Blogs en Rut-Busters for Guitarists, Part 1 of 8: Setting Goals <!--paging_filter--><p>Welcome to my new series of lessons, "Rut Busters for Guitarists." </p> <p>These lessons are aimed at breaking through barriers that may be preventing you from improving. </p> <p>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.</p> <p>This first lesson discusses how to get the most out of your practice time by making them goal oriented.</p> <p>Often, a guitarist’s progress might be stagnant due to a lack of goals and structure when practicing. Musicians tend to fall back on what they know and spend time noodling somewhat aimlessly instead of making goal-orientated progress during their practice sessions. There's nothing inherently wrong with “noodling” and jamming, as this can be a creative place for people to write and compose. However, just spending time with the guitar is much different than having a specific goal-oriented agenda in mind when it comes to practicing and making progress.</p> <p>I'm often asked by students’ parents, "How long should Billy practice?" They expect a canned answer like, "30 minutes a day, three times a week." While the repetitive nature of some technical aspects of learning guitar could require a bit of time, I find that asking “how long” misses the point. </p> <p>The more important concept is: When you sit down to practice, you should end up a better guitarist at the end of the session than when you began it.</p> <p>If your musical goals include improving your sight-reading skills, then maybe reading through a whole page or two of unfamiliar music should be that day's practice goal. </p> <p>If you're interested in improving your technical abilities, maybe your goal for the day's practice session is to play warm-up patterns or scales that you currently max out at with a certain metronome setting and push yourself to be able to play them at a few beats-per-minute faster. </p> <p>If you are trying to learn a new song, then your day’s goal might be to learn the intro and verse parts. The next day, it might be the chorus and solo section. Once you've learned the separate components of the song, work to be able to play it from beginning to end. </p> <p>These examples could take just five minutes or a few hours; it all depends on the goal, your skill level and the amount of time you have available.</p> <p>Sometimes the reason for those aimless practice sessions is that you are simply overwhelmed with all the different material (scales, songs, chords, arpeggios, improvising and music theory) that seems to endlessly beg for your attention, and you don't know where to even start. </p> <p>So you fall into your comfort zone and tinker around, noodling ... again. For this, I recommend making a to-do list. Think of just a few important elements of your playing that you feel need improvement. I like to email myself a four- to five-point list of things to practice and improve on for the week. I might not cover all of these goals in the same day, but I can check them off as I do, over the course of the week. </p> <p>How you manage your schedule is up to you, but by creating this list, you've at least thought about, and now know what you NEED to work on. If email isn't your thing, simply write it down in a notebook. This is a great way to track your progress, check off your achievements, revisit problem areas and create new goals. </p> <p>Take a look at the accompanying video. I hope it inspires your to organize your practice routines and make them more goal-oriented.</p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="//" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <p><em>Guitarist Adrian Galysh is a solo artist, and education coordinator for Guitar Center Studios. He's the author of the book Progressive Guitar Warmups and Exercises. For more information, visit him at <a href=""></a></em></p> <p><strong> readers can enjoy a FREE download of Galysh's song "Spring (The Return)" by clicking <a href="">HERE.</a></strong></p> Adrian Galysh Rut-Busters for Guitarists Videos Blogs Lessons Tue, 20 Jan 2015 16:19:13 +0000 Adrian Galysh Why the Simplest Guitar Parts Are Sometimes the Most Difficult Ones to Play <!--paging_filter--><p>The "easiest" guitar part is sometimes the most difficult one. Sure, we all like to shred and to show off our skills, but it could be mind boggling when someone asks us to record the simplest guitar part ever. </p> <p>One of the best examples from my own experience is the song in the YouTube player at the bottom of this story. It required repetition of only a few notes in a straightforward rhythm throughout. </p> <p>Yes, WYHIWYG (What You Hear Is What You Get). Then ... what’s so difficult? </p> <p>Well, playing the part is only half the equation. The other half is deciding on the type of guitar, choosing the strings, selecting the 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? </p> <p>The list goes on and on. Every little detail affects the final outcome, no matter how small it is. Every aspect shapes the tone, color and timbre, which are as crucial as playing the notes accurately.</p> <p>After trying different guitars, strings and fingers, the method I chose for the song below was to take an acoustic guitar with old (some of that golden rust) and thick strings and to play on the sixth string, near the fretboard with the flesh of my thumb using some parts of the Distal Phalange (the thumb’s upper bone, not the "left phalange" from the last episode of <em>Friends</em>). See the photo above.</p> <p>Low A and D (not drop D) are the required notes. Since they can be played on the sixth, fifth and even fourth string, I had to decide which sounded more suitable according to the brief I got. The open A string was not an option, as it has different qualities than a stopped note. So I chose sixth string, fifth fret. </p> <p>Now what about D; should it be right below A? I used the 10th fret of the sixth instead so it will sound more continuous. But then should I avoid the inevitable slide scratching noises in between or shall I use a full stretch between my fingers to avoid them? I chose the latter. After all, the song’s chorus goes "Hold it between your fingers." </p> <p>So many different options — and I haven’t even started talking about stuff like miking techniques. Now, is playing a simple guitar part really an easy task? </p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="//" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <p><em>X-Ray Photo: ©Nevit Dilmen</em></p> <p><em>Udi Glaser is a guitarist, guitar teacher, composer, producer and journalist. He has been playing all types of guitars and styles for more than 22 years and has been teaching them for more than 10 years. He holds a bachelor's degree in musicology and philosophy and attained a sound-engineering diploma and an Orchestrating Producing for Film and Games certificate, for which he received a scholarship in the name of Jeff Beck. Visit <a href="">his website</a> and follow his <a href="">Facebook page</a> or <a href="">Twitter feed.</a></em></p> Udi Glaser Blogs Fri, 16 Jan 2015 13:22:28 +0000 Udi Glaser Cracking the Code with Troy Grady: Eric Johnson's Pickslanting Pentatonics <!--paging_filter--><p>The cascading waterfall of sound that is Eric Johnson's lead playing has captivated players and listeners for 30 years. </p> <p>Sonically, it's an almost formless wash of sunshine. In Johnson's ethereal soundscape, all the edges are smoothed away. </p> <p>Even the distinction between scales and arpeggios seems to blur. His patterns tumble imperceptibly through positions, like falling through clouds. And his limitless supply of sparsely voiced diatonic chord substitutions only enhances the vertigo. And it's the seemingly imperturbable precision of Johnson's right hand that makes it all possible. </p> <p>And now, armed with a modern understanding of picking mechanics, we can actually begin to understand and recreate Johnson's wondrous style.</p> <p>The foundational skill of Johnson's lead style is the ability to play two-note-per-string passages at high speed. And of course, the ideal mechanical system for playing this is downward pickslanting.</p> <p>Wait a minute, downward what?</p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="//" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <p><span style="font-size:18px;font-weight:bold;">Getting Straight with the Slant</span></p> <p>If you haven't watched <a href="">Season 2, Episode 1 of Cracking the Code,</a> now might be a good time to do so! Because it turns out the secret to Johnson's picking technique is precisely the same one that powers Yngwie Malmsteen's legendary scalar accuracy. And it is ingenious and easy to replicate.</p> <p><img src="/files/imce-images/slant-vs-edge.jpg" width="620" height="413" alt="slant-vs-edge.jpg" /></p> <p>By simply rotating the picking hand downward, toward the floor, Johnson and Malmsteen create a subtle but powerful change in the pick's travel. </p> <p>In this position, called downward pickslanting, downstrokes tend to bury themselves between the strings. But upstrokes are where the magic happens: The pick breaks free of the surrounding strings and pulls away from the guitar's body. This makes the upstroke the ideal time to switch strings, because nothing can get in the way. The pick simply drops down on the next chosen string and continues playing.</p> <p>The genius of this solution is that the upstroke itself becomes the string-switching movement. There is no longer any need to jump from string to string, and this removes the primary source of sloppiness and mistakes most players face. Once you remove the error-prone process of "stringhopping" from string to string, it becomes dramatically easier to play with great accuracy.</p> <p>Note also that downward pickslanting is not the same as edge picking. That's a completely different and much more commonly discussed pick angle. And it solves a totally separate problem. Players use the edge of the pick to reduce the resistance of the picking motion against the strings. But pickslanting uses rotation of the hand and/or fingers to change the entire trajectory of the pick's travel. The key is that these two happen simultaneously in Johnson's technique.</p> <p><span style="font-size:18px;font-weight:bold;">Ah Via Pentatonic</span></p> <p>In retrospect, this all should have been obvious. Johnson is a one-way pickslanter, and he maintains a pronounced downward pickslant at nearly all times. This pickslant is more aggressive than Malmsteen's, and it's plainly visible, even on standard-definition footage like his 1990 <em>Hot Licks</em> instructional video, <em>Total Electric Guitar</em>. Here's a screen cap of just how clear that is:</p> <p><img src="/files/imce-images/ej-dwps.jpg" width="620" height="465" alt="ej-dwps.jpg" /></p> <p>This pickslant dovetails perfectly with the cornerstone of his lead playing: the pentatonic scale. Thanks to its two-note-per-string design, the pentatonic scale is actually perfectly efficient. By simply starting on a downstroke, and using downward pickslanting, the sequence changes strings cleanly after every upstroke:</p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="//" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <p><img src="/files/imce-images/Screen%20Shot%202015-01-14%20at%204.55.18%20PM.png" width="620" height="253" alt="Screen Shot 2015-01-14 at 4.55.18 PM.png" /></p> <p>As you can see clearly in this closeup footage, captured with our prototype iPhone slow-motion analysis rig, the smoothness and accuracy of the string switching is readily apparent. There is no jumping from string to string whatsoever. </p> <p>Thanks to downward pickslanting, each upstroke is the string change. And this is true whether you're ascending or descending. The mechanics don't change based on the direction of the lick; once the upstroke is in the air, it can drop down in any direction it chooses, either higher or lower.</p> <p>Astute observers also will notice that when played descending, with a down-up sequence on each string, the pentatonic scale is an outside picking lick. When played ascending, that same down-up picking sequence becomes inside picking. Of course, it's still the same picking sequence, and because of this, there is no mechanical difference in difficulty between them. </p> <p>In other words, in a downward pickslanting world like Johnson's, inside and outside picking as concepts have little relevance to actual difficulty. The only thing that matters is making sure that every string change happens after an upstroke.</p> <p><span style="font-size:18px;font-weight:bold;">The Pentatonic Cascade</span></p> <p>Now, when you combine the power of the downward pickslanting upstroke with a little sweeping, amazing things start to happen:</p> <p><img src="/files/imce-images/Screen%20Shot%202015-01-14%20at%204.57.56%20PM.png" width="620" height="392" alt="Screen Shot 2015-01-14 at 4.57.56 PM.png" /></p> <p>This is an example of Johnson's rich pentatonic vocabulary, which I like to call the "cascade," and you can watch the original and my version in the video at the top of this lesson. It combines the power of downward pickslanting with ascending sweeping to create the descending ripple of pentatonic sound that has become Johnson's trademark.</p> <p>This particular cascade moves from the pentatonic box position down to the mid-neck third pentatonic position. Along the way, we see a variety of Johnson's signature moves: the initial ascending pickup, a single-string legato turnaround, a battery of slides and pull-off position shifts and more. It's a vocabulary that is uniquely his, but also immensely powerful as a tool chest in creating your own pentatonic, downward pickslanting explorations.</p> <p>You'll note that every alternate-picked string change in the lick is still an upstroke. But now, we've augmented the mechanical formula with sweeping for switching strings after downstrokes. This is the same formula Malmsteen uses, and the results are truly stunning.</p> <p><span style="font-size:18px;font-weight:bold;">Cracking the EJ Code</span></p> <p><strong>If you're interested in learning more about Johnson's picking mechanics, we'll be doing exactly that in the very next episode of <a href="">Cracking the Code, Season 2</a>. That episode, "Eric the Right," is set to roll out soon and includes an extremely detailed pack of more than 30 slow-motion clips and 25 pages of written analysis. That pack is available to our Season Pass holders now, and the episode will arrive shortly.</strong></p> <p>In the meantime, I'll leave you with a sample of some of the amazing and timeless sounds in Johnson's larger repertoire. All of these can be created by following the simple rules we've outlined here. Ah Via Pentatonic, indeed!</p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="//" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <p><em>Troy Grady is the creator of <a href="">Cracking the Code</a>, a documentary series with a unique analytical approach to understanding guitar technique. Melding archival footage, in-depth interviews, painstakingly crafted animation and custom soundtrack, it’s a pop-science investigation of an age-old mystery: Why are some players seemingly super-powered?</em></p> <fieldset class="fieldgroup group-additional-content"><legend>Additional Content</legend><div class="field field-type-nodereference field-field-related-artist"> <div class="field-label"><p><strong>Related Artist:</strong>&nbsp;<p></div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/eric-johnson">Eric Johnson</a> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> Cracking the Code Eric Johnson Troy Grady Videos Blogs News Features Lessons Fri, 16 Jan 2015 13:19:25 +0000 Troy Grady Guitar Chalk Sessions: A Clean Guide to Understanding Seventh Chords <!--paging_filter--><p><em>This is a compressed version of <a href="">The Complete Guide to Actually Understanding Seventh Chords,</a> which is published at <a href=""></a> Both versions contain the same core information.</em></p> <p>We can always <a href=";camp=1789&amp;creative=9325&amp;creativeASIN=0785820833&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=theguitblac-20&amp;linkId=XMFR6XGESGEY5MW7">memorize new chords.</a> That’s not hard.</p> <p>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?</p> <p>People shy away from music theory because it’s hard. And I’m not going to tell you otherwise.</p> <p>Quite the opposite, in fact; music theory is incredibly difficult.</p> <p>But if you take it one piece at a time, theory isn’t nearly as daunting, and it eventually comes together as you understand why you’re playing what you’re playing.</p> <p>It’s a better alternative to raw memorization because it provides structure.</p> <p>Learning and memorizing, though they can cross paths, are not the same and certainly don’t benefit the human mind in the same manner.</p> <p>So we’ll tackle some <a href="">real, substantive learning</a> by looking at the theory behind seventh chords. We’ll learn how to build them from the ground up.</p> <p><strong>Step 1: Learn the Formal Definition of Chords and Triads</strong></p> <p>To begin, we need to know the formal definitions of a chord and, more importantly, a triad.</p> <p><img src="/files/imce-images/%231.jpg" width="620" height="296" alt="#1.jpg" /></p> <p>Chords are straightforward, either two/three or more notes depending on who you ask. Now, a triad:</p> <p><img src="/files/imce-images/%232.png" width="620" height="309" alt="#2.png" /></p> <p>Howard Hanson and Carlton Gamer, 20th-century music theorists, expanded the term “triad” to refer to any collection of three different pitches, regardless of interval. While that definition is more palatable, we need to stick with the formal definition here.</p> <p>Thus, our triads are constructed in three parts:</p> <p><strong>01. A root note</strong><br /> <strong>02. Third interval (major or minor)</strong><br /> <strong>03. Fifth interval (diminished, perfect or augmented).</strong></p> <p>The following is an example of a triad.</p> <p><img src="/files/imce-images/%233.jpg" width="620" height="290" alt="#3.jpg" /></p> <p>In order to find each interval, we have to count semitones (frets) from the root note. For example, a perfect fifth is seven frets from the root, a major third is four frets from the root and so on. For help counting, refer to this <a href="">guitar interval chart</a> or the full article at <a href="">Guitar Chalk.</a></p> <p>If you’re comfy, we’re ready to define and build our seventh chord.</p> <p><strong>Step 2: Learn the Formal Definition of a Seventh Chord</strong></p> <p>Yes, they have a “bluesy” sound, but what does that mean? A seventh chord is a triad with an added seventh interval from the root. That seventh interval can be either major, minor or diminished, and is typically what makes the chord sound bluesy.</p> <p>Thus we need the following components to build our seventh chord:</p> <p><img src="/files/imce-images/%234.jpg" width="620" height="364" alt="#4.jpg" /></p> <p>When building our seventh chords, we want to focus primarily on the root note and the three additional intervals. To do that, we’ll build two common (tertian) seventh chords:</p> <p><strong>01. Major Seventh</strong><br /> <strong>02. Minor Seventh</strong></p> <p>We’ll start with a root note, examine the necessary intervals for our chord (<a href="">available on the seventh chord wiki page</a>) and then build out accordingly.</p> <p><strong>1: Major Seventh</strong></p> <p><em>Interval Pattern: Major Third - Perfect Fifth - Major Seventh</em></p> <p>Consider the following root note:</p> <p><img src="/files/imce-images/%235.png" width="160" height="149" alt="#5.png" /></p> <p>Per the interval pattern, we can start by adding a major third and perfect fifth. The major third is four semitones above the root while the perfect fifth is going to be seven semitones above the root.</p> <p><img src="/files/imce-images/%236.png" width="151" height="146" alt="#6.png" /></p> <p>If you count straight up, seven spots from the second fret on the sixth string, the note you fall on is C#. That means the same C# note at the fourth fret on the fifth string will suffice as our perfect fifth. The same reasoning can be applied to the major third (third string and third fret).</p> <p>We can use the same counting tactic to place our major seventh interval.</p> <p><img src="/files/imce-images/%237.png" width="151" height="147" alt="#7.png" /></p> <p>Our major seventh interval (an F) falls on the fourth string at the third fret. How did we get there?</p> <p>If we know that a major seventh interval falls 11 semitones from the root note (<a href="">from this graphic</a>), which is an F sharp, we count up 11 frets giving us our F, which can also be played at the fourth string on the third fret.</p> <p><strong>2: Minor Seventh</strong></p> <p><em>Interval Pattern: Minor Third - Perfect Fifth - Minor Seventh</em></p> <p>Start with the following root note.</p> <p><img src="/files/imce-images/%238.png" width="152" height="146" alt="#8.png" /></p> <p>Per the interval pattern, we add a minor third and perfect fifth.</p> <p><img src="/files/imce-images/%239.png" width="81" height="146" alt="#9.png" /></p> <p>The perfect fifth is easy, since it forms a power chord shape (fifth string, seventh fret) with our root note. Since a minor third on the fifth string falls at the third fret (three semitones above the root) we can use the octave of that note on the third string at the fifth fret, to grab our minor third.</p> <p>Lastly we add our minor seventh interval, falling ten frets up from the root.</p> <p><img src="/files/imce-images/%2310.png" width="83" height="146" alt="#10.png" /></p> <p>Ten frets up from the root note (A) would be a G, which can be played by your pinky finger on the second string at the eighth fret.</p> <p><strong>Other Chords and Resources</strong></p> <p>Some other tertian seventh chords would include the dominant, diminished and half-diminished, all of which are covered in <a href="">the full article.</a> Now that you know how to build a seventh chord, it’ll be a great deal easier to understand and memorize others.</p> <p>Best of luck!</p> <p><em>Robert Kittleberger is the founder and editor of <a href="">Guitar Chalk</a> and <a href="">Guitar Bargain</a>. You can get in touch with him <a href="">here</a>, or via <a href="">Twitter</a>, <a href="">Facebook</a> and <a href="">Google Plus.</a></em></p> Bobby Kittleberger Guitar Chalk Sessions Blogs Lessons Wed, 14 Jan 2015 20:04:49 +0000 Bobby Kittleberger Jazz Guitar Corner: Jazz Guitar Chord Exercises — with Tab and Audio <!--paging_filter--><p>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?” </p> <p>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. </p> <p>In this lesson, you will learn how to practice Drop 2 and Drop 3 chords in all inversions, applied to a major ii-V-I chord progression to keep these shapes practical and musical in your woodshedding. </p> <p>I’ve provided examples for one string set of each chord shape, Drop 2 and 3, but feel free to apply this exercise to any string set your are working on in your jazz guitar studies. </p> <p>I’ve also written out each example in the key of C, so to take this exercise further, make sure to work these shapes together in all 12 keys around the fretboard in order to get an in-depth understanding of how they lay on the neck of the guitar. </p> <p><strong>The Jazz Guitar Chord Exercise</strong></p> <p>The exercise is a fairly straightforward concept, but applying it to the fretboard can take some time and effort in the practice room. </p> <p>Here is the exercise:</p> <p>01. Pick a chord shape such as Drop 2<br /> 02. Pick a string set, top four strings for example<br /> 03. Play the root position iim7 chord, such as Dm7<br /> 04. Move to the closest V7 chord, G7 in this case, without moving your hand if possible<br /> 05. From there, move to the closest Cmaj7 chord without moving your hand<br /> 06. Repeat but start on the next inversion of iim7, Dm7 in this key<br /> 07. Repeat until you’ve covered all four inversions of the iim7 chord and the closest V7 and Imaj7 chords from those four shapes.</p> <p>That’s it. Pretty simple, but playing and memorizing these shapes in four areas on the neck can take some time in the woodshed. So, let’s take this exercise and see how it lays on the fretboard in the next section of this lesson. </p> <p><strong>Drop 2 Chord Exercises</strong></p> <p>Now that you understand what the exercise is, let’s take it to the fretboard, beginning with Drop 2 chords on the top four strings. You will begin with a root position Dm7 chord, moving to the closest G7 chord, and finally landing on the closest Cmaj7 chord from there. </p> <p>I’ve written the inversion under each chord so you can memorize that movement as well, which will make it easier to transfer this exercise to other string sets and keys in your practicing. </p> <p><iframe width="100%" height="166" scrolling="no" frameborder="no" src=";color=ff5500&amp;auto_play=false&amp;hide_related=false&amp;show_comments=true&amp;show_user=true&amp;show_reposts=false"></iframe></p> <p><img src="/files/imce-images/chord%20exercises%201.jpg" width="620" height="183" alt="chord exercises 1.jpg" /></p> <p>Now, you’ll move on to the first inversion Dm7 chord, with the other chords being as close to that initial chord as possible. </p> <p><iframe width="100%" height="166" scrolling="no" frameborder="no" src=";color=ff5500&amp;auto_play=false&amp;hide_related=false&amp;show_comments=true&amp;show_user=true&amp;show_reposts=false"></iframe></p> <p><img src="/files/imce-images/chord%20exercises%202.jpg" width="620" height="166" alt="chord exercises 2.jpg" /></p> <p>Next, you are playing a second inversion Dm7 chord and following on to the closest G7 and Cmaj7 chords from that initial shape on the fretboard. </p> <p><iframe width="100%" height="166" scrolling="no" frameborder="no" src=";color=ff5500&amp;auto_play=false&amp;hide_related=false&amp;show_comments=true&amp;show_user=true&amp;show_reposts=false"></iframe></p> <p><img src="/files/imce-images/chord%20exercises%203.jpg" width="620" height="171" alt="chord exercises 3.jpg" /></p> <p>Lastly, here is a third inversion Dm7 chord that then leads to the closest G7 and Cmaj7 chords from there. </p> <p><iframe width="100%" height="166" scrolling="no" frameborder="no" src=";color=ff5500&amp;auto_play=false&amp;hide_related=false&amp;show_comments=true&amp;show_user=true&amp;show_reposts=false"></iframe></p> <p><img src="/files/imce-images/chord%20exercises%204.jpg" width="620" height="172" alt="chord exercises 4.jpg" /></p> <p><strong>Drop 3 Chord Exercises</strong></p> <p>To help you take this exercise to another common jazz chord shape, here are four examples of applying this idea to Drop 3 chords on the 6th-string root groupings. </p> <p>Again, you can take these shapes to other keys on the sixth-string root, as well as apply them to other string sets for Drop 3 chords as you expand on them in your studies. </p> <p>To begin, here is a root-position Dm7 chord that then moves to the closest G7 and Cmaj7 chords from there. </p> <p><iframe width="100%" height="166" scrolling="no" frameborder="no" src=";color=ff5500&amp;auto_play=false&amp;hide_related=false&amp;show_comments=true&amp;show_user=true&amp;show_reposts=false"></iframe></p> <p><img src="/files/imce-images/chord%20exercises%205.jpg" width="620" height="166" alt="chord exercises 5.jpg" /></p> <p>Then, you can move on to a first inversion Dm7 chord, which moves to the closest G7 and Cmaj7 from that initial shape. </p> <p><iframe width="100%" height="166" scrolling="no" frameborder="no" src=";color=ff5500&amp;auto_play=false&amp;hide_related=false&amp;show_comments=true&amp;show_user=true&amp;show_reposts=false"></iframe></p> <p><img src="/files/imce-images/chord%20exercises%206.jpg" width="620" height="172" alt="chord exercises 6.jpg" /></p> <p>Following our pattern, the next example uses a second inversion Drop 3 Dm7 chord, which moves to the closest G7 and Cmaj7 chords from there. </p> <p><iframe width="100%" height="166" scrolling="no" frameborder="no" src=";color=ff5500&amp;auto_play=false&amp;hide_related=false&amp;show_comments=true&amp;show_user=true&amp;show_reposts=false"></iframe></p> <p><img src="/files/imce-images/chord%20exercises%207.jpg" width="620" height="172" alt="chord exercises 7.jpg" /></p> <p>And finally, you can start with a third inversion Dm7 chord that moves to the closest G7 and Cmaj7 shapes from that starting point. </p> <p><iframe width="100%" height="166" scrolling="no" frameborder="no" src=";color=ff5500&amp;auto_play=false&amp;hide_related=false&amp;show_comments=true&amp;show_user=true&amp;show_reposts=false"></iframe></p> <p><img src="/files/imce-images/chord%20exercises%208.jpg" width="620" height="172" alt="chord exercises 8.jpg" /></p> <p>Do you have a question or comment about these chord exercises? Share your thoughts in the COMMENTS section below. </p> <p><em>Matt Warnock is the owner of <a href=""></a>, a free website that provides hundreds of lessons and resources designed to help guitarists of all experience levels meet their practice and performance goals. Matt lives in the UK, where he is a lecturer in Popular Music Performance at the University of Chester and an examiner for the London College of Music (Registry of Guitar Tutors).</em></p> Jazz Guitar Corner Matt Warnock Blogs Lessons Tue, 13 Jan 2015 20:36:09 +0000 Matt Warnock LessonFace with Steve Stine: Absolute Fretboard Mastery, Part 12 — Applying the Modes <!--paging_filter--><p><strong>Live online group and private classes are starting in January at <a href=""></a></strong></p> <p>In this month’s installment of Absolute Fretboard Mastery (which happens to be the final installment), we’ll be going a little bit deeper into the modes we learned last month by learning how to apply them across our fretboard. </p> <p>But before we get into that, I want to address a common misconception a lot of guitarists have when learning the modes. They think of modes as completely separate entities, as opposed to different aspects of one scale. </p> <p>This was something that confused me too when I started learning about modes, so I want to make sure we’re absolutely clear on exactly what modes are and how they function.</p> <p>Let’s start off by taking a look at the first position of the A minor pentatonic we’ve learned: </p> <p><img src="/files/imce-images/graphic1620.jpg" width="620" height="286" alt="graphic1620.jpg" /> </p> <p>Say we were playing in the key of A minor; the pitches we would emphasize in this first position are the A notes, which are highlighted in the chart above. Of course, there are various other notes we could emphasize on in this position, but as long as the chord is A minor, we stick to emphasizing those A notes. </p> <p>When we move to the second position of the A minor pentatonic scale, the structure of this position looks different from the first, but as long as we’re playing in the key of A minor, we’d still be trying to find those A notes to emphasize them. </p> <p><img src="/files/imce-images/graphic2620.jpg" width="620" height="286" alt="graphic2620.jpg" /></p> <p>In the same way, as we keep moving through the remaining three positions of the A minor pentatonic scale, we’d keep emphasizing those A notes. </p> <p>When we move onto the diatonic scale, things can get a bit confusing because sometimes we label the first shape of the diatonic scale as Ionian, the second as Dorian and the third as Phrygian, and so on and so forth. To clear things up, let’s take a look at the first spread-finger shape of the G major scale:</p> <p><img src="/files/imce-images/graphic3620.jpg" width="620" height="286" alt="graphic3620.jpg" /></p> <p>Remember that if you want to change to a different key, you can simply move this shape around. For example, C major would be: </p> <p><img src="/files/imce-images/graphic4620.jpg" width="620" height="286" alt="graphic4620.jpg" /> </p> <p>Going back to our example, let’s take a look at the second shape of the G major scale: </p> <p><img src="/files/imce-images/graphic5620.jpg" width="620" height="286" alt="graphic5620.jpg" /></p> <p>Sometimes people refer to this second position as Dorian. But we know from last month’s lesson that Dorian simply means “two,” and when we say we’re playing in A Dorian, we’re still in the key of G major and simply emphasizing the note A and the chord A minor. </p> <p>But here’s the thing: Instead of moving to the second position, we can still stay in the first position of G major and target the A notes in that shape. </p> <p><img src="/files/imce-images/graphic6620.jpg" width="620" height="286" alt="graphic6620.jpg" /></p> <p>Stop thinking that if you want to play in Dorian you HAVE to move to the second position. Or that if you want to play in Phrygian you HAVE to move to the third position, and so on. Just as the five pentatonic shapes allow you to navigate across your entire fretboard, I want you to internalize the fact that the seven shapes of the diatonic scale allow you to play across your whole fretboard while emphasizing any note you want, in any position you want. </p> <p>Instead of looking at your fretboard and visualizing the first position as Ionian, the second position as Dorian, the third as Phrygian and so on, work on being able to visualize all seven positions across your fretboard while remembering you also can emphasize whichever note you want across all seven positions. </p> <p>A good way of approaching this is to first memorize all seven positions of the diatonic scale across the fretboard. You can do this by tackling a couple of positions at a time, then connecting them to each other, the same way we did with the pentatonic scales, until you can connect them across the entire fretboard. </p> <p>Once you’ve done that, and once you’ve also internalized what we learned in last month’s lesson, when someone says you need to play in G Dorian, all you’ll have to do is understand that you’re really in F major. Move all seven positions to coincide with the key of F and then emphasize the G notes across all the scale shapes. </p> <p>By doing this, you prevent yourself from falling into the trap of segregating yourself to specific scale shapes when wanting to play in a specific mode. In addition, this helps with your absolute understanding of modes and how they relate to the major scales they are a part of. </p> <p>Say you need to play in a specific mode; all you need to do is grasp which major scale you’re in, visualize the seven shapes of that scale across your fretboard and then decide on the notes to emphasize across these scale shapes. For instance, if you need to play in D Mixolydian, you need to first understand that you’re in the key of G. </p> <p>Then you can visualize the seven shapes of the G major scale across your fretboard and finally target and emphasize the D notes in these shapes to play in D Mixolydian. If you’re having trouble spotting the notes across your frets, you might want to revisit some of the earlier lessons in this series where we talked about learning the notes across each string. </p> <p>As always, I hope you practice hard and work on these concepts until you internalize them. I’ll talk to you soon! </p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="//" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <p><strong>Try any lesson or class on <a href=""></a>. Your satisfaction is guaranteed. You’ll find great teachers in a multitude of instruments, genres and levels. For more information, <a href="">head here.</a></strong></p> <p><strong><em>Steve Stine is a longtime and sought-after guitar teacher who is professor of Modern Guitar Studies at North Dakota State University. Over the last 27 years, he has taught thousands of students, including established touring musicians, and released numerous video guitar lesson courses via established publishers. A resident of Fargo, North Dakota, today he is more accessible than ever before through the convenience of live online guitar lessons at <a href=";aff_id=1001"></a></em></strong></p> LessonFace Steve Stine Videos Blogs Lessons Mon, 12 Jan 2015 19:01:53 +0000 Steve Stine Two-Hand Tapping Workout, Part 1: Pentatonic Scales <!--paging_filter--><p>In this lesson, I'm going to show you a two-hand tapping workout based on the foundation of my previous lesson, <a href="">“Pentatonic Workout: Increase Left Hand Strength and Produce Great-Sounding Sequences."</a> </p> <p>Assuming you're already comfortable with the five positions of the pentatonic scale and the sequences discussed in this previous lesson, we'll now take it to the next level. </p> <p>We’ll use the A minor pentatonic scale at the fifth position as our example, but you will want to make sure you can perform this routine in all five positions of the pentatonic scale. </p> <p>This workout starts with the A minor pentatonic scale ascending and descending, with the added element of our right hand, tapping an additional note normally found in the next position of the scale (<strong>Example 1</strong>).</p> <p><img src="/files/imce-images/Ex._1_0.jpg" width="620" height="107" alt="Ex._1_0.jpg" /> </p> <p>After this establishes the fingering for your left and right hands, the workout continues with a two-string sequence, where you play the “high note-low note-middle note” tapping pattern across sixth and fifth strings. This pattern starts again on the fifth string, continues to the fourth string, then repeats in a similar fashion ascending across all six strings. Turn the direction around to descend (<strong>Example 2</strong>).</p> <p><img src="/files/imce-images/Ex_2.jpg" width="620" height="192" alt="Ex_2.jpg" /> </p> <p>The third part of the workout is a sequence that ascends in nine-note groups (three strings’ worth of tapped pentatonic scale), then back a string, start on the D (fifth string) and ascend another nine notes (three strings). </p> <p>Continue this pattern until you start the sequence on the G string, at which point you simply turn the pattern around and perform the sequence in reverse: From the high E string, you play the tapping pattern descending nine note (three strings), go back a string and start the pattern again on the B string, and again, continuing in the same fashion (<strong>Example 3</strong>).</p> <p><img src="/files/imce-images/Ex._3_0.jpg" width="620" height="175" alt="Ex._3_0.jpg" /></p> <p>The fourth and final part of the tapping workout involves string skipping. Using the same tapping pattern (high note-low note-middle note) as before, start on the low E string, skip the A string, play the pattern on the D string, go back to the A string and start the pattern again, then skip the D string, and play the tapping pattern on the G string. This pattern continues, gets turned around like before, and then works its way back in reverse (<strong>Example 4</strong>).</p> <p><img src="/files/imce-images/Ex._4_0.jpg" width="620" height="191" alt="Ex._4_0.jpg" /> </p> <p>I like to string these four examples together, playing then back to back, without stopping. I find this forces me to think ahead, be able to change gears and mix things up in my regular playing more easily.</p> <p>Practice these as straight eighth notes, as well as triplets. Once you are able to play these four elements back to back without any problems, try it with the other four pentatonic positions. Use a metronome to gauge your progress, and push yourself to play these at a faster tempo once they become comfortable.</p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="//" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <p><em>Guitarist Adrian Galysh is a solo artist, and education coordinator for Guitar Center Studios. He's the author of the book Progressive Guitar Warmups and Exercises. For more information, visit him at <a href=""></a></em></p> <p><strong> readers can enjoy a FREE download of Galysh's song "Spring (The Return)" by clicking <a href="">HERE.</a></strong></p> Adrian Galysh Videos Blogs Lessons Mon, 12 Jan 2015 18:12:55 +0000 Adrian Galysh The GAS Man: What’s the Story? <!--paging_filter--><p>We are the storytelling species. It’s part of what creates and shapes our humanness. </p> <p>But it’s not just ourselves we surround with stories, it’s things as well. Stories enable us to humanize objects and thereby imbue them with greater personal value. </p> <p>When it comes to our guitars, the story behind each forms part of what we guitarists call its “mojo.”</p> <p>Let’s take a simple example. Suppose you bought a guitar and then found out months later that its previous owner was one of your favorite guitarists. I suspect that guitar would suddenly become even more important to you. And in that way might well come to sound and play better to you. In guitar terms, its mojo would have increased.</p> <p>The story is therefore part of its worth.</p> <p>This applies to entire categories of guitars. Why would you buy a Les Paul? Maybe because it’s the best guitar in the shop. But partly, I’m guessing, it’s because of the history, the legacy, the story. This is the guitar of Les Paul, Eric Clapton, Jimmy Page and Slash. The iconic instrument behind songs like “Money for Nothing” and “Whole Lotta Love.”</p> <p>Often it’s not just the type of guitar, it’s how you bought it that makes the story. Think of this as “The Story of the Hunt.” Maybe you got a great deal at your local BBGS (Big Box Guitar Store). We all love to say we got a bargain. Paradoxically, the opposite story applies as well. And here I’m talking to you, Mr. “I Just Dropped 10 Large on a Vintage Acoustic.” </p> <p>In the first case, it’s that we got a more valuable guitar than what we paid, which implies value added to the gear above its cost. In the second case, it’s coming right out and saying that because we paid so much, it must be that valuable. At least that’s the hope, right?</p> <p>The type of story that adds value to our guitars can change over time. What detracts value to one generation might add value to the next. Let me show you what I mean. </p> <p>Originally a new guitar was, quite logically, worth more than a used one. A used guitar was merely older and pre-owned—as indicated by the lower price tag. But at some point in the 1950s, players began seeking out certain older instruments—Martin and Gibson acoustics, for instance. They felt that the older models were better than what was currently being sold. </p> <p>Not long after, the idea of a guitar or amp (or even pedal, eventually) being “vintage” acquired cache. It became a magical term. Vintage automatically added two stories—that it was better merely “used” and that it lead an interesting life before it came into your hands. We enjoyed imagining all the bars and stages and jams where it had been played.</p> <p>Guitar manufacturers became aware of this, and they now offer both kinds of stories pre-made in new instruments, by issuing recreations not only of vintage models but of specific guitars played by various guitar heroes. Nowadays you can go to your local dealer and buy a brand-new guitar that has echoes of the stories of vintage and fame—at a sizable upcharge, naturally. Such is the cost of storytelling.</p> <p>And of course, there are relic-ed guitars that imply their own stories of years of use.</p> <p>But it’s the personal story I like best. The one intrinsic to that individual guitar that helps make it unique.</p> <p>When I look at my own favorite pieces of gear, I can recall the story behind each one—where it came from and how I came to own it—from the ‘27 Martin that was a 40th birthday gift from my wife to the ‘66 Deluxe Reverb I bought from the proverbial trunk of a car.</p> <p>But the story doesn’t end there. </p> <p>If we allow that stories add value to our gear, then it’s worth noting that the story isn’t finished the day we buy that guitar or amp. In fact, for a new piece of equipment, it’s really just the first chapter. By playing it in all sorts of situations, it gains a history. Each recording a guitar was used on, that jam with friends, even the repaired headstock crack from where you tried to show off but ended up crashing into your drummer’s hi-hat, every time you make a memory with your guitar you add a story. </p> <p>And that just makes your guitar more valuable. So go out and play. It’s story time.</p> <p><em>William Baeck is a writer, photographer and hack guitarist living in London. You can check out his webpage at <a href=""></a> and reach him on <a href="">Facebook</a> and <a href="">Twitter.</a></em></p> mojo The GAS Man William Baeck Blogs Fri, 09 Jan 2015 16:51:44 +0000 William Baeck Whole Lotta Editing: Five Awesome Led Zeppelin Mashups <!--paging_filter--><p>Recently, the eternally surprising Jimmy Page streamed a track called "Ramblize" at his official website. </p> <p>It was an unlikely mashup of Led Zeppelin's "Ramble On" and Notorious B.I.G.'s "Hypnotize."</p> <p>Several news outlets reported that it was a brand-new track, but it actually has been available on good ol' YouTube for more than two years—and you can hear it below. That's because the song is one fifth of our brief but mesmerizing list of cool Led Zeppelin mashups, most of which revolve around "Whole Lotta Love."</p> <p>Mashups are nothing new. They've been happening since those dudes in the old Reese's Peanut Butter Cups commercials kept getting chocolate in the other guy's peanut butter (and peanut butter in the chocolate, of course). Mashups require a great deal of editing and patience—and it helps when the songs being mashed are in the same key. </p> <p>Anyway, check out our five choices for the best Led Zeppelin mashups. Mind you, some of these get into "remix" territory, which brings up the old "What's the difference between a remix and a mashup?" argument. </p> <p>Fortunately, we don't care—and we really don't have time to delve into that at the moment. Just enjoy these five tracks!</p> <p>P.S.: We've started things off with the best. The Zeppelin/Sabbath mashup is brilliant, and the video is top notch! </p> <p><strong>01. "Whole Lotta Love" with Black Sabbath's "War Pigs"</strong></p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="//" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe><br /> <br /><br /> <strong>02. "Whole Lotta Love" with the Beatles' "Helter Skelter"</strong></p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="//" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe><br /> <br /><br /> <strong>03. "Whole Lotta Love" with James Brown's "Sex Machine"</strong></p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="//" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe><br /> <br /><br /> <strong>04. "Ramble On" with Notorious B.I.G.'s "Hypnotize"</strong></p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="//" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe><br /> <br /><br /> <strong>05. "When the Levee Breaks" with the Beach Boys' "Sloop John B"</strong></p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="//" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <fieldset class="fieldgroup group-additional-content"><legend>Additional Content</legend><div class="field field-type-nodereference field-field-related-artist"> <div class="field-label"><p><strong>Related Artist:</strong>&nbsp;<p></div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/led-zeppelin">Led Zeppelin</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/jimmy-page">Jimmy Page</a> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> Jimmy Page Led Zeppelin Blogs Features Fri, 09 Jan 2015 13:24:01 +0000 Damian Fanelli Jazz Guitar Corner: Soloing with the Mixed Blues Scale <!--paging_filter--><p>Learning to play the blues in a jazzy style means stepping outside the minor blues scale and exploring other melodic options in your solos. </p> <p>But you don’t need to go very far to find a cool-sounding scale that can jazz up your blues solos in no time. </p> <p>In today’s lesson, we’ll be looking into the mixed blues scale, which combines the notes from the minor and major blues scales to outline the underlying blues chord changes, while retaining a healthy dose of the blues at the same time. </p> <p><strong>Major and Minor Blues Scales</strong></p> <p>To begin, here's a quick review of the minor and major blues scales, written over an A7 chord in the example below. </p> <p>The minor blues scale contains the notes R-b3-4-#4-5-b7, and the major blues scale contains the notes R-2-b3-3-5-6, so they share a few notes and have a few different notes between them. </p> <p>The notes they share are the root, b3 and 5th, while the other notes are different between the two scales; minor blues has the 4, #4 and b7; while the major blues scale has 2, 3 and 6.</p> <p>Try playing both of these scales back to back over an A7 chord, with a backing track if possible, in order to hear how they both sound when applied to a chord such as A7. </p> <p><img src="/files/imce-images/Jazz%20Blues%20Scale%201.jpg" width="620" height="154" alt="Jazz Blues Scale 1.jpg" /></p> <p><strong>Mixed Blues Scale</strong></p> <p>Now that you've looked at both of these scales separately, we’re going to combine the major and minor blues scales in order to build what I like to call the mixed blues scale. </p> <p>This scale contains all of the notes from both scales, R-2-b3-3-4-#4-5-6-b7, and has a sound that outlines the chord, since it has the R-3-5-b7 arpeggio built into it, and remains bluesy with the b3 and #4 at the same time. </p> <p>While you could play all of these notes in order, as I wrote out in the previous paragraph, you’ll see in the example below that I leave out certain notes along the way, notes that get added in later in the scale. </p> <p>This is mostly due to the fact that many famous players who use this scale tend to use certain notes in specific octaves, so I’ve written it out in that way to get you into that style quickly and accurately when adding this scale to your soloing repertoire. </p> <p>Try putting on an A7 backing track and play up and down this scale to hear how it sounds over that chord, and then begin to improvise over an A7 harmony using only the A mixed blues scale as the basis for your lines to hear how it sounds in a soloing situation. </p> <p><img src="/files/imce-images/Jazz%20Blues%20Scale%202.jpg" width="620" height="154" alt="Jazz Blues Scale 2.jpg" /> </p> <p><strong>Mixed Blues Scale Lick</strong></p> <p>Lastly, here’s an example of a lick over A7 built with the notes from the A mixed blues scale. </p> <p>Since this scale contains the notes of the A7 arpeggio, you need to treat it more like an arpeggio than a blues scale, meaning that if you have an A7 chord, you play the A mixed blues scale. If you have a D7 chord, you play a D7 mixed blues scale and so on. </p> <p>Try this lick out and see how it sounds over an A7 chord, before transposing it to other keys, adding it to your solo vocabulary and writing/learning a number of mixed blues scale licks of your own as you explore this concept further in the woodshed. </p> <p><iframe width="100%" height="166" scrolling="no" frameborder="no" src=""></iframe></p> <p><img src="/files/imce-images/Jazz%20Blues%20Scale%203.jpg" width="620" height="162" alt="Jazz Blues Scale 3.jpg" /></p> <p>Do you have a question about this mixed blues scale lesson? Share your comments and questions in the COMMENTS section below. </p> <p><em>Matt Warnock is the owner of <a href=""></a>, a free website that provides hundreds of lessons and resources designed to help guitarists of all experience levels meet their practice and performance goals. Matt lives in the UK, where he is a lecturer in Popular Music Performance at the University of Chester and an examiner for the London College of Music (Registry of Guitar Tutors).</em></p> Jazz Guitar Corner Matt Warnock Blogs Lessons Thu, 08 Jan 2015 19:33:35 +0000 Matt Warnock Beyond the Fretboard: The Harmonic Hierarchy of a Scale <!--paging_filter--><p>Common sources of confusion for less-experienced guitarists are the concepts of chord tones, non-chord tones, passing tones — and the differences between all three. </p> <p>This topic came up recently when I was teaching a student via Skype.</p> <p>He knew some of the basic scales (major, minor, pentatonic, etc.) and how to use them in soloing situations. But he thought he sounded like he was just running through patterns. No soul, no tasteful phrasing, just regurgitating patterns. Particularly, he didn't really know which notes to hold out and which notes sounded the best to bend.</p> <p>This feeling of "hitting a wall" is something we've all gone through as musicians. Our initial reaction might be to quickly slap a Band-Aid over the situation and learn more licks or new scales. Sometimes that approach can help us get out of a slump. But in this situation, are we really addressing the student's concerns? No.</p> <p>It's as if we're just prescribing various medications to treat a patient's chronic illness without examining its root cause, and determining whether we can offer a complete cure. Understanding why things happen and formulating a strategy of preventative medicine is the best approach in this analogy.</p> <p>Instead of memorizing countless scale patterns from a book or a website, let's try to understand why certain notes sound better than others within these patterns.</p> <p>We'll first look at chord tones. If you're familiar with some basic music theory, you might know that all major and minor chords are built on a foundation of three notes known as a triad. It is comprised of the first, third and fifth notes found within either a major scale (major chord) or a minor scale (minor chord).</p> <p>The first note (the root) is obviously the center of attention and, consequently, all other notes will be judged either on their stable or unstable relationship to the tonal center. The third and fifth notes will have the strongest connection to the root note. Think of them as being in the "goldilocks" zone; they're not too far away from the root, not too close, but in just the right spot which produces a very appealing and balanced harmony. Bending or sliding into these notes will translate into a pleasing sense of resolution to the listener.</p> <p>The second, sixth and seventh notes could be considered non-chord tones. They're still very useful, but they each introduce varying degrees of tension in relation to the tonal center. However, tension isn't always a bad thing and could add some much needed character to otherwise predictable sounding licks. You can sit on any of these notes, but beware, your ear will most likely pull you toward the nearest chord tone. At that point, you can decide how much tension you're willing to tolerate.</p> <p>The fourth note is almost in a league if its own. When playing in a major key, the fourth is only a half step (semitone) away from the third. This makes things sound very tense if you decide to hold out this note. It will never sound resolved, always wanting to rest on the major third.</p> <p>In a minor key, the tension is less obvious because that flat (minor) third is a whole step away from the fourth. In some rock and blues progressions, you can ride on the fourth for a little while and use that tension to your advantage. As always, use your ears and experiment.</p> <p>Since any major or minor scale contains only seven notes (and there are 12 notes in Western music), we can assume there will always be five non-harmonic notes in a given musical context. These notes will never sound stable in relation to the tonal center and, therefore, we call them passing tones. Treat them with caution, but they've been used to great effect in blues, jazz and some rock music.</p> <p>So now we have a harmonic hierarchy of notes in order of their primary (chord tones), secondary (non-chord tones) and tertiary (passing tones) roles. We can write licks and phrases based on this knowledge and decide when to maximize tension or resolution.</p> <p>When you become comfortable with this hierarchy, memorizing patterns will seem less important. What's now important is the emotional impact you can communicate through your solos.</p> <p><em>Photo: <a href="">orangeacid</a> via <a href="">photopin</a> <a href="">cc</a></em></p> <p><em>Chris Breen is a New Jersey-based guitarist with 14 years of experience under his belt. He, along with his brother Jon (on drums) started the two-piece metal project known as <a href="">SCARSIC</a> in 2011. Due to a lack of members, Chris tracked guitars, bass and vocals for their self titled four-song demo (available on iTunes, Spotify and Rhapsody). They have recently been joined by bassist Bill Loucas and are writing new material. Chris also is part of an all-acoustic side project known as <a href="">Eyes Turn Stone</a>. Chris teaches guitar lessons as well (in person or via Skype). If you're interested in taking lessons with Chris, visit <a href=""></a> for more info.</em></p> Beyond the Fretboard Chris Breen Blogs Lessons Thu, 08 Jan 2015 19:24:27 +0000 Chris Breen Let There Be Rock: AC/DC's Angus Young on the Rhythm Playing of Malcolm Young <!--paging_filter--><p><em>This entry comes from Angus Young's classic </em>Guitar World<em> column, "Let There Be Rock."</em></p> <p><strong><a href="">Last time</a>, we ended the column by talking about your brother Malcolm's rhythm playing and what it adds to AC/DC's sound.</strong></p> <p><strong>ANGUS YOUNG:</strong> Malcolm's really underrated. He makes the band sound so full, and I couldn't ask for a better rhythm player. Sometimes I look at Malcolm while he's playing, and I'm completely awestruck by the sheer power of it. He's doing something much more unique than what I do—with that raw, natural sound of his. </p> <p>People like Malcolm, Steve Cropper, Chuck Berry and Keith Richards—they're all doing something better than the rest of us. I can't deny that Eric Clapton's and Eddie Van Halen's lead stuff has influenced a stack of people, but for me it's the rhythm thing that's way more impressive and important to a band.</p> <p>Malcolm is a big inspiration to me; he keeps me on my feet. Even when I'm tired from running around the stage for two hours, I'll look back at what he's doing and it gives me that boot up the backside I sometimes need. [laughs] Also, he can always tell me if I'm playing well or if I'm not. </p> <p>Mal's a very tough critic, and I know that if I can please him, I can please the world. A lot of people say, "AC/DC—that's the band with the little guy who runs around in school shorts!" But I wouldn't be able to do what I do without Malcolm and the other guys pumping out the rhythm. They make me look good.</p> <p>Mal is really a great all-around guitarist. I know it says "rhythm guitar" on the album jacket, but if he sits down to play a solo, he can do it better than me. Not a lot of people have picked up on this, but in the early days he used to play lead. But then he said to me, "No, you take the solos. I'll just bang away back here." And what's more, he actually plays rhythms. He just doesn't make a noise; he works them out, and he knows when not to play.</p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="//" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <p><strong>What Malcolm plays behind your intro to "For Those About to Rock (We Salute You)" is a great example of what you're talking about here. It's powerful, yet sparse, complements your part perfectly and is very well thought out.</strong></p> <p>Yeah, he's right on the money on that one. As soon as he comes in, he kicks the song into a higher gear. He immediately lets you know what it's all about and who it is. I mean, as soon as you hear that first B chord, you know it's him. </p> <p>And, if you listen carefully to what he's doing, he's not just repeating the same four-bar riff over and over. It's different each time around, and that really helps build up the intensity of the intro until the whole band gets going. To do this kind of thing well isn't easy; you have to be a master of rhythm, and that's exactly what Mal is.</p> <p>My part in AC/DC is just adding the color on top. Mal's the band's foundation. He's rock solid and he pumps it along with the power of a machine. He doesn't play like a machine, though. Everything he does grooves and he always seems to know exactly what to play and when to play it. He's a very percussive player too, his right hand just doesn't stop sometimes. It's scary, it really is!</p> <p><strong>The first verse riff in "Dog Eat Dog" [<em>Let There Be Rock</em>] is a perfect example of Mal's percussive approach.</strong></p> <p>Yeah. I play short, sharp stabs while Mal does something a little more busy. He's like a friggin' human metronome. It's all in his right wrist, y'know!</p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="//" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <fieldset class="fieldgroup group-additional-content"><legend>Additional Content</legend><div class="field field-type-nodereference field-field-related-artist"> <div class="field-label"><p><strong>Related Artist:</strong>&nbsp;<p></div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/acdc">AC/DC</a> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> ACDC Angus Young Let There Be Rock Malcolm Young Blogs News Features Lessons Magazine Tue, 06 Jan 2015 16:08:00 +0000 Nick Bowcott You CAN Carry on Your Guitar — New Ruling for Air Travel <!--paging_filter--><p>That whooshing sound you hear is millions of guitar players exhaling in one, collective sigh of relief. </p> <p>On December 30, 2014, the U.S. Department of Transportation finally issued a final rule to implement section 403 of the FAA Modernization and Reform Act of 2012 (Pub. L. 112-95, 49 U.S.C. §41724) regarding the carriage of musical instruments as carry-on baggage or checked baggage on commercial passenger flights operated by air carriers. </p> <p>The final rule does not change the earlier provisions of the Act, but mercifully puts a period at the end of the sentence:</p> <p>"Section 403 of the Act and this final rule provide that <strong>carriers are required to allow passengers to stow their musical instruments in an approved stowage area in the cabin only if at the time the passenger boards the aircraft such stowage space is available.</strong> </p> <p>"With the exception of certain disability assistance devices, overhead bins or under seat stowage space is available to all passengers and crew members for their carry-on baggage on a “first come, first served” basis. Accordingly, carriers are not required to remove other passengers’ or crew members’ carry-on baggage that is already stowed in order to make space for a musical instrument. However, this also means <strong>carriers are not allowed to require a passenger to remove his or her musical instrument that is already safely stowed (e.g., in the overhead bin) to make room for carry-on baggage of other passengers who boarded the aircraft later than the passenger with the musical instrument.</strong> </p> <p>"This is true even if the space taken by the musical instrument could accommodate one or more other carry-on items."</p> <p>Hallelujah! The entire text of the <a href="">Final Rule is available here.</a></p> <p>The DOT has also provided a helpful page with links to procedures for complaining to an airline or to the DOT regarding air travel with instruments, and tips for traveling with a musical instrument, <a href="">available here. </a></p> <p>Best practices? <strong>PRINT A COPY OF THE RULE AND CARRY IT WITH YOU WHEN YOU TRAVEL</strong> so you can stop arguing with that officious ticket agent who insists that you have to check your guitar as baggage or buy another seat for it. And exhale. While you’re at it, add a couple of words—we call that singing. And this is definitely worth singing about!!</p> <p><em>Singer-songwriter Laura Zucker wins audiences over with a hard-won perspective and a positive spin. The powerful imagery of her songs and stories ring so true you might think she’s read your diary – and you’ll find yourself humming her infectious melodies for days to come. She’s a two-time finalist in the prestigious Kerrville Folk Festival New Folk competition in Texas, 2013 West Coast Songwriters Association Best Song of the Year, and has received numerous accolades and awards from the organizations around the world. She has released four CDs of original songs with the latest, <em>Life Wide Open,</em> released in late 2013. Find tour dates, music and more at <a href=""> </a></em></p> Acoustic Nation air travel touring Blogs Blogs News Tue, 06 Jan 2015 04:26:08 +0000 Laura Zucker What In the World: Celtic Phrasing Using Grace Note Articulations <!--paging_filter--><p>Different styles of music have varying approaches to ornamenting notes — from a subtle trill in classical music, to gamaka, the technique of quickly going back and forth from a pitch to the closest microtone in Indian music. </p> <p>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. </p> <p>There can be one grace note above or below the target note, or in the case of the piece I wrote for this lesson, several notes. The effect should be subtle enough that the listener may not realize that other notes were played around the melody note, but that something else is happening besides the melody.</p> <p>So why do we want to learn this technique? Two reasons. The first would be if you want to expand your palate of phrasing by taking in techniques of different styles. The second would be that by practicing the techniques in this lesson, you will develop more strength and clarity in your legato playing. </p> <p>This lesson is for everyone, regardless if you want to learn Celtic music or just want to learn a new technique to strengthen your left hand by doing something you aren’t accustomed to. Some examples you can find in rock music are the guitar intro to Thin Lizzy’s version of “Whiskey in a Jar” and the second half of Steve Morse’s “Highland Wedding."</p> <p>In the piece I wrote for this lesson, “Galtymore Crest," I’ve included several instances of grace note phrasing. Playing the piece can actually serve as a good warmup/workout if done daily at different tempos.</p> <p><img src="/files/imce-images/Unknown-4.jpg" width="620" height="565" alt="Unknown-4.jpg" /></p> <p>A few sections to focus on, would be the initial phrase and first instance of the grace note passage:</p> <p><img src="/files/imce-images/Unknown-1.jpg" width="400" height="183" alt="Unknown-1.jpg" /></p> <p>Bar 4 presents a phrase with a stretch:</p> <p><img src="/files/imce-images/Unknown-2_0.jpeg" width="200" height="193" alt="Unknown-2_0.jpeg" /></p> <p>Finally, the second half of bar 5 has a 4 note, grace note phrase that you will want to practice until all of the notes come out clearly.</p> <p><img src="/files/imce-images/Unknown-3.jpeg" width="225" height="176" alt="Unknown-3.jpeg" /></p> <p>I hope the tools presented in this lesson will add some new techniques to your playing and inspire you to try things you may not have thought of before. </p> <p><iframe width="620" height="360" src="" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <p><em>Steve Booke is a composer for film and TV from the New York area. His compositions range from orchestral to metal to world styles from every corner of the earth. A graduate of Berklee College of Music, Steve has played guitar for more than 27 years. He has recorded 10 albums of his own and has played on countless others. He plays gigs in the NY area and tours the East Coast with a variety of bands. He has performed with Ben E. King and members of Mahavishnu Orchestra. He endorses D'Addario/Planet Waves, Larrivee Guitars, Levy's Leathers, Peavey, Stylus Pick, Finale PrintMusic, Pigtronix, Tech 21, Toontrack, Graph Tech, Seymour Duncan, Waves, Studio Devil and L.R. Baggs. His music is available on iTunes and Amazon. He can be contacted at Visit <a href=""></a>.</em></p> Steve Booke What In the World Blogs Lessons Mon, 05 Jan 2015 15:30:21 +0000 Steve Booke Guitar Tricks: 11 Tricks to Singing and Playing Guitar at the Same Time <!--paging_filter--><p>Are you one of the many guitarists who struggle with coordinating their hands and vocals? You know, you can play the song. You can sing the song. But it all goes to pot when you try to do both simultaneously. </p> <p>Singing while playing guitar can be a daunting challenge for a beginner. A good sense of timing and rhythm and the ability to synthesize two different actions is necessary to pull it off. But like everything else you've learned to do on the guitar, it can be mastered. </p> <p>Here are 11 tips to help get you started: </p> <p><strong>01. Apples and…apples!</strong> Like a pianist who uses both hands to play two different rhythms concurrently, or a drummer who uses all four limbs working independently, you need to meld your strumming and singing rhythms so that they sound seamless. Playing and singing aren't two separate things.</p> <p><strong>02. Simple rhythms, simple rhymes.</strong> Don't complicate the task unnecessarily by choosing songs that exceed your skill level. This will only leave you feeling frustrated and defeated. Start off learning easy songs that you like and know well. Songs that only have a few chords, a simple strum pattern and lyrics you can easily remember, like "Happy Birthday." Or you might like to learn a song or two from <a href="">10 Famous Songs with Three Chords or Less.</a> </p> <p><strong>03. Know your guitar basics.</strong> Trying to remember how to finger a B7 chord while playing is going to make singing at the same time virtually impossible. Your guitar playing must be at a level where chord changes are effortless. You need to be so comfortable with your strumming that you don't even have to think about it. This will free you up to concentrate singing. </p> <p><strong>04. Practice strumming with a metronome.</strong> For better timing and rhythm, practice with a metronome. Although it will feel a bit restrictive at first, a metronome will make you a more consistent player. Spend 10 minutes a day practicing a simple strumming pattern with a metronome, and you'll notice significant improvements in your timing within a few weeks. </p> <p><strong>05. Know how to play the song.</strong> Play the music on your guitar until you have it memorized and can perform it fluently. One way to tell if you've mastered a song is to play it while reading aloud from a book lying open in front of you, or playing it flawlessly while watching television or carrying on a conversation. </p> <p><strong>06. Know how to sing the song.</strong> In addition to getting all chord changes down pat, you have to know the tune and lyrics. This may require putting the guitar down for a time in order to focus purely on the singing. Pick a song and memorize the words. Sing it out loud. Sing along with a recording. Sing it in the shower. Sing it to your cat. When you can sing the song without a hitch it's time to sync things up.</p> <p><strong>07. Hum first.</strong> You may find it helpful to first hum the parts of the melody over your strumming pattern before actually singing them. This will allow you the chance to get used to any chord changes without having to concern yourself with lyrics straight off. Once you get used to humming different parts of the melodies, you'll gradually become comfortable singing it. </p> <p><strong>08. Slow down.</strong> It's far better to sing and play correctly, albeit slowly, than to be fudging rhythms at full speed. Go through the song measure by measure, line by line, until you can play and sing it all the way through without errors. Speed will come once you iron out all the kinks. </p> <p><strong>09. A note on fingerpicking.</strong> If you're playing a song that uses fingerpicking, you might find it helpful to take a few steps back to start. First, sing using a simple strum pattern to play the chords. Once you got the song down perfectly this way, move on to a more complex strum pattern, and then ultimately to the original picking pattern. </p> <p><strong>10. Changing key.</strong> If you find yourself straining to hit a song's notes, try changing the key so that the guitar's tones adapt to your voice. Move the chords up a fret or two. You can transpose a piece to either a lower or a higher pitch. Try singing again until you find a key that suits your voice. You can also change the key by using a capo. This allows you to keep the same fingering as the original.</p> <p><strong>11. Practice.</strong> Learning to incorporate vocals into your guitar playing takes practice. Even once you have acquired the basic skill, you will be adding more and more songs to your repertoire, some of which may contain awkward combinations of rhythms that can trip you up. When this happens, break the song down into parts and work through the problem areas just like you did when you first learned how to synchronize your playing with your vocals. </p> <p><em>Kathy Dickson writes for the online guitar lesson site <a href=""></a></em> </p> Acoustic Nation Guitar Tricks Kathy Dickson Blogs Blogs Mon, 05 Jan 2015 15:25:21 +0000 Kathy Dickson