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Author Topic: Learning open chords  (Read 1345 times)

Offline Simon.G

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Learning open chords
« on: February 02, 2015, 11:29:29 AM »
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  • Hi All,
    As you know I'm learning the open chords, and am starting out.
    For now I am strumming down when playing the chords.

    Should I eventually practice strumming these up too?

    Also to note, I am using an Ernie Ball Everlast pick, .73mm.
    Should I buy the thinnest pick poss for starting out, for strumming the chords as a beginner?

    Cheers,
    Simon
    « Last Edit: February 02, 2015, 11:53:47 AM by Simon.G »

    Offline Rob S

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    Re: Learning open chords
    « Reply #1 on: February 02, 2015, 11:59:20 AM »
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  • Definitely Simon. Getting used to holding the Pick when doing both Up and Down Strokes is possibly one of the most important lessons you'll ever learn. It is just a matter of getting your grip right, which in itself sounds easy enough, but you'll be amazed at how tricky it can be at first. Keep at it and you'll soon discover that it becomes a natural thing, take your time and don't forget to stop, let your fingers and hand relax, then start again.

    Also, try the same approach when playing on one string, it will pay HUGE benefits to have Up and Down strokes nailed, believe me on this. It is one area where many of us have struggled over the years. In all my years of playing, I have only ever met one person who did things differently, he played with nothing but Up Strokes. Getting him to play down strokes was an long old job, but once he had it nailed, he had possibly the best Right Hand technique I have ever seen, his accuracy was amazing, something I really envied. ;)
    "I am not a lunatic. I have the psychiatric report to prove it. A slender majority of the panel decided in my favour."

    If you lend someone ?20 and never see that person again, it was probably well worth it.

    Offline Simon.G

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    Re: Learning open chords
    « Reply #2 on: February 02, 2015, 12:00:49 PM »
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  • Cheers Rob,

    So should I get the thinnest pick poss and practice both downward & upward?

    Or am I ok with the medium thickness pick for now?

    Just to note, strumming upward at the mo feels very odd

    Offline Rob S

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    Re: Learning open chords
    « Reply #3 on: February 02, 2015, 12:27:17 PM »
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  • Views on Pick thickness vary hugely Simon. I tend to suggest that whatever feels comfortable is what will work best. I tend to favour medium or thick Picks, but this is just what I personally get on with. There is an arguement that a thin pick will slow you down once you really get into it as they take fractionally longer to return to shape after striking a string. If I could play fast enough to even begin to notice that, I'd be happy, but I am not a fast player, never have been, it just doesn't work for me.

    Up strokes do feel weird at first, don't worry. ;)
    "I am not a lunatic. I have the psychiatric report to prove it. A slender majority of the panel decided in my favour."

    If you lend someone ?20 and never see that person again, it was probably well worth it.

    Offline Simon.G

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    Re: Learning open chords
    « Reply #4 on: February 02, 2015, 02:58:51 PM »
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  • Good man Rob. Will stick to my mediums for now then,  :)

    Might be a silly question, but given that I'm looking to learn rock & metal, is the CAGED system as well as a few other chords a good starting point - will this be a good foundation builder?

    I was thinking to learn open chords, minor chords, barred chords,
    and then progress to scales - does this sound like a right road to take?

    Thanks
    « Last Edit: February 02, 2015, 03:01:45 PM by Simon.G »

    Johnny-English

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    Re: Learning open chords
    « Reply #5 on: February 02, 2015, 03:11:26 PM »
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  • lets see,
    Yep , every thing that Rob said  :D

    One of the must haves is a metronome , you can get freebees on the net .... If you have a iphone or iPad then download the free apps ,some really good free one .

    Then you can practice ,

    Up and down strokes

    chord changing

    basically every exercise on the guitar ,use the metronome , start off on slow and gradually build the BPM up as you gain confidence .

    Offline Daniel T

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    Re: Learning open chords
    « Reply #6 on: February 02, 2015, 08:06:53 PM »
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  • For many guitarists picks get thicker as you get more experienced...

    Thin picks are great for beginners because the flex allows them pass through the strings more easily. However most people eventually find that thin picks don't offer enough control... mostly because the flex allows them pass through the strings too easily.

    If you're happy with mediums that's great. If you find your having to think of too many things at once (or you keep dropping the pick) then perhaps try some thinner picks until you developer a better picking technique.
    I like to spell peddant with two Ds. That always annoys them.

    Offline davidj

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    Re: Learning open chords
    « Reply #7 on: February 02, 2015, 10:34:15 PM »
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  • I agree entirely about the upstrokes - feels awkward to begin with but persevere.

    Personally I've never been too fussed about pick choice (not too picky even - haha).  I usually use one about 0.73 or thereabouts.  The only kind I really don't get one with are the nylon ones - they seem too scratchy to me.
    I'm back - am I the same person or just a clone of myself?

    Offline Simon.G

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    Re: Learning open chords
    « Reply #8 on: February 03, 2015, 09:58:02 AM »
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  •  ;D Thanks guys for your input
    Not dropped the pick yet. I find for the moment whilst learning chords etc I'm holding the pick - with quite a bit of the pick exposed. Am I right for saying: for strumming it's held a bit more protruding, and then for picking it's hidden between the fingers more?

    And one other thing, with the open chords I'm learning not to hit the strings that aren't supposed to be struck, I'm not muting any strings - does anyone else play and not hit the strings - or does everyone mute them with the thumb say? I tried to mute the low E, but find it hard to reach etc...
    « Last Edit: February 03, 2015, 10:03:34 AM by Simon.G »

    Offline Daniel T

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    Re: Learning open chords
    « Reply #9 on: February 03, 2015, 11:49:55 AM »
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  • Pick technique is full of personal preferences however I think you're probably right to expose a bit more pick for strumming. I think that's what I do.

    For muting you need to hit the right strings and mute! Hitting the right strings with the pick is a great start but as you crank up the gain you'll find you need to mute the other strings to stop the ringing on sympathy (even you you never touch them with the pick). That said I wouldn't work too hard on muting just yet, just concentrate on sounding clean. Your ears will tell you when you need to work on muting. If it sounds OK playing with a clean amp setting but muddy as you whack on the gain its time to think harder about muting.
    I like to spell peddant with two Ds. That always annoys them.

    Offline Rob S

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    Re: Learning open chords
    « Reply #10 on: February 03, 2015, 12:35:29 PM »
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  • Hi Simon, ah! The great topic of muting.

    OK, I'll jump in and probably confuse you no end, but I offer such value for money! ;D ;D

    Right. Let's take a chord with which you are familiar, The A Chord.
    Here's how I mute it "most" of the time.  I use my Left hand thumb to rest on the Bottom E (Thickest String) so that it deadens the string and just produces a Thunk when hit.

    Now, if you want to try another way, try this little exercise. Hold you A Chord. Mute the Bottom E as described, and do a Downstroke with the Pick, then, do an Upstroke, but now relax your grip on the Chord so that you just get a Thunk, then Downstroke again but gripping the Chord again.

    All takes practice but works a treat.

    Now, to continue. Something that many of us do, where is your right hand when playing a Chord? Try resting the heel of your hand on the upper edge of the Bridge, just rest, don't force your hand down. Now once that feels familiar, make a fractional movement of your hand and you'll find you can mute strings there too. This is a popular trick with The Metal Boys and that's what produces that Thick, Percussive sound.  Try holding an E Chord and muting the Bass E and A Strings whilst you play that chord. This works best with Gain on the amp for instant gratification, but works equally well when played clean as this allows you to hear what's happening better until you feel you have it mastered.

    Give it a try. ;)
    "I am not a lunatic. I have the psychiatric report to prove it. A slender majority of the panel decided in my favour."

    If you lend someone ?20 and never see that person again, it was probably well worth it.

    Offline Simon.G

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    Re: Learning open chords
    « Reply #11 on: February 03, 2015, 12:39:22 PM »
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  • Great advice yet again - many thanks  :)

     

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