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Lesson # 04.B – Postion Playing Example
Lesson # 04.A – Position Playing Example
Guitar Talk # 03 Can Playing Guitar Make You Rich?
Let’s get this straight. You’re not going to get rich playing guitar or being a musician. If that’s what you’re after starting to learn an instrument or getting into any form of art, forget it. Especially today, it is way more difficult to make money out of music, even for the biggest names in music business, than it was a few decades ago.
Aren’t there any musicians who make good money out of music, then?
That’s not what I’m saying, though. Yes, probably there are plenty of them but it would take something else than just being a good musician. They would’ve ended up where they are today, financially, even if they were doing something completely different anyway.
What you'd really get from being involved in music is not money and wealth, it's musical satisfaction; a sense of achievement; a focus that becomes a therapy; appreciation of effort; respect for others who had put in the hard work. In other words, things you couldn’t afford with money.
However, there are social benefits to being a musician. It’s a natural ice breaker of some sort and an automatic social value creator. People tend to trust you more. They feel like they can come over and talk to you without being afraid. Sometimes it’s a good thing and sometimes it’s not. But if you’re a young person who wants to meet new people but you’re too shy, it can be a perfect gateway for you.
Ultimately if you feel the love towards music, nothing else would be a main factor in your pursuit anyway; perhaps just icing on the cake.
Personally, music has given me, almost, nothing, financially but it did open some doors I never even knew existed before and led me where I am today. Hmmm… interesting.
Lesson # 3 Position Playing on Guitar
If done incorrectly, practicing guitar may cause injuries. It is one’s own responsibility to: See a physician, first and make sure that he/she is fit to play guitar. Always warm up and stretch before playing. Quit playing when he/she feels any muscular discomfort or pain.
Position is a section on a guitar that consists of 6 frets. A position has little over two octaves.
Position playing means playing within this range, only using the frets that are assigned for specific fingers of player’s left hand.
Covers the first two frets of a position (by stretching or sliding).
Covers the 3rd fret of a position
Covers the 4th fret of a position
Covers the last two frets of a position, 5th and the 6th, by stretching or sliding.
The name of a position comes from the second fret of a 6-fret section, one below the fret that is under our middle finger.
For example, if we’re playing a scale or a melody on 3rd position:
Our middle finger would be playing all the notes that are located on the 4th fret and our ring finger would play all the notes that are located on 5th fret without stretching anywhere.
Our index finger would be placed on 3rd fret and play all the notes that are located there but also stretch to play the notes that happened to be on 2nd fret.
In other words, the 6-fret section of 3rd position actually starts on 2nd fret of the guitar not on the 3rd as the name may be misguiding.
Position playing keeps your fingers organized, especially when you’re studying a new song, trying to learn a solo or improvising. Because the many different possibilities of a fretboard may be troubling at times when you have to act quick and find the best possible way to play a phrase without getting tangled up along the way. It takes a bit of time to get used to it but after that it can surprise by helping you glide from note to note effortlessly.
It’s not the only way to play, though. I certainly shift from position to position at times or use a different fingering in a certain position like sliding my ring finger and letting it do half the work of my pinky.
It’s one of those “learn it and forget about it, let it do its thing when a situation calls for it” kind of tools, I suppose.
Have patience. Give it a try.
Guitar Talk #02: My Picking Style
There was a time fingerpicking was as alien to me as driving still is. That’s right, sadly I’m not even kidding. I used a pick to play the lead and strum the chords. This lasted about 20 years. Then came a point where I wanted to hear certain harmonies. Playing rhythm with a pick is great for percussive comping and all that but I had a sound in mind which was more piano like. Actually, that’s the reason why I bought a classical guitar although I’ve never been a classical music player, if one doesn’t count a few pieces that I had learned and played around to impressed people; shame on me.
For some reason it never occurred to me then to hold on to my pick and add remaining left-hand fingers to the porridge. What I did was bite the pick while I lead the bass with my thumb and used my index, middle and ring fingers for the treble parts. “But what about your pinky?” you might ask, rightfully. Well… I ignored it… for years. I’ve only used 4 note voicings forever and now I think it’s a bit too late and too much of a hustle to go back and re-wire my left hand. It’s not impossible but personally, after reaching a certain point, and not very easily, mind you, I find it a bit uninspiring to go back and start from the beginning. However, if I was a beginner I would keep the pick between my thumb and index finger while I used the rest for the harmonizing. That would bring a very smooth transition between soloing and comping.
What I do however is use my left-hand index finger as a pick by supporting it with my thumb which allows me to simulate a pick picking motion. Down side of that is that upstrokes have yet to keep up with the downstrokes in velocity department because of the natural curve of a fingernail. I’m coping well though because there are times I watch an old video of mine and I can’t quite tell whether I’m holding a pick or not. So, I must be doing something right.