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Labor Day Lullaby - A fingerstyle guitar lesson

Guitar Lesson by Kirk Lorange
Difficulty Rating: Beginner-Intermediate


Labor Day Lullaby - The Lesson explained

Here's a quick little lullaby in the key of G that I came up with recently. I found it to be a good one to discipline both hands so I've turned it into a lesson. You can follow the action on the animated fretboard.

It's in our favorite key - G - and it's one of those very much 'in key' compositions, 'diatonic', to use the fancy word. All the chords are from the key and (For anyone interested in the theory side of things) can be written in Roman numerals as:

| I vi | IV I | vi V | I IV | ii V |
| I IV | ii I | IV V | I IV | I - |

As usual, the thumb takes care of the bass notes. In this piece, most are roots, but there are a few slash chords in there as well, which you can see in the tab. The D chords and one of the Gs are 'first inversion' chords, where the 3 is used as bass note. Chords consist of the 1st, 3rd and 5th notes of their scale, and it's usually the 1 (or root, or tonic) that acts as bass note. Sometimes, though, it sounds better if one of the others is used, as I found in this piece when I was putting it together. There is also a 'second inversion' chord right near the end, that C/G ... that's where the 5 acts as bass note.

The rest of the fingers take care of the melody line and all the extra chord tones that keep it moving along. I didn't indicate in the tab which fingers do what, but the video is nice and clear so you should be able to follow along. Notice that most of the time, I'm holding down chord shapes with my left hand.

The left hand needs to be careful about finger placement in this one in order to keep the notes ringing over each other nicely. I had to concentrate on keeping my fingertips nicely arched over so that they weren't choking off the string that I had just plucked. If you're finding it difficult to get the same sound as you hear in the movie, check to see if that's the problem before pulling your hair out.

The thumb, as always, plays the bass line. In this piece, most of the

Other than that, it's not a huge challenge. As always, the music is not in the notes but in the flow, so concentrate on that. I've always found the best way to do that is to become a member of the audience and really listen to what you're playing. Try to be both the player and the listener at the same time. It's not easy, to detach yourself like that, but if you can, be a very critical listener and adjust whatever it is you don't like.