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Back to 4 Skills Course Outline

Lesson 1: Overview of 4 Skills

Lesson 2: How Frets Work, Fingering Notes

Lesson 3: Picking Simple Melodies and Scales

Lesson 4: Your First Chords

Lesson 5: Strumming Technique - Songs in C and G

Lesson 6: More Chords - Am, E, Em, B7

Lesson 7: Two More Strum Patterns

Lesson 8: How to Use a Capo

Lesson 3: Playing Simple Melodies

In this lesson we work on picking technique

As we briefly explained in Lesson 1, effective picking requires that you master a few basic techniques.

First, hold the pick with the tip protruding only about 1/4".

Second, curl the fingers of your hand into a fist.

Third, this "fist" should hover closely over the strings. Pick the strings without a lot of movement.

Fourth, keep back and forth movement of your picking hand to a minimum.

Fifth, work on "alternate picking" wherever possible.

Practicing these picking techniques...

Now we're going to practice these techniquse: first by striking open strings (without fingering any particular notes), and then by working on some scales and simple songs.

Exercise 1: Striking open strings

Start at string 1 (high E), pick down/up, down/up. Move to string 2, and so on. Focus on making nice clean, consistent strikes.

Exercise 2: Playing G Major Scale

This serves multiple purposes. You work on your picking technique at the same time as learning the location of the notes in the G Major Scale. Remember that the G Scale has one sharp, namely, F#. As you can see from the graphic, F# is at E2 (on both E strings), and D4. Concentrate on using rhe One-Finger-per-Fret technique. F# is the only note in this scale where finger 4 (your pinky) is required.

Exercise 3: Playing Simple Songs

Here you're given the music for three easy, familiar melodies: Ode to Joy, Twinkle Twinkle, and Three Blind Mice. You can probably figure these out without the music, but knowing how to read music is a very useful skill. If you do know "how to read" you're all set. But if you don't, this would be a good time to start learning. It's a lot easier (at least at this level) than you probably think.

Ode to Joy

Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star

Three Blind Mice

Next Lesson (4): Your First Chords