Here are two more interesting emails I have got lately. I hope you find the emails and my thoughts useful…
“Hello, Ron here.
I know all the basic chords.
Still can’t do B properly and I run away from that chord. Have done a little skip through some videos and am already learning proper things like posture and how to correctly hold the guitar.
I’m in my sixties but always like to learn, so I’m in the Fingerstyle 101 course first and will look at the others when I’m happy I have finished this one correctly,
My dexterity isn’t the best and my fingers don’t move as fast as I would like but a bit like golf, its muscle memory and I’m stubborn, so I will succeed eventually.”
There’s an interesting point from Ron about the comparison between golf and guitar.
I’ve thought about this a lot in the past. When I was a kid, I played golf a fair bit with my granddad and there are definite similarities.
To be good at golf and guitar both require precision, focus, patience, muscle memory, and there are a variety of skills needed for both.
Good technique is perhaps the biggest one.
I’ve seen skinny guys and petite females (my nan was one of them) hit the ball way further than big burly blokes – all because of technique.
Dexterity and tricky chords like the B will come – just like driving down the fairway or learning to get out of a sand bunker happens.
They are skills you can and will develop as long as you have focus and a plan for them.
Golf is a good sport, not sure about the attire some golfers wear though – and definitely no tartan trousers while you play guitar please!
Anyway, onto Email #2
“And the frustration sets in. I cannot play a C chord. My fingers are too fat!
This is as far as I ever get! I can’t put my first finger on the second string without touching the first. Do they make a really big guitar for doofs? Apes?”
When I read that I thought I was reading half an email but nope, that was all of it.
A C Major chord can be frustrating indeed.
I have seen it make the toughest alpha male sweat with frustration, I’ve seen it almost bring grown men to tears, and I’ve seen it make the hardest of souls grimace and wince at the thought of playing one.
Yet, if you stick with it and be methodical, you cannot fail to beat the C chord.
It takes patience but all my students beat it in the end and here are a few quick tips I gave them that helped…
- Use a capo at fret 5 – practise the chord there and when it sounds good, move the capo to fret 4, then 3, and so on.
- Go to a shop and try out the C Major chord on ten guitars. It will feel easier on at least one or two than it will on the others (in fact, generally speaking just playing a C chord is one of a few quick and useful ways to see if a guitar will suit you).
- Get a wider neck guitar – this will give your fingers more space and stop them from accidentally muting unwanted strings.
- Break the chord up into chunks: part 1 – perfect it with only the middle and ring fingers at first, leaving the index finger off.
- Break the chord up into chunks: part 2 – this time only play it with the index and middle fingers at first, leaving the ring finger off.
- Sit in the classical position – this will allow your fretting hand to manoeuvre easier and therefore get on the tips of your fingers more.
Thankfully, Scott joined my Fingerstyle 101 course and a few days later emailed to say…
“Your methods are great! I don’t have the bad habits since I don’t know anything, yet. Much to my amazement, I played a “c” chord today without much struggle.”
Well done to Scott. A breakthrough like that early on is wonderful.
He now has to remember this and realise what I tell you all – you can beat any hurdle, never let it overwhelm you and never let it get you down.
You will get there…
To join the course Scott did, you can do so below, it’s the Fingerstyle 101 video course, but you can also get the book – digital or paperback – at the link below too.
Have a great day and if you want your questions answered send an email and I will try to feature it next 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.