Richard Rossicone http://www.guitarworld.com/taxonomy/term/2805/all en The Complete Guitarist: Finger Twisters — Fingerpicking Exercises http://www.guitarworld.com/complete-guitarist-finger-twisters-fingerpicking-exercises <!--paging_filter--><p>Hello again to all my faithful readers out there in guitar land! </p> <p>In this installment of my column, I'd like to expand upon the last two parts (See RELATED CONTENT to the left — below my photo) and write about a great fingerpicking finger twister I use as a warmup for classical guitar gigs.</p> <p>In previous columns, I've discussed right-hand fingerpicking patterns. This column will work on coordinating left- and right-hand patterns. </p> <p>In case you're new to fingerpicking, the right hand has letter names. The thumb is p, the index finger is i, the middle finger is m and the ring finger is a. </p> <p>But the difference in this exercise is we will associate the left-hand fingers with the right-hand letters. The first finger of the left hand will always be played with p. The second finger of the left hand will be played with the I. The third finger of the left hand will be played with the m, and the fourth finger of the left hand will be played with the a.</p> <p>Place the first finger in the left hand on the first fret of the sixth string, the second finger of the left hand on the second fret of the fifth string, the third finger of the left hand on the third fret of the fourth string and the fourth fret of the third string. </p> <p>Your left hand will spell out the notes F, B, F and B respectively. Now play the right-hand pima pattern. Now move the left-hand chord over one string and place your first finger on your left hand on the first fret of the fifth string, the second finger of the left hand on the second fret of the fourth string, the third finger of the left hand on the third fret of the third string and the fourth finger of the left hand on the fourth fret of the second string. </p> <p>Your left hand will now spell out the notes A#, E, A# and D# respectively. Play the right-hand pima pattern again. Now move your left hand over one more string and place your first finger of your left hand on the first fret of the fourth string, your second finger of your left hand on the second fret of the third string, your third finger of your left hand on the third fret of the second string and your fourth finger on the fourth fret on the first string. Your left hand will now spell out the notes D#, A, D and G# respectively. Play the right-hand pima pattern once again.</p> <p>The left-hand finger placements will be the same through this entire exercise. <strong>Exercise 1</strong> is the pima pattern. <strong>Exercise 2</strong> is the pami pattern and <strong>Exercise 3</strong> is the pmia pattern. The most challenging part of this finger twister is keeping the coordination between the right and left hands accurate. To make it even more of a challenge, don't place the left hand down as a chord. Play the notes individually with the right-hand patterns.</p> <p><strong>Exercise 1</strong></p> <p><img src="/files/imce-images/example%201.png" width="620" height="192" alt="example 1.png" /></p> <p><strong>Exercise 2</strong></p> <p><img src="/files/imce-images/example%202.png" width="620" height="195" alt="example 2.png" /></p> <p><strong>Exercise 3</strong></p> <p><img src="/files/imce-images/example%203.png" width="620" height="199" alt="example 3.png" /></p> <p>Now get out there and pick up that guitar and play just like yesterday. Let's get to it. As always, I thank you for checking out my column. Any comments or observations are always welcome.</p> <p><em>Guitarist Richard Rossicone is a veteran of the New York City and Long Island original and cover band scene. He's been playing since he was 8, when he attended his first concert (Kiss) and saw Pete Townshend smash a guitar. He has studied with various instructors over the years, which led him to a career in music therapy. He began his educational journey at Queensboro Community College, where the faculty introducing him to classical music. He received his associate's degree in fine arts in 1997 and went on to receive his bachelor's in music therapy in 2001 and his master's in music therapy from New York University in 2004. He's been Board Certified as a music therapist since 2002. Richard continued his studies at C.W. Post University, pursuing a second master's degree in classical guitar performance and music history, studying under Harris Becker. He's been teaching guitar, piano and theory since 2002 and in 2006 started his own company, Rossicone Music Studios. Visit him at <a href="http://www.axgrinder.com/">Axgrinder.com</a></em> and his <a href="http://m.facebook.com/RichyRossiconesCompleteGuitaristPage?id=458622354196716&amp;_rdr">Complete Guitarist Facebook page.</a> <a href="http://www.amazon.com/The-Complete-Guitarist-Handbook-ebook/dp/B00DR6IDP8/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&amp;qid=1379709490&amp;sr=8-1&amp;keywords=richard+rossicone">Check out Richard's new book, 'The Complete Guitarist Handbook: Vol. 1,' which is available at Amazon.com.</a></p> http://www.guitarworld.com/complete-guitarist-finger-twisters-fingerpicking-exercises#comments Richard Rossicone The Complete Guitarist Blogs Lessons Mon, 03 Feb 2014 16:25:51 +0000 Richard Rossicone http://www.guitarworld.com/article/20396 The Complete Guitarist: Finger Twisters — Re-Thinking Solos Over the I IV V Progression http://www.guitarworld.com/complete-guitarist-finger-twisters-re-thinking-solos-over-i-iv-v-progression <!--paging_filter--><p>Hey there, faithful readers! In this second installment of Finger Twisters (<a href="http://www.guitarworld.com/complete-guitarist-finger-twisters-combining-major-and-minor-scales-and-arpeggios">Click here for Part 1</a>), I'd like to examine, or shall I say re-examine. soloing over the I IV V progression. </p> <p>I know what you're thinking: Not another column about blues licks! Rest assured, that is not the case.</p> <p>This exercise, or finger twister, is a moveable arpeggio pattern, but it will be in G major for our purposes today. The first measure is an ascending I chord/arpeggio of the major scale, which extended out (1 3 5 7), is a major 7th chord/arpeggio, which is a G major 7th chord/arpeggio (G,B D,F#). </p> <p>The second measure is a descending IV chord arpeggio, which is also a major 7th chord and is a C major 7th chord/arpeggio (C,E,G,B). The third measure is an ascending V7 chord/arpeggio, which spells out a D7 chord/arpeggio (D,F#,A,C). Lastly, to end up back where we started, we have the descending I chord/arpeggio again, which is the G major chord/arpeggio (G,B,D,F#).</p> <p>As I stated above, these are moveable patterns, so you can play them all over the fretboard. Try them in A, C and Bb major, for example. </p> <p>Be creative with it. It does stand alone as a string-skipping, alternate-picking, "get from one end of the fretboard to the other" exercise, but if you incorporate some of the ideas melodically into your lead playing the next time you're jamming a I IV V with fellow musicians or bandmates, you will come up with something new and fresh on your way to discovering your own voice on the instrument. That, at the end of the day, is what my column is about. </p> <p>I left suggested left-hand fingerings out for this reason; I want you to find out what works best for you. As always, practice this with a metronome slowly and eventually build up to a faster tempo.</p> <p>I want to thank you for checking out my column over the past year! I wish you a happy and healthy holiday season. Now pick up that guitar and play, just like yesterday!</p> <p><img src="/files/imce-images/1%204%205%20Arpeggio%20Connection.jpg" width="620" height="477" alt="1 4 5 Arpeggio Connection.jpg" /></p> <p><em>Guitarist Richard Rossicone is a veteran of the New York City and Long Island original and cover band scene. He's been playing since he was 8, when he attended his first concert (Kiss) and saw Pete Townshend smash a guitar. He has studied with various instructors over the years, which led him to a career in music therapy. He began his educational journey at Queensboro Community College, where the faculty introducing him to classical music. He received his associate's degree in fine arts in 1997 and went on to receive his bachelor's in music therapy in 2001 and his master's in music therapy from New York University in 2004. He's been Board Certified as a music therapist since 2002. Richard continued his studies at C.W. Post University, pursuing a second master's degree in classical guitar performance and music history, studying under Harris Becker. He's been teaching guitar, piano and theory since 2002 and in 2006 started his own company, Rossicone Music Studios. Visit him at <a href="http://www.axgrinder.com/">Axgrinder.com</a></em> and his <a href="http://m.facebook.com/RichyRossiconesCompleteGuitaristPage?id=458622354196716&amp;_rdr">Complete Guitarist Facebook page.</a> <a href="http://www.amazon.com/The-Complete-Guitarist-Handbook-ebook/dp/B00DR6IDP8/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&amp;qid=1379709490&amp;sr=8-1&amp;keywords=richard+rossicone">Check out Richard's new book, 'The Complete Guitarist Handbook: Vol. 1,' which is available at Amazon.com.</a></p> http://www.guitarworld.com/complete-guitarist-finger-twisters-re-thinking-solos-over-i-iv-v-progression#comments Richard Rossicone The Complete Guitarist Blogs Lessons Fri, 06 Dec 2013 15:07:18 +0000 Richard Rossicone http://www.guitarworld.com/article/19947 The Complete Guitarist: Finger Twisters — Combining Major and Minor Scales and Arpeggios http://www.guitarworld.com/complete-guitarist-finger-twisters-combining-major-and-minor-scales-and-arpeggios <!--paging_filter--><p>Greetings, fellow GuitarWorld.com family! In the next few installments, I'd like to challenge your mind and fingers with my new subject matter: finger twisters.</p> <p>I'm always looking for new and challenging ways to make my practicing and playing more fun and creative — and in the process, dig down deep to discover something new about the guitar and myself. </p> <p>In this lesson, I will discuss and demonstrate my first finger twister, a combination of a major and minor scale and arpeggios across the fretboard.</p> <p>In the first example, we have an ascending major scale. Remember these scales are moveable; but for this particular example, we will use G major. Nothing special and ordinary, right? But once we get to the top note on the high E string, we descend as a major arpeggio. </p> <p>It's a very challenging exercise for your mind and fingers for a few reasons. Firstly, we will be using strict alternate picking of every note going up the scale, then skipping notes on the way down the arpeggio playing only the first, third, fifth and seventh notes respectively. </p> <p>Secondly, there will be a rhythm change on the way down, too, in which we will be pulling off the first two notes of the descending arpeggio. You will have to be able to switch mental and physical gears quickly. As with all the exercises I write about and play, I suggest playing with a metronome starting at about 100 bpm and gradually accelerating the tempo as you get more comfortable.</p> <p><img src="/files/imce-images/major%20scale%20arpeggio%20finger%20twister.jpg" width="620" height="452" alt="major scale arpeggio finger twister.jpg" /></p> <p>In the second example, we will do the same with a G natural minor scale ascending across the neck with strict alternate picking also. Remember these scales are moveable! But then we will descend with a minor arpeggio. </p> <p>To make this even more rhythmically challenging, we will pull off the first two notes of the minor arpeggio on the way down. A quick warning: Switching from the ascending picking part to the descending pull off part will require you to barre the first two strings to make it sound clean and concise. This may put some strain on your fret-hand forearm, especially when playing at a quick tempo with a metronome. If you experience discomfort and pain, stop immediately and play the exercise at a slower tempo.</p> <p><img src="/files/imce-images/minor%20scale%20arpeggio%20finger%20twister.jpg" width="620" height="466" alt="minor scale arpeggio finger twister.jpg" /></p> <p>Now get out there and pick up that guitar and play, just like yesterday! As always I thank you for reading my column at GuitarWorld.com. Feedback and comments are always welcome.</p> <p>Enjoy!</p> <p><em>Guitarist Richard Rossicone is a veteran of the New York City and Long Island original and cover band scene. He's been playing since he was 8, when he attended his first concert (Kiss) and saw Pete Townshend smash a guitar. He has studied with various instructors over the years, which led him to a career in music therapy. He began his educational journey at Queensboro Community College, where the faculty introducing him to classical music. He received his associate's degree in fine arts in 1997 and went on to receive his bachelor's in music therapy in 2001 and his master's in music therapy from New York University in 2004. He's been Board Certified as a music therapist since 2002. Richard continued his studies at C.W. Post University, pursuing a second master's degree in classical guitar performance and music history, studying under Harris Becker. He's been teaching guitar, piano and theory since 2002 and in 2006 started his own company, Rossicone Music Studios. Visit him at <a href="http://www.axgrinder.com/">Axgrinder.com</a></em> and his <a href="http://m.facebook.com/RichyRossiconesCompleteGuitaristPage?id=458622354196716&amp;_rdr">Complete Guitarist Facebook page.</a> <a href="http://www.amazon.com/The-Complete-Guitarist-Handbook-ebook/dp/B00DR6IDP8/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&amp;qid=1379709490&amp;sr=8-1&amp;keywords=richard+rossicone">Check out Richard's new book, 'The Complete Guitarist Handbook: Vol. 1,' which is available at Amazon.com.</a></p> http://www.guitarworld.com/complete-guitarist-finger-twisters-combining-major-and-minor-scales-and-arpeggios#comments Richard Rossicone The Complete Guitarist Blogs Lessons Wed, 06 Nov 2013 18:03:46 +0000 Richard Rossicone http://www.guitarworld.com/article/19689 The Complete Guitarist: Solving the Mystery of "the Zone" http://www.guitarworld.com/complete-guitarist-solving-mystery-zone <!--paging_filter--><p>We've all seen it. Quarterbacks completing pass after pass. Basketball players making shot after shot. Goalies making save after save.</p> <p>We often say to ourselves, "They are on fire tonight" or "They are unconscious" or "They are in the zone." </p> <p>How many times have we seen our favorite musicians in that same place, just playing every single note and phrase effortlessly as if the notes just flowed from them like a river? </p> <p>All of a sudden it's not a guitar in their hands. It's an extension of their bodies. They've achieved what we refer to as "the zone." But how many times have we, as musicians, reached that place ourselves? This column will help to demystify this thing called "the zone" and offer insights as to how to train our minds and fingers to get there.</p> <p>First we must define "the zone." We can describe it, but it is very hard to define. To me, "the zone" is the place where there is no thinking of the past or the future, just that exact moment. Everything just flows. In relation to guitar playing, it's the place where your fingers become detached from your mind and brain and follow something higher, almost instinctual. </p> <p>Past phrases do not matter, and there is no thought as to what you will play next. This sounds simple but might be the most challenging accomplishment and place to get to and stay as a guitarist. Here are a few tips that help me get to that place.</p> <p><strong>MASTER YOUR INSTRUMENT AND YOUR CRAFT</strong>. </p> <p>As my readers and students know, mastery of what you are playing is of supreme importance to me. I cannot stress it enough. Total knowledge of the fretboard and the connections between the notes is the first step in the path to finding "the zone." You want to get to the point where you do not have to think about modes and patterns. You just want to play. This requires time, a whole lot of practice, effort and, dare I say, sacrifice. It will take you as long as it takes you. </p> <p>This is where the brain and finger connection occurs. This connection doesn't necessarily mean you must master every style of music and guitar known to man. For example, I've witnessed Stevie Ray Vaughan be in that zone numerous times. He may not have been a master of the fretboard, but he certainly was a master in his own genre. The same can be said after watching Steve Vai, Andres Segovia and Tommy Emmanuel. All different styles but all masters of their style. And all in "the zone."</p> <p><strong>FORGET IT ALL AND PLAY</strong> </p> <p>Yes, you heard me correctly. Learn everything, master it and forget it. Here's where the brain must detach from the fingers; it's where the instinct and connection to something bigger than you occurs. Unfortunately, most musicians forget to learn and master their instrument. They try and skip to this point without doing the hard work. I said it before and I'll say it again: Everyone wants to be the greatest guitarist in the world, but most don't want to practice like one. A surefire sign that you are on the path to "the zone" is when others say you make it look easy. </p> <p>Remember, there's always a lot of hard work that goes into making something look easy. Stevie Ray Vaughan used to say, "If I play from my mind, I'm in trouble." But be warned, Stevie was a master. When you are playing phrases without thinking about the scales and patterns you learned, you are heading in the right direction. You almost have to "unlearn" in a way. When I'm playing classical pieces, if I have to think about the next part, I have to go back to the drawing board and work harder to commit the music to my fingers. When I am playing a lead and I start to think about what mode I'm in, I need to go back and empty my cup, as it were, and work on connecting the notes on the fretboard. Being in "the zone" means not having to think about things like that.</p> <p><strong>STOP THE MENTAL CHATTER</strong> </p> <p>This is something we all struggle with. How many times are we in the middle of playing a great lead or piece of music and we say to ourselves things like, "Man I sound great" or "I hope I get the next part right"? At that moment, I will bet you dollars to donuts we make a mistake. Why? Because we got out of "the zone" and listened to our ego. The ego tells us how great we are and how bad we are. Neither has anything to do with the music we're making. Not only can mental chatter cause us to lose our focus, but it can be destructive. Negative thoughts of not being good or talented enough can be just as harmful as arrogant thoughts of thinking you're the greatest player in the room. The best way to silence the mental chatter is to master the music and be inside it. Again the key to "the zone" is having no thoughts other than the music.</p> <p><strong>VISUALIZE</strong></p> <p>Visualizing what I have to play, especially in the classical repertoire, has helped me enormously. Segovia used to practice his pieces "en mente," which means in the mind. If I can visualize myself playing a piece while I'm at the gym or doing laundry, I know I'm on my way to mastering it and on my way to "the zone." The same can be said for lead guitar. Visualize stepping outside of yourself and watching yourself play. Hear the band and how your playing weaves in and out with the sounds of fellow musicians at any given moment. Again, you will not be thinking about what you are playing but rather listening as an outsider to what is happening around you. Take it from me firsthand, it's a mind-blowing experience.</p> <p>I recommend a book called <em>Zen Guitar</em> by Toshio Sudo for further knowledge regarding this subject and all guitar-related subjects. Whenever I get into a rut, I reread this book and always find inspiration.</p> <p>So get out there, pick up your guitar and play, just like yesterday, kids. As always, I thank you for reading my columns. Comments and feedback are welcome and encouraged.</p> <p><em>Guitarist Richard Rossicone is a veteran of the New York City and Long Island original and cover band scene. He's been playing since he was 8, when he attended his first concert (Kiss) and saw Pete Townshend smash a guitar. He has studied with various instructors over the years, which led him to a career in music therapy. He began his educational journey at Queensboro Community College, where the faculty introducing him to classical music. He received his associate's degree in fine arts in 1997 and went on to receive his bachelor's in music therapy in 2001 and his master's in music therapy from New York University in 2004. He's been Board Certified as a music therapist since 2002. Richard continued his studies at C.W. Post University, pursuing a second master's degree in classical guitar performance and music history, studying under Harris Becker. He's been teaching guitar, piano and theory since 2002 and in 2006 started his own company, Rossicone Music Studios. Visit him at <a href="http://www.axgrinder.com/">Axgrinder.com</a></em> and his <a href="http://m.facebook.com/RichyRossiconesCompleteGuitaristPage?id=458622354196716&amp;_rdr">Complete Guitarist Facebook page.</a> <a href="http://www.amazon.com/The-Complete-Guitarist-Handbook-ebook/dp/B00DR6IDP8/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&amp;qid=1379709490&amp;sr=8-1&amp;keywords=richard+rossicone">Check out Richard's new book, 'The Complete Guitarist Handbook: Vol. 1,' which is available at Amazon.com.</a></p> http://www.guitarworld.com/complete-guitarist-solving-mystery-zone#comments Richard Rossicone The Complete Guitarist Blogs Mon, 23 Sep 2013 09:54:21 +0000 Richard Rossicone http://www.guitarworld.com/article/19297 The Complete Guitarist: Fingerpicking 101 and Beyond, Part 2 http://www.guitarworld.com/complete-guitarist-fingerpicking-101-and-beyond-part-2 <!--paging_filter--><p>Hey there, fellow guitarists! </p> <p>This week, I'd like to expand a bit upon <a href="http://www.guitarworld.com/complete-guitarist-fingerpicking-101-and-beyond">my last column</a>, in which I discussed some basic fingerpicking patterns. </p> <p>We are going to take those basic patterns and expand upon them — but not with more right-hand patterns. This time, we will change the left hand.</p> <p>In this exercise, we will keep the right-hand pattern/approach the same: The index, "i" finger, will be on the third string; the middle, "m" finger, will be on the second string; the ring, "a" finger, will be on the first string; the thumb, "p" finger, will bounce from the sixth, fifth, fourth and finally back to the fifth string. </p> <p>The only challenge is that the E major chord we were playing in the left hand will move up one fret at a time once the pattern is completed. For example, play the pima pattern until completed, then move the E major chord up one fret, then play the pattern again until completed, then move the chord up another fret and play that pattern once again. Do this with all six patterns; pima, pmia, pami, piam, pmai and paim. </p> <p>The challenge here is to disconnect your ear from what your right hand is playing. Since you will have open strings ringing everywhere, some of the harmonies will sound dissonant, and some of the notes will double themselves when playing these patterns. This will require extra focus on your part. </p> <p>Examples 1, 2 and 3 below are the music and tabs for the pima, pmia and the pami patterns, but I suggest you add the other patterns I mentioned also. You get the idea. And as always, practice with a metronome, starting at a slow tempo, maybe about 80 bpm. Never sacrifice speed for accuracy!</p> <p>In case you are inspired and want to continue with some fingerpicking studies, I highly recommend <em>The Aaron Shearer Classical Guitar Method</em> (books 1 and 2) and <em>Pumping Nylon</em> by Scott Tennant.</p> <p>Once again, thank you for reading. Now pick up that guitar and play, just like yesterday. Get to work. As always, comments are always welcome and appreciated.</p> <p><img src="/files/imce-images/fingerpicking%20example%201.jpg" width="620" height="654" alt="fingerpicking example 1.jpg" /></p> <p><img src="/files/imce-images/fingerpicking%20example%202.jpg" width="620" height="662" alt="fingerpicking example 2.jpg" /></p> <p><img src="/files/imce-images/fingerpicking%20example%203.jpg" width="620" height="657" alt="fingerpicking example 3.jpg" /></p> <p><em>Guitarist Richard Rossicone is a veteran of the New York City and Long Island original and cover band scene. He's been playing since he was 8, when he attended his first concert (Kiss) and saw Pete Townshend smash a guitar. He has studied with various instructors over the years, which led him to a career in music therapy. He began his educational journey at Queensboro Community College, where the faculty introducing him to classical music. He received his associate's degree in fine arts in 1997 and went on to receive his bachelor's in music therapy in 2001 and his master's in music therapy from New York University in 2004. He's been Board Certified as a music therapist since 2002. Richard continued his studies at C.W. Post University, pursuing a second master's degree in classical guitar performance and music history, studying under Harris Becker. He's been teaching guitar, piano and theory since 2002 and in 2006 started his own company, Rossicone Music Studios. Visit him at <a href="http://www.axgrinder.com/">Axgrinder.com</a></em> and his <a href="http://m.facebook.com/RichyRossiconesCompleteGuitaristPage?id=458622354196716&amp;_rdr">Complete Guitarist Facebook page.</a></p> http://www.guitarworld.com/complete-guitarist-fingerpicking-101-and-beyond-part-2#comments Richard Rossicone The Complete Guitarist Blogs Lessons Thu, 15 Aug 2013 20:42:36 +0000 Richard Rossicone http://www.guitarworld.com/article/19038 The Complete Guitarist: Fingerpicking 101 and Beyond http://www.guitarworld.com/complete-guitarist-fingerpicking-101-and-beyond <!--paging_filter--><p>Hey, everyone. I'd like to digress a bit in this blog post. For the past few lessons, I've been writing about arpeggios across the fretboard. This time, I'd like to discuss basic fingerpicking patterns.</p> <p>One of the most rewarding musical experiences of my career occurred when I was playing classical guitar exclusively for about 10 years. The path was very demanding. The repertoire was a serious challenge, and I practiced anywhere between three to five hours a day. </p> <p>The one thing I noticed about classical guitar that made it different from all the other styles was the emphasis on technique. Without certain fingerpicking techniques, you couldn't play the classical repertoire. Although I don't play classical guitar exclusively, and I certainly cannot practice up to five hours a day anymore, I still use certain techniques when I fingerpick — all of which I learned from studying classical guitar. </p> <p>This is one of my favorite exercises to develop finger independence in the right hand.</p> <p>In case you are new to fingerpicking, the fingers on the right hand now have letters to denote which finger patterns you will play in a particular section. The thumb is <strong>p</strong>, the index finger is <strong>i</strong>, the middle finger is <strong>m</strong> and the ring finger is <strong>a</strong>. So the right hand now spells out pima. </p> <p>Get used to it. You'll be seeing a lot of this. </p> <p>We usually don't use the pinky for typical fingerpicking patterns and songs. In this exercise, we finger an open E major chord. We place the "i finger" on the third string, the "m finger" on the second string and the "a finger" on the first string. We do not move these fingers from these strings! Pretend they are cemented there. </p> <p>The "p finger," thumb, will start on the sixth string but will float from the sixth, fifth and fourth strings according to the pattern. There are six patterns we will encounter during this exercise: pima, pami, pmia, piam, pmai and finally paim. All these patterns are demonstrated consecutively in the example given. </p> <p>For example, pima is in measure one, pami is in measure two, etc. Notice that the thumb, the bass note, moves from the sixth, fifth and foutth string and back again during this exercise. Although this exercise is written in 16th notes, it is very wise to play at a slow pace with a metronome set to about 70 bpm to begin. make sure every note is clear, even and in time. In the next blog post, we will expand upon this further.</p> <p>As always, thank you for reading! Any suggestions or comments are always welcome. Now pick up that guitar and play, just like yesterday y'all ...</p> <p><img src="/files/imce-images/Screen%20Shot%202013-07-11%20at%2010.48.57%20AM.png" width="620" height="468" alt="Screen Shot 2013-07-11 at 10.48.57 AM.png" /></p> <p><em>Guitarist Richard Rossicone is a veteran of the New York City and Long Island original and cover band scene. He's been playing since he was 8, when he attended his first concert (Kiss) and saw Pete Townshend smash a guitar. He has studied with various instructors over the years, which led him to a career in music therapy. He began his educational journey at Queensboro Community College, where the faculty introducing him to classical music. He received his associate's degree in fine arts in 1997 and went on to receive his bachelor's in music therapy in 2001 and his master's in music therapy from New York University in 2004. He's been Board Certified as a music therapist since 2002. Richard continued his studies at C.W. Post University, pursuing a second master's degree in classical guitar performance and music history, studying under Harris Becker. He's been teaching guitar, piano and theory since 2002 and in 2006 started his own company, Rossicone Music Studios. Visit him at <a href="http://www.axgrinder.com/">Axgrinder.com</a></em> and his <a href="http://m.facebook.com/RichyRossiconesCompleteGuitaristPage?id=458622354196716&amp;_rdr">Complete Guitarist Facebook page.</a></p> http://www.guitarworld.com/complete-guitarist-fingerpicking-101-and-beyond#comments Richard Rossicone The Complete Guitarist Blogs Lessons Thu, 11 Jul 2013 14:51:14 +0000 Richard Rossicone http://www.guitarworld.com/article/18777 The Complete Guitarist: An Introduction to Arpeggio Inversions http://www.guitarworld.com/complete-guitarist-introduction-arpeggio-inversions <!--paging_filter--><p>Hey, everyone! In the past few blog posts, I've been discussing various arpeggio exercises in order to show you how notes on the fretboard are connected, and also how to master the fretboard. </p> <p>In this column, I'd like to continue the arpeggio discourse but also really challenge you by taking it up a notch. I present arpeggio inversions!</p> <p>First things first, however. We need to define inversion. An inversion is a chord or arpeggio that doesn't begin on the root note. For example, in a C major 7th chord (C, E, G,B), if we play the chord or arpeggio starting on the root note, the C, that would be considered the root position. </p> <p>But if we start the chord on the E, which is the second note of the triad and the third note of the C major scale, that would be considered first inversion. </p> <p>If we start the chord or arpeggio on the G, which is the third note of the triad and the fifth note of the C major scale, that would be considered second inversion. Finally, if we start the chord or arpeggio on the B, which is the third note of the triad and the seventh note of the C major scale, that would be considered third inversion. </p> <p>The lowest note of the chord or arpeggio will always determine which inversion is defined. Or, as my old theory professor, Dr. Austin, would say, "Richard, the bass is boss." This is true of all major, minor, dominant and diminished chords and inversions. You will notice that in all of my past columns on this subject, the arpeggios started on the root note of the chord we were arpeggiating. That will change as of now.</p> <p>The following two exercises are a G major arpeggio (G, B, D, F#) and a G minor arpeggio (G, Bb, D, F), respectively. For both exercises, the first measure is root position, the second measure is first inversion, the third measure is second inversion and the fourth measure is third inversion. </p> <p><img src="/files/imce-images/major%207.png" width="620" height="391" alt="major 7.png" /></p> <p><img src="/files/imce-images/minor%207.png" width="620" height="377" alt="minor 7.png" /></p> <p>As always, these forms are moveable, so they will work in all keys with the root on the sixth string. So move them around and incorporate them into your lead work. This exercise also will increase your knowledge of how the notes fit together on the fretboard. This is a very challenging and demanding exercise to play and master — especially cleanly and quickly with a metronome — but I know you guys are up for it!</p> <p>Now let's get out there and pick up that guitar and play just like yesterday. As always, any feedback and comments are always welcome. Thanks for reading.</p> <p><em>Guitarist Richard Rossicone is a veteran of the New York City and Long Island original and cover band scene. He's been playing since he was 8, when he attended his first concert (Kiss) and saw Pete Townshend smash a guitar. He has studied with various instructors over the years, which led him to a career in music therapy. He began his educational journey at Queensboro Community College, where the faculty introducing him to classical music. He received his associate's degree in fine arts in 1997 and went on to receive his bachelor's in music therapy in 2001 and his master's in music therapy from New York University in 2004. He's been Board Certified as a music therapist since 2002. Richard continued his studies at C.W. Post University, pursuing a second master's degree in classical guitar performance and music history, studying under Harris Becker. He's been teaching guitar, piano and theory since 2002 and in 2006 started his own company, Rossicone Music Studios. Visit him at <a href="http://www.axgrinder.com/">Axgrinder.com</a></em> and his <a href="http://m.facebook.com/RichyRossiconesCompleteGuitaristPage?id=458622354196716&amp;_rdr">Complete Guitarist Facebook page.</a></p> http://www.guitarworld.com/complete-guitarist-introduction-arpeggio-inversions#comments Richard Rossicone The Complete Guitarist Blogs Lessons Mon, 17 Jun 2013 16:10:39 +0000 Richard Rossicone http://www.guitarworld.com/article/18581 The Complete Guitarist: The Greatest Lessons that Changed My Life http://www.guitarworld.com/complete-guitarist-greatest-lessons-changed-my-life <!--paging_filter--><p>This past week, I was doing some spring cleaning, and I came upon some notes given to me from a few lessons I took from a famous jazz teacher in the late 1980s in NYC. </p> <p>I won't name names. I wanted to learn modes and improvisation, so I hit the <em>Village Voice</em> looking for a teacher. I took only three lessons from this gentleman, mostly due to the fact that during every lesson he was under the influence of certain mind-altering substances, which I found really unprofessional considering the amount he was charging me. </p> <p>The amount of knowledge he gave me during those three lessons, however, really pushed my playing to a higher level and, of course, taught me a big life lesson on how to be professional and how NOT to be a teacher. </p> <p>I began thinking about all the valuable lessons my teachers over the years have given me and how important they were to shaping my musicianship, career and, above all, me as a human being. These lessons are guitar- and music-related, but at the end of the day, they are all life-related. In this blog post, I would like to share just a few of those lessons with you.</p> <p><strong>KNOW YOUR RHYTHM</strong>: After my disappointment with the jazz guy, I sought out another guitar teacher. I found one who took my playing to another level in a number of unique ways. We did two lessons a week: One lesson was learning the modes and how to use them; another lesson was dedicated to getting my rhythm together. The only thing was, during this lesson I would not need a guitar. This lesson would be at his kitchen table. He would write rhythms out on a piece of paper of varying complexity, hit the metronome at a slow tempo and ask me to tap the rhythms out on the table with a pencil. During that week, part of my homework would be to apply those rhythms on the high open "E" string in time with a metronome, of course. This little exercise really opened my eyes as to how bad my rhythm really was and how important rhythm really is. These lessons at his kitchen table truly helped me to get my rhythm playing together and really helped me later in my career when I went on to college to earn degrees in music. It helped enormously with analysis, sight reading and eventually classical guitar. I still use this exercise for my own playing and for my students! Just paying it forward. </p> <p><strong>KNOW THE FRETBOARD</strong>: Yes, I sound like a broken record, but that's OK. I have no problem with sounding like one until my students "get it." Looking back, I think I got my passion for knowing the fretboard from this teacher. He was emphatic and intense about it also, maybe even more than I am. His approach, like mine I hope, was very unique. He would get a stop watch and set it to 20 seconds and tell me to play all the notes of a particular pitch all over the neck and then start the clock. Once I got this down, which took me longer than I will admit, he took the time down to 15 seconds and eventually 10 seconds. </p> <p>We went through every single note in the chromatic scale, which, as you know, is every note in music. This was pretty intense but invaluable. I learned where every note was eventually. Try it at home. Grab a stopwatch, set it for 20 seconds and play every Bb on the neck. Go!!! Now try it with every C#. Go!!! Now every Eb. Now lower the stop watch to 15 seconds. Get the picture?</p> <p><strong>TALENT IS NOT ENOUGH</strong>: I didn't learn this lesson through a formal teacher. I learned it though observation. When I was growing up, there were many players in my circle who just "had it." They didn't practice, but they were amazing players. They were really talented players. They don't make a living doing it. They don't play anymore. And they all regret it. Since I never had "it," I always had to work harder than they did. I eventually outworked them. </p> <p>Funny thing is, the harder I worked, the more skilled I became at guitar, the more opportunities came my way and that eventually led to me pursuing and achieving my dream: to play guitar for a living. There is the difference between talent and skill. We all have talent. We all have the talent to become the next Steve Vai, Derek Jeter or Pablo Picasso, but to achieve the highest level we can be, we have to become skilled like they are/were. </p> <p>Skill takes hard work, perseverance, dedication and practice, practice and practice. There is no magic pill we can take to become skilled at guitar or anything, for that matter. Talent is not enough and will never be enough. There are no such things as prodigies; just average talented people working their behinds off to become the best they can be. </p> <p>Notice how all the greats at any given field or profession make it look easy. It's hard work to make it look that easy, not talent. If it was just talent, then we would all be great. A wise man once said, "Talent is one step away from lazy." I can certainly testify to the fact that hard work and dedication will get you everywhere. This philosophy is probably the single most important lesson I have ever learned. This belief has and is still working for me and can and work for you. </p> <p>So, with that in mind: GET TO IT! Pick up that guitar and play, just like yesterday, people ...</p> <p>Thank you for reading and any comments and or observations are always welcome!</p> <p><em>Guitarist Richard Rossicone is a veteran of the New York City and Long Island original and cover band scene. He's been playing since he was 8, when he attended his first concert (Kiss) and saw Pete Townshend smash a guitar. He has studied with various instructors over the years, which led him to a career in music therapy. He began his educational journey at Queensboro Community College, where the faculty introducing him to classical music. He received his associate's degree in fine arts in 1997 and went on to receive his bachelor's in music therapy in 2001 and his master's in music therapy from New York University in 2004. He's been Board Certified as a music therapist since 2002. Richard continued his studies at C.W. Post University, pursuing a second master's degree in classical guitar performance and music history, studying under Harris Becker. He's been teaching guitar, piano and theory since 2002 and in 2006 started his own company, Rossicone Music Studios. Visit him at <a href="http://www.axgrinder.com/">Axgrinder.com</a></em> and his <a href="http://m.facebook.com/RichyRossiconesCompleteGuitaristPage?id=458622354196716&amp;_rdr">Complete Guitarist Facebook page.</a></p> http://www.guitarworld.com/complete-guitarist-greatest-lessons-changed-my-life#comments Richard Rossicone The Complete Guitarist Blogs Wed, 08 May 2013 14:35:54 +0000 Richard Rossicone http://www.guitarworld.com/article/18318 A Six-Note, Three-Octave, Major-Scale Exercise to Help You Know Your Way Around the Fretboard http://www.guitarworld.com/six-note-three-octave-major-scale-exercise-help-you-know-your-way-around-fretboard <!--paging_filter--><p>As you can tell from my previous blog posts (Check them out under RELATED CONTENT below my photo), learning and knowing the fretboard to the best of one's ability is of the utmost importance to me — and something I stress to all my guitar students. </p> <p>How much do I stress this point? So much that last week one of my students wanted to know why is it so important to me. I thought about it for a day or two. That's why I love teaching; it gets me to reevaluate all that I know. </p> <p>The reason it is so important to me is because I feel that the more knowledge you have about your instrument and how to get around on it, the more beauty you can create with it. You will be able to summon any possible combination of notes and phrases to emote the exact feeling you are trying to convey. It is my job as a teacher to come up with interesting, unique and cool ways to master this task.</p> <p>That being said, here is an interesting, unique and cool major-scale exercise to help you learn and eventually master the fret board.</p> <p>This exercise is based on the six notes of any major scale played in three octaves up and down the neck starting on different notes of the scale in order diatonically. This exercise is played in the key of F major. It is actually moveable, but for the constraints of space, we will use F major. </p> <p>The first six notes of the F major scale are F, G, A, Bb, C and D, respectively. We will play these notes in that order in three octaves across and up and down the neck. Once that is done, we will then play the next six notes of the major scale, starting on the second note. These notes would be G, A, Bb, C, D and E, respectively. We will play these in three octaves across and up and down the neck also. </p> <p>We will follow this series and pattern until the last note of the scale. You will notice that each series has the same symmetrical finger pattern for each octave. But don't let those similar patterns deceive you. This is a very challenging exercise for a few reasons. </p> <p>Firstly, the rhythm pattern is very difficult, 16th-note triplets played at about 120 bpm. I highly recommend NOT playing with a metronome at first until you get the stretches and proper fingerings down. After that is accomplished, I would start with a metronome, slowly, gradually building up to a fast speed. </p> <p>Secondly, although the finger patterns are similar for each note group, they do change as you switch the starting note of each phrase. So you have to really think about what you are playing quickly at a fast tempo. If you really want to take this exercise to the next level, say each note as you play them. Your significant others, parents, roommates and pets may think you are crazy, but, hey, you'll be learning the fretboard in an expeditious manner and becoming the master of your chosen instrument so it's all relative!</p> <p>After you master this exercise in F major, move it around to other major keys. When you are jamming and soloing, remember this lesson. These phrases will sound killer with an amp on 11 and a wah pedal. Just saying.</p> <p>Get out there and pick up that guitar and play, just like yesterday. As always, any feedback and comments are welcome.</p> <p><img src="/files/imce-images/ggg.jpg" width="620" height="735" alt="ggg.jpg" /><br /> <br /><br /> <em>Guitarist Richard Rossicone is a veteran of the New York City and Long Island original and cover band scene. He's been playing since he was 8, when he attended his first concert (Kiss) and saw Pete Townshend smash a guitar. He has studied with various instructors over the years, which led him to a career in music therapy. He began his educational journey at Queensboro Community College, where the faculty introducing him to classical music. He received his associate's degree in fine arts in 1997 and went on to receive his bachelor's in music therapy in 2001 and his master's in music therapy from New York University in 2004. He's been Board Certified as a music therapist since 2002. Richard continued his studies at C.W. Post University, pursuing a second master's degree in classical guitar performance and music history, studying under Harris Becker. He's been teaching guitar, piano and theory since 2002 and in 2006 started his own company, Rossicone Music Studios. Visit him at <a href="http://www.axgrinder.com/">Axgrinder.com</a></em> and his <a href="http://m.facebook.com/RichyRossiconesCompleteGuitaristPage?id=458622354196716&amp;_rdr">Complete Guitarist Facebook page.</a></p> http://www.guitarworld.com/six-note-three-octave-major-scale-exercise-help-you-know-your-way-around-fretboard#comments Richard Rossicone The Complete Guitarist Blogs Wed, 17 Apr 2013 09:11:52 +0000 Richard Rossicone http://www.guitarworld.com/article/18175 The Complete Guitarist: Major- and Minor-Scale Excercises to Improve Your Playing http://www.guitarworld.com/complete-guitarist-major-and-minor-scale-excercises-improve-your-playing <!--paging_filter--><p>Hey, everyone. In my last two blog posts (See them under RELATED CONTENT below the photo of me), I discussed arpeggios and how to incorporate them into your playing to learn the fretboard and add some color to your leads. </p> <p>This time, I'd like to discuss some really cool major- and minor-scale exercises that will help your overall guitar playing on many levels.</p> <p>Examples 1 and 2 (below) are a major and a natural minor scale, respectively, over three octaves spanning from the sixth string to the first string. At first look, it seems harmless enough. But when we analyze it, this exercise presents a few challenges. The rhythm starts out as triplets played legato with hammer-ons. But in the second measure, the rhythm changes to 16th notes played legato with the pinky slide into the next triplet. Although this may seem simple, it is not easy.</p> <p>This little exercise works on accuracy. I suggest playing without an amp so you can really dig in and hear those legato phrases and slides. Make sure the dynamics of every single hammered note and slide are even. It helps to improve your rhythm playing. The changes from triplets to 16ths are really challenging, especially when played with a metronome, hint hint. </p> <p>This exercise also helps to improve your position switching. The fingerings change with some of the phrases, so you will have to think and look ahead to the next phrase to be accurate. One of the overlooked aspects of lead guitar playing I stress with my students is knowing the fretboard like the proverbial back of your hand. This exercise will help you to connect the fretboard from one end to the other and break you out of "the box" positions we all get so comfortable with. </p> <p>And last but certainly not least, you can incorporate a section of these exercises into your lead work for some added flair.</p> <p>These examples are in G major and G minor, respectively, but since they are moveable scales, I suggest you learn then all over the fretboard using the notes on the sixth string as the roots. Practice them with a metronome, of course.</p> <p>Now get out there and pick up your guitar and play, just like yesterday, people! Thanks again for reading and as always any feedback is always welcome and encouraged.</p> <p><img src="/files/imce-images/Screen%20Shot%202013-03-19%20at%204.35.59%20PM.png" width="620" height="493" alt="Screen Shot 2013-03-19 at 4.35.59 PM.png" /></p> <p><img src="/files/imce-images/Screen%20Shot%202013-03-19%20at%204.36.31%20PM.png" width="620" height="516" alt="Screen Shot 2013-03-19 at 4.36.31 PM.png" /></p> <p><em>Guitarist Richard Rossicone is a veteran of the New York City and Long Island original and cover band scene. He's been playing since he was 8, when he attended his first concert (Kiss) and saw Pete Townshend smash a guitar. He has studied with various instructors over the years, which led him to a career in music therapy. He began his educational journey at Queensboro Community College, where the faculty introducing him to classical music. He received his associate's degree in fine arts in 1997 and went on to receive his bachelor's in music therapy in 2001 and his master's in music therapy from New York University in 2004. He's been Board Certified as a music therapist since 2002. Richard continued his studies at C.W. Post University, pursuing a second master's degree in classical guitar performance and music history, studying under Harris Becker. He's been teaching guitar, piano and theory since 2002 and in 2006 started his own company, Rossicone Music Studios. Visit him at <a href="http://www.axgrinder.com/">Axgrinder.com</a></em> and his <a href="http://m.facebook.com/RichyRossiconesCompleteGuitaristPage?id=458622354196716&amp;_rdr">Complete Guitarist Facebook page.</a></p> http://www.guitarworld.com/complete-guitarist-major-and-minor-scale-excercises-improve-your-playing#comments Richard Rossicone The Complete Guitarist Blogs Lessons Wed, 20 Mar 2013 11:16:40 +0000 Richard Rossicone http://www.guitarworld.com/article/18035 The Complete Guitarist: Fun with Arpeggios, Part 2 http://www.guitarworld.com/complete-guitarist-fun-arpeggios-part-2 <!--paging_filter--><p>Hello again, everyone. </p> <p><a href="http://www.guitarworld.com/complete-guitarist-fun-arpeggios">In my last blog post</a>, I discussed and demonstrated a cool exercise to add some zest to your lead work and to help you to learn the fretboard by using arpeggios derived from the major scale. </p> <p>This time, I'd like to address the same topic; however, instead of using the major scale, I'd like use chords, specifically four types of chords all guitarists and musicians should be familiar with.</p> <p>There are four types of chords that are built from the major scale: major 7th's, minor 7th's, dominant 7th's and diminished. Each of those chords has its own construction, but their common thread is that they will be constructed from the first, third, fifth and seventh notes from their respective major scales. In short, the 1, 3, 5, 7.</p> <p>For these examples, we will be in the key of G major. The first arpeggio will be a major 7th arpeggio based off a G major 7th chord. The notes are G, B, D and F#. See <strong>Example 1.</strong></p> <p><img src="/files/imce-images/example%201%20major%20chord%20.jpg" width="620" height="259" alt="example 1 major chord .jpg" /></p> <p>The next arpeggio will be a minor 7th based on a minor 7th chord. To create a minor 7th chord, we take a major 7th arpeggio and lower the 3rd and 7th pitches so the minor seventh arpeggio is now G, Bb, D and F. See <strong>Example 2</strong>.</p> <p><img src="/files/imce-images/example%202%20minor%20chord%20.jpg" width="620" height="259" alt="example 2 minor chord .jpg" /></p> <p>The next arpeggio will be a dominant 7 based on a dominant 7th chord. To construct a dominant 7th chord we take a major 7th chord and lower the 7th pitch so the dominant 7th arpeggio will be G, B , D and F. See <strong>Example 3</strong>.</p> <p><img src="/files/imce-images/example%203%20dominant%207th%20chord.jpg" width="620" height="259" alt="example 3 dominant 7th chord.jpg" /></p> <p>The final arpeggio I will discuss is diminished based on a diminished chord. To construct a diminished chord, we take a major 7th chord and lower the 3rd, 5th and 7th pitches so the diminished arpeggio will be G, Bb, Db and F. See <strong>Example 4</strong>.</p> <p><img src="/files/imce-images/example%204%20diminished%20chord%20.jpg" width="620" height="259" alt="example 4 diminished chord .jpg" /></p> <p>The fingerings for these arpeggios may be a bit unorthodox, but that's the point. This exercise will get your fingers moving in some new directions and will help you grasp a greater understanding of the fretboard and add some color to your lead work. As I've said in previous blog posts, our goal is to find our own unique voice on the instrument. Playing these arpeggios will help you on the path.</p> <p>Figure out these arpeggios for all the chords with the root notes found on the sixth string, and you'll be well on your way.</p> <p>But reading about it isn't going to make you a better player, so get off the computer and pick up that guitar and play. Just like yesterday. As always, I thank you for checking out my blog!</p> <p><em>Guitarist Richard Rossicone is a veteran of the New York City and Long Island original and cover band scene. He's been playing since he was 8, when he attended his first concert (Kiss) and saw Pete Townshend smash a guitar. He has studied with various instructors over the years, which led him to a career in music therapy. He began his educational journey at Queensboro Community College, where the faculty introducing him to classical music. He received his associate's degree in fine arts in 1997 and went on to receive his bachelor's in music therapy in 2001 and his master's in music therapy from New York University in 2004. He's been Board Certified as a music therapist since 2002. Richard continued his studies at C.W. Post University, pursuing a second master's degree in classical guitar performance and music history, studying under Harris Becker. He's been teaching guitar, piano and theory since 2002 and in 2006 started his own company, Rossicone Music Studios. Visit him at <a href="http://www.axgrinder.com/">Axgrinder.com</a></em> and his <a href="http://m.facebook.com/RichyRossiconesCompleteGuitaristPage?id=458622354196716&amp;_rdr">Complete Guitarist Facebook page.</a></p> http://www.guitarworld.com/complete-guitarist-fun-arpeggios-part-2#comments Richard Rossicone The Complete Guitarist Blogs Lessons Wed, 27 Feb 2013 13:01:29 +0000 Richard Rossicone http://www.guitarworld.com/article/17885 The Complete Guitarist: Fun with Arpeggios http://www.guitarworld.com/complete-guitarist-fun-arpeggios <!--paging_filter--><p>Hey, everyone! In this blog post, I'd like to discuss one of my favorite exercises to learn the fretboard and add a little mojo to your lead playing.</p> <p>Before we begin, let me define what an arpeggio is. An arpeggio is a broken chord. We can play a chord two ways. The first way is to play all the notes at the same time; the second way is to play the notes one at a time, consecutively. This latter method is called an arpeggio. </p> <p>The following exercise is all the chords/arpeggios in a C major scale over the the first two strings. One of the things I stress to my students is to learn the fretboard like the back of your hand, maybe even better. This exercise will definitely expedite that process, and it sounds really cool to boot (See Exercise 1 below).</p> <p>Let's discuss the chords in C major. All major scales and keys have chords that are built by stacking the notes in the scale in thirds, or every other note, if you wish, in a three-note sequence called a triad. The tonality of each chord is denoted with a Roman numeral. For example, the first chord in the key of C major is C major (C, E, G). This is called the I chord. The second chord is D minor (D, F, A). The reason this is minor is because the intervals between these notes spell out a minor triad. This is called the ii chord. </p> <p>The third chord is E minor (E G B). This is called the iii chord. The fourth chord is F Major (F, A, C). This is called the IV chord. The fifth chord is G major (Once we extend the chord out, the fifth chord becomes dominant, but since we are dealing with triads, it will be major) and is spelled (G, B, D). This is called the V chord. </p> <p>The sixth chord in the scale is A minor (A, C, E). This is the vi chord. The seventh chord is a B diminished (B, F, A). Again, the reason this is diminished is because the intervals between these notes spell out a diminished chord. This is the vii chord. The sequence of chord tonalities is the same for all major scales. In short, in any and all major scales the I, IV and V chords are major. The ii, iii and vi chords are minor and the vii chord will be diminished.</p> <p><img src="/files/imce-images/Example%201_0.jpg" width="620" height="621" alt="Example 1_0.jpg" /></p> <p>This exercise will be confined, for now, to the first two strings. We begin with the licks on the C chord and go up the fretboard diatonically, playing every broken chord in the scale from the first fret to the 12th fret (See Example 1). Keep the rhythm strict and play as always with a metronome set to about 100 bpm and play forwards and backwards. </p> <p>For the next exercise, we play a different rhythm variation just to spice it up (See Example 2). Play it forwards and backwards with the metronome at 100 bpm again.</p> <p><img src="/files/imce-images/Example%202-1.jpg" width="620" height="688" alt="Example 2-1.jpg" /></p> <p>This little exercise works on many different aspect of your playing. First of all, you will learn the fretboard in a quicker, less-boring manner. You will learn where all the notes in a C major scale are. Secondly, if you are working diligently with a metronome, you will become more accurate with your rhythm, scale work and lead playing. Thirdly, you will add another dimension to your leads to hopefully develop your own style. This is just another tool in your musical toolbox to help build something beautiful and memorable with the guitar. </p> <p>As lead guitar players, we all need to be able to draw from as many influences, musically, non-musically and fretboard-wise, to become stylistic. And speaking of stylistic, this exercise is in the key of C major and its relative minor is A minor. Try a few of these arpeggios over the chord changes to "Stairway To Heaven" the next time you're jamming out with your friends. Sprinkle in some minor pentatonic licks along with it, and you are definitely on the right path to finding your own unique voice on the instrument.</p> <p>Keep in mind that all these arpeggios are just in one key, in one location on the fretboard. There are hundreds, maybe thousands, of possibilities in different keys and locations all over the fretboard. Try and come up with a few more on your own!</p> <p>Until next time! Now get out there and get at it ...</p> <p>RR</p> <p><em>Guitarist Richard Rossicone is a veteran of the New York City and Long Island original and cover band scene. He's been playing since he was 8, when he attended his first concert (Kiss) and saw Pete Townshend smash a guitar. He has studied with various instructors over the years, which led him to a career in music therapy. He began his educational journey at Queensboro Community College, where the faculty introducing him to classical music. He received his associate's degree in fine arts in 1997 and went on to receive his bachelor's in music therapy in 2001 and his master's in music therapy from New York University in 2004. He's been Board Certified as a music therapist since 2002. Richard continued his studies at C.W. Post University, pursuing a second master's degree in classical guitar performance and music history, studying under Harris Becker. He's been teaching guitar, piano and theory since 2002 and in 2006 started his own company, Rossicone Music Studios. Visit him at <a href="http://www.axgrinder.com/">Axgrinder.com</a></em></p> http://www.guitarworld.com/complete-guitarist-fun-arpeggios#comments Richard Rossicone The Complete Guitarist Blogs Lessons Wed, 06 Feb 2013 12:25:15 +0000 Richard Rossicone http://www.guitarworld.com/article/17731 The Complete Guitarist: How to Get — and Keep — the Gig http://www.guitarworld.com/complete-guitarist-how-get-and-keep-gig <!--paging_filter--><p>Happy New Year! </p> <p>I hope the year has started off on a good and positive note (pardon the pun) for all of my readers, and I wish you all nothing but success and happiness in 2013. </p> <p>The one thing I'm most proud of in my career is the fact that I've always gotten the gig I wanted, without fail. Whether it was passing the audition for a band, getting accepted into a conservatory, creating a successful teaching business or getting shows, I've gotten the job done. </p> <p>These accomplishments didn't come by accident. Some say I'm lucky. But all successful people, musicians or not, know that luck = hard work + opportunity. </p> <p>In this blog post, I'll discuss some of my personal philosophies and strategies I've used over the past 30 years to get and keep the gig you've always wanted.</p> <p><strong>Have Your Musicianship Together</strong>: Auditions can be daunting and intimidating. I want to go into that situation prepared for anything. The more prepared you are musically, the more confidence you'll have, and it'll show through your demeanor and playing. </p> <p>I once auditioned for a cover band. I asked the band leader for their playlist and which songs they'd like me to learn. For a cover band gig, usually only three songs from the list will be enough. They should know after three songs if you have it together. You want to show that you are a team player and you're joining them, not the other way around, so to me it's important to learn the songs the band wants you to learn, not your personal favorites from the list. I did just that and got the gig, which lasted about five years. </p> <p>A few years back, I auditioned for an original band called The Lights. They asked me to learn five songs from their EP at the time. Not only did I learn the guitar parts, but I also went over some of they keyboard and bass parts. I wanted them to know I really enjoyed and appreciated their music as a whole, not just the guitar work. And that I did my homework. </p> <p>Needless to say, I got the gig. When The Lights went in to record a full-length CD, I went through all the songs in such detail that when I walked into the studio to do my parts, I had a notebook filled with what I wanted to record and where I wanted then to be, right down to the overdubs. This saved the engineer a lot of time and headaches, and it saved the money guys a lot of cash because I didn't waste their time trying to figure my parts out when I got there. </p> <p>Always remember: Time = money in this and in any business. My preparedness was so appreciated that the engineer recommended me to other musicians for some free lance session work because he knew I had my musicianship together. Keep in mind that you are just one guitar player in a sea of hundreds of players trying to get the same gig, so you need to do something to separate yourself from the pack. Talent and great playing are not enough in these situations, unfortunately. Preparedness along with your playing will get you there.</p> <p><strong>Appearance Matters</strong>: Is it shallow and vain to make such a statement? Absolutely and emphatically YES! Is it the truth? Absolutely and emphatically YES! Now what I mean by appearance is not having the perfect body with ripped biceps and six-pack abs. I mean dressing professionally. How can we expect anyone to take us seriously as musicians if we don't take ourselves seriously? </p> <p>At a gig, on stage, a clean nice button-down or T-shirt with a nice pair of dark jeans will do. When I'm in the audience, I hate to see musicians who look like they just changed the oil in their car and walked on stage. It is disrespectful to the audience to not present yourself in the best possible light. </p> <p>For more upscale gigs, a tucked-in shirt and dress slacks are a must. I'm playing classical guitar at a few private events this year; I'll be wearing a two- or three-piece suit or a tuxedo. When I'm "working" as a music therapist, I will be in a shirt, tie and slacks. You will be surprised how others treat you if you dress appropriately. You will be taken more seriously and will be given a higher degree of respect as a professional musician. I can say with utmost certainty that I've gotten many a job and callback due to a clean and pressed dress shirt.</p> <p><strong>Treat It Like a Business</strong>: Most musicians tend to forget it's called the music business. If you can, have all the details of the gig worked out beforehand. In a perfect world, I'd like to say all club and bar owners will honor their side of a deal with a handshake and smile. We all know this world is far from perfect. Try hard to have the exact specifications of what your employer expects from you that night and what you expect from your employer. </p> <p>I cannot stress enough the importance of having things written down and signed in contract form, especially your fee for the night. I know musicians on the circuit who if they are playing for free drinks and french fries that night, will have a contract written up for the bar owner to sign stating exactly that! I always wondered why the big bands have these ridiculous riders in their gig contracts (the infamous brown Van Halen/M&amp;M story comes to mind). The reason is so the promoters read the contracts in detail. </p> <p>Why do the artists want the promoters to read in detail? To make sure the artist gets their due pay for the gig. Always be professional at gigs and sessions. If you are working at a venue for $100 for the night, don't drink away $200 at the bar. Yes, I have seen that happen. You just paid the club owner to play your own gig! They just got over on you. You're there on business. </p> <p>If the club is cool, go back on your own time. At the end of the night, thank the owner and try and book another one and go home. Try and have business cards made up and at the ready at every gig you play. Don't try and promote other gigs your are playing in the future without the permission of the bar owner that night. Be gracious. When I play classical gigs, I have business cards ready on my music stand to hand out to anybody who wants my services in the future. I also carry business cards during session gigs and when I teach. Hey, you never know.</p> <p>In this business and in life, you will be treated in the way to demand to be treated. You will go as far as your attitude will allow you to go. Have low expectations and your will get low results. have high expectations for yourself and the sky is the limit!</p> <p>Now get out there and make it happen, y'all ...</p> <p><em>Guitarist Richard Rossicone is a veteran of the New York City and Long Island original and cover band scene. He's been playing since he was 8, when he attended his first concert (Kiss) and saw Pete Townshend smash a guitar. He has studied with various instructors over the years, which led him to a career in music therapy. He began his educational journey at Queensboro Community College, where the faculty introducing him to classical music. He received his associate's degree in fine arts in 1997 and went on to receive his bachelor's in music therapy in 2001 and his master's in music therapy from New York University in 2004. He's been Board Certified as a music therapist since 2002. Richard continued his studies at C.W. Post University, pursuing a second master's degree in classical guitar performance and music history, studying under Harris Becker. He's been teaching guitar, piano and theory since 2002 and in 2006 started his own company, Rossicone Music Studios. Visit him at <a href="http://www.axgrinder.com/">Axgrinder.com</a></em></p> http://www.guitarworld.com/complete-guitarist-how-get-and-keep-gig#comments Richard Rossicone The Complete Guitarist Blogs Thu, 17 Jan 2013 15:36:12 +0000 Richard Rossicone http://www.guitarworld.com/article/17601 The Art of Phrasing: How to Make Your Leads Sing http://www.guitarworld.com/art-phrasing-how-make-your-leads-sing <!--paging_filter--><p>When one of my guitar students wants to learn lead guitar, I usually show him/her the minor pentatonic scale first. </p> <p>Once that scale is down in all keys, I play different and familiar chord progressions and have my students solo over them using the scales they've just learned. </p> <p>Almost always, the same thing happens: The student's leads sound like a continuous scale. I call it the musical equivalent of a stomach virus: The notes just keep on running out with no end in sight. The same thing occurs when they advance and learn the extensions of the minor pentatonic and the modes. They know the notes and the connections very well, but it sounds like one big run-on sentence. Sometimes I'll see cover bands in which more experienced guitarists will do the same. In short, there is no phrasing. Here are some methods I've used to make lead playing more melodic and dynamic.</p> <p>01. <strong>LISTEN BEFORE YOU PLAY</strong>: Sometimes I'll start a profession and the student will just jump in and start playing licks. I always stress to them to listen for a few bars to what the chords sound like, especially if you are unfamiliar with the structure. By listening first, you may be able to hear something you wouldn't have heard before, such as a rhythmic or melodic motive you can build a lead line from. </p> <p>02. <strong>REST, SILENCE AND RHYTHM</strong>: Let the notes breathe a little bit. Slow down the phrase and maybe stop playing all together. The silence in music is just as important and the music itself. The silence can draw in the listener. Holding a note a little longer can do the same. The use of silence and resting will make the scale sound less like a scale, if you catch my drift. </p> <p>Here's a great example: Play a descending D major scale. Pretty boring stuff. Now alter the spacing a bit and change up some of the rhythms, hold certain notes longer and shorter ... the next thing you know, you're playing one of the most recognizable melodies of all time, "Joy to the World." That's what we are shooting for in lead playing — making something ordinary into something special. And that's what separates the good from the great.</p> <p>03. <strong>ACCENTUATE CERTAIN NOTES</strong>: Above, I referred to run-on sentences. Is there anything more annoying than hearing a speech in which the speaker has no articulation, speaks without pauses and is monotone? Probably not. The same can be said about lead guitar playing. </p> <p>Think of the phrase "I love you." Three short powerful words. But if I accentuate and put emphasis on different words, the meaning drastically changes. "<em>I</em> love you." "I <em>love</em> you." "I love <em>you</em>." If you say those words out loud accentuating the different words, you'll hear the difference. The meaning of the phrase changes. Do the same in your lead playing. You can stress a few of the notes in a phrase by making them louder or softer, longer of shorter. If you do so, the whole context and meaning of the phrase will change into something unique. You can play one phrase faster; then in the next phrase, play something slower and softer holding a few of the notes. The ideas are limitless.</p> <p>04. <strong>LISTEN TO OTHER LEAD GUITAR PLAYERS</strong>: This seems like a no-brainer, but you'd be surprised how many young guitar players who want to play lead have never heard of David Gilmour. You need to listen to music in which the art of lead guitar is prevalent. It is so important to immerse yourself in the music of other lead guitarists who have come before us and who are here now! You get the creative juices flowing and draw inspiration from them. The examples are too numerous to mention, but a few examples are Jimi Hendrix, Jimmy Page, Eric Clapton, Eric Johnson, Slash, Eddie Van Halen, Billy Gibbons, Joe Bonamassa, etc., etc., etc.</p> <p>Now get off the Internet and get to work and one last thing: I would like to wish everyone a Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays and a Happy and Healthy New Year, and I would like to humbly thank all of the readers who have checked out my blog over the past few months!</p> <p>See you next year ...</p> <p><em>Guitarist Richard Rossicone is a veteran of the New York City and Long Island original and cover band scene. He's been playing since he was 8, when he attended his first concert (Kiss) and saw Pete Townshend smash a guitar. He has studied with various instructors over the years, which led him to a career in music therapy. He began his educational journey at Queensboro Community College, where the faculty introducing him to classical music. He received his associate's degree in fine arts in 1997 and went on to receive his bachelor's in music therapy in 2001 and his master's in music therapy from New York University in 2004. He's been Board Certified as a music therapist since 2002. Richard continued his studies at C.W. Post University, pursuing a second master's degree in classical guitar performance and music history, studying under Harris Becker. He's been teaching guitar, piano and theory since 2002 and in 2006 started his own company, Rossicone Music Studios. Richard is the co-lead guitarist in <a href="http://www.facebook.com/pages/Bad-Habits/194917520529944">Bad Habits</a>, NYC's premier Thin Lizzy tribute band. Visit him at <a href="http://www.axgrinder.com/">Axgrinder.com</a></em></p> <p><em>Photo: Joseph Triano Photography</em></p> http://www.guitarworld.com/art-phrasing-how-make-your-leads-sing#comments Richard Rossicone The Complete Guitarist Blogs Wed, 19 Dec 2012 15:54:12 +0000 Richard Rossicone http://www.guitarworld.com/article/17430 The Complete Guitarist: How to Be a Better Student http://www.guitarworld.com/complete-guitarist-how-be-better-student <!--paging_filter--><p>Before I go any further, I'd like to say I'm sorry to my all my past teachers and instructors. </p> <p>After writing this blog post, I realized how, for the first 15 years of my career, I never really followed the advice I am now sharing with my readers. </p> <p>Please accept my humble apologies; I realize now that if I would've followed my own words, I would've saved myself a lot of time and grief over the years. </p> <p><a href="http://www.guitarworld.com/complete-guitarist-teaching-101-how-maximize-every-students-potential">In a previous blog post, I wrote about how to be an effective teacher</a>. </p> <p>In this column, I'd like to discuss the flip side of this topic: how to get the most out of your teachers and become a better student, guitarist, musician and, ultimately, a better person.</p> <p><strong>01. Have a Goal or Vision in Mind</strong>: It is important to have an idea of where you want to go as a guitarist and have clear-cut goals in mind. The goals could be small when you begin, such as learning the first string accurately from the <em>Mel Bay Guitar Method Book One</em> or bigger goals as you progress, such as memorizing all the guitar parts from The Who's <em>Quadrophenia</em>. No goal is more important than another. They just represent different levels of progress that will increase with more practice and dedication, but it all starts with a clear vision. If you don't know where you want to go, then the path you take really doesn't matter all that much.</p> <p><strong>02. Use a Metronome</strong>: Think your rhythm is good? Play with a metronome and see how much work you need. I cannot stress the level of importance for a guitarist and a musician in general to having a good sense of rhythm and timing. You will curse the day you ever set eyes on one, but the use of a metronome is invaluable to your musical growth and progress. Practicing with one makes all the difference in the world and you will not regret it!</p> <p><strong>03. Seek Out a Great Teacher</strong>: Much like a metronome, having a great teacher will make a big impact on your overall musicianship and outlook toward the guitar and music in general. Your teacher should inspire you, push you, twist you and nurture you all at the same time. A great teacher will adapt to your personality and level of ability while still encouraging you to find your own voice and style on the guitar. Remember a great teacher will show you where to look but not what to see. I always tell my students that I can show them the tools they need to build something great but I can't show them what to build. That's up to them.</p> <p><strong>04. Perfect Practice</strong>: This goes without saying, but it needs to be said. All the great lessons you can possibly learn from the greatest teachers ever don't amount to anything if you don't practice. Set up a consistent practice schedule and do the homework. Make a list of questions to ask your teacher at the next lesson that stem from the homework you have done already. The key is consistency and hard work. But here is the secret: in my experience, if you are putting the work in and setting goals and achieving them and reaching new plateaus, this will not feel like work at all. It will be a joy to pick up your guitar and practice. You will have that hunger to learn because you are getting better and moving forward. But this will never happen without consistent time and effort.</p> <p>One thing is for sure: You will never become a better guitarist by reading about it. So get off the computer, stop reading this column and get to it! Feedback is always welcome!</p> <p><em>Guitarist Richard Rossicone is a veteran of the New York City and Long Island original and cover band scene. He's been playing since he was 8, when he attended his first concert (Kiss) and saw Pete Townshend smash a guitar. He has studied with various instructors over the years, which led him to a career in music therapy. He began his educational journey at Queensboro Community College, where the faculty introducing him to classical music. He received his associate's degree in fine arts in 1997 and went on to receive his bachelor's in music therapy in 2001 and his master's in music therapy from New York University in 2004. He's been Board Certified as a music therapist since 2002. Richard continued his studies at C.W. Post University, pursuing a second master's degree in classical guitar performance and music history, studying under Harris Becker. He's been teaching guitar, piano and theory since 2002 and in 2006 started his own company, Rossicone Music Studios. Richard is the co-lead guitarist in <a href="http://www.facebook.com/pages/Bad-Habits/194917520529944">Bad Habits</a>, NYC's premier Thin Lizzy tribute band. Visit him at <a href="http://www.axgrinder.com/">Axgrinder.com</a></em></p> <p><em>Photo: Joseph Triano Photography</em></p> http://www.guitarworld.com/complete-guitarist-how-be-better-student#comments Richard Rossicone The Complete Guitarist Blogs Wed, 28 Nov 2012 12:00:13 +0000 Richard Rossicone http://www.guitarworld.com/article/17231