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.
We can always memorize new chords. That’s not hard. But what if we learned the structure and the music theory behind those chords first? What if we put the time into gaining a complete, academic understanding of what we’re playing? People shy away from music theory because it’s hard. And I’m not going to tell you otherwise.
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.