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Week Number Thirty Six (June 16, 2005)

Starting a Band / Buy a Book/ Buy my New CD

An Exercise with a guaranty

The Stretcher

Well, the heat hasn't let up in that hell I call home. Torture quickly comes to mind, so I decided to throw this little gem at both you students as well as you teachers looking to torment your victims.

All the chromatic scales played in half step increments won't do one thing for you. No, that doesn't sound right... they do lots of good things for the student, but there is one thing they don't accomplish. There, that's better!

While reading through some fairly easy stuff for a small gig I'm doing in a few weeks, I noticed some measures that made me feel a tad awkward. My fly wasn't down, yet I still felt a bit uncomfortable. Why? There is a melodic figure that is best executed with a slide of the second finger -- while holding some other notes with the other digits. Yeah, I could play it, but it was like taking a bath with socks on -- something was wrong. I don't like feeling uncomfortable with an instrument I've been playing. performing on, and teaching for the past thirty odd years, so I went back to my file folders of scribbled student exercises and found a little ditty called The Stretcher.

High art it ain't, technically difficult? Nope. Beneficial? Definitely! You see it isn't that the stretches are difficult, no, it's just that we don't usually USUALLY slide fingers aside from four and one. (Everyone will be sending snips of the standard rep. containing finger two and finger three slides and stretches just in an attempt that to make me look foolish, I just know it...)

Enough about me... Let's talk about you. Look at my exercise. Then we'll talk about the limited lifetime guaranty. No, it doesn't come with a Ginsu knife or a Pocket Fisherman either.

As you can plainly see, I have used my infamous chromatic pattern once again. You must understand this: I like brainless exercises that the student can work and benefit from while watching television. Actually, there is no need to create a beautiful melodic passage that forces the student to concentrate on something other than the lesson at hand. It's nice, but not necessary all the time. So we plant the first finger on the fifth fret and begin our workout. It is critical to the exercise to leave the fingers planted at all times whenever possible. If the student is performing measure one using the first line of left hand fingering, the first, second and third fingers stay down as the two notes played with finger four are being executed. Why? Without planting, the stretches won't happen! Obvious. The first line of left hand fingering is a 'gimmee' -- the exercise doesn't get interesting until you've got the stretch between the second and third finger and the first and second finger. The fourth finger seems to naturally want to get away from the third finger for most people.

Try alternating where the quarter note falls so that the longer duration falls on the stretch. I've written it out his way in my new Classical Guitar Method book, but I leave it here in abbreviated form as an inspiration to look for the book and maybe even buy a copy! Mercenary, eh?

I guaranty that this exercise will get your second and third finger moving more independently and you will not have a hard time committing this little brainless exerciose to memory and using it at odd moments when your brain wants to shut down but your fingers need to move!

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The Classic Guitar Method: 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.

With the aid of a good teacher, the student will rapidly progress through The Classic Guitar Method attaining technical proficiency and musical eloquence.

This method stems from the need to incorporate a number of schools into a single cohesive curriculum. Years of honing a logical approach to the guitar and the creation of music culminate in this volume. As a self-proclaimed Disciple of Valdés-Blain , much of that famed teacher's focus can be found in Mr. Pellegrin's method.

ISBN: 978-1-4116-9442-2

Published by PAB Entertainment Group, P.O. Box 2369 Scotia, New York 12302

Please go to to order.


Hear selections from my new album, Reflecting Pools. A departure for me, it is a keyboard album. The music is a series of tone poems written for relaxation and meditation. Reflecting pools is the perfect companion for a rainy afternoon or a winter evening. Actually, it is a great stress-reliever at work!

Click the album cover to find links for samples of all the pieces on my album.

- Harry Pellegrin

May 12, 2005

Available NOW!!!




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