Volume 2, Issue 5, April, 2005


by Stacy Hobbs

For this lesson we’re going to attempt the impossible, pinching bass notes with the 1st, 2nd and/or 3rd strings of the guitar!

Start by fretting a C chord with your left hand.

Pinch the 9th sub bass note with your right hand thumb and the 1st and 2nd string with your right hand ring and middle.

Next play the 3rd string with your right hand index.  Repeat this pattern for a measure of 4 beats.  Play it until your right hand becomes comfortable.

Let's do the same exercise and add our alternate bass note into the equation.

The second time through the pattern, pinch the 7th sub bass note along with the 1st and 2nd string then play the open 3rd string again.

Try to strive for an even sound between the sub basses and the regular guitar when pinching the two together.  This will be critical in bringing out melody notes against those low tones in the future.  Relaxing your right hand will help your efforts here.

If too much is going on at one time, reduce you bass notes and only play the root note.  Slowly work toward incorporating the alternate bass note as your right hand becomes more comfortable.

Now let's divide the pinch up between the first and second strings.

Pinch the 9th string and the first; follow this with the 3rd string by itself.  Next, pinch the 9th and the 2nd, again, followed by the 3rd.  Repeat until comfortable and even.

Add the alternate bass note to the second pinch for variety.  Experiment!

Let's try a pattern.  Still holding down the C chord, play the 9th, 2nd, 3rd, 1st one after another with their respective fingers, then play 7th, 2nd, 3rd, 1st.  Repeat often, cursing is optional.

As always, to stretch the boundaries of your right hand thumb, try substituting the 12th sub bass for the 7th.  Ouch!!

Apply this exercise to all your chords and experiment with variations on the patterns with your right hand.  Make up your own exercises as they apply to the music you play and never give up!!

Have fun stretching those tendons and thanks for tuning in!


Stacy Hobbs has been performing, recording, and teaching music for the past 22 years. He purchased his first Harp Guitar in 1998, which proved to be his true calling. Visit www.stacyhobbs.net for more!

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