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Private Guitar Lesson: Learn To Play Mary Had A Little Lamb

Aug 17, 2007
In this guitar lesson I will instruct you on how to play Mary Had A Little Lamb on your guitar. I will use ordinary english words so you don't need to know sheet music notation!

Mary Had A Little Lamb can be played on the first two strings on your guitar. There are four notes to learn and we will take this opportunity to learn a little about the guitar at the same time.

Guitar lesson: Part 1

We will begin with the first line of lyrics:

Mary Had A Little Lamb

The first note you will use is called E and is found on the first string on your guitar. This string is called E and is the thinnest string on your guitar. You can pluck this note with your right hand thumb.

The next note is D on the second string. To play the note D you need to press down the second string with one of your left hand fingers on the third fret. I suggest that you use your ring finger.

Why should you use your ring finger?

Left hand fingering on your guitar means that instead of using just one finger on your left hand to play all notes on the guitar you will use the first finger for the notes on your first fret, the middle finger for the notes on the second fret and the third finger for the notes on the third fret.

This might feel a little bit awkward at first because most people feel that the ring finger is weaker that the rest of the fingers.

If you are persistent you will experience that using these fingers will make it easier to find your way around on the fretboard without looking all the time.

Let's go back to our guitar lesson!

The next guitar note is C. Press down your first finger on the first fret of the second string to find this note. Play D again.

Now the melody goes back to E played three times. The whole sequence of notes will be:


You will probably hear that the last E will be a little bit longer than the rest of the notes.

Guitar lesson: Part 2

Here is the next line of lyrics:

Little lamb, little lamb

The first three notes are D on the third fret of the second string. Make the last one of these notes a little longer.

After these notes comes E on the first string. When you pluck a string without pressing down a fret you are playing on an open string. So we can say, play E on the open E-string.

Finish this line of lyrics by playing the note G twice. Press down you left hand ring finger on the third fret of the first string.

This sequence of notes will be:


Play the third and the sixth note a little longer than the rest of the notes.

Guitar lesson: Part 3

Let's proceed with the lyrics:

Mary had a little lamb

The words are identical with the first line. So is also the melody. In other words, the sequence of notes are:


Guitar lesson: Finale

The last line of lyrics looks like this:

Its fleece was white as snow

The melody starts with E on the first open string followed by D played twice on the second string, third fret. Next E again, and D and the song ends with C on the second string, first fret.

The whole sequence of notes looks like this:


In this guitar lesson we have learned four notes on the guitar. C, D, E and G. I recommend that you learn this melody by heart, one line at a time.

This means that you can play Mary Had A Little Lamb in C-major on your guitar!
About the Author
Peter Edvinsson is a musician, composer and music teacher. Visit his site Capotasto Music and download your free sheet music and guitar tablature at http://www.capotastomusic.com
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