Welcome to a new weekly post with 3 random thoughts on all things guitar, music, and life, including fretboard markers, stiff elbows, and more.
Normally I send this out on a Monday but as yesterday was a super busy day for me, here it is today…
#1 – Dot to Dot
I saw a post in a Facebook group the other day with the writer saying they felt silly they previously didn’t know how fretboard markers worked.
…But once they understood them, the fretboard made more sense.
Do you know which frets the markers are on?
If you are new to guitar, you may wonder why they are useful.
Well, the simple answer is that they will help you quickly get to the correct fret.
The markers are on frets 3, 5, 7, 9, and 12.
Let’s imagine I asked you to play fret 7 (on any string).
If there were no fretboard markers, fret 7 would take a few seconds to find, and you may even have to count up the frets one by one to find it.
Yet with the fretboard markers, you can look at the fretboard for the 3rd dot, and…
…voila, fret 7 is there.
If you don’t use them, grab your guitar and study them.
These markers can be super useful, especially as you move up and down the fretboard.
#2 – Disaster strikes!
“Uh-oh”, I thought.
The water blasted out the top of the toilet like a fire hose hitting the ceiling.
Disaster had struck.
The water kept coming.
It was like a cartoon.
I ran to the kitchen to turn off the water supply…
…but by then, litres and litres of water had flooded the bathroom.
This all started as the toilet was being problematic and endlessly trying to fill up.
In trying to sort it, I accidentally knocked the top off some part in the cistern and created this disaster.
It worked out okay though as I sorted it and put it back together, mopped it all up fairly quickly and called a plumber to do a proper job.
It just goes to show no matter how bad things seem, it’s fixable.
…And believe me, it took some willpower to keep my cool.
I always remind students of this if they ever feel like their playing is broken.
There is a solution.
If you’re struggling right now, don’t despair. It might not be obvious right now, but you can fix and change it.
#3 – Your elbow position makes a difference
Last week I taught the daughter of one of my longest-term students in a joint lesson with the two of them.
Her name is Andrea, and she had picked up a bad habit.
What she was doing was locking the fretting hand’s elbow in place as she played.
This meant when her chords buzzed and she tried to adjust her fingers so they were more on the fingertips, she couldn’t.
The fact her elbow wouldn’t move made her arm rigid and gave her no room to manoeuvre her fingers.
I showed her a simple exercise called “swinging the elbow”.
This was a revelation to her.
Quickly she was able to remove the tension, and she had the freedom to get her fingers on the tips without a struggle.
Things improved right away.
It is so important you are in control when you play guitar, and you don’t let the guitar control you.
This means being aware of and reducing tension all throughout your body.
This is a key lesson from my eBook – Essential Guitar Technique.
It is book #1 of 7 in my eBook bundle (and the most important).
If you want to find out more, you can do so below.
I hope you have a great week!
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.