, try to find a way to have a complete immersion experience locally. Is there a Korean town nearby? Take a day trip there and only speak in Korean, whether you’re ordering at a Korean restaurant or shopping for groceries.  

Tip #11: Set SMART Goals

All the above are excellent tips for how to learn Korean fast, but without specific goals you may find yourself overwhelmed with all the new information you’re taking in. Set SMART goals to create a learning strategy that includes healthy milestones and will keep you motivated to achieve the next steps.

Set goals for how to learn Korean fast

Source: Smart About Money

Instead of having a vague goal such as “I want to learn Korean fast,” set SMART goals like “I want to be able to order in Korean at a Korean restaurant by the end of this month,” or “I want to be able to write a paragraph in Hangul by the end of this week.”

Think about the reason you’re learning Korean and set specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and time-bound goals to keep you focused.

Tip #12: Don’t be Discouraged

If you’ve made it this far, you’re obviously serious about learning Korean. Don’t be discouraged if/when you make mistakes along the way, and don’t be afraid to step outside your comfort zone to practice speaking Korean more. Native speakers will appreciate your efforts and enjoy helping you learn!

Mastering Korean takes time and effort; as the saying goes, “Nothing worth having comes easy.” So celebrate each time you achieve a goal, and remember what inspired you to learn Korean in the first place! It will feel incredibly rewarding when you look back and realize how much Korean you’ve learned to speak, read, and write.

Now that you know the best tips for how to learn Korean fast, you’re ready to get started! While some sources say it can take over 2,000 hours to master Korean, the above tips are sure to speed up the process. You can do it! 파이팅!

Guest Post Author: Jade B. is a Korean-Australian writer and world traveler whose love of languages and cultures hasn’t shown signs of stopping. She holds a B.A. in Communication Studies and currently works as a translator.

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spanish past tense conjugation

How to Conjugate Verbs in the Spanish Preterite (Past Tense)

Past Tense (Preterite) Conjugation: How to Conjugate Spanish Verbs

Spanish past tense conjugation is necessary for describing situations and events that have already happened. Once you learn these conjugations, you’ll be able to talk about so much more with friends and family!

[This is Part 3 of a guide to conjugating Spanish verbs. In previous posts, we’ve reviewed the basics of conjugating Spanish verbs, as well as how to conjugate stem-changers].

Next, we’re going to take your verb conjugation skills to an even higher level. This involves learning Spanish past tense conjugation, so that you aren’t restricted to only describing actions in the present tense.

How to Conjugate Verbs in the Spanish Preterite

It’s important to note that Spanish has two types of past tenses: the preterite and the imperfect. Here, we’ll start with Spanish preterite conjugations and review the imperfect in a future post.

The Spanish preterite tense is a way to express the past, and it breaks down verbs into five different endings. Keep reading to learn how to change a verb into its past tense form.

Conjugating -AR Verbs in the Spanish Preterite

Here is an example using the Spanish verb mirar (to watch). First, shave off the -ar ending. Then…

  • If you are referring to Yo or ‘I,’ add the letter é to end the conjugated verb, forming miré.
  • If you are referring to  or ‘you,’ use the ending –aste, to form miraste.
  • If you are referring to él or ella or ‘he’ or ‘she,’ use the ending –ó to form miró.
  • If you are referring to nosotros or ‘we,’ use the ending –amos to form miramos. (This is the same as present tense conjugation!)
  • If you are referring to ellos or ‘they,’ use the ending –aron, to form miraron.

SEE ALSO: 46 Spanish Adjectives to Describe All Your Friends

Conjugating -ER Verbs in the Spanish Preterite

Now let’s use comer (to eat), as an example. First, shave off the -er ending. Next…

  • If you are referring to Yo or ‘I,’ use the ending –í, (instead of é) to form comí.
  • If you are referring to  or ‘you,’ use the ending –iste, to form comiste.
  • If you are referring to él or ella or ‘he’ or ‘she,’ use the ending –, to form comió.
  • If you are referring to nosotros or ‘we,’ use the ending –imos, to form comimos.
  • If you are referring to ellos or ‘they,’ use the ending –ieron, to form comieron.

Conjugating -IR Verbs in the Spanish Preterite

Conjugating -ir verbs shares the same rules as conjugating -er verbs. See the following chart as an example.

Vivir (to live):
Yo viví
Tú viviste
Él/Ella/Usted vivió
Nosotros vivimos
Ellas/Ellos/Ustedes vivieron

SEE ALSO: 75 Most Helpful Spanish Cognates

Ready for some Spanish past tense conjugation practice? Fill out the following chart:

Spanish Conjugation Chart - Preterite

12 Irregular Spanish Preterite Endings

There are 12 core verbs in Spanish that have irregular past tense conjugations in the preterite tense. Fortunately their main endings are similar to what we’ve already learned in this post: –é, –iste, , –imos, –isteis, –ieron/*eron. Here are the 12 verbs, also known as “the dirty dozen.”

Spanish Dirty Dozen - Irregular Past Tense Conjugations

Let’s conjugate estar as an example:

Estar (to be):
Yo estuve
Tú estuviste
Él/Ella/Usted estuvo
Nosotros estuvimos
Ellas/Ellos/Ustedes estuvieron

Now that you know how to conjugate Spanish past tense verbs, you’re once step closer to becoming fluent in Spanish! As always, it’s a great idea to work with a Spanish tutor who can help you work through these concepts and provide extra guidance as needed.

You can also take online Spanish classes to get even more practice conjugating verbs in everyday conversation. Buena suerte!

Jason N width=Post Author: Jason N.
Jason N. tutors in English and Spanish in Fairfax, CA. He majored in Spanish at UC Davis, lived in Mexico for 3 years where he completed a Master’s degree in Counseling, and studied Spanish Literature and Psychology at the University of Costa Rica. Learn more about Jason here! 

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Photo by John Loo

Everything You Need to Know About Open Handed Drumming

Open handed drumming

It’s known by a few names: “Open handed drumming,” playing with a “left hand lead,” playing “uncrossed,” or simply “open.”

Whatever you decide to call it, open handed drumming is a way of setting up and playing your drum set so that one hand doesn’t cross over the other while playing the time-keeping cymbals (like the hi-hats, or ride).

It can equate to playing time with your non-dominant hand, and it also can mean playing the hi-hats or ride cymbals in unusual locations around the set to keep your hands from crossing.

In this article, we’ll share the proper way to learn the open handed drumming style, as well as its pros and cons. First, let’s take a quick look at how open handed drumming began.

A Brief History of Open Handed Drumming

Open handed drumming is not a new phenomenon at all. When Jim Chapin’s book Advanced Techniques for the Modern Drummer was first published in 1948, he encouraged drummers to play with their hands “uncrossed.”

The first wave of high-profile open handed drummers came about in the mid ’60s, and it has continued through today. This is only a fraction of the well-known, open handed drummers:

  • Gary Chester (studio drummer/author)
  • Lenny White (Miles Davis, Return to Forever)
  • Billy Cobham (Miles Davis, Mahavishnu Orchestra)
  • Dennis Wilson (the Beach Boys)
  • Joe English (Paul McCartney & Wings)
  • Rayford Griffin (Jean-Luc Ponty)
  • Scott Travis (Racer X, Judas Priest)
  • Phil Gould (Level 42)
  • Mike Bordin (Faith No More)
  • Carter Beauford (Dave Matthews Band)
  • Mike Mangini (Dream Theater)
  • Bobby Jarzombek (Halford, Fates Warning)

Pros and Cons of Open Handed Drumming

Could this style of playing be right for you? Here are some of the pros and cons of open handed drumming to help you decide.

The Pros of Open Handed Drumming

The biggest advantage of open handed drumming is the most obvious one: ergonomics! You can set things up more easily to work with your arm and leg lengths, your hands don’t get in the way of each other, and you’ll be able to hit parts of your set without having to stop hitting another.

With your arms in an open position, your torso opens up, and your lungs can take in more oxygen, which is necessary for your muscles to work properly. Your posture is also likely to improve.

With open handed drumming, your hands can become equal strength partners. Making sure that you don’t have a “weak hand” opens up a lot of possibilities for you.

You can also get more creative with your set-up. With the parts of your drum set in non-traditional spots, your mindset will be different and your playing has a much better chance of sounding unique.

Working on open handed drumming can benefit ANY player, regardless of whether they’re right-handed or left-handed. It also works in ANY genre of music. There’s really no musical situation in which this approach wouldn’t work.

The Cons of Open Handed Drumming

The biggest con with open handed drumming is that you might struggle to make your non-dominant hand do things it’s just not used to doing. It takes a lot of time, effort, and consistent practice to make it happen.

If you concentrate on open handed playing exclusively, you run the risk of having a hard time playing on other drum sets. On the flip side, if you’re the one providing a drum set for a multi-band event, other drummers will all have to adjust things to play on your set.

Another potential issue is cost. In order to place things in non-traditional spots around your drum set (for example, a hi-hat on the right side for a right-handed player), you might have to get some specialized hardware (like X-hat or cable hat rigs, percussion mounts and clamps, additional cymbal and snare stands).

SEE ALSO: 11 Drum Exercises for Speed, Independence, and Control

How to Get Started with Open Handed Drumming

If you’ve decided that you want to give open handed drumming a try, it won’t take much to get started! Here are a few simple steps you can take:

  1. The first step is simple – just lower your hi-hat cymbals to a level that permits you to play them with your non-dominant hand comfortably, with all the stick angles of attack that you use with your dominant hand.
  2. Next, begin to play very simple grooves with just quarter notes on your hi-hats at first, then eighth notes, and eventually, sixteenth notes.
  3. Concentrate on the evenness and timing of your hats, but keep in mind that it’ll affect your snare drum hand and bass drum foot too, so remember to keep your hands and feet hitting together consistently.

At first, things will sound a little rough and ragged, but keep at it! Before you know it, it’ll start to sound a lot smoother. You can decide later if you want to move any other parts of your drum set around to experiment.

As mentioned earlier, open handed drumming is a technique with rich history and a lot of great, inspirational drummers choose to play this way. It takes some getting used to if you’ve already been drumming for a while, but there are several benefits that definitely make it worth considering.

To get the most out of your drum learning quest, it’s always best to work with an experienced drum teacher. There are lots of highly qualified teachers at TakeLessons, so you can be sure to find someone who’s a good fit for you and your needs. Best of luck learning these and other drumming techniques!

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What instrument should I learn

What Instrument Should I Learn? [Quiz]

What instrument should I learn

If you’re completely new to music, you’re probably asking “What instrument should I learn?” Learning how to play an instrument is one of the most beneficial things you can do for yourself, whether you’re 15 or 50, so great job getting started!

There are so many instruments to choose from that starting from scratch can feel overwhelming. In this article, we’ll share a little bit about five of the most popular instruments to help you decide.

First, take this fun and helpful quiz that pairs you up with an instrument that matches your personality, preferences, and goals!

What Instrument Should I Learn?

The Smart Choice: Piano

Arguably the most versatile instrument on the planet, the piano is an excellent option for creating inspiring music.

One major advantage of this instrument is the way its keys are laid out. The keyboard is a near perfect mirror of the steps needed to understand music theory, and this is why we’ve dubbed piano “the smart choice.”

The piano is a great instrument for adults and children. Students of any age or background can learn how to produce tones on the piano within just a few minutes. However it can take years to master more advanced piano skills.

what instrument should I learn - guitar

The Popular Choice: Guitar

Electric, acoustic, and classical guitar – there are so many options! Each instrument is unique and better suits the needs of different students.

No matter how old you are, the guitar is an absolute blast to play. Students typically learn to master chords and scales after a month or two, but it can take years to master the instrument’s more virtuosic capabilities like fingerpicking, arpeggios, and soloing.

The electric guitar is the best choice for younger students because its strings are easier to play than the acoustic or classical guitar’s. Keep in mind though that you’ll need an amplifier to go with it.

SEE ALSO: Top 10 Most Unique Instruments to Learn

what instrument should I learn - violin

The Challenging Choice: Violin

The violin is capable of producing some of the world’s most achingly gorgeous music, but it’s an instrument that can take many years to master.

The violin is similar to the guitar except that there are no frets, and this makes it especially challenging to learn. But even with its challenges, the right violin teacher can help students of any age navigate this incredible instrument over time.

If you’re interested in picking up the violin, give yourself six months to a year to master some of its basic concepts. The violin requires patience and persistence; you won’t sound like Joshua Bell or Antonio Vivaldi right away!

what instrument should I learn - ukulele

The Simple Choice: Ukulele

The ukulele is the friendliest instrument to learn on the planet, but that’s not the only reason you should consider playing it. Ukuleles are inexpensive, portable, and cheery-sounding instruments that are perfect for creative songwriters.

Amanda Palmer and Israel Kamakawiwo’ole are a few well known uke musicians, but thousands of artists around the world play this fun instrument. The only real downside of the ukulele is that it’s extremely limited as far as sound and dynamics go.

If you’re looking for an awesome starter instrument for kids, the uke is best choice available, hands down. Kids can learn how to play simple chords on the ukulele within a week or two.

what instrument should I learn - drums

The Fun Choice: Drums

If you’re looking for an instrument that lets you be loud and expressive, then the drums are perfect for you. Drums come in all shapes and sizes, but most sets have a snare, bass drum, hi-hat, and toms.  

Do Buddy Rich, Ringo Starr, and Keith Moon inspire you? Listening to some of music’s famous drummers before deciding which instrument you should learn is a good idea.  

It can take a few months of practice on the drums to be able to produce solid and discernible beats. The drums aren’t too difficult to learn, but you’ll definitely want to work with an experienced drum teacher to ensure that you’re learning correct technique.

We hope this article and quiz helped you answer the daunting question “What instrument should I learn?” If you need more help choosing the right instrument for you, try sampling a few beginner-level lessons in several different instruments before committing to just one.

Check out TakeLessons Live where you can take FREE classes in each of these instruments for 30 days!

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Guest Post Author: Patrick McGuire is a writer, musician, and educator. He records and performs music under the name, Straight White Teeth.