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Imagine your sound

You have a goal you want to achieve on the guitar.  

Maybe it's playing cover songs. Maybe it's creating a new style of music.  Visualize success.  See it in your mind. 

See yourself on stage, rocking out. 
Listen to the music you're making.  Nod your head, tap your foot and hum along.  Listen to this concert day and night. 
Sing rhythmic tones as soon as you feel comfortable.  Don't think about words.  Sing rhythmic tones and make sounds.
It's ok if it sucks.  Record it if you like it.  Use a portable Zoom recorder (150$) or a cheap dictation recorder (30$).        

This "invites" music into your head.   You'll hear melodies and sing them.   You'll manifest a new reality and reach your goals.    

"I heard in my head a whole concert situation, with a band and singing and a large audience.  Those first five or six songs I wrote I was just taking notes at a fantastic rock concert that was going on inside my head."    -Jim Morrison

The music I hear in my head, "I can't get on the guitar.  It's a thing of just laying around daydreaming or something.  If you pick up your guitar and just try to play, it spoils the whole thing."    -Jimi Hendrix

Air Guitar

Hand and finger motions can be practiced without a guitar.  Visualization is 80% as effective as practice.
Doing both is the most effective.  External link 

Right hand strumming

Try this while listening to music, or when you hear a rhythm in your head. 

Strum "the air" to the speed of the song.   

Your hand should go up and down smoothly.  Don't try to play the rhythm yet, just strum up and down.

Notice when the strums match up with what you're hearing. 
Do they happen on an upstroke or a down stroke?  Don't think too hard.  Just notice.  Slow down and simplify the rhythm if you have to.  

Now "play" on top of your other hand with your thumb and first finger (as though holding a pick)
This way you'll feel the strums and get feedback.

Strum and brush your left hand with the rhythm you want to play.  
Keep strumming up and down, but hit or miss, depending on the rhythm.   
Feel the connection between the rhythm in your head and the up and down motion.  

Try strumming without maintaining the up and down motion.  
Strum when the note "occurs".  It's more efficient, but you'll probably play more rhythm cliches.

If you watch Jimmy Page play rhythm, he never stopped strumming.   Even playing 16th notes he always kept a little wiggle in the pick.

Right hand fingerpicking

fingerpicking numbers for the fingersTry this while listening to music, or when you hear music in your head.

Tap your 1, 2 and 3 finger
on the table in any combination.
 This simulates a down stroke while fingerpicking.   Tap to the rhythm.  Try to do it with just one, and also with all three

Tap those fingers "up"  into the bottom of your other hand.  Roll your fingers smoothly.  This simulates an "upstroke". 
 Tap to the rhythm.  You'll play twice as fast when you combine downstrokes and upstrokes.  

fingerpick on your finger Pretend your left hand 1 finger is the "string."  
Make an L shape with your left hand 1 finger and thumb.  
Put your right thumb on your left thumb and your right hand 3 finger at the end of your left hand 1 finger.  
Play to the rhythm using upstrokes and down strokes. 

Try using alternating down strokes and upstrokes. 
Be patient, slow down, and simplify.  If you're doing this to music, try hitting the important, structural rhythm notes.
Get to the essence of what you're hearing.

Play any combination of movements you like. 
Add finger 3 and try that as well.


thumbpick on the finger
Try it with the thumb.  

Use the thumb to play across the a finger using alternating strokes. 
Try all variations, consecutive upstrokes and down strokes and combinations. 

Left hand scale exercise  

Try this when listening to music or hearing music in your head.

This is a fretting simulation. 

Hold your left hand up like it's fretting a guitar.  Notice the curve in your fingers.  
Roll your fingers on the table in time to the beat.
You can also do this on your chest (to feel it)
Or into the palm of your other hand (while walking).

Things to try:

Tap any fretting finger to a rhythm you hear.

Roll multiple fingers in time with multiple notes.
If the notes pause, let your fingers pause.   If the notes go "up", start at finger 1 and roll upward to finger 4.
If you reach finger 4 and the notes keep going up, start over at finger 1 and roll up again. 
Do the opposite when the notes go down.   If the same note repeats, put the same finger back down (following the rhythmic pattern).     If the note bends, bend that finger to simulate it. 
Hold down finger 1 and work the other fingers.  This simulates a bar chord.   Slide that "barred" finger 1 back and forth (on your chest) and roll and tap the other fingers. 
This simulates sliding into a new position. At the end, move your fingers as fast as you can in any combination you can think of. The point is getting your fingers moving when you "hear something". 
You're probably not using the right fingers for the right notes.  That's GREAT. 
You have the rest of your life to get stuck playing cliche patterns.  This will help keep that problem at bay.

"It is usually when you're making mistakes that you find out other places to go"         -Eric Clapton