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Teaching the A chord (guitar)

Cool Beans 30 Aug 12 - 12:10 PM
GUEST,Ed 30 Aug 12 - 12:15 PM
The Sandman 30 Aug 12 - 12:15 PM
Sandy Mc Lean 30 Aug 12 - 12:38 PM
GUEST,alex s no cookie 30 Aug 12 - 12:47 PM
McGrath of Harlow 30 Aug 12 - 12:54 PM
GUEST,wyrdolafr 30 Aug 12 - 01:25 PM
GUEST,999 30 Aug 12 - 01:26 PM
Midchuck 30 Aug 12 - 02:47 PM
Don Firth 30 Aug 12 - 02:54 PM
GUEST,Stim 30 Aug 12 - 03:42 PM
Mr Happy 31 Aug 12 - 03:55 AM
Will Fly 31 Aug 12 - 04:01 AM
JohnDun 31 Aug 12 - 04:30 AM
GUEST,wyrdolafr 31 Aug 12 - 05:20 AM
Stanron 31 Aug 12 - 06:17 AM
Bernard 31 Aug 12 - 06:57 AM
Charmion 31 Aug 12 - 07:14 AM
Bernard 31 Aug 12 - 07:49 AM
Bee-dubya-ell 31 Aug 12 - 07:52 AM
John MacKenzie 31 Aug 12 - 08:19 AM
PHJim 31 Aug 12 - 08:31 AM
Cool Beans 31 Aug 12 - 10:52 AM
GUEST,Stim 31 Aug 12 - 10:58 AM
Stanron 31 Aug 12 - 11:36 AM
GUEST,Stim 31 Aug 12 - 12:25 PM
John MacKenzie 31 Aug 12 - 12:44 PM
Bernard 31 Aug 12 - 04:17 PM
Don Firth 31 Aug 12 - 04:45 PM
GUEST,Stim 31 Aug 12 - 04:54 PM
Bernard 31 Aug 12 - 05:55 PM
Don Firth 31 Aug 12 - 05:57 PM
Stanron 31 Aug 12 - 06:01 PM
GUEST,999 31 Aug 12 - 06:56 PM
PHJim 01 Sep 12 - 03:13 AM
Cool Beans 01 Sep 12 - 08:27 AM
Midchuck 01 Sep 12 - 08:56 AM
Big Al Whittle 01 Sep 12 - 09:59 AM
The Sandman 01 Sep 12 - 12:14 PM
Stanron 01 Sep 12 - 12:55 PM
Don Firth 01 Sep 12 - 01:22 PM
PHJim 02 Sep 12 - 01:18 AM
GUEST,Tunesmith 02 Sep 12 - 03:44 AM
Bernard 02 Sep 12 - 06:15 AM
Bernard 02 Sep 12 - 06:19 AM
The Sandman 02 Sep 12 - 06:54 AM
Big Al Whittle 02 Sep 12 - 11:06 AM
Stanron 02 Sep 12 - 12:26 PM
Bernard 02 Sep 12 - 12:51 PM
The Sandman 02 Sep 12 - 02:05 PM
Don Firth 02 Sep 12 - 03:13 PM
Bernard 02 Sep 12 - 05:22 PM
GUEST,999 02 Sep 12 - 05:54 PM
McGrath of Harlow 02 Sep 12 - 06:09 PM
Big Al Whittle 02 Sep 12 - 06:12 PM
Stanron 02 Sep 12 - 06:13 PM
GUEST,gillymor 02 Sep 12 - 06:31 PM
McGrath of Harlow 02 Sep 12 - 06:39 PM
Bernard 02 Sep 12 - 07:12 PM
Don Firth 02 Sep 12 - 09:05 PM
The Sandman 03 Sep 12 - 03:25 AM
The Sandman 03 Sep 12 - 03:33 AM
s&r 03 Sep 12 - 06:01 AM
Big Al Whittle 03 Sep 12 - 06:03 AM
Bernard 03 Sep 12 - 07:04 AM
The Sandman 03 Sep 12 - 08:16 AM
Big Al Whittle 03 Sep 12 - 08:32 AM
Don Firth 03 Sep 12 - 01:17 PM
GUEST 03 Sep 12 - 07:46 PM
GUEST,Stim 03 Sep 12 - 07:47 PM
The Sandman 04 Sep 12 - 02:51 AM
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Subject: Teaching the A chord (guitar)
From: Cool Beans
Date: 30 Aug 12 - 12:10 PM

I'm teaching my (adult) daughter how to play the guitar and it's time she graduated to another key. I play the one-finger A chord, with my index finger holding down all three strings and avoiding the high E. That can be painful to a beginner. Do all you Mudcat guitarists play the A chord that way?


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Subject: RE: Teaching the A chord (guitar)
From: GUEST,Ed
Date: 30 Aug 12 - 12:15 PM

I think that the 3 finger version is used by most beginners: index (D string), middle (G string) and ring (B string)


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Subject: RE: Teaching the A chord (guitar)
From: The Sandman
Date: 30 Aug 12 - 12:15 PM

no, i use 3 fingers,index on 4 middle on 3, ring on 2


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Subject: RE: Teaching the A chord (guitar)
From: Sandy Mc Lean
Date: 30 Aug 12 - 12:38 PM

Crossover, index on G, middle on D, ring on B.


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Subject: RE: Teaching the A chord (guitar)
From: GUEST,alex s no cookie
Date: 30 Aug 12 - 12:47 PM

Middle 4, Ring 3, Pinkie 2

Good for:
Big fingers and/or narrow fretboards
and
Strengthens the pinkie for general usage


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Subject: RE: Teaching the A chord (guitar)
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 30 Aug 12 - 12:54 PM

A does tend to be a painful chord in the base position to start with, especially for some hands.

The least painful one to use instead is maybe with the index finger on the B string at the fith fret, the middle finger on the G string at the sixth fret, and the index finger on the D string at the seventh fret. Sounds complicated, but it's dead easy.


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Subject: RE: Teaching the A chord (guitar)
From: GUEST,wyrdolafr
Date: 30 Aug 12 - 01:25 PM

I think the best way is to teach her to fret an Amajor with three fingers, but with both '1st on D, 2nd on G, 3rd on B' and 2nd on D, 3rd on G, 4th on B' as moving around those open positions around the nut, different versions of the chord work a little easier depending on the chord you're either moving from or moving to.

The same goes for a lot of those supposedly 'easy' open chords like Emajor. Fretting with 1st, 2nd and 3rd fingers makes a lot sense playing things like Edom7, Esus &c, but its a bit clumsy when leading up to various barre chords &c.

It's one of those things where she won't thank you for it right now, but in the long run, she'll be glad she didn't get stuck with a 'definitive' but limiting way.


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Subject: RE: Teaching the A chord (guitar)
From: GUEST,999
Date: 30 Aug 12 - 01:26 PM

Political finger on the D and G strings, and the finger between the political finger and pinky on the B string, both at the second fret.


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Subject: RE: Teaching the A chord (guitar)
From: Midchuck
Date: 30 Aug 12 - 02:47 PM

I prefer last three fingers (middle, ring, pinkie) on the three strings, for two reasons:

I have fat fingers, and they fit better than the first three.

If the index finger is free, you can move the whole business up, and fret the high e two frets down with the index finger, and get a four-string Bb or B or C or C# or D or...

P.


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Subject: RE: Teaching the A chord (guitar)
From: Don Firth
Date: 30 Aug 12 - 02:54 PM

I fret the 4th and 3rd strings with my first finger and the second finger fretting the 2nd string. All, of course, on the second fret.

Other fingerings, of course, for further up the fingerboard.

Don Firth


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Subject: RE: Teaching the A chord (guitar)
From: GUEST,Stim
Date: 30 Aug 12 - 03:42 PM

Though I know and use, a lot of different fingerings for an "A" chord, I tend to play out of the closed position barred A on the fifth fret--depending on what I'm playing.   but what I use doesn't have much to do with what I'd teach a beginner to do.

The thing is, you have to teach how to move from one chord to another in a way that they can add to and develop to suit whatever style of music they want to play. Needless to say, this is going to be really different--

For rock and blues, I used to teach that one finger thing you do, and, to make it easier, I'd actually have them start out holding the E note on the second fret D string down all the way, and letting the finger damp the rest of the strings. Then I'd teach them to squeeze and get the rest of the notes in, whenever they could manage it.


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Subject: RE: Teaching the A chord (guitar)
From: Mr Happy
Date: 31 Aug 12 - 03:55 AM

Guess I'm outnumbered, but I've always used index fingerpad to cover all 3 strings for A & don't find it at all limiting, in fact I've more spare fingers left over to play ornamentations etc


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Subject: RE: Teaching the A chord (guitar)
From: Will Fly
Date: 31 Aug 12 - 04:01 AM

You could, of course, also try this:

007650

Easy to fret and with an interesting ring to it...

As far as any chord fingering is concerned, you have to consider the place of the chord in relation to those around it - and how you make the change. For root A, the previous and following chords may indicate a slight change in fingering from one A to the next occurrence of A.


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Subject: RE: Teaching the A chord (guitar)
From: JohnDun
Date: 31 Aug 12 - 04:30 AM

I'm with Sandy on this one, the index finger on the G string.

When playing in the key of A, I keep my index finger on the G string all the time just sliding it about between the 1st and 2nd frets for the A, D & E chords, and taking it off for the A7.

It also feels easier and more relaxing for me to keep my middle finger 'above' my index finger as in the E, Em, E7, F, G, G7, Am, B7, C, C7, Dm, & D7 chords. - (lights blue touchpaper and runs for cover)


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Subject: RE: Teaching the A chord (guitar)
From: GUEST,wyrdolafr
Date: 31 Aug 12 - 05:20 AM

Will, I agree. What's leading up to the chord or how you're going to come out of that chord is pretty important, even in open chords down by the nut. When you're first starting playing the guitar and fretting anything at all is a conscious effort, getting the right fingering early on makes those difficult first changes a lot easier.


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Subject: RE: Teaching the A chord (guitar)
From: Stanron
Date: 31 Aug 12 - 06:17 AM

A lot depends on the student and the guitar. A child learning on a classical guitar has lots of space to use three fingers. An adult on a narrow necked steel string may find that three fingers don't fit.

When I started learning I found it much easier to hold the fourth and third strings with one finger and the second string with the next. I had a similar two finger version of the E chord.

50 years later I still use those shapes, although I have learned some more since then.


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Subject: RE: Teaching the A chord (guitar)
From: Bernard
Date: 31 Aug 12 - 06:57 AM

I've always taught students to first play E with the index finger on 3rd string, first fret, middle finger on 5th string second fret and ring finger on 4th string second fret.

Then I tell them not to move the index finger (guitarist's motto 'never lift a finger unless you have to'), move the middle and ring fingers across to 4th and 3rd strings respectively, and put the 'pinky' on the 2nd string, second fret, giving the A chord.

It also means the slightly tricky B7 chord is easier to get to - and I use the 12-bar blues as an ideal chord progression for practice. There's always one finger that doesn't move when changing from one chord to the next, so it encourages tidy fingering.


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Subject: RE: Teaching the A chord (guitar)
From: Charmion
Date: 31 Aug 12 - 07:14 AM

A person with small hands and short fingers will need to keep the pinkie on the treble side of the shape to avoid damping the high E string.


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Subject: RE: Teaching the A chord (guitar)
From: Bernard
Date: 31 Aug 12 - 07:49 AM

I forgot to mention - I always teach students to tuck the pinky in behind the ring finger - it helps avoid damping the high E and helps in holding the B string down... and I encourage them to practice 'stacking' the three fingers without a guitar as often as they can - the pad of one finger sits on the nail of the next.

I've found that size of hand is far less important than determination!!

If you adopt the 'correct classical position' with the thumb in the middle of the back of the neck, even small hands can manage very well - I was teaching junior school children this way.


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Subject: RE: Teaching the A chord (guitar)
From: Bee-dubya-ell
Date: 31 Aug 12 - 07:52 AM

I would start a beginner off with a simple, two-finger A7: X02020 with middle finger on 4th string and ring finger on 2nd string. Then, when they're comfortable with that, slip the index finger in on the 3rd string to change it to an A major (X02220).


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Subject: RE: Teaching the A chord (guitar)
From: John MacKenzie
Date: 31 Aug 12 - 08:19 AM

Index finger across all 4 bottom stings, second fret, and the little finger holding down the top E on the 5th fret.


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Subject: RE: Teaching the A chord (guitar)
From: PHJim
Date: 31 Aug 12 - 08:31 AM

I first learned the index finger A and I like it for the little blues shuffle you can get by moving from X02220 to 02222 to X02223 to X02222 and repeat.
If there is difficulty bending the index back far enough to avoid muting the first string, you could make the long A X02225.


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Subject: RE: Teaching the A chord (guitar)
From: Cool Beans
Date: 31 Aug 12 - 10:52 AM

Great advice and thank you, all!


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Subject: RE: Teaching the A chord (guitar)
From: GUEST,Stim
Date: 31 Aug 12 - 10:58 AM

If I understand it correctly, don't like Bernard's plan for fingering A at all, it's too cramped. I also disagree with his "a guitarist never lifts..." and say the opposite..you only lower your fingers when necessary." I do like the classical thumb, though.

John McKenzie, I know what you're talking about, but next time say " little finger holding down the top E *string* on the 5th fret," because the "e" pitch on the 5th fret is played on the B string, and, at least for anyone who has bothered to learn the notes, your description is paradoxical.


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Subject: RE: Teaching the A chord (guitar)
From: Stanron
Date: 31 Aug 12 - 11:36 AM

Apologies to John McKenzie but in my experience when referring to guitar strings 'top' and 'bottom' are about pitch and not position. On a right handed guitar, played by a right handed player, the top string (the string with the highest pitch) is on the bottom and the bottom string (the one that sounds lowest) is on the top.

Of course some left handed players will take that guitar, turn it upside down and play it like that and then the top string will be on top.


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Subject: RE: Teaching the A chord (guitar)
From: GUEST,Stim
Date: 31 Aug 12 - 12:25 PM

PHJim uses the notation that is easiest to make sense out of. It drives me crazy when someone says "First string, fifth finger, fourth fret" or some such thing. It is less confusing if you refer to the strings by their pitch, the frets by their number, and the fingers by their names. Also, be real clear about what you mean when you say "Higher" and "Lower".

Mind you, I am not blaming any of you. The instrument was like that when we got here.


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Subject: RE: Teaching the A chord (guitar)
From: John MacKenzie
Date: 31 Aug 12 - 12:44 PM

In pics


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Subject: RE: Teaching the A chord (guitar)
From: Bernard
Date: 31 Aug 12 - 04:17 PM

To put what I said into perspective, the chords I always start new pupils off with are D and A7 - the E, A and B7 system comes along much later.

I also insist on forming G with the 'pinky' on 1st string, third fret, ring finger on 6th string, third fret, and middle finger on 5th string, second fret.

Yes, initially it's a pig, but it makes changing from G to C (and back) much tidier - formimg G without the pinky always looks so clumsy! G to D, once you realise which fingers move where, also works better this way.

Taking the easy shortcut may be okay in the short term, but unless you work painstakingly at your fingering, you will always remain a mediocre to average player - those of us who are above average consider ALL the aspects of playing, not just forming the notes.

People are often surprised when they see the pound of pork sausages I have instead of fingers - yet they don't get in the way of playing properly!


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Subject: RE: Teaching the A chord (guitar)
From: Don Firth
Date: 31 Aug 12 - 04:45 PM

Yes, Bernard, I use the same fingering for a G. Easy transition to a C, or especially a sequence of G to G7 to C.

I do sometimes use the other fingering if my next chord is going to be a Bm, and then my 1st (index) finger is right where it needs to be for the bar.

Numbering the strings and the left-hand fingers is standard notation for classical guitar music.

Don Firth


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Subject: RE: Teaching the A chord (guitar)
From: GUEST,Stim
Date: 31 Aug 12 - 04:54 PM

The problem with using the "G-pinky" fingering is that you play your scales, both the bass and treble, without the use of your index finger, which is awkward. This makes it pretty hard to do any sort of Carter-picking,


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Subject: RE: Teaching the A chord (guitar)
From: Bernard
Date: 31 Aug 12 - 05:55 PM

Don - I would agree - and sometimes I'll use the other fingering if I want to fret the 2nd string third fret to give the G a more 'modal' sound (for want of a better term!).

You may have gathered I'm classically trained, but don't inflict it on pupils who don't want it!


Sorry, Stim, that makes no sense at all to me... I play ragtime guitar, which is next to impossible (to quote Stefan Grossman!) any other way... neatness of fingering is paramount, and you NEVER lift a finger unless you have to...

I've no idea what 'Carter-picking' is... perhaps you could elucidate?

As for playing scales... we're talking about playing CHORDS! Who said anything about scales?


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Subject: RE: Teaching the A chord (guitar)
From: Don Firth
Date: 31 Aug 12 - 05:57 PM

I'm not sure what you mean, Stim, because I don't find it so. And I do some Carter picking.

Don Firth


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Subject: RE: Teaching the A chord (guitar)
From: Stanron
Date: 31 Aug 12 - 06:01 PM

Briefly

Carter Picking

Chords are used or worked through.


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Subject: RE: Teaching the A chord (guitar)
From: GUEST,999
Date: 31 Aug 12 - 06:56 PM

Cool Beans: there are many ways to do the A chord in that position. Few more advanced players stick with just one. To someone new to that chord, I would start with a three finger that goes 2, 3 and 4 (fingers are usually numbered starting with the index or pointing finger as 1 and the pinky as 4. I use my thumb on some chords and that is designated by a T instead of a number). Strings are numbered from the treble to the bass as 1 through 6 with 1 being the high E and 6 being the low E two octaves below it. (None of these things are written in stone because there is a move on to reverse the string numbering process, and it would make one heckuva lot more sense, IMO. Lord knows where that will end up. BUT, for now, the above is what we have.

No post on this thread is wrong. Depending on the style of music your daughter will play, whether she's finger picking, strumming or flat picking, each of the aforementioned chordings have a place in her future reportoire of A chords. There ARE chord formations which are just plain wrong because they hinder fluid changes, but at this time and in this position, the A just ain't one of them.


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Subject: RE: Teaching the A chord (guitar)
From: PHJim
Date: 01 Sep 12 - 03:13 AM

Bernard said,"I also insist on forming G with the 'pinky' on 1st string, third fret, ring finger on 6th string, third fret, and middle finger on 5th string, second fret."

While I don't always force a student to change who already plays another form of G chord, this is how I teach it to beginners and how I most often make it myself. Since G is often followed by G7 on the way to C, it makes this change much easier. I will sometimes use the 320033 fingering as well.

I will often finger a D chord with my ring, bird and pinky if I want to follow it with a D7.


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Subject: RE: Teaching the A chord (guitar)
From: Cool Beans
Date: 01 Sep 12 - 08:27 AM

Again, thank you all. I'm going to let my daughter pick the way that's most comfortable to play the A chord, as long as she can easily change chords from that position.

As for the other strands of this thread: I learned to play the G chord using the index, middle and ring finger and it has never hindered my ability to change chords rapidly. It also leaves my pinky free to play the high E on the third fret, and my ring finger to move up a string and play B string on the third fret, the so-called Bluegrass G chord.*

And I have no problem with lifting my fingers from the fretboard. To each his/her own, which is one of the things I appreciate about Mudcat and Mudcatters.

*320033.


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Subject: RE: Teaching the A chord (guitar)
From: Midchuck
Date: 01 Sep 12 - 08:56 AM

For G, I like pinky on first (highest) string, fret 3; middle finger on sixth string, also fret 3; first on fifth string, fret 2. That leaves ring finger free to either fret the second string at fret 3, to leave the B note sounding only in the bass and getting a more "droney" sound (bluegrassers call that the "Tony Rice G), or fret the fourth string at fret 3, producing a G7 with the seventh in the bass, which is a nice passing chord going to C.


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Subject: RE: Teaching the A chord (guitar)
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 01 Sep 12 - 09:59 AM

Its like three little baby triplets inbed to gether. And the littlest one says, move one over I don't want to be too near the edge in case I fall over and out of bed. They move one over.

So there they are all in bed to gether, but in their own beds - strings two, three and four.

If you want, you can think of them as baby puppies.


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Subject: RE: Teaching the A chord (guitar)
From: The Sandman
Date: 01 Sep 12 - 12:14 PM

From: GUEST,Stim - PM
Date: 31 Aug 12 - 04:54 PM

The problem with using the "G-pinky" fingering is that you play your scales, both the bass and treble, without the use of your index finger, which is awkward. This makes it pretty hard to do any sort of Carter-picking,"
but easy[ if i have understood correctly] to play melody style piedmont picking, where the melody is played on the treble strings with a four four bass played by thumb


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Subject: RE: Teaching the A chord (guitar)
From: Stanron
Date: 01 Sep 12 - 12:55 PM

G scales without using the first finger are only uncomfortable if you've never done it. If you practice scales without using the first finger they get easier. In playing the two octave open G scale I only use the first finger on the C on the second string. I imagine that most people who play the 'Pinky G' chord do the same.


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Subject: RE: Teaching the A chord (guitar)
From: Don Firth
Date: 01 Sep 12 - 01:22 PM

I'm beginning to suspect that some folks are confusing Maybelle Carter's "scratch" with "Travis picking."

Don Firth


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Subject: RE: Teaching the A chord (guitar)
From: PHJim
Date: 02 Sep 12 - 01:18 AM

In Travis picking, the thumb alternates strings on the beat to keep the rhythm while the fingers pick a syncopated (or straight)melody on the treble strings.

In the Carter Scratch, the thumb picks the melody on the bass strings, while the fingers strum chords to fill in the spaces. Some people also call the same notes and rhythm played with a flat pick the Carter Scratch.


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Subject: RE: Teaching the A chord (guitar)
From: GUEST,Tunesmith
Date: 02 Sep 12 - 03:44 AM

Well, I haven't read all the above BUT the way you finger any chord should be decided by answering the following question, "Which fingering best serves the piece of music that I am playing?"
Sometimes there isn't a choice i.e. there is only one sensible fingering, but often there can be a choice of fingering.


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Subject: RE: Teaching the A chord (guitar)
From: Bernard
Date: 02 Sep 12 - 06:15 AM

The word used was 'teaching', so is asking for the best starting point. The piece of music likely to be attempted at this point is irrelevant, as the OP specifically mentions a beginner, not an experienced player.

When you teach a beginner, you should ALWAYS encourage 'best practice', as lazy techniques will not breed good playing.

It's far harder to shake off poor technique later than it is to learn good technique from the outset.

I'm all for 'instant success', which is why I start off with D and A7 - lots of songs use just two chords (some you can even get away with only one!), but stressing the importance of proper fingering and a good strumming technique are paramount, even on the first lesson.

I've always found adults harder to teach than children, because they always want to put their own 'spin' on things rather than accepting that 'teacher knows best'...!


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Subject: RE: Teaching the A chord (guitar)
From: Bernard
Date: 02 Sep 12 - 06:19 AM

Grammar alert! I sould have read the above after editing and before posting - I meant 'is paramount', of course!

I could just add that CoolBeans did suggest in the OP that the 'one finger A' may not be the best for a beginner... I rarely do it that way myself unless adding in the 'pinky' on 1st string, fifth fret.


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Subject: RE: Teaching the A chord (guitar)
From: The Sandman
Date: 02 Sep 12 - 06:54 AM

i disagree, with a g chord i would mention two possibilites dependent on whether you were in c using g as dominant, so that you might need index for g7, or for melody picking on treble strings, or if you were in g[and g is the tonic chord]using pinky on top string 3rdfret, and middle on 2 string 3rd fret, or alternatively ring finger on 1 string 3rd fret , all the differnt combinations have advantages and dis advantages


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Subject: RE: Teaching the A chord (guitar)
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 02 Sep 12 - 11:06 AM

For years I was one sorry dude. I practiced improper fingering. Then I found Jesus.

Since then I have stopped years of self abuse and drunkeness.

People regularly compliment me on my good fingering and sensitivity to the basic decencies of guitar ownership.

Remember my father's house has many mansions, but there's no annexe for those that play their guitar after having a dump and not washing their hands.


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Subject: RE: Teaching the A chord (guitar)
From: Stanron
Date: 02 Sep 12 - 12:26 PM

This business about it being harder to relearn old habits. I'd like to state the case for the opposition.

Principle.        The ability to learn is like a muscle. The more you use it the stronger it gets. If you keep on learning stuff, learning more stuff becomes easier.

Observation.        Some people learn technical stuff up to a level where they can perform whatever type of music that motivates or interests them. This can be playing rhythm guitar, fingerpicking, lead electric, classical or whatever. Once they have reached this point the focus of their learning moves from technique to repertoire. If this move is 100% then their technique learning muscle will atrophy and eventually cease to exist.

Conclusion.        Only those people who have let their technique learning muscle atrophy to zero will experience difficulty in relearning old habits. For someone who is always developing technique, changing old habits is no harder than learning new material.


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Subject: RE: Teaching the A chord (guitar)
From: Bernard
Date: 02 Sep 12 - 12:51 PM

Hmmm... surprising how people miss the point when it's staring them in the face, innit?! Opening post said 'beginner' and also said 'adult'... so why do people go off on a tangent about completely irrelevant complications? A beginner does not need ifs and buts, just 'do it this way'. Once they become an experienced player, then AND ONLY THEN is the time to try alternative approaches.

I stick to my point... AS A TEACHER (certificated) I know that it's better to learn good technique from the start than to have to re-learn it later. That's what the years of college training were all about.

End of!!


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Subject: RE: Teaching the A chord (guitar)
From: The Sandman
Date: 02 Sep 12 - 02:05 PM

Bernard ,I think you are talking cods wallop, i dont care if you are a certificated teacher.
Being a certificated teacher does not necessarily make you a good teacher.


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Subject: RE: Teaching the A chord (guitar)
From: Don Firth
Date: 02 Sep 12 - 03:13 PM

I have to agree wholeheartedly with Bernard.

As someone who started out essentially self-taught and then started taking lessons from an excellent teacher, and as one who has spent a great deal of time around guitarists, many of whom were self-taught, badly taught, or sometimes well-taught—and as one who has taught guitar for fifty years (some of my former students are now professional musicians), I would say this—EMPHATICALLY:

It is counterproductive to teach a beginner an incorrect technique of any kind simply because it is easier, with the idea that, with a little concentration and effort later on, they can learn the correct technique.

Graphic case in point:   I had a friend with whom I shared coffee house and folk festival gigs off and on for a number of years. He was self-taught. He discovered that in what seemed to him a natural position for his right hand, his thumb and his fingers kept interfering with each other. To "correct" this, he turned his hand to a position used by some early lute players (CLICKY #1) in order to avoid this interference, and anchored his little finger on the soundboard.

Now, Jerry had a very nice Martin guitar, and he constantly complained that he could never get a clear tone out of it. All he could ever get was a sort of muddy "foomp" sound out of the strings. So I said, "Well, here's your problem. You need to turn your hand the other way (CLICKY #2). This way, your thumb and fingers won't interfere with each other and your fingers come straight across the strings at a nearly right angle. This gives you control over the sound."

Jerry tried it. But—he had been playing the other way for so long that the correct position felt very awkward. He labored away at it for a couple of weeks, then finally gave up and went back to his old way of playing.

Nice, pricy Martin he had, too. Never did get a decent tone out of it. Other people could, but he couldn't.

Learn it right—TEACH it right—the first time. A little extra effort now can save a lot of trouble and aggravation later on.

Don Firth


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Subject: RE: Teaching the A chord (guitar)
From: Bernard
Date: 02 Sep 12 - 05:22 PM

Dick... I know I'm right, so what you say doesn't matter a jot!! ;o)

Whilst I agree that there are good teachers and bad teachers, it is arrogant and insulting to sound off in such a way when you have merely a difference of opinion to express and wish to score points at someone else's expense - which, may I say, you are not exactly unknown for doing around these parts. It's not the first time you've tried to 'push my buttons', and I doubt it will be the last.

Now, if you haven't something to say which is of some immediate use to our OP, please butt out gracefully and leave those of us who are genuinely trying to help to do so.

I swapped teaching to be a sound engineer, and I find both jobs have one thing in common... twonks who know your job better than you do... but seldom really do. A teaching certificate is a legal document... an indication that the holder has achieved a measurable level of education to a required standard. It means the holder isn't just having a go at teaching (those who can, do, those who can't, teach), but is properly trained.

Admittedly, there is an intangible quality that some really inspirational teachers have that other mere mortals do not possess, but to cast aspersions on the teaching certificate could be considered libellous...


Don - right on the button!! It applies equally to all skills, be they musical, driving a car, flying an aeroplane... and we know how disastrous poor technique would be to the latter two!

Talking of right hand technique, I've always taught my pupils to put their hand in a position as if they are jolding an imaginary tangerine, and to pluck the strings as if tightening up a wing nut. This avoids the problem of thumb and fingers clashing, and is exactly how respected classical players such as Segovia, Bream and Williams play. Nobody dare question their technique...

Interestingly, I was once talking to a harp teacher who was intrigued that, although I'd never played the harp, I was attempting to pluck the strings correctly. I explained about the wing nut thing and guitar students, and she was delighted - it hadn't occurred to her to use that analogy, and vowed to add it to her armoury immediately!!

Unfortunately there are lots of people out there with faulty technique who believe that it must be okay because they are doing it. However, those who teach the correct technique do so because many painstaking hours of research have been done, and we wish to share the fruits of our labours with those willing to take advantage of it.


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Subject: RE: Teaching the A chord (guitar)
From: GUEST,999
Date: 02 Sep 12 - 05:54 PM

"However, those who teach the correct technique do so because many painstaking hours of research have been done, and we wish to share the fruits of our labours with those willing to take advantage of it."

Bingo, Bernard.


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Subject: RE: Teaching the A chord (guitar)
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 02 Sep 12 - 06:09 PM

Three truths.

There are some circumstances where there is only one right way to do something. But more often than not there are in fact alternatives which are also "right".

Different people learn and relearn in different ways.

We should never assume that what is easy for us is easy for everyone, or that what is hard for us is hard for everyone.


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Subject: RE: Teaching the A chord (guitar)
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 02 Sep 12 - 06:12 PM

Of course you can question the technique of Segovia, Robert Johnson, Joe Pass or bert Weedon.

The whole field of guitar playing is full of oddballs and outlaws. You can question the rules, ignore them, wipe your bum on them -if you want.

Passing on ones expertise to adults is naturally more difficult than teaching to kids - they ask questions. They have heard lots of musicians - they soon pick up if you are putting them in the wrong direection from where they want to go. An honest teacher will say - if I can help you, Iwill - but if I can't help you, I will level with you.

Its a multi faceted instrument - no one knows it all.


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Subject: RE: Teaching the A chord (guitar)
From: Stanron
Date: 02 Sep 12 - 06:13 PM

Oh come on guys, get a grip. Neither me or any other poster in this thread has suggested that teaching bad technique is in any way a good thing.

My last post was not about that.

Incidentally, I've never found the argument that goes "I have a certificate therefor you are wrong" to be very convincing.

Cheers.


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Subject: RE: Teaching the A chord (guitar)
From: GUEST,gillymor
Date: 02 Sep 12 - 06:31 PM

You know beans since your daughter is grown up maybe learning to play the A the way you do with one finger will help her build up strength to eventually play barre chords besides opening up hammer on and melodic possibilties which might not be too easy using the 3 finger method. In time she can probably contort her index a bit to cleanly sound the high E string.


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Subject: RE: Teaching the A chord (guitar)
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 02 Sep 12 - 06:39 PM

Or stretch her little finger up to make it play an A.

It's a magic instrument.


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Subject: RE: Teaching the A chord (guitar)
From: Bernard
Date: 02 Sep 12 - 07:12 PM

Incidentally, I've never found the argument that goes "I have a certificate therefor you are wrong" to be very convincing.

Nor is misquoting someone out of context... unless, of course, you happen to be a politician or a journalist!!

As no-one else in this thread has mentioned certificates, I can only assumed that remark was rather unwisely targeted at me.

Do you have a drivers licence? It's a legal requirement if you wish to drive a car on public roads...

For some odd reason, people can call themselves 'teachers' when they have no formal qualifications. Supposing (and it happens!) a 'doctor' were to do a similar thing?

I merely pointed out that I was awarded a formally recognised qualification earned through years of training. I did not say that it makes anyone else wrong - just that it means I am entitled to speak with an officially recognised degree of authority - rather like an 'expert witness' would do in a court of law.

It's so sad that people post threads to ask for advice, then the usual back-biting slanging matches ensue... if you disagree with what someone has said, there are more intelligent ways of making your point.


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Subject: RE: Teaching the A chord (guitar)
From: Don Firth
Date: 02 Sep 12 - 09:05 PM

Bernard, the tangerine and tightening a wing-nut are good images. I've used "holding an egg," which seems to get the idea of position across fairly well.

Now, I've had self-taught folkies tell me that because I've taken singing lessons (to sing properly and not damage my voice as happens to a lot of folk singing types, such as Pete Seeger, who can no longer sustain a note on pitch, while Russian operatic bass, Mark Reizen kept his voice until he died (here he is at age 90CLICKY)) and that I have taken classic guitar lessons (partly to avoid the kind of problems that Jerry got himself into, AND because I wanted to PLAY some classic guitar), that I am no longer qualified to sing folk songs!!

Now, who the hell made up THAT commandment!??

Don Firth

P. S. I don't sound like an opera singer (I know some aspiring opera singers who wish it were just a matter of taking voice lessons!! It doesn't work that way!), and just because I can play some pretty flashy stuff on the guitar doesn't mean I HAVE to. There is such a thing as TASTE!


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Subject: RE: Teaching the A chord (guitar)
From: The Sandman
Date: 03 Sep 12 - 03:25 AM

Being a certificated teacher does not mean the teacher is a good teacher, I have experienced plenty of bad certificated teachers,as well as good ones.,neither does having a driving licence make someone a good driver.
MCgrath is spot on here
Three truths.

There are some circumstances where there is only one right way to do something. But more often than not there are in fact alternatives which are also "right".

Different people learn and relearn in different ways.

We should never assume that what is easy for us is easy for everyone, or that what is hard for us is hard for everyone.


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Subject: RE: Teaching the A chord (guitar)
From: The Sandman
Date: 03 Sep 12 - 03:33 AM

Bernard, I know nothing about your abilities as a teacher,and I was not criticising your teaching abilty,you have decided to take my comment personally, that is your problem, please try and not be rude
I was disagreeing with the concept that being a certificated teacher necessarily meant the teacher was a good teacher.


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Subject: RE: Teaching the A chord (guitar)
From: s&r
Date: 03 Sep 12 - 06:01 AM

A slightly harder but better concept with the correct fingering for chords is to use the fingering that allows a smooth change from the preceding chord, and then to the subsequent chord. Most chords have alternative shapes that allow easy travel around the fingerboard.

Stu


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Subject: RE: Teaching the A chord (guitar)
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 03 Sep 12 - 06:03 AM

Safer with the tangerine than the egg. You'd be holding them upside down and the egg would fall on the floor and smash....yolk everywhere.

Just an uncertificated point of view......


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Subject: RE: Teaching the A chord (guitar)
From: Bernard
Date: 03 Sep 12 - 07:04 AM

Bernard ,I think you are talking cods wallop, i dont care if you are a certificated teacher.
Being a certificated teacher does not necessarily make you a good teacher.


Dick, I accept your clarification regarding the above... but I'm still a little puzzled as to why you think I was not intended to take that particular posting personally...

Anyway, I think we've dug deep enough into this hole already, so let's call it quits at that!! ;o)

I do understand what you meant, taking it as a generalisation, and do agree that there's good and bad to be found in every profession.


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Subject: RE: Teaching the A chord (guitar)
From: The Sandman
Date: 03 Sep 12 - 08:16 AM

it was meant to be one, not you personally,
how can i judge you as a teacher , i have not see you teach,
having seen you as a performer I would assume you were good, although it does not always follow that a decent performer makes a decent teacher, i am sorry if i did not word my phrasing well, i was in a hurry.


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Subject: RE: Teaching the A chord (guitar)
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 03 Sep 12 - 08:32 AM

Don't stop now - I was enjoying all this talk of eggs tangerines etc!


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Subject: RE: Teaching the A chord (guitar)
From: Don Firth
Date: 03 Sep 12 - 01:17 PM

Golf ball? Tennis ball? Basketball?

Nah. Tangerine is good. I'm putting the egg back in the refrigerator.

As far as chord fingerings are concerned, there are alternative fingerings for a number of chords, and it's not a bad idea to know and get used to using more than one fingering. Which fingering would be best to use at any given point depends on what went before and what's coming after.

Experiment.

Don Firth


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Subject: RE: Teaching the A chord (guitar)
From: GUEST
Date: 03 Sep 12 - 07:46 PM

Here is a classic example of Carter Picking, Bernard, directly from Mother Maybelle Wildwood Flower She works from a C chord position(capoed up to G), but Helen uses the open G fingering. Note that the third guitarist uses a barred G!


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Subject: RE: Teaching the A chord (guitar)
From: GUEST,Stim
Date: 03 Sep 12 - 07:47 PM

That last was me.


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Subject: RE: Teaching the A chord (guitar)
From: The Sandman
Date: 04 Sep 12 - 02:51 AM

stim is absolutely right, using the thumb the melody can be picked, it is easiest in c or g, but apparantly can also be done in aed, though i have never tried it in these keys.it is very usefulk inthis style toshow the pupil the major key of c and g, which is generally a string lower
the same principle can be use in open chord tunings such as dadf#ad, dgdgbd.
the other form of melody picking is sometimes known as piedmont style , used by john hurt, etta baker,and mance lipscomb it works well in c and g too, but the idea is to pick the melody with the fingers[generally]though in some styles of this the thumb can play third string melody, sometimes third string melody is plated by index[up]


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