Guitar lessons for beginnersClassical Guitar And Brain Disconnect – How A Simple Finger Tapping Exercise Reveals The Problem

Classical Guitar And Brain Disconnect – How A Simple Finger Tapping Exercise Reveals The Problem
Published on by

Almost every single Classical Guitar Method, gives you a few tips on a page or two about hand position, how to sit in a chair holding the guitar and then has you almost instantly tackling music by Chapter 2 before you have any idea of what’s going on.

It won’t get you anywhere….Here’s Why !

I’ll take you through a simple finger tapping exercise, without the Guitar, to prove my point.

Rest both of your hands on a table top, arch the fingers slightly as if you were going to tap the table top with your finger tips.

Now tap your fingers in the following pattern with just the left hand like you normally would on
any table top at work or wherever.

4 = little finger

3 = ring finger

2 = middle finger

1 = index or first finger

Left hand tap pattern :

4- 3 – 2 – 1 – 4 – 3 – 2 – 1 – 4 – 3 – 2 – 1

Good. Stay with me here.

Now tap your fingers in this pattern with just the right hand like you would on any table top at a
restaurant or wherever.

i = index or first finger

m = middle finger

a = annular or ring finger

Right hand tap pattern:

i – m – a – i – m – a – i – m – a – i – m – a

Simple, Right?

Now combine the above patterns and tap both left and right hand fingers at the same time
together for 15 seconds and try to do it without a single hesitation. Tap the Left Hand finger #4
at the same time as the Right Hand “i” finger, then the Left Hand finger #3 at the same time as
the Right Hand “m” finger, etc..

4 – 3 – 2 – 1 – 4 – 3 – 2 – 1 – 4 – 3 – 2 – 1
i – m – a – i – m – a – i – m – a – i – m – a

Not quite as simple, was it ?

Don’t feel bad if you didn’t do it first time without error.

Why?

Because patterns of 3 (right hand ) against patterns of 4 ( left hand ) are difficult on any
instrument to master but this is a real problem guitarists face and never think about, let alone
solve properly.

But let’s keep going. It gets more interesting.

Now, most people, when they are tapping their fingers do so in a wave pattern.

Meaning that most of the fingers are in the air while waiting their turn to tap.

Although this is ideal for the right hand on the Guitar ( after proper training ), it is not an ideal
for the left hand.

Why?

Because the left hand fingers, on the guitar, are required to hold down some fingers on a fret to
sustain a note, while at the same time other left hand fingers are moving from fret to fret so other
notes can be sounded simultaneously.

So let”s tap our fingers again on that table top and this time start with the left hand like before…

4-3-2-1-4-3-2-1-4-3-2-1

BUT THIS TIME, we are going to do what I call “controlled tapping”. While holding down all
the Left Hand fingers down on the table, lift finger #4 , keeping the other fingers firmly on the
top, and tap the top.

Now lift # 3 , keeping the other fingers firmly on the top, and tap the top with it.

Then lift # 2, keeping the other fingers firmly on the top, and tap the top with it.

Lastly, lift # 1, keeping the other fingers firmly on the top, and tap the top with it.

Repeat this entire sequence 10 times without error, no unintended finger lifts or out of sequence
taps.

This should be slightly more challenging than the wave pattern we all do so easily. It also
happens to be “exactly” the skill that playing Classical Guitar requires , so pay close attention.
This is the reason for slow progress with almost every Guitarist.

You’ll notice that I haven”t mentioned the speed of the taps. The speed of your wave tapping
was based on your natural ability. The speed of the controlled tapping, holding non-tapping
fingers in place on the top, was probably the speed at which you thought you could do it
successfully without mistake, so you probably went slower.

After all, no one wants to appear even slightly inept with such a simple exercise ! Human Nature.

Now … Combine the two patterns and tap both left and right simultaneously for 30 seconds and
without a single hesitation. Left hand fingers held down on the table until their turn to tap and
the right hand fingers in a wave pattern, always in the air as you are tapping them. Tap Left
Hand “4” with the Right Hand “i”, then Left Hand “3” with the Right Hand “m”, etc..

4 – 3 – 2 – 1 – 4 – 3 – 2 – 1 – 4 – 3 – 2 – 1 Left Hand Fingers Controlled Tapping
i – m – a – i – m – a – i – m – a – i – m – a Right Hand Fingers Wave Tapping

You probably couldn’t even start this one out correctly, let alone continue it without error,
because your brain instantly overloaded.

Welcome to the very real world of Classical Guitar Technique and what’s required of you in
order to play anything! Even the most simple of pieces.

If you had difficulty with this exercise on a table top, how in the world do you expect to play
music on the Classical Guitar ?

Learning the classical guitar is as much a training ground for the mind as it is for the hands and
fingers and if you don’t train both correctly and simultaneously, then all the time you spend
“Trying to Practice Scales, Etudes and Music” won’t improve your playing ability! You’re just
wasting your time and energy.

 Learn more about Finger Tapping here.

Learn How to Play the Guitar Like a Pro

More Right Hand Guitar Exercise Articles

Comments are closed.