Archives for: June 2005, 26

Sun, 26 June 2005

Permalink 02:45:29 pm

The Most Useful Guitar Lesson You Will Get

It doesn't matter if you play blues, rock, classical or jazz, or whether you play electric, acoustic, semi-acoustic or classical, this tip will make you a better player. It will make your playing more accurate, faster (if that's your thing) and much more enjoyable.

It was shown to me by a guitar teacher about 10 years ago and helped my playing immensely; I only wish I'd heard of it earlier. I haven't seen it mentioned anywhere else, so here goes. It assumes you're playing right-handed, so if you play left-handed obviously switch left and right when you're reading this.

1) Play the following sequence over and over, each time hit the strings harder. Let the notes ring freely, i.e. no muting.

2) Still playing at your loudest, just play the the D string, 7th fret over and over.
3) Release the pressure in your left hand until the note starts rattling, then increase it gently until it stops.

Notice how much less effort you need to play the note than you had been using before? How much more relaxed you feel? Now go back to step 1 and play that sequence again, starting quietly and gradually getting louder, but this time only pressing down with your left hand enough for the notes not to rattle.

The hardest part is trying to seperate your left and right hands, and not automatically pressing harder with your fretting hand when you hit the strings harder.

Pressing down too hard with the left hand is a habit most of us pick up the first time we play. Get out of the habit and everything becomes much easier - vibrato is less effort because you're not fighting against so much friction from the frets, bending strings the same, and you can play far quicker and more accurately because your fingers aren't so rooted to the spot.


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