Lesson 14 – Applying the Fundamentals


By this point you should find your fingers becoming more coordinated and your thumb growing independent. This means it will now take less conscious effort as your motor skills will begin to take over the repetitive parts and you can concentrate on some of the more exciting aspects of your playing.

If you haven’t quite got the swing of things yet, don’t worry. The more time you invest into the exercises and patterns in the previous section, the faster you’ll develop. We all progress as different rates, so don’t let the amount of time its taking discourage you or become a factor. Ideally one hour a day will get you along the way a lot faster than one hour a week, so put in as much time as you can afford to without letting it get stale or boring. To give you a little perspective, it’s been said Lenny Breau practiced for ten hours a day, and then would go out and play all night. That’s incredible dedication on top of a natural gift.

Unfortunately, not many of us can afford to invest that much time, so put in as much as you can manage. Once you’ve mastered the material in section two, continue to use the exercises as warm-ups to loosen up your fingers and keep the muscle memory working. If you can fit in ten minutes a day before you start, you’ll find it will really improve your playing.

Our next step will be to apply these new found skills to a few basic song structures, songsercises if you will. If you find when learning the following material you regularly lose the beat and spend a lot of time trying to figure out where your thumb is supposed to go next, take it slowly, one bar at a time. If you’re still having problems, go back to chapter two and find the exercise that gives you’re the most trouble and put in a little more time. It’s important to keep in mind that these are skills you’re learning, they won’t develop instantly overnight so don’t rush ahead of the fundamentals.

Finally, remember this; it’s not always as easy as it looks, it’s usually easier.
Things are about to get interesting.

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