Here’s a little test I want you to do.

It’s something I like to do with new students and also with current students every now and then.

It has some great benefits in that it will show you where your strong and weak areas are and let’s face it, unlike science, foreign language or dare I say it, maths, a test on the guitar is fun!

Here we go…

Grab your guitar

  • Play the chord progression of G D Am C– strum each chord once, ensuring they are clean and tidy (put a capo on where you like if they are a struggle)
  • Now, choose an exact strumming pattern and play it for each chord ensuring the chord changes are smooth
  • Turn the above chords into their 7th versions– which are the chords GMaj7, D7, Am7 and Cmaj7
  • Choose a different strumming pattern you know and play the above
  • Play the chords G D Am C with a fingerpicking pattern

You get two points for completing each of the above as long as each item on the list sounds tidy.



Going for the A-star grade…

  • Play the G D Am C chords as barre chords
  • Record yourself playing the chords G D Am C (using one of the above strumming or fingerpicking patterns) and jam a melody or solo over the top using the G Major scale
  • Play the equivalent chords of G D Am C which are the I V II IV chords in the key of G Major, but this time, change the key and play them in the key of C Major

You get three points for completing any of the above.

You don’t have to nail each item the first time but give yourself no more than three attempts on each.

Add up your score.

How did you do?

Be honest and don’t cheat yourself.

Pass Mark

16/19 for a distinction
14/19 for a merit
12/19 for a pass

I want all of you to get a pass at least.

If you can’t do the above, don’t worry, there’s a lot going on, BUT once you can do the above, you will be a rounded player with some really good skills.

These skills will transfer to playing real songs, jamming with others, and you will get some nice rock-solid confidence from being able to do some very cool things on the guitar.

If you have never been tested on your skills, this may be hard, it may be a little bit of a shock to the system but it’s a great thing to do as it will help you spot what needs improving and then you can get to work on improving it.


Dan Thorpe
Guitar Domination


P.S. If you want to learn more about how to improve on the above exercise in a structured and methodical way, you can, in my Elite Guitarist Inner Circle.

Check out the In-Focus lesson, titled “The True Musicianship Exercise”.

Elite Guitarist Inner Circle

Good luck!



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) then join Dan’s list. It’s 100% free, HERE


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Rev Christopher Berry
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Thanks for the test! I’m an instructor. I like to work on my own skill set.

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