Guitar Basic - Hand Positions
If you don't position your hands in the optimum
way, learning to play guitar might prove to be an uphill
struggle: playing with a good technique from the start
by positioning your hands correctly, will make learning
new techniques relatively easy.
1. Regardless of whether you are playing chords or single
notes, you should always press the fretting-hand fingers as
dose to the fretwire as possible. This technique minimizes the
unpleasant fretbuzz' sounds that can otherwise occur. Pressing
at the edge of the fret also greatly reduces the amount of
pressure that is required, enabling you to play with a lighter
and hence more fluent touch.
2. Try to keep all the fretting-hand fingers close to the fingerboard
so that they are hovering just above the strings ready to jump
into action. This minimizes the amount of movement required
when moving from one chord or note to another.
3. Unless you are playing more than one note with the same finger, you should
always use the tips of your fingers to fret notes; this will produce the sound more
directly and cleanly than using the fleshier pads of the fingers.
CORRECT hand position:
your thumb should be placed at the centre of the back of the
guitar neck, your fingers arching over the fretboard to descend more or less vertically on the strings.
INCORRECT hand position.
Avoid holding the plectrum at right angles to
your index finger, otherwise your wrist may lock.
1. If you're using a plectrum (pick), grip it between the index (first) finger and the thumb.
Position the plectrum so that its tip extends only just beyond the fingertip, by about 1/10in (25 mm).
Whilst this measurement doesn't have to be exact, make sure that the amount
of plectrum that extends beyond
the index finger is not excessive: this
would result in a lack of pick control,
making the plectrum liable to flap
around when striking the strings -
reducing both fluency and accuracy.
Alternatively, if you find that when
you try to pick a string you often miss
it completely, the cause is most likely
to be not enough plectrum extending
beyond the fingertip.
2. Although you need to hold
the plectrum with a small amount
of pressure so that it doesn't get
knocked out of your hand when you
strike the strings, be very careful not
to grip the plectrum too tightly. Excessive gripping pressure
can lead to muscular tension in the hand and arm with a
subsequent loss of flexibility and movement.
3. The most efficient way to pick single notes is to alternate between down strokes and upstrokes.
Unless you want to achieve a particular staccato sound, this 'alternate picking' technique should be
used for all melodies or lead-guitar playing.
Guitar basic - E chromatic scale
The E chromatic scale consists of a continual series of half steps, which means that every note in
open position is played This makes the scale ideal for building technique as It uses all four fingers
to fret notes. It should be played using alternate down and up plectrum strokes.
Guitar Basic - Strumming
Strumming chords forms the foundation of any guitar player's range of techniques.
Strumming can be used to accompany your own or some else's singing; it can also be used to
provide a backing for lead-guitar playing. Being able to strum in a variety of styles will
enable you to play rhythm guitar in a wide range of musical genres.
For the music to flow smoothly it's essential to develop a relaxed strumming action.
It will aid the fluency of rhythm playing if the the action comes from the wrist; a
fluid and easy strumming action is best achieved this way. with the wrist loose and
relaxed. If the wrist is stiff and not allowed to move freely then excessive arm
movement will occur, as the strumming action will be forced to come from the elbow instead.
As this can never move as fluently as the wrist there will be a loss of smoothness and rhythmic potential.
Strumming Exercises, Guitar exercises
1. Begin by strumming
an E minor chord using
four downstrums per measure, and then experiment
by inserting a quick upstrum between the second and
third beats. The upstrum should be played by an upwards
movement generated from the wrist as though the strumming
hand is almost effortlessly bouncing back into position ready
for the next downstrum. Keep practising this technique until
it feels natural, always making sure that the arm Itself isn't
moving up and down when you’re strumming.
You don’t need to strum all the strings, particularly when playing upstrums.
You'll often get a much clearer sound if you only strum the top three or four strings.
2. Progress to adding two upstrums per bar one between beats two and three, and one after
the fourth beat After the first two bars, try changing the chord to A minor and see if you can
keep the strumming pattern going If you can't change the chord quickly enough then start again
from the beginning playing at a much slower tempo.
3. To really get the strumming hand moving try adding an upstrum after every downstrum.
Although this strumming style would be too busy for most songs, this exercise does provide
practise in building a fluent strumming technique. Make sure that you have the plectrum
positioned correctly, with its tip extending only just beyond the index fingertip, so that
it does not drag on the strings as you strum.
Guitar Basic - Finger-picking
Finger-picking can provide a really interesting alternative to strumming. The technique is
not just confined to classical or folk guitarists - many rock and pop players also use finger-picking
as a method of bringing melodic interest to a chord progression and as a way of introducing musical
subtleties to a song.
Guitar basic finger-picking hand position
This is the guitar basic exercise for finger-picking
In music notation, each picking finger is identified by a letter p' represents the thumb, ‘i’ the index
finger, m' the middle finger and a the third finger. (As it is much shorter than the others, the little
finger is rarely used in finger-picking.)
The thumb is mostly used for playing the bass strings (the lowest three strings), while the
fingers are used for playing the treble strings. There are many different ways of finger-picking,
but one of the easiest is to use the 'a' finger for picking the first string, the ‘m’ finger for
the second string and the T finger for the third string.
Many guitarists use a repetitive finger-picking pattern throughout a song to create a continuity
of sound. Picking patterns nearly always begin by playing the root note of the chord (i.e. the note
that gives the letter name to the chord) on the bass string using the thumb. For example, the low E
string would be the first note of a pattern when finger-picking on a chord of E minor, and the
open A string would be the first note when finger-picking on a chord of A minor.
Here are more guitar basic exercises for finger-picking
Guitar basic exercises for finger-picking. Exercise 1
Guitar basic exercises for finger-picking. Exercise 2
If the picking pattern on a chord is repeated then sometimes a different bass Is used the second
time. This will normally be another note from the chord, usually the adjacent bass string This
technique can completely transform a simple chord progression, making it sound quite complex because
of the moving bass line. This style of finger-picking is known as alternating bass'.
It s easier to finger-pick if you let your fingernails grow a little. Using nails to pick the strings
will also give you a crisper, dearer and stronger sound.
In some musical styles, more complex picking patterns might be used on the treble strings. It is
best to practise these types of patterns on one chord until the picking pattern feels totally
comfortable Once you are familiar with a pattern it's relatively easy to apply it to a chord
progression. You just need to take care about which bass note to pick on each chord ensuring you
use the root note as your starting point
Here is one more but more complex exercise for finger-picking