Guitar Basics http://www.guitarworld.com/taxonomy/term/87/all en VH1 Save the Music: How to Use Fingering “Extensions” to Make Open Chords Come to Life http://www.guitarworld.com/vh1-save-music-how-use-fingering-extensions-make-open-chords-come-life <!--paging_filter--><p>Hello, my name is Joe Egan. I teach guitar, piano and voice at Holland Elementary School in Boston. </p> <p>One thing I like to do after teaching my students basic chord forms on the guitar is show them how to arpeggiate the chords — pick the notes out one at a time while letting them ring together — and also show them how to create little fingering “extensions” that offer them neat and fairly easy ways to make their chord playing sound more interesting and melodic than simply strumming or arpeggiating the chords. </p> <p>In this lesson, I’ll show you some of these musical “tricks” that I teach my kids.</p> <p>Two common techniques that pop, folk, country and bluegrass guitarist-songwriters typically employ to achieve musical movement within chords are the use of hammer-ons and pull-offs to and from neighboring notes that are easily reachable while forming the chord shape. </p> <p>In this first musical example (see <strong>FIGURE 1</strong>), Iʼm arpeggiating open Am, Dm and E chords while adding little fingering extensions to them and letting the strings ring. In the Am and Dm chords Iʼm doing pull-offs from what’s called the third of each chord to the sus2 as I arpeggiate the shape. On the E chord I’m moving from what’s called the sus4, which in this case is the note on the G string’s second fret, to the third of the chord, which is at the first fret.</p> <p>When pulling-off, it’s important that you pull, or yank, the string downward slightly, in toward your palm, as you release it. If you just lift the finger straight off the string, the note you’re pulling off to will sound weak due to poor string vibration. It’s the pulling motion that gives the pull-off note its volume.</p> <p><iframe width="100%" height="166" scrolling="no" frameborder="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fapi.soundcloud.com%2Ftracks%2F89461917%3Fsecret_token%3Ds-Y6lPN"></iframe></p> <p><img src="/files/imce-images/Joe%20Egan%20FIGURE%201-1.jpg" width="620" height="793" alt="Joe Egan FIGURE 1-1.jpg" /></p> <p><img src="/files/imce-images/part%201%20B.jpg" width="620" height="264" alt="part 1 B.jpg" /></p> <p>In <strong>FIGURE 2</strong>, Iʼm moving from a standard open G chord strum to what’s called “C over G” (notated as C/G) by hammering-on from the open D and B strings to the second- and first-fret E and C notes with my middle and index finger, respectively, all the while holding down the low and high G notes on the outer strings with my ring finger and pinkie. </p> <p>Notice that the A string is not brought into play at all here; while fretting the low G note, I’m using the underside of my ring finger to mute the unused A string and prevent it from ringing as I strum across all six strings with the pick. When playing this example, make sure your hammer-ons are quick and firm. As is the case with pull-offs, the goal with hammer-ons is to make them as loud as the picked notes.</p> <p><iframe width="100%" height="166" scrolling="no" frameborder="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fapi.soundcloud.com%2Ftracks%2F89354879%3Fsecret_token%3Ds-t9wUN"></iframe></p> <p><img src="/files/imce-images/Joe%20Egan%20FIGURE%202.jpg" width="620" height="276" alt="Joe Egan FIGURE 2.jpg" /></p> <p><strong>FIGURE 3</strong> is a country/bluegrass-style rhythm accompaniment pattern using open G, C and D chords with hammer-ons from open strings to fretted chord tones integrated into the strumming. On the G and C chords, we’re hammering-on from the sus2 of the chord, which is on an open string in each case, to the third of the chord, fretted with the middle finger. On the D chord, we’re hammering-on with the index finer from the sus4, which is the open G string, to the fifth of the chord (at the second fret).</p> <p><iframe width="100%" height="166" scrolling="no" frameborder="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fapi.soundcloud.com%2Ftracks%2F89355011%3Fsecret_token%3Ds-SiWss"></iframe></p> <p><img src="/files/imce-images/Joe%20FIG%203-1%20wowo.jpg" width="620" height="703" alt="Joe FIG 3-1 wowo.jpg" /></p> <p><img src="/files/imce-images/Joe%20FIGURE%203-2%20wowo.jpg" width="620" height="694" alt="Joe FIGURE 3-2 wowo.jpg" /></p> <p>Our final example, <strong>FIGURE 4</strong>, is also in the key of G and features melodic extensions within each chord, on one or two strings, which creates that classic Neil Young-style “picky-strum-y” kind of folk-rock accompaniment. What we’re doing here is taking advantage of open strings and moving from the fifth of each chord to the major sixth and also from the root to the second, or ninth.</p> <p><iframe width="100%" height="166" scrolling="no" frameborder="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fapi.soundcloud.com%2Ftracks%2F89355113%3Fsecret_token%3Ds-sO9V3"></iframe></p> <p><img src="/files/imce-images/Joe%20Egan%20FIGURE%204.jpg" width="620" height="688" alt="Joe Egan FIGURE 4.jpg" /></p> <p>Notice in all of the above examples how these chord extensions, used in conjunction with selective strumming of the strings— meaning not just constantly strumming across the entire chords — help give the rhythm pattern a driving forward motion that would be absent without these techniques and makes hem come to life and sound like real songs.</p> <p><em>Joe Egan teaches guitar, piano and voice at Holland Elementary School in Boston.</em> </p> <p><em>Photo: Rob Davidson</em></p> <p><em>The VH1 Save The Music Foundation is a nonprofit organization dedicated to restoring instrumental music education programs in America¹s public schools, and raising awareness about the importance of music as part of each child's complete education. Get involved at <a href="http://vh1savethemusic.com/">vh1savethemusic.org</a></em>.</p> http://www.guitarworld.com/vh1-save-music-how-use-fingering-extensions-make-open-chords-come-life#comments Joe Egan VH1 VH1 Save the Music Beginner Guitar 101 Guitar Basics Blogs Lessons Thu, 25 Apr 2013 16:28:42 +0000 Joe Egan http://www.guitarworld.com/article/18257 VH1 Save the Music: The Importance of Rests, and How to Use Fret-Hand Muting Effectively http://www.guitarworld.com/vh1-save-music-importance-rests-and-how-use-fret-hand-muting-effectively <!--paging_filter--><p>Hello, my name is Matt Blake, and I teach guitar classes at Wells Station Elementary School in Memphis, Tennessee. </p> <p>In this column, I’d like to share with you a useful lesson that I teach my students, and that is the importance of rests, or silence, in music, and how to achieve it in a meaningful, controlled manner. I do this by teaching them some basic, stock jazz “riffs” that are both fun to play and beneficial for their general technique development.</p> <p>Music may be defined simply as “organized sound and silence.” Too often, people tend to overlook the “organized” and “silence” parts. Good phrasing in music comes from the skillful control of just that. </p> <p>On the guitar, it’s not enough to set the strings in motion to create sound and just let the silence fall haphazardly or merely through its interruption by the next sound. You have to purposefully initiate the silence, just as you do the sound. To do this on the guitar, we mute the strings, using either or both hands. In this lesson, I’d like to focus on fret-hand muting and how it can be used to clean up your sound and improve your phrasing.</p> <p>The basic idea of fret-hand muting is to simply relax the hand muscles without actually letting go of, or breaking contact with, the strings. You can think of fret-hand muting as similar to playing a piano keyboard — apply downward pressure when you want sound to occur, and release it when you want it to stop.</p> <p>This basic action is the focus of <strong>FIGURE 1</strong>. Blocking out chords on each beat, it is akin to what is known in jazz as “flat-four”-style chord playing (an approach popularized by guitarist Freddie Green with the legendary Count Basie Band). Notice the staccato markings (the tiny black dots below the notes). After strumming each chord, loosen your grip on the strings just enough to “choke” the chord so that it stops ringing. It should sound like “jump, jump, jump, jump;” rather than “joe, joe, joe, joe.” </p> <p><iframe width="100%" height="166" scrolling="no" frameborder="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fapi.soundcloud.com%2Ftracks%2F88186402%3Fsecret_token%3Ds-2AwDe"></iframe></p> <p><img src="/files/imce-images/1%20blake.png" width="620" height="309" alt="1 blake.png" /></p> <p>You may find it helpful at first to isolate the fret hand and play the exercise as if the neck were a keyboard, repeatedly hammering-on the chord shapes without strumming, then quickly releasing the downward pressure against the strings. The movement should be minimal, and, again, the fingers should not break contact with the strings. Once this feels natural and easy, add the pick-hand strums.</p> <p>Adding an element of syncopation — when sound between the beats is emphasized — <strong>FIGURE 2</strong> makes use of a rhythmic figure popularized by the Benny Golson jazz standard “Killer Joe.” A good way to practice this example is to set your metronome at half the prescribed tempo — 70 beats per minute (bpm) instead of 140 — and have the clicks represent beats two and four. This is a great way to develop a more natural jazz feel. Again, spend some time practicing this with just the fret hand to allow you to really observe and focus on your muting technique. It’s really more about coordination than finger strength.</p> <p><iframe width="100%" height="166" scrolling="no" frameborder="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fapi.soundcloud.com%2Ftracks%2F88186529%3Fsecret_token%3Ds-cbxhz"></iframe></p> <p><img src="/files/imce-images/2%20blake.png" width="620" height="309" alt="2 blake.png" /></p> <p>When tackling our next and final example, “Salamander” (<strong>FIGURE 3</strong>), work out the rhythm first, as there is a fair amount of syncopation (There are pick strokes in the notation to guide you). Set the metronome as indicated and tap out (on a table or your knee), or speak the rhythms at first before playing them on the guitar. </p> <p><iframe width="100%" height="166" scrolling="no" frameborder="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fapi.soundcloud.com%2Ftracks%2F88186616%3Fsecret_token%3Ds-ABCnw"></iframe></p> <p><img src="/files/imce-images/3%20blake.png" width="620" height="573" alt="3 blake.png" /></p> <p>Once you get the sound of the rhythm in your mind’s ear, try playing the chords with your fret hand only, then add the pick hand. (The Bfm7 chord is best fretted with your middle finger on the low E string and your ring finger barring across the D, G and B strings.) If the chord changes are tripping you up, play the whole figure using a single chord at first until you acquire the muscle memory to grab the chord shapes fairly quickly. Take note that on beat four of bar 3, your fret-hand fingers should be muting the chord, not lying flat across the strings.</p> <p>After working through these musical exercises, you should find that your control of fret-hand muting feels more secure and natural. Try applying this useful technique to your own rhythm guitar playing. Hopefully, you’ll soon hear a noticeable improvement in your phrasing and ease of expressiveness. Happy muting!</p> <p><em>Matt Blake teaches guitar at Wells Station Elementary School in Memphis, Tennessee. Check out Matt's release, </em>Black Suit and Bones<em>, at <a href="http://mattblakemusic.com/">mattblakemusic.com</a>. Matt will perform live on <a href="http://www.dittytv.com/">dittytv.com</a> 5 p.m. (Central) April 27. Log in to chat or ask Matt questions during the show/interview.</em></p> <p><em>Photo: Rob Davidson</em></p> <p><em>The VH1 Save The Music Foundation is a nonprofit organization dedicated to restoring instrumental music education programs in America¹s public schools, and raising awareness about the importance of music as part of each child's complete education. Get involved at <a href="http://vh1savethemusic.com/">vh1savethemusic.org</a></em>.</p> http://www.guitarworld.com/vh1-save-music-importance-rests-and-how-use-fret-hand-muting-effectively#comments Guitar 101 Matt Blake VH1 VH1 Save the Music Beginner Guitar 101 Guitar Basics Blogs Lessons Wed, 17 Apr 2013 09:12:18 +0000 Matt Blake http://www.guitarworld.com/article/18179 VH1 Save the Music: How to Change Chords Smoothly and Explore the World Beyond the Third Fret http://www.guitarworld.com/vh1-save-music-how-change-chords-smoothly-and-explore-world-beyond-third-fret <!--paging_filter--><p>Hello, my name is Richard Giannotti. I teach guitar classes to middle school kids at PS 83 in Bronx, New York. </p> <p>My biggest challenge on a daily basis is addressing 30-plus young teenagers at a time and maintaining their attention and focus by keeping them engaged and captivated with the subject matter at hand. In this column, I’d like to share an approach I’ve developed and taken with my students that helps keep them motivated to pay attention, practice and explore the instrument more on their own time. </p> <p>The first thing I show my fifth- and sixth-grade students is how to play a handful of open chords — what are commonly referred to as “cowboy” chords — such as D, A, E, G and C. The students work very hard at being able to finger the chords correctly and cleanly, and I’ve found that the biggest challenge for them beyond that initial requirement is being able to switch from chord to chord smoothly and in time, meaning without pausing or skipping a beat (coming in too late rhythmically). </p> <p>This objective can easily take up an entire school year, as we meet only once a week, about 40 times a year, with many students in the room, each of whom I need to evaluate their individual progress and help correct any bad playing habits. </p> <p>When my students reach seventh and eighth grade and are more accomplished on the guitar, I like to introduce them to the world beyond the third fret. I do this by presenting the concept of a triad, which is a chord that includes only three notes and can be played in various positions and inversions on the fretboard. (An inversion refers to the ordering, or “stacking” of the notes.) </p> <p>Unlike an open chord, a triad may be played without any open strings and thus can become a movable shape that may be shifted up and down the neck to any key, which makes it doubly useful. Let’s start with G, C and D triads in third and second positions (see <strong>FIGURE 1</strong>). To form the G shape, barre your fret-hand index finger across the top two strings at the third fret, pressing its fleshy pad, or “paw,” against both strings. Now press the tip of your middle finger against the G string at the fourth fret, making sure that finger does not inadvertently touch the B string. </p> <p>When learning a new chord shape, it’s always a good idea to pick out each note individually and in succession, such as from low to high, to make sure you’re fretting all of them cleanly. If you hear a “dead” note—one that doesn’t ring clearly—check to make sure your fretting fingers are properly positioned on the indicated strings and frets. Once the three notes sound clear individually, strum them together to form a G triad. (Follow this same “quality control check” with all of the remaining chords in FIGURE 1.)</p> <p>Now let’s play the C and D triads that follow G in FIGURE 1. For C, place your index finger on the high E string’s third fret, your ring finger on the G string at the fifth fret and your pinkie on the fifth fret of the B string, as indicated. The D triad should be a familiar shape, as it is the same as an open D cowboy chord, minus the open fourth string. </p> <p><iframe width="100%" height="166" scrolling="no" frameborder="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fapi.soundcloud.com%2Ftracks%2F85205381%3Fsecret_token%3Ds-5TWZc"></iframe></p> <p><img src="/files/imce-images/1_1.png" width="620" height="242" alt="1_1.png" /></p> <p><strong>FIGURE 2</strong> presents a different set of inversions of G, C and D triads, all played higher up the neck. Notice that, while the chords are different here, the same familiar fingering shapes from FIGURE 1 are employed again, only in a different order and in different positions. </p> <p><iframe width="100%" height="166" scrolling="no" frameborder="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fapi.soundcloud.com%2Ftracks%2F85205651%3Fsecret_token%3Ds-9YeeR"></iframe></p> <p><img src="/files/imce-images/2_0.png" width="620" height="244" alt="2_0.png" /></p> <p><strong>FIGURE 3</strong> shows yet another trio of G, C and D triad inversions played even higher up the fretboard. Again, notice the familiar shapes used.</p> <p><iframe width="100%" height="166" scrolling="no" frameborder="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fapi.soundcloud.com%2Ftracks%2F85205799%3Fsecret_token%3Ds-hsvaW"></iframe></p> <p><img src="/files/imce-images/3_0.png" width="620" height="250" alt="3_0.png" /></p> <p>Now we’re going to take all nine of these shapes and inversions we just learned and incorporate them into a challenging and musically entertaining exercise (see <strong>FIGURE 4</strong>). Notice that the first G shape in bar 3 is the same as the D shape in bars 1 and 2, only moved higher up the fretboard. The same holds true with the D shape in bar 4 and the G shape in bar 5. </p> <p><iframe width="100%" height="166" scrolling="no" frameborder="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fapi.soundcloud.com%2Ftracks%2F85205896%3Fsecret_token%3Ds-OrSey"></iframe></p> <p><img src="/files/imce-images/Richard%20Giannotti%20FIGURE%204.jpg" width="620" height="751" alt="Richard Giannotti FIGURE 4.jpg" /></p> <p>To make things interesting rhythmically, the chords are to be strummed on what are known as the eighth-note upbeats—on “one-and, two-and, three-and, four-and” in each bar, which creates a lively, reggae-like groove. For strumming, you can use either all downstrokes or upstrokes, in either case being very careful not to inadvertently strum the open D, A or low E strings. </p> <p>Between each strum, momentarily loosen your fret-hand “grip” on the strings to stop them from ringing and create a brief “hole” of silence. Doing so will produce a nice, crisp staccato rhythm (short and detached) and make the figure sound like a real reggae guitar part. </p> <p>You needn’t let go of the strings, however. Just relax your fingers to the point where the strings break contact with the frets. Once you’ve mastered this exercise, try with moving these triad shapes up and down the fretboard to various positions and other keys, and experiment with different rhythms too. Keep in mind that, when it comes to creating music, there are no rules! Be as creative as you like and do what sounds appealing to you. </p> <p>Keep on rockin.’ — Mr. G.</p> <p><em>Richard Giannotti teaches guitar classes to middle school kids at PS 83 in Bronx, New York.</em></p> <p><em>Photo: Rob Davidson</em></p> <p><em>The VH1 Save The Music Foundation is a nonprofit organization dedicated to restoring instrumental music education programs in America¹s public schools, and raising awareness about the importance of music as part of each child¹s complete education. Get involved at <a href="http://vh1savethemusic.com/">vh1savethemusic.org</a></em>.</p> http://www.guitarworld.com/vh1-save-music-how-change-chords-smoothly-and-explore-world-beyond-third-fret#comments Guitar 101 Rich Giannotti VH1 VH1 Save the Music Beginner Guitar 101 Guitar Basics Blogs Lessons Wed, 27 Mar 2013 19:09:24 +0000 Rich Giannotti http://www.guitarworld.com/article/18107 VH1 Save the Music: The Art of the Jam — How to Teach Young Children to Improvise http://www.guitarworld.com/vh1-save-music-art-jam-how-teach-young-children-improvise <!--paging_filter--><p>Hello. My name is Mark Hale, and I teach general music and guitar to elementary school students, grades K-4, in Nashville. </p> <p>Having done this for a few years and experimented with various approaches, I have come up with what I believe to be a very effective and fun approach to teaching young, beginner-level students how to tap into the creative part of their brains and improvise melodies. I’d like to share this approach with you. Here’s how I go about this challenging task, by grade level, using the piano at first, then transitioning to guitar.</p> <p><strong>Improvising on the piano, grades K and 1</strong></p> <p>I explain what that big word improvisation means then immediately put the kids on electronic keyboards. They already know some basic rhythm patterns, which I initially teach them using percussion instruments. I find that, for this type of exercise, it actually helps to give the students some parameters, or boundaries, which makes it kind of like a game and less daunting, and tell them that they can only use the notes C, D and E (marked on the keys). </p> <p>They are to use their index finger and “make up” some rhythm patterns using only one note at first, then two, then three. I, meanwhile, provide guitar accompaniment, playing the chord progression C-G-Am-F, four beats on each chord. I call this lesson “Cats, Dogs and Elephants are Stinky” and sing those words after the students have improvised for a few bars. This exercise can also be transposed to the key of G, with me playing the chords G, D, Em and C and the students playing the notes G, A and B.</p> <p><strong>Improvising on the guitar, grades 1 and 2 </strong></p> <p>Essentially same approach as above, but, with the guitar, a brief explanation and demonstration are needed to show how to hold the instrument properly and use their hands and fingers to “squeeze” and “pinch” the strings like a cats claw. I only let them use two notes at first—the open high E and G on the third fret. I start by having the student pinch the first string’s “third box” (fret, in this case, the G note), fretted with their index finger, and have them say or sing their first name and play that note in the same rhythm. For example, “Jessica” would be three sounds; “Paul” would be one sound. I then tell them to lift their finger off the string and similarly play the open E note in the rhythm of their last name. </p> <p>To help the students remember the notes, I also have them sing and play them with the words “three" and "open” (see FIGURE 1).</p> <p><iframe width="100%" height="166" scrolling="no" frameborder="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fapi.soundcloud.com%2Ftracks%2F83978705"></iframe></p> <p><img src="/files/imce-images/1.png" width="620" height="245" alt="1.png" /></p> <p>Once they feel comfortable doing this, I accompany them with the chord progression G-Em-C–G, eight beats on each chord (see FIGURE 2). </p> <p><iframe width="100%" height="166" scrolling="no" frameborder="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fapi.soundcloud.com%2Ftracks%2F83978926"></iframe></p> <p><img src="/files/imce-images/2.png" width="620" height="819" alt="2.png" /></p> <p>They are now improvising, or as I like to proclaim, playing a “Kick-butt Guitar Solo.” I take a similar approach with my second graders but with the notes A and C on the first string’s fifth and eighth frets (see FIGURE 3), a fragment of the A minor pentatonic scale, which they will become more acquainted with later), accompanying them with a basic 12 bar-blues rhythm pattern in A (see FIGURE 4). I’ll also have them sing the numbers “five” and “eight” on pitch to help.</p> <p><iframe width="100%" height="166" scrolling="no" frameborder="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fapi.soundcloud.com%2Ftracks%2F83979184"></iframe></p> <p><img src="/files/imce-images/3.png" width="620" height="178" alt="3.png" /></p> <p><iframe width="100%" height="166" scrolling="no" frameborder="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fapi.soundcloud.com%2Ftracks%2F83979297"></iframe></p> <p><img src="/files/imce-images/4.1.png" width="620" height="796" alt="4.1.png" /></p> <p><img src="/files/imce-images/4.2.png" width="620" height="260" alt="4.2.png" /></p> <p><strong>Improvising on the piano, grades 2-4</strong></p> <p>I use this same kind of exercise-game with my older students, but now I introduce them to the complete A minor pentatonic scale (A C D E G) and tell them they can only play those five notes, which are marked on the keyboard while I play the 12-bar blues progression in A for accompaniment. To give this lesson a more rocking rhythmic punch, I add a backbeat, provided by having one student play the drums using “foot-hand” technique (kick–snare) on a virtual drum kit, compliments of the TableDrum iPad app. (I can control the volume by running the audio signal through an amplifier.) Eventually, I move the percussionist away from the app and onto a real drum set. </p> <p><strong>Improvising on the guitar, grade 3</strong></p> <p>This is essentially the same A minor pentatonic lesson plan, but here I start out where the students left off in second grade with the fifth-position A and C notes. Using tablature as a visual aid, I show them the shape of the A minor pentatonic scale and how they can do the same fifth-to-eighth-fret move on the B string (see FIGURE 5). They are now improvising using four notes—A, C, E and G.</p> <p><iframe width="100%" height="166" scrolling="no" frameborder="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fapi.soundcloud.com%2Ftracks%2F83979409"></iframe></p> <p><img src="/files/imce-images/5.png" width="620" height="333" alt="5.png" /></p> <p><strong>Improvising on the guitar, grade 4</strong></p> <p>Picking up where we left off in third grade, I complete the scale using tablature with fret-hand fingerings as a teaching tool, starting on the “big E” string (see FIGURE 6). </p> <p><iframe width="100%" height="166" scrolling="no" frameborder="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fapi.soundcloud.com%2Ftracks%2F83979614"></iframe></p> <p><img src="/files/imce-images/6.png" width="620" height="345" alt="6.png" /></p> <p>Once the students are comfortable with this, I have them play through the first five notes of the scale in a rhythm of quarter notes and then go backwards to the starting note (see FIGURE 7) as I accompany them with an A barre chord, strummed in an eighth-note rhythm. I call this the “Pentatonic Jam."</p> <p><iframe width="100%" height="166" scrolling="no" frameborder="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fapi.soundcloud.com%2Ftracks%2F83979815"></iframe></p> <p><img src="/files/imce-images/7.png" width="620" height="329" alt="7.png" /></p> <p><em>Photo: Rob Davidson</em></p> <p><em>Mark Hale teaches general music and guitar to elementary school students, grades K-4, in Nashville. </em></p> <p><em>The VH1 Save The Music Foundation is a nonprofit organization dedicated to restoring instrumental music education programs in America¹s public schools, and raising awareness about the importance of music as part of each child¹s complete education. Get involved at <a href="http://vh1savethemusic.com/">vh1savethemusic.org</a></em>.</p> http://www.guitarworld.com/vh1-save-music-art-jam-how-teach-young-children-improvise#comments Mark Hale VH1 VH1 Save the Music Beginner Guitar 101 Guitar Basics Blogs Lessons Wed, 20 Mar 2013 12:07:35 +0000 Mark Hale http://www.guitarworld.com/article/18031 VH1 Save the Music: How to Break Away from the Open Position and Discover New Chords Higher Up the Neck http://www.guitarworld.com/vh1-save-music-how-break-away-open-position-and-discover-new-chords-higher-neck <!--paging_filter--><p>Hello, everyone. My name is David Haiman, and I teach guitar classes to fourth- through sixth-graders at PS/IS 180 in Harlem, New York City. </p> <p>In this column, I’d like to share with you a neat, fun approach I use to help my students explore the upper areas of the guitar neck in their chord playing. </p> <p>After learning a handful of stock chord shapes in first and second position — what are commonly referred to as “open” chords or “cowboy” chords — it can be liberating for your fretting hand to venture beyond the first three frets, move up the neck and get acquainted with the sweet sounds of chords played in the higher positions. </p> <p>In this lesson, I will show you how to build what are called triads based on each step, or degree, of a major scale, using the guitar-friendly keys of D, A, and E to demonstrate. Each of these keys allows us to employ one of the open low strings, which we will allow to ring as a droning, unchanging bass note — what is known as a pedal tone — while we switch chords on higher strings. This approach produces a musically appealing sound, one used to great effect by world famous guitarists like Led Zeppelin’s Jimmy Page, the Who’s Pete Townshend, Roger McGuinn of the Byrds and R.E.M.’s Peter Buck.</p> <p>We’ll start by strumming a familiar open D chord then “walk” up the D major scale on the top three strings to generate a set of triads that reside in the key of D major (see <strong>FIGURE 1</strong>). After playing the initial D chord, switch your fingers to what would be a familiar-looking D minor shape, shift that shape up two frets, then strum the top four strings. This gives you an E minor triad over a D bass note, indicated by the chord symbol “Em/D,” which signifies “E minor over D.” </p> <p>Now move that same minor shape up two more frets, which will give you F#m/D (“F sharp minor over D”). Continuing to seventh position, return to the major shape and strum. This is G/D (“G over D”). Now slide that same shape up two more frets to A/D (“A over D”), then move up another two frets and switch back to the minor shape for Bm/D (“B minor over D”). </p> <p>The shape for the diminished chord, C#dim/D (“C sharp diminished over D”), is 12th fret on the G string, 14th fret on the B string and 12th fret on the high E. You’ll want to barre your index finger across the top three strings to finger this chord, as indicated in FIGURE 1. Finally, we end and resolve our chord progression by playing the original D major shape one octave higher and 12 frets above its original position. Now play the same same eight chords in reverse order.</p> <p><iframe width="100%" height="166" scrolling="no" frameborder="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fapi.soundcloud.com%2Ftracks%2F82799981%3Fsecret_token%3Ds-mMAXS"></iframe></p> <p><img src="/files/imce-images/1_0.jpg" width="620" height="235" alt="1_0.jpg" /></p> <p><strong>FIGURE 2</strong> presents a musically interesting way to play the chords from FIGURE 1 as arpeggios, or what are commonly referred to as “broken chords,” letting the strings ring together as you pick out the individual notes of each chord to create a nice flow of notes. I leave it to you to continue the pattern up the neck with the remaining chords you’ve just learned.</p> <p><iframe width="100%" height="166" scrolling="no" frameborder="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fapi.soundcloud.com%2Ftracks%2F82800126%3Fsecret_token%3Ds-Vsi0D"></iframe></p> <p><img src="/files/imce-images/2.jpg" width="620" height="218" alt="2.jpg" /></p> <p>Now let’s try doing the same thing in a different key. <strong>FIGURE 3</strong> shows a similarly generated chord scale, this time in the key of A and on the middle four strings. As we had done in FIGURE 1, we’re “walking” up a major scale on three strings at the same time, in three-part harmony, while sounding a bass pedal tone on an open string with each chord. </p> <p>For the chords A, D/A and E/A, barre your index finger across the D, G and B strings. FIGURE 4 presents a nice, rolling arpeggio pattern in 3/4 meter that you can apply to all the chords from FIGURE 3.</p> <p><iframe width="100%" height="166" scrolling="no" frameborder="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fapi.soundcloud.com%2Ftracks%2F82800235%3Fsecret_token%3Ds-lso2Z"></iframe></p> <p><img src="/files/imce-images/3_0.jpg" width="620" height="243" alt="3_0.jpg" /></p> <p><iframe width="100%" height="166" scrolling="no" frameborder="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fapi.soundcloud.com%2Ftracks%2F82800322%3Fsecret_token%3Ds-HXSi4"></iframe></p> <p><img src="/files/imce-images/4_0.jpg" width="620" height="222" alt="4_0.jpg" /></p> <p>Let’s look at one more key. <strong>FIGURE 5</strong> illustrates an ascending chord scale in the key of E major, this time with the open low E string used as a bass pedal tone and fretted notes played on the A, D and G strings. In this case we’re adding a neat twist to the proceedings by additionally including the open B and high E strings as pedal tones, along with the low E. Doing so creates a set of very rich-sounding, shimmering chords that include added “color tones.” </p> <p>Try coming up with your own variations on these arpeggio patterns, and see what happens when you mix up the order of the chords in each progression, ascending and descending. One can imagine many songs being composed this way. Two examples that come to mind are Led Zeppelin’s “Ramble On” and “Melissa” by the Allman Brothers Band, both of which use some of the chords shown in FIGURE 5. Have fun experimenting with these progressions. Perhaps your own original songs may emerge from them! </p> <p><iframe width="100%" height="166" scrolling="no" frameborder="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fapi.soundcloud.com%2Ftracks%2F82800439%3Fsecret_token%3Ds-v2DqX"></iframe></p> <p><img src="/files/imce-images/5_0.jpg" width="620" height="221" alt="5_0.jpg" /></p> <p><em>Photo: Rob Davidson</em></p> <p><em>David Haiman teaches guitar classes to fourth- through sixth-graders at PS/IS 180 in Harlem, New York City.</em> </p> <p><em>The VH1 Save The Music Foundation is a nonprofit organization dedicated to restoring instrumental music education programs in America¹s public schools, and raising awareness about the importance of music as part of each child¹s complete education. Get involved at <a href="http://vh1savethemusic.com/">vh1savethemusic.org</a></em>.</p> http://www.guitarworld.com/vh1-save-music-how-break-away-open-position-and-discover-new-chords-higher-neck#comments Beginner David Haiman Guitar 101 VH1 VH1 Save the Music Beginner Guitar 101 Guitar Basics Blogs Lessons Mon, 11 Mar 2013 19:59:13 +0000 David Haiman http://www.guitarworld.com/article/17977 VH1 Save the Music: An Effective Strategy for Teaching Young Beginners the Joy of Playing Guitar http://www.guitarworld.com/vh1-save-music-effective-strategy-teaching-young-beginners-joy-playing-guitar <!--paging_filter--><p>Hello. My name is Ted Meyers, and I teach guitar classes at the Ella P. Stewart Academy for Girls Elementary School in Toledo, Ohio.</p> <p>Being assigned the ongoing mission of teaching a new crop of middle school students each year to play guitar on a beginner level in a group setting, I’ve had numerous opportunities to try various approaches to getting the kids to focus on learning to play the instrument without becoming bored or frustrated. </p> <p>I’ve found that the best way to accomplish this is to show them how to play things that sound musically satisfying but don’t require much in the way of technique. </p> <p>These criteria are important because, as I’ve learned, when you’re dealing with young teenagers, you need to hold their attention and give them just enough of a challenge that the task at hand will be realistic and won’t end up discouraging them. </p> <p>One strategy I’ve found to be particularly effective is to get the students strumming chords right away, as opposed to the conventional guitar method book approach of introducing simple single-note melodies that don’t sound very inspiring or “cool” on their own. </p> <p>What I’ll do is teach them some simple chord progressions — meaning chords played in a particular order — that convey a sense of musical purpose and forward motion and sound like something you would hear in a real song, as opposed to just introducing a handful of random chords. </p> <p>This tactic helps captivate the students and keep them focused. I will also, at least initially, limit the chords to only the top three strings (the G, B and high E) and stay in first position, using a combination of open strings and fretted notes. This makes things easy on the fingers while also capitalizing on the superior, full-sounding tone of the open strings and notes played in the lowest positions (within the first few frets).</p> <p><strong>FIGURE 1</strong> is a little chord-playing etude I came up with — an etude is a musical exercise that sounds like a mini-composition — to get the kids started (after we’ve tuned up, of course). It consists of four easily fingered chords: G, Gmaj7, G7 and an all-open G6. Using only the top three strings like this — instead of six, five or even four strings — allows the students to better hear and focus on the individual notes that comprise each chord voicing and how they relate to each other and sound together (like listening to a three-part vocal harmony). </p> <p><img src="/files/imce-images/Ted%20Meyers%20FIGURE%201.jpg" width="620" height="533" alt="Ted Meyers FIGURE 1.jpg" /></p> <p><iframe width="100%" height="166" scrolling="no" frameborder="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fapi.soundcloud.com%2Ftracks%2F78965717%3Fsecret_token%3Ds-jIXMo"></iframe> </p> <p>The first thing I advise them to do, to help insure a good, clean sound when fretting, is to pre-position the ring, middle and index fingers on the high E string at the third, second and first frets, respectively. By doing this, they can then “peel off” the fingers one a time to reveal the next chord in the progression. </p> <p>I find that doing this helps beginners due to their lack of finger strength and calluses, which both develop over time with consistent practice. I point out to them that if the chords do not sound clear, they may need to press down a little more firmly, or the fretting finger on the high E string is not centered properly between the fret bars, in which case, they’ll need to “scoot” the finger a little to their right, closer to the fret. </p> <p>Regarding the strumming, I find that it’s good to get the students used to playing a combination of quarter notes and eighth notes early on, as you would typically encounter in a popular or folk song, and teaching them how to count beats. </p> <p>Consecutive downstrokes are used for the quarter notes, and a downstroke-upstroke combination is employed for any pair of eighth notes, which in <strong>FIGURE 1</strong> fall on beat three in each bar, except the last. So the counting for the first four bars is “1 2 3-an 4, 1 2 3-an 4,” etc. </p> <p>Once the students have mastered this little progression, I then present to them the option of playing the chords in reverse order, which becomes a fun challenge and gives them a greater opportunity to hear and compare the sound of each chord. </p> <p><strong>FIGURE 2</strong> expands on this little progression and introduces a few new chords, for which notes are fretted on the B and G strings, as well as the high E. When playing these chords, it’s very important that the fretting fingers “stand tall” and don’t inadvertently touch or “slouch” and lean against the neighboring strings. </p> <p>It’s a good idea to teach the students to “test out” each chord to make sure they’re fingering it cleanly by picking the notes one at a time. This will reveal any “dead” notes in the chord and fingering adjustments that need to be made.</p> <p><img src="/files/imce-images/Ted%20Meyers%20FIGURE%202-1.jpg" width="620" height="780" alt="Ted Meyers FIGURE 2-1.jpg" /></p> <p><img src="/files/imce-images/Ted%20Meyers%20FIGURE%202-2.jpg" width="620" height="232" alt="Ted Meyers FIGURE 2-2.jpg" /></p> <p><iframe width="100%" height="166" scrolling="no" frameborder="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fapi.soundcloud.com%2Ftracks%2F78965905%3Fsecret_token%3Ds-1hDq4"></iframe> </p> <p>I hope that, as a teacher, you too will have success using this approach with your beginner students. Try coming up with similarly satisfying and easy-to-play chord progressions of your own design, gradually introducing more challenging elements as your students progress.</p> <p><em>Photo: Rob Davidson</em></p> <p><em>For more about Ted Meyers, head to <a href="http://meyersmusic22012.weebly.com/index.html">meyersmusic22012</a>. Check out the photo gallery of Meyers with his students below!</em></p> <p><em>The VH1 Save The Music Foundation is a nonprofit organization dedicated to restoring instrumental music education programs in America¹s public schools, and raising awareness about the importance of music as part of each child¹s complete education. Get involved at <a href="http://vh1savethemusic.com/">vh1savethemusic.org</a></em>.</p> http://www.guitarworld.com/vh1-save-music-effective-strategy-teaching-young-beginners-joy-playing-guitar#comments Beginner Guitar 101 Save the Music Ted Meyers VH1 VH1 Save the Music Beginner Guitar 101 Guitar Basics Blogs Lessons Mon, 25 Feb 2013 11:14:25 +0000 Ted Meyers http://www.guitarworld.com/article/17779 Guitar Basics: Pull-Offs http://www.guitarworld.com/guitar-basics-pull-offs <!--paging_filter--><script type="text/javascript"> writeFutureVideo({configEmbed:'/video/playerConfig.php?embed=0&viewportWidth=452&viewportHeight=373',playlistEmbed:'/video/generatePlaylist.php?videoID=1418',width:'452',height:'373'}); </script> http://www.guitarworld.com/guitar-basics-pull-offs#comments Videos Guitar Basics Lessons Fri, 27 Mar 2009 16:51:07 +0000 The MusicRadar Team http://www.guitarworld.com/article/1628 Guitar Basics: Hammer-Ons http://www.guitarworld.com/guitar-basics-hammer-ons <!--paging_filter--><p>Guitar basics: Hammer-ons</p> <p>You can change between two notes by picking them separately, but if the second note is higher than the first in pitch, you can play what's called a hammer-on.</p> <p>A hammer-on will make the transition between two notes smoother, which will make your playing sound more fluent.</p> <p>This video lesson shows you how to perform hammer-ons correctly and provides you with two examples to try for yourself. These examples come with free tab, available below the video.</p> <script type="text/javascript"> writeFutureVideo({configEmbed:'/video/playerConfig.php?embed=0&viewportWidth=452&viewportHeight=373',playlistEmbed:'/video/generatePlaylist.php?videoID=1412',width:'452',height:'373'}); </script><table border="0" cellspacing="0" cellpadding="0" align="left"> <tbody> <tr> <td height="10"> </td> <td rowspan="3" width="10"> </td> </tr> <tr> <td><a href="/sites/future.p2technology.com/files/imce-images/lessons-hammer1large.jpg" target="_blank"><img src="/sites/future.p2technology.com/files/imce-images/lessons-hammer1small.jpg" /></a> </td> </tr> <tr> <td> <div style="font-size:10px; font-weight:bold;">Make sure that the hammer-ons are performed evenly.</div> </td> </tr> <tr> <td colspan="2" height="10"> </td> </tr> </tbody> </table> <table border="0" cellspacing="0" cellpadding="0" align="left"> <tbody> <tr> <td height="10"> </td> <td rowspan="3" width="10"> </td> </tr> <tr> <td><a href="/sites/future.p2technology.com/files/imce-images/lessons-hammer2large.jpg" target="_blank"><img src="/sites/future.p2technology.com/files/imce-images/lessons-hammer2small.jpg" /></a> </td> </tr> <tr> <td> <div style="font-size:10px; font-weight:bold;">Make sure you use all four fingers when playing this example.</div> </td> </tr> <tr> <td colspan="2" height="10"> </td> </tr> </tbody> </table> http://www.guitarworld.com/guitar-basics-hammer-ons#comments Videos Guitar Basics Lessons Thu, 09 Oct 2008 19:33:04 +0000 The MusicRadar Team http://www.guitarworld.com/article/1521 Guitar Basics: How to Use Your Amp http://www.guitarworld.com/guitar-basics-how-use-your-amp <!--paging_filter--><table border="0" cellspacing="0" cellpadding="0" align="left"> <tr> <td height="10"></td> <td width="10" rowspan="3"></td> </tr> <tr> <td><img src="/sites/future.p2technology.com/files/imce-images/lessons-amp.jpg" /> </td> </tr> <tr> <td height="10" colspan="2"></td> </tr> </table> <p>For most budding guitarists, the big attraction of the electric guitar is that it lets you rock out, and rock out loud. However, it's no good plugging your guitar into an amplifier if you don't know what the controls do.</p> <p>If you've just got your first amplifier out of the box and don't know where to start, then this is the tutorial for you. We explain how the controls work and what they do, and give you some pointers toward dialing in a decent sound.</p> <p>The selection of available controls will differ from amp to amp, but we've tried to make this as universal as possible. So, if you are mystified by middle or befuddled by bass, look no further...</p> <script type="text/javascript"> writeFutureVideo({configEmbed:'/video/playerConfig.php?embed=0&viewportWidth=452&viewportHeight=373',playlistEmbed:'/video/generatePlaylist.php?videoID=1353',width:'452',height:'373'}); </script> http://www.guitarworld.com/guitar-basics-how-use-your-amp#comments Articles Videos Guitar Basics Features Thu, 02 Oct 2008 20:05:33 +0000 The MusicRadar Team http://www.guitarworld.com/article/1477 Guitar Basics: Natural Harmonics http://www.guitarworld.com/guitar-basics-natural-harmonics <!--paging_filter--><p>Natural harmonics produce a chiming sound that lots of players use in their music. They are produced by placing your fingers lightly directly over the frets and can add contrast to a rhythm part, accent notes in a heavy riff or create screaming divebombs.</p> <p>This video lesson shows you how to locate the most common (and easiest to play) natural harmonics and shows you how to play them correctly.</p> <p>The guitar featured in this video is a Spear Gladius SP Hardtail.</p> <script type="text/javascript"> writeFutureVideo({configEmbed:'/video/playerConfig.php?embed=0&viewportWidth=452&viewportHeight=373',playlistEmbed:'/video/generatePlaylist.php?videoID=1354',width:'452',height:'373'}); </script><fieldset class="fieldgroup group-lessons"><legend>Lessons</legend><div class="field field-type-text field-field-tablature"> <div class="field-label"><p><strong>Tablature:</strong>&nbsp;<p></div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>Click here for tablature</p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-audio"> <div class="field-label"><p><strong>Audio:</strong>&nbsp;<p></div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>Click here for full backing trackClick here for backing track</p> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> http://www.guitarworld.com/guitar-basics-natural-harmonics#comments Videos Guitar Basics Lessons Wed, 24 Sep 2008 20:43:32 +0000 James Uings And Martin Holmes http://www.guitarworld.com/article/1457