Lesson 1

The keyword for this lesson, and the next few as well, is time. You'll learn a very simple way to play a note with your thumb, but more importantly you'll learn to repeat that movement in a steady and constant tempo. I'd suggest having a look at the Timing Workshop and practice the right hand skills in this and the next few lessons along with the exercises there. The timing exercise here will also help but you'll have a higher chance of success if you really nail the Timing Workshop first.

The second video will get you accustomed to using your slide, we'll get a lot more focused on that in future lessons.


Here are the lesson notes.


At the end of this lesson you'll have

  • Started work on your right hand position
  • learned to play in time with your thumb
  • learned how to play a note accurately with your slide


Your first fingerpicking lesson for the 3 string focusing on the hand position and using your thumb to play a note.

Download the video here.

Learn the fundamentals of using the slide. The first thing to do is make sure that you can play a note accurately and can avoid all of the out-of-tune microtones either side of the note you really want.

Download the video here.

Here's a stripped back version of Willie Dixon's Spoonful. You can download a pdf with notation and TAB.  The midi file is here.

Download the video here.


A study plan

The recommended study plan at our Google Docs page will provide a structured approach to embedding the skills presented in this lesson. It assumes 20 to 30 minutes practice every day and you devote about a week for this first lesson. Feel free to adjust it to your cirumstance but it is important that you get some practice in every day, even if only a little and it takes you two two weeks to get through. Don't rush it.

I'd recommend copying the documet and making a similar one of your own and noting what your practice routines look like. It can be helpful to look back on later when analysing your progress.

From the workshops

The first of the slide workshops goes into a lot more detail on the finer points of using the slide. It will all come with practice but if you feel like you need a little more guidance then by all means get over and have a look.

The Timing Workshop is essential viewing early on in all of the courses here. Use the exercises there along with all of the right hand exercises n the early part of this, and every other course on the site.

From the ebooks

As so much of this course focuses on getting your technique solid you may want to check out Exercises for Left and Right Hand

  • Study no 1 for slide guitar on page 26
  • Study no 1 for fingerstyle guitar on page 46
  • You'll find these very similar to those in the video, the advantage of looking at them now will be familiarising yourself early with the ebook and with the notation

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