Here are two more interesting emails I have got lately. I hope you find the emails and my thoughts useful. Enjoy!
“Have you ever taught someone with one hand to play guitar before and if so, any tips?
I’m a below the elbow amputee, so no fingerpicking, but I use a 3D printed clip that holds a pick strapped to my arm for strumming.”
First up, what an inspiration Johnson is.
I’ve taught a lot of students, including a few with hand injuries, dyspraxia, arthritis, and, when teaching in a school, a few with additional learning needs.
I have never taught someone in this situation though, so my answer is a little hypothetical.
As Johnson won’t have the ability to fingerpick, this is what I would do:
I would go to town on my strumming, really leaning into using a variety of strum patterns, rhythms, fretting hand mutes for groove, embellishments, slides with the fretting hand, etc., legato, and more.
You can do some amazing things by just strumming some simple chords after all.
You only have to watch a street musician jam the chords of G D Em C to see this sort of thing in action.
Obviously, Johnson will need to ensure his chords are clear, the chord changes are smooth, and his fretting hand technique is solid.
Interestingly though, what I mentioned above is not just suitable for Johnson but for many students too.
Okay, onto email #2…
Dan Thorpe Acoustic Academy member, Cliff, sent this in reply to an email about setting goals…
I’m wondering if having a simple “assignment” might help in motivation towards a daily goal.
I’ve already benefited from your suggestions about lightening up finger pressure on the strings and trying correct posture. I find your mixing of general, detailed, technical, and fun all together strikes a nice balance.
Very happy so far!
Having a daily assignment is a good thing for sure.
For a long time now, I’ve liked to make sure I do something specific each day when I practise.
Last week I was watching the England versus Scotland drab 0-0 footie game and was bored stiff. So, I grabbed my guitar and worked on the intro for a piece I have been working on. I could have easily noodled around, but I wanted to get something done and I was pleased with what I came up with.
When you practise each day, I highly recommend you have a specific goal to achieve that day.
Simple, small, and slightly challenging tasks often work best.
This can be working on a chord change, a pattern, a melody, some technical improvement, or whatever.
Some days though your simple task can even be to have 10 minutes of noodling fun and making pretty music you are proud of.
Either way, enjoy it and have a goal.
For more help with having a plan, creating music, and learning the most important fingerpicking patterns, check out my Fingerstyle 101 book below. You can order direct on Amazon on the links below.
Just click the Amazon store for your country and read the many reviews to find out more.
Enjoy your practice!
P.S. For my Australian friends, you can now order the book at your local Amazon store.
P.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.