Guitar Scales- An Important Exercise To Learn

March 15, 2010 by admin  
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Do you know your guitar scales? If you’re learning to play guitar, scales are an important exercise for you to learn. Scales are often neglected on the guitar, for some reason. But you would be hard pressed to find a good pianist who didn’t have at least some level of proficiency at scales. The same should be true for guitarists.

The benefits of learning guitar scales

Learning to play scales on your guitar can have many benefits. One of the benefits is that you learn the notes of each particular scale, and become comfortable playing those notes. When you play a song in that key, you will already be used to playing each of the notes and will know where they are.

Playing guitar scales also has great technical benefits. Playing scales can help you increase your dexterity, precision, and speed of your playing. If you play scales each time you practice, over time you’ll notice your playing skills increasing from this simple exercise.

Learning and playing guitar scales

There are dozens of different scales, but you’ll want to start out with a few common ones. The most common scales for guitar are probably C, G, D, & A. I’d suggest that you start with major scales, as they are generally easiest and more commonly used. Later you can go on to minor scales plus other scales.

When you first start learning a scale, play it slow enough that you can play each note correctly and cleanly. As you get better, you can speed it up. However, never play them fast enough that you lose control. When you play a scale, each note should be perfectclean, and in steady rhythm, tone, and volume. As a teacher of mine once said, “Make your scales like a pear necklaceeach note, perfect, round, and beautiful!” Follow this advice and watch your playing improve!

Emg Guitar Pickups

March 14, 2010 by admin  
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EMG, Inc first started manufacturing guitar pickups back in 1976, known as EMG pickups. Over the years they have earned the reputation for quality, clear sounding pickups used by many professional artists. ESP guitars and Jackson guitars currently use EMG pickups as their standard pickup design. Their high output is preferred by hard rock and heavy metal guitarists because of the pickups higher gain output as opposed to most lower output pickups. Some of the bands and artists who currently endorse EMG pickups are Tom Morrello, Zakk Wylde, Stephen Carpenter, Metallica, Slayer and many others

The most common EMG pickups are the EMG 81 and 85. The EMG 81 is usually considered to be the lead pickup and is more commonly used in the bridge position, while the EMG 85 is mainly used as a rhythm pickup more used in the neck position. In my opinion, for the Les Paul 6 string guitar the EMG 81 is best suited for distortion and the EMG 85 for clean tones. The EMG 85 in the neck position lacked the clarity of the bridge position EMG 81 when it came to distortion sounds.

Personally, I have had great success with using EMG pickups in a Gibson Les Paul and 7 string ESP guitar especially if you are into heavier sounding music. The clarity, deeper tone, and added gain are what make the pickups more suitable. One negative thing about the EMG active pickups is the need for a 9 volt battery, but it’s not much of a problem because the battery lasts for a long time. You just need to make sure you replace the battery at least every 6 months because of tone loss over time.

Installation for a set of EMG pickups is fairly easy depending on the type of guitar you have. With the right tools I was able to install a set of Zakk Wylde custom EMG’s in Gibson Les Paul in under an hour. As long as you follow the right installation diagrams for your type of guitar and have basic soldering skills you should not run into any problems.

Guitar LessonHow To Practice In 20 Minutes

March 13, 2010 by admin  
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Many guitarists don’t have enough time to practice for long periods of time. But if you want to progress fast, you need the guitar in your hands as regularly as possible.

It’s better to practice for 10-20 minutes every day, than 4 hours on just one day of the week.Getting into a rhythm of regularly picking up your guitar for a quick practice session is a great habit to get into.

So if you don’t have enough time for a full practice session, and you have 10-15 minutes to spare, here’s some ideas for what you should practice:

Practice a chord change.
Perhaps switching from an F barre chord to a D open is causing you difficulty?
If you spend just ten minutes going over and over the change, you will increase your ability to do it at the level you require.

The key is to focus, and hone in on one skill that you can improve in a short period of time.

Work on a song you want to memorize.
This will give you a chance to actually play some music! You need to have fun in your practice to keep you fresh and focused.

Listen to a song on a CD and jam along.
This is a great way to improve your playing, and it’s particularly suitable for short practice sessions.

An important part of learning guitar is to train your ear, and jamming along to a CD is the perfect way to do it.

Work on a lick you want to learn.
You’d be surprised how many times you can work through a lick in just a few short minutes. You can also combine this practice technique with practicing chord changes.

This will improve your skills in a short period of time.

Work on picking skillsdo drills up and down the neck.
You can use your metronome to work on speed picking skills, or you can slow everything right down and work on keeping your body in a relaxed so that you develop an ease to your playing.

Work up and down a scale.
In ten minutes you can play through a scale around 50-100 times. This will improve your stamina and also help you build speed.

Remember to use a metronome when you’re trying to build speed though. Because you want a smooth rhythmic sound to your speed picking, not a struggling, hurried sound.

So build up gradually.

Be Creative!
Play some chords in combinations that sound good to you, or play some single note melodies. Again, this improves your ear and you could maybe work out some parts to a song of your own.

Okay, that’s all the ideas I’m going to give you for now. Use your imagination to come up with more things you could try, and mix it up so it doesn’t get boring.

Also, keep your guitar ready and set-up. Sure, it’s protected all hidden away in your case, but if it’s ready for you to have a short practice session, then you’re more likely to pick it up and practice, even if it is just for a short time.

So keep that guitar out and ready to practice!

You may not think these short practice sessions help much, but doing this builds up your skills fast – and you’ll surprise yourself by how much you improve just be having the guitar in your hands regularly.

However, you don’t want to solely rely on these quick practice sessions. Like most things, you need to strike a balance. A good way of finding that balance is to set a routine.

When you have a routine, you will find it gets easier to find the time for practice. Once you’re in a habit of practicing regularly, you’ll find it harder to break out of, and that’s a good habit to have!

A Look At The History Of The Electric Guitar

March 12, 2010 by admin  
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The Electric guitar hasn’t been around nearly as long as the Acoustic and Classical guitars. In fact, the Electric guitar was created just 70 years ago (the 1930s) by Adolph Rickenbacker. Since that time, the Electric guitar has greatly evolved to the where it is today. In this article, we’ll go over the history of the Electric guitar.

The History

Guitars, or similar instruments, have been around for thousands of years. The Electric guitar was first manufactured in the 1930s by Rickenbacker. Original Electric guitars used tungsten pickups. Pickups basically convert the vibration of the strings into electrical current, which is then fed into the amplifier to produce the sound.

The very earliest Electric guitars featured smaller soundholes in the body. These guitars are known as semi-hollow body Electric guitars and still are somewhat popular today, mainly due to the fact that they are flexible guitars.

However, with the use of pickups, it was possible to create guitars without soundholes (like the Acoustic and Classical guitars have) that still had the ability to be heard, if plugged into amplifiers. These guitars are called solid body Electric guitars.

The Electric guitar’s popularity began to increase during the Big Band era of the ‘30s and 40s. Due to the loudness of the brass sections in jazz orchestras, it was necessary to have guitars that could be heard above the sections. Electric guitars, with the ability to be plugged into amplifiers, filled this void.

The Electric guitar that is most prevalent today is the solid body Electric guitar. The solid body guitar was created by musician and inventor Les Paul in 1941. It is a guitar made of solid wood with no soundholes. The original solid body guitar created by Paul was very plain—it was a simple rectangular block of wood connected to a neck with six steel strings. Les Paul’s original solid body guitar shape has, of course, changed from the original rectangular shape to the more rounded shape Les Paul guitars have today.

During the 1950s, Gibson introduced Les Paul’s invention to the world. The Gibson Les Paul, as it was and still is called, quickly became a very popular Electric guitar. It has remained the most popular guitar for 50 years.

Around the same period of time, another inventor named Leo Fender came up with a solid body Electric guitar of his own. In the late 1940s, Fender introduced the Fender Broadcaster Electric guitar. The Broadcaster, which was renamed the Stratocaster, was officially introduced to the public in 1954. The Strat, as it is now known, was a very different guitar in comparison to the Les Paul. It had a different shape, different hardware and was significantly lighter. Fender’s Stratocaster Electric guitar is the second most popular guitar in the world, second to only the Les Paul.

Over the years, other companies, such as Ibanez, Jackson, Paul Reed Smith, ESP and Yamaha have all produced solid body Electric guitars of their own. However, most Electric guitars still feature the familiar shape of a Les Paul or Strat guitar.

Guitars – The Fender Stratocaster Is A Thing Of Dreams

March 11, 2010 by admin  
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The very first guitar I ever played was a Candy Apple Red Fender Stratocaster. It was love at first touch. I wanted that guitar SO bad. I grew up listening to Eric Clapton, David Gilmore and Jimmy Hendrix, and during my college years I was a huge fan of Stevie Ray Vaughn. The Fender Stratocaster was the guitar of choice for these incredible guitar players and many more.

My tasted in guitars evolved as I learned, and I discovered that every guitar had their own personality in my hands. Some were sassy and bright, others were bad and loud, and still others just wanted to sing the blues. One of the coolest parts about owning a music store was being able to play thousands of different guitars of all makes and styles.

But my roots have always been with the Fender Strat. The secret to the amazing tone for the Strat lies in the traditional single could pickups, two piece body and the types of tone woods used to make the guitar. Fender offers the same pickups played by Jimmy Hendrix, or Eric Clapton. Fenders custom shop ’69 pickups will do the trick, or if you’re into Stevie Ray Vaughn you need Fenders Tex-Mex specials.

Probably the best way to play the same guitar as your guitar heroes is to purchase their signature model. Fender has signature models available for Eric Clapton, Jeff Beck, Robert Cray, Robin Trower, Rory Gallagher, Stevie Ray Vaughn, Buddy Guy, Yngwie Malmsteen, Eric Johnson and more.

Rather a “c” or “v” neck dressed up in maple or rosewood, nothing feels like a Stratocaster and nothing plays or sounds the same. In everyone’s life a little rain must fall, and in every guitarist life a Stratocaster must be played.

Strat’s are best known for their warm unique tone, but not all Strat’s are created equally. The tonal range will depend on the tone woods used in the neck and body as well as the type and configuration of pickups. When selecting a Strat to purchase take your time and research the various online forums to learn everything about the model you want to purchase. You may even want to visit your local retailer and play a few, just to get a better feel for the playability of the model you desire. Sometimes you may find that what you think you want and what you really like are quite different. Once you are convinced of what you HAVE TO HAVE, you should check out the various online retailers. In most cases you will find better prices on line then at your local store.

Buying your Strat will be one of the best days of your life. So enjoy every moment and remember that you are not purchasing just a guitar, you are purchasing something from your dreams.

Guide to Buying Used Guitars

March 9, 2010 by admin  
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If you are a guitarist, you will occasionally need to replace your gear. If this isn’t the case, perhaps you’re interested in learning the guitar. Regardless, this can end up costing you a good deal of money unless you buy smart. In this case, you should consider two options instead of buying brand new instruments and gear. Firstly, you can buy products online. Secondly, you can buy used products. Both are great options. If you buy a used guitar or used amplifier online, you get the best of both worlds.

Buying used guitars online can be a challenge, but generally, it’s fairly easy to spot a good deal. You can end up getting a huge discount on your musical merchandise. Buying online saves you money because it’s extremely easy to find deals and compare guitar retailers. You have better selection, more choices, and more convinced when shopping for guitars for sale. Moreover, buying a used guitar can save you a lot of money as well. Typically, when someone sells a used guitar, they’re not selling it because there’s anything wrong with it. Usually, people sell their used musical products because they’re either no longer interested in playing the guitar, or they wish to upgrade their own equipment. In cases such as these, you can fairly confidently assume that they’re not selling a faulty product, but you also know they more likely than not need to sell it before they get their own. They no longer have a reason to keep it. Therefore, the used product is much, much cheaper than a brand new guitar, even if it’s in mint condition.

When purchasing a used guitar or used guitar amplifier, make sure you check the condition of the instrument. If the buyer mentions something wrong with what you’re buying, send him/her and email asking for clarification on what’s wrong with the guitar you’re buying. Also ask if you can return the guitar in the first week.

Hopefully the above gave you a little insight into if you want to buy used guitars or buy used amplifiers online. If you buy online and buy used, you’re able to save a lot of money and get the perfect guitar for you have a enormously discounted price. Good luck!

How to Look After Your Guitar

March 8, 2010 by admin  
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It is no big secret that proper care of your guitar will give you a more consistent quality of sound and an extended for the guitar . If you are at alls erious about playing guitar you will want to get some accessories that are essential for the care of the guitar. A guitar player is only as good as the sound and the quality of the guitar that they are playing.

The first item on th elist would be a hard shell case for transporting the guitar. Many people use what they call soft or clothgig bagwhich zip up and protect the exterior surface of the guitar. A major problem with this type of case is that the tuning nuts on the end of the neck of the guitar get out of tune almost every time you transport it as there is nothing to protect them from being knocked which causes them to turn and get out of tune. Also, if there is any kind of impact while loading and unloading the guitar, this could cause cracks or actual punctures in the body of the guitar. A hard shell case prevents these things from happening as there is space between the neck and body of the guitar and the actual case. The case is designed to take impact while holding the guitar securely on the inside protecting the actual body and neck of the guitar and keeping it in tune. It is a bit more of an investment than a gig bag but in the long run it will help to make your guitar last much longer.

Another item that should be considered for care of the guitar is a guitar stand. You need this to put the guitar on while you are not playing it. Many people lean the guitar against a wall or couch or some other stationary object when they are not playing it. There are a couple of reasons why this is not a good practice. The first would be that if you do not lean the guitar in the correct manner you can very easily warp the neck of the guitar which makes it much more difficult to play. Warping of the neck increases the distance between the strings and the neck which causes you to have to apply more force on the strings while playing. This can make for some very sore and blistered fingers! Also, leaving the guitar laying around makes it much more available for accidents to happen. Having a stand keeps the guitar in the same location when you are done with it and also supports the neck close to the body of the guitar which totally prevents warping of the necka small investment solving some big problems.

The last item that should be considered is an actual tuning device for the guitar. You will find that the longer you play the guitar the better you will become at tuning it by just using your ear. But for starting out, you will want to use something that gives you the exact sound and gives the guitar an accurate tune up. There are many devices that you can get that are very easy to use which will give you the exact tuning you need. When your guitar is not tuned correctly this can be very embarrassingespecially if you are singing along with the guitar!

Guitar Scales Practice Tips

March 7, 2010 by admin  
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To start off this guitar scales practice tip, let me ask you a quick question. When was the last time you learnt a guitar scale to mastery? What I mean “to mastery” is this…

- You can play the scale anywhere on your fretboard.

- You know exactly what each note of the guitar scale sounds like.

- You can see the scale over your entire fretboard.

- You have memorized the notes and scales degrees of the scale. And you can see these notes and scale degrees over the entire fretboard.

- You can solo using the guitar scale without having to think.

- You have a large vocabulary of licks that you can play using the scale.

I’m guessing that you probably said something along the lines of “Never”. And that’s fine! Most guitarists never completely master the guitar scales that they learn. They just learn scales on a very superficial level

And that is the biggest reason why they struggle to use scales in a musical way when they improvise solos.

Try this experiment for a minute. Start talking about a subject that you know a lot about. It could be about anything. There are no rules! Pretend that you are explaining the subject to a friend. Keep on doing this for a few minutes.

So what did you notice as you did it? Did you notice how you were thinking about the IDEAS that you were trying to convey and NOT the actual words themselves? I can almost guarantee that you didn’t think about the spelling of all of the words that you said. If you did, you would find it impossible to speak fluently…

Why is this?

You have imprinted those words so much in the past that now you don’t consciously have to think when you use them. You spent countless hours learning and practicing those words when you were young. And do you know what?

It MUST be this way with the guitar scales that you learn! You need to learn them so well that you don’t have to think when you play them. It must become as easy as tying your shoelaces. Sure… you might think about the IDEAS you want to convey when you solo, but you don’t want to be thinking about the scale itself. If you do, then fluent and creative improvisation will be impossible.

So what’s the answer? It’s pretty simple. Keep practicing that scale until you don’t have to think! If it takes a month…great! If it takes six months…no problem! Just stick at that one scale until it has been totally mastered.

Guitar Tip: Secret Benefits Of Using A Metronome.

March 6, 2010 by admin  
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I’m sure you’ve heard that it is incredibly useful to practice with a metronome. Most books and teachers make it abundantly clear that using a metronome is a great way to improve your timing. This is true. But did you know that there are other HUGE benefits to using a metronome? Let’s take a look at a few now

***Goal Setting***

It’s been proven time-and-time again that goals need to be specific and measurable to work. If you don’t know exactly WHAT you are trying to achieve, how will you know WHEN you have achieved it?

I use my metronome all the time to help me set SPECIFIC goals for my technique development. For example, let’s say that you would like to increase the speed at which you can play a particular exercise. If you use a metronome you can set an EXACT speed for your goal. For example, you might say that when you can play the exercise using sixteenth notes at 160 bpm (beats-per-minute), then you have reached your goal. Can you see how powerful this is? The metronome setting gives you a clear target to aim for!

***Progressive Realization Of Goals***

Metronomes allow you to progressively achieve your goals. What do I mean by this? Put simply, it means start slow and GRADUALLY increase the speed of your metronome. For example, let’s say you want to get a particular lick up to 200 bpm. You could first master the lick at 40 bpm. Once mastered at this speed you could then increase the metronome speed to 42 bpm, then 44 bpm, then 46 bpm. You get the idea! You would work up to the target speed incrementally over a period of days, weeks or even months.

***Developing Listening Skills***

One absolutely vital skill to develop is the ability to play your guitar while still being able to listen to the people that you are playing with. This is especially true in jazz, where a large proportion of the song may be improvised!

Metronomes really help you develop this listening skill. As you practice you will also have to be listening to the click of your metronome. If you don’t, you will soon be playing out of time with it!

Obviously, you’ll develop this listening ability more fully by playing with other musicians, but playing with a metronome will definitely help as well. It’s a great place to start and can often can help build your confidence to play with other people.

Hopefully this article has inspired you to dust off your metronome and use it. It would also be a great exercise to think of some other benefits yourself. Practice hard and have fun!

Tips For Figuring Out The Guitar Chords For A Song

March 5, 2010 by admin  
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If you play contemporary music on your guitar, you’ve likely tried to figure out the chords to a song before. Getting the chords right can be tough, and I’m certainly no expert. But here are a few tips that I’ve found helpful, and maybe you’ll find them useful, too.

Tip 1: Find a basis to start with

It can be very helpful to at least have a basis to start your chord notation from. If you can at least find out what key the song is in, what some of the basic chords are, etc. that information will be a great help. One way to do this is to find a sheet music sample for the song. Websites that sell digital sheet music will often offer a free one page sample of songs. You can get the key signature and basic chords from the sample music and go fro there. If you can’t find sample sheet music, try to find someone else’s guitar chords for the song, even if they aren’t 100% accurate.

Tip 2: Pick out the top and bottom notes

When you’re trying to figure out a particular guitar chord, it may help to figure out what the melody and bass notes are. If you know the bass note, the melody note, and the key signature, you can narrow down the choices to just one or two chords. Let;s say for example that you’re playing in the key of C, the melody note is a G and the bass note is an E. The chord is probably a C/E chord or an Em chord. It could also be a G6 or a CD7.

Tip 3: Look for patterns

If you can find the patterns in the music, you can figure many chords out at once, or use probabilities to figure out tough chords. Of course, always remember that variations in patterns are often used.

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