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“I Believe” Arrangement
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from Stephen Bennett’s Fingerstyle Finesse
We can all recall experiences when we’ve been absolutely mesmerized by a particular artist’s solo guitar performance. Those moments live with us forever and for many of us, that’s why we play. And as players we all strive to achieve that same magical quality in our own performances. Stephen Bennett’s Fingerstyle Finesse
TrueFire course focuses on the technique, performance and composition skills you’ll need to make it happen.
This month, we’ll begin dissecting Bennett’s “I Believe.” We will emphasize and demonstrate key concepts such as the importance of melody in all aspects of your playing, composition, integrating harmonics, leveraging the backbeat, working with a capo, composing original material along with a variety of other techniques and concepts that will “finesse” your playing and compositional skills.
Musically, it can’t be stressed enough: melody. Make sure that the melody sings out, make sure when you play this for your grandmother, or your buddy next door, that they walk away humming a little piece of this tune. It should be easy, if you do it right, they’ll do that. Also, make sure you keep good time. There are a lot of percussive kinds of things in here, very subtle, that will give the illusion of a full band.
Here’s the intro section for “I Believe.” Let’s talk about the left hand first of all.
The thumb is going to go down on the 6 string for all of those chords, which may feel a bit strange at first, but it’s an effective way to cover the bass line as we move.
Along with the thumb, you’ll place your first finger at the 8th fret, covering the first two strings. You’ll want to start with a hammer-on with the 2nd string – you’ll also want to make sure it’s a nice, clean hammer-on so that the first string continues to vibrate. You’ll work your way down the fretboard, and eventually fill out the F chord, first in the 4th bar. Go up and do it again, and the intro ends on a G6.
With your right hand, you’ll want to try and pinch the strings, so there’s a bit of percussiveness also. Practice your right hand technique slowly, as that is what will bring a rhythm to the intro.
This section opens up with a lot of F to C movements. What you want to do is think the words “I believe” right in there, every time – it becomes very lyrical. And although you’re really just moving between the two chords, some of the time we will use a C with an E in the bass. This doesn’t require any refingering, it just means you’ve got to go to your 6th string, which is an E.
This verse can get moving rather quickly – you’ll have to practice building up speed and using that thumb. You’ll start hitting harmonics on the 12th fret of the 5th string and 4th string, and then move all the way back down and grab an F# with your thumb, which will make a complete and beautiful Dmaj chord. It then quickly moves into a partial Am chord – that’s a tricky part, and it’s easy to miss, so practice it well. If you move up and hit the wrong harmonics at the 12th fret, you’ll have some nice ringing notes, but you won’t have the Dmaj.
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