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Flying Round The Frets

Dave Ratcliffe (289) · [archive]
Style: Basics · Level: Intermediate · Tempo: 70
Pages: 1 2 3

How to Fly Around the Frets
Let's say you understand something of: chords, extensions (inc c.a.g.e.d.) and know the main vertical shapes of the Diatonic, inc. some or all of these:
Major, minor, modes, pentatonics, diminished, augmented (wholetone)

If you're self-taught, like me, you'll feel some sense of accomplishment. And yet... There is frustration--especially when you hear the best players.

That frustration will remain. It has to. The process has been compared to mountain climbing; some are content to ramble the foothills; others struggle up the Alps; the Himalayas are a distant dream. Nothing wrong here. Worldwide, 50m guitar players struggle on. There is always one more slope...

How can I approach my optimum ability? Humbly, I hope to provide a few answers or pointers--not exhaustively...

Ask... Is my problem Musical or Physical?

Physical My bet is that the physical aspect figures highly.

Holding the guitar When standing, hold the guitar at 45o; the plucking hand should be over your bellybutton; the head of the guitar level with your chin.
Sitting down? Ditto! Low down over your right thigh will restrict you and bend your wrist. Your restrictions could be this simple! Use your strap to address your instrument and pose later. (I can nag; I'm old).

Fret Positions Start using your pinky. Don't rely entirely on just sliding around, learn how to shift:

The 'o' = frets. The 1, 2, 3, 4, = fingers. Practice high, then lower, fret by fret.

And now, Warm Ups. The 1st ones I saw as a child, played outside the church hall before a social dance. The player said, 'I am preparing to leave the human race, son.' I'm sure they're prewar (WWII).

Yes, this is a chord shape. Top 4 strings = a Maj 7. It doesn't matter what the chords are; it's the best finger-stretcher there is. Try and spot the pattern. Start high and work down to the Open position.
There are 5 shapes. '1' should be used as 'Home Keys' are in typing exercises. You will return to this shape between the others = '2', '3', '4', '5'
The shapes will follow, but play them in this order:
1 2 1 3 1 4 1 5 1

1 (Home)
2
3
4
5


The next stage? Play the shapes in random order.
The constant return to '1' (Home Keys) has different functions inc. brainwashing & programmed reactions. Now you have to train the fingers to be more independent. Result? Better chord changing.
(Sounds good propaganda, anyway.)

For more warm ups, finger-twisting, and stretching, see page 2...