Autumn Breeze Pickin' - a study for the picking hand.
Guitar Lesson by Kirk Lorange
Difficulty Rating: Intermediate
Autumn Breeze Pickin' - The Lesson Explained.
This is one for the picking hand, guaranteed to force your finger muscles to remember who's boss. It's another of those fretted string / open string pieces, and it's those open strings coming into play that bamboozle those poor fingers.
You'll quickly hear that it's all based around a 4 note melody. The melody line is played on 4 strings, therefore one note per string. Finger confusion arises because the order in which you need to pluck the strings seems illogical. Some 'higher' notes need to be played on 'lower' strings and vice versa. It took me a while to convince my fingers that the pattern I was telling them to follow is correct.
I have indicated in the video that order by highlighting the stings in play in green during the first pass through the progression. I can do it by string number too: 4 - 2 - 3 - 1 - 3 - 2 - 4 ... you need to skip over one string each time. It's because we're sourcing some of the notes halfway up the neck and the others with open strings that we get this confusion. Your fingers will rebel and the whole point to this lesson is the quell the rebellion. This pattern continues throughout the piece.
Quite apart from the exercise, it's a nice piece to listen too. It's in Am and follows a fairly well used progression, similar to the famous 'Stairway to Heaven'. The second chord in the progression is that oddly named A minor Major 7th, although in this case it's a Maj9 because of that B note (the open string). All 'minor major 7th' means is that it's a minor chord (uses the flat 3) and it uses the Maj7 note, not the flat 7 that minor chords usually use.
I have simplifies most of the chord names in the video. All the Am chords have a B in them (the open string) so they should all have some mention of 9 in the name, but it's not all that important for this lesson. It all gets to confusing looking when chord names get too long. I end this minor key piece on a nice optimistic A major.
The fretboard hand fingering for this is very straight forward. Most of it is just two fingers, there's just that one E7b9 chord that may feel a little unusual. It's not a commonly used chord/shape.
The main thing to concentrate on is getting that picking pattern happening, making it smooth and melodic and letting those fingers know who's in control.
Guitar Lesson by Kirk Lorange
As well as putting together these fingerstyle guitar lessons, I am also the author of PlaneTalk - The Truly Totally Different Guitar Instruction Package, which teaches a mindset, a way of thinking about music and a way of tracking it all on the guitar fretboard. Yes, there IS a constant down there in the maze of strings and fret wire, a landmark that points to everything at all times. I call it The Easiest Yet Most Powerful Guitar Lesson You Will Ever Learn and many testimonials at my site will back up that rather superlative description. If your goal as a guitar player is to be able to truly PLAY the guitar, not just learn by rote; to be able to invent on the fly, not memorize every note; to be able to see the WHOLE fretboard as friendly, familiar territory, not just the first 5 frets and to do it all without thinking about all those scales and modes, then you should read more here.