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Precision Strumming (Guitar Lesson)


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Mark Lincoln

Precision Strumming

Mark returns to the land of chords. This time around, he provides an exercise that contains four variations on the A chord.

Taught by Mark Lincoln in Basic Guitar with Mark Lincoln seriesLength: 14:28Difficulty: 2.5 of 5
Chapter 1: (6:00) Review and Strum Precision Review and Practice
Before moving on with the lesson, please review and practice the following:
- Stretch the wrists.
- Play the major and minor open chords.
- Warm up your strumming muscles by relaxing the wrists and letting the pick flow over the strings.
- Play the E major chord in the "new" way and play the type 1 barre chords.
- Play the A major chord in the "new" way and play the type 2 barre chords.
- Practice the "slanting A" technique.
- Practice the type 1 minor barre chords.
- Practice the type 2 minor barre chords.
- Play all of the type 1 mini-barre chords.
- Play all of the type 2 mini-barre chords.
- Review and practice new techniques.
I've been listing the same review section for a while now. It is my hope that you focus your practice time on the areas that you need more work on and less time on the areas that you have a good grasp on. I'm not suggesting that you just forget any of the material obviously. I'm just hoping that you won't stick to certain exercises just because they have become comfortable for you. It's always important to push and test yourself outside of your comfort limits.

I'm hoping that you are beginning to see the myriad of chord possibilities that are available to you when you think in a flexible way. As we discussed last week, positioning your hands in various ways can facilitate playing new chords and exciting new ways to play the "old" chords. We're going to continue our discussion of chords with that same theme.

Simply adding and subtracting one note to and from a chord can help to enhance your playing and create new chords. So far, we've discussed this procedure with the D, C and A chords, but I want to show you some more tricks with some of the other open chords. One thing I should mention though at this point is that when playing chords, you will sometimes need to focus your strumming energy on certain sets of strings. In other words, you can pluck the low strings within a chord and make it sound different from strumming the treble strings. I'll explain this further as we continue with the lesson. Ready? Here is an open A major chord:

A major
E_0_
B_2_
G_2_
D_2_
A_0_
E_x_

If you play this chord with just your first finger, barring the D, G, and B strings at the same time, you will create new chording possibilities for yourself. Watch!
Chapter 2: (05:27) Precision Strumming and the A Chord Here are other A chords that are available for you when you barre the three strings:

A 5
E_0_
B_5_
G_2_
D_2_
A_0_
E_x_

Play this chord by barring the three strings that comprise the A chord and holding down the B-string on the fifth fret with your pinky. Try to avoid touching the high E-string and I know that this can be a challenge! If you are really struggling with this, push your hand forward so your fingers will stay more perpendicular to the fretboard. Focus your pick and/or strum on or around the B string. Watch me in the video for more clues on how to do this effectively. Here's the next chord in the series:

A sus4
E_0_
B_3_
G_2_
D_2_
A_0_
E_x_

Play this chord by, again, barring the three strings and then holding down the B-string on the third fret with your second or middle finger. You can play this chord without barring the D, G, and B strings with your first finger, but for this exercise I would like you to stick with the program. You will see why in the end. The next chord in the series is the A major:

A major
E_0_
B_2_
G_2_
D_2_
A_0_
E_x_

Followed by:

A add9
E_0_
B_2_
G_4_
D_2_
A_0_
E_x_

This chord should be played by barring the D, G, and B strings and holding down the G-string with your third or ring-finger on the fourth fret. Change the focus of your strum now to the G-string. How are you doing so far? Are you seeing any patterns here? Let's continue!

The next chord is the A major chord again. Pluck the G string and focus your strumming around that area. Have you noticed the pattern? Just like we saw in the D exercise from last week, we are basically just changing one note in the chord, which produces some new A chords. When you focus the point at which you strum, you can focus on a particular note in the chord and alter it at will. I know this may sound complex, but it is actually rather easy to apply.

Exercise 1
Play through all of the A-chords listed above using the same strum that we used last week or . Play each chord four times and then switch to the next while paying attention to which strings you are strumming. I realize that this a whole new are of technique to focus on, so take your time and play slowly if you need to. After you feel more comfortable, play one set of strums with each chord ( ) and then play the next chord in the series.
Chapter 3: (03:02) Exercises Exercise 2
Play the above exercises until you feel confident. Then, change over to the D-chords that we went over last week. Focus your strum on the high E-string to highlight the changing notes on this string. Stick with the same strum, but play at a much slower tempo if you need to. Remember the concept of dynamics? See if you can incorporate a dynamic change between the two sets of chords to make the exercise more interesting. There is a lot to remember with these exercises, so refer to the video if you need to.

Exercise 3
Again, pick other chords to change to after you have done the A and the D exercises. Listen for chords that you think might fit well with the A and the D. See if you can come up with a mini-song. Take your time and don't be afraid to bring in minor chords or any other chords that you feel might work. Be creative and don't forget to listen to what you are playing. I know this sounds silly but so many people practice with the t.v. on or try to multi-task in some way. Sharpen your focus and see what happens!

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Member Comments about this Lesson

Discussions with our instructors are just one of the many benefits of becoming a member of JamPlay.


Southern CashSouthern Cash replied on July 14th, 2015

Man, is that a 12 string guitar? lol

alternaltern replied on October 21st, 2014

Anyone have any tips for keeping your first finger AND pinky finger perpendicular while playing the A5 chord?

bevobevo replied on April 17th, 2014

Man that A5 is kicking my ***. Good lesson.

brianmdavisbrianmdavis replied on February 15th, 2014

Hey Mark, This is really getting fun! Thanks a million......

hhaldanehhaldane replied on May 8th, 2012

Thanks Mark, learning a lot and thanks for pushing me along, cheers from a kiwi in Singapore. PS you got music on iTunes, band camp or somewhere?

ElaineHElaineH replied on October 23rd, 2011

Wow, those stretches to the 5th fret are REALLY hard!! I keep hoping that eventually my fingers will want to stretch that much! No one has ever explained strumming to me over the years. Your lessons have really helped a lot! Thanks!!

brandtjbrandtj replied on May 18th, 2011

The A5 chord is killer... Trying to play this with a torn ligament in my wrist is brutal. But I'm progressing!

coreymichaelcoreymichael replied on May 15th, 2011

Mark, - Great job on the lessons. I'm learining and enjoying it. Coreymichael

Mark.LincolnMark.Lincoln replied on May 17th, 2011

Thanks Corey I'm really glad you're enjoying this stuff!!! ML

angus powellangus powell replied on December 20th, 2010

Alright mark, im really enjoying your lessons, they are helping me so much. Cheers from the UK!

Mark.LincolnMark.Lincoln replied on December 24th, 2010

Cheers to you as well Angus and Happy Holidays! Mark

Mark.LincolnMark.Lincoln replied on December 21st, 2010

Thanks Angus! Cheers to you as well and Happy Holidays my friend! Mark

justinalpertesqjustinalpertesq replied on March 24th, 2010

Mark: I really appreciate these lessons and your style. Thanks. I hope you are not getting bored by people's never-ending stream of compliments.

Mark.LincolnMark.Lincoln replied on March 26th, 2010

Hey Justin, I never get tired of the positive remarks are you kidding? Mark

daveclampdaveclamp replied on December 6th, 2009

Ha ha....this was part of the missing piece in my playing...of course it's obvious now you've told me!! Thanks Mark, all of these lessons have been really beneficial.

jaymosley79jaymosley79 replied on September 28th, 2009

don't be tellin kids no pain no gain.... Dang it! Good lesson!

Mark.LincolnMark.Lincoln replied on October 1st, 2009

Hey Jay whassup? Congrats on your new garment by the way! See ya, Mark

dagchristiandagchristian replied on May 30th, 2009

Great gitar lessons. M'kaay :P

bernarddudebernarddude replied on March 11th, 2009

where are the exercises that you say to practice??? i only see up to chapter 3 on supplemental..where do you look for your homework????

beauwilliamsbeauwilliams replied on November 10th, 2008

ONCE AGAIN, A GREAT LESSON WITH DETAIL. THANKS, MARK

Mark.LincolnMark.Lincoln replied on November 11th, 2008

Thanks for the support Beau! Keep on Jammin! Mark

tomorrowtomorrow replied on November 6th, 2008

probably not a good idea to tell kids "no pain no gain"

Basic Guitar with Mark Lincoln

Found in our Beginner Lesson Sets

Learning the basics of the guitar, the building blocks if you will, is an extremely important step in learning and mastering the guitar. This series is all about the basics.



Lesson 1

Guitar Basics

This lesson is all about the basics. Mark explains guitar parts, holding the guitar, and more.

Length: 13:12 Difficulty: 0.5 Members Only
Lesson 2

Tuning, Gear, and Chords

Mark begins by discussing equipment every guitarist should own. Then, he introduces chords and proper tuning methods.

Length: 17:28 Difficulty: 0.5 Members Only
Lesson 3

Chords and Strumming

Mark finishes his discussion of the "open" chords. He applies these chords to basic rhythm and strumming concepts.

Length: 17:33 Difficulty: 1.0 Members Only
Lesson 4

Minor Chords and More

Mark reviews the major chords and introduces the minor chords. He also covers strumming techniques in greater depth.

Length: 25:48 Difficulty: 1.0 Members Only
Lesson 5

Expanding Chords

Mark introduces a few more minor chords. He also provides a monster chord exercise.

Length: 16:36 Difficulty: 1.5 Members Only
Lesson 6

Strumming Exercises

Mark Lincoln continues his discussion of chords and strumming. He introduces several new exercises in this lesson.

Length: 19:30 Difficulty: 1.5 Members Only
Lesson 7

Music Theory and Barre Chords

Mark covers several topics in this lesson. He explains scales and barre chords. He also demonstrates how to find notes on the fretboard.

Length: 21:45 Difficulty: 1.5 Members Only
Lesson 8

E Shape Barre Chords

Mark Lincoln covers E shaped barre chords in greater depth. Mark refers to these chords as "Type 1" barre chords.

Length: 15:12 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Lesson 9

A Shape Barre Chords

Mark covers the A Shape / Type 2 barre chords in greater depth.

Length: 17:12 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Lesson 10

Minor Barre Chords

Mark introduces minor barre chords that utilize the shape of the "open" Em chord.

Length: 13:10 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Lesson 11

A Minor Shape Barre Chords

Mark introduces minor barre chords based on the shape of the "open" Am chord. He refers to these chords as "Type 2 Minor" barre chords.

Length: 12:36 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Lesson 12

Mini Barre Chord

Mark demonstrates abbreviated versions of the "Type 1" and "Type 2" barre chords. He calls these "mini barre" chords.

Length: 17:43 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Lesson 13

A Shape Mini Barre

Mark teaches the "mini barre" version of the A major shaped barre chord. He also explains dissonance.

Length: 20:29 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Lesson 14

Minor Mini Barre Chords

Mark Lincoln applies mini-barre chord concepts to minor chords.

Length: 12:28 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Lesson 15

Guitar Technique

Mark Lincoln explains essential components of guitar technique.

Length: 15:59 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Lesson 16

Guitar Dynamics

Mark Lincoln explains how dynamics can enhance your playing. He covers topics such as volume, tempo, rests, and more.

Length: 27:48 Difficulty: 0.5 Members Only
Lesson 17

Transistion Strums

Mark Lincoln explains more about guitar technique. This time around he introduces "transition strums" and continues his discussion of liquid chords.

Length: 26:12 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Lesson 18

Harmonic Technique

Mark Lincoln explains what harmonics are and how they are played.

Length: 15:31 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Lesson 19

Expanding Liquid Chords

Mark Lincoln expands on the concept of liquid chords. He explains new chord variations and how they can be changed in mid-strum.

Length: 16:21 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Lesson 20

Spicing up Chords

Mark demonstrates how chord progressions can be spiced up by adding hammer-ons and pull-offs.

Length: 12:21 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Lesson 21

Chord Fingering

Mark explains how chord fingerings must be altered when applying "liquid chord" concepts. He also provides a few new "liquid chord" exercises.

Length: 11:10 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Lesson 22

Precision Strumming

Mark returns to the land of chords. This time around, he provides an exercise that contains four variations on the A chord.

Length: 14:28 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Lesson 23

D to D in Six Steps

Mark provides a chord progression that shifts from one D chord to another in six steps.

Length: 15:20 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Lesson 24

Chord Voicings and Construction

Mark delves deeper into chord construction and alternate chord voicings.

Length: 13:36 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Lesson 25

Quantitative and Qualitative Changes

Mark tests your guitar knowledge with a pop quiz. Then, he discusses quantitative and qualitative changes.

Length: 22:54 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Lesson 26

Quantitative and Qualitative Review

In the 26th installment of his basic guitar series, Mark reviews the quantitative and qualitative changes he presented in lesson 25.

Length: 17:34 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Lesson 27

Rhythm and Guitar

Mark provides exercises designed to make you a better rhythm player.

Length: 0:00 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Lesson 28

Expanded Rhythm Exercise

Mark Lincoln expands on the rhythm exercise from lesson 27. This time around he incorporates several C based chords.

Length: 14:31 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Lesson 29

Hand Structure

Mark discusses proper playing technique. He provides a few exercises that facilitate right hand mechanics.

Length: 17:02 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Lesson 30

Cadd9 and Dsus2

Mark provides an exercise that features two new chords - Cadd9 and Dsus2.

Length: 0:00 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Lesson 31

Finger Glue and Flexibility

In the 31st lesson, Mark discusses his "finger glue" technique. This technique improves speed and accuracy.

Length: 21:31 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Lesson 32

Reviewing Chord Changes

Mark takes a step back in lesson 32 to explain how to make quick and accurate chord changes.

Length: 22:14 Difficulty: 1.5 Members Only
Lesson 33

Sliding

Mark explains how to use the slide technique between chords.

Length: 19:24 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Lesson 34

Keeping Time While Playing

Mark reviews qualitative and quantitative changes. He explains how to keep time while performing these changes.

Length: 21:17 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Lesson 35

A Minor Progression

Mark discusses qualitative and quantitative changes within an A minor progression.

Length: 19:56 Difficulty: 0.5 Members Only
Lesson 36

Chord Transistions

Mark Lincoln discusses several techniques that can be used when transitioning between chords.

Length: 21:43 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Lesson 37

Chord Transistions Revisited

In this lesson, Mark once again covers the subject of chord transitions. This time around, he focuses on barre chords and includes several helpful exercises.

Length: 23:25 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Lesson 38

Playing Individual Notes

In lesson 38, Mark discusses how playing single notes rather than chords can spice up your playing.

Length: 22:56 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Lesson 39

Rocking Out

Lesson 39 is all about rocking out. Mark discusses some tips to take your playing to the next level.

Length: 18:08 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Lesson 40

Slash Chords

Lesson 40 takes a deeper look at slash chords. Mark discusses why they're called slash chords, and how they are formed.

Length: 14:42 Difficulty: 2.0 FREE
Lesson 41

Strumming from the Wrist

In lesson 41, Mark reviews the warm-up section and provides new tips on playing adequately from the wrist.

Length: 22:09 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Lesson 42

Raising the Barre

Mark builds further on barre chord techniques and liquid chords.

Length: 17:24 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Lesson 43

Building on Your Chord Knowledge

In lesson 43, Mark discusses additional skills related to learning and playing chords, specifically "liquification" of chords.

Length: 20:42 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Lesson 44

Experiment With Playing

Lesson 44 is all about trying new things. Mark discusses experimenting with your playing in order to take it to the next level.

Length: 17:20 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Lesson 45

Diversifying

In this lesson, Mark once again talks about changing up chord derivatives to create a more unique sound.

Length: 20:56 Difficulty: 1.5 Members Only
Lesson 46

Shaping the Hands

In lesson 46, Mark explains how to maximize your options by maintaining chord shapes while playing.

Length: 21:44 Difficulty: 1.5 Members Only
Lesson 47

Precision Strumming

Today, Mark takes in depth look at strumming.

Length: 23:57 Difficulty: 1.0 Members Only
Lesson 48

Shine Like the Sun

Mark Lincoln teaches an original song entitled "Shine Like the Sun."

Length: 18:59 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Lesson 49

Changing Chords : Accuracy and Speed

Mark teaches some useful information on how to mix postures, "finger glue," and techniques to make your chord changes speedy and more effective.

Length: 30:56 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Lesson 50

Play Along with Mulitple Chord Voicings

In this lesson, Mark guides you through the world of alternate chord voicings. He teaches several shapes and shows how they can be used to enhance your playing.

Length: 23:06 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Lesson 51

Understanding Liquified Chords

Mark brings us a very appealing aspect to better understand the guitar. With his explanation of "liquified" chords, mark will explain how to move up and down the guitar to create different chord voicing.

Length: 25:32 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only

About Mark Lincoln View Full Biography Mark Lincoln was born in S. California but was raised near Portland Oregon in a town called Beaverton. When he was twelve years old, he began his journey into the realm of the creative by composing poetry and was later published in a journal called "In Dappled Sunlight." He wrote for four years until his older sister blessed him with his first guitar, an old beat-up nylon stringed classical guitar. Mark played that guitar for five years, continuing to compose his own lyrics and starting the process of matching his own words with chords that he was learning on the guitar. He learned to play chords from his friends and from music books that he both bought and borrowed. Mark cited his four biggest influences, at that point at least, as The Who, Led Zeppelin, Jethro Tull, The Rolling Stones.

Mark cites his most current influences as Radiohead, U2, older music by REM, and Peter Gabriel amongst others. He performs with two acoustic guitars, one being a six-string M-36 Martin with a three-pieced back for increased bass response, and a Guild Twelve-string which is his most recent acquisition. Mark is fond of saying that the twelve-string guitar is better because you get two guitars for the price of one, but he still plays his Martin equally as much and with the same passion.

Mark ended up in Fort Collins Colorado where he currently lives, works as a Marriage and Family Therapist, and continues to write, teach and perform music. He currently performs with a group called "Black Nelson" as well as with a number of other seasoned professional musicians including his cousin David, a virtuoso lead-guitar player. Mark has performed in many of the smaller venues in Denver and Boulder, as well as some of the larger ones including the Fox Theatre, The Boulder Theatre, Herman's Hideaway, and also at The Soiled Dove where he opened for Jefferson Starship as a soloist. Some of Mark's originals are also available for your listening pleasure on MySpace.

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