The Stretch System
by Tom Michero



Does the fretboard seem overwhelming and you can't find note quickly enough?

This is the problem for anyone learning the guitar so don't feel bad. I too have struggled with the same issue. I tried to learn from teachers and books but always ended up frustrated and clueless about the guitar fretboard.

One Fingering Pattern for Everyting

What I needed was an approach that was consistantly applied throughout the fretboard. I wanted one fingering pattern that I could use on every scale, in every key. I took a hard look at the fretboard to find a way to accomplish what I wanted. Eventually, I came up with a simple, consistant pattern that was easy to learn and could be applied to everything I play.br>
The key to my discovery was that my adult hand size allowed me to take advantage of the fretboard's inherent natural musical pattern. Adults have larger hands than children, so why not take advantage of that to understand and play the guitar. The Stretch System is not for kids. It is geared toward the physical and mental characteristics that are unique to the adult learner.

For Big Hands and big Minds

This book shows how a single fingering pattern, unavailable to people with small hands, can be used to master the fretboard. The book explains it all in logical terms an adult can understand.

The Problem

Most people are very young when they start learning the guitar. Because of this, most guitar instruction you find is geared toward toward people with smallish hands and limited ability to grasp abstract concepts. This results in traditional guitar instruction being long on complexity and short on explanation.

The guitar fretboard is based on natural musical patterns, however a child's hand is not. It is not able to take advantage of the natural layout of the fretboard and instead shortcuts have been developed to make playing scales easier for children. The result is a hodgepodge of patterns that don't seem to relate. This shortcut approach has the added disadvantage of preventing the student from seeing and experiencing many important musical principles.

Many people, of any age, who are new to the guitar become overwhelmed by the number of fingering patterns that need to be learned in order to play scales, and chord arpeggios well. A child may have plenty of time to spend memorizing these patterns, but most adults don't. Unfortunately, most people quit trying to learn because they don't have time to learn the guitar this way.

What is needed and available to adults is an approach that relies on the fretboard's natural musical pattern. From this a fingering pattern arises that, when combined with musical knowledge, can be used to play anything anywhere on the fretboard. This is Stretch System.

The Solution

The Stretch System takes the complexity out of the equation and lets you focus on the music. It gets its inspiration from the piano keyboard which is laid out in a simple fashion that reflects how music works. The consistency and logic of the keyboard can be applied to the guitar. However, it requires the hand to stretch across five frets to achieve it. A child's hand can't do this but an adult's hand can. In the event that your hand is large but not flexible, there exercises you can do to develop the desired reach.

When you can use the same pattern to play every scale, mode or arpeggio, your mind is free to explore the musical universe. Your playing is no longer determined by how many different fingerings you can remember.

Benefits of the Stretch System

The main benefit of the Stretch System is that you will see improvement in your guitar playing. Improvement keeps you motivated and motivation gets you where you want to be. Other features and benefits include:

  • Its simplicity makes it easy to learn.
  • It is based on musical principles, not made up rules.
  • It integrates musical concepts with the fretboard.
  • It improves lead playing and soloing.
  • It gives you control of the fretboard.
  • You can see chord patterns easier..
  • You can transposing is easier..
  • You can play longer melodic lines..
  • Improves your ability to play by ear..
  • It does NOT rely on rote memorization..
  • In a Nutshell

    An adult has an advantage over a younger person when it comes to learning to play the guitar. However, the traditional systems of instruction do not take advantage of an adult's larger hand and ability to understand concepts. The Stretch System recognizes this and uses these characteristics to teach a simpler, more natural approach to mastering the fretboard.
    The Strecth System


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    This 78-page book, "The Stretch System to Playing Scales & Arpeggios." takes advantage of an adult's larger hand size and greater ability to understand abstract concepts to reveal the natural, logical pattern of the fretboard.

    "With one simple pattern and you can play nearly everything."

    This pattern is the foundation of the Stretch System. It, along with its variations, is used to play any scale, mode, or arpeggio anywhere on the fretboard.

    See what's inside!

    Click on the sample page below to view a larger version.

    table of contentsContents
    Scale FormulasScale Formulas
    Basic PatternThe Basis Pattern
    Chromatic FingeringChromatic Fingering
    One-Octave ArpeggiosOne-Octave Arpeggios
    Major ScaleMajor Scale
    Major Chord ArpeggiosMajor Chord Arpeggios
    Two-Octave ArpeggiosTwo-Octave Arpeggios

    How the Stretch System Came to Be.

    This system came out of my own struggles to learn to play the guitar.

    I Have No Natural Ability

    I have no natural ability when it comes to playing guitar but I do love the instrument. I have devoted much of my adult life to learning and have often been disappointed with how slow I am to learn chords and songs and how fast I am to forget them. I always thought the fretboard was an illogical monster whose goal it was to thwart my musical progress.

    Ah, but the piano! So simple in its layout. So sensible an instrument. One key one note. Why couldn't the guitar be more like the piano.

    Shortcuts that Shortchange

    It was that desire that lead me to search for a system that simplified the fretboard. I found the answer when I realized that all the approaches I had been taught were shortcuts that made it the guitar "easier" for my hand to play but more difficult for my mind to understand.

    Finally, I took a hard look at the fretboard and realized that there was a single fingering pattern that could be used anywhere on the guitar. Why I had never been shown this?! I mentioned it to a friend who teaches guitar and he told me that he teaches mostly kids under 14 years of age and they just can't play that pattern with their small hands.

    It's Making a Difference

    So, I created the Stretch System and wrote this book to teach myself to play better. And, it's working! All the benefits I have described on this web page I am experiencing. The guitar is now nearly as sensible as piano. I am happy to say that the Stretch System has given me the improvement I have been looking for.



    Tom Michero
    I struggled to learn the guitar and felt like I was stupid. As it turns out, I am stupid but the Stretch System works for me anyway. -Tom Michero