Saturday, 12 October 2013

Confession #38 - Look Where You Want to Go!

If you've done any driver training, then you've probably heard the expression "Look where you want to go!"  If you keep staring at the tree that you are trying to avoid, odds are you'll drive straight into it, whereas if you look around the tree to where you want to go, odds are you'll miss it.  In sports, the expression is "Keep your eye on the ball!"  This principle applies equally to guitar playing.


Take a look at this melody:

Melody in the Key of D Major
(Click to Enlarge)

We start out in 7th position (i.e. finger 1 is fretting notes at the 7th fret).  On beat 3 we slide finger 2 up from the 8th fret to the 10th fret. After some practice, you'll do this slide by feel.  But when you're first learning it, your eyes should be looking at the 10th fret because this is where you want finger 2 to go.

In the second measure, we work our way back down to 7th position in time for the D on beat 4 of that measure.  But in the first beat of the third measure, we're suddenly up in 10th position (finger 3 will play the E at the 12th fret of your first string, and finger 1 will play the D at the 10th fret).  To make the shift from measure 2 to measure 3 smoothly, your eyes should be looking at the E at the 12th fret of the first string because this is where you want your hand to go.

To make position shifts accurately, look where you want to go!


The melody above is based on the D major scale.  Recall the major scale pattern we learned in Confession #8 - Learn the Major Scale!?  This melody uses that same pattern, however instead of playing strictly "inside the box", some notes are played in a higher position  (but they all belong the the D major scale).  This allows us to make the slide in the first measure.  And of course, slides are a phrasing technique that can be used to make your melodies sound more interesting (see Confession #36 - Pull, Hammer and Slide! (Phrasing 1)).

(Click to Enlarge)

The B and the C# on the first string aren't used in this melody.  The notes that are played "outside the box" are shown with a dashed border.


Next Week's Confession - Back to the Minor Scale!

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