Tip: One Finger Chord Primer Part 5

Welcome back to the One Finger Guitar Chord Primer. We’re going to look at some serious playing around this time out. And we’re going to focus on learning this lesson mostly through sound, through listening. When it comes to learning music, aural explanations are often more effective than textual ones.

The sound file works through several ideas for getting creative and improvising a bit, on just three chords. All those chords are formed on our foundational one-finger shape.

Here are the ideas we’ll work through:

Instead of playing the chords in a certain order each time, change the order. For example, start out with the one-finger shape on frets 2, 7 and 9. Maybe pluck each of those chords twice. Once you can play that smoothly, change the order: play frets 9, 7 and 2. etc.

The next idea is lots of fun, and starts to get us into some melodic stuff. Play on frets 2, 7 and 9 as before, but focus your attention on your right hand and ask “what could I be playing besides plucking all three strings at once?” Listen to the sound file for examples of playing around here.

Next idea: approach chords. That’s a single term, like “ApproachChords.” And the underlying idea is, if you know your ultimate target is playing the one-finger chord on fret 7, try playing on fret 5 or 6 first, and then sliding into fret 7.

Next, we change the tempo, a very natural thing to do. You just slow down or speed up based on your preference and feeling.

Change from a dance-like rhythm or an “Oom-pah-pah,” vibe to a “one-two-three-four, one-two-three-four” thing. And this opens up a big area to play around in, because you can get into all kinds of cool rhythms. One approach to discovering interesting rhythms is realizing that you’re already using them all the time in speech. Listen to the rhythm of in interesting sentence and convert it to “One, ta, two, ta,” etc. or some other syllable that works for you. Then, pick up your guitar and “speak” those rhythmic syllables onto it.

The overriding idea that includes these other ideas is “Be creative. Have fun. Avoid monotony and keep that guitar in your hands.”

Here’s the sound file for this lesson. Go to this address and RIGHT-click on the sound file link. Do not left-click.

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Thanks for reading.

Copyright © 2009 Darrin Koltow

This first appeared in the Guitar Noise News – January 15, 2008 newsletter. Reprinted with permission.