You can also Search

Debbie Ridpath Ohi reads, writes and illustrates for young people. Every few weeks, she shares new art, writing and resources; subscribe below. Browse the archives here.

Twitter Facebook Instagram
Subscribe Pinterest Flickr
My other social media.

Current Projects




Search Blatherings

Use this search field to search Blatherings archives, or go back to the Main Blatherings page.

***Please note: You are browsing Debbie's personal blog. For her kidlit/YA writing & illustrating blog, see

You can browse by date or entry title in my Blatherings archives here:

 1997 - 1998 - 1999 - 2000 - 2001 - 2002 - 2003 - 2004 - 2005 - 2006 2007 - 2008 - 2009 - 2010+ (current archives)

I'm Bored Bonus Page
I'm Worried
« deep impact | Main | jodi's housefilk »

guitar exercises

Got my copy of Ookla The Mok's new CD today. I LOVE it. You must all order a copy right away. :-) For more info, email Rand. You can find out more about Ookla at theOfficial Ookla The Mok Fan Club Page.

Working on Inklings today. Recently, by the way, I've actually managed to work in some regular time on my own writing. Some of you may already know that I write novels for young people. I've had some short stories and poems published, no novels yet. I have a wonderful agent at Curtis-Brown who writes encouraging remarks on the rejection letters I get from various editors re: my first manuscript. Anyway, I'm trying to finally finish my second book so I can send it off to her. Time is the main problem, since I've been very busy with Inkspot/Inklings. One of my columnists recently wrote a wonderful column entitled "Time and the Writer", if anyone's interested.

I'm also trying to work in a bit of regular guitar practice time, though this has had to take a backseat to my writing. I'm still working on barre chords, trying to memorize the two basic forms of barre chords and how I can use them across the fretboard. There doesn't seem to be an easy way of learning these thoroughly except by rote exercise. My current method:

I choose a key e.g. C. I play it via open chord. Then I find two other ways of playing it using barre chords using the "A major" form and the "E major" form. I know there are other forms and inversions and whatnot, but these two are all I can handle right now. :-) Then I move up a semitone and do the same thing with C#, then D, etc. After I know the majors, I'll go through the minors, 7ths, and minor 7ths. Right now it takes me a minute or so to figure out where on the fretboard these chords should go. Hopefully, this process should become more automatic with practice. I don't have much extra time for this, but I try to do at least 5 minutes (I know I know! this is pitiful!!! but it's better than nothing :)) a day, usually when I'm waiting for something to download etc.

I'm finding this exercise very dull, though I'm gradually starting to learn all the barres. Does anyone have any other suggestions for learning how chords fit across the fretboard? Using them in a song is much more interesting, of course, but I don't cover all the barres that way, and it also becomes too easy to memorize the song rather than learn the chords.

Of course, some people may ask, "Why learn the barre chords at all? Why not just play all open chords"? Well, Allison already plays guitar. We're hoping to work up some songs with two guitars as accompaniment, and rather than play exactly the same chords as her, I'd rather add texture by using a variation in at least chord structure if not strumming/picking pattern. Also, I find that barre chords give you some more flexibility in writing some kinds of can damp them much more easily, add percussive effects, etc. Interestingly, it seems that jazz guitarists rarely use barre chords, preferring instead to add interesting-sounding colour notes rather than doubling up tones, which is what barre chords tend to do (which is probably why playing jazz guitar is so difficult...they use such bizarre chords! :-))

Anyway, I'd better shut up now and get back to work. :-)

Reader Comments

There are no comments for this journal entry. To create a new comment, use the form below.
Editor Permission Required
You must have editing permission for this entry in order to post comments.