Strength and Accuracy for the Guitarist


Your Weekly Dexterity and Stamina Exercise

Updated October 2, 2004


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Woodlawn Cemetery in the Bronx


As a native New Yorker and an American, I am still angered by the cowardly attacks of 9/11. Unless we restore New York City's skyline to its condition prior to September 11th, 2001, the miserable scum who attacked us will have won! Visit and rebuild America!




The exercise for this week is based around a common technical aspect that is rarely touched upon.

All guitarists barré chords, but few practice exercises based upon barred melody passages. To demonstrate an example of this needed proficiency as found in the standard repertoire, I have included this familiar passage from Tárrega's Capricho Árabe. [For some unknown reason, students are assigned this piece some time within their third year of playing the instrument. They flub and gasp their way through it and move on. I assign this piece to my students who practice until they can actually play the instrument. It is not a simple piece to play correctly or with the emotion this classic Spanish composer intended. I think some teachers consider it a 'throw-away' on the road to Bach, Berkley, and Walton. That just ain't right!]

We've just come through the dark and sultry d minor introduction and have begun the F major section. The entire seven measures are played while holding barrés at the third and fifth fret. Even macho-man players find this tough on first read-through.

So with Tárrega's technical gauntlet thrown down, I have developed a couple of simple exercises that can be performed (almost) brainlessly once learned. These exercises will strengthen the left hand so that passages such as the one above from Capricho Árabe will present nothing to squirm about.

The whole note chords in the first four measures are not intended to sound. Be sure if plucked they DO sound, though, no dead strings. Measure five, six, and seven contain a variation of a figure found in the Tárrega sample. Make sure all notes ring when played. You'll feel this in the forearm, so don't push it!

And on another note, please see the last two measures of the Tárrega sample. Does this remind you of the chromatic exercise from week one???

Enjoy these exercises and come back next week for more!. Harry Pellegrin performs weddings and gallery openings in the Capital Area!

  LOW END  By Harry George Pellegrin.  The first in the Gary Morrissey series of mysteries.  Dealing with modern subject matter in the classic style of the 1940's Mystery Noire masters--think Raymond Chandler in New York in the 1980's...  LOW END is the story of a drug addict who is murdered after he believes he has found evidence of a major government conspiracy.  Is it only drug-induced paranoia?  Might be, except his paranoia could be considered justified: he was murdered, after all.  Friend Gary Morrissey takes it upon himself to find out just what happened and lands himself in the crosshairs.
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Classic Guitar Method  Composed, written, transcribed, edited and arranged by Harry G. Pellegrin: Now in one volume, much of what the novice classical guitarist will need to know to lead him or her to the recital stage. From proper instrument care and maintenance to the necessary technical skills, musical mind-set, and the standard repertoire—all exposed and explored with enough detail and insight that the student will wish to keep this book handy years to come as a ready reference source.
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DEEP END: The Wreck of the Eddie Fitz  By Harry George Pellegrin. A mystery novel. Involving a semi-professional musician and a Kreyol death cult, DEEP END takes the reader from the bottom of Long Island Sound to the steamy streets and Blues clubs of New Orleans. Alternative spirituality does battle with the common working man.  Published by PAB Entertainment Group in association with
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Reflecting Pools    Original Music by Harry G. Pellegrin:
Reflecting Pools is a departure for me as it is totally keyboard. Well, the guitar did show up on one track...

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In That Zone, is now out! Please visit for details and to order.

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