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Skeptical Guitar From Scratch : The Sequel

 
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To review: The prequel, Guitar From Scratch, to The Sequel is all about chords: how to finger them, how to switch between them and how to strum and fingerpick them. That was enough for one book.

In Guitar From Scratch: The Sequel, you’ll find a lot more stuff. There is a general progression from chord-based information to single-string playing, culminating in a crash course in reading actual notes on the guitar.

We’ll start with Stupid Chord Tricks, by which I really mean clever little mutations and variations that spill effortlessly (more or less) out of the guitar. Many of them are indeed easy to do, they sound good and, in any case, I think you need to be exposed to them. Ordinary people have just stumbled across these gems in the course of playing and experimenting and they have contributed to a rich, idiosyncratic guitar culture. They constitute the slang of the guitar, the vernacular, the common speech.

Passing Chords come next. These are the “slash” chords that feature unexpected bass notes that serve to tie together the chords in a sequence. In Bass Runs, the basslines are physically extracted from the chords and played as single notes in Walkups and Walkdowns.

What I call Shape-Shifting involves taking common chord shapes (or partial shapes) and moving them around the neck, either with or without a barre attached. It amounts to saying, “Hey, I wonder how this chord would sound if I shifted it up here instead of down there.” (More guitar slang.)

Finally, we get into playing Single Note Lines. We’ll use familiar melodies, talk about different right- and left-hand techniques and do a little “blues improv” using what are called Pentatonic Scales. Then we’ll move into the realm of reading Standard Music Notation (the dots and the flags and the beams). Guitarist tend to roll their eyes when you talk about reading music, but it actually is a useful thing to know, and I think I’ve developed a fairly painless approach. I hope you’ll take a swing at it anyway.

I also get just a touch further into music theory in this book, but don’t worry, I save the “Full Monty” for my Music Principles books.

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