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Shawn McGovern

Guitar World Member For: 2 years 43 weeks
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Practical Magic: Applying Altered Dominant Scale in Heavy Metal Guitar

For this blog, I would like to talk about applying the altered dominant scale over a dominant seventh chord in a minor chord progression. The altered dominant scale (sometimes referred to as super locrian) is the seventh mode of the melodic minor scale. It is a widely used favorite among jazz guitarist because of its eerie dissonant tension on the dominant chord creating a pleasant resolution to the tonic chord.

Practical Magic: When Conventional Learning Methods Are Archaic, Will You Just Download Paul Gilbert 2.0?

In 2040, human beings and machines will reach an event horizon and will be forever integrated and evolutionarily linked in what is called “The Singularity.” Humans will have computers the size of blood cells swimming in their brains that can download an entire encyclopedia in a nanosecond. No, this isn’t a plotline for another terrible Terminator sequel; it is actually a futuristic theory from inventor Ray Kurzweil.

Practical Magic: Some Seriously Scary Scale Knowledge

One question that comes up consistently from my students is “How do I develop the ability to play long phrases at mind-numbing tempos and increase my understanding of the fret board?” My usual response is, “Learn your scales and start a romantic affair with your metronome.” But today I will go much more in depth and offer an organized approach to cultivating some seriously scary scale knowledge.

Practical Magic: How to Choose the Right Guitar Instructor

When beginning any new adventure, it is important to first look inward. What are your unique goals? Are you ready to be focused, hardworking, punctual and self-disciplined? If yes, you're on the right track. If you find yourself lacking any of these virtues, it might be best to work on them first before you go and frustrate yourself and others.

Practical Magic: Tips on Heavy Metal Songwriting

I enjoy playing guitar in a vast array of styles, but those who know me best know that my true love is melodic metal. Today I offer the metal heads a different type of blog than I often write and see in regards to applying theory in your playing. I dedicate this blog entirely to metal and rock songwriting tips. This article is solely for you rock and metal players out there that have never written a full song or for those who want to try a different approach to songwriting.

Practical Magic: Super Sonic Ears, Part 2 — the Importance of Understanding Rhythm

My last blog was concerned with the topic of ear training for guitarists, mainly of the melodic variety. Today’s topic is primarily related to that “other” equally important ingredient of music: rhythm! After continual studying of melodic intervals, chords and arpeggios for the ear, it is a good idea to also practice the ability to discern a rhythm's note duration.

Practical Magic: How to Develop an Intelligently Crafted Practice Schedule

This post deals with a simple but hugely important topic: how to practice! As a professional guitar instructor, it is my job to address various weaknesses in my students' playing and remedy the issue by constructing some kind of creative plan that will lift them out of a particular trapping.

Practical Magic: Super Sonic Ears, Part 1 — the Importance of Ear Training

This week I was trying to think of a topic for a blog that was different than whammy-bar tricks or shredding single note lines at 200 bpm. After teaching a few students Monday, I decided to have my third cup of coffee, much to the detriment of my physician and girlfriend. But on my walk to the coffee shop, I heard a lone goose flying overhead call out. A normal occurrence, I suppose; the only difference was that I recognized the squawk as an ascending major third! Presto, I had my blog post!!

Practical Magic: Applying Diatonic Substitution in Rock and Metal Guitar

In this post, I would like to discuss a musical device known as diatonic substitution and how it may be used in a rock or metal context in regards to the guitar. Diatonic substitution is simply swapping one chord for another in the same key.