Thanks for that exercise, Frank.
I have to admit that like many of us, I automatically use fingers and thumb for playing these type of chords. I first learned the 'rest' stroke when I played classical guitar a long time ago and it still comes more easily than playing a similar motion with a pick and allowing it to come to rest on the string after the target (high) note. Coupling that with muting an open string in the middle and it is clear that it will take some time to master the pick in this way. Your exercise should be a great help.
I second Strumcat's thoughts on composition versus (when it becomes an either/or situation) practice.
Frank - regarding your comments on composition, you're right on. Next time I'll try to be less liberal with my use of chords and implied chords.
This time round, as I indicated, I wasn't really very structured other than combining notes within the C scale to create harmonies. Indeed most of them (I haven't checked all of them) were I IV and V chords - for example, my opening chord looks like an Em (which would be the III chord) but the C-note played by the second guitar makes it a CMaj7, or IMaj7. My second measure would be a simple IV chord, F + A + C, but the melody line of guitar-2 adds a D note, so this might be an instantaneous variation to an F6 chord. It gets more complicated in the third measure, as the F chord now becomes an Fsus4 for guitar-1, but the melody line adds a D note, which to me implies at this point an F6sus4. Where it gets tricky is that starting with the melody's D note, here, the chord can also be interpreted as a Dm, D + F + A, with an added B, making it a Dm6 chord, or a form of the II chord (and not the IV chord implied by F).
The same principle applies then throughout the composition until the last measure which starts with a CMaj7 chord again (although the E note is implied by being picked up on beat 3), but to which a D note (the second or ninth degree of the scale) is added: this makes it a CMaj9 chord - the IMaj9 if you like.
Hope this is generally clear, as it is theoretically beyond these first few pages of Leavitt. In any event, I'm sure that it will become clear as we progress :-) but for the moment, I was just allowing my fingers to find what I felt to be nice chord variations with melodic intonations!
Maybe I missed the edit, now I see you recorded 'Ho Ho Ho'. Nice job, good steady time on both parts and the notes are well executed. It takes a lot of focus at a slow tempos play like that. I think it's easier for me to play faster, maybe that's because it's easier to notice the little mistakes.
I think all this recording will make it eventually much easier to play with good time along with a metronome. Thanks for recording my little tune.
EDIT: Right or wrong, what I did take away from ronjazz's post #40 was the idea of having a target - that being the first unplayed string after the top note - and moving the pick to come to rest on the target. The wrist "flicks", but I don't know what exactly that means and how much it is custom tailored to the player. Until I learn more, my interim goal is first hitting the right notes and second fluidity and ease of motion.
- I also would like to hear from ronjazz.
- I think ronjazz made it clear in his post that there are other ways of picking, and that this is a recommendation for now. If anything I said sounded like recommending it for "your whole guitar career", just let me know what it was, and I'll try to be clearer in the future.
- I didn't hear ronjazz discuss rotating the wrist and I also wondered about this. I'm not sure if I am rotating my wrist (probably not much), or if I should be, or how much it depends on the geometry of an individual's body. (As ronjazz said "there aren't any rules not made to be bent!").
Last edited by HighSpeedSpoon; 01-08-2012 at 03:30 PM.
Also there are two ways I can think of the wrist moving. 1) as though you are waving goodbye or 2) as though you are turning a door knob (this one seems to come from the elbow). I've seen both these motions being used by guitarists.
I think fep has summed it up nicely with the waving goodbye and turning door knob analogy. I'm not sure which of each kind of arc I should be aiming for, but right not I'm just trying to hit the right strings.
OK, if we're moving on, then I would like to bring attention to something. Any absolute beginner may be wondering about this - if you already know, then apologies for the repetition.
If you stick to one string, then, for the most part, there is a two-fret distance between notes. e.g. A is two frets up from G. However there are two notable exceptions: B-C and E-F. C is only one fret up from B, and F is only one fret up from E. This applies on any string, and in any octave we learn these notes.
This probably isn't the right time to go into a big theoretical explanation, I just thought I would point out the one-fret distance between E and F on the 4th string, and now we learn the first string, and there's still just that one fret from E to F.
So if anyone is sitting scratching their head and wondering, then yes, that's how it is, and it will all be clear later.
....because he said that this technique brings out the highest pitches. I could be wrong.
I'm envisioning forum members with pitchforks demanding a video from Ron.
The lowest point of the arc should be the top note of the chord.
The arc itself is relative to the "plane" of the strings; as you make your pick-stroke, the pick hits the bottom note of the chord soft, the next note harder as the arc gets deeper into the strings, and the final note hardest and loudest, then resting against the next available string.
strumcat, just so, good explanation and mental picture, thank you.
I may get around to doing a video this week, but most of this is from memory, since I am mostly a fingerstyle player. What we are trying to achieve here is quite difficult and really demands great focus and concentration. That's why leavitt places such importance so early, because once you get this motion into a natural reflex, your tone and dynamics will always be under control.
ten left thumbs, you can also point to the piano and see that those same notes have no black key between them. This is the key to the sound of the major do-re-mi scale.
Here's a short video on my version of the rest stroke. I think I use the hand shake motion and it feels like the pick drops thru the strings in one motion with equal pressure. I don't see a door knob motion arc the way you guys are saying.
But I do see a different arc with the hand shake motion. When I go down the strings, my pick does a natural arc from the front of the sound hole to the back of it... or from the neck towards the bridge. Hope that makes sense.
Thank you for your demonstration. I've played rock guitar for 20 years and taught it for 11 years. I guess what I do is "free-stroke" instead of the "rest-stroke". I can play all of the triads in this section with a free-stroke, no problem. I could probably do it in my sleep. But I wanted to make sure that I was using this new rest-stroke technique properly, and your video confirmed for me that I have been.
I'm sorry to have taken this entire thread on a rest-stroke tangent, but I hope that everybody got as much out of Marty's video as I did. I don't think that the rest-stroke is a beginner thing. Now that I know what I'm looking at, I'm positive I've seen Stephane Wrembel and other GJ'ers use it on chords. Now I can use it myself.
Thank you so much.
Rock: Don't be sorry. Several of us had questions.
Marty W : Thanks very much for the video. I think I use a combination of door-knob and hand-shake (waving bye-bye) motions. I can also see that I have been using free strokes in the past.
ronjazz : I am not sure if in your experience the critical thing about rest strokes is to use a "door-knob" versus a "hand-shake" motion, or if the critical things are 1) to emphasize each string more than the last (by digging deeper with the pick) and 2) to rest on the first unplayed string. Could you please clarify?
Last edited by HighSpeedSpoon; 01-08-2012 at 10:16 PM.
I played through book 1 a good bit this afternoon. I think this rest stroke is pretty key to successfully playing the chord sections on the later material pick-style.
re rest strokes and arcs: many thanks to all here for this most useful discussion, especially to strumcat (for the thumbnail) and ronjazz. I now know what I'm after.
re hitting the right strings and getting the pick to land where you want it. Obviously the problem is, as you need this to be fast, you can't be too careful about it, so there's a lot of trial and error (my case, mostly error). It's a question of the hand feeling it's way and getting the idea for where each string is, and exactly how far to go. I do find it helpful, though, if I visualise the strings hard, mentally (not looking at them). When I imagine them clearly, I tend to get it right. If I'm distracted with rhythm, or my left hand, I make more mistakes with my rh.
oh hell, I just realized this is one of the books I've been working in, and totally missed the beginning of this thread.
Mel Bay 1 was good prep for reading chords, better than Mel Bay 2 so far.
IN Leavett, I'm kinda hung up in the Key of C stuff still...too many books and too little quality time.
Hi Carol, it's worth prioritising what you do, whatever that is. Still time to jump in here if you like.
I'm really excited this thread is happening. I've had Modern Method Volume 1-3 for about a year now. I've only really managed to get to around page 30 in that time. It's slow going! Started flipping forward to page 60 to see what position playing is like... Anyway, I'll stay tuned!
And away we go...
I've been trying out the arc technique and noticed some things. I don't know if this will make sense to anyone but me. The arc is not a semi-circle - it is quite a wide arc (look back at strumcat's thumbnail) and it stops at the half-way point - noon. Therefore you need to focus on the destination string (noon). You get your wrist to that string (whichever it is) and give a wrist flick till the wrist is straight. That way, the pick is deepest and strongest at the melody note.
So one way to practice a chord is to play the top note first - this is your destination note. The play again, including the lower chord notes, but almost not caring about them, and land on your destination note.
Personal update: I'm so thrilled with my rh. When I think a week ago I couldn't use it to brush my teeth or hold a kettle, and today I've played music for hours and it feels strong as anything.
PS Congrats on your RH.