Intermediate Acoustic Guitar Course Week 7

Chromatic Exercises + Blowin’ In The Wind!

Today we learn a couple of new chromatic exercises. These have 8th and 16th note rhythms and are great if you want to build accuracy and speed.

We also start working on the mighty Bob Dylan’s first hit ‘Blowin’ In The Wind’.

Bob Dylan invented modern song writing and this was his first and possibly biggest hit ever!

Week 7 – Step 1 – 15-30 min

The first new chromatic exercise we work on is Spyder 11.

The rhythm is one 8th note and two 16ths. This is a very common rhythm so you need to get to know it really well.

When learning a new rhythm it’s always good to use syllables and have a reference tune, I like to use Iron Maiden (pretty much any song by them!) when I describe this rhythm.

If a 16th note rhythm is pronounced Ta – va – Te – ve every beat then this rhythm would be pronounced: Ta _ Te – ve.

Here’s Iron Maiden with ‘Powerslave’, sing along with the galloping rhythm guitar saying: Ta _ Te – ve, Ta _ Te – ve!

In TAB and applied to the Chromatic Exercise you get this:
Chromatic Exercise 11
At the end of the four bars you are at fret 2, you can now decide if you want to go back down to fret 1 and loop the pattern, or move up to fret 3 and start climbing the fretboard.

Climbing the neck is what I do in the video, when you get the hang of it, have a play along. Here’s the video:

Spend no more than 15 minutes on this exercise, push the BPM as far as you can.

Chromatic Exercise 12

In Chromatic Exercise 12 we put the two 16ths first and follow this up with an 8th note.

Pronounce this (with Ta – va – Te – ve as a starting point) and you’d get: Ta – va – Te – _.

This is what it looks like in TAB:
Chromatic Exercise 12
Because the 16ths are followed by an 8th we get a more pushy pattern than in exercise 11.

When you play it, attempt to hit the first 16th right on the click. It’s easy to be early on it as this rhythm almost sounds as if it speeds up.

Here’s the video lesson where the exercise is played all over the neck:

Spend no more than 15 minutes with this exercise, aim to increase the BPM as much as possible.

The song I like to use as a reference for this rhythm is ‘Blowin In The Wind’ which is conveniently the next step!

Week 7 – Step 2 – 15-30 min

It’s time to learn the classic Bob Dylan track ‘Blowin’ In The Wind’.

There are a few details in this song which is what makes it and we will look at them in the next few days and weeks.

Let’s start off with placing the capo on fret 2 and play as if in the key of C. What you hear is actually in the key of D, should anyone ask to play along with you.

Here’s the basic strumming pattern for this song, just using a C chord:
Blowin In The Wind Basic Strumming Patterns C
As you can see we have two 8th notes every other beat followed by the same rhythm Chromatic Exercise 12 have.

Play this rhythm to a click, if you don’t have a metronome, use this: Metronome Online.

When you feel alright doing this, try it over an F chord as well, here’s the TAB:
Blowin In The Wind Basic Strumming Patterns F
As always I avoid the big F, it’s just too clunky sounding and hurts too much as well!

Next up, let’s try the G chord, here’s the TAB:
Blowin In The Wind Basic Strumming Patterns G
That’s it, this song only has three chords, C, F and G.

However, they change quickly and there’s a bunch of bass lines in there that tie them all together.

Using the TAB here and the video lesson, spend whatever time you have left in this step studying the Verse of ‘Blowin’ In The Wind’.
Blowin In The Wind Verse
As you can see there’s not much strumming going on over the F chord, the fourth beat is instead changed to a C chord again, using the third of the chord as the bass note.

The G chord is also played using the third in the bass, this time it’s the note B.

Moving from F to C/E is a semi tone downward movement. Going form G/B to C is a semi tone upward movement.

Using bass lines that tie chords together like this create more tension.

When we get to the G in the last bar (chord V) we almost get a sense of relief, which is odd since the V chord is usually what we use for tension! He is pretty clever Bob Dylan…

Here’s the video to play along with:


Today we started working on two Chromatic Exercises again. The first one had an 8th note + two 16ths as the rhythm, the second was the other way around.

Knowing the difference between rhythms like this is essential.

We then looked at the basic strumming pattern for ‘Blowin’ In The Wind’ and found how it’s the rhythm of two 16ths paired with an 8th note that gives the song it’s pushy feel.

Finally you got the TAB for the Verse.

In three days time we will continue our study of this remarkable master piece.

See you then!

Dan (your guitar guru)