Free Online Lessons

Lesson 1: Tips on General Playing Technique

Here are just a few comments about good general playing technique.

Keep good left hand posture:

Thumb placed near the middle of the curve of the neck so that your fingers can come directly at the fretboard. Keep your left elbow a comfortable distance from your body to give your left hand a better square-on position on the fretboard.

Use Alternating Picking:

Holding the pick between your thumb and index finger move it down and up as you play each note.


To play the notes F, G, G, A,

F (pick down)
G (pick up)
G (pick down)
A (pick up)

This will be the key to achieving speed and smoothness.

Which Fingerings to use:

Generally when you are playing through a form think of using one finger per fret.

Example 1:

In first position (fret region starting on the 1st fret) the fingering would generally be:

1st fret - first finger,
2nd fret - second finger,
3rd fret - third finger,
4th fret - fourth finger.

Example 2:

In fifth position (fret region starting on the 5th fret) the fingering would generally be:

5th fret - first finger,
6th fret - second finger,
7th fret - third finger,
8th fret - forth finger.

There is one fingering configuration that does not conform to the rules used in the above examples. This is the instance in which you are to play three notes on one string that are separated by whole-steps. In this case you will play...

...the first note with your first finger,

...second note (one whole-step up) with your second finger (not third),

...and the third note (one whole-step up) with the fourth finger. This one is somewhat of a stretch, but it does get easier.

Copyright 2001 T.A. Vieira, Jr.
All Rights Reserved