As we progress further in these lessons, it becomes more and more important to have daily practice time, as we're starting to cover some really tricky material. Power chords can take a while to get used to, so I suggest making a habit of playing them regularly. Here's a suggested use of your practice time for the next few weeks.
- Make sure your guitar is in tune (review how to tune).
- Warm up by playing the chromatic scale, forwards and backwards, several times. Play slowly, use alternate picking, and make sure each note rings clearly.
- Play the E phrygian scale from lesson two several times, paying careful attention to detail.
- Review the names of notes on the sixth and fifth string. Practice calling out a random note (e.g. C), and trying to find that note on BOTH the sixth and fifth string. Memorize at least two other notes, and their positions on each string.
- Work on your power chords. Make sure your ring finger is positioned well on the appropriate fret (it is the finger that most often makes power chords sound bad). Slide from chord to chord, and try moving from the 6th string power chords to the 5th string power chords.
- Review all nine major and minor chords we've learned. You should really be close to memorizing all of these chords by now. Pick two chords, and practice moving from one to the next quickly and smoothly. Then, pick two new chords, and repeat the process.
- Spend some time working on this week's new strumming pattern. Also, be sure to revisit the patterns from lesson two and lesson three. Try switching from chord to chord while using these patterns.
- Work on playing that pesky F major chord. Don't give up until it sounds perfect. Try playing some of the songs listed on that page.
- Try to play all of the songs in lesson four. Each of these songs has been chosen to help you work on a particular aspect of your guitar playing.
We are starting to build up a large archive of things to practice, so if you find it impossible to find the time to practice all of the above in one sitting, try breaking up the material, and practicing it over several days. There is a strong human tendency to only practice things which we are already quite good at. You'll need to overcome this, and force yourself to practice the things you are weakest at doing.
I can't emphasize strongly enough that it is important to practice everything we've done in these four lessons. Some things will undoubtedly be more fun than others, but trust me, the things you hate doing today are probably techniques that will become the basis for other things you will love to play in the future. The key to practice is, of course, fun. The more you enjoy playing guitar, the more you'll play, and the better you will get. Try to have fun with whatever you're playing.
In lesson five, we'll learn a blues shuffle, names of sharps and flats, a barre chord, plus more songs! Hang in there, and have fun!