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Rock Guitar Lessons: The Thumb is not Forbidden

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One, two, three, four.
All right.
That is an awesome guitar rhythm.
And it demonstrates the fact that the
thumb, for electric guitar,
is not forbidden.
Sometimes I have classical guitar students
that wanna learn electric.
And they've been taught that the thumb is
forbidden over the neck.
But already we've used the thumb quite a
bit for muting techniques.
And this is a song,
this is a guitar part where we use the
thumb as part of the chord.
And we've done this a little bit before
I really want to show all the cool things
you can do with the thumb.
So lets first of all look at the chords we
The first chord is, it's got a long name,
are you ready for this?
You're gonna sound like a professional
musician when you say the name of this
chord, which is an E, what is it, E7 sharp
E7 sharp nine, it's got, it's got a lot of
letters and numbers in it.
And sharps, and, but let me just show you
the notes and
you can see how it sounds and how to play
Those are the notes.
Now, again,
when we learn chords, I always like to see
which finger is closest to the sky.
In this case, it's the second finger.
So let's play with the second finger first
on our E note.
then one by one let's plant the other
fingers in there.
We're gonna take our first finger.
And put it on the major third, one, two,
And then we're gonna take our third finger
and put it on the minor seventh.
If we do one, two, three, four, five, six,
seven, and
then make it minor, get the minor seventh.
And then, that's actually the sharp ninth.
I'm not even gonna go one, two, three,
four, five, six, seven, eight,
nine, and then up one more, and we get
that note.
So that's how you put that chord together.
And this is how it sounds, get some
chicka's in there,
I'm using that technique where we use the
low open E note and then.
Go back and forth between that and the
And we do.
Let's slow that way down,
one, two, three, four.
That's a such a cool chicka rhythm.
Three, four.
>> [MUSIC]
>> All right.
And then we're on to our next chord, which
is a G major.
A bar with your first finger.
You have the major third with your second
finger, and
the root with your third finger.
That's the closest to the sky, until.
The thumb goes over the top and
gives us the, the nice, low octave.
Beautiful chord, that is.
Same thing up a whole step.
And we're not using our pinky, so let's
get an extra note with it.
We can sort of,
play that extra little note.
That's a nice little, nice touch there.
Getting that
note underneath all the other ones.
Let's see here how that all fits together.
I'll play it super slow.
Three, four.
Da na na na na na na.
I'm also giving some vibrato.
So that whole chord, and again the vibrato
is coming.
From my wrist sort of pulling down and,
and out a little bit.
That's where it's happening,
right on the wrist.
Like you know, I can just move it with,
with, and, and demonstrate how it works.
There it is.
the secret.
All right, the thumb is not forbidden.
Make use of this glorious sound with the
One, two, three, four.
All right.
The thumb is still not forbidden.
And this is a great technique for making
the bass note, [SOUND] with your thumb and
then getting this chord, [SOUND] that has
both thirds in it.
And there's maybe different ways of
explaining this via music theory.
But just to me, the simplest way is it's
the minor third.
[SOUND] You can count up the minor scale.
One, two, three.
[SOUND] That's the note.
[SOUND] But almost immediately, you hammer
[SOUND] to the major third, which is one,
two, three.
[SOUND] So we have both thirds there.
[SOUND] All right.
You can make up so many cool rifts with
I even want to do a quick shuffle with it,
You can do a trill between
those two thirds.
So, I just want to illustrate the thumb,
and this chord, [SOUND] and
being able to either go up to the major
third [SOUND] or to trill from it.
[SOUND] Great shuffle there.
Let's go back to our original riff that I
was working with, something like one, two,
three, four.
there's another part of it where it goes
to the fourth.
I'm doing a bar chord, I'm sorry, a power
chord based on that.
[SOUND] So, [SOUND] let us just take that
All right.
That's a really nice way to improvise back
and forth with those.
You can do the same thing with the
So we kinda have these musical tools.
This one here [SOUND] and this one here.
[SOUND] And I just want to show, you know,
some things you can improvise there.
So nice.
Now, the thumb is important here,
because imagine if we tried to do that
with a typical barre chord.
It'd be.
It's, it's,
already I'm getting notes I don't want.
So let's see.
Think I'll do it like that.
Oh, maybe it's not as bad as I thought,
but somehow with the thumb I feel so much
more free.
I've got all four of my fingers available,
[SOUND] to do a lot of the bend techniques
that we've learned.
All right.
So I would love to see you do this lick.
And then answer it,
with a bunch of the bending techniques
that we worked on already.
Like the staccato picking, [SOUND] the
muted picking.
Really makes a nice groove, thanks to the
All right.
And we got a straight groove too.
Such a nice sound.
Thank you very much to the thumb.
One, two, three, four.
One, two, three, four.