Guitar Lesson for Intermediate- and Beginning Guitar Players: Acoustic Finger Picking,Transposing and Barre Technique

On a day when I should be working on my suntan and be concerned about my hairstyle I write this blog for you about guitar playing, and to be more precise, how to improve your playing and to have more fun with your guitar in general.Let me start as a matter of introduction by mentioning what you can expect for the next few blogs: I will create a short series of articles about the following subjects
  # Making the Right Choises for Your Guitar Playing:
  Many people start out with guitarlessons by not  having a clearcut idea of what they want. The better students [and advanced guitar players as well!] are the ones who have a clear idea of what they would like to achieve. There is no such thing as ” I am interested in learning everything and anyything” no, you do need to make small, short-term goals, which are better to monitor your own progress. I have created an article on this blog in the past about setting goals. The new article will be along the lines of the previous one.

 # Techniques to Ease Yourself into Playing by Ear:
I see the following with some of my students:  Some students get very serious about their guitar playing [Hats off to them!!], get all the books I advise them to get, and as they progess they keep on reading, and playing with music stand in front of them. It is the bad habit of Classically trained guitar players. I do say BAD, because any good musician will know that you play music much better when you know the actual music, and when you play by heart. Now playing by heart and playing by ear are two different matters, but there is a relation between the two of them.
Most people really want to just play guitar, and not having to read ideas from a book to get them to play the guitar. It is all about habits [heh, I know them too well, because I have been there too, and many more of us musicians!] In this article I will introduce you to some simple tools which can help you on the way to get to play by ear.

 # Tips on Metronome, Rhythm and how to Practice your Scales to Improve your Speed Drastically:
If the word scales will give you the shivers, do not worry, I am not going to give you any fingerings for certain scalepatterns [I have not created ANY article about this yet!!] Assuming that you already play scales I will give you tips on how to use your metronome more creatively and how to progress with your speedstudies for your scales. This all with the  one and only goal to become the most economical and fastest speedmonster on the globe.

 # How to be Creative with your Scales and how to Practise them:
Once you have achieved the above goal you may want to know why you should be such a fast speedpicker. Well in this article there will be some eye opening ideas for this so stay tuned if you are a lover of shredfest!

 # Improvising and Playing Solos, How to break away from the Masses and start to sound like You:
Again I have NEVER written any articles about how to play solos. Well it takes time to get good eh? So there you are, you may have been waiting for this as it is one of the most enjoyable and hardest tasks in your career as a guitarplayer: How to play a damn good solo which does have all the right notes and rhythmic moves which keeps everyone singing your solos the whole day long. This article will be about phrasing, so get good with your 4 finger exercises now, be prepared as you will be able to burn over that fretboard with all the right colours of vanilla.

Okay that is what you can expect from me for the next few blogs, now let me zoom in what we are going to do today: I have a great fingerpicking idea which came about as I was playing on one of my unamplified Fenders [for the close reader, you will know that I mentioned before I do tend to warm up with fingerexcerises and all kind of stuff on unamplified guitars] well today’s idea came about in a similar fashion, I already had in mind what to write for today’s blog, but then this idea came along, it made me change my mind about what to write and felt I should put this idea down here as it sounds great, and is very good for taking it further as a musical idea.

Let me put the idea down here first so you can see it, then I will explain how to approach it and what else you can do with it.

  Tempo: 106 bpm

            Gm                   Em                           Asus2             C

       E –3—————–0—————–      ——————————–

       B —–3—————–0————–      –0————–1————-

       G ——–3——————0———-     ——-2—————0——–

       D —————————————     ———–2————–2—–

       A —————————————      –0———–0–3———-3–

       E –3———3——0————0—–     ———————————

Count  1  e  2     e        3 e    4       e              1  e    2   e   3     e   4  e

Observe: Each beat is played in straight 8ths, two chords per bar, pinch on beat 1 and 3 of each chord.
              Barre on beat 1 and 2 of first bar, open Strings for Beat 3 and 4 first bar, “standard” C chord at   
              end of second bar.

           To give the idea a finished feel, play after you have played original idea a couple of times,
             a D and a E chord which will create a more finished feel.

Okay, now this idea will be for intermediate players a bit easier because of the barre in the first chord, beginners may find this a bit harder.  [Try it first on an electric guitar before moving on to an acoustic!]The next three chords should be managable for players of any level.
Notice I have put a suggested tempo indication. Play it at this speed once you have a good idea of the sound of the idea and your fingers can actually keep up with a smooth action!. 

           Transposing and Barring:

This idea is great to play along the fretboard in different places. Remember what I mentioned how this idea came about, it was a mere fingerexercise before I realised you could use it as a start for a song.
I will suggest one transposing idea for the people who are not sure what tranposing is,[changing the key of a song] for those who understand the principle of transposing, just move the idea up and down all over the fretboard whilst keeping your first finger firmly barred. Do not make any changes in the fretdistances of the original idea as you will change the actual sound. When you transpose you change the PITCH of the idea, not the sound. The result will be a similar sounding musical idea but in a different pitch. To obtain same sound, the distances between each chord stays same as in original idea.

 Example of Transposing One Full Tone Up:

Move up to fret 5, barre fret 5 just as you did with the original idea, but do it now on 5th fret. For next chord barre fret 2 —-We transpose idea one whole tone up= 2 frets up!!. Open strings from original idea now become fret 2 when transposed up—
For the Asus2 in the orginal idea we get now a barre on fret 2 while your pink and ringfinger hold down the G and D string on fret 4.
Finally play D chord using C shape [Yes keep that barre on fret 2 instead of using regular open D chord shape, this to keep the sound similar to sound of original idea] with the Root on the A string 5th fret.

New Transposed Chords are now:  Am  F#m        Bsus2   D

For Intermediate players I would suggest to experiment with barring the original idea in different places on the fretboard. Try it first on an electic guitar if your fingers get a little tired, soon they should strenthen up to be able to do it an acoustic as well!

              Transposing For Beginners and Capo:

For beginners it may be an idea to use a Capo: Yes you will still need to barre the first chord, like in the orginal
idea, but that second barre, which is held for the rest of the idea will now be held down by the capo. Much easier and you still get the sound. The downside? If you want to transpose up and down over the whole fretboard you will need to readjust the capo in different places physically! Heh you can not get everything for free!!

Enjoy and See You Soon.