Monthly Archives: November 2013

Guitar Block System: Block 3-1

This week, we’ve reached the end of the blocks. Finally! We end this system with the “really stretch your hand out” block. This one, like Block 2-2, stretches out over the major 3rd, but the half-step between the second and third notes tends to make things more complicated. From a mechanical standpoint, this block is great for working your pinky finger onto the fretboard – something most guitar players need.

There are four ways to play this block as a simple exercise, all of which are written to start on fret 5 (side note: there are more than 4 ways to play the three-note blocks. I quickly mentioned one at the end of the the post for Block 1-2 and I have provided another at the end of Block 1-3). If you need a bit of direction on how to read these, see the Handy Dandy Little Reading Guide at the end of this post.

First, go from string 6 (low E) to string 1 (high E):

Block 3-1 Example 1

Next, start at the string 1 (high E) and return to string 6 (low E):

Block 3-1 Example 2

Now, head back up to string 1, but this time start on the block’s higher note:

Block 3-1 Example 3

Finally, return to string 6 while playing the higher note first in each block.

Block 3-1 Example 4

There are three ways to pick these exercises, if you so choose. First, down-pick every note. After that, try alternate picking – down then up (a little trickier, since every other string will start with a note picked up, but still highly worthwhile). Lastly, as a real test of your fretting abilities, only pick the first note of each block then either hammer-on (first two examples) or pull-off (last two) to the other notes.

Exercises are great, but feel free to have some fun with these, too. Experimentation is highly encouraged. And above all, pay attention to what you’re doing – Your next mistake could easily turn into your next riff. See you next week for…uh…something else.

Handy Dandy Little Reading Guide: String 1 = E, 2 = B, 3 = G, 4 = D, 5 = A, 6 = E. In tablature, string 6 is at the bottom of the staff while string 1 is at the top. The numbers on the lines tell you what fret to play and the lines themselves tell you what string to play.