picture of ocean





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Lesson Two

Subjects Covered

  • Chords
    • A dreamy folk song from Spain
  • Corresponding scale
    • The pentatonic major scale on the 5th fret
  • Musicality
    • Creating a groove
  • Exercises
    • Playing along to the song and working on the scale

The main points for this whole course are

  • keep your hands relaxed
  • keep your guitar in tune
  • play in time, with the rhythm
  • musicality always beats technicality
  • practice too slow instead of too fast
  • hear the music in your head
  • play along to records whenever you can
  • play with other people whenever you can

A dreamy folk song from Spain

Points to remember

  • the shape of your left hand does not need to change - just slide the chord up and down the neck
  • focus on strumming
  • play in time
  • play each chord for one measure (1 measure = 4 beats)

How to play an E chord

Part two of the lesson

Get the Song

Here's the song so you can practice playing the chords and making melodies.

The first scale

It is a pentatonic scale. You hear it in church chants, the blues, rock-n-roll, soul, jazz, etcetera. If you are interested in playing Western music, it's the first scale to know.

Proper playing technique

To start out, play from the bottom of the scale. This means play the lowest sounding note first.

Remember:

  1. Each finger plays on a specific fret and it should only play on that fret.
  2. When going up the scale - keep your index finger planted when you play the next note that's on the same string. This is important in developing tone and proper technique and left hand positioning.
  3. When going down the scale - play each note individually but maintain the tone and technique you used going up the scale.
  4. Down-pick each note. This means everytime you play a note, your right hand should go 'down' towards the floor.
  5. When you play a note, place the finger of your left hand closer to the next fret so the note will ring clearer.

Musicality

Playing the "right" notes is important. But when you are starting out it is better to focus on rhythm!

Why?

If you focus on rhythm instead of the notes, you will be able to start playing along to music a lot sooner. Also, you will be "making music" a lot sooner, too. Remember - before there was melody and harmony in music, there was rhythm.

How do I count the rhythm?

We will start counting rhythm like this:
1 2 3 4   1 2 3 4   1 2 3 4   ....
This is how most people count. You have heard it when a band counts off. It sounds something like "a one a two a one two three four". Each count is a beat. People tap their feet to the beat, or sometime to every other beat.

4 beats is a measure.

This is not always true (the waltz has three beats per measure, as an example), but in this course everything will be 4 beats = 1 measure for several months. So, remember: Four beats is a measure. And each measure starts on the one.
1 2 3 4   1 2 3 4   1 2 3 4 ...

Exercises

Learning the chords

Play the chords along to mp3. Just strum the chord on the first beat of each measure. Remember, it is the rhythm that counts, not if you get the chord to sound right!

Learning the pentatonic scale

Set your metronome on 60 clicks per minute (or even slower). If you do not have a metronome, you can use one on the net, buy one at a music store, or buy the one we suggest.

Make up a simple solo

Pick three or four notes from the pentatonic scale. Use these notes to come up with a simple solo to play over the recorded song.

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