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Back to Basics


Guitar Technique Sessions... Your Weekly Strength, Stamina and Dexterity Exercise

Week Number Forty Six August 25, 2005

Reading 101... Again! (PART THREE)

So I do get email. A few months back we discussed reading all over the fingerboard and a few students have inquired as to how I teach my students to read up the neck -- a place where duplicate notes (those notes that can be played in at least two places on the neck but are written as the same pitch on the staff IE the open first string and the second string at the fifth fret.) Well, I teach my students from day one to read from the fifth fret up. I also teach the open position more or less simultaneously. This way they aren't suprised by the multiplicity of any given note.

In part three we move to the third string. After we've covered all the strings, there will be practical exercises.


The Third String (G string)

The guitar is mostly tuned in fourths (as discussed previously E to A, A to D, D to G, and B to E – all fourths.) But there is one string-to-string relationship that ‘ruins' the perfection for the player. The G string is tuned a third below the B string. Because of this, the intervallic relationships between fretted notes all along the G and B string are different than the intervallic relationships between the other strings (which includes the D and the G and the B and the E strings as well, even if the third string is involved.) Because of this different interval, our exploration of the third string begins with the second finger not the first.

C: Place the second finger on the third string at the fifth fret. Once again, make sure the arch of the fingers allows the second and first strings to vibrate freely. If the arch of the fingers is insufficient, moving the thumb down on the neck (towards the floor, not the box or nut) will increase the arch. No one's fingers are so short that the third string cannot be played without impeding the second and first strings.





D: Place the fourth finger on the third string at the seventh fret. Nothing new here, the D note is played with the fourth finger which should be arched and placed behind the eighth fret wire. Despite the skew of the fourth finger in the photograph, this is correct positioning for this hand position (second finger still fretting the C on the fifth fret.)





B: Place the FIRST finger on the third string at the fourth fret. As you can see now, we have moved out of position for the notes on the G string. Our study of all the strings will begin on the fifth fret except when we learn the third string – all because of that intervallic third relationship with the second string. Incorporating this knowledge early will allow the student to read printed music and correctly perform this music no matter where on the fingerboard the printed music may indicate.



Now notice this. You will recall that we have studied a B note on the first string. The distance intervalically between these two B's (the B on the third string and the B on the first string) is one full octave. This allows us to make the following conclusion—the distance of one full octave can be spanned in one hand position between three strings. This will be further explained later. This fact will allow us to begin practicing a very simple scale at this early stage of the student's development.

In the following exercises, the student will be following the same guidelines as discussed with the other two strings. Correct finger arch, thumb placement, right hand finger alternation, rhythm, tempo and good tone. Focus on these things; they all must be incorporated to gain full benefit from the exercises.

Three strings down, three to go! We're half way home. New students: use this information to get a grip on the upper fingerboard (no pun intended.) Professional teacher? Show this to your students?


Be well, be back!



What's New? The Two New Albums!





Hey, the new albums are out! That's right, finally a follow-up to the reissue of my old album from the late 1980's and its sequel as well.

Reflecting Pools is a departure for me as it is totally keyboard. Well, the guitar did show up on one track... Reflecting Pools is an ethereal journey into the realm of relaxation. In That Zone is a more classically structured exploration of mood and personality.

Available through

...And containing nine tracks that are relaxing, inspirational -- sounds like a snooze. Not really, this is great stuff to listen to on a rainy afternoon, while with your significant other (nudge, nudge, know what I mean?) Please visit the Reflecting Pools page on this site or


LOW END What's new with the book that came out over a year ago? After being on back-order at for what seemed like a century, it is my understanding that copies are once again shipping. Barnes and Noble's website stocks new coipies of LOW END in an on again/off again mode.

DEEP END, the exciting sequel, is being shopped by my literary agent even as we speak.

The Guitar Sessions:Weekly tech tips and exercises to help the guitarist improve. This feature has really taken off. Each week a new page is posted with either an exercizes to get the left and right hands moving more efficiently and effectively or an interesting piece from the standard repertoire , demonstrating a necessary technical ability. Judging by the hits these pages receive, you guitar players love this feature!

The page is updated every Thursday. Visit the 2004 Archive as well!




My Mission, My Policy

In my opinion, the murder mystery genre reached its zenith in the 1930's and 1940's. The novels penned in those decades were taut, no nonsense stories of people in life and death crises, people who did not flinch when confronted with overwhelming odds or overwhelming emotion. Some of these tales could be hard-edged and hard-boiled, but the heroes invariably had a soft side as well.

I believe that over the years, in an attempt to mimic real life, the writers of murder mysteries--and most other literature, for that matter--have lowered the standards of excellence set by such authors as the gritty Raymond Chandler and the sophisticated Dorothy Sayers. Many authors misinterpret smut for romance and brutality for strength.

My novels aspire to the standards set by the 1940's mystery writers. My tales are as real and grimey as the mean streets that spawned them. Even so, and though they deal with modern issues, you will not find gratuitous sex in my characters' relationships. Sex may be alluded to, but it is never allowed out from behind closed doors. You will find that my books are entertaining to a broad audience--I have had positive comments from teens to grandmothers. One reader was surprised when I told him that there were no obscenities in the book he'd just finished. He hadn't missed them! A good story doesn't need such unnecessary 'embellishment.'

I have conducted book signings at churches, country clubs, libraries and even a street corner (don't ask!) and I've never been called to task for, or ashamed of, my work. Pick up a copy of my latest novel and see if it isn't a good read!

Harry Pellegrin


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!



About My Site:

This site is a way for me to commemorate and celebrate a life and lifestyle that is now extinct. Why extinct? Is it that Thomas Wolfe " You-can't-go-home-again " thing? Is it because life is so much different now that what we experienced in the Bronx in the 60's and 70's is no longer relevant? Yes. No. Yes and no? Definitely maybe ! Why do I always start these little essays with questions?

At first, the main thrust of this site was to promote my book. It is a worthy goal; the book tells a good tale and everyone who has read it finds it entertaining and thought-provoking. With that sole goal, I went live with this site back in August of 2003. What happened next is what makes this site truly valuable.

There are people I grew up with, attended school and with whom I played in bands -- neighbors, friends, good family -- who I hadn't seen since I moved from the Bronx in 1986. Divorce had forced me into exile, time and distance conspired to seemingly turn this into a life sentence. Thank the muses for the internet! This site wasn't live for more than two months before I was reunited with Paul Silvestro , a childhood friend whom I hadn't seen in seventeen years. His brother Larry , the guy who had turned me on to playing guitar and taught me the things about music that matter the most, now with him I had no contact since 1983. Twenty years! Too long. I felt as if a part of my soul had been restored -- a part that had been missing for ages and had long ago been written off. But more was to come.

Anthony Pernice, Art Clement , Mike Moretti -- all reunited to me.

The 1960's weren't good to a number of us -- many of us had our personal demons to exorcise, be it substance abuse or the insidious hedonism of the times. but through it all, we were instilled with a vibe, cast in an artistic mold--call it what you will--but unless these same environmental stimuli are exactly reproduced, there will never be another crop of people quite the same.

This page delves into what we experienced and how we incorporated these experiences into art, music, literature and life . I've paid tribute to my neighborhood, the Wakefield section of the Bronx. The Discords -- Larry Silvestro and Artie Clemente's first band in the early mid-sixties-- they're here with their matching outfits, Fender, Hagstrom and Gretsch guitars plus those impeccably precise five part harmonies.

Of course, there is an homage to Leo Fender and his magnificent designs, the Telecaster © and the Stratocaster ©. I officially declare C.L. Fender an honorary Bronxite. These instruments have literally changed my life and the way we all hear music. Check out this page on my site.

Rory Gallagher, whom I saw play in 1973 and who has influenced me ever since--he has a page here as well. He has gone on now, but the impact he made is still rippling outwards, changing how we interpret the blues.

Untermyer Park in Yonkers and Woodlawn Cemetery in the Bronx are included on this site. We were kids interested in a good ghost story and both these places were terrific for providing a few innocent and fun goosebumps. Of course this was during the same period of time that Son of Sam was using Untermyer and Pine Street in Yonkers for his own uses... And we didn't know!!!

...and of course, my book!

Please enjoy this site. Nose around. Anyone can find something here to read and get a chuckle.





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