Develop a “Babe Ruth” Thumb!

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Tip From Mark Hanson As a fingerpicker, if you are having any trouble producing good, consistent tone and accurate string selection with your thumb, consider this: Think of your picking-hand thumb as a baseball bat. It is powerful and accurate when it’s straight, in its natural relaxed position. If you find that you bend your thumb’s first knuckle when you pick, visualize a baseball bat with a hinge in it a foot from the end: You have no power and no control! (Babe Ruth and Shohei Ohtani would refrain from having a hinge in their bats, of course!) For maximum power and accuracy, your thumb […]

Cool Chord Progressions

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By Mark Hanson It was fun to read about Sting studying scores of French Impressionist composer Maurice Ravel (“Bolero”) for new harmonic and chord progression ideas. In this article we’ll study a chord progression you may not have seen: a dominant 7th chord resolving down 1/2 step (G7 to F#, or D-flat7 to C, for instance) — the “Augmented 6th” progression. First, here’s a fundamental harmonic movement to understand: You all know that V7 chords (“dominant 7th”) resolve regularly to the I chord (“tonic”): G7 to C, for instance. They also resolve effectively up to the vi chord of the […]