Friday, September 16, 2016

Video-- Fingerpicking Strum Pattern-- with Country Roads

  This is a fingerpicking strum pattern-- using alternating bass notes, then a finger note, down hand strum, and backwards up strum with finger. 

  Shown using John Denver's "Country Roads", we use the chords G--Em--D--C--G. Hope all of you can follow along and we can learn this together.

Thanks to my friend Dennis who videoed this short lesson.

Video Lesson-- Fingerpicking Pattern

For My Students : This is a basic fingerpicking pattern. 

 Hope you all can grasp this, play along with me, and we all can learn the technique together.

Thanks to my friend Dennis who videoed this short lesson.

Sunday, April 3, 2016

New Scale Exercises

     Here are some Scale Exercises.  They are basic Major Scales.   You can experiment, add other scales or exercises of your own.   This is just a starting point--- a launching pad for exploration and learning.   They will help stretch your fingers, as well as assist in learning the notes of the scales, and how they fit together to form chords and types of note patterns.

   Take your time in playing these.  Notice the similarities in the different scales.   Also take note as to the fret patterns--- open, 1, 3;  open, 2, 3;  open 2, 4;  etc.   Get to know which keys and scales start and end on which notes or guitar frets.   Eventually, you will get more comfortable in finding these notes on your own.

'Fives' Exercise
    "Fives" takes you through the first five notes of each Major Scale.  Notice the fret patterns.   Which fret patterns are the same?    Some are similar, though not identical.  They are the same patterns, only on different strings.

'1-3-5' Exercise
     This "1-3-5" scale exercise takes you through the 1st, 3rd, and 5th notes of each Major Scale.   It is no coincedence that these are the three notes that make up each Major chord.   Therefore, this exercise is like playing a chord, only as an arpeggio : that is, one note at a time.   Enjoy this exercise, and again, look for similarities in scale patterns.

'Up & Down' Exercise
     The "Up and Down" exercise is like a Stair Stepping exercise, it first goes up, then down, and then all around.  You'll enjoy playing this one.   Start slow and then work yourself up to playing it faster.   It's a fun exercise to learn.

Monday, November 16, 2015

Alternate Bass Lines

   A couple of my students asked me to explain in more detail the concept of Playing Alternate Bass Lines.   They are a fairly simple thing to understand.   A little more difficult to play.   But when you get the hang of it-- through repeated practice-- it becomes easier and easier.

   An Introductory Note--- As I've always reinforced in my teaching, skill or accuracy comes first--- then speed.  We often want to play it just as fast as everyone else--- without the practice that they put it in to get to that point.  We may be able to play a few notes really fast, but then start making mistakes.   The key is to play it accurately, no matter how slow or fast.   Speed can be gained later.   Once you master something, it is a LOT easier to learn to play it faster.

  Okay-- here's the concept.  Instead of strumming each and every beat, you alternate in two different ways.  
  •  First-- you alternate a Bass Note for a strum.  On every other beat, you play a single bass note instead of a strum.  
  •   Second--- you alternate Bass Notes.  Every other bass note, you alternate the note played.  Using two Bass Notes, you play one, then the other. 

      Here are the Alternate Bass Patterns for the G, C & D chords.

For the G chord, you simply use the Bass Note on the 6th String and the Bass Note on the 4th String (within the G chord).    You do NOT have to move any fingers.  Just play your "G" chord and alternate 6th and 4th string bass notes (with your thumb or pick) on the 1st and 3rd beats with strums on the 2nd and 4th beats.

   You notice the parantheses with "or Em"--- this is the same Alternate Bass pattern that you will use for this other chord--- however, the notes will be different, because the chord is different.

WALKING UP to the "C" Chord----  to get from the G chord to the C chord, you can "walk up" the bass line--- like this

For the C chord, you play the Bass Note on the 5th string--- and then MOVE the finger from the 5th string to the 6th string for the alternate Bass Note.

WALKING DOWN from G to D--- to go from the G chord to the D chord, you walk the Bass Note (6th String) down from 3rd fret to 2nd fret to Open, then the Open 4th String--- (D Chord).

    The D chord pattern is much like the G chord, in that you do NOT have to MOVE any fingers, but the pattern is reversed.  Instead of playing a Bass Notes on the 6th and 4th, you play on the 4th and 5th strings.  You go "down" instead of "up"--- this one's just as easy as the G pattern. 
   As they say in the cartoon, "That's all folks!"   Not too difficult, once you spend several hours practicing it over and over and over again.   As always, if you have any questions, just ask.


    We've studied playing DOUBLE-STOPS, which are basically two--note chords.  Another example of a Double--Stop would be Octaves.   Most of you are probably familiar with what an octave is-- it is an interval from one Root Note to the next-- or the eighth scale step. They will have the same note designation, but are either higher or lower.

   Here is a handout from your Guitar Workbook.  It is found on page 5--4 called "Octaves". Look at the strings and the relationships between them.   You should be able to see the relationships and why the notes on one string are two or three frets ahead or behind the notes on the other string.   Before you ask, "What in the World are you Talking About?"-- take some time going over these and asking yourself these questions-- what string(s) are these notes on?   

     I'll give you a little bit of help.   Look at the string names.   We'll use the first example on the Top Left.  The first note is on the "A" string.  The other note on is on the "G" string.  Take note that in the Musical Alphabet--- G is the last note of the alphabet--- and then A is the first letter.   So actually "A" comes after "G".   So because of this, the note on the A string is two frets BEHIND the note on the G string.   Look how this holds true for all of the other examples too.

     Here is an example of Octaves being played in a song.  This is the chorus of "Jingle Bells."   Although the fingerings for these double--stops are not given, they are discovered by ease of playing.   There are some "anchor notes" here, which allow you short--cuts in playing.   Take your time, and find the Right Way to play these.   If you have any questions, please ask me.

        Hope you enjoyed looking at this Lesson on Octaves.  See you in Class !