Fifty years ago today—March 13, 1965—guitarist Eric Clapton quit the Yardbirds. It's one of the best things that ever happened—period. Clapton, a self-declared blues purist, thought the band—which included vocalist Keith Relf, guitarist Chris Dreja, bassist Paul Samwell-Smith and drummer Jim McCarty—was getting too commercial.
Last week, I showed you how to take a common 2x4 plank and easily turn it into a playable lap steel guitar. (You can see those plans right here.) For this week, I've built a second 2x4 lap steel and improved its sound and setup; I even gave it a hobo-art look. I’ve listed links to the parts at the very bottom of this story, where you'll also find a new demo video.
We can always memorize new chords. That’s not hard. But what if we learned the structure and the music theory behind those chords first? What if we put the time into gaining a complete, academic understanding of what we’re playing? People shy away from music theory because it’s hard. And I’m not going to tell you otherwise.
As the Black Label Society's leader (and Ozzy's guitarist for more years than anyone else), Zakk Wylde has become infamous for his brew-tal riffage and lethal lead style. Remarkably, though, he also has a soul-stirring softer side.
This month, I’d like to delve deeper into concepts for expanding scalar ideas across the fretboard. As in the previous columns, I’ll demonstrate how to move diagonally across the fretboard to connect scale positions, an approach that I employ to a great extent to play melodic phrases and solos.
One of the biggest hurdles many jazz guitarists face early in their development is being able to connect chords, scales and arpeggios in their playing without having to jump all over the fretboard between shapes. When I was first learning how to play jazz, one of the best lessons I ever learned came from a comment I read from Joe Pass.
Something major happened on the two-hour drive back home that evening: Instead of wringing my hands and lamenting the gig (as was usually the case), I started asking myself, "What are the specific details that went into my bad performance?" I turned off the radio, set the cruise control on the car and went through my whole act, song by song.
Until I had to move to England, it was easy to justify having lots of guitar stuff as (A) I bought it years ago, (B) I didn’t spend that much buying it in the first place (my entire outlay was probably equivalent to a single nice vacation) and (C) storage wasn’t a problem, as I was a homeowner with a garage that managed to contain everything except the car it was intended for.
Nearly all of the greats use arpeggios. Yet, if you're like a lot of guitarists, you might be shying away from them because you fear being overwhelmed by the "Twin Ts": theory and technique. If you have a basic understanding of how chords work, though, it's high time to get your feet wet.
This is one of the easiest homemade guitars I have ever built, and it only took me one hour to make. This lap steel was made from an extra 2x4 I had in my shed and just a few saw cuts to the wood. I even used a pre-wired acoustic soundhole pickup so there was no wiring needed. Anybody can build this lap steel!