View Full Version : Play just the middle strings

09-10-2011, 03:11 AM

There have been so many times I've wanted to play songs but been stopped because I have no clue how I'm to do this. Any tips?

09-11-2011, 02:22 PM
It's a tab of a chord shape instead of the usual box. Look at it like you are looking at the fingerboard of your guitar from above, like you are holding it face up on your lap. The number is the fret and the line is the string.

On the very first vertical row, you would put your index finger on (pressing just behind) the fourth fret of the A or fifth string (the second string from your chin or top of the guitar side), your middle finger on the sixth fret of the fourth (D) string, and your ring finger on the sixth fret of the third (G) string, = 466 is the shape, sort of an L shape. Your index finger is two frets apart from the other two. I have no idea what the chord is. The others are the same shape. The second vertical row you would move that exact shape you just made with your fingers up one fret closer to the nut (headstock end of the guitar). For the third vertical row you would just slide that same shape down the strings to where your index finger is now on the sixth fret, your middle and index both on the eighth.

On the fourth vertical row, you would move the same shape to where your index finger is on the sixth string (E) the one closest to your chin or top of the guitar.

It looks like the example you posted is for learning to make a chord shape and using it like your fingers are a rubber stamp, which helps you fret accurately and quickly. If you can learn to put your fingers down on the strings all at once in the right shape for the chord you want to play, it improves speed. Or so I've read. ;D

If the numbers were spread out instead of above each other, it would be a tab for fingerpicking notes. You would still be making the chord shape with the left hand, but be picking the notes individually with thumb, index, and ring finger; but would be the same idea, the number is the fret and the line is the string.

09-11-2011, 03:28 PM
This is a really hard skill to master, trying to be careful to just play three or four strings instead of strumming all six. I had the best luck starting out strumming with my thumb, so I could really feel which strings I was playing. These are 'power' chords, just the root and fifth note of each chord, so you'd finger the chord as Teek describes above and just strum, trying carefully only to play the indicated strings. Start off playing very slowly so you're sure to only hit the strings you want, even playing the notes individually at first. As you get comfortable with this shortened strum, gradually build up speed with your strumming hand so the notes sound in unison and you get a tighter, 'strummed' sound, but only on the specific strings you want. It take a while to get to where you can do this cleanly. Once I got comfortable with my thumb, I went back to using a pick. The hardest part for me was the chords the start on the A and D string - it's really hard to get used to catching a middle string as the beginning of a downstroke.

Just like anything with the guitar - or uke - it's best to practice it ridiculously slow until you can do it perfectly. Once you get it down nice and slow, gradually build your up your tempo. Don't try to do it faster than you can play it - it's all about muscle memory..... once you get it down cold at a slower tempo, you'll be amazed at how easy it is to increase the speed.

Good luck!

09-13-2011, 08:44 PM
Ok I feel really stupid now ! ;) I usually fingerpick these inside chords all at once like classical style. I will try strumming now. That's why I have the Idiots Guide for guitar and the Dummies book for uke.

Brad Bordessa
09-13-2011, 09:08 PM
It's a great idea to work some left-hand muting in there too. A quick yt search pulled this up: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_xjvv5pNdyw. It's probably easier to mute then to strum just the middle strings.

09-13-2011, 09:36 PM
Great point, Brad - never really thought about the fact that left hand muting is part of it..... as a self-taught guitarist, I've figured most things out over years of trial and error without really analyzing everything. After reading your post, I picked up the guitar and tried it. I definitely aim for a shorter strum on particular strings, but I also mute with other fingers, thumb, palm, etc. depending on the position. Helpful link, have to work on that.....

09-17-2011, 12:50 AM
Those are basic power chords, it should be one of the first techniques you learn on guitar... especially if you play electric. You just have to get used to proper pick attack and strumming techniques. The best advice I can give you is to practice. Good luck!

10-11-2011, 01:50 PM
:) Tabs can be confusing at first so don't feel stupid. What I like to do with tabs like that is to draw the chord shape or just put the chord name above the area where it is played. This works especially nice when you need to figure out a section that has a lot of single notes or lead going. If you can discover the chords then learning becomes much more efficient.

01-02-2012, 12:45 PM
You can mute the higher sounding strings with the ring finger and pinky lightly laid across the G and/or the B and E strings. If I'm playing a power chord with the root on the A string then I use the tip of my middle finger or my thumb, wrapped around the top of neck, to mute the E string.

This all works best with the guitar slung low while snarling in front of a mirror.:music:

03-27-2012, 11:14 AM
This all works best with the guitar slung low while snarling in front of a mirror.:music:

I'd say everything associated with electric guitars works best in that manner.