The ToneWay® Project: helping people play music

guitar video

does toneway have a video just for learning to pick? I've watched your learning video and I need more instruction. (I confuse easily).


Hi Joellen, Do you mean the technique for picking or for picking the melody of a particular song? Or what are needing in particular? We have the basics if you've seen what we have on free on line videos. Much is just playing around and exploring. There are videos other folks have made online about technique.

We will be making videos for picking the uke in open tuning. They will be ready before long. We're focusing on the ukulele these days as far as efforts. But anything learned on them can be applied to the guitar.


I have an extended guitar instruction video in the planning stages, but it may be a year before it's ready. (Just being realistic here.) Maybe less. That said, were you able to use the free online videos to do some basic picking with the songs we start out with? If not, let me know where you get confused or stuck and maybe I can help.


Thanks for your interest. I'm not exactly sure what it is that I'm not comprehending. One of the things I'm having trouble with is I don't understand what string to pick to get the note you want, and where do you put your fingers on the other hand to get the note you,re looking for? See how confused I am?


Perhaps you're overthinking things. It sounds like you haven't gotten through the first lesson yet (and successfully picked Shady Grove), so let me try to get you started (admittedly, an awkward task with only the written word).

The ToneWay Notation (numbers above the words in the song) tell you which tone to find on the Picking Pattern (map of the fingerboard with numbers on it). The first tone is 3, so we look at the map. There is a 3 on the Picking Pattern on the screen which is on the G string (third-from-the-thinnest string), and counting frets we can see that it is just above (or “behind”, as we say on the instrument) the fourth fret. Thus, you would put your finger (I suggest your ring finger) just behind the fourth fret of the G string. Imagine that the number is literally overlaid on your instrument… heck, you might want to stick some numbered stickers under your strings where the tones are to get yourself started! Then, you would pick the string you're holding down. Voila, first tone in the song!

The next tone is 1, which is at the top of the diagram, above what we call the “nut”. This means that we play the string (it's that same G string) “open”, or without using our fingers. Lift your finger off the G string and pick the string again.

This should be enough to get you started. There are a couple more 1 tones, where you'd just pick the string again, and then a 6 and 5 tone. The process is the same… find the number on the Picking Pattern (your map), put your finger there (if applicable), and pick it!

It's just “Picking By Numbers”… the numbers are just telling you where to put your fingers and which string to play. (They have a richer meaning than that, which we discuss in Lesson Two, but we don't need to get into that to start picking.)

Give it a try! Did that help?


Hi Joellen, Your question here is revealing

…what string to pick to get the note you want, and where do you put your fingers on the other hand to get the note you,re looking for?

When you look at the diagram Luke discussed above, think of it as a map. So, this is like you are reading a map.

The strings ( G, D, B, etc.) are like streets, and the frets ( 1st, 2nd, 3rd, etc.) are like houses.

The tone numbers ( 1, 6, 5, etc.) are like house numbers.

You press the fret which has the 'house number' you wish to visit.

With your other hand, you pluck the string. This is like ringing the door bell at that house number.

Let me know if this either confuses you more or helps. Luke or I can then go from there.

Edited Oct 30, 2013 by Carl Abbott
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