Jack Sanders gives us the final installment of a lesson on scales as the foundation of your overall technique. In Part 3 Jack gives us some exercises for putting the right and left hands together and for controlling dynamics and articulation. Be sure to check out Part 1 and Part 2 if you haven’t already.

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4 Responses to “Jack Sanders – Scales, Part 3”

  1. Malcolm Watson says:

    Thanks very much for those interesting videos! Being a guitar teacher myself,
    I always like to hear other experienced player’s thoughts on these fundamental matters.
    One question that constantly comes up with students, and so I’d like to hear your views,
    is tips on how to increase right hand alternation speed.

    Although some students are naturally gifted with fast right hand finger alternation,
    eventually most students struggle their right hand to match their left,
    unless they resort to involving more than two fingers, eg the thumb along with fingers
    (eg Chet Atkins and some Bluegrass players), or a flat pick!
    Any thoughts?

  2. Jack Sanders says:

    Thanks for your comments. Yes, speed is something that a person is born with, but for the rest of us with slow fingers, we can improve by focusing on several things. In the 2nd video at 3:30 seconds, I demonstrate alternating I and M in the air, then tapping the string. If a player wants to see what their natural speed potential is, they can do this at a quick pace. Then, experiment with quickly tapping 4 or 8 times, then playing through the string a similar number of times, as light, and fast, as possible. If the player’s nails are not properly filed, or the alternation movement is not synchronized, it should become readily apparent. Another way to improve speed is to work on becoming more efficient. One of the best ways to do this is to play a light staccato with I and M alternation. Focus not on overall speed, but in playing at a controlled pace. The guitarist should strive towards playing as short of a note as possible each time, with the opposite finger stopping the note that was just played.

    Hope these ideas help!


  3. Patrick Ilunga says:

    Thank you very much, for these three videos. You have explained very well on how to use the fingers (free stroke), the exact mechanic and gesture. What’s about the Thumb, I didn’t see anything about how exactly to develop a good thumb free stroke. Please, can you direct me to one of your video, about this subject?

    Thanks a million!!!

  4. Jack Sanders says:

    The two biggest issues that I see in many guitarist’s right thumb are sustained tension in the thumb after plucking a string and too much movement in the tip joint of the thumb. Most of the thumb energy should emanate from the base of the thumb by the wrist.

    Try this to correct both: Place P-I-M-A fingers on the first string and take a moment to relax all of your arm muscles – the trapezius, deltoid, biceps/triceps, and forearm muscles. Once you feel relaxed, leave I-M-A on the first string (for the duration of the exercise) and move your thumb to the second string. Fell the weight of the thumb resting on the string, and then just let it fall through the string (free-stroke) with the thumb weight doing all of the work. Once you’ve plucked the string, let your thumb rest for a moment. Then, feel the natural stretch as you reach back to the 3rd string. Again, feel the weight of the thumb on the string, then let it fall through the string and rest in mid-air. Continue for the 4th, 5th and 6th strings and then back up, all the while, leaving I_M_A on the first string.

    Most problems that I see come from bad hand positions where the hand favors the thumb and the fingers reach forward – the above exercise will hopefully help address that issue. In addition, pushing too hard with the thumb through the string causes tension problems that complicate everything. When playing an arpeggio, once your thumb has played, there shouldn’t be any activity in the thumb, it should just sit there, rested – or as Scott Tennant says: “Emply” the tension once you’ve played.

    I haven’t dealt with the thumb much in my videos, maybe soon…but in the meantime, I hope this helps!


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