It’s actually very easy: Play an open sixth string note, followed by the first fret of the sixth string with your first (pointer) finger. Then play the second fret on the same string with your second finger. Then the third with your third (ring) finger, and finally you play the fourth fret on the sixth string with your fourth (pinky) finger. Incidentally, this movement up the neck of one fret a time (or half-step) is called the Chromatic Scale, which is where this exercise gets its name.
Sound familiar? I know what that’s like… I’ve been there, and I’ve had several students that have been there. Playing the same licks, the same riffs, the same songs on your guitar over and over and over again just gets old so fast. You’re willing to put in the work, you’re willing to practice hard, BUT WHAT SHOULD YOU PRACTICE?? HOW CAN I LEARN TO BE CREATIVE? IF ONLY I COULD PLAY THAT ONE SOLO!
Strum your guitar with a pick or your fingers. Hold down the strings with your fingers in the appropriate shape and try to strum with your other hand. Acoustic guitar strings often have higher actions than electric guitars, so you may have to press down very hard to get a good sound. If the chord comes out muted, try holding down the strings with more force. If your string is buzzing, move your finger further away from the metal fret on your neck.
You’ll need to press the strings down firmly to ensure they ring out well. One of the toughest parts for beginners is ensuring you aren’t “muting” the strings that you aren’t fretting (credit natasha at www.dresshead.com). These small touches get programmed in to your fingers after hours of time, so don’t worry too much about it. Just focus on getting the best sound out of your guitar.
If you have ever wanted to write a song or produce a track, this is the section that will give you the lowdown on these topics. You will find complete courses on things such as music theory, technique, ear training and song writing. These are free to use, although – as we mention below – there is a charge for progressing past Grade 2 in the Theory course.