Guitar

Guitar Fret Trainer Tool, Learn the Notes of the Fret Board

Fret Finder Screen Shot
Fret Finder Screen Shot

Once again, one of my favorite sites for music theory tools has done it again. This time Ricci Adams site MusicTheory.net has created a guitar fretboard trainer that is different than any other I've seen.

This Fret Trainer allow you to begin with as many frets as you are comfortable with. You can start with just 1 or adjust up to 12 frets.

Also the tool lets you choose both the flat and sharp names for the pitches in instances where a pitch contains an accidental.

The tool will also keep score as you progress and allow you to print a progress report, which is useful for teachers that want to assign this as a practice method or homework assignment.

If you struggling to learn your guitar frets this adjustable tool may be just the thing you are looking for.

See you next time,

Leon Harrell

Chord and Scale Fret Finder Tool (For Guitar, Bass and Mandolin)

Learning the notes of scales and chords can be a laborious process and often times students need a good resource for checking the accuracy of them.

Although you can learn how to construct chords and scales from memory there is an absolutely amazing tool for finding scales and chords on just about any fretted instrument, including guitars, basses, and mandolins.

This tool is the Chord and Scale Fret Finder tool from StudyBass.com.

What is also great about this tool is the ability to use alternate tunings such as open C and D.

Check out the print feature as well so you can play your scales and chord offline, or keep in your instrument case for quick reference.

Until next time keep up the good practice,

Leon Harrell

Acoustic Fingerpicking for Beginners

Acoustic Fingerpicking for Beginners Lesson 1a by Lisa McCormick of GuitarTricks.com

Instructor: Lisa McCormick, Speciality: Acoustic Fingerpicking 

Website: GuitarTricks.com

This four-step fingerpicking pattern is a powerful building block for fingerstyle guitar.

For this pattern, play the sixth string (Low E) with a downward pluck of your thumb. Next, pluck upwards on the first string (high E string) with your middle finger. Next, pluck downwards on the third string (G string) with your thumb. Lastly, pluck upwards on the second string (B string) with your index finger.

This pattern of four steps constitutes one half measure of music in 4/4 time. The count is: One And Two And. To complete a full measure, simply play the pattern again, with this count: Three And Four And.

Repeat this pattern over and over, trying to maintain a consistent rhythm, and gradually building up your speed.

COMMONLY ASKED FINGERPICKING QUESTIONS:

Q: I see you are using only your thumb, index, and middle fingers? I’ve seen some players use three fingers, plus the thumb. Which is correct?

A: There is no absolute right or wrong to this. You’ll hear opinions on both sides of the aisle. My personal preference is based on the tradition called “Travis Picking” named for guitarist Merle Travis. I personally feel this pattern of finger moves, which uses the thumb twice within the pattern, opens up more rhythmic possibilities as you get into more advanced techniques.

Q: What is "TRAVIS PICKING?"

A: The signature "Travis" move is that alternating thumb beat - the fact that your thumb does double-duty, alternating between the bass note, and the third string (or a variation of that) of the guitar. That provides a steady rhythm against which you can then add ornamentations, syncopation, melody, etc. Some students ask why they can't do these same patterns using three fingers, and the thumb on the bass note only. Technically you may be able to, but in so doing you compromise that steady "thump thump" of the Travis-style thumb beats.

Q: Is it necessary to have long fingernails to play fingerstyle guitar?

A: No. My personal preference is to have long-ish nails on the thumb, index, and middle fingers of my right hand. However, many players prefer to play with short nails. There is a difference in tone when using nails vs. not using nails. With nails, the tone is a bit crisper, without nails, it is a bit more muted. It’s a matter of personal preference.

A NOTE ABOUT THE LESSONS IN THIS SERIES:

This lesson is part of a tutorial called Acoustic Fingerpicking for Beginners, Level 1. These lessons were designed to be followed sequentially, with new skills and practice exercises building one upon the next.

The Acoustic Fingerpicking tutorial series also builds sequentially, from Level 1 to Level 2, and so on. If you are new to fingerpicking, this series will take you from the fundamental basics, and all the way through to a solid foundation of fingerpicking skills useful in playing folk and popular music.

You should feel free to proceed at your own pace, and to jump around within the tutorials, as you wish. You may want to return to various lessons from time to time to make sure you are on the right track before moving to more advanced skills.

For over 3000 lessons on every guitar style and technique visit Guitar Tricks.

Understanding the Guitar Fretboard

In this guest by post by Dan Vuksanovich, from WhyISuckAtGuitar.com, we will explore the guitar fretboard.

The guitar fretboard can be a bit confusing for beginners, or even for people who have played other instruments, such as the piano, where there’s only one place to play each note, but the layout is actually very simple.

Here are the two basic pieces of information you’ll need to navigate the fretboard:

  • In standard tuning, the strings (from lowest sounding to highest sounding) are tuned to the pitches E, A, D, G, B, E. These strings are sometimes called by number, starting from the highest pitch string and ending with the lowest pitch string (e.g. the “fourth” string would be the string that plays the open D) or by note name (e.g. the “D” string).
  • Each fret represents one minor second, or half step. An open string does not count as a fret. It is simply referred to as an open string.

Using these basic pieces of information, we now also know:

  • With the exception of the G and B strings, the interval between each open string is a perfect fourth. The G and B strings are separated by a major third. This is done as a compromise to make chording and scales both relatively easy on the instrument. If the guitar were tuned in all perfect fourths, many of the barre chords used in standard tuning would not be possible.
  • Because the same pitch can be played on multiple strings, we can tune the guitar to itself fairly easily:
    • Tune the fifth fret of the low E string (or sixth string) to the open A string (or fifth string)
    • Tune the fifth fret of the A string (or fifth string) to the open D string (or fourth string)
    • Tune the fifth fret of the D string (or fourth string) to the open G string (or third string)
    • Tune the fourth fret of the G string (or third string) to the open B string (or second string)
    • Tune the fifth fret of the B string (or second string) to the open E string (or first string)
  • At the twelfth fret, the entire fretboard pattern repeats itself. The open notes at the twelfth fret are one octave higher than their respective open strings. This makes sense because the chromatic scale has twelve tones, and each fret represents one step in the chromatic scale.

Here is a diagram of the fretboard to further explain:

About the author

Dan Vuksanovich received his Master of Music degree in classical guitar performance from the Peabody Conservatory of The Johns Hopkins University in 1999. He currently teaches and blogs about how to get better at guitar via his website www.whyisuckatguitar.com.