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    Guitar 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.
Download Beginner Exercises

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 don’t 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 a brush.”

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… Right hand: 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.
Download Beginner Chords

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!!
Download Barre Chords

Download all 3 instruction sheets together


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