Guitar gym is a term we use a lot here at Your Guitar Academy, so let's start by talking about what it means. Essentially, Guitar Gym is a range of exercises that are deliberately constructed to build your technique, skill and fluidity on the fretboard. These are often less musical than our normal activity, and are ALWAYS to be be done with some kind of beat or metronome. Crucially, these exercises are to be used in the first part of your practice session... More on that later!
We begin with a 5678 exercise that will help to train your left and right hand. If you are already comfortable with tab you can get started right away with the tab provided in this lesson. If not, don't worry, we'll cover it in the next lesson. When you are ready, start trying the exercise with a nice slow drum beat to help get you in time.
Let's continue from our previous lesson by looking in more detail at guitar tab. Guitar tab is a fantastic way to start reading music without having to spend many years learning standard music notation. Crucially, guitar tab shows us where to put our fingers and gives us a rough sense of timing, but heavily relies on you knowing the song. You couldn't sit down and read a piece of tab by itself (with no supporting notation) and be able to play the song. Here are the first two bars of the tab, which we'll analyse now...
With that understanding, we can check out the full tab. As we spoke about in the video, depending on your current beginner level, you can choose to play the tab in 4th notes or 8th notes. This simply means that you can fit 4 notes into a bar, or 8 notes (which will feel like you're doubling the speed).
4th notes is a count of "one, two, three, four" and 8th notes is a count of "one and two and three and four and"
Now that we have so many elements in play, it is important to start understanding how you structure your practice time. We need to group things into three categories, "gym, musical & fun". For example, whenever we learn a new chord shape or exercise (like the 5678 spider), this is the perfect content for the gym part of your workout. It's physical, not especially musical at this point, and massively helps your technique. In fact, at the moment, most of what you are learning will sit into this category. As we develop in this course, we'll see that change. Here are those categories divided into time.
You can see that the guitar gym section is about 20% of your practice time, whatever that time may be. Think of this section as spending the time building up the technique, strength the physicality you need to tackle what you are learning in the musical section. In the musical section, this is your main project, which will normally be a song, riff, solo or something musical. This is the bulk of your practice time. Finally, the "pure fun" section is doing things that you can already do, to remind you how far you've come (for example, playing a song you can easily play, or jamming over a backing track. So, as it stands right now, here is your practice, based around those sections.
It's now time for a brand new rhythm pattern to learn! Now that we know how to read the rhythm patterns, we can dive straight in with how this looks.
So, we need to make sure that we keep our right hand moving all the way through the pattern and make contact with the strings when we hit the "1", then "3 and 4". Remember to once again use a drum beat to get it all in sync and in rhythm and start to loop it with your chord changes of E minor and C major 7.
In this lesson we will learn our first scale shape, and we begin with something called the E minor pentatonic scale. At the moment, we are not too interested in the "why" behind this scale, but simply the "how" to do it! Scales are an important part of your learning, whether acoustic or electric, as they will allow you to create melodies, build keys and even solo in the not too distant future! Check out the scale shape on the fretboard diagram and the tab showing you how to play it from the lowest note to the highest note.
And there we have your updated practice schedule. So, if you have 20 minutes then take about 5 minutes or so doing your guitar gym exercises, then the rest practicing that strumming and chord changing with a drum beat! Enjoy!
We have incredible tutors to provide you with feedback each month as part of your subscription.
Connect & chat with like-minded students & your mentors via our wonderful community.
Find the structure you desperately need to progress and take the next steps in your playing.
Get feedback every month from our YGA mentors by submitting a video of you playing.
You'll have every single backing track and jam track for every single course.
Our mentors go live once a week to chat to you, and discuss fun guitar topics!
Tab that moves along with the music! Slow down, loop and speed change with this interface.
No more YouTube ads or selling segments. Just the core content for the course.