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Guitar Practice Procedures and Strumming Techniques


Nov 21, 2017 Beginning, General Comments are off

A good habit for any instrument is to warm up. On the guitar start by picking the open thin E string (E string closet to floor) approximately 150 to 200 times. Use down up picking – always start down towards floor unless otherwise indicated. Repeat this for each adjacent string – floor to ceiling – B, G, D, A, low thick E. 

Always play the guitar on your left leg and use a guitar strap adjust the strap so the guitar is supported above your left leg by one to two inches. Keep your left hand on the lower to middle of back of guitar neck this allows your fingers to play on the very tips of fingers.

Remember to keep finger as close to the fret board as possible.

Slide across neck try to minimize lifting finger completely off fret board. The pinky finger is on a separate muscle group so be patient as this finger wants to come away from fret board the most. Also use a metronome after you are comfortable with an exercise or song.

The general overall approach to studying music is always to start: slow – smooth – even and consistent. Give each note or chord the same attack or intensity. Once comfortable add the metronome starting at: 60 BPM (beats per minute). Do not increase speed until you can play clearly at each tempo. 

Then increase to: 70, 80 ,90, 100 continue to 220 BPM.

For your left foot use a phone book or foot stool available at your local music store. This helps maintain proper back and arm posture and allows your fingers to stay in the correct position for maximum speed, clarity and consistency. Also do exercises and songs all with up picking only! As this is usually the weakest picking direction in students.

It is very important to memorize all the natural note names ascending (up in tone) and descending (down in tone) for each string. The note names are the first seven letters of the alphabet repeated seven times  (octaves) for our musical system. A, B, C, D, E, F, G. All the notes are whole steps (two fret distance) except for EF-BC which are half steps (one fret distance). An easy way to remember this is: Elvis Fans Buy Cars. Memorize notes on one string at a time ascending and descending. Once you understand the note sequence on one string the remaining strings are easier because it is the same sequence or order just starting on a different note. Later learn the sharps and flats.


If you have a music instructor it is essential to keep going every week!

Many times a student will say I want to learn all the materials first then come back.

This is a myth because lessons are not just about learning new materials.

It is also to make sure you maintain proper hand position, fingering, posture and other important techniques. Many times bad habits are created and the student is not even aware of it. 


 When strumming open chords within the first 3 frets of the guitar (near the nut) remember to always strum the open strings with less volume then the thinner strings and the fingered strings. Many times the open thicker strings are much louder the thin fingered strings.

Start strumming with quarter note strums – in groups of four strums: 1, 2, 3, 4, 1, 2, 3, 4 etc. etc.

All down strumming (towards floor).

Then do quarter note strums – in groups of two strums:

1,2, 1,2, 1,2, 1,2 etc. etc.

All down strumming.


Then do down, up strumming in eighth note strums:

1 and 2 and 3 and 4 and, etc, etc.


Down, up strumming (towards floor- towards ceiling)

Also get a get chord book and learn the most common open position chords.

G major, A minor, C major, D major, E minor, D minor and F major.



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