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Giorgio Serci - First Steps In Fingerstyle Guitar Fundamental Studies Part 9 - Study n.9

Lesson Notes

** As featured in issue 18 **

In this acoustic guitar lesson we will be looking at another composition of mine simply called Study n. 9, which was specifically written for Guitar Interactive.  This solo fingerstyle guitar piece includes a few different guitar techniques such as the ‘a campanella’ or ‘waterfall’ technique, natural harmonics, but also extended harmony, most of which gravitates around the E major key, with the occasional modal interchange (borrowing chords from the parallel key E minor).

Breaking the piece in two halves will give us more time to talk about the mechanics of the picking hand pattern as well as allowing more time to familiarise with this picking pattern and rhythm.  The first challenge is to memorise the following fingerstyle permutations, consisting of:

INTRO:

‘p’ finger playing bass on beat 1.

‘i’ ,‘m’ and ‘a’ fingers playing simultaneously the first three strings (on the and of 1 and of 2)

THEME:

‘p’ and ‘a’ fingers playing simultaneously bass and melody note on beat 1.

‘i’ and ‘m’ fingers playing simultaneously the inner two strings (on the and of 1)

‘a’ finger to playing the melody note (on the and of 2)

Make sure you can play the above-mentioned patterns with accuracy, emphasising the notes played with the ‘a’ finger when playing the theme.

Next we are going to look at the left hand part:

Bar 1: We are going to play an E chord with index on fret 1 of G, open B and E.

Bar 2: Middle f. on fret 2 of A, index on fret 1 of G, open B and E.

Bar 3: As bar 1.

Bar 4: Once played the B as in bar 2 but in a staccato (short) manner, the theme starts with an anacrusis (pick up) played in a ‘a campanella’ style. (see my column in issue 16 for further detail).

Pick-up: This ascending melody starts on an open B, ring f. on fret 6 of G, index f. on fret 4 of B, open E, little f. on fret 7 of B, index on fret 4 of E, middle f. on fret 5 of E.

Bar 5: We are going to imply an Aadd9 chord with an open A and little f. on fret 7 of E (high), middle f. on fret 6 of G and index on fret 5 of B.  Using the same R.H. pattern, lift little f. on the ‘and’ of 2.

Bar 6: As bar 5 but index on fret 5 of G instead of ring f. on fret 6.

Bar 7: Open E (low) and a G# played with a barre on fret 4. And of 1 play fret 5 of B and fret 4 of G respectively with middle f. and index.

Bar 8: Open E (low), followed by a G# on fret 1 of G and open B.

Bar 9: Open A and G# on fret 4 of E (high), followed by fret 2 of G and B (barre). And of 2 play F# on fret 2 of E (high)

Bar 10: Open A and G# on fret 4 of E (high), followed by fret 5 of G and B (barre). ‘And’ of 2 play F# on fret 7 of B

Bar 11: Open E (low) and B, followed by little f. on fret 4 of D and index on fret 1 of G.

Bar 12: Middle f. on fret 2 of A, followed by little f. on fret 4 of D and index on fret 1

The part above can be repeated twice with different dynamics and tonal colours.

Bar 13 & 14: As Bar 5 & 6

Bar 15: Open E (low) and ring f. on fret 5 of E (high). ‘And’ of 1 play fret 5 of B and fret 4 of G respectively with middle f. and index. ‘And’ of 2 play G# on fret 4 of E (high).

Bar 16: Barre on fret 4. Index on fret 4 of A and ring f on fret 5 of E (high). ‘And’ of 1 play fret 5 of B and fret 4 of G respectively with middle f. and index. ‘And’ of 2 play G# on fret 4 of E (high).

Bar 17: Barre on fret 2. Index on fret 2 of E (low) and little f on fret 4 of E (high). Next, fret 2 od G and B followed by fret 2 of E (high) with index.

Bar 18: Barre on fret 2. Index on fret 2 of A and little f on fret 4 of E. Next, fret 2 of G with index and ring f on fret 4 of B. And of 2, play fret 2 of E (high).

Bar 19: Index on fret 4 of low E. Little f on fret 7 of E (high), B and G. Middle f on fret 5 of A.

Bar 20: Barre on fret 4. Index on fret 4 of A. And of 1, index play fret 4 of G and E while ring f is on fret 6 of B. Next, middle f. on fret 5 and little f on fret 7 of E

Bar 21: Index on fret 2 of E. Little f on fret 5 of E (high). Next, index on fret 2 of G and B. Then, ring f. on fret 4 of E and index f on fret 2 of E (high).

Bar 22: Barre on fret 4. Index on fret 4 of E and little f on fret 7 of E (high). And of 1, index on fret 4 of G and middle f. fret 5 of B. Next, play an E major arpeggio with middle f on fret 5 of B, index on fret 4 of E and little f on fret 7 of E (high).

Bar 23: Open A and little f on fret 9. And of 1, middle f and ring f on fret 9 of G and B. And of 2, open E (high).

Bar 24: Open A and high E. Index and middle f. on fret 4 of D and 5 of G.

Bar 25: As bar 24, but don’t play the open E on beat 1.

Bar 26: Letting the open E ring, play an open A.  Ring f and index on fret 4 of D and 2 of G

Bar 27: As 26

Bar 28 & 29: as bar 11 & 12.

Bar 30: Open E (low), middle f. on fret 2 of A, little f. on fret 4 of D and index on fret 1 of G.

Bar 31: Letting the notes played in the previous bar ring, play an open B, followed by a natural harmonic of fret 12 of E (high).

Congratulations, you have completed Study n.9!

As always, you will be able to download a transcription by selecting the menu option in this page.

I strongly recommend experimenting with a few picking variations, changing the chords as you wish in terms voicing (higher or lower), as well as trying the same picking pattern on a different chord progression, or using a ‘capo’ on fret 2 or for a brighter outcome.

When repeating any section twice or more, you may want to play ‘sul ponticello’, (closer to the bridge) or ‘sul tasto’ (over the frets) for a more contrasting result.

As recommended in the previous columns, where we mainly focused on the picking hand, we ought to focus most of all on accuracy and consistency of tone. Strategies to further improvement include the use of the planting technique described in the previous columns, resting our fingers onto the chosen strings, and executing each stroke with a controlled and even pressure and with tonal and dynamic awareness. Each note we play should sound as full-bodied and as good as the previous one. You may want to refer to my previous columns for a more thorough explanation of the ‘a campanella’ technique.

Please focus on minimum-movement approach, as this will help delivering the piece in a more accurate and consistent manner, while saving energy.

This will complete this fingerstyle and guitar composition lesson.

I hope you will enjoy playing this study piece and that this will give you some ideas on how to write your own solo guitar compositions


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