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Lyle Ronglien >> Beginning Guitar I - The Very Beginning >>


Beginning Guitar I - Lesson 4

Playing a Melody

Lyle: Last lesson you learned real basic 1 finger chords and you jammed to a band as you followed a chord progression. In this lesson I want to show you how to strum a real big chord, and also play a melody from a scale. First learn this chord called E:

E chord - open position

E chord - open position


Lyle: This is the lowest and heaviest sounding chords you can play on the guitar. It uses all 6 strings. Use your 1st, 2nd, and 3rd fingers for this chord. Can you get all 6 strings to ring clearly? Push down firmly and make sure your fingers are out of the way of the surrounding strings.

Lyle: Now strum this chord to a beat. Strum down on the first and third beat of this jam track:

counting beats

counting beats


Lyle: Here's a video clip to help show you:

strumming the E chord

Michelle: I'm thinking I'm not going to be able to pull this one off unless I cut my nails?

Lyle: Yes, long finger nails always get in the way of pressing down on the strings. You're going to have to cut them on your fretting hand.

Lyle: This E chord is a major chord, not a minor chord. It is also called an "open position" chord because it's played on the lower frets and there are open strings involved.

wing5wong: So that's what open chord means...?

Lyle: Yes. I plan on teaching you all about the open chords and the bar chords in future lessons.... stay tuned....

Lyle: Now let's learn a melody from a simple major scale. This is the E major scale on the first string. Learn this scale forwards and backwards on this single string:

E major scale

Lyle: Now for fun, play the scale along to this jam track:

Jam Track in E

Lyle: Here's a video example. Notice I play the scale real smooth and to the beat, and I also descend the scale:

E major scale

Lyle: You can also strum the open position E chord along to the jam track. Now you have two things you can do with the looping jam track, 1. strum the open E chord, 2. play the E major scale with it.

Lyle: Now let's learn a simple melody that is made from the notes in that scale. Try this piece of the melody:

melody - part 1

Lyle: You can have the TAB file loop so you can play along with it. You can also slow it down if that helps you. The suggested fingerings will playback on the virtual fretboard. Here's a video clip of me playing this melody. Notice I'm using all down strokes of the pick:

melody - part 1

Lyle: This is a melody from a very popular song around my house.

Lyle: Here's the second part of the melody:

melody - part 2

melody - part 2

Lyle: The nice things about simple songs is that some parts always repeat themselves throughout the song. This makes learning songs quick and easy once you know what to look out for, the repeating sections. Melody - part 3 is a repeat of part 1, but it has a different ending to it:

melody - part 3

melody - part 3

Lyle: The 4th and final melody section of this mega hit song is:

melody - part 4

melody - part 4

Lyle: Here's what all 4 melody parts look and sound like when put all together. Your goal is to play this right along with me or the jam track.

melody - all 4 parts

melody - all 4 parts

Alkatrrrs: What do the numbers on top of the regular notes mean?

Support: They are just bar number in case the teacher wants you to refer to one.

Lyle: If you have an electric guitar, you have reach to higher frets. You could play this whole melody "an octave higher" by moving it all 12 frets higher. Here's what it would be 1 octave/12 frets higher. I've also added some overdrive effects to my guitar to give it a different sound:

melody - 1 octave higher

melody - 1 octave higher

Lyle: On all of this lesson, the chord, the scale, and the melody, use a down stroke with your pick.

Lyle: It's very important to practice playing along to the jam track so you'll get good at staying right with the beat.

Lyle: Be sure to practice hard and make this lesson sound good! Practice strumming the chord to the jam track, practice the scale up and down the neck along to the jam track, and be able to play the melody to the jam track. This all takes time to memorize and get your fingers trained so go easy on yourself if you don't get it all right away. Just keep playing, just keep playing....

Lyle: Let's take a break for now. Let me know if you have a question about this lesson or you might like to get your own custom private lesson to help you become a better guitarist. Email me at Lyle@theguitar.net. I can even teach you your favorite songs in a lesson like this and you can download them too. Thanks, Lyle



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