Beginner Lesson IV: The Basics

author: ancientson date: 07/27/2011 category: for beginners
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Hello everyone!!!! I would like to start by saying THANK YOU to all that have commented on my past lessons. I really do appreciate all your emails too! Anything I can do in the future please feel free to contact me. Also, I am going to start posting blogs that I really would not consider lessons, but rather advice. Thanks again! I) Review: Sooooooo, how much practice have you got in lately???? As an instructor there are two things I really look out for in a beginner student at this point; Does everything sound fairly well and does the student seem bored out of their mind? That is not to say I never pay attention to my students. There are things I look for and expect at certain stages of development. Once again, at the beginning of each lesson I will always ask you to go through what you have learned thus far. You should be able to: 1) Name each string. Point to a string and say it out loud. Do you need to think about it or can you just say it? 2) Can you play all eight chords? If I were to say, Play E minor. Could you? How about A major? G major? 3) Can you switch between chords using the metronome? If you can do all three, then congratulate yourself! It is time to move on. . . Are you ready to speed things up? II) Metronome practice: Here is great exercise I like to do with just about everything I learn. Grab your metronome and set it to a slow tempo, for instance 70 bpm or whatever is comfortable. Now, remember lesson II when I talked about how to use the metronome and switching chords? Same thing, but we are going to speed it up! Turn your metronome on and start counting by fours. 1-2-3-4-1-2-3-4-1-2-3-4. Now, on the one, play a chord. Remember, keep the chords, timing and your fingers even. What do I mean about fingers being even? You fingers should land at the same time when you form a chord. Check out the following example. Eminor-2-3-4 Amajor-2-3-4 Dmajor-2-3-4 Come up with any chord pattern you like, but just follow the guidelines. If you have reached this level you should be able to do all eight chords! Let's step it up now! We are going to play a chord every other click. Emajor-2-Amajor-4 Dmajor-2-Gmajor-4 Make sense???? Remember: Start slow and practice slow Stay in time with the metronome. Tap your foot or count out loud. Ensure everything is even. Once you get faster, try playing to each click! III) The dreaded barre chord: *Sigh* Barre chords are not any different than any other chord. Remember in the beginning when you learned a D chord? You practiced and now you can play it! Same thing, however, if you can master one you have mastered them all! Let's look at one and then dissect it. This is an A minor barre chord Fingering: x = do not play, o = open string, i = index finger, m = middle, r = ring, = p = little finger
In a nutshell, your index finger is spanning across all six strings, then your other fingers follow and create the chord. I want to start slow and get you used to playing multiple strings with one finger. Try this exercise; take your index finger and place it across the high E and B strings at the fifth fret. Now play only those two notes: Exercise I:
Can you hear both notes? Here are some tips: Keep your hand straight. You finger should be even with the frets. Remember, this is not creating a barre chord, I am just getting you used to that feeling and toughening up your fingers and hands. You should be using the pads of your fingers, not the tips. If you can get past this part, move on to the G string, like so:
Once you can get this down, move up to the next string and the next until you can play all strings at the fifth fret. Please do not kill yourself on this exercise! Remember the death grip? Let's avoid that and just start small. Are you still using your tennis ball? The one thing that is very important to point out is that the further up the neck you are, for instance at the eighth fret, your index finger will be straight, but once you start moving down your index finger will curve a bit. That is fine!!! That is just the nature of your hand. Are you ready to add the other notes? Now, take your ring finger and place it on the A string seventh fret, then place your pinky below it on the D string seventh fret. Like so: A minor barre chord:
IV) Conclusion I kept this lesson short for a reason; there will be a lot of practice with the barre chords. Please, please, please start slow! I do not want anyone getting hurt or discouraged. These are not difficult chords, just different. Remember to go through all that you have learned and to keep practicing. The next lessons are going to be more difficult and challenge you. I can not wait!!! Next lesson......just wait and see! Once again, any questions feel free to contact me! Peace everyone! -ancientson
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