Rocking Out (Guitar Lesson)

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Mark Lincoln

Rocking Out

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

Taught by Mark Lincoln in Basic Guitar with Mark Lincoln seriesLength: 18:08Difficulty: 2.0 of 5
Chapter 1: (00:25) Performance Please enjoy a short performance from Mark Lincoln.
Chapter 2: (08:20) Review and Introduction
- 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.
- 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 quantitative and qualitative techniques.
- Review last week's exercises.

Alright so we've spent numerous lessons and countless hours playing and strumming on the acoustic guitar. We've covered an amazing amount of ground in a relatively short period of time, right? But what about rockin' out a little more, huh? How can we pick up the energy a little bit and get some more sound and, well, umph out of the guitar? Well, one way to do this is through strum technique. Simply put, increasing tempo and add intensity. Today we'll talk about some cool new strums and revisit some techniques that we covered briefly earlier in the series.

Let's take a look at a couple of chords that I'm sure you're quite familiar with by now: Dsus2 and Cadd9.



Re-familiarize yourself with these fingerings:

For the Dsus2 chord, place your first finger on the G-string, second fret and your third finger on the B-string, third fret (yes, like you've been playing it!).

For the Cadd9 chord, place your first finger on the D-string, second fret, your middle finger on the A-string, third fret and your third finger on the B-string, third fret. For those of you who are saying "yeah, yeah, Mark we know how to play those chords," I'm sorry to be so redundant. When you begin to strum these chords together with a more difficult rhythm than usual, I want to make sure that we're all on the same page, okay?!

Alright, so our strum for the day is or "up-down, up-down, up-down," and the final down-stroke that is in bold-faced type is on the second chord. Once you are on the second chord (Cadd9 in this case), strum
or "up-down, down." You will be transitioning to the next chord in mid-strum and hammering onto the notes that are changing. Let me explain further! You have, I'm sure, by now noticed that you can "pin" your third finger and leave it on the B-string, third fret when changing chords. This is an important fact because you will be, in essence, using that finger as a pivot to go back and forth between these two chords. While changing from the D to the C, leave your third finger on the B-string and hammer your first and second fingers onto the A and D strings when changing to the C chord. Hammer your fingers onto the strings. Make sure that you push with some force so that you make good contact with the strings and produce a nice clean sound.

Your rhythm will look like this: D to C and then C to D. What I mean is that you will be playing the strum pattern as above, but then reversed so that you will be strumming on the Cadd9 chord and on the D. You will be hammering onto the G string, second fret as well with your first finger when returning to the Dsus2 chord. Watch me in the video for more on this as it really is simpler than it sounds. Remember to relax your wrist and let the pick flow gently over the strings.
Chapter 3: (03:56) Changing Dynamics Dynamics
As I mentioned in the intro, we're gonna rock out a little more today. One key way to do this is by speeding the whole exercise up just a bit (or a lot if you desire). First, get a good handle on the rhythm at half speed. Then, get ready to speed it up!

Exercise 1
Play the chords explained above in the manner delineated. Now, speed up the progression slightly. Remember to hammer-on the appropriate strings as I've indicated. Now speed it up a little more, now a little more, etc. Can you think of a good place to insert a transition strum into the rhythm? Are you remembering to keep your third finger pinned on the B-string? Make sure that you are not moving too fast and sacrificing the sound quality of your chords. If your chords do not sound perfectly clean, slow down and work your way back up.

Hand Positioning
The rhythm that we're using today begins with an upstroke, which is different than most of the strums that we've used up to this point. An important facet of playing a strum like this is hand placement. Beginning with an upstroke requires your strumming hand to be near the high E and B-strings. By placing your wrist closer to these strings, you will be able to play a quicker and more natural strum than if your wrist was placed in the center of the strings. Of course, you will need to change your hand positioning once you switch to the C chord, especially since you are hammering on strings within the D chord. Nevertheless, your start point will change depending upon whether you are beginning with an upstroke or a down stroke.
Chapter 4: (05:29) Exercises 2 - 5 Exercise 2
Play the rhythm explained above, but this time, emphasize the second chord in the series. In other words, if you begin with the D, then emphasize the C chord. If you begin on the C, then emphasize the D chord. How do you emphasize you ask? Just play a little louder! Strumming a little harder can be a simple and effective tool to increase the volume and subsequently the power of your playing. Be careful though! Strumming too hard can break strings and picks, so monitor how hard you're rocking out! Do you notice a change in the emotion that these chords produce? What, if any, is the effect of changing the volume of one chord in this series?

Okay, so you might be saying "Mark, what the ? I thought we were gonna rock our more this time!?" Alright, alright, I just thought we would do a little warm-up to get us rolling, okay? So here are the chords for the next series of exercises: A, Cadd9, G and Dadd9/F#. Here are the "new" chords:




The Dadd9/F# chord is best played (especially when transitioning from the G chord) by placing your first finger on the low E-string, second fret, your middle finger on the G-string, second fret, and your pinky on the B-string, third fret.

Exercise 3
Play through the four chords in this order: A, C add9, G, and Dadd9 using the strum or "down, down-up, down-up" remembering to play the hyphenated strums as snap strums. Play the rhythm "briskly," which means at a moderate tempo. As we've discussed previously, break down the individual changes between chords if certain changes that are giving you more trouble than others. One of these might be the change between G and Gadd9. Take your time and play the changes at half speed at first. Then, speed up gradually.

Exercise 4
Play the exercise explained above, but this time, speed up the tempo. Make sure that you keep time and that you are nailing the chord changes. Again, what effect does a tempo increase have on the overall feel of the progression? Do you feel as if you are "rocking out" harder or simply speeding up the tempo?

As usual, there is an element of subjectivity when it comes to the feel and interpretation of music. What one person hears as a hard rocking song, another may hear as noise. Henceforth, it is up to the player to decide whether an increase in tempo is actually increasing the intensity of the song, or rather just increasing the speed at which one plays. You make the call!

Exercise 5
Once again it is your responsibility to come up with four chords that you will apply to the exercises in this lesson. Find your four chords and get completely comfortable with them. Then go through all of the exercises in this lesson, including the first sections with the hammer-ons. Find notes that will be easy to hammer onto as you make your chord changes and use the strums that I have given to you for the day. Be creative and listen to what you are playing carefully. Have you chosen chords that work together? Are you nailing your chords and producing a clean sound?

Video Subtitles / Captions

Supplemental Learning Material


Member Comments about this Lesson

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

nole27nole27 replied on January 1st, 2013

Just in case anyone else see's this and wants a different, possibly easier way to switch from the G to the Dadd9 in the last exercise. Have your thumb on the 3rd fret low E, your first finger on the second fret A sting and your ring finger on the third fret high E string. Then you can switch the the Dadd9 really easily (at least I can) by just moving your thumb up, your first finger back two strings and your ring finger up one string. Hope that helps

abesterabester replied on September 15th, 2012

Hi mark been followin for 2 yrs leaned alot but had alot of sugery slow me down never gave up still workin on wht I've picked up able to play my fave songs well i'm 59yrs your a good teacher keep it up.

alshyalshy replied on November 10th, 2009

keeps the fingers moving mark, yeah just what i need thanks

currannicurranni replied on July 3rd, 2009

awww look at the new backgrounds lol

Mark.LincolnMark.Lincoln replied on July 4th, 2009

Cool huh! Whatsup Nil???? Later brother! Mark

Mark.LincolnMark.Lincoln replied on June 9th, 2009

Kinda sounds like Porcupine Tree doesn't it? And just FYI, we do Song Tuesdays during my on-line live Q and A during the week if you're available and interested. Much fun and learning is had by all! Thanx, Mark

gorbaggorbag replied on June 6th, 2009

did you get those two chords during the intro from a Pocupine Tree song?

Mark.LincolnMark.Lincoln replied on June 3rd, 2009

Hey GW, as usual thanks agin for your insight and keeness of mind. It makes me so glad to hear you are benefitting from this stuff and moving ahead with your playing. Keep doing what you're doing my friend! Mark

gone workingone workin replied on June 2nd, 2009

What an awesome lesson Mark! Helping us fine tune for greater feeling is very satisfying. A couple times I had to stop and remark to myself on how cool something you suggested was. Thanks. I'll be revisiting these particular exercises again and again.

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


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


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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