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Feel the Strings

Josh Graves (2401) · [archive]
Style: Theory/Reference · Level: Beginner · Tempo: 120
Pages: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7

For the purposes of this lesson, right hand fingers will be referred to as: thumb=T, index=i, middle =m, ring=r. Left hand fingers will be numbered: index=1, middle=2, ring=3, pinky=4.

This is one of the most basic left hand warm-up exercises. Continue the sequence until you reach the twelfth fret, then come back down in the same manner. Make sure your left hand fingers stay planted as you move up the frets (when your 4 finger is down, all the others should be too). Efficiency is critical for both hands in guitar playing and unneeded finger movement should be avoided.

For the right hand simply alternate plucking with the i and m fingers. Classical fingerstyle uses free stroke and rest stroke, but for these exercises we will focus on free stroke. This means to pluck the string and then not allow your fingertip to rest on the next lower string. The i finger should be preparing to pluck the next string as the m is in use, and vice versa. Again, efficiency is crucial so try to use as little finger movement as possible without sacrificing a strong attack. The key is to get both fingers to be able to create a very comparable attack, so that dynamics and tonal color are smooth. Start slowly and always use a metronome to strengthen accuracy and consistency (not to mention tempo). Start with the i finger and alternate every note so that each four note pattern begins with the i.

One more thing: DO NOT plant the pinky of your right hand on the body of the guitar. If you already have this terrible habit, I suggest you break it. (I know some very accomplished guitarists do it, but it really lessens your ability to use the fingers freely.) My method to stabilize the right hand (in this exercise) is to rest the thumb on the next lower string from the one being attacked, and in the case of the sixth string, I use the body of my guitar. If you have any questions regarding any part of this lesson, send me a message.
Feel the Strings