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Old 01-16-2018, 08:21 PM
Mtbbirder Mtbbirder is offline
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Default Help with lesson book

Hello Everyone,

I've recently gotten back into playing, and I took enough time off to comeback and try to do this again the right way. What I mean by the right way is somewhat structured practice and learn theory and how to read music. I used to try and read some books and got bored or confused and just would hack on the guitar. Well now this is the day of the internet, and I have people to turn to when I'm confused and frustrated(that's you guys).

So I dug out my 1976 edition of Mel Bay's Guitar Class, and now I remember why I got frustrated before. The very first lesson is stumping me, it starts out with learning a G cord and D7 and teaches the time signatures. The next thing is the song Skip to my Lou. I'm not sure what the book wants me to do with the guitar! I think it want's me to keep the 4/4 tempo and sing to the famous melody of Skip to my Lou? The directions are not clear now and they were not then! Maybe I should burn this book and find another beginners book!?!?!?

I have picked a new book, Music Reading for Guitar the Complete Method by David Oakes. I'm not very far in but so far I like it. I have learned a bit with just the first few pages.

Also from my past I have a Classical Guitar Method book, which I like now that I'm not afraid of trying to read the music as I was in my past. I think my new books has help there.

below are some pictures from the Mel Bay book. I should mention I'm not thrilled about trying to sing and play, I can't even tap my foot to a 4/4 count and strum 1/8 beats. I lack that coordination and can't imagine throwing singing in there.

Thanks.

Untitled by James Salinas, on Flickr
Untitled by James Salinas, on Flickr
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Old 01-16-2018, 09:14 PM
TominNJ TominNJ is offline
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Youíre supposed to strum four times per measure. Each of those slashes is a strum. The purpose of the exercise is to get you strumming cleanly and changing chords while staying in time. You might want to install a metronome on your phone to help you keep in time. Start slow and gradually increase the bpm (beats per minute).

Whether you work on singing while you strum is up to you. It depends on what you want to do with your music. Do you want to accompany yourself while you sing or do you want to play instrumentals?
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Old 01-17-2018, 05:14 AM
JonPR JonPR is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mtbbirder View Post
So I dug out my 1976 edition of Mel Bay's Guitar Class, and now I remember why I got frustrated before. The very first lesson is stumping me, it starts out with learning a G cord and D7 and teaches the time signatures. The next thing is the song Skip to my Lou. I'm not sure what the book wants me to do with the guitar! I think it want's me to keep the 4/4 tempo and sing to the famous melody of Skip to my Lou?
Correct. Or at least imagine the rhythm of the words and melody as you strum. You don't have to sing out loud.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mtbbirder View Post
below are some pictures from the Mel Bay book. I should mention I'm not thrilled about trying to sing and play, I can't even tap my foot to a 4/4 count and strum 1/8 beats. I lack that coordination and can't imagine throwing singing in there.
Like I say, don't bother with the singing. You don't have to tap your foot as you play either. And forget 8th notes, there are none here.
What the book is asking you to do is strum downstrokes in time, one for every slash. Four in each bar, steadily, keeping time. Don't worry about upstrokes! Just keep the arm swinging comfortably - it will probably be too slow for a reasonable performance of Skip To My Lou, which is normally fast, but that doesn't matter. All you're doing at this stage is practising your strumming and chord changing.

Regular downstrokes should be easy enough with one chord. The challenge (for a beginner) is changing to another chord without losing the beat. If you're still taking a while to get your fingers from a G to D7 (and back), I suggest starting by playing just the first G chord (beat 1), then counting "2-3-4-1-2-3-4" steadily while moving your fingers to the D7.
If you don't need that long to get to D7, play two G's, on each beat 1: "[G]-2-3-4, [G]-2-3-4". Spend the second "2-3-4" moving your fingers to D7. What matters is to hit the D7 without any delay between the last "4" and the D7. Count the 1-2-3-4 as slow as you need to to get to the D7 in time. DON'T count "1-2-3-4" and then wait while you get to D7!

You can also just keep strumming the guitar on each beat if you like, even while your fingers are off the strings and moving to the next shape. Obviously the open strings are not a proper chord, but this is all about keeping time with your downstrokes, while you practice getting your changes faster. Hitting open strings just on beat 4 often sounds OK anyway. It sounds better than breaking the rhythm to allow your fingers to get to the chord.
IOW, if your chord changing is still slow, get your fingers off the first chord earlier. Give them time to get to D7 on time. Or just work at a slower tempo to start with.

A metronome is good to keep your timing on track, but you can set it at whatever speed is easiest to follow. E.g., if you're still really slow with your changing, don't set the click speed slow. It's much harder to play in time with a slow metronome (eg 60 or less). Double its speed and think of the clicks as 8th notes ("1 & 2 & 3 & 4 & " in every bar).
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Last edited by JonPR; 01-17-2018 at 05:19 AM.
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Old 01-17-2018, 07:02 AM
Mtbbirder Mtbbirder is offline
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Thanks guys, Iíve actually have been using the metronome built into the Total Energy Tuner app on my phone. I think this exercise was so simple it caused me to over think it.

Not to sound cocky I think this exercise is something Iíve already got a handle on. So I think I will try to incorporate the vocals, maybe in my head maybe out loud.

Thanks again.
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