jump to navigation

How To Practice Guitar April 16, 2007

Posted by rgordon83 in Articles, Beginner, Guitar Lessons, Introduction, Tips.
add a comment

Here is a helpful article i came across:


How To Practice Guitar

By Gen Mason

To begin to understand how to practice the guitar for maximum benefit you must first understand what practicing is. To practice the guitar is not the same as sitting down and playing the guitar. While replaying things you already have mastered has its place later on in the practicing regime, practice is truly learning some new material to further build whatever skills you have already.

However, what if you are a new beginner to the world of playing the guitar? Where do you start if you know nothing? There are several basics that all new players must develop before they can move on to learning and perfecting sounds or songs. They are:

-Toughening your fingers. The strings on a guitar can be very sharp and can cause pain to tender fingers that have never been exposed to the pressure needed to apply to a guitar string. So working your fingers into a calloused state where the playing of anything is no longer painful is essential to beginning guitar players.

-Start to work your fingers and build your knowledge base of the guitar by starting with learning individual notes. Once the basic notes are understood, you can move on to more complicated combinations and new sounds.

-Having learned the individual notes will lead you directly into learning the chords and structures used when playing the guitar in a more advanced way. Chords tend to be the starting block for most songs out there and thus must be learned for application in differing musics.

-Developing your sense of beat or rhythm is of course essential to anyone who strives to learn a musical instrument. You have to be able to mark a beat and carry it steadily as tempos change and a song progresses.

-Learning your frets goes hand-in-hand with this and is important to chord learning as well as to song learning. You need to understand your instrument to best use it to your benefit to produce the music you desire to play.

-And of course there are different strumming methods to be learned so as to be able to effectively use them as they are called for in any formalized music. As tempos and beats speed up and slow down, different strumming methods are required and you must learn them in preparation for when they will be called into use.

Once you have begun to learn the basics in using a guitar to make music, it is often advised that a beginner look into getting a tutor. In doing this, you expose yourself to someone who is much more efficient when it comes to using the guitar and who has developed a philosophy of the music he or she creates. This is why it is important to learn a lot about a tutor you may want to hire before you begin to actually work with him or her as you want to make sure that their philosophy is as close to your own as possible, thus creating the most conducive learning environment for yourself. Philosophy is crucial in your approach to making music on the guitar and must work as well for you as it does for your tutor.

Once you have hired a tutor you are comfortable with, you will most likely be exposed to learning to read music. This may seem daunting at first but it will help you immensely as you continue your pursuit of learning the guitar as you progress to more difficult pieces and more advanced playing situations. Also, you will probably be exposed to learning the theories behind playing the guitar and behind playing music in general, all of which will only add to your ability to play more effectively as you begin to understand music more completely.

You will also be presented with a practice plan and it is important to realize that setting goals for a single session is not as productive as setting your plan for a week. Practice times are not to be etched in stone and a definite number of hours and minutes is only detrimental to the learning process. You must be dedicated enough to put in appropriate amount of time but also you must feel the music as you play, and not be distracted by clock-watching.

It is important to remember that while you may have a tutor you are paying to guide you on your exploration with the guitar, it is still necessary for you to find time to experiment and explore different ways to play. Once you have learned a few easy songs, repeating them as is does little to expand your learning . . . but trying them in a different key or improvising with them to add new sounds to the original song does, and you should find time to experiment with your growing knowledge base in your practice sessions.

Listening to a variety of different styles of music is important as you begin to play music yourself. It allows you to see a variety of ways the information you are learning is being used by professionals and semi-professionals around the world. This can also inspire you to try something new in your experimentations that perhaps you never would have contemplated before if you had not listened to differing styles of music. Soon you will begin to be able to pick out changes in chords, musical patterns, tempo, and strumming styles and recognize where they began and where they ended up.

It is also so very important to always remember as you begin your desire to practice and learn the guitar for the maximum benefit that the art of learning the guitar is not a race. Everyone will learn at their own pace, and it is not a dead-heat to the finish line. Take your time and learn every step of the way to your satisfaction and the music you end up producing will be the most satisfying sounds you ever heard emitted from the guitar you are so patiently learning to play. Practice is important if you want to learn anything but especially so in the guitar as it is much more complex an instrument to master than others.

Gen Mason is a guitar player from Florida. Discover free how to improve your guitar skills at Jamorama
Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Gen_Mason

Buy a Guitar-How To! April 5, 2007

Posted by rgordon83 in Articles, Guitar Gear, Tips.
add a comment

Here is a great article on how to buy a guitar. Check it out:

Buy a Guitar-How To!
By Carlos Gamez

You’re off to buy your first guitar. I remember the first guitar I fell in love with. I used to go and just look at it in the store window. It was a Fender Telecaster.

Of course in those days my family couldn’t afford to buy a guitar, so it was 10 years later when I finally did buy my first guitar.

So what do you do? How do you know which one is right for you? Should you buy the same one your friend owns? Do you choose a Gibson, Martin, a Taylor? How about Fender, Yamaha, Takamine, Guild, or Ovation? Should you buy a Vintage guitar, a used guitar, a cheap guitar?

With the huge number of guitars available on the market today, going out to buy a guitar can seem to be an overwhelming task. But with a few basics under your belt you can buy a guitar easily.

While the proven brands (like those I mentioned above) are generally the best built guitars using the best materials, they are also considerably more expensive than lesser known brands. But those lesser known brands, beginner style guitars, have become surprisingly good values in the last couple of years.

You will hear many opinions on what to look for when you buy a guitar. for example I was recently in a guitar store when I noticed a young couple looking at guitars. I overheard the husband saying that his friend had told him he needed to buy a guitar “with a spruce top”. He kept saying this over and over again while looking over every guitar in the place.

His wife kept looking over the guitars saying “this one is pretty, don’t you think? or “This one looks nice.” The husband kept repeating his mantra ” We need one with a Spruce top.”

When it was obvious to me that he didn’t really know what a “spruce top” was and that they were both quite lost and didn’t have a clue on how to buy a guitar, I decided I’d better save them!

So I talked with them for a few minutes and within 10 minutes they were happy, smiling, and on their way with a new guitar.

When you buy a guitar I feel there are 4 aspects of major importance. The points listed here are for an acoustic guitar. I believe that should be everyone’s first guitar.

1. You have to be happy with or like the way the guitar sounds. Play around with a few guitars or if you don’t know how to play yet, have the salesperson play them for you. Have him play the same tune or melody (so you can compare apples to apples). Listen to the way they sound. Some are loud, some have a deep wooden quality, and some ring with a crystal like tone. There isn’t a right or wrong sound there is only which do you like best! After a while you may decide to buy a guitar for each sound. For now though pick the one you like the best. When you have settled on a couple that you like the best go on to the next steps.

2. The guitar must be comfortable. Have a seat on a stool or a chair (no arms on the chair please) take hold of the guitar and place the bottom curve of the guitar(if you are right-handed) on your right thigh (if you are left-handed) place the bottom curve of the guitar on your left thigh. Lean it back slightly so that you can see what you are doing and ask yourself, Does it feel comfortable ? Does your strumming hand feel comfortable on the front of the guitar? Is it too big? Is it too small? Do you have to bend over too much or sit up too straight? Now strum the guitar, can you do that comfortably? If the guitar is not comfortable put the guitar away and repeat this step with another guitar. Don’t bother going on to the next steps. If you are not comfortable with the guitar DON”T BUY IT. Try other guitars until you find one that meets your comfort level only then go on to step 3.

3. Now lets look and work with the neck of the guitar. It must be easy for you to wrap your hand around comfortably. There are many shapes to the guitar neck and various widths as well. The most Important thing in buying your first guitar is that it must be easy for you to wrap your hand around comfortably. When you find a guitar that is comfortable, check two more things. The frets( the wire strips that go across the fingerboard). You have to make sure the ends are finished correctly if not they will be sharp and can cut your fingers when you play the guitar. You must also check the string height If they are too high they will be tough to press down and play. Too low they will buzz and clunk when you strum or pick the notes. Sometimes the guitar shop has a set up or repair dept. that will “set up” your guitar for you but this can sometimes be expensive . One you have found guitars that you like the sound of are comfortable in your lap with a neck that is th correct size and shape, you are ready for the last step.

4. You should buy a guitar that is within your budget. Contrary to popular belief you do not have to spend hundreds or thousands of dollars to buy a guitar that is decent and will serve your purpose.. My daughter surprised me with a guitar she bought for $100. I was ready to take her back and set the clerk straight for taking her $100.00 and ripping her off. “How could they do that, take her money…” That’s what I was thinking. Well, to make a long story short, she brought me the guitar and I must say it sounded better and felt more comfortable than guitars I’ve seen that cost $250.00 to $350.00 ! So you can buy a guitar and stay within your budget. Once you become a better guitar player then go invest in a really good guitar for now remember something, You are playing the guitar to have fun. So have some fun playing the guitar and learning the guitar and you decide when you want to buy a guitar of higher value!

OK, Those are the tips I have successfully shared with others when they ask me how to buy a guitar. Good Luck on buying your first guitar!

Carlos Gamez has been playing guitar and performing for many years. His website, http://guitar-magician.com was established to help others learn how to play guitar and to help already established guitarists improve their guitar playing skills. Guitar-magician.com is committed to providing useful, practical, information on playing the guitar. It is a resource for beginning guitarists and more advanced players as well.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Carlos_Gamez

Guitar Tuning Tips – Want Some Techniques You Can Use to Keep Your Guitar in Tune? March 29, 2007

Posted by rgordon83 in Articles, Guitar Hardware, Tips, Tuning.
add a comment

I don’t have time to write my own post tonight due to the new job i started. But instead of leaving you with nothing I figured I would share this good article with you on keeping your guitar in tune:

(If you don’t already have a guitar tuner you can go to my link at the end of this article to get one)

Guitar Tuning Tips – Want Some Techniques You Can Use to Keep Your Guitar in Tune?
By David O’Toole

Keeping your guitar tuned is THE first step in sounding hot and professional. Tune-up perfectly and THEN play is the order of the day. Tuning tip number one starts right here. Get yourself a decent and well made guitar that naturally stays in tune without constant tweaking. No matter how much you perfect the art of guitar tuning, a cheap instrument will seriously hamper your efforts.

No matter how well you play your latest lick or arpeggio, it won’t sound hot unless your in perfect Guitar Tune Nirvana either! Conclusion: Invest in a good or even great guitar and your halfway there regarding guitar-tuning dilemmas.

To start off, here are 2 simple but BIG tuning tips for any type of six-stringer:

After every sweaty, no-holds barred, gig or rehearsal, CLEAN YOUR STRINGS! It may sound painfully obvious, but this is the biggest guitar tuning problem and string-killer of them all. Some people, including yours truly, can rust and destroy a set of strings overnight, by gigging with them and not cleaning the chemicals and sweat off, immediately afterwards. When this happens, tuning can be almost impossible.

So cleaning your strings is step one to guitar tuning nirvana. This simple precaution lengthens their lifespan, maintains tone AND tuning. Use a lint-free cloth, wrap it under and around each string, one at a time, and wipe up and down, with a slight pressure, cleaning the complete surface.

Use pure alcohol on the cloth if necessary, you can buy a small bottle of Isopropyl Alcohol in the chemists. Squeaky clean!

WARNING: Be careful with this stuff it’s poisonous if taken internally!

Be careful not to run your fingers along the string too, it cuts deep and hurts like hell! I tie the cloth around the neck afterwards (they tend to mysteriously disappear for some strange reason just when needed), and make it a regular habit.

Unless you’re an experienced player, DO NOT PUT NEW STRINGS ON YOUR GUITAR BEFORE A GIG! … hi John ;-). If you must, try and allow about 30-45 Minutes to fit, stretch and warm them and yourself up.

If you have ever played a guitar which sounds fine in the lower regions but goes out of tune as you move up the neck, the answer could well be dirty or kaput strings. If you change them and the problem goes away, then you know. If it doesn’t go away, it could be the guitar intonation. Get a good and trusted guitar-tech to check it for you.

When you put new strings on (if you have a Floating Bridge, do them one at a time, DO NOT take all the old ones off at once), tune them up to concert pitch, then spend about 20 minutes stretching them by hand. Left hand holds everything down at the nut, place 4 fingers of your right hand underneath one string, and slowly pull it out until you feel the tension and gently sort of bounce it forward and backwards, and S-T-R-E-T-C-H…and loosen…and S-T-R-E-T-C-H…and loos…

Slide your hand position up the neck along the string, pull it out at various points and so on, covering the entire length from nut to bridge. Then retune it and do it all again. The first few times the string tuning will drop by as much as an octave. After a few stretch/tune ups you’ll notice it doesn’t drop anymore. If you let this stretching happen naturally, it can take a week or so until the guitar strings stop jumping out of tune every 2 seconds. Your guitar will be as fit as a fiddle.

So adhering to these two simple but effective steps will improve any guitars tuning and even playability. Once you get into the habit of cleaning and stretching your guitar strings and it becomes second nature, you can turn your attention to other important playing points without having to tune up every few minutes. It’s well worth the effort.

Next we look at some Fender Stratocaster whammy bar tips, Lee Chang specials to avoid, and how a humble home pencil can save your guitar life :). [Note: this is not refering to my blog. The author of this article wrote that].

***

David O’Toole is a guitar player, music fan, and musician from Ireland. He is the webmaster at the UniGTR­+ Center and editor at the BellaOnline Musician Site

A keen player and experienced guitar teacher, he is also the author of the popular standard, lefthand, reverse guitar, and piano / keyboard series of Basic Chord Families — Not just another random selection of 1000s of chords, but the key to fast learning and playing 1000s of songs with under 60 chords!

This article may be freely reproduced as is, provided it is keep it intact, and that the above resource box is maintained – thank you.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=David_O’Toole

Click the image below to buy a guitar tuner!


Practicing Guitar With A Metronome -Why And How You Should Do It March 21, 2007

Posted by rgordon83 in Articles, Beginner, Guitar Lessons, Introduction, Technique, Tips.
add a comment

For some reason most of the self-taught guitar players I know do not own a metronome. Whether they don’t understand the importance of being able to play in time and to tempo, or they think they can keep tempo just fine by tapping their foot, or they are just plain lazy, most self-taught guitar players do not practice with a metronome.

If you want to build speed, timing, and rhythm you need to practice with a metronome frequently. Once I started using one my chops started getting faster, cleaner, and more precise in just a few days. Yours can to.

You can get a metronome for very cheap. I even put a link to buy one at the end of this post.

How to use your metronome:

Once you have a metronome you have to know how to use it. The first thing to remember is that you should start slow! You should be playing slow enough that you can hear every guitar note you pick cleanly. This means turn off your distortion so you can really hear how well you execute each note. There is no reason to be ashamed if you have to start practicing a lick at 60BPM, or even 40BPM. Start as slow as you need to. Practice the lick/song/scale at that tempo until you can play it comfortably multiple times. Then increase the speed by 4BPM and start again. Keep repeating until you can play it up to speed.

Counting beats and Note durations.

Most metronomes have different time signatures. I am just going to talk about standard 4/4 time. This means that there are four beats every measure (bar). The following durations apply to 4/4 time signature only.

Each beat is a quarter note. So every beep on your metronome you count a number up until 4. Once you count 4 beats the measure is over and you start over. So you count 1,2,3,4,1,2,3,4,1,2,3,4,etc… and each number is a quarter note. So if you play a new note every time you say a number you are playing quarter notes

If every beat is a quarter note then that means every 2 beats is a half note. So if you play a note and hold it for two numbers you are playing half notes. So you would play on 1 and hold that note until 3 and play a new note on 3 and hold that until the 1 of the next beat. Or you could do the same thing but start on 2 and 4. You can start whenever you want as long as you are holding the notes fore 2 beats.

If a note 2 beats long makes a half note then what do 2 halves make? A whole! So a note 4 beats long is called a whole note. So if you play on 1 and hold it through beat 4 you are playing a whole note. So any note held for 4 beats is a whole note

Now for 8th notes. 8th notes are shorter in duration than quarter notes. If you but an “and” between every note then you will be playing 8th notes. So every time it beeps you count a number and between every number you say an “and”. So “1, and, 2,and, 3, and, 4, and, 1, and, 2, and, 3, and, 4, and etc…If you play a note every time you say a number and on every “and” you are playing 8th notes.

16th notes and 32nd notes are also common. But I won’t go into them now b/c they are pretty fast and you should be starting with the basics.

If you have any questions please post them to the “comments” section.
Here is a great metronome if you don’t have one(click it for more details and to buy):
Matrix MR-500 Quartz Metronome


Matrix MR-500 Quartz Metronome


5 Guitar Playing Tips – Learn to Play Guitar Chords March 20, 2007

Posted by rgordon83 in Articles, Beginner.
add a comment

Here is a cool article i saw online:

5 Guitar Playing Tips – Learn to Play Guitar Chords
By Anthony Lee
Many people are aspiring to learn how to play the guitar. The guitar has risen into a certain level of popularity that it has become a symbol of talent, creativity and “coolness.”

However, learning how to play the guitar is no joke. Learning to play the instrument requires one to learn how to play the chords. This article tries to give some helpful tips to individuals who would want to learn how to play guitar chords.

1. Get a chord chart

Playing guitar chords is just like playing chords in an organ. If one is learning to play the guitar alone (without a teacher), having a guitar chord book is his best bet. A guitar chord book demonstrates the different finger positions when playing different types of chords. The pressed strings are usually depicted with dots and the strings which are not supposed to be plucked are marked with an “x.”

A chord book is a beginner’s best friend. Memorizing chords without the help of a guitar teacher will be an impossible task if not for the chord book.

2. One at a time

There are dozens and dozens of different guitar chords which show themselves in different formations. Trying to memorize them in a single blow is close to impossible. Learning how to play guitar chords requires patience and lots of practice. Try practicing three chords that are can be played together (ex. A-E-D) on a single day and try to familiarize oneself with the transition between these chords. Don’t try to take every chord in one sitting, it simply can’t be done.

3. Be aware of the right hand

An important thing to remember when learning how to play guitar chords is that the movement of the right hand is as important as the movement of the left hand. Most beginners would find themselves taking breaks in strumming until the left hand positions itself properly for the next chord. This is normal during the first few day of practice, but at some point, the right hand should dictate the tempo of the movements of both hands. Strumming or plucking shouldn’t be delayed.

4. Listen to guitar-intensive songs whenever possible

One should learn how to play the guitar with some inspiration at the back of his head. Listening to good guitar players will give one some idea of where he would want to go in the future.

5. Learn the different forms of chords

As stated earlier, guitar chords present themselves in various forms. One should be familiar with the different forms so as to bring flexibility in to playing. One popular form of chords which is widely used in rock music is the “power chords” they are simply and heavy-sounding.

Playing guitar chords is not as hard as one would think. Learning to play guitar chords is a basic and essential part of guitar playing, it lays down the foundation of good guitar playing skills. If one has the perseverance and the passion to play the guitar, he will eventually learn how to play the chords and advance into more intricate lessons.

To learn more tips on guitar playing, please visit http://www.guitar-playing-tips.info/

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Anthony_Lee

Guitar Players…Get a Balanced Guitar Practice Diet March 14, 2007

Posted by rgordon83 in Articles, Beginner, Guitar Lessons, Technique.
2 comments

This is a great article I saw online today. I wanted to share it with you:

Guitar Players…Get a Balanced Guitar Practice Diet By Craig Bassett

Do you have a wide variety of things that you practice. Or do you like to binge? (You
know…the type of player who practices sweep picking for a kazillion hours a
day but only know three chords)!Having a balanced practice routine is essential
if you want to become a versatile guitarist. If you just practice one or two
things, sure you’ll get great at those things…but you’ll be weak in other key
areas.

In this lesson you’ll learn how to create a practice routine that
is well-balanced and will help you work towards your ultimate vision of how you
would like to play.

I generally categorise what I practice into one of
seven areas:
-Technique.
-Repertoire (Covers).
-Composition.
-Improvisation.
-Ear Training.
-Theory.
-Music Reading.

Everything that you practice will fit into one or more of the above
areas. For example, if you are learning a very challenging cover tune by
transcribing it off the CD you are essentially working on your technique,
repertoire and ear training at the same time. If you also write down the song in
standard notation, you will also be developing your music reading skills.Now…do
you have to practice things in all seven areas? I believe that you don’t have to
if your vision doesn’t require it. For example, if someone wants to become an
awesome classical guitarist and has no desire to improvise, then I believe that
they don’t need to practice things relating to improvisation. We all have
limited time available for practice, so it’s a waste of time working on things
that don’t specifically help you reach your goals.

Let’s go through a
few exercises…

Exercise One:
Think about the vision
that you have for your playing for a few minutes.How would you like to play in
ten years time. Make it exact!
Once you’ve done that, brainstorm as many
things that you need to practice in order to play like your vision. What
specific things do you need to learn, develop and practice? Write them down now.

Exercise Two:
Next to each of the things written
down for Exercise One, write down a category next to it. For example, if you
wrote “I need to be able to play faster” then write technique next to it. If you
feel that something you wrote belongs to more than one category, then write down
all the categories it could belong to.

Exercise Three:
Look at your answers for the previous two exercises. Once you’ve done that
prioritise the categories shown below. For example, if you feel that technique
is the most important thing you need to work on to reach your vision then put a
1 next to it.

Practice Area Priority Level (1-7)[Note: 1 is the
highest priority].

TechniqueRepertoire (covers)
Composition
Improvisation
Ear Training
Theory
Music Reading

Now
here’s the important point. You should spend the most time practising your
number one priority. I know it’s pretty obvious, but you’d be amazed at how many
people don’t do this! I know a few guitar players who would like to be able to
play incredibly fast, yet they don’t do a lot of technical practice. Talk about
setting yourself up to fail!

Exercise Four:
Decide how much time every day you will spend on each category. Write it down below.

Practice Area Time Invested Daily
TechniqueRepertoire
(covers)
Composition
Improvisation
Ear Training
Theory
Music
Reading

All done? Great!
So what’s the next step?

The next step is to decide on a specific activity for each practice area.Make sure to
write them down.

Here are a couple of examples of what someone might put
down…

Technique: I will invest 10 minutes a day on alternate picking
exercise one. I will start with the metronome at 80 beats per minute (bpm) and
increase it by 4 bpm daily (as long as I can play it perfectly).

Ear Training: I will invest 10 minutes daily a day on A minor pentatonic ear
training exercise one.

Got the idea? You would have one specific activity for every practice area. If you have a lot of time to practice you
could set more than one activity per practice area.

Give this method a try. I’ll think you’ll be more than happy with the results!

(Craig Bassett (The Guitar Solutions Expert) is a professional guitarist, guitar tutor
and author who lives in Auckland, New Zealand. To get a free high-quality lesson
e-mailed to you once a month, please go to:
http://www.pentatonic-guitar-lessons.com/
Article Source:
http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Craig_Bassett)”

I hope you enjoyed it!