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Learn To Play Rock Guitar!, Issue #003 -- Proper Finger Technique
March 29, 2009

March is gone - sheesh! The months fly by when you're having a blast rockin' out!

I've been working a lot on the basics - learning the basic scales and continuing to improve my timing. I've also been paying attention to the notes in musical scores as they align to tabs. I'm trying to memorize where the notes are on the fretboard to round out my knowledge and ability to play sheet music.

A cool tool to help with this is Advanced FretPro. It's a free download, set up like a memorization game. You click on the note when It shows up on the fretboard. Check it out.

New Stuff!

Got some new pages up this month. Gave a shout out to Carvin Guitars for their contributions to rock guitar. If you want a custom-built guitar a budget pricing, Carvin is the place to go.

I also gave you a tutorial on guitar amp terminology and what all those knobs on your amp do. You can check that out here.

Want to see some of the best vids on the net for learning tunes? Guitar God in 90 Days can give you your fix.

Song Surgeon

Have you struggled to learn a new song because you just couldn't hear all the notes being played? Have you wanted to learn a blazing fast lead guitar solo but just couldn't figure it out? How would you like to be able to learn those songs and improve your ability 667%?

No one wants to learn to play a song half wrong… but that’s exactly what happens if you can’t hear what’s being played. If you want to play a song exactly right, you have to be able to hear exactly what’s being played. End of story! Period! Exclamation Point!

I know, I know, don't B.S. a! But it's true. You can improve your playing. And you can learn those songs you've always wanted to learn. And you can do it 10 times as fast, making your practice time incredibly productive.

Song Surgeon is the software that makes it possible. Song Surgeon allows you to slow a song down without changing the pitch. With the song slowed down so you can hear each note played, you can now figure out how to play it. You can also loop the song (or specific section of the song) as many times as it takes for you to get it. Yeah, you still have to practice, but now you can practice the song and quit spending all your time just figuring out the song!

Song Surgeon will play MP3, MP4, WAV and WMA files, and they're working on a version to play videos as well. There's a built in equalizer, so you can reduce vocals and get them out of the way - makes it easier to hear the guitar parts!

And best yet, it's cheaper than ever! The folks over at Song Surgeon have lowered the price from $79 to $59! It's also guaranteed by a 100% money back offer. If you don't see significant improvements in your playing, they'll even give you your money back. You can't lose in this deal!

Right now through the end of March, they're even knocking another $10 bucks off - Get it now before the price goes back up!

Head there now and take advantage - you know you want to rock better and harder than ever. This software gives you the edge - Get it here!

March Lesson

So far we've talked about the importance of timing in your playing - your ability to play along with the drummer and stay with the beat. We've also talked about some finger exercises to help your strength, dexterity and speed. How ya doing'?

This month, let's talk a bit about proper finger technique. As you start out playing, one of the hardest things to get used to is how the strings dig into your fingers. It doesn't take long until the fingertips get sore - very sore in some cases.

This is because of a few factors. One, your fingers aren't used to pressing down on things in this manner. It takes a few weeks of solid practice to build up the calluses on your fingertips. Two, there's quite a bit of tension in the strings to keep them tuned. Three, unless you've spent months strengthening your hands and forearms with fingertip pushups or hand exercisers, the fingers are going to get tired quickly. Four, you're pressing down on steel wires, which in other applications could be used to cut things in half - give yourself a break!

Because you're pretty excited about learning to play guitar, you're probably playing every spare chance you get. But that finger soreness may slow you down unless you keep in mind a couple things. That soreness will go away as you develop the calluses on your fingertips. The only way to get the calluses developed is to keep playing - torturous!

You can also speed up the finger strengthening by getting a finger exerciser. Go to your local or online guitar store of choice and get one. Or, if you're cheap like me and have an old racquetball sitting around, squeezing it will build finger strength. Make sure you work your thumb, too. When you are playing barre chords, the thumb muscles are sure to get tired.

As you practice, you also want to make sure you are placing your fingers correctly on the strings. Paying attention to how you press your fingers to the strings can save you from developing some bad habits. It may seem easy to press the strings with the pads of your fingers rather than the tips, especially on the fifth and sixth string. DON'T FALL INTO THAT TRAP!

Make sure you are pressing the strings with the tips of your fingers. Using your finger pads opens you up to sloppy playing and will slow you down long-term . Get these habits started the right way and you will find yourself able to play cool rhythm riffs and solos with nice clear tone.

Here's a great instructional video on the importance of finger placement. Check it here.

Now that you understand the importance of proper finger placement, here's a vid showing you how to play a basic chromatic scale. This will help with coordination between your fretting and picking hands, and will increase finger memorization on the fretboard. Start off slowly, maybe 70 beats per minute (you are using your free metronome, aren't you?) and work up your speed. Play the scales perfectly forwards and backwards.

Until Next Month...

Keep on practicing and rockin' out!

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