Hand Structure (Guitar Lesson)

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Mark Lincoln

Hand Structure

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

Taught by Mark Lincoln in Basic Guitar with Mark Lincoln seriesLength: 17:02Difficulty: 2.5 of 5
Chapter 1: (00:29) Performance Please enjoy a short performance from Mark as he opens the lesson.
Chapter 2: (08:33) Lesson Introduction and Exercise in A Review

- Warm-up the hands
- 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.
- 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 quantitative and qualitative techniques.
- Review last week's exercise.

So how's everybody doing so far? Are you keeping up? I know that some of the exercises in these lessons can be rather difficult and maybe even aggravating at times, so please relax and take your time with these exercises. One of the beauties of JamPlay is that you can go back and review lessons that we've already covered. As a matter of fact, I encourage this! As I've said before, you all need to be comfortable with the previous material in order to proceed and be proficient at the exercises. That's not to say that you may be able to do some of the more advanced exercises even though you still struggle with barre chords. However, you will definitely benefit in the long run by developing sound fundamentals as soon as possible. So, the lecture is over! Let's jam!

Okay, so last week we were working on an exercise in the key of C, right? This week I'm going to show you something even cooler in A that is a little more difficult. Don't forget to stretch your wrists and warm-up your fingers. You're gonna need it!

Changing the lowest or bass note of the chord, you can change the sound of the chord in a subtle yet effective way. Remember this A chord:

A (9th fret)

This chord is played by placing your first finger on the G-string, 9th fret, your second finger on the B-string, 10th fret, your third finger on the D-string, 11th fret and your pinky finger on the A-string, 12th fret. Give it a strum or two and compare it to the sound of an open A chord (second fret, I know you know this!) just to make sure that you are indeed in the right place. How does your hand feel? Do you feel the stretch of a four fret reach?
Now we're going to make a one note change to this chord:

Amaj7/G# (9th fret)

This chord should be played by placing your first finger on the G-string, 9th fret, your second finger on the B-string, 10th fret, your third finger on the A-string, 11th fret, and your pinky directly beneath your ring finger on the 11th fret. You'll notice that the only change that you made from chord to chord is that you dropped a half step on the A-string and switched your ring finger with your pinky. Get a good feel for this change before you go to the next step. Here's the next chord:

A7(no 3rd)

This chord should be played by placing your first finger on the G string, 9th fret, your middle finger on the A-string, 10th fret, and your third finger on the B-string, 10th fret. Your change from the last chord to this one was a little more difficult this time as you needed to switch positions with the second and third fingers as well as changing frets at the same time. As we did in the last change, go ahead and practice changing positions from the last chord to this one until you feel relatively comfortable with it. You will also notice a new addition to this chord which you may or may not have seen before this. The "X" indicates that the D-string should not be strummed if you can avoid it. You may notice that your second or middle finger can be slanted slightly over the D-string (most of you will do this naturally) and mute the string gently. Some chords truly need to have a string muted in order to produce the proper sound.
Chapter 3: (04:49) Exercise in A F#m7

This chord should be played by placing your first finger on the A-string, 9th fret, your middle finger on the G-string, 9th fret, and your third finger on the B-string, 10th fret. Notice how your first and second fingers are again changing positions while changing frets as well. Practice changing from the last chord to this one until you get a feel for this change. This chord progression gives you ample opportunity to practice making different types of chord changes that you may not have made before.

Exercise 1
Using a or "down down-up pattern," play the first two chords in the progression. Remember to relax your wrist and allow the pick to flow over the strings. Play the A major four times and then the A major 7 four times. Pay attention to how your hand needs to change in order to make a smooth transition from chord to chord. Once you're comfortable with the change, play the two chords and alternate between them for each strum pattern.

Exercise 2
Using the same strum pattern explained above, play the second two chords in the progression. Play the Amaj7 four times and then the A7 four times. Again, focus on how you may or may not need to change the positioning of your hand. Once you've become more comfortable with that change, play the two chords and alternate between them. Remember the concept of finger glue that we discussed so long ago in this series? Having a mental picture of the chord and the ability to form the chord away from the neck might help you to master this progression.

Exercise 3
Play the last two chords in the series the same as above. Once you feel more confident about these changes, play all four of the chords together. Take your time and play at a slower tempo if necessary. Make sure that all chord changes are made smoothly and in time. Once you've mastered the progression, you can speed up and play the chords faster. Concentrate on the quality of your sound, not how quickly you can move through the progression.

Exercise 4
If you're feeling particularly energetic and skillful, you can try to play the four chords backwards. Playing progressions backwards can help to get a better feel and a deeper understanding of the chords that you are attempting to master.
Chapter 4: (04:12) Chord Applications and Exercise Applications
This particular technique can be used virtually all over the fretboard of the guitar and can help you to create new progressions in different areas of the neck. For example:

D (2nd fret)

Here is the exact same chord shape played at the second fret. If you play the same changes as we did with the A chords, you will get the same cool progression in a different key.

Exercise 5
Play the progression through using the second fret position. Play all four of the D chords using a strum of your choice. Does your fretting hand feel any different? It should considering that you are playing on a broader area of the fretboard and will have to stretch your hand more than before in order to make the changes correctly.

Exercise 6
Play the A chords first and then play the D chords in succession. Play slowly if you need to and pay attention to how you need to get your hand ready to go back to the initial position when you move from the 2nd to 9th frets. Remember to relax, breathe, and stay in proper form (back upright, strum arm crooked slightly over the body of the guitar). As we get into more difficult material, your form will become increasingly more important. Playing difficult chords and making tougher changes demands more from you physically. Consequently, proper form is essential.

Mental Note
Playing more difficult exercises can be more demanding on your brain as well as your hands. With this fact in mind, don't forget to form a mental picture of the chords that you will be playing. Picture the next chord in your head one or more chords in advance if possible. The clearer your mental picture of what you will be playing is, the better chance you will have of playing it accurately.

Video Subtitles / Captions


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

Lesson learned!

Islander268Islander268 replied

Great lesson Mark. Thanks for the information. Steve

Islander268Islander268 replied

Great lesson Mark. Thanks for the information. Steve

ralphmcg@hotmail.com[email protected] replied

Mark, lovin your lessons. Can you clarify on the A7 (x 10 x 9 10 0) why this is an A7 and not some sort of G? Thank you!

jaranthjaranth replied

Excellent lesson... I'm really starting to "get" chord forms and changes a lot more now; it's very exciting!

brandtjbrandtj replied

Hey Mark. Would we still be considered "beginner" if we've got a firm grasp on the material thus far? It seems like we're going into some intermediate, if not, advanced techniques. Great lesson!

Mark.LincolnMark.Lincoln replied

Hey Brandt how are you? Classifying someone as beginner, intermediate is really difficult as most players have abilities that will fall into various classifications. Some of your skills are still beginner (ish) while some are most certainly falling under the intermediate category. I say don't worry so much about that stuff and just go for it! ML

guitareroguitarero replied

Hallo Mark, really great lessons!!! I’m a bit confused and I got one question: Where is the C sharp in the A7/G and A6/Fsharp chords in exercise 1, which defines, that these are actually A major chords? Do I miss something here? Thank you :)

Mark.LincolnMark.Lincoln replied

Hey Guitarero how are you? Yes, you are right these chords are not traditional A7 and A6 chords but are rather forms of these chords that do not include the third which is....yes, the C#! You're right on and thanks for keeping me on my toes, Mark

guitareroguitarero replied

Hi Marc, ty, doing fine :>) I really appreciate your answer! Music theory is strange stuff, which can catch you in a dark “box”. I really like the idea of “liquid chords”, that’s what I did naturally for many years – just searched tones and melodies which fit to the main idea. Keep up ur good work Mark!

ryanj34ryanj34 replied

Nice challenging lesson Mark.

jaymosley79jaymosley79 replied

Good lesson Mark! It looks like I'm going to need a bigger tool box. BTW , I'm really looking forward to your release of " Boy in Balloon". Dang it!

Mark.LincolnMark.Lincoln replied

Hey Jay whats up? Yes, I'm currently working on that piece, a little bluesy a little rock n' roll! I'll let you know when it hits the charts, Mark

YucatanEdYucatanEd replied

It just dawned on me that if this chord series works for A and D, it should work for E, F and G. So I tried those too. It looks like I am walking up and down the fretboard. This is very cool!!! It sounds like I'm playing a scale of some kind (but I don't know enough to say whether or not I am). That's what it sounds like anyway. This is a great exercise and a cool way to show off to my friends who are better players than me (so far!).

Southern CashSouthern Cash replied

I was wondering about that! Makes sense ;)

alshyalshy replied

nice lesson mark i love this stuff, more please, gets the fingers thinkiing!!!!!!!!

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.

Guitar BasicsLesson 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
Tuning, Gear, and ChordsLesson 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
Chords and StrummingLesson 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
Minor Chords and MoreLesson 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
Expanding ChordsLesson 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
Strumming ExercisesLesson 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
Music Theory and Barre ChordsLesson 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
E Shape Barre ChordsLesson 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
A Shape Barre ChordsLesson 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
Minor Barre ChordsLesson 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
A Minor Shape Barre ChordsLesson 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
Mini Barre ChordLesson 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
A Shape Mini BarreLesson 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
Minor Mini Barre ChordsLesson 14

Minor Mini Barre Chords

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

Length: 12:28 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Guitar TechniqueLesson 15

Guitar Technique

Mark Lincoln explains essential components of guitar technique.

Length: 15:59 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Guitar DynamicsLesson 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
Transistion StrumsLesson 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
Harmonic TechniqueLesson 18

Harmonic Technique

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

Length: 15:31 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Expanding Liquid ChordsLesson 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
Spicing up ChordsLesson 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
Chord FingeringLesson 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
Precision StrummingLesson 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
D to D in Six StepsLesson 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
Chord Voicings and ConstructionLesson 24

Chord Voicings and Construction

Mark delves deeper into chord construction and alternate chord voicings.

Length: 13:36 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Quantitative and Qualitative ChangesLesson 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
Quantitative and Qualitative ReviewLesson 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
Rhythm and GuitarLesson 27

Rhythm and Guitar

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

Length: 0:00 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Expanded Rhythm ExerciseLesson 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
Hand StructureLesson 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
Cadd9 and Dsus2Lesson 30

Cadd9 and Dsus2

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

Length: 0:00 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Finger Glue and Flexibility 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
Reviewing Chord ChangesLesson 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
SlidingLesson 33


Mark explains how to use the slide technique between chords.

Length: 19:24 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Keeping Time While PlayingLesson 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
A Minor ProgressionLesson 35

A Minor Progression

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

Length: 19:56 Difficulty: 0.5 Members Only
Chord TransistionsLesson 36

Chord Transistions

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

Length: 21:43 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Chord Transistions RevisitedLesson 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
Playing Individual NotesLesson 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
Rocking OutLesson 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
Slash ChordsLesson 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
Strumming from the WristLesson 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
Raising the BarreLesson 42

Raising the Barre

Mark builds further on barre chord techniques and liquid chords.

Length: 17:24 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Building on Your Chord KnowledgeLesson 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
Experiment With PlayingLesson 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
DiversifyingLesson 45


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
Shaping the HandsLesson 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
Precision StrummingLesson 47

Precision Strumming

Today, Mark takes in depth look at strumming.

Length: 23:57 Difficulty: 1.0 Members Only
Shine Like the SunLesson 48

Shine Like the Sun

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

Length: 18:59 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Changing Chords : Accuracy and SpeedLesson 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
Play Along with Mulitple Chord Voicings 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
Understanding Liquified ChordsLesson 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
Mark Lincoln

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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