Here are two more interesting emails I have got lately.
I hope you find the emails and my thoughts useful…
“I have worked with an online teacher before with Zoom.
My teacher did a good job of keeping me playing interesting songs, mostly fingerpicking stuff. I thought some of the songs were a little too difficult for my experience, so it seemed like we spent several weeks where I didn’t feel like I was advancing much.
I really like fingerpicking songs, but I want to be able to sing and play at the same time, for example “campfire” songs.
I need the discipline of lessons or else I just keep jumping from one song to the next one that strikes my fancy without really learning the previous song well enough. I find it very difficult to do these online lessons by myself.”
Making progress with songs can be hard at first, for sure.
Not seeing much progress can be harder still.
This is why I say to students, it’s often a good idea to work on something simple and fun alongside anything challenging you are doing.
Getting the right balance between pushing yourself and having fun is key, but if in doubt, I would urge you to spend that bit more time having fun.
It’s pretty rare for someone to have fun and not make progress.
Chris here mentions the word “discipline”.
That’s such an important word.
Do what it takes to keep the discipline, avoid distractions, and focus on what it is you want.
“One of your recent emails was about Hendrix having trouble with barre chords, and honestly most of the guitarists of my early years, in the 60s, 70s, etc. didn’t play full barre chords very often.
I quickly moved to playing on the whole neck once I conquered the F in the bottom 3 frets.
I very seldom do full barre chords, but I do 3- and 4-string barres often.
Normally I use the “F” position using my thumb on the low E string, all the way up the neck, it is pretty easy to do, and my fingers are already in position to do runs, dyads, scales, etc.
I recently saw John Mayer playing on TV, and he had his thumb wrapped around the neck much of the time. I’ve also heard Tommy Emmanuel commenting on this.
I’m sure that you are going to take me to task on this, but I am always interested in your comments.
Wrapping the thumb around the neck to help with barre chords can be a good option.
Personally, I struggle to do that myself as my thumb is not very long.
Wrapping it around is doable for me but really hard.
I’ve never taken measurements of my students’ thumbs, but they’ve often struggled with the wrap-around technique.
My guess is most famous players who can do it, have slightly longer thumbs than me.
The thing is, if it works for you and doesn’t impact your technique or cause you to accidentally mute strings, then go for it!
I’m a big believer in options on the guitar and although technique is paramount, there is more than one way to skin a cat as the expression goes.
Just be sure you’re doing it for the right reasons, and you keep playing with optimal technique.
If you’ve tried all sorts of ways to play barre chords though but found they’ve not really worked for you, then you may want to try this…
It’s my A-Z course that will help you truly master barre chords once and for all.
Everything you need to know about barre chords is inside this course.
Have a great day of practice!
P.S. This post was originally taken from Dan Thorpe’s private email list. To get blog posts like this sent to you which are full of great tips to make fingerpicking, strumming, and learning guitar more enjoyable (especially if you are over 40) join Dan’s list. It’s 100% free, HERE.