Archives for May 2009

Database Outage

This morning (5.27.09) our database server was down for a few hours. Sorry about this. We’re back up and running now. All systems are a GO.

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How to Play the 12 Bar Blues on Guitar

This is a guest post by Matt Warnock from Guitar Player Daily. Today, Matt will be talking with us about how to play the 12 bar blues on guitar.

The 12-bar blues is one of the most common chord progression in traditional blues music, jazz, country, rock, pop, funk and almost every other genre of modern music. The simplicity of the chords and the easy to follow form of the 12-bar blues have made it a favorite songwriting, and soloing, vehicle for guitarists as diverse as Buddy Holly, Muddy Waters, Pat Metheny and Slash. By learning to recognize the basic form of the 12-bar blues, and which chords make up this form, we will be well on our way to jamming along with some of our favorite songs and artists. […]

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Do You Even Know How to Use that Effects Pedal?

As an electric guitar player, for the longest time now, I’ve had a hard time getting a good tone. As you probably know, good tone comes from a good amp and good effects chain. You can have the greatest guitar, but if you run it through a crappy amp and effects, your really great guitar will sound really crappy.

What I’ve done is started from the ground up on my effects pedals. For awhile now, I’ve been using a Line 6 PodXT Live, but I’ve found it doesn’t really suit me well since I use my amp and don’t use the amp modeling on the PodXT Live. So I’m buying a couple different pedals to suit the type of music I play.

All to say, I’ve been making some changes to my current setup. In the process, there is one thing that I’ve been reminded of as I’m making some upgrades that is important for all guitarists to keep in mind.

Taking it Slow

The mistake I’ve seen others make is to buy pedal after pedal without taking the time to learn how each pedal fits into their tone. It’s a myth that the more pedals you buy the better you will sound!

When getting a new pedal […]

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Blues Backing Tracks for Guitar: Five Free Tracks

One of the best ways to practice soloing is to use backing tracks for guitar. It’s hard to craft solos when you don’t have a band or another guitar player behind you. For those that don’t have this luxury, backing tracks are another really great substitute.

Professional guitarist and instructor Zack Roberts has complied over 50 professional backing tracks for guitar. He’s offering five of these for free to try out. I’ve taken a listen and they are of good quality and variety.

Here are some samples from his collection of blues backing tracks for guitar. Make sure you have Flash Player installed in order to hear them.

Backing Tracks for Guitar #1

12 Bar Blues Groove (E minor Pentatonic)

[view full article to hear the tracks]

Backing Tracks for Guitar #2

Jazzy Blues (G Pentatonic & G Mixolydian)

[view full article to hear the tracks]

In order to get the other three free backing tracks for guitar, go to his website here.

To get all 50 backing tracks it is $37, which means you get each for less than a buck. Zack is selling the tracks with a 100% money-back guarantee with some extras thrown in. It’s worth checking out. You can check it out here. […]

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How to Transpose or Change the Key of a Chord Chart

What do you do if you find a chord chart of your favorite song, but it’s not in the right key?

The term transpose simply refers to changing the key of a song. You can transpose a piece to either a lower pitch or a higher pitch. So for example, you find a chord chart is in the key of A but you want to play it in the key of G. Surprisingly, this isn’t very difficult to do if you know a small bit of the theory behind it.

Let’s look at this.

Scales and Roman Numerals

Each song is generally based upon a scale. Most popular songs that you play on the guitar are based on the major scale. There are seven notes in a scale. So in the key of C major, you have the notes: C D E F G A B.

The chords of that song are then built off of each note of the scale, which would give you seven chords for that key. However, each of these chords will have a different sound. Based upon a major scale, some chords will be major, others minor, and one chord will be diminished.

We don’t have time to look into how each of these chords are built, but a major scale has this structure, which can be represented by roman numerals:

I ii iii IV V vi vii^o

The uppercase roman numerals represent major chords. The lowercase roman numerals represent minor chords. The lowercase roman numeral with the superscript circle represents a diminished chord.

So let’s take a C major scale and use the above roman numerals. In a C major scale, you will have the following chords […]

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How to Become a Better Guitar Player: Ask for Help

I learned a very important lesson as a guitar player this past week.

I’m not sure if this a universal experience for guitar players, but I remember when I first started learning guitar I was incredibly insecure and lacked confidence whenever I played in front of other people–especially, other guitar players who I knew were better than me. I’d end up getting so nervous! Maybe you can relate?

Even today, it can be sometimes intimidating to be in the company of those who I know are a hundred times better than myself.

However, I’m learning what a great opportunity that presents itself when I find myself in those positions where I’m in the company of guitar “greats.”

I have a friend named Patrick. Patrick is a guitar performance major here at school, and he spends over 28 hours in the practice rooms practicing guitar. That’s not counting all his other course work for school. I have a tremendous amount of respect for my friend’s discipline and dedication. I’m always blown away by his guitar performances. He is a hundred times better than I’ll ever be.

But rather than being intimidated, I decided to ask Patrick for help last week. For awhile now, I’ve been wanting to start learning new stuff on the guitar. I’m kind of in a rut and need something new to bite into. My friend was thrilled that I asked him. We ended up spending over an hour looking into new techniques.

All to say, it can be easy to be intimidated by the guitar greats that we encounter, but rather than shying away, use those encounters as an opportunity to learn something new that can help bring your guitar playing to the next level! Often these guitarists would be more than happy to show you something new.

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Major Triad Positions: One Way to Learn the Guitar Fretboard

Are you up for a challenge?

In a recent previous post, “Guitar Lessons: Scales & Learning the Guitar Fretboard,” I mentioned a few things you can put into practice to master the guitar fretboard. One of these suggestions was to learn your triads over the fretboard. Triads can help “connect the dots” for how individual notes across the fretboard interact and relate to one other.

Just a forewarning, this discussion needs some understanding of how guitar scales work. This might make more sense to more intermediate players. If you are just beginning, you will want to check out guitar scales explained.

What are triads?

A triad is a group of three notes played simultaneously. Triads are made up of one note with a major third and a perfect fifth above it. In plain speak, a triad is just a three note chord. There are different types of triads: major, minor, augmented, and diminished.

For now, we just want to talk about and focus on major triads. If we understand major triads, we can understand the other ones better. […]

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Guitar Games Review: Learn Guitar & Fight Space Monsters

Lately, we’ve had some great lessons about guitar scales, learning the fretboard, and theory. If we’re really honest though, this stuff isn’t always very fun to digest. However, unbeknownst to me until just lately, there is a fun way to put all of this material into practice.

Just recently, I received an email from William Wilson, a classical guitarist from San Diego. William has put together a very fun and interactive resource created to help you learn the guitar fretboard, guitar scales, and theory called Guitar Games. I asked William if he would let me try it out and write up a review, and he gave me the okay.

Guitar Games Features
The goal of Guitar Games is to help you learn the guitar fretboard, guitar scales, theory, and how to read music. They’ve created a variety of interactive and fun games to help you learn all of this information that can often times be very boring.

I was pretty skeptical when I first received William’s email. I was honestly expecting the games to be cheesy and not very helpful. How can you possible make theory and learning the fretboard fun? It seems like a paradox.

However, I was pretty surprised once I took a look. […]

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