Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Notes on the First String

This post is dedicated to the notes on the first string. The first string is the "E" string and when the first string is played "open" it is the note "E".
"F" and "G" are played on the 1st and 3rd fret respectively. Playing through these exercises will prepare you for our first duet.

Duet Reading: Notes on the First String

Playing duets is an excellent way to quickly improve your note reading ability. For this example, you are going to work out the notes and rhythm of Part I (the top line). We will play the duet as a class. I will play Part II.

Audio of Duet 1

Guitar I: Beginning Chord Round Up!

The expectation at this point is that you have a basic understanding and recognition of approximately 12 chords. You should be able to form the chords when asked and recognize the diagramed chord by sight.
This post will compile those beginning chords. Pleas use this post as a reference guide.
I do not expect you all to be able to move smoothly from one chord to another, but rather that you are working to that point.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Bass notes and Chord strums

Learning how to control your thumb and/or pick when strumming chords is an important part of becoming an accomplished guitarist. We have been addressing the importance of strumming the proper strings when playing particular chords. 
This post expands on that technique. Specifically, this post deals with building the technique of separating the bass note of a chord from the chord itself. This technique takes some time to get used to, but it is an important technique and will help you play certain songs and styles of music more easily.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Primary Chords: Major and minor

In a previous class we discussed the idea of primary chords. These chords are the I, IV, and V chord of a particular key. We have played the primary chords in the key of G (I = G, IV = C, V = D).
Primary chords exist in minor keys as well, but they look a little different. While Major key primary chords are all major (I, IV, V), minor key primary chords look like this: i, iv, V7

We know two of the minor chords: Em and Am
In the key of Em, these are the i and iv chords. The V7 chord is a bit more tricky and may pose more of a challenge to some of you because it uses the pinky on the left hand.
I introduce to you the B7 chord...
You'll notice when you play these chords together they have a darker more moody sound than the major chords we have been playing.

Take your time playing through these chords with the various strum patterns we have been working on.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Classic chord progression with strum variety

During class today, we introduced a classic chord progression that has been used for years in classical, jazz, and pop music. We call this progression (G, Em, C, and D) a I-vi-IV-V progression. For those of you who need to refresh your knowledge of roman numerals that mean 1,6,4,5. We use roman numeral in music because they have the ability to be upper case and lower case. In this case, that is important because upper case means the chord is major and lower case means the chord is minor. If you look at the chord progression you see that only one chord (Em) is minor and only one roman numeral (vi) is lower case. If you count G as I, then counting to 6 will bring you to E, or in this case, Em (vi). 

Try playing this progression using the strums shown on the image: Syncopated, Latin and Rock. I have included a video which demonstrates using each strum patter.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Brown-Eyed Girl/ When September Ends

Classic rock song that uses primary chords in the key of G (G, C, D) and one secondary chord (Em). Add in a little syncopated strum and you are on your way to playing your own open air summer music festival. The second example uses the chords from the verse of Green Day's When September Ends. Both of these songs can be played with the syncopated strum.


Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Guitar 1: Basic Strums- Syncopated Strum

In addition to learning your chords, a guitarist wants to have a variety of different strumming patterns to enable them to play different styles of music. This video demonstrates a strumming pattern called the syncopated strum. It is one of the most commonly used and useful strums for the guitarist. Try using this strum with the chord progression for When September Ends and you will start to hear the song emerge from the chords.

This strum follows this pattern: D DU U D     (D=Down, U=Up)

Try combining your chords into your own progression using this strumming pattern.

Guitar 1: The Notes on the First String

This video reviews the three notes on the first string: E, F, and G

Guitar 1 First five chords: A Recap

The first 5 chords are G, C, G7, Em, and D. This video will illustrate those chords and the progression used in the songs, In My Life by the Beatles and When September Ends by Green Day.

The Progression played in the video...

G       D       Em     G7     C       C       G       G
| / / / / | / / / / | / / / / | / / / / | / / / / | / / / / | / / / / | / / / / |

With each chord, please listen and observe these characteristics:

  • Clarity- with practice, each note within the chord should ring clearly. If the notes buzz or sound muffled it might be because:
    • your thumb is not positioned correctly behind the neck
    • Your callouses are still developing on your fingertips
    • Your fingers are lying flat and not arching over the strings
  • Motion- Once you are happy with the sound of the chords the next challenge is to move smoothly from one to the other
    • try to be economical with your hand movement- find the shortest path and move directly without wasted hand or finger movement
    • move slowly with your strumming patterns. Only move as fast as your weakest chord change. This will help develop consistency between chords.
  • Strumming- The most advanced strums are basically combinations of up and down strokes. When we have trouble with strums it generally is a result of the following:
    • keep your wrist relaxed so there is a natural flow on the up and down strokes.
    • Try to sync your hand motion with the rise and fall of your tapping foot. This will help you play more consistently in time.
    • Say the strumming pattern in your head as you play until it becomes second nature. (syncopated = "down  down-up  up-down-up"), etc.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Guitar 1 Day 1

Here is a quick overview of the first two basic chords. One finger G and one finger C.