From G To G

by Mike Wilson

Have a beginner guitar class? Here's an exercise that fits once you get to the third string G. As the title implies, the melody incorporates the scale from G to G – in this case, G on the first string (third finger) down to open G on the third string. The key of G is a relatively easy key on the guitar. The I, IV, V and VI chords are easy to finger and have "four-string" options if hands aren't ready for full six-string chords. The only sharp is F# and, in this song, shows up only on the first string, second fret, using your middle finger (second finger).

The song uses a folk/disco/reggae combination, stylistically, and you get to choose whether to focus on the regular melody, the optional easy melody, or chords. Or, you could play chords the first time and melody on the repeat. Be as creative as you like. At this level, chords should be played using downstrokes with your choice of whole, half, or quarter note values. We've notated them as mostly half notes just as an example. Remember if you are fingering four strings, do not include strings five and six in your strum. Have your students take the time to place/rest the pick on the fourth string before the downstroke. A good left hand practice technique for the chord changes is to simply change from one chord to another without strumming. Make it a game and see how quickly you can change from one to the next, making sure to have the chord fully fingered before moving to the next. Accuracy is more important than speed at this point.

The regular melody is predominantly half, quarter, quarter. To warm up, have students begin on the E (first) string and play that pattern over and over. Again, stick with downstrokes, making sure to use rest strokes when playing the second and third string. As a review, a rest stroke is a standard downstroke but the pick stops by resting on the next string. Then, on your cue, move to the B (second) string, then the G (third) string. Start at a slow tempo on the metronome, focusing on accuracy. Then slowly speed up to the point where accuracy is impossible. Then do it again and again. (This is a great practice technique for your students to use at home, by the way.) Learn the melody without the accompaniment track before graduating to the recording. It might be a good idea to recap earlier lessons about proper seating position, holding the instrument, and holding the pick.

You will find all three extracted guitar parts on our web site for free downloading.

Text is taken from Music K-8 magazine.