Rules!!! © 2005, D.B. Imig
Sit Up! Guitar face vertical. Lean over to view fingers/fretboard. Do
not tip guitar back. No elbows resting on knees or legs. Prop leg if necessary.
Left hand shaped like a C. Fingers curled. Left thumb behind
first fret, just under the fretboard or behind the neck. Thumb parallel
with the frets.
ONE FINGER PER FRET!!! Fingers arch and curl over their assigned
fret: Index, fret 1. Second finger, fret 2. Third finger, fret 3. Little
finger, fret 4. Strings are numbered 1 thru 6. Fattest string closest
to you is the sixth. Thin guy = 1. On chord charts this string is the
one on the right. Fat guy, left. Parenthesis around a number on a chord
chart mean that finger is optional. Also note alternate fingerings listed
at the bottom of some charts. X means dont play string.
0 means string is played Open. Left hand: Index = 1. Second
finger = 2. Ring finger =3. Little finger = 4. Thumb = T. Index gets first
fret, second, second, third third, etc. etc. See above. Left hand fingers
come down straight onto strings, standing up on the fingertips, just behind
each fret. No fingernails allowed on left hand. Right arm/ elbow rests
on top bout of guitar. No other part of right arm or hand touches guitar.
Flex wrist to strum without movement of right arm. No hacksaws! No Pete
Townsends. Wrist remains flexible Think: flicking paint off
Hold pick with pointed tip upon index finger, largest round part upon
second finger, thumb grips as it opposes the two fingers.
Use either round side of pick, not the pointed end. Trust me; this is
where the speed comes from later. If not using pick
Thumb = P. Index = I. Middle = M. Ring = A. Little = C. Fingernails encouraged.
Right hand hangs relaxed. Thumb takes bass strings #s 4, 5, 6. Index
gets #3. Second #2. Third #1 string.
Start slow, develop speed later. Eighth notes are almost always played
(strummed or picked) DOWN (^) on the numbers, then UP (V)
on the ands. ie: 1 & 2 &
= ^ v ^
v. (Two beats). Same with 16th notes, only twice as fast. ie: 1
E & a = ^ v ^ v. (One beat). v = Upstroke, ^ = Downstroke
Test the sound of each chord before strumming by picking downward
each string separately resting the pick on each string just before it
is picked. Listen for dead notes and correct them with either finger positioning
behind the fret, or standing them up, or applying more pressure with thumb
which should be behind the neck and parallel with the frets. See above.
Practice these first position chords in pairs: E & Am. C & G7.
D & Dm. Practice moving fingers in groups or all at the same time,
NOT one at a time. Concentrate on getting the fingers set up on the root
notes/ bass strings first, as you are typically strumming down with the
right hand and those strings ring first. Strum back and forth between
the chords using Master/ Slave technique. The right hand (strumming)
is the master the clock. The left hand, the slave
needs to keep up. No stopping between chords. Slow down the rhythm until
left hand can keep up, then gradually increase strumming speed. Start
with 4 quarter notes all strummed down in a 4/4 measure.
The first four chords across the top of the chord sheet (G, Em, C, D7)
comprise the pivot and glide exercise. Pay strict attention
to the fingers that remain on the same notes and strings while you transition
between chords. Do not remove those fingers from their pivot
spots. After the fourth chord, return to the first by gliding
the third finger up the first string and continue the song
from the beginning.
Practice E chord UP the neck, keeping its shape
rigid. Also practice it with fingers 2,3,4, instead of 1,2,3. THREE MOST
IMPORTANT CHORDS IN ALL OF ROCK GUITAR ARE: E barre chord
(sixth string root), A Barre chord (fifth string root), and
C9 chord, so learn to bend that third finger on the left hand
backwards. Ouch! Practice something serious everyday, but remember: Have
fun always; and GUITAR RULES!!
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