Right-Hand Development for Jazz Guitar

I recently checked out a bunch of guitar instruction books from the library.  This book, by Renard D. Hoover, was one of them.  I’m not a jazz guitarist, but this book is really for any and all guitarist devoted to develop their lead playing.

Make that seriously devoted.  This is a thin book but densely populated by nothing but right-hand exercises.  No tabs, just musical scores, listing endless rows of EADGBE, with symbols specifying down and up strokes. Wow!

What this book made me think of is the idea of practicing the two hands separately.  I started on the piano before guitar so this is not a foreign concept to me.  But I’ve never approached guitar this way — since it takes two hands to produce a note (except open strings, of course) I always felt that synchronizing the two hands was the key.  But it makes sense to separate each part, work on it, and put them back together.

My picking hand is definitely the weaker of two when it comes to guitar playing.  I’ve always struggled with making this one more nimble, even though it seems that there’s so much less of what we’re asking it to do, compared to the fretting hand, where we have to mobilize each digit, sometimes stretching them out in a most unnatural manner and next cramming them into tiny frets.  But unless you’re playing legato exclusively, right hand is where the magic is, where the tone is produced.  I can see the benefit of this book.

This book seems to be out of print.  While I have this checked out, I’m going to try incorporating it to my routines and see how it feels.

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