If we move downward from the pitch G, the next pitch in our musical alphabet is F. Find string number 1 on your guitar and place the first finger of our fretboard hand just behind fret number 1.
You should be pressing down with your fingertip, and your finger should be well arched. The note you are holding is F First Fret. On the staff, F is the pitch that sits within the top line. While you are holding F First Fret, let's play through some musical examples.
Dotted Half Note
The first beat in practice measure 1 is showing a new note duration. A small dot has been placed just to the right of the half note. Now the half note has been changed to a dotted half note, which rings for three beats.
Practice Measure 1
Pick beat number 1 with a down stroke and continue alternating your picking direction as you count 1,2,3.
Even though you are moving your picking hand side to side with the beats, do not strike the string, but only make the conducting motions as the dotted half note must ring continuously through beats 1,2,and 3.
On beat number 4, there is a quarter note which rings for one beat. This note is played with an up stroke, which is in line with the movement of your hand. The note on beat number 4 stops ringing just as you reach beat number 1 in the next measure.
Play the measure again, counting the beats out loud as you play.
Practice Measure 2
Measure number 2 should be easy for you now, as the measure is filled with four quarter notes, each sounding on a consecutive beat number. Count out loud while you play the note F first fret, four times.
Practice Measure 3
Measure number 3 may be the simplest to play, as it only contains a whole note. A whole note rings for four beats, so you strike this note on beat number 1 and let the note ring through beats 2,3,and 4.
The note stops ringing when you reach beat number 1 in the next measure. Play measure 3 now and count the beats out loud as the whole note rings through the measure.
Timing and Continuity
Now that you have practiced each of these measures, let's change the double bar lines to single bar lines and play this line of music all the way through without pausing. We'll also remove the measure numbers.
As you play, try to move smoothly from beat number 4 to the next beat number 1 without stopping at the bar lines.
Basic timing in music is continuous, and the bar lines are only present to show you when the meter starts over again at beat 1.
Play this line now and count the beats out loud as you read the music. If you are having trouble moving to the next measure without pausing, continue to practice until you have eliminated all of the stopping points.
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