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How To Make Up A Basic Melody

What's a Melody?
A melody is a sequence of single notes played one after another.

An Easy Way to Make Up a Melody on Guitar
Start by playing a chord progression, but instead of strumming all of the strings at once, play notes in each chord one at a time. This is called playing chord tones.

Play Single Notes to Make Up a Melody
You can follow a picking order to play a melody.

  • A picking order tells what order to pick the strings in.

  • The three diagrams below show you a way to depict a picking order.

Three examples of different finger picking orders

  • You just finger a chord and play some of the strings one at a time. You don’t need to play all of the strings.

  • Use a pick or the fingers of your right hand (if you’re right handed) and play each string in the order specified.

  • If you’re using a guitar pick, you can pick the strings using all downstrokes, all upstrokes, alternating strokes or anyway that feels comfortable.

  • You only pick the strings that are numbered in the picking order.

Match Your Picking to the Beat Count
The strumming strokes in the diagram below are now picking strokes. Pick each string as you tap your foot along with the beat count, “1, 2, 3, 4.”

Pick one string per beat count

  • There are six strings to choose from in this chord, but you only play four of them since there are only four beats per measure in this example.

Play a Melody
Pick single notes throughout your entire chord progression to play a melody. Play the melodies below by following the picking order for each chord.

Example - Play a Melody on Guitar

Example 2 - Play another melody on guitar

Now make up your own melody!

Make Up an Advanced Melody
You can make up advanced melodies by using the super simple solo pattern as well as these chords. Click here to learn how on the make up riffs page.

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