Although it has been a long time since i published my initial article, i will continue this series where i left off by going into some greater details regarding the techniques discussed in the first lesson. The two main technical aspects which i will explore in these first few lesson are strumming and fretting, and i will go into more detail and explain more complex exercises to hone these particular skills.
To begin i will first describe some of the terminology that i will use for this article
It is important to know the names of all the individual parts of the guitar as i will be refering to them so that you may learn properly.
As the name suggests, this deals with the way the fingers press the string against the fretboard in order to produce sound. as a general rule for starting up, you want to spread your fingers out so that each finger is on the next fret along from the previous one, with your thumb pressed firmly against the back of the neck as a counter pressure. Whilst pressing the string, only the end but of the finger should be used, ie. not the soft fleshy part on the palm side, but the end of the finger.
This is a good point to introduce your first technical exercise for this stage of the lesson. begin by pressing your first finger (index finger) against the first fret on the top-most string. Once it is depressed, lightly pluck the string over the soundhole with the fingers of the other hand. Progress then by pressing your second finger (middle finger) onto the second fret of the same string, and once again pluck the string. Proceed like this with your third and fourth finger on the third and fourth fret, repeat this several times on all the strings. At this stage your fingertip might get quite painful; stop and play again in a few hours, getting blisters is painful and will stop any practise for at least a week.
This is the most basic finger exercise in the guitarist's arsenal, yet it is one of the most effective, and many experienced guitarists will still use it, or versions of it as a warm-up.
Using the exercise described above is an excellent way to build strength and dexterity in the fretting hand, which is essential for playing those awkward chords as well as moving between chords more quickly and cleanly. As i always suggest, get a good metronome and use it! set it on a slow tempo and play one note to a beep at first, while gradually speeding it up while you get more agile with the guitar.
Work on this for a week for about 15 minutes a day before progressing onto lesson 3, where i will break down the basics of strumming and picking techniques.