Music 16A/B: Beginning Acoustic Guitar/16B Blues Pop, Jazz Guitar

Syllabus, Summer 2018

Beginning Acoustic Guitar - tentative Summer schedule 

Week 1: 

Beginning Acoustic Guitar

Chapter 1, Getting Started

  • Parts of the guitar, seating positions 
    • most important elements: keep guitar neck horizontal or higher;
      if sitting in "classical" position, guitar neck should be at a 45 degree vertical angle;
      if sitting in "folk" position, guitar neck should be angled away from body at approximately 45 degrees, so that shoulder is relaxed, and arm is outstrteched slightly
    • left wrist should be straight, thumb kept behind guitar neck (can protrude above neck, but do not clasp the neck with the thumb.
    • keep fingers curved like "a bunch of bananas," play from tips, not pads, of fingers

Learning the Am pentatonic scale: practice page 68, following fingering guidelines, for Am pentatonic scale.

  • Use finger 1 on the fifth fret, finger 3 on the 7th, and finger 4 on 8th- try to place fingers close to frets as you pluck each string with a pick (we'll cover pick technique on Monday)
  • once you feel confident finding the notes, keep a steady beat, playing as slowly as necessary

Lesson 2: notes on the fretboard/fingerboard

  • musical alphabet, half and whole steps
  • Accidentals–we won’t be playing these for a while
  • String names/numbers (Elephants And Dogs Got Big Ears)
  • Octaves

Lesson 3

  • Reading tab; "Mary Had a Border Collie"
  • left hand position, technique

Lesson 4:

  • First Chords: chord chart, fingering, strumming, left hand position: Chords D, A, G

Lesson 5 intro: changing chords: muscle memory and minimum effort/pressure

• If you can see it, you can play it!Appendix: Buy a metronome: working with a metronome (in class practice)

For next week: practice chords every day, using changing tech. Work on melodies with pick

• look ahead to new chords: E, C, p. 15,
• read Chapter 2, Reading music

Music 16B

Horne Handout: Blues. Blues Shuffle, 12 Bar Blues, Pentatonic scale

  • We only practiced the shuffle pattern, but please look at pentatonic scale, and overall pattern for 12 bar blues


Section 1, Page 4: Principal and Secondary chords

  • Study Figueres 1 and 2 for C major;
    • Upper case Roman numerals designate Major triads, Major and Dominant 7ths. 
    • Lowercase Roman numerals designate minor diminished triads, minor 7th and minor 7b5, lower case with superscript o designates diminished triad

Page 14/15: Pinch Technique

  • Ex 24: work on basic fingering for pinch technique
  • Ex 25: review swing 8th rhythm for pinch technique
  • Hesitation: Applying pinch technique to 12 bar blues
  • Hesitation: Learning to solo over blues progressions
    • use tab for reading upper positions, but follow rhythm notation

Page 22/23: Blues Styles

  • Moveable 7th chords: G7 (6th string root), C7, D7 (5th string root)
    • begin to memorize the notes of the 5th and 6th strings
  • Gee Blues: Learn 12 bar pattern with basic strum, up/down; we'll work on mute stroke next week
  • Blues Scale: learn the G blues scale - similar to pentatonic, but with flatted 5th
    • Ex 43: 2 octave + blues scale
    • Learning to solo over 12 bar blues in G with blues scale: Gee Blues

Upcoming: Section 1, page 8: Triads - learning to spell chords; Seventh Chords, p. 10

Week 2

Music 16A

We'll review the material we started last week, and will begin:

Chapter 4 - Fingerpicking (Wednesday):

  • Basic movement of the fingers: Open string block chords (not in book) 
    • Remember to begin with snapping the fingers, then apply movement to strings 5, 3,2,1 with fingers p, i, m, a
    • focus on movement from large knuckle, relaxation in fingertips, move fingers toward back of the palm.

Chapter 2 Reading Music: the staff p. 16

Warmup: We learned the descending chromatic scale (fingers 43210 on each string)

  • Remember the "bunch of bananas"
  • play on fingertips
  • keep all fingers close to frets, without stretching out (move hand as you change frets)
  • keep thumb behind neck, between fingers 1 and 2
  • Use pick, pluck downstrokes on each note

Learn notes on the 1st string, notes on the second string

  • Lesson 1: Notes and the Staff, Lesson 2: notes on the first string: pick exercise, notes on the 2nd string
  • Lesson 4, Time - Whole, half, and quarter notes
  • Lesson 5, 3rd string: Oh Susanna!, Oh When the Saints

New Chords: "Rock and Roll Wonder Dog," "You Move My Boogie Machine" (Wednesday)

Music 16B

 7th Chord blues, Blues Scale p. 22, 23: Gee Blues - learn melody

  • count out loud to get proper timing of swing rhythm and ties

Pinch Technique: p. 15, 15: Hesitation - learn melody

Study Principal and secondary triads and 7th chords (p. 4)

C Major scale, 2nd position, page 61, 56 - Scale shape No. 4.

  • Play scale up and down, Identify scale and chord tones (C Maj 7) 
  • Practice starting on D, for Dorian mode, p. 57
    • Identify notes of Dm7 chord: D, F, A, C, 2nd position

Secondary 7th chords (Horizon) p. 34 - arpeggio and Strumming

 Week 3:


Continue A minor pentatonic scale, p. 68

Chapter 2

  • Continue Oh! Susanna, p 20
  • Continue Lesson 6: Rests - When the Saints Go Marching In p. 21
  • Lesson 7 (p. 22), eighth notes
  • Lesson 8, Notes on the 4th String: Old Joe Clark
  • Lesson 9, Eighth Notes and Dotted Notes

Chapter 3 - More new chords: 

  • Review all chords,
    • "Your Move My..." "Rock and Roll Wonder Dog," "This Hammer's too Heavy" "Canadian Campfires Song"
  • Lesson 1, Minor chords
  • Lesson 2: Bluegrass G and C chords
  • Lesson 3: The Art of Strumming

 Chapter 2



  • Review Am Blues shuffle (Horne handouts)
  • Continue all Blues songs
  • Continue Secondary 7th chords, arpeggio, "Horizon"
  • continue C major scale, CM7 arpeggio, 2nd position


  • Fingerstyle: Review and New Age Style: p. 26 - Ariel
  • Moveable Secondary 7th Chords, p. 36 - Ex 59, Horizon
  • Learn Dorian mode, Dm7 arpeggio



Lesson Videos

Beginning Acoustic Guitar

Back to Top