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Notes on the Chords in “Dynamic Guitar Technique”

David Raleigh Arnold

Revisions in Part I, “Chord Exercises”

These tweaks bring a bit more variety and balance to the exercises, to avoid acquiring specific fingering habits.

  1. Please change the fingering at 3.1, measure 3, chord 3 from 123 to 324. Some guitar necks are not wide enough for 123, and 324 deserves practice. If the instance in 2.2 is utterly impossible please change that also, but otherwise leave it as it is, even if it be very difficult.
  2. Please change the fingering at 5.1, measure 2, chord 1 from 342 to 432, and eliminate measure 3 completely.
  3. Please change the fingering at 5.2, measure 2, chord 1 from 423 to 432, and eliminate measure 3 completely.


Practice the arpeggios and scales legato, always, but the chords should be practiced staccato. Staccato means that you play an eighth note chord and an eighth rest in place of each quarter note chord. Quiet the strings with the right hand digits which played them. Precision in quieting the strings is more important when ending chords than it is when quieting single notes.

It makes a great deal more sense to do more DGT rather than to practice intervals as technique. Intervals are too easy, have too many slides, and have too little variety to make good technical exercises. There are many superb etudes in intervals in the repertoire, some of which are neglected, and it is a much better idea to practice them.

On the other hand, 7th chords are not effective as practice either. They develop strength in the left hand but also inflexibility. I developed the chord exercises as a result of experience with the major seventh chord exercise which Segovia showed me. I found triad practice to be a million times better, with all of the advantages and none of the disadvantages of the major sevenths, so I recommend that the major seventh chord exercises not be done.

DGT is oriented toward developing right-left coordination, so it can not be expected to help much with barring and slurring. Once having acquired such abilities, they should not require the regular maintenance apart from repertoire that scales, extended arpeggios, and, to a lesser extent, triads in inversions do.

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