First Steps in Finger Style with Giorgio Serci

Hello there and in this article we will be looking at a short composition of mine. It was inspired by the legendary guitar composer Matteo Carcassi, who has produced a remarkable amount of guitar works, one of the most popular being the ‘25 Melodic and Progressive Studies’, also known as Op.60.

As I mentioned in the previous column, study pieces are normally bespoke compositions constructed around a particular concept or technical idea such as an arpeggio, a picking or fretting hand technique a time signature etc.

This composition, for example, makes use of the following picking hand permutation: ‘p, ‘i’, ‘m’ and ‘a’ respectively on A (or E in bar 5 and 7), G, B and high E (these are sporadically substituted by D, G, B or A, D, G).

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This 4-note pattern can be used to generate an array of compositions in different styles of music. For example, Folk, Jazz, Pop, as well as being very common in Flamenco and Classical guitar compositions. The melody in this composition will be mainly played by the ‘a’ finger, therefore, particular attention should be paid to attack, tone and dynamics. This will become clearer from the example below as well as from examining the enclosed score.

Here is a breakdown of the composition bar by bar. You will be able to download a transcription by selecting the menu option on this page. As always, I recommend starting with learning the above-mentioned picking pattern with open strings, using the planting technique explained in the previous issues.

Fretting Hand positions:

Bar 1: Beat 1: Index f. on fret 2 of G, middle f. on fret 2 of B, ring f. on fret 2 of E. Beat 2: Lilt ring f. and repeat right hand arpeggio 3 times to complete the 1st bar.

Bar 2: Beat 1: Index f. on fret 1 of G, open B and ring f. on fret 2 of E. Beat 2: Lift ring f. and repeat right hand arpeggio 3 times to complete the 2nd bar.

Bar 3: Beat 1: Ring f. on fret 4 of D, index f. on fret 2 of G and little f. on fret 5 of B. Beat 2: Replace little finger with middle f. on fret 3 of B.

Bar 4 — Beat 1: Middle f. fret 3 of D, index f. on fret 2 of G and little f. on fret 5 of B. Beat 2: Replace little finger with ring f. on fret 3 of B.

Congratulations! You have completed the A section!

(This part can be repeated twice, making sure the second time, a contrasting tone or/and dynamic development is applied).

Bar 5 – Beat 1 &2: Index f. on fret 2 of the low E. Little f. on fret 4 of A, open D and middle f. on fret 2 of G.

Bar 5 — Beat 3&4: Ring f. on fret 4 of the

low E. Index applies a Barré on fret 2 of A and D. Little f. fret 4 of G.

Bar 6 — Beat 1&2: Open A, ring f. on fret 4 of D, index f. on fret 2 of G and middle f. on fret 3 of B.

Bar 6 — Beat 3&4: Barré on fret 2 of D, G and B.

Bar 7: As Bar 5.

Bar 8 —Beat 1&2: As Bar 6 — Beat 1&2.

Bar 8 — Beat 3&4: Open A, little f. on fret 7 of D, index f. on fret 4 of G and middle f. on fret 5 of B.

Bar 9: As bar 1.

Bar 10: As bar 2.

Bar 11: As bar 3.

Bar 12 – Beat 1: Middle f. fret 3 of D, index f. on fret 2 of G and little f. on fret 5 of B. Beat 2: Replace little finger with ring f. on fret 3 of B. Beat 3: Replace ring f. with index f on fret 2 (barré on fret 2). Beat 4: Replace index f. with open B string.

Bar 13: Play simultaneously the open A and the its octave with the middle f. on fret 2 of G. Next, index f. on fret 2 of D, fret 2 of G, open B, fret 2 of B with the ring f. Open high E. Index f. fret 5 of E, middle f. fret 7 of E, little f. fret 9 and then 12 of E to play a harmonic. Finally, play another harmonic on fret 7 D string (with the ‘p’ finger)

 

Using a wider dynamic and tonal range is important to keep our listeners engaged, especially when repeating the same section.

I guess we could call this a ‘yawn-buster’ strategy.

Now let’s try an additional picking pattern!

Try playing this composition with a plectrum. Experiment with the so-called Economy and alternate picking techniques. This may prove a challenging task, but as it will help improving the above-mentioned picking techniques.

Congrats! You’ve completed this tune.

As always, tonal and dynamic awareness is what makes our playing sound ‘expensive’ or ‘cheap’. To meet the former objective, slow practice is key, as we certainly don’t want memorise wrong parts or develop bad technical habits.

Take one beat at a time, memorizing the fretting hand shapes and pattern.

This will complete this fingerstyle and guitar composition lesson.

Whether you will play this composition on a steel strung or a nylon strung guitar, this will provide a great opportunity to improve your muting techniques as well as coordination skills of the picking and fretting hand.

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. As always, it’s great to receive your kind messages and feedback, which you can still send via facebook.com/giorgiosercimusic or www.giorgioserci.com

Till the next time, Good-bye!


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