Harmonic minor is always a very cool choice and a favorite of mine. It’s great to use when you’re improvising or coming up with song ideas and lead parts. So many impressive players have made great use of it in their songs — guys like Uli Jon Roth, Yngwie Malmsteen, Ritchie Blackmore, Steve Vai and many others. Mozart was also a big fan.
Ask any mainstream rock historian what the meanest sounding guitar of the 1950s is and they’ll most likely answer with names like Link Wray, Chuck Berry or Johnny “Guitar” Watson. Unfortunately, very few of them ever heard the name Willie Joe and his Unitar, much less the handful of obscure singles this madman cut during the Eisenhower Era. Willie Joe laid down the meanest guitar tone of the Fifties. It’s time for the world to know.
This example demonstrates how to play the B minor pentatonic scale on the E and A strings using two notes on the E string and three notes on the A string. I typically play this using hammer-ons and pull-offs, but it is good to work up to speed with alternate picking as well. The rest of the lesson is based on this pattern, so be sure to get comfortable with this fingering before moving on.
The powerful and bluesy "I've Got A Feeling," which John Lennon jokingly called "I've Got A Fever," is a true Lennon/McCartney composition. It blends — via alternation and superimposition — two incomplete songs, one by Paul McCartney, one by Lennon.
What you will be watching is a screen shot of the session files for a song called "Getting Out of My Own Way." You'll see each individual track played or programmed in creating a successful production. The song was recorded in 2012. The singer/songwriter is Jennifer Vazquez, a very talented vocalist and writer from Da Bronx, NY.
First, the purpose of this column is to help you do more with your power chord progressions. If you think it’s over-simplified or over-complicated, then please consider the possibility that it’s simply mismatched with your skill level, before you comment. We also must consider the context of the information. Power chords are fairly simple.
These lessons are aimed at breaking through barriers that may be preventing you from improving. Some of these lessons will simply give you some good food for thought, and some will be more hands-on. Written to help you get past that plateau, these lessons are here to help you mix things up and keep your relationship with the guitar an interesting one.
Playing the part is only half of the equation. The other half is deciding on the type of guitar, choosing the strings, selecting the hand technique (fingerstyle or using a pick or "plectrum," as they like to call it here in the U.K. — maybe because it sounds more complicated that way) ... and, if fingerstyle, which finger, and which part of the finger? The flesh, the nail, a bit of both?
The cascading waterfall of sound that is Eric Johnson's lead playing has captivated players and listeners for 30 years. In Johnson's ethereal soundscape, all the edges are smoothed away. Even the distinction between scales and arpeggios seems to blur. His patterns tumble imperceptibly through positions. And his limitless supply of sparsely voiced diatonic chord substitutions only enhances the vertigo.
One of the most common questions I get from my students and readers is, “I know what jazz chords to study, but how to I practice them in a practical, musical way?” To help answer this question, I’ve put together an exercise that uses all the inversions of any chords you are learning, while playing them in a common chord progression at the same time.