Taking techniques from different instruments and applying them to the guitar can open up a whole new approach to the instrument and add freshness to your playing and ideas. In this lesson, we will look at approaching the guitar in the style of a sitar and Indian mandolin. A sitar has many strings (up to 20, to be exact). Ironically, out of all of these strings, most of the time only one of them is used to do the actual playing.
Originally written for violin, there are many different versions you will find for guitar. There is no, single, master version for guitar, since it wasn't written for the instrument. Learning a few different versions would be a good idea. The different approaches will present varying techniques and interpretations.
The focus of this lesson will be on ornamentation in Celtic music. Most ornamentations are notated as grace notes. A grace note is performed by playing the note(s) as fast as you can, ending on the target melody note. Grace notes are notated as smaller notes preceding the target note.
There are 11 strings on the oud: five courses, or sets, of doubled strings and a single low string, usually a C. It is still widely popular in many places in the world. Learning basic techniques from this instrument can add a cool sound to your playing and maybe help to inspire new and fresh ideas.
When you first learn the three-note-per-string and/or single position seven-note scale, you learn the patterns starting on the low E string and work your way up to the high E and back. You do this for each of the seven patterns up the neck, practicing and perfecting your scales. This is great! The only problem is, this is how you are training your hands and brain to approach them.
The fourth finger is often neglected when it comes to playing guitar. Well, rock/blues guitar, at least. I notice players opt to do wide stretches between their second and third fingers rather than using the fourth. As a result, the fourth finger is very underused and gets weak. This generally begins when someone first starts playing guitar.
It is very difficult to rely on CD and/or MP3 sales for any kind of income. Taking the same songs from your CD — and now making them available to a host of different production music libraries — can give new life to the songs and make the chances greater of making money with your music.
It's a great scale to learn for a few reasons. One, it can add a cool, exotic sound to your playing that can be a nice addition to a solo. Two, the pattern itself makes for a good picking workout because it’s two notes on one string and three on the other string. This breaks up the typical three-note-per-string or even two-note-per-string patterns we are used to.
Today we'll check out the Byzantine/Hijazkiar/double harmonic major scale. Phew! The scale of many names! Actually, most scales are referred to by several names. It depends on the country, tradition or style of music. For example, there's the Ionian or major scale, Lydian dominant or 4th mode of melodic minor, etc. The Byzantine scale, et al, has a very exotic sound, due to the flat 2nd degree, raised 3rd and raised 7th.
Today, we will continue to work with a scale we covered in my June 2013 column. We will explore that same scale, the Phrygian dominant, in a two-note-per-string sequence. We'll also add a sitar-style bending phrase. The notes of the scale are as follows: E – F - G# - A – B – C – D – E