Volume 3, Issue 2, November, 2005


by Stacy Hobbs

This month we’ll focus on some patterns to preface learning a tune which I made up.   The tune uses our “CAGED” knowledge some unorthodox right hand technique. These exercises will be like a refresher course from past workshops.

We’ll be playing out of dropped “D” on the guitar for this workshop, but no matter what your tuning you should be able to adapt this technique to your style of playing.

We start with a series of exercises which reprograms our right hand muscle memory.  Or at least confuses it enough to let go of pre conditioned ideas of which finger should hit what string!

Start by playing a “D” chord using a barred “C” shape.  You should wind up basically barring a “C” chord with your barre on the 2nd fret.

Once positioned, take your right hand index, middle, and ring.  Start on the 6th string and play 6,5,4,5.   Do this 4 times.

Now skip down a set of strings and start on the 5th string and do the same pattern over and over.

Try this until you get to the 3rd string starting point with you right hand index.

If you currently use you right hand pinky for picking try a 6543 pattern with your right hand. 

Now we’ll try to incorporate the sub bass note in.

Still holding down a barred “C” at the 2nd fret, let’s start our picking pattern with the 8th str, “D” sub bass note or 7th string for many.

You’ll wind up going 8th, 6th, 5th, and 4th.

Then drop down a set of strings while maintaining the same sub bass note.  Keep doing this as in your previous exercises.  This is great for you right hand (yeah, you just keep telling yourself that!).

Try this technique with other chord shapes, in fact, all of the other chords shapes from last months workshop!

Now vary up the right hand pattern. Here’s one, pinch the 8th and 4th string with your right hand thumb and ring.

Follow through with 6th, 5th, and 4th string with your right hand index, middle, and ring.  Drop the pattern down a set of strings. Vary this up too!!

Try going 8th, 5th, 6th, and then 4th.  Right hand would be thumb, middle, index, and then ring.  A basic “Travis” style of picking with sub basses!

Got that one down? then add the primary and alternate bass note between patterns (see past columns).

This is sure to give at least some of you a challenge, it does me!

Playing through these right hand exercises coupled with the left hand “CAGED” work out should get you more than ready for next months tune, “Low Down Leo”

Peace and music,


Stacy Hobbs has been performing, recording, and teaching music for the past 23 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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