The Low Strings (Guitar Lesson)


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Jim Deeming

The Low Strings

In this lesson Jim takes the song "Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star" and plays it on the lower strings. This is an excellent exercise for reading and memorizing these notes.

Taught by Jim Deeming in Music Reading seriesLength: 5:39Difficulty: 2.0 of 5
Chapter 1: (01:16) The Bottom Strings Lesson Overview / Lesson Goals

In the previous lesson, Jim explained how to play the melody to "Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star" on the three treble strings. Now, the melody will be played an octave lower on the bass strings. This will train you to identify and read notes that are written with ledger lines. Most beginning guitarists have difficulty reading notes that are written above or below the staff. Roughly half of the notes on the fretboard are written above or below the staff. Consequently, you must devote a significant amount of practice time towards reading notes in these low and high ranges.

Practicing the Melody

Follow the guidelines listed below as you practice through the melody in the lower octave:

1. Always practice with a metronome.

2. Do not play the melody by ear. Read the melody from the standard notation included under the "Supplemental Content" tab.

3. Print out the written melody. Then, cover the tablature with pieces of scrap paper. Do not consult the tablature unless you are absolutely stuck and cannot decipher / determine the location of a particular note.

4. Play the melody with all downstrokes at first. Then, go back and apply the alternate picking pattern that Jim explained in the previous lesson.
Chapter 2: (00:59) Play Along Pause the video and practice the melody on your own along with a metronome. Start at a slow tempo such as 55-60 beats per minute. Once you can play the melody successfully at 60 beats per minute, return to the lesson video and play it along with Jim in this scene.
Chapter 3: () Challenges with the Low Notes Playing the melody to "Twinkle..." on the low string presents some technical and reading challenges. The leap from the sixth string to the fourth string that occurs in the first measure might be difficult for you. Drill this string skip if you have problems with it. Also, reading ledger lines might give you problems. The only way to improve in this area is with plenty of practice. As you read and practice more melodies in this register, your sight recognition of low notes will become automatic.
Chapter 4: (01:37) Faster Tempo Exercise Pause the lesson video and continue to practice the melody to "Twinkle..." As you perfect the melody at a give metronome setting, bump the tempo up by a couple of beats per minute. Once you can successfully play through the melody at 76 beats per minute, return to the lesson video and play along with Jim in this scene.

Additional Practice Tips

1. Count the rhythm out loud.

2. Say the note names out loud.

Video Subtitles / Captions





Supplemental Learning Material

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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.


joseefjoseef replied on November 26th, 2010

Watching you play...it's funny to see someone with 40 years experience playing twinkle twinkle to a metronome...lol...but thank you for doing it for us.

Music Reading

Found in our Beginner Lesson Sets

Reading music and rhythm is the foundation for anyone serious about music. In order to understand the theory necessary to progress as a player, a basic understanding of how to read music and how to read rhythms is necessary.



Lesson 1

Basic Notes and Theory

Understanding notes, intervals, and scales is key to music reading. Jim proves a beginner crash course on these subjects.

Length: 18:53 Difficulty: 1.0 Members Only
Lesson 2

Basic Music Reading

Jim covers basic music concepts such as the staff, time signatures, clefs, measures, note duration, and note representation.

Length: 16:25 Difficulty: 1.0 Members Only
Lesson 3

The First Two Strings

Jim covers the first two strings in this lesson. He explains where the natural notes are located on the fretboard and how they appear on the staff.

Length: 17:12 Difficulty: 1.0 Members Only
Lesson 4

The Third and Fourth Strings

Jim covers the third and fourth strings. He explains where the natural notes are located on the fretboard and how they appear on the staff.

Length: 11:43 Difficulty: 1.5 Members Only
Lesson 5

The Fifth and Sixth Strings

Jim covers the fifth and sixth strings. He explains where the natural notes are located on the fretboard and how they appear on the staff.

Length: 11:34 Difficulty: 1.5 Members Only
Lesson 6

Symbols, Timing, and Notes

Jim Deeming explains more music symbols in this lesson. He also introduces 3/4 time and eighth notes.

Length: 10:25 Difficulty: 1.5 Members Only
Lesson 7

Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star

In this lesson Jim Deeming uses the classic song "Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star" as a music reading exercise.

Length: 11:06 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Lesson 8

The Low Strings

In this lesson Jim takes the song "Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star" and plays it on the lower strings. This is an excellent exercise for reading and memorizing these notes.

Length: 5:39 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Lesson 9

Echo

Jim Deeming teaches a music reading exercise entitled "Echo." This fun, play-along lesson is a perfect way to hone your reading and counting skills.

Length: 18:03 Difficulty: 3.0 Members Only

About Jim Deeming View Full Biography Jim Deeming got his first guitar when he was only six years old. His Dad was taking fingerpicking lessons, and Jim wanted to be just like him. The Mel Bay books didn't last very long before he strapped on a thumb pick and added the Chet part to Red River Valley so it sounded better.

Most of Jim's early learning was by ear. With unlimited access to his Dad's collection of Chet Atkins albums, he spent countless hours decoding his favorite songs. They were never "right" until they sounded just like Chet. Around the age of 12, Jim heard Jerry Reed for the first time and just knew he had to be able to make that "Alabama Wild Man" sound. The styles of Chet & Jerry always have been a big influence on his playing.

More recently he has pursued arrangements by Tommy Emmanuel and Doyle Dykes, in addition to creating some of his own and writing originals.

Jim has performed in front of a variety of audiences, including concerts, competitions, weddings and the like, but playing at church has always been a mainstay. Whether playing in worship bands or guitar solos, gospel music is deep in his roots and is also the driving theme behind his debut CD release, titled "First Fruits".

Jim has been playing for about 38 years. He also has taught private lessons in the past but believes JamPlay.com is an exciting and better venue with many advantages over the traditional method of weekly 30 minute sessions.

Jim lives in Berthoud, Colorado with his wife, Linda, and their four children. Although he still has a "day job", he is actively performing and is already back in the studio working on the next CD. If you wonder how he finds time, look no further than the back seat of his truck where he keeps a "travel guitar" to take advantage of any practice or song-writing opportunities he can get.

The opening song you hear in Jim's introductory JamPlay video is called, "A Pick In My Pocket". It's an original tune, written in memory of Jim's father who told him early on he should always keep a pick in his pocket in case he ever met Chet Atkins and got the chance to play for him. That song is slated to be the title track for his next CD, which will feature several more originals plus some of his favorite covers of Chet and Jerry arrangements.

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