34. Leading Notes w/ Chords In Open Position

‘Leading notes’ are bass notes that introduce a new chord in a progression. Learning how to work these while strumming chords elevates your rhythm playing considerably. In order to do it successfully, you must keep the right hand relaxed but very restrained in its motion. Most beginner players have far too wide an arc when strumming chords, which results in an inability to target single notes within the rhythm:

Note how the arc here is barely wider than the sound hole:

Here is a very simple lead note sequence– the scale tones G, A and B leading up to a C chord:









Note that the restraint of motion in my right hand makes it easier to transition from the lead notes to the chord.

Additionally, when playing any single notes between strumming chords, bear down on the pick (grip it tighter), then loosen it as you return to strumming. This can be a lot to think about, but is well worth it, and becomes automatic quickly with practice.

© 2012 Jim Greenfield