Developing your Strumming Hand. It's really coming  

Posted by T ZAMAN in , ,

In today's lesson we have a lot to cover. We will be playing all of the chords that you have learned: A, D and G, and we will be trying a new strum with these chords. By now you should be able to play and change between these three chords. If you followed the lessons carefully you should find these exercises a logical and easy progression from what you have previously done. It's great to have you with us...

Today's lesson is based around trying to play a specific rhythmical strum on the guitar. The first three lessons have challenged your fretting hand. This lesson is going to challenge your strumming hand. Being able to play particular strums and rhythms is an important and often under practised part of playing the guitar. Many musicians get caught up in learning crazy chords or playing speedy scales. This can often lead to the neglect of rhythm which is the basis for all music.

Remember in the last lesson we talked about warming up and using the correct fingering. Before you start this lesson, just try another one of these warm up fingering drills.

This following warm up exercise involves the 6th, 5th and 4th strings (three thickest strings). Once again I would like you to use correct fingering when you are playing this. Remember your index finger is number 1, you middle finger is number 2, your ring finger is number 3 and your pinky is number 4. Play in down strokes and take your time. Try and make each note ring clear. Remember it is better to play slowly and accurately than to sound muddy and unclear.

Video and Audio Available:

Dial Up Broadband
QuickTime - Exercise 1 (930 KB)
WindowsMediaPlayer - Exercise 1 (1.96 MB)
QuickTime - Exercise 1 (2.53 MB)
WindowsMediaPlayer - Exercise 1 (3.48 MB)
Audio
Audio mp3 - Exercise 1 (489 KB)

Now that you have finished that warm up pattern it's time to move onto the main part of the lesson which is some work on strumming. Before you start on this I am going to explain some simple music theory to you. Don’t get intimidated by this as it is pretty simple.

You may or may not have noticed that most of the things you have played previously have been in groups of fours or numbers that are divisible by four. Most music is like this and if you don’t believe me turn on your radio. Try and count out in fours while listening to the playing. I am confident that you will be able to count out in fours to most pieces of music you will hear.

So previously when you were strumming up and down you were playing HALF beats. That is why I had you count out, "one AND two AND three AND four AND", to split each beat in half and strum in eights. Just to recap, let's just try one of our previous exercises again.

Once again we are working with the G chord. Strum up and down in a constant rhythm. Keep it slow and accurate. As in lesson 3, I would like you to count out, "one AND two AND three AND four AND", with your strumming.

Video and Audio Available:

Dial Up Broadband
QuickTime - Exercise 2 (516 KB)
WindowsMediaPlayer - Exercise 2 (1.14 MB)
QuickTime - Exercise 2 (1.41 MB)
WindowsMediaPlayer - Exercise 2 (1.90 MB)
Audio
Audio mp3 - Exercise 2 (313 KB)

Ok, let's push those boundries a little.

Exercise:

Basically, what I want you to do I skip a couple of beats. In terms of what you have been counting I want you to skip the ‘two’ and the ‘four’ when you are strumming. Watch the video to see what you need to strum or give it a go and see what I mean...


Video and Audio Available:

Dial Up Broadband
QuickTime - Exercise 3 (1.04 MB)
WindowsMediaPlayer - Exercise 3 (2.71 MB)
QuickTime - Exercise 3 (2.82 MB)
WindowsMediaPlayer - Exercise 3 (3.90 MB)
Audio
Audio mp3 - Exercise 3 (495 KB)

Note that I have put hollow strumming symbols below the tab chart. This is because I want you to make the strum but I don’t want you to hit the strings. When you see the hollow strum symbol, that's what that means. Listen to the count on the JAM track and try and play along. This will feel a little awkward at first, but like everything we have asked you to do, it is achievable. Keep working at it and you will be able to do it. You may notice that the JAM track provided is quite slow. This is because I want you be able to play this perfectly and in time.

Now I would like you continue the same strum but work with the chord A.

Video and Audio Available:

Dial Up Broadband
QuickTime - Exercise 4 (1.03 MB)
WindowsMediaPlayer - Exercise 4 (2.73 MB)
QuickTime - Exercise 4 (2.80 MB)
WindowsMediaPlayer - Exercise 4 (3.88 MB)
Audio
Audio mp3 - Exercise 4 (608 KB)

Cool. By now you should be having no trouble keeping up with the video. Now we will try it one more time slowly with the chord D. If you are still having trouble, try doing the measure then stopping. After stopping, wait, reset yourself, and think about what your doing and try again.

Video and Audio Available:

Dial Up Broadband
QuickTime - Exercise 5 (1.06 MB)
WindowsMediaPlayer - Exercise 5 (2.59 MB)
QuickTime - Exercise 5 (2.89 MB)
WindowsMediaPlayer - Exercise 5 (3.93 MB)
Audio
Audio mp3 - Exercise 5 (712 KB)

Now we are going to do the exact same exercises in the same order but at a quicker pace. Learning to play a song slowly and then learning it again quickly is an excellent method of learning music. You will find that increasing the speed in small increments will allow to play more complex songs than you would otherwise be able to do.

Exercise:

Go back through the last three exercises and complete them at 70 bpm (beats per minute). Try the online metronome at www.metronomeonline.com.


Now I want you to vary your strum a little. What I want you to do is strum that we have been practicing this lesson but this time we are going to open it out a little.

Video and Audio Available:

Dial Up Broadband
QuickTime - Exercise 6 (1.19 MB)
WindowsMediaPlayer - Exercise 6 (3.20 MB)
QuickTime - Exercise 6 (3.20 MB)
WindowsMediaPlayer - Exercise 6 (4.38 MB)
Audio
Audio mp3 - Exercise 6 (690 KB)

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