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Learn To Play Rock Guitar!, Issue #004 -- Stretching
June 07, 2009

Yeah, I'm a slacker. OK, well maybe I have some semi-excuses. But a slacker none-the-less.

The last newsletter came out at the end of March (I think it was the end of Mach!). April got nuts mainly because I was in a lot of pain. Between back problems and a dislocated bone in my left hand, I was a mess. I spent weeks just trying to get back to a manageable level of health.

Then I had a motorcycle trip to Tennessee/North Caroline, where I rode the "Tail of the Dragon" - 319 curves over 11 miles - intense! Not to mention that it rained on us four out of the five days - still a good time!

And now May is over. Sheesh!

I'm on Twitter and Facebook now. Twitter ID is PlayRockGuitar, while on Facebook it's Learn To Play Rock Guitar. I'm not real good about the whole social networking thing, though. Maybe I'll get better…

Song Surgeon - Try it Free!

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!

Head there now and take advantage - you know you want to rock better and harder than ever. Try it out free with their trial version. Fully functional, it just makes you restart the program after 15 minutes.

This software gives you the edge - Get it here!

Stretching - This Month's Lesson

So my point about being in pain most of April? Stretching. Not only is it important to keep your core nice and limber, you've got to keep your hands and fingers limber as well.

Most of my problem comes from stress. I'm fairly high-strung and don't spend enough time relaxing - and I end up paying for it. I have been prone to getting stress headaches, and my posture sucks due to the job I do.

So how does this relate to guitar playing. Well, I don't feel like doing much of anything when I have a headache, even when it's something I enjoy. The muscles in my neck get so tight that it translates into a headache just short of a migraine. And this just steals time from me and everything else, especially guitar playing.

So I have learned to do neck stretching exercises to keep those headaches away. In a round about way, this brings me to guitar playing. As I visited chiropractors to try and clear up my head and back aches, I asked them to also look at my wrist, which had been giving me trouble for quite a while. I could play my guitars, but I'd have pain.

Turns out I had dislocated a bone in my hand, causing all the wrist pain. Now I don’t' know if keeping the muscles in my hands limber would have prevented the dislocation, but I've since learned to keep from getting carpal tunnel and other pain, stretching is one of the keys.

To keep your wrists and hands nice and limber try this exercise: put your hands together in front of your chest like you're going to say a prayer. Now lift your elbows until they're parallel to the ground. Slowly rotate your fingers towards your chest as far as you can go. Then rotate them so you point away from your body.

Do this for a minute or two each day. This will keep your wrists and hands nicely stretched, which will help you build your guitar playing stamina.

Now pick up your guitar. We're going to work on finger stretching. Let's fret a C Maj7 chord at the 7th fret (see the diagram).

The C Major 7 Chord

Follow the tabs below, first moving your index finger down one fret while keeping the remaining three fingers in their positions. Do you feel the burn yet? Don't worry - you will!

Finger Stretching Exercise 1

Now, keeping your index finger at the sixth fret, move your middle finger down one fret to the 7th. Keep your ring and pinky fingers in place. Take your time and keep going with the next section. You're feeling that burn now, aren't you?

Unless you have long fingers, this exercise is tough. It's not impossible, but it takes some real patience and perseverance to get through it even just once.

Once you've completed moving every finger down one fret successively, do it again. Repeat five times.

Now reverse the process and repeat five times following this tab.

Finger Stretching Exercise 2

Remember, take your time and don't rush it. Not only will your fingers and hands become very flexible, this will help with finger strength and help you with chords and leads as you learn and improve.

What's New?

Check out the new page dedicated to Ibanez Guitars here.

There's also some new link partners out at the guitar links page.

Until next month…

That's all for now, folks! I will tell you that over the next month, I'm adding some exciting stuff to help you learn more rock tunes quicker. Come on over and check it out - Peace!

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