Lesson 3: Playing Simple Melodies, Reading Tab

In this lesson we work on picking technique, and how to read tablature (tab).

As we briefly explained in Lesson 1, effective picking requires that you master a few basic techniques.

First, hold the pick with the tip protruding only about 1/4".

Second, curl the fingers of your hand into a fist.

Third, this "fist" should hover closely over the strings. Pick the strings without a lot of movement.

Fourth, keep back and forth movement of your picking hand to a minimum.

Fifth, work on "alternate picking" wherever possible.

Practicing these picking techniques...

Now we're going to practice these techniquse: first by striking open strings (without fingering any particular notes), and then by working on some scales and simple songs.

Exercise 1: Striking open strings

Start at string 1 (high E), pick down/up, down/up. Move to string 2, and so on. Focus on making nice clean, consistent strikes.

Exercise 2: Playing G Major Scale

This serves multiple purposes. You work on your picking technique at the same time as learning the location of the notes in the G Major Scale. Remember that the G Scale has one sharp, namely, F#. As you can see from the graphic, F# is at E2 (on both E strings), and D4. Concentrate on using rhe One-Finger-per-Fret technique. F# is the only note in this scale where finger 4 (your pinky) is required.

Exercise 3: Playing Simple Songs

Here you're given the music for two easy, familiar melodies: "Ode to Joy" and "Twinkle Twinkle". You can probably figure these out without the music, but knowing how to read music is a very useful skill. If you already know "how to read" you're all set. But if you don't, this would be a good time to start learning. It's a lot easier (at least at this level) than you probably think.

How to Read Tablature (tab)

Ode to Joy

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