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Learning Arpeggios- What are arpeggios and how should I use them? April 29, 2007

Posted by rgordon83 in Arpeggios, Chords, Guitar Lessons, Guitar Tabs, Music Theory, Notes, Technique, Tips.
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Chances are 9 out of 10 (if not 10 out of 10) of your favorite guitar tunes have arpeggios in them. So what is an arpeggio? Simple. An arpeggio is chord notes played in succession instead of simultaneously. So if someone says to arpeggiate an Am chord what they mean is play it one note at a time, instead of strumming all the notes at once. Here is an example:

Am arpeggio

Using arpeggios in your solo is a great way to create interesting melodies and outline the chord changes you are playing over. A great way to do this is to use the arpeggio of the chords you are playing over to help indicate the chord changes and great nice melodies on guitar. Here is an example of using the arpeggios of the chord you are soloing over:

arpeggios over C and F chord

Having an arsenal of arpeggios at your fingertips will greatly improve your soloing technique and help you become a better player. Here are two great exercises to practice to help you learn arpeggios and improve your speed and technique. The trick to this exercise is to make sure you say the same of each arpeggio as you play it so you really learn their names. Also make you are alternate picking and using a metronome (Korg MA-30 Digital Metronome)! And lastly, make sure you are not going too fast for yourself. Always start slow.

The first exercise is to go through the C major scale and arpeggiate all the triad of the C major scale. First we will go up the strings in one position, then we will stay on the same strings and go up the neck:

(Quarter notes)
3 note arpeggio exercise in C diatonic scale

second part of exercise with arpeggios in c diatonic
Then play the same thing with 7 chord arpeggios

7th chord arpegio exercise in C diatonic
Then play triads on the A and D strings going up the neck and back down:
2 string arpeggio exercise in C diatonic

Now see if you can play the same thing but play 7th chord arpeggios. If you don’t remember how to make a 7th chord see the lesson on building 7th chords. If you go up the neck in a similar way as this you will need to use three strings to play the 7th note. I’ll get you started by showing you the Cmaj7 arpeggio:
See if you can figure out the rest ony your own going up the neck and starting each arpeggio from the A string. If you have questions post them to the comments!
After you master this in C you should play it in all other keys. That way you will know all the standard arpeggios in all keys and you will be able to apply them all to your guitar lines. Good luck!

Alternate Picking- Video Lesson April 22, 2007

Posted by rgordon83 in Beginner, Guitar Lessons, Guitar Tabs, Picking, Technique, Tips, Videos.

There are many picking techniques guitarists use when playing guitar. An there is no “right” answer on which technique you should use. In fact, many guitarists use different picking techniques for different situations. But the focus of this lesson will be on alternate picking. This is one of the most widely used picking techniques and it is essential for any guitarist to be comfortable with alternate picking.

The tendency of most novice guitar players is to play most down strokes. Or randomly play down and upstrokes. Training yourself to use alternate picking takes a bit of time and practice. But once you get it down you will see that your chops will be faster and more fluid. Below is a video of some helpful exercises to help you master alternate picking.

Note that these exercises will use strictly alternate picking, though in reality many guitarists may use a combination of alternate and sweep picking for these. But for the sake of this exercise use strict alternate picking. The tabs for these exercises are located below the video. Also note that in order to get the most out of these, and any guitar exercise you NEED to practice with a metronome. If you don’t have one i put 2 links to two great, cheap, metronomes at the very bottom of this post, under the alternate picking exercise tabs.

G amjaor Scale


Chromatic exercise:

———————————————————————–4–3–2- 1
Move up to 2nd fret and repeat pattern. Go all the way up to the 12th fret

4th alternate picking exercise:
—-7–8–7–5–7–8–7–5–7 –etc…——-6–8–6–5–6–8–6–5 –etc..

and try this too:

and lastly:

–7–8–7–5—————-6–8–6–5—————-7–8–7–5 –etc.——

Getting a metronome will be one of the best investments you make if you are serious about playing guitar. Here are two great, relatively cheap, metronomes:

Matrix MR-500 Quartz Metronome


click one to buy!

Essential lead guitar techniques-Video April 1, 2007

Posted by rgordon83 in Beginner, Guitar Lessons, Guitar Tabs, Introduction, Technique, Tips, Videos.
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Here is a video demonstrating the most essential guitar techniques for anyone playing lead guitar. Sorry for the poor audio and video quality, I don’t have such a great recorder.

The guitar techniques shown in the video are: hammer-ons, pull-offs, trilling, bending (and releasing), sliding, and vibrato. There are guitar tabs for each of the examples below the video. Enjoy!

Hammer-on************* Pull-off ********** Trill
–5h7——————-7p5————5h7p5h7p5h7 etc….

Bend*********** Bend Release************** Vibrato

Slide ********* Multiple slides ********* bend + vibrato

Multiple techniques used together

How to read guitar tabs and guitar chord charts March 14, 2007

Posted by rgordon83 in Beginner, Guitar Lessons, Guitar Tabs, Introduction.
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Before we go any further I want to make sure you know how to read guitar tabs and chord charts. You will need to know this because I will be using them a lot on this site from now on.

Guitar tabs are very easy to learn. It is not nearly as complex as reading sheet music. By the end of this post you should be able to read guitar tabs quite easily.

Let me first explain the difference between guitar tabs and sheet music. The first, and biggest difference is that sheet music tells you which notes to play (I.E. C, Ab, D#, etc…). Sheet music can be applied to any instrument. The notes are marked by different circles, each having their own time value (whole notes, half notes, quarter notes, etc…) So sheet music not only tells you what notes to play, but tell you how long to play each note for. Tabs are designed for guitar. They tell you what string and fret to play. They are written out as numbers on a string. They also don’t tell you how long to play each note for. So you have to already be familiar with the song in order to play the tabs accurately.

Lets take a look at how guitar tab works:

There are 6 lines, one for each string. The lowest line represents the low E string, the one above that is the A string, above that the D, above that the G, then B, then the high E. So it looks like this:


Now the numbers tell you what to play:


So in the above tab I am playing the 3rd fret on the Low E string (G note), the 5th fret on the low E (A note), 2nd fret on the A string (B note), etc. Also, when two numbers are stacked on top of one another those are played at the same time. So the 3rd fret on the A string and 2nd fret on the D string are played together.

Here is a video of me playing the above tabs:

So tabs also function as a timeline from left to right. You play the notes in the order they appear. So if two notes are stacked, they are played at the same time.

Guitar Tab Symbols
The numbers don’t really tell you anything about the techniques a guitarist can execute, these are the tabs symbols that represent different techniques used in playing guitar. These will be demonstrated in later lessons.
h – hammer on
p – pull off
b – bend string up
r – release bend
/ – slide up
\ – slide down
v – vibrato (sometimes written as ~~)
t – right hand tap
– natural harmonic
[n] – artificial harmonic
n(n) – tapped harmonic
tr – trill
TPtremolo. picking
PM – palm muting
\n/ – tremolo bar dip; n = amount to dip
\n – tremolo bar down
n/ – tremolo bar up
/n\ – tremolo bar inverted dip
= – hold bend; also acts as connecting device for hammers/pulls
– volume swell (louder/softer)
x – on rhythm slash represents muted slash
o – on rhythm slash represents single note slash

Now lets look at guitar chord charts.
The following diagram is a guitar chord chart (with some notes added). It tells you how to play a chord on guitar. It tells you which fingers to use, as well as which strings to strum. The X above a string means do not strum that string, or mute it with your fretting hand. The O means play that string open (it is strummed, but not freted). Take a look:

guitar chord chart example Note: Your finger are numbered as follows: Pointer=1, Middle=2, Ring=3, Pinky=4, Thumb=T
Also, the name of the chord usually appears at the top of the chart.

Pretty simple. Note that if you see a Roman numeral to the left of the chart nest to the 1st fret it means that you start at that fret instead of the 1st fret. So a IV would indicate that the diagram should be played starting at the 4th fret, not the first.

I hope this helps you understand guitar tabs and guitar chord charts. They will come in handy when learning guitar on the Internet, especially on this site. If you have any questions please post them to the comments section.