It’s that time of year. Trimming the tree, sipping on egg nog, and of course, strumming a few tunes with family and friends. Many of the songs we love to sing and play this time of year of simply arranged. And you can dig right in and play ‘em to your heart’s content. Here are some of our faves that are easy to play at the drop of a hat (a Santa hat that is!).
This week, I go over an all-downstroke 16th note strumming pattern. By adding a measure of 2/4 at the end, I create a little hiccup or stutter. That, in conjunction with adding a fair amount of rests, gives the pattern a punctuated feel. This is a simple way to break up your strumming and explore a simple time signature change without getting overly complicated.
In the video below, Mark Knopfler shares some insight into his flatpicking and fingerstyle techniques. Knopfler takes the time to go through his motions step by step and make suggestions for players who might want to follow in his footsteps (or finger-plucks?).
In today’s episode, I go over how to swing eighth notes. Swung (as opposed to straight) eighth note pairs contain one long and one short eighth note. This literally translates to the first and third hits of an eighth note triplet figure. The strumming pattern I play in the examples can be applied to different types of music and can create different distinct feels depending on how you approach it.
In this final installation of Get Better Faster, we apply everything we've learned about the mechanics of the instrument to that most challenging of hurdles for new guitarists –– bar chords. Learning to play bar chords comfortably is a daunting but necessary part of every player's development; the key to mastering them successfully has a bit to do with understanding how to hold your hands, but even more to do with patience. This one just takes time! But, you can make that time easier if you begin to understand the way bar chords actually work.
Most of you are probably familiar with the two-beat “boom-chick” style of rhythm playing so prevalent in classic country music. You may be surprised to learn that the groove that drives, say, Hank Williams’s “Your Cheatin’ Heart” is not that far removed from the one that drives a funk song like the James Brown instrumental “Night Train.”
One simple technique that is often used to spice up many chords – and in the process make a lot of garden-variety chord progressions sound more interesting – is the manner-on. To play a hammer-on, pick a string and then, while the note is still ringing, sound a higher note on that same string by firmly tapping, or “hammering,” it onto the fretboard with one of your fretting fingers without picking it again.