16 March, 2010

A Plucking Exercise

In this post, I will be showing you and exercise you can use to improve on your plucking. In one of my earlier post entitled "HOW TO pluck the guitar with your fingers", I showed how to place your fingers on each string, and also how important it is to use your other fingers when plucking, as opposed to what I see most beginners doing - using only their thumb to pluck.

It would be good if you read that post on plucking with your fingers because it is one of the basic things to know about plucking. So, please get into the habit of placing your fingers correctly and also using each finger to pluck the correct string.

Just like strumming, there are certain basic patterns you can use for plucking as well. I will just cover one plucking pattern that I use. The main aim of this post is to provide you with an exercise you can use to help improve on your plucking. Here's what you can do as part of the exercise:
  1. Repeat the plucking pattern over and over with that same chord.
  2. When you are more confident with the plucking pattern, you can move on to plucking other chords with the same plucking pattern.
So, this is the plucking pattern that you can use. Assuming you're playing a D chord in 4/4 beat timing (the numbers represents which string to pluck, NOT the frets):
4 3 2 3 1 3 2 3

If you're playing an A chord in 4/4 beat timing:
5 3 2 3 1 3 2 3

Notice the difference? Your bass note has to change depending on which chord you are playing. If you're playing an E chord, you will have to use the 6th string for your bass note etc. If you need to know the reason why, you can read my post on "HOW TO know which strings to strum for which chords".

When you are confident with the plucking pattern. Try to pluck these chords in sequence:
   D                Dmaj7             D7                G                      

G? D Em A

This will help you to:
  1. Practice the plucking pattern over and over till it becomes natural.
  2. Pluck the correct bass notes based on which chord you are playing.
  3. Make use of the correct fingers to pluck the required strings.
I hope you will find this practice useful. Happy plucking =)


Anonymous said...

daniel, i try D chord in 4/4 beat timing plucking just like u say but only the 4th string sounds, string 321 sound muted or buzzy. is it normal??
i dun quite know to describe. it jus not the rite sound that i saw on other videos for plucking. really wan to master plucking.

daniel said...

hi Anonymous, I think the reason why your strings 321 sounds muted or buzzy is because you are not pressing your strings hard enough.

As you practice more, your fingers will strengthen and eventually, the strings will stop buzzing when this happens.

Anonymous said...

hi! this is good material for plucking lessons, thanks for posting this kind of stuff.. i usually get picking exercise search results when i look up "plucking".. it's not very common i guess

Anonymous said...

thanks daniel. the lessons are really helpful. To God be the glory. God bless you all the more and keep on sharing...

Aizen tan said...

what is the plucking pattern of hero-enrique iglesias?

Graham Choo said...

Hi Aizen,

the song is played in 4/4 beat. It starts off with plucking and then goes into strumming. For the strumming portion, you can use the D,D,UDUDD,DU strumming pattern.

Deil Anthony Galenzoga said...

Hi Daniel, how do I now the correct bass chords for all the other chords? Thanks!

Deil Anthony Galenzoga said...

Hi Daniel, how do I know the correct bass notes for all the other chords?

Btw, great post!!

daniel said...

Hi Deil Anthony Galenzoga,

this is where you will need to know your fretboard well.

If you take note of the lower strings (4th, 5th and 6th), each fret gives you a certain note. For example, the 3rd fret of the 5th string gives me a C note. So, when you play a C major chord, you can use that note as your bass note.

It's not really easy to figure this out, so I would suggest to just memorise chords.

What I taught in this post is more of "reverse engineering" to understand why the chord is played that way.

Hope it helps!