Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Quick Music Fact....Guitar Instruction...Lessons

Have you ever said to yourself..."i just play the same things over and over or,i don't understand this or that,or,i am stuck,i am just not improving or getting any better".Well my friend,that is a message telling you to get a guitar instructor.
"You can't go but so far,without needing instruction from a knowledgeable instructor or teacher".

Don't stay stuck in a rut,get a teacher!

Monday, July 28, 2008

The Almighty... Bar Chord

Ha everyone...i am going to talk about the almighty bar chord.Mighty because once you learn the shape,it can be played up and down the neck without the worry of an open string changing the sound,hence,movable!If you can play a C chord,it can be a start to learning the bar chord.The shapes are very similar.And viewing chords as shapes helps the memorization process.So,that is why i mention the C chord,it is very similar.If you just view a chart of chords,you will be able to see other chord shapes as similar to one another.I always show my students the 4th string root bar chord first,it is the foundation for the 6th string root form or shape.The chord type is called a bar because that is what your first finger is doing,barring 2 strings,or playing 2 notes at the same time on two different strings.I have a diagram above showing what notes to play.The first diagram shows all 6 strings being played,but,the 4th string root bar chord will be the green notes only,4 strings played(diagram 1 says 6 string root,but when only green notes are played,it is a 4th string root).This is called a 4th string root bar chord,the root note F.Try and form the bar,with your first finger,first,then form the rest of the chord.You may have to twist your wrist to the left to make it easier to form the bar,or complete chord.Now remember to play only 4 strings!Now move the shape or chord up the fretboard and then back down to where you started(bar on first fret).That is why we call it a movable shape,there are no open strings involved.Now once you get comfortable playing this shape,move on to the 6th string root bar chord.Instead of barring 2 strings or notes,with your first finger,you bar all 6 strings,all on fret 1.This is called a 6th string root bar chord,the root note F is on the 6th string,first fret.Try moving it up the neck and back down,a little harder.Then release the chord and then form it again,this will help you memorize,and your fingers adjust to the shape.Next lesson,we will talk about the minor bar chord.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

For The Curious

..To hear complete songs,please go to my MySpace page and use the player there...

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Band In A Box...Your Teacher Assistant,Your Band

Sometimes tracks or background rhythm tracks are needed to practice to or for recording.Band In A Box can do the job admirably!It is a music software program,and includes sequencing and audio recording.In addition,it provides lessons on scales,modes,rhythm tracks to play along with and a host of other great tools.Along with being a great music program for practicing,it can be great for creating backing and solo tracks to a song idea you might have.Lets say you these chord changes to an original idea.You have an idea of the music style you want and the arrangement of the chord changes,and maybe even the melody.With Band In The Box,you choose a style,set the tempo,then for each measure,type in the chord or chords until you have completed your arrangement.You can even have each chord pushed by eighth or sixteenth notes!And as far as chord,well,i have not found any it did not already know!Now,sit back,play the piece,and choose the instrumentation,the volume for each,pan,and the effect!,huh!This is a great piece of software for practice and recording!Now all these instruments are being played through MIDI,so depending on your sound card and any plug ins you may have,will determine the quality in the playback you will be hearing.To note,a good sound card is a must,then some additional plug ins,for your sounds and effects, are highly recommended.But... the newest Band In A Box/2008.5 uses real recorded instruments,not MIDI !Now do you need a solo for your arrangement?In addition to your backing tracks,BNB will produce solo and melody tracks.In addition,it will print a music score for your new song,and has a lyrics sheet for you,and as the arrangement is playing,you can view each instrument being played,in real time!So... this could be a great tool for learning too.The choice of backing track styles and solo styles is,well,tremendous!And there are additional ones you may purchase.There are a hundred or more styles that come with the basic BNB program though.I highly recommend BNB to all my guitar students for practice,ear training,writing and producing.And did i mention YOUR AUDIO(vocal,instrument(s)) and MIDI can be recorded along with the other tracks.This is another great lesson tool.BNB can be as simple or as complex as you want,it's up to you!So what are waiting for,check it out at...

Saturday, July 19, 2008

The 2008 Summer NAMM

I have just finished watching some video coverage of the summer 2008 NAMM show,held in Nashville,Tennessee.Harmony Central always does a great job at these things and is one of my favs for reviews and the heads up on new gear and software products.So,it was no surprise to see some great video coverage of the summer NAMM 2008 show.There is some great playing from a young little guy in the first clip.He is playing some mean skins!Wow...such great players today to be so young,and he was in the pocket,not just flamming all over the place!For some that takes years to accomplish!And there is 3 parts to the guitar being in a candy store :-) !Gibson now has the "Robot"guitar system on a Gibson SG.There is even mentioning of new guitar picks!And the gas prices,well,the show was packed,so no one stayed home for this one!
A big Thanks to Harmony Central for some great coverage...again!

Setting Up Your Fender Strat

Ha Everyone,
Have you ever wondered about how to set your Fender Strat up,like the intonation,adjusting the truss rod,or how about Fenders own formula for the height of each pick up,on the bass and treble side!Well,i have good news for everyone.This is a link to Fenders page on..."Setting Up Your Fender Strat".It is a very comprehensive page on setting up your Strat.So,no more,do you have to worry about how to,even down to the size of the necks and the tolerences for the different adjustments.It's all mentioned...and more!And....ha,save yourself a lot of money by doing it yourself!Here are some "how to's",mentioned...

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Quick Music Fact...Venture

"Nothing ventured means nothing gained"

Quick Music Fact...Creativity

"You have to step outside of the box,to find creativity.Playing it safe will not find creativity"

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Steve Lukather Interview

There is a great interview with guitarist Steve Lukather/Toto at the "Modern Guitars" site..
Steve Lukather may be an unknown guitarist to some of you younger guitarist,but to us old schoolers,he was the man back in the day.He played with the band Toto,every musician in the band was one of L.A.'s finest studio musician,in the pop world(a hand picked "cream of the crop"band)!Steve has played on so many albums,to many to mention!At one time,a busy studio musician,but as he points out in the interview,times have a changed!His ax of choice,a Musicman!The guitars are quality controlled, great playing and sounding.The whole pick up cavity can be popped out,plugged in with another configuration,and you are ready for a totally new sound!Steve also talks about songwriting and his views on it.A very enlightening interview,and thanks to Modern Guitar....and...Steve has a new cd out,check it out.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Quick Music Fact

"Play for the song,not for yourself."

Thursday, July 3, 2008


Hi,and hope all have a "safe" and happy July 4th!And wanna say thanks to ,a great site for guitar backing tracks.
I am going to talk a little on wood shedding,or practicing.There are a number of things that will help with your progress on guitar.And they pertain to the "art" of practicing,or how and what you practice.To begin with,you should always warm up before trying to rip away at solos or chords!The secret is playing scales and finger stretches very very slowly.When you begin to 'feel" your "knuckles" opening up,then you know you are playing slow enough!Gaining or increasing your finger stretching ability can only be accomplished through playing very slowly and covering a minimum distance of 2 frets between each note.And this is done down between the first 5 frets,they are the widest apart!And, you could just play notes, no scale,and simply cover a minimum of 2 to 3 frets between each note played,with the next note being the next finger(index,then middle,or middle then ring finger,or ring finger then pinkie)!Again,this has to be done by playing very,very slowly.You will actually "feel" your knuckles opening up!In addition,you can also do warm up and stretch exercises with chords.Major and minor 2nd(9ths) triads are good for stretching your knuckles.Any Major or minor 9 voicings are good stretchers!So the warm up/playing slow and stretches are the starters!
Now another prime thing to mention about wood shedding or practicing is rhythm and soloing.You can sit around,till the cows come home,playing over and over, scales,riffs,chords and chords progressions,BUT,when you get into the real world with other players,playing together,all will be to no avail unless you have played the chords and scales in a "group" situation.I see so many young players just ripping away by themselves in a music store,then to be just lost when they go and play with their friends or a band!There is nothing that can beat playing with other musicians in a unit or band,for real experience.The closest to this would be using "backing tracks",to practice along with,So go out and buy some,or Band In The Box or some other music software by Cakewalk or others,this is critical!Then select a style/key/chord progression and tempo and practice away!It is really hard to play and be aware of your mistakes by yourself!By playing with music,it increases your awareness of your timing,phrasing and other things like being in the right key,playing the right scale or mode or the right chords.And when you get together with your friends or a band,this will all change a little also!People are not perfect like the tracks you practice with,so the tempo may vary here and there,you have to adjust to these things!And you can also purposely "push" the beat or play "behind" the beat or speed or slow down the tempo.These are all human factors.So it is critical to find some means of practicing with tracks or a group.
Also,try recording yourself while practicing with your backing tracks or friends.You will be amazed at how different your playing is on the tape or cd than what you were thinking while recording it!!!Man this is a real eye opener!The 'ol saying..."The tape never lies",is oh so true here!
I hope this helps with your musical journeys!
...Below is a link to some great backing tracks,to get you started :-) (2547 guitar backing tracks in the archive)
....There are additional post on wood shedding and practicing,check the archives

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

For The Curious

..To hear complete songs,please go to my MySpace page and use the player there...