After "The Principles",the metronome is the most important
practice tool you can use.
Used as shown in
" The Principles", it will increase your rate of progress faster than anything
below for further info:
Why must I use a metronome?
should I get?
This is your first "chord melody" solo. That means the musical
arrangement you are playing contains the melody notes (the notes we sing that make the
song recognizable), as well as the harmony notes that make it sound "full".
A good way to think of melody and harmony is
to realize that "melody" is like the actors on a stage, whereas
"harmony" is like the scenery. Take away the melody and you take away the
individuality of the music. Take away the harmony and it sounds pretty bare bones, like
the stage with actors but no scenery.
When you play this or any other chord
melody arrangement, your most important job is to make the melody stand out prominently. This is
done by control of the pick as it applies pressure to the string to play. We must always
make sure the melody note is emphasized, and rings out clearly. Usually, the melody note
is the top note of the chord in arrangements like this.
This is a very simple arrangement, most of
the melody is already a single note, with only occasional chords thrown in to fill things
out. When the melody does appear as the top note of a two note chord, as in measure 2, 2nd
beat, make sure that top note is heard clearly and a bit louder than the two notes below
In this respect, the solo below this one,
"The Blue Bells Of Scotland" is the more traditional type of chord melody solo.
Composed mostly of chords, the melody is all the top notes of the chords.
This type of playing where we can make the
melody AND the harmony is one of the primary benefits of understanding the guitar on a
more sophisticated level, with reading and theory, as was the intention of Mel Bay when he
wrote this book. It puts you above just "strumming and singing" (not that
there's anything wrong with that, as far as it goes! If you are studying this book,
obviously you are interested in going further.)
Here are the things to observe, and the way
to apply The Principles when going through this piece.......
|Have the full C chord down from the
start. Place a full C chord, then move the 3rd finger over to the low G. Simply play the
first note, then move the 3rd finger to the low C of the first measure.
When you switch to the Am, you already have the 1st and 2nd finger down. Just move the 3rd
into place. As you play the last 3 notes of the measure, 1 on the C note (top note) of the
Am chord, even into the next measure. Let it guide and orient your hand into the notes of
the 2nd measure.
|At the end of the 2nd measure, you
already have the C note down. AS YOU PLAY the last two notes, position your light 2nd &
3rd finger on the F and A of the next measure.
|Hold the low F throughout the
measure. AS YOU PLAY the last note of the measure, position you light 2nd finger behind
your 3rd finger which is still on the F note, and place the 2nd on the E note of the next
|As you switch into this measure follow
remove 3, transfer arm weight to the 2nd finger as it becomes firm.
position the light 3rd finger on the C note, make it firm, and distribute weight thru the
2nd and 3rd fingers.
Also, make sure you do that last 8th note, (the G note) with an up pick, since it is on an
|As you place 2 on the A note, WATCH THE
3RD FINGER. Left to itself, it will tense as you place 2. Keep it relaxed and ready for
the F note. In fact, the best thing you can do is touch 3 lightly to the F note WHILE you
place 2 on the A.
After playing the F and A combination, release 2, and hold 3 on the F until 2 get to the E
e, then release 3 and play the E note.
|When you play the D note, where is your
3rd finger? Relaxed and ready for the C note, of course! Keep it light and close to the C.
|Careful as you go from the G of the
last measure to the C, both with the 3rd finger. There will be a momentary "Floating
Arm" as you transition. In this brief millisecond, the entire arm can (and usually
does!) tense. Stay relaxed, pose as you release.
Hold 3 on the C as you place 2 on the A.
|Back to Floating Arm. As you play the
open G, What is your arm doing? What is your 1st finger doing? Is it reaching out for that
C, and staying relaxed as it makes the effort (as relaxed as possible, that is)?
Most importantly, what is 3 doing at this time. Is it also positioning itself for the D
note? It is no good reaching for the C in a way that makes getting the D difficult or
Hold the 1 on C, or course, ready for the next measure.
|Use an up pick for the last note. Have
3 and 4 ready for the difficult chord coming up in the next measure.
|Hold 1 on the C, AS you position 3 and
4 into this chord. This chord is tricky, and may take some getting used to. Play each note
one at a time, and make sure you hear EACH note. It is easy to block the open 3rd string.
Focus on the arm and shoulder, keeping them relaxed as you slowly spread the 3rd and 4th
finger. You will get it!
3 & 4 are still down in this chord, place 1 & 2 on the C &E of the next chord.
All you have to do now is place 3 down on the low C note of the C chord.
That's it, you're done! The rest is a repeat of
these 10 measures.