Using Your Ears To Get Great Guitar Tone

One of the most frustrating things about guitar tone for me is getting it just right on your guitar. Sure you can have all these great options to get great tone, but without the ability to really listen, you can't ensure that you'll ever have a good tone.

The problem with adjusting tone is that most guitarists are looking for that magic configuration that can work for any amplifier or distortion pedal and slay the crowd with majestic tone. Wrongo.
Tone is one of the most subjective things to guitarists.

For instance, I like to play hardcore and metal on the guitar and there are plenty of guitarists who recommend a high-distortion amplifier like Marshall, but I actually use a Fender. Why?

Because when I put a Fender amp at around 6-8 notches, that distortion is warm and without a lot of white noise since it's actually made as more of a country-playing machine.

Really, it's up to you, but the fun thing is... You can figure out your style every time on a new piece of equipment, and here's the formula. (I'm really building this up more than necessary)
  1. Turn the knobs all the way down. (Treble, Bass, and Mid)
  2. Turn each knob up one at a time while listening intently to the change.
Are you mad at me now? Sure, you might be thinking "I could have figured that out!" But did you? If you did, then that's awesome. You know what it takes to learn your own sound.

Honestly, the most effective way to build your own tone is knowing what it sounds like starting from nothing.

Once you embrace the nothingness... what you want becomes much clearer.

Go ahead and try this out on your own amplifier and see if you finally get the configuration that you've been striving for for years only because you started from scratch.
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Guitar Strumming Chords - 4 Mistakes That Might Be Screwing You Up

You have to remember that it's not your guitar that's in charge of strumming chords and making them ring, but it's you. There's a lot that can be lost in each chord and progressions by not putting your full attention on the task at hand.

And hey, you might just be beginning and you don't know the difference between a good strum and a bad one and that's OK. Here are just a few things that maybe you should work on when you start to strum a set of chords.

1. Don't start too fast.

If you're not very good at strumming rhythms, let alone simple repetitive chords, put your foot on the brake and ease into it. Only after your arms, fingers, and wrist feel the repetitive nature of the process will you begin to act almost involuntarily.

Then it's OK to step on the gas a little and start hitting those chords a little faster.

2. Fight off the gaps between chords.

When you start strumming, you may feel pressure to stop between a chord to make for a perfect change from one chord formation to the next. (Taking the time to switch your fingers on the fret board)

That actually isn't necessary at all. Really, it sounds pretty awkward having those half-second pauses where you should be strumming through the gaps. Just let that "gray-area" chord come through. It makes everything much smoother.

3. Hit only the strings that you need.

If you only need to have three strings ringing for a chord or riff, why would you strum all six? It just doesn't make sense.

Confirm what strings are necessary to make a chord sound its fullest and then confine to only those strings. If you strike any more or less, you could be altering the chord.

4. Put a little muscle on the pick grip.

When I first started, sometimes I would hear all these dead notes and nothing would sound right and I found it was because I held the guitar pick like a weakling. haha Don't let your pick just flop around on those strings. Grip it like you mean it and strum through the strings with a little power.

Strumming is one of the fundamental skills of playing the guitar, so you should make sure you get it right. Just think about what you're doing and how you can solve the problem when your tones don't sound quite natural.

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Knowing The Genre When Writing Guitar Songs

When you can finally get to the point of knowing the guitar well enough that you can actually begin writing guitar songs, that's an exciting time! Not only are you able to translate beautiful music from your fingers, but the songs can now be your own creations.

Now, if you're very new to writing your own music, the first question you might come across is..

"What genre do I write in?"

Sometimes, this isn't even really a question and it's an out-of-body decision. I know that the first time I really began writing songs on my own, they were a mix of hardcore and rock.

And it made sense because that's what I listened to.

So, pick your genre and have it be something you really enjoy. If you want to go country, hike up your cowboy boots. If you want to rock n' roll, break out the sex and drugs. And then...

Listen to the genre... a lot.

Usually, this isn't even an issue because the genre you picked was something you've been moved by and hearing for a long time. (...That's why you picked it...)

However, if you don't listen to it often, you need to start because you need to be familiar with what's out there.

Find well-written and poorly-composed songs.

Yea, the good and the bad. You need to hear what's good so you know what the majority of people like and you need to know what's bad so you'll realize the things that are not as well-received.

It's sad to say, but not everyone that's writing guitar songs that gets exposed to the public is good at it. (Some people just have awesome managers.)

Identify the stylistic trends.

If you just simply listen to music for enjoyment, chances are that you've never really thought about what makes a genre the way it is.

Really, just sit down and think while you groove to a couple of your favorite tunes and try to make sense of what they're doing.

And the answers aren't that complex once you catch on to the thought process.

For example, would you treat a metal guitar part the same as a country part? Probably not.

Metal would be fast, full of distortion, and rigid with lots of double-picking. Country leans towards full acoustic-style chords, on a clean channel, and with common 5ths and 4ths in the chord progressions.

Pick how you use the information.

I'm not telling you to write songs that everyone loves, and I'm not telling you to write things that will make senior citizens clutch their ears in terror either. At this point, I'm telling you to make a decision that's true to you.

After all this collection of data, you should realize what's more of your style. You might enjoy making very experimental music that only a handful of people can really appreciate in order to create a cult following.

Or maybe you want to go for full conformity and try to be recognized as the next artist to bust out a typical radio-hit. It's in your hands and only you can decide your music.

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Green Day's "Boulevard Of Broken Dreams" Chords

Green Day is known for their ballads and "four chord bangers" and "Boulevard of Broken Dreams" isn't any different from their chord style. You don't need to know any really complex chords or riffs to pull this one off since most of the song is just power chords.

The only thing to watch out for is the coda (outro) that contains a set of chords that don't necessarily run in a 4/4 time signature. (For beginning guitarists, the only time signature you may have played in was 4/4)

I'm pretty sure that the whole song is tuned a half step down.

Intro.

This riff is the same as all the verses of the song. The only difference is the use of tremolo on the guitar.

This guitar tune opens with one strum for each chord of Em, G, D, and then A. You might hear more than one note sound, but that's the tremolo doing its job.

e---|-----|-----|-----|-----|
b---|-----|-----|-----|-----|
g---|--0--|-----|--7--|-----|
D---|--2--|--5--|--7--|--7--|
A---|--2--|--5--|--5--|--7--|
E---|--0--|--3--|-----|--5--|

Verse.

This one is easy enough. It's the same as the intro!

The only difference is its played on a clean guitar channel and there are about two strong strums per chord instead of one.

Oh, and the last time before the chorus, hold the A a little longer.

Last time:

e---|--------|--------|--------|-----------|
b---|--------|--------|--------|-----------|
g---|--0--0--|--------|--7--7--|-----------|
D---|--2--2--|--5--5--|--7--7--|--7-7-7-7--|
A---|--2--2--|--5--5--|--5--5--|--7-7-7-7--|
E---|--0--0--|--3--3--|--------|--5-5-5-5--|

Chorus.

Here's where the guitarist sings "My shadow's the only one...". It's simple just like every other part in the song, but with a change in the final chord the fourth time through. The chords are C, G, D, and then E.

On the last time through, switch to B.

e---|---------|---------|---------|---------|
b---|---------|---------|---------|---------|
g---|-5-5-5-5-|---------|-7-7-7-7-|---------|
D---|-5-5-5-5-|-5-5-5-5-|-7-7-7-7-|-2-2-2-2-|
A---|-3-3-3-3-|-5-5-5-5-|-5-5-5-5-|-2-2-2-2-|
E---|---------|-3-3-3-3-|---------|-0-0-0-0-|

Last time:

e---|---------|---------|-----------|
b---|---------|---------|-----------|
g---|-5-5-5-5-|---------|-----------|
D---|-5-5-5-5-|-5-5-5-5-|-9-9-9-9-9-|
A---|-3-3-3-3-|-5-5-5-5-|-9-9-9-9-9-|
E---|---------|-3-3-3-3-|-7-7-7-7-7-|

Chorus plus lead riff.

Ok, so after the second chorus, the same chords are repeated over and over and the guitarist goes into this nifty solo consisting of octave chords. Plus, there's some tiny variation in the rhythm section.

I didn't really want to go through all the trouble of typing out every single note for the solo, but the chords are correct for "Boulevard of Broken Dreams." (yea, I'm lazy. Wanna fight about it?)

Lead riff:

e---|-------------|-------------|-------------|
b---|-------------|-------------|-------------|
g---|-11-11-13-14-|-14-14-18-16-|-16-16-13-14-|
D---|-x--x--x--x--|-x--x--x--x--|-x--x--x--x--|
A---|-9--9--11-12-|-12-12-16-14-|-14-14-11-12-|
E---|-------------|-------------|-------------|

e---|-------------|
b---|-------------|
g---|-14-14-14-14-|
D---|-x--x--x--x--|
A---|-12-12-12-12-|
E---|-------------|

Altered chorus:

e---|---------|---------|---------|---------|
b---|---------|---------|---------|---------|
g---|-5---5---|---------|-7-7-7-7-|---------|
D---|-5---5---|-5---5---|-7-7-7-7-|-2-2-2-2-|
A---|-3---3---|-5---5---|-5-5-5-5-|-2-2-2-2-|
E---|---------|-3---3---|---------|-0-0-0-0-|

Coda.

This is the final section of chords for "Boulevard of Broken Dreams" and it's kind of neat how they wrote it. Again, simple... but it doesn't involve 4 perfect measures this time.

Play the first riff 3 times and then the last one just once.

e---|--------|--------|--------|--------|--------|--------|
b---|--------|--------|--------|--------|--------|--------|
g---|--------|--------|--------|--------|--------|--------|
D---|--------|--------|--------|--------|--------|--------|
A---|--------|-3--3-3-|-5--5-5-|-4--4-4-|--------|-6--6-6-|
E---|-0--0-0-|--------|--------|--------|-4--4-4-|--------|

Last time:

e---|--------|--------|--------|--------|---------|
b---|--------|--------|--------|--------|---------|
g---|--------|--------|--------|--------|---------|
D---|--------|--------|--------|--------|-6-6-2-2-|
A---|--------|-3--3-3-|-5--5-5-|-4--4-4-|-6-6-2-2-|
E---|-0--0-0-|--------|--------|--------|-4-4-0-0-|

Not bad huh? Here's the order of the riffs to follow.

Order.

Intro x2
Verse x7
Chorus x4
Intro x2
Verse x7
Chorus x4
Verse x2
Bridge (Chorus riff) x4 (2 with pauses and last one played a tad longer)
Verse x3
Chorus x4
Coda x4



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Doing Some Hammer-ons And Pull-offs

Hammer-ons and pull-offs are constantly used in rhythm and lead guitar riffs and it's a great way to add some class and intellectual style to any guitar section.

Since both of the skills are pretty fundamental and basic, it's not too difficult to put them together to create some awesome licks.

If you're not familiar with hammer-ons or pull-offs, please visit the corresponding posts before attempting these exercise:


Let's take a look at hammer-ons and pull-offs marked on a guitar tab.

These two are easily marked on guitar tablature with the letters 'h' for hammer-on and 'p' for pull-off. (Not much of a chance of mixing them up.)

Here's a simple hammer-on and then a pull-off:

e---|---------|---------|
b---|---------|---------|

g---|---------|---------|

D---|---5h7---|---7p5---|

A---|---------|---------|

E---|---------|---------|


You'll notice that both skills require at least two notes to fully exist.

With a hammer-on, a note rings and then you place your finger on the ringing string to create a new tone. It's similar with a pull-off but you pull away in order to create the new tone.

Exercise 1:

Take at look at this simple pentatonic scale.

e------------------------------------------5---8--- b----------------------------------5---8----------- g--------------------------5---7------------------- D------------------5---7---------------------------
A----------5---7-----------------------------------
E--5---8-------------------------------------------

This can be played ordinarily by picking every single note going up and back down the scale. For this exercise we'll use it for hammer-ons and pull-offs.

First use hammer-ons up the scale by striking the first note on each string with your pick and then "hammering" onto the next note on the string with either your pinky or ring finger.

e------------------------------------------5h8--- b----------------------------------5h8----------- g--------------------------5h7------------------- D------------------5h7---------------------------
A----------5h7-----------------------------------

E--5h8-----------------------
--------------------

Exercise 2.

Now, for the pull-offs, we'll start at the top of the scale and work our way going down by having both fingers planted on a string to begin, striking the first note on the string with the pick, then pulling off the string with either our pinky or ring finger to produce the second pitch.

e--8p5-------------------------------------------
b----------8p5-----------------------------------
g------------------7p5--------------------------- D--------------------------7p5-------------------
A----------------------------------
7p5-----------
E----------------------------
--------------8p5---

Try not to pull so hard that you hear a twang in the string. You simply want to pull enough to create a noticeable second pitch.

Exercise 3.

This time, we'll take the pentatonic scale and use it for both hammer-ons and pull-offs by integrating them into a single string, coming down the scale. Try your best to give equal emphasis to your hammer-ons as well as your pull-offs.

e--5h8p5-------------------------------------------
b----------
5h8p5----------------------------------- g------------------5h7p5--------------------------- D--------------------------5h7p5-------------------
A----------------------------------
5h7p5-----------
E----------------------------
--------------5h8p5---

It's best to learn hammer-ons and pull-offs early so that you're prepared for them later when they show up. And boy... they show up everywhere.

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Guitar Scale Mastery Review

Now, a buddy guitarist of mine actually purchased the Guitar Scale Mastery system to learn more scales and things and informed me of what he thought of the guitar material. It was pretty intriguing to me, so I decided to have a look for myself at this Guitar Scale Mastery Program.

It's actually a very interesting idea for a guitar program since all of the over guys like Jamorama and Jamplay are aiming to be all-inclusive guitar-learning systems while Guitar Scale Mastery has different aims...

So what is Guitar Scale Mastery's sales pitch?

It's different than it's competitors, but simply, it wants you to learn guitar scales.

Now, you might be thinking, "Is that it?" But, it really has more importance than you think.

Personally, I'm a rhythm player at heart and I'm not much of the improvisational soloist. Anyone who's looking to be in a jam band or a learn the ropes of soloing would probably benefit very much from this program.

Actually, there's a promise that your fingers can be moving across the fret board without you looking. Honestly, you don't need a high-powered guitar program to learn that.

Just close your eyes.

Is this for the beginning guitarist?

No.

If you're a beginner, you want to learn songs, and you won't be learning them here. This is a course to improve upon the impressive skill of soloing and improvisation.

For those of you who have some guitar-playing under your belt and you're looking to be a lead player for awesome solo skills... this might be for you.

Here's what you can learn:
  • Connecting melody lines
  • Moving fluidly from one scale to the next
  • Anticipating similar patterns and styles in a solo
  • Playing with consistent tempo and rhythm
The material that comes with it is actually pretty neat.

And one of the cool things is that Craig Bassett is openly honest in saying that if you're a lazy bum that doesn't want to do the work, he doesn't want your money. haha Sounds like a great guy.


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Circle Picking - Learning A New Picking Technique

There are actually a lot of different picking styles out there that most beginning guitarists are not aware of for their tunes, and one of them might be circle picking.

Circle picking is a very neat picking technique that can potentially speed up the tempo of your fast riffs by eliminating unnecessary muscle movement. By simply messing around with this technique only for a few minutes, you'll begin to understand the value.

Holding the guitar pick.

There is essentially no variation in how you hold the pick, but only in how the pick moves. Simply grab the pick between your thumb and index finger and hold in a firm fashion.

Decide what's most comfortable as to where you rest your strumming hand on the guitar body, because your hand needs to be stationary for the sake of circle picking.

Try placing your hand on either:

  • The guitar bridge area.
  • The pick guard area.

The motion.

Just like the name suggests, circle picking means taking the pick in a circular rotation as you strike strings with the pick. Two strikes will actually be made in a full rotation.

1. Move the pick in a counter-clockwise motion.

So, when you're pulling the pick the closer to you, you should be moving upward toward the lower strings. Oppositely, when the pick is moving farther away from you in the rotation, you should be rotating towards the higher strings.

2. Hit a string moving downwards and upwards.

When your pick rotates around, you should be make two pick strikes, imagining that they are at the points of 3 and 9 on a common clock.

The muscle seclusion.

This style of picking is all done with the thumb and index finger while tying to eliminate as much movement in the wrist as possible. (There should be no movement at all from your arm)

The most effective way of creating this smooth motion is when both of your fingers are holding the guitar pick firmly and working together to create the action.

This is very great for fast riffs and I just recently learned that Eddie Van Halen uses circle picking very often. (wink wink)




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Acoustic Guitar Quality - Finding A Good Acoustic Guitar

The acoustic guitar is such a beautifully-sounding instrument and for the best tones, you want something of high-quality. Maybe you're with a friend and you're examining their guitar or you're looking in the store for a new guitar of your own.

Whatever the reason...

It's nice to know that you can identify a quality acoustic guitar when you need to. Here are a few things to look for:

1. Where the neck meets the body should be seamless and tight.

Since the strings are constantly giving tension to the neck, you want to check for flaws. Make sure the body and neck are connected cleanly without gaps.

Check to see if the strings are getting the best of the guitar neck by actually bending it away from the body. That's not very good.

2. The action of the instrument is good for you.

More importantly, how does the thing play? It doesn't really matter how much of a high-quality acoustic guitar you have if you can't play it comfortably.

See how easily it is to play your common riffs and if the strings are easy to press down to the frets.

3. The twist of the neck can be present, but not crazy.

Turn the guitar so that you're staring from the bottom of the instrument to the headstock of the neck. (like looking down a rifle) You should be able to see if the neck is bending slightly.

Most guitars have a very slight bend when they have been used for awhile. A high-quality acoustic guitar has either a slight or almost no bend, but if you find one that's bending a lot...

that's a problem.

4. Dirty hardware should be expected, but only so much.

Your guitar's hardware is going to get dirty if you do things like play when it's hot out and you begin to sweat all over it. Finding hardware that's dirty is ok, but rusty means that this player kept very poor care of their instrument.

5. The general condition should meet your approval.

Just be honest with yourself. If you look at an acoustic guitar for its overall quality and you see a disgusting-looking thing, it probably hasn't been cared for.

Use some common sense when checking over a used instrument, or even in the stores so you can tell if you have your hands on a high-quality acoustic guitar or not.

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Guitar With Metronome - A Match Made For Perfect Practice

A guitar with a metronome is a beautiful thing. It really is.

Having the ability to play songs and licks by yourself is great, but a metronome is there to keep your tempo and rhythm in check. Learning to keep a consistent rhythm to a song is so powerful that you'll be desired by most musicians if you can grasp this concept.

Think about what you'll get, simply by practicing with a cheap little metronome.

1. You'll learn to respect the tempo of a song.

...And song tempos deserve respect. You can't expect a guitar tune to sound that good when it's being played at any speed you choose and when you can simply disrupt that speed at any moment!

Tempos demand respect and order, and they deserve it. Respecting the tempo means:
  • You'll be able to identify if you're rushing or lagging.
  • Following a drummer in a band is easier.
  • It makes you easier to play along with other guitarists.
It's all about identifying your own faults with the tempo and using it to accommodate others who you might be playing with. So, if you never want to play along with anyone in a band, fine.

Don't use a metronome, but you'll be missing out on a great deal of improvement.

* You'll be able to identify if you're rushing or lagging.

Sometimes you may not be fully aware how far from the tempo you really are. With your guitar and metronome working together, you'll never have to guess, and eventually, your brain will develop consistent rhythm on its own that will tick in your head like the gears of a machine.

* Following a drummer in a band easier.

Drummers are basically glorified metronomes. (Just kidding guys. I know that you do freakin' sweet rhythms that I can only dream of doing)

But, they are the prime suspects of keeping the beat that you need to follow. If you've been practicing with a metronome, it should really be a piece of cake and you won't have to have that awkward conversation at the next band rehearsal.

* It makes you easier to play along with other guitarists.

As much as you want to play better with others, others want to play better with you. With that skill of identifying your own rushing and lagging, you can almost sense the tempo between you and another guitarist.

2. It's a good way to mark your improvement of guitar speed.

If you take anything away from having a metronome with your guitar is knowing that it's a great way to keep track of your playing speed. You can look at the clearly-marked bpms on the device and increase them or decrease them to accommodate your playing level.

Really, the metronome is an awesome little guy that you'll want around with your guitar. Think about purchasing a cheap one.

Check out the wide selection of metronomes and other guitar equipment at the HTGT Online Guitar Store.



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Guitar Scale Exercises - Learning A Minor Pentatonic Scale

When you do a few guitar scale exercises before you practice, you really have the chance to loosen up those phalanges for the work that needs to be done. We all really just want to dive into the material at hand, but a few good guitar scale exercises can get you ready.

Personally, I do eight different scales and practice riffs before I begin working on anything...

And that's after I've done a few nice finger stretches too.

This scale I'm going to show you is a Minor Pentatonic scale. I'm actually not much for learning the proper names and such, but I do believe that learning the association of notes within scales is very good for playing improvisational licks and solos.

(Which I lack. I'm more of a rhythm player confined to already written music myself.)

Here's the scale:

e------------------------------------------5---8--- b----------------------------------5---8----------- g--------------------------5---7------------------- D------------------5---7---------------------------
A----------5---7-----------------------------------
E--5---8-------------------------------------------

The key to tackling any guitar scale exercise is to approach it first with a very slow and controlled manner so that you can be precise with your finger placement. Don't try to do too much at once.

You really want to work on being fluent and connected between each note.

When you feel that you're up to the task, speed it up slightly. If you have a metronome to keep time, that's fantastic.

If you can play the scale pretty well going in one direction, try it going in another. Then, try to go directly from one direction into the other.

As soon as you play the guitar scale exercise well at a slightly faster tempo, increase it again. Repeat over and over until you're basically flying all over the guitar neck and looking like a beast.

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Learn Chords Guitar - 6 Basic Steps To Learning Any Guitar Chord

The moment that you start to learn chords on the guitar is the moment you start getting ahead in the game. Just about ever song every created for the guitar contains a basic set of chords, and fortunately for us, most radio hits use all of the same chords and progressions.

That means that once you start buckling down and learning a few of the most popular chords, you can start to dominate the most of the guitar tunes written. Here is a step by step process of what it takes to really learn to play a guitar chord well.

1. Know how to place all your fingers properly.

You learn the chord and then figure out how to properly place your fingers onto the strings on the fret board. Be precise and take your time figuring it out if you have to because you want the best finger formation that will allow you to transition to other chords smoothly.

2. Have good posture.

For every chord that you learn, when you understand where to place your fingers, you should work on having correct posture with your fingers and wrist on the fret board. Try not to accommodate for a weird chord by angling your hand or fingers, but always keep your thumb in the back of the guitar neck with your hand perpendicular.

3. Know the strings that you should and should not strum.

Not every string on the guitar neck is going to be strummed for every chord. On the contrary, only a few strings might be struck at a time.

If you're reading a guitar tab, notice that all of the strings to be hit are marked with a number while all the strings to avoid are marked with an 'x'.

4. Strike the appropriate strings evenly within the chord.

You want to get a rich and balanced sound when you strum through any chord, so it's important to strike all of the strings evenly. Picture your hand moving through a smooth arced path as your pick hits the strings while keeping your hand's distance from the guitar consistent as you move through.

5. Practice placing your fingers quickly into the formation.

Now, your hands are not going to automatically be in this chord formation from the start, so you need to practice getting to that point. See how quickly that you can form this new chord and then strum a sound cleanly.

Do this over and over again until you feel comfortable.

6. Transition between another chord.

You'll know that you're ready to use this chord in a real song when you can transition between this chord and at least one other smoothly. Pick a chord that you've already learned and practice going back and forth between them until the transition is very smooth and easy to accomplish.

There are a lot of chords out there to learn, but most of the songs created use the same ones. Remember these steps the next time you come across a chord that you want to learn and you should be tackling songs with that chord in no time.



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6 Easy Songs For Guitar Beginners

If you sat down and thought about it, you could probably come up with a massive list of easy songs for guitar beginners. Seriously... it could go on and on.

This list that I've come up with contains songs that I've personally played and realized that most beginners would have a fun time tackling.

1. "Boulevard of Broken Dreams" by Green Day

Green Day are the masters of power chords and just like any other of their songs, this one is jam-packed with them. There's only a couple progressions to the entire song and a few neat lead riffs that should give any beginner a tiny ego boost when completed.



2. "Radio" by Alkaline Trio

Personally, I just love this song and Alkaline Trio is known for creating easy songs for guitar beginners since there's only one guitarist in the band.

I know that there are quite a few three person music groups, but it seems that they chose to take the Blink 182 route as opposed to like System of A Down (not counting the singer).



3. "Adam's Song" by Blink 182

Right there I just mentioned Blink 182, and here they are in the next song. "Adam's Song" is a good way to dive into Blink 182 since this one's a bit slower and helps you to realize their system of Intro/Verse/Chorus/Intro/Verse/Chorus/Bridge/Chorus.



4. "Wonderwall" by Oasis

If you're alive...

people want to hear this freaking song. Seriously, don't show your sorry face at a campfire unless you know this song, otherwise someone is going to call you out and accuse you of not knowing anything.

Well, let's hope that your friends are nicer than mine. Either way, this is another easy song for guitar beginners.



5. "Free Fallin'" by Tom Petty

Tom Petty makes classics that just about anyone can play and "Free Fallin'" is one of them. If you enjoy this one, take a stab at "Mary Jane's Last Dance" too.

When I was in a classic rock band, all we ever got were requests for us to play Tom Petty. Again... pretty popular.



6. "Wild Thing" by The Troggs

This one is seriously easy and any bar that's had the drinks flowing for a least a couple hours is going to love it. Add this one to your line-up and watch those drunks go nuts...

...in a good way.



It's pretty interesting how some of the more easy songs for guitar beginners are some of the more popular ones. Try out a few of these and get the attention of your friends and family.

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Delay For Guitar - The Good and Bad Of Guitar Delay Pedals

Once delay for guitar came around, a whole bunch of new crazy stuff could be done and that's awesome. I believe that there are still plenty of things that are untouched in the realm of guitar effects, and the full value of guitar delay might be one of them.

But...

As much as guitar effects are cool, I think there's a certain responsibility that comes with them to serve the crowd and the song than just your ego.

So what are the awesome things that delay for guitar can be used for?

1. It's great for stand-alone guitar parts.

If it's just you and the crowd or you have a solo where the band is completely silent, let that delay pedal rip. You can create some pretty gnarly echoes and things that portray a certain level of mysticism and ambiance.

2. Delay is usually the basis for loop stations.

If you haven't had the chance to hear a loop station, check out this video below. It shows just an average guy and how he tries out his own personal riffs with his nifty loop station and creates some neat things.



3. It sounds great on a clean channel.

I know that a lot of electric players hate the idea of losing power or depth when they play in a clean channel, but here's an excuse to do it. There's just something mesmerizing about hearing a delay effect on a clean channel electric. Try it.

So how can you get carried away with the power of delay?

1. It can clash with other guitars in a full band setting.

Delay for guitar is great when it's by itself, but when it starts inviting friends over, it gets nosy and wants to top everybody else. Use it sparingly in a full band, because you might be just taking away from the pure abilities of your natural tone.

2. Delays with long echoes are annoying.

This might just be personal preference, but when I hear a delay pedal where a lot of notes are being played and the echo goes on into infinity... my ears just turn off and I'm not interested anymore. Anyone else?

3. You have to be particular with your delay preferences.

Not every song can be easily improved with the same settings for a delay pedal. Remember that you can slow down the delay rate, the echo length, and the amount of effect to include.

I think delay pedals are the bomb, but sometimes they're not serving tunes as well as they could be because of the guitarists operating them.

Go out and try one for yourself, but watch out... they're addictive :]

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Rock Band Audition - Have A Better Chance Of Becoming A Band's Guitarist

When you consider yourself good enough on guitar for a rock band audition, that's when things can be exciting. You may have learned that your friends are looking for a new guitarist and you think you stand a decent chance of making the cut.

However, if they conduct this audition in a very professional manner, what should you be working on to make sure you stand a chance? There are quite a few things that can help a panel of band members decide if they want to include you in their group. Here are a few of them:

* Find out the required material to learn.

Most bands will just come out and say exactly the tunes that you need to learn in order to jam with them and be considered for anything. If they don't, you'll need to ask questions about the music they like and the songs they already know.

If you're ambitious and want to make a good impression, learn more songs than you're required. It will really show them that you're willing to work hard to get what you want.

* Learn their fashions.

As judgmental as it sounds, band members are likely to survey your taste in clothing and make a very deep impression based on that alone, before you even play. Check out some of the threads that your possible band mates are sporting and attempt some subtle conformity for best results.

* Bring extra equipment in case of a disaster.

If there's a chance that your guitar, amp, pedals, or strings might fail you at this rock band audition, you need to be prepared. Bring extras of anything that might be at risk of screwing up your audition.

* Be agreeable and polite.

Of course your guitar-playing comes into judgment with these guys, but they want to know that you'll work well with them and be polite. Express very good manners and keep the swearing to a minimum unless you find that to be their casual language choice.

* Be yourself.

If you walk in and put on a show that isn't really you, they might expect this "fake" version of you any time after the rock band audition. If you just be yourself, you're more likely to play better, be more confident, and have a better chance of getting the spot in general.

* Accept their decision gracefully.

There's no better way to show your mature character than accepting the band's decision, whether good or bad, with dignity. Even if they don't choose you, just knowing that you were so understanding of their decision will keep you in high consideration if their first choice doesn't work out.

It's a bit tricky to know what a band might want when you try out for them, but getting a sense of how they work and interact is half of the mystery. So when you go to your rock band audition, put on your sharpest clothes, learn your sickest riffs, and be confident in your abilities.

This video has really nothing to do with a band audition, but this guy is a very talented musician who is covering a very talented musician named William Fitzsimmons.



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Guitar Chorus Pedal - Blending The Chorus Effect Into Your Tunes

There are so many sweet effects for you to use with your guitar and the guitar chorus pedal stands among them. With its ability to emulate the sound of multiple guitars from one tone, it can add a whole new sensation to your live show.

But what are some opportune times to actually use this neat effect without taking away from the song? There are going to be better places than others to use this effect. Here are a few suggestions:

Stand out in the middle of a guitar solo.

You know that it's your time to shine when it comes down to you wailing above the rest during a powerful guitar solo. Try your guitar chorus pedal the next time you blaze the frets and you can leave a better impression.

Use it to boost your lead parts in a heavy rhythm section.

Sometimes an intricate rhythm section that consists of constant strumming can drown out a weak lead riff. With some chorus on your guitar you'll be able to cut through more of the bass and middle ranges to be heard over the top easier.

Add more bulk to a rhythm section.

A guitar chorus pedal is mainly used to create the illusion of multiple instruments playing in sync with each other. If you want to give more bulk and power to a rhythm section, flip on your effect and suddenly you'll have other tones backing you up.

Now, not everything that you attempt with an effects pedal is going to be beautiful music to your ears. It's very easy to do too much and potentially wreck a song. Check out these tips to check your intentions with the effect.

Think about your purpose.

If the only reason you can find to use your guitar chorus pedal is "just because" then you probably shouldn't. Always have a purpose to use your effects, because they can create really awesome drama when used in moderation.

Always serve the song.

Using the chorus effect too much can run the risk of ruining a song. You'll know deep down if a part of your guitar tune has too much going on and you really shouldn't attempt to fit anything else in.

You can't be in the spotlight the entire time in a full band.

As much as we all wish we were the center of attention 100% of the time when we're playing with a band, we can't be. Check your ego at the door so you're not putting attention on yourself with an effect that isn't necessary.

A guitar chorus pedal can add some really neat and new dimensions to your playing, but you have to make sure your intentions are pure and what's best for the piece. As long as you stay true to the tune, you should be in good shape.

This video is of someone playing a beautiful little melody using the chorus effect. Niiice.



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Private Lessons Guitar - The Benefits Of Taking Lessons From Professionals

Besides guitarists, private lessons are a common consideration for any struggling musician that hates the difficulties of teaching themselves. Sometimes beginning musicians do not have the patience and goal-oriented mind-set to reach the success they require.

That's why there are real professionally experienced guitarists that offer private lessons at your local music store for reasonable prices. Here are just a few of the benefits you'll receive by signing up for these important lessons.

You'll get one on one attention.

Maybe you're the type of student that needs to speak with the professor or teacher after a class to solidify what they've lectured even better. It's harder to do this with online or video courses, but a private lesson has an instructor right in front of you to clarify any questions you might have.

Playing and learning takes place in an intimate and comfortable atmosphere.

Playing your guitar can really stink if your practice space consists of barking dogs and screaming children. At the very least you'll finally get a quiet and comfortable place to practice your riffs and licks without interruptions.

Your teachers are experienced professionals.

There's a lot of controversy about some of the online courses being offered due to the credibility issue, but it's hard to cover that up in person. Really, if you want your personal private lessons guitar instructor to prove himself, tell him to show off a bit and you'll find out immediately if these lessons are worth the money.

Learn at a pace of your choice.

Do you like to pump through practices quick with no nonsense, or do you like to take your time and work thoroughly? If it's just you and your instructor, they'll encourage you to learn as quickly or as slowly as you please to ensure the best results with your talent.

Taylor the learning experience to your preferences.

Other courses might have a very set agenda on what you're going to learn, but what if none of that sounds fun or appealing to you? With private lessons, you can simply speak your mind and the teacher will start guiding you based on your interests in order to keep your business.

Instructors can help you set goals and complete them.

The most important thing for a personal guitar instructor is for them to see you succeed. As much as getting paid is fun, they love to see their students enjoying the guitar and reaching their goals. So, tell them what you're dying to accomplish and they'll help you get there.

Honestly, there's a great deal of awesome information that's provided on videos and online courses over the internet, but they all lack that very intimate and personal setting that private guitar lessons provide. Maybe it might benefit you to head down to you local music store and start asking around about some lessons for yourself.

Here's a fun video from the movie "School of Rock" where Jack Black does some teaching of his own.



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Reading Tabs Guitar - Learn To Read Guitar Tabs

I've posted quite a few things here concerning songs, practice scales, and such, but I may have forgot the fundamental skill it takes to really learn these things. In fact, I just assumed you knew. (which was wrong of me since I'm creating a blog aimed at beginners)

So let's talk about reading tabs. What are guitar tabs?

Tab actually stands for tablature which is a short-hand version of sheet music that's able to be understood by those without much knowledge of musical theory and how to read the musical staff.

Honestly, it has its own limitations, but that's expected in a shorthand version. In reality, you can't fully comprehend a guitar tab unless you've already heard the piece that the tab is about.

Kinda sucks, but it's true. You see, guitar tabs have a very difficult time conveying tempo and rhythm without spending much more time on the tablature's composure.

At that point, it's not really short-hand anymore. You see the irony?

So what do all these things on the tab represent?

Well... let's start with the strings.

------------------------------------------------ ------------------------------------------------ ------------------------------------------------ ------------------------------------------------ ------------------------------------------------ ------------------------------------------------

I'm sure you've probably gathered as much that these lines represent the actual strings on the guitar, but in a different perspective than you may expect.

e----------------------------------------------- b----------------------------------------------- g----------------------------------------------- D----------------------------------------------- A----------------------------------------------- E-----------------------------------------------

See, when I add the actual tone names, you'll notice that they are labeled by how YOU would view the guitar when you're looking down when it's in playing position.

e---3---3---3---0---0---0---0---0---0----------- b---3---3---3---0---0---0---2---2---2----------- g---0---0---0---1---1---1---2---2---2----------- D---0---0---0---2---2---2---2---2---2----------- A---2---2---2---2---2---2---0---0---0----------- E---3---3---3---0---0---0---x---x---x-----------

The numbers that appear on the strings are the fret numbers. These actually tell you where to place your fingers on the fret board.

You notice that these fret numbers are all lined up. That's because they're making chords. When you see them all lined up in this fashion, that means all of those strings are to be strummed at once.

So for the first chord, which is a 'G Major,' the tab says to press down the 3rd fret on the 'E' string, the 2nd fret on the 'A' string, the 3rd fret on the 'b' string, and the 3rd fret on the high 'e' string. Then strum all 6 strings.

You strum all 6 of them because the number 0 indicates a string to be struck, but not to be fingered.

There are also a couple 'x' indicators on the guitar tab. That means do not strike as part of the chord. Simple enough.

The entire guitar tab just says to strum the 'G Major' chord 3 times, then the 'E Major' chord 3 times, and then the 'A Major' chord 3 times. (while missing that first string on the last chord)

This is most of what you'll encounter as fast as guitar tabs, but there are a few who attempt to show tempo and rhythms in their tabs and you might see this...

____1___+___2___+___3___+___4___+___1___etc. e---3---3---3---0---0---0---0---0---0------------ b---3---3---3---0---0---0---2---2---2------------ g---0---0---0---1---1---1---2---2---2------------ D---0---0---0---2---2---2---2---2---2------------ A---2---2---2---2---2---2---0---0---0------------ E---3---3---3---0---0---0---x---x---x------------

Now that I look at this, it's a pretty dumb rhythm, but oh well. Numbers will be placed on the top of the tab in order to count out a rhythm. It's usually pretty tough to imagine in your head, so listening to the song first can really turn things around.

Be prepared for some weird stuff to show up in guitar tabs, or for them to be completely wrong! Remember, anybody can write and submit them, but that doesn't mean everybody can really write music by ear.

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