A Free Acoustic Guitar Lesson
Here are some tips that will help you to begin playing acoustic guitar using a plectrum. This guide is for the novice guitar player who wants to achieve both emotional fluency and technical precision.
There are several elements involved in learning the acoustic guitar. The overall posture should have the guitarist sitting in a relaxed manner without slumping over the instrument, making the weight of the body a constant obstacle to freedom of movement. This should be taught at the very beginning of every guitar course, but there are other aspects of the relationship among guitar, arms and hands.
While the left hand plays its part without too much attention needed, the right hand is responsible for changing the angle of attack with the pick, moving between the bridge and the sound hole for tonal effects, and exerting varying amounts of pressure on the strings. The acoustic guitar player's right hand is responsible for the expression of feeling and the quality of sound in his playing. For this reason, you should get into the habit of practicing slowly, in a relaxed manner. Trying to play fast will only result in poor sound and the introduction of bad muscular habits in your guitar playing.
Another basic feature of right-hand guitar technique is accuracy. Sacrificing speed for accuracy when you practice will eventually allow you to include both elements in your playing. This depends on the quantity of practice you do every day, but half an hour a day of relaxed, careful practice is better than five hours of repeated playing of music at full speed in the hope that it will all turn out okay in the end. It will not.
An effective way to keep your technique improving is to imagine a scale passage or a chord change as a series of movements that follow one another naturally. If you are playing a scale using up and down strokes, you might find that there is a moment of tension when you move from one string to another. So, go back and analyze how you are making the transition between strings.
Does it feel more natural and comfortable to keep alternating strokes as you change strings, or is it better to play two down strokes in a row? Perhaps the tension is a result of your hand changing its playing angle as you go from string to string? This is an approach that does not appeal to the impatient person in us all who wants quick progress. The reality is that attention to all the small details will make our playing smoother and will help us become fast pickers or chord-changers.
It is natural for a beginner to play single notes using all down strokes, but it is essential to get into the habit of alternating up and down strokes as soon as possible. Once playing has become second nature, you will be able to mix and match strokes for speed and accuracy according to the demands of individual scale passages.
A question for some novice acoustic players is whether to anchor the right hand or leave it hover freely over the guitar. Many acoustic guitar players anchor their right hand to the body of the guitar by leaning their little finger on the pick guard. This is supposed to give a permanent "base" for the right hand so it can maintain a center of gravity as it moves between strings. Some guitarists anchor the heel of the right hand behind the guitar bridge. This has the disadvantage of limiting the range of movement of the right hand.
The guitar player's right hand should have the freedom to move between the bridge and the sound hole so that a range of tonal sounds can be achieved. If the pick is near the bridge, the sound will be bright and dry. If the hand is close to the sound hole, the sound will be deep and mellow. You could follow the example of the guitarists who do not anchor their right hand at all. This gives the greatest freedom and most guitarists find that they do not need an anchor point to help them find their way around the strings.
These are basic components of acoustic guitar which will allow your playing skills to grow naturally until you can adapt your to a number of styles and quickly learn a wide range of right and left hand techniques.