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Greensleeves (What Child Is This)

Posted: November 21st, 2008, 4:02 pm
by Hanging Chord
Before I delve too deep, feel free to tell me that I stumbled upon an advanced arrangement that is far beyond my 5-months of experience to handle, because I'm seeing things here that I've never heard of and that seem physically impossible -- striking the 2nd and 6th strings simultaneously without sounding any strings in between, using the thumb to play arpeggios as high as the 3rd string while moving from fret 1 to 3, etc. (I keep my thumb planted firmly on the back of the neck, so this alone confounds me).

This is one of my Christmas favorites and I'd like to be able to play a rudimentary version in the next month or so, but I'm wondering if this one is too much for me at this time... :?

Re: Greensleeves

Posted: November 21st, 2008, 4:26 pm
by slejhamer
Are you approaching this as a fingerstyle lesson? In other words, using the individual fingers of your right hand (or left if you're a lefty) to pluck the individual strings? If you do that you should see how playing the 2nd and 6th strings at the same time is possible. Again, when David suggests using the thumb, that's for your picking hand, not the fretting hand.

And don't feel too bad; the barred F chord can be very difficult for beginners.

Re: Greensleeves

Posted: November 21st, 2008, 4:33 pm
by KR2
Are you referring to this arrangement by David Hodge?
For one thing it's not in the Easy Songs section, so I don't know what level you stumbled on . . .
and there's four different versions there.
"Striking" or plucking two different strings is easy and fun.
First you put the pick down (you won't need it) put your thumb on the sixth string, your middle finger on the second and pinch the two together and let your fingers slip off them. Voila! . . . two strings for the price of one pluck.

Re: Greensleeves

Posted: November 21st, 2008, 4:35 pm
by dhodge

(NOTE: Two other people replied while I was writing this, so my apologies for any redundancies.)

Depending on how complicated you want to make this, it may not be as difficult as it seems, but I think you will need some time to take in the details.

In Example 4, you get a good break down of how simple or complicated things can be. "Version 1" of that example pretty much uses chords you probably can already handle - Am, G and E, plus F, which you may or may not be doing at this stage but there are ways around it. The melody line is right around the chords in question so it's fairly easy to grasp and understand.

"Version 2" requires some basic understanding of fingerstyle, but again it's all based on the chords you know. In the first full measure, for instance, you form an Am chord, but instead of playing the whole thing, you just play the second and fifth strings simultaneously. To do that, you will strike the open A string with your thumb and then use a finger to pluck (upward) the B string, where your finger is on the first fret.

This discussion of fingerstyle may also be leading to your being confounded about the thumb. Unless I've totally missed something in the text (and anyone here can verify that that is certainly possible as I've done it many a time before! :wink: ), any use of the thumb is the thumb that is on your strumming hand, not your fretting hand. You might want to take a look at the "House of the Rising Sun" lesson to help you get started on that.

Anyway, if you can handle the Am, G, E and C chords, you should have a good shot at learning this. Knowing the barre chord version of F is certainly helpful, but there are examples in the lesson (such as Example 7) that help people who are having a hard time with F chords.

Please write more about specific areas of trouble and, hopefully, we can have you playing this for the holidays.


Re: Greensleeves (What Child Is This)

Posted: November 22nd, 2008, 8:54 am
by Hanging Chord
Ah, that clarifies things.

I found this lesson via a specific search, so I had no idea where it fit in the progression of Easy -> Advanced. I also had no idea it was fingerstyle, hence the major source of confusion. I've never really done fingerstyle, primarily because fretting correctly is enough to occupy my attention at this point; having to do something relatively complex with my picking hand is sort of at the "pat your stomach rub your head" stage.

I can do the chords (partial barre F is good, full barre F is flaky because strings 1/2 don't get fretted properly due to bony fingers -- but that's another issue). I think variation 1 is within my grasp, but I was just going with the variation that was fully tabbed out. I might try the fingerstyle version just to get a feel for it, but I'm thinking my best bet is to study the part of the song that was tabbed for version 1 and try to do the full score. I guess I'll figure out the trouble spots when I run into them. :wink:

Thanks for the quick responses.

BTW, I've always much preferred the F natural over the F# in the 5th note of the melody. Maybe that's just the way I first heard it, but it also sounds like a better fit for a sad-sounding/minor song to me.

(I'm also going to take a look at your version of We Three Kings. I've been trying to work out my own arrangement in Dm mostly in the 5-8 fret range, but at first glance I think your version might work better).

Re: Greensleeves (What Child Is This)

Posted: November 22nd, 2008, 5:12 pm
by tinsmith
Play in the key of Am........mucho easier

I play it, when I play it, in two keys.
I start in Am then jump to Dm.

My effort in Dm is much more difficult. I use some big stretches.

Re: Greensleeves (What Child Is This)

Posted: February 19th, 2010, 9:09 pm
by beckyeileen
I've been putting in some serious effort at learning the guitar for the past 6 months. I love David's arrangement of Greensleeves. Perhaps, too well, because I'm suffering from some carpal tunnel syndrome type symptoms (numb thumb on my fretting hand). Using the capo on the 7th fret added more twist and stress to the wrist. So I'm taking a few days off from practising and probably should not be typing either so will keep this short. David, if you happen to read this, I am really enjoying your lessons. Wonder if you might want to do a lesson on Killing Me Softy (Roberta Flack) ?

Re: Greensleeves (What Child Is This)

Posted: February 20th, 2010, 6:58 am
by dhodge
Hi and welcome to Guitar Noise!

Thank you for your kind words concerning my arrangement of Greensleeves. I do have a worry, though - if you are experiencing pain in the fretting wrist playing this, even with a capo on the seventh fret, then you should take a serious look at your posture and positioning while playing. If you're using a barre chord for the measure with the F chord, your thumb shouldn't really come into play at all. You may be gripping your guitar way too tightly. Try to hold the guitar in a classical position (guitar resting on the left leg if you play right handed and the leg slightly elevated) to ensure your fretting hand is at least chest high and that your wrist is relatively straight while playing.

Killing Me Softly is a song that I do work on with my group classes at the Berkshire Community College, so I'll put it on the (ever-growing) list for Guitar Noise lessons as well. Thank you for the suggestion.


Re: Greensleeves (What Child Is This)

Posted: February 20th, 2010, 12:00 pm
by beckyeileen
Hi David,

Pleasantly surprised to see your immediate response to my difficulty with the thumb. It had crossed my mind to use the classical guitar positioning and I think it will work well with my Yamaha APX500's thinner body. I will begin using this position, at least for fingerpicking songs, and I will pay close attention to keeping the wrist as straight as possible and try to loosen my grip.

Thanks for your help!

Re: Greensleeves (What Child Is This)

Posted: February 20th, 2010, 3:52 pm
by dhodge
My "immediate response" is more often than not just the luck of the draw. As a moderator for the Guitar Noise Forums, I try to make it a point to visit a certain number of times each day, depending on how my work is going. Sometimes the work here at the Forums turns into much more time planned and I don't get a chance to reply and sometimes there's no work here and I can.

Either way, though, I'm glad to be of help. And I'm also glad to hear that you'll be atending to that wrist / thumb / position situation. We'd like you to be playing guitar the rest of your life, so taking care of the little things can usually be of big importance down the road. Don't hesistate to ask for help here. The Guitar Noise community is wonderful at assisting others.