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Moveable major and minor scale shapes. May 2, 2007

Posted by rgordon83 in Beginner, Guitar Lessons, Introduction.
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One of the good (and bad) things about guitar is that when you want to play a scale all you have to do is know that scale’s fingering on the fretboard and you can then apply that fingering to any note in any position. This is good because all you have to do is remember one shape for any given scale and you can apply that shape to any key. The bad part is that players tend to rely on shapes and aren’t really playing what they hear or feel. But for the sake of learning it is very important to know basic scale shapes on guitar. This lesson will teach you the condensed and extended versions of both the major and minor scale on guitar

So you already know that a major scale is derived from a series of whole and half steps (if you didn’t know that then you should read my post on how to build a major scale). Now we can take that idea to create a finger pattern that can be applied to any note on the guitar.

Below are two different major scale shapes that you can use to play any major scale. The black notes indicate the first note of the scale.
moveable condensed major scale fingering on guitar fretboard…………………. moveable extended major scale fingering on guitar fretboard
FYI: the notes in these two major scale versions are the exact same, but they can just be played in different ways. You should practice both.

These major scale shapes only work when you are starting from where the black note is. In other words, if you start from the 5th fret on the low E string you will be playing an A major scale because the note that the black dot starts on is the A note. If you start from the 8th fret you will be playing a C major scale b/c the 8th fret on the low E string is a C note. If you start from the 3rd fret you will be playing a G major scale and so on.

Now lets look at the minor scale shapes on guitar. So far we haven’t talked about how you make a minor scale. I will cover that in a later lesson. But just to give you some brief overview, a minor scale is the same as a Major scale but with a flat 3, 6, and 7. So if you take the major scale and move the 3rd, 6th, and 7th notes down a half step you will have a minor scale.

Below is the minor scale shape on your fretboard. The same rule applies; whichever note the black note starts on that’s what minor scale you are playing. So if you start on the 3rd fret you are playing a G minor scale:

moveable condensed minor scale fingering on guitar fretboard …………………..moveable extended minor scale fingering on guitar fretboard
FYI: the notes in these two minorscale versions are the exact same, but they can just be played in different ways. You should practice both.

Now what you should do is get out your metronome and start it at a slow tempo and practice these scales in both positions, going up and down. If you don’t know how to practice with a metronome then read my post on How to practice with a metronome.

If you have questions please post them to the comments. Goode luck!


How To Practice Guitar April 16, 2007

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

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

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.
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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

Building Chords- Using Scales to Make Major, Minor, and Diminished Chords March 18, 2007

Posted by rgordon83 in Beginner, Chords, Guitar Lessons, Introduction, Music Theory, Notes.
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This lesson will focus on how chords are made. Just like we had a formula of steps that we could use to make a scale (click here to see the lesson on building scales), we can also use a formula to make chords.

A basic chord is built on 3 notes. These 3 note chords are called “triads”. Other notes can be added to a tried to make “extensions”. This lesson will focus just on triads. Extensions will be covered in a later lesson.

There are 6 important types of chords that you need to know: Major chords, minor chords, diminished chords, augmented chords, sus chords, and 5 chords. Major and Minor chords are the most important chords in western music. Diminished chords are also very important. Major chords are said to have a “happy” tone while minor chords are said to have a “sad” tone. Diminished chords are great for building tension. This lesson will explain how to make major, minor, and diminished chords

So lets build some chords.

If you remember from the lesson on the major scale, there are 7 notes in the major scale. By taking certain notes out of this scale we can build a triad. So what notes do we take? Well that depends on what chord we want to build.

The Formula’s for major and minor chords are as follows:
Major: 1-3-5 . So that means you take the 1st, the 3rd note and the 5th note and play them together. That gives you a major triad.

Minor: 1-3b-5. Minor chords are made by taking the 1st note, the b3rd (this means you “flat” the 3rd note by moving it down one half-step), and the 5th note.

Diminished: 1-3b-5b. Diminished chords are made by playing the 1st note and flatting both the 3rd and the 5th notes of a scale.

So the difference between a major and minor triad is the 3rd note. A minor triad has a flat third note.

You will notice that to build a chord we are stacking either Major 3rd or minor 3rd intervals on top of each other. So chords are made by stacking 3rds. (If you don’t know what I’m talking about see my post on intervals).

Lets take a look at the C major scale and apply our chord formulas:

C major scale notes to build C major chord

So if we want to make a C minor chord all we have to do is flat the 3rd. So lets move the E note down one half step. So C minor would be C, Eb, G. Got it?

And what would a C diminished chord be?

You got it. C, Eb, Gb. (because we flat the 3rd and 5th notes!)

Now lets look at the guitar chord charts and see how to play these chords.
C major, C minor, and C diminished chordsI hope you enjoyed this lesson. If you have any questions please post them to the comments section of this post. Next lesson we will look at how to build Sus chords, 5 chords, and Augmented chords.

Getting to know your guitar’s hardware March 16, 2007

Posted by rgordon83 in Beginner, Guitar Hardware, Introduction.
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If you are not already familiar with your guitar’s hardware then you should read this post. Knowing your guitars hardware is important because the more familiar you are with your instrument, the more control you will have over it. You should know all the main hardware for your guitar. (Especially if you ever consider making any modifications to your guitar).

We are going to be looking at my guitar’s hardware as an example. It is important to note that not all guitar hardware is the same. For instance Les Pauls, Fenders and Ibanezs all tend to have slightly different hardware. But most all electric guitars have mostly the same parts.

Lets take a look at my guitar, which is a Hofner Verythin semi hollow body from 2005:

guitar hardware basics overview
The guitar is divided into 3 major parts: the headstock, the neck, and the body.

A. The headstock. On the headstock there are two main components:
1. The tuning pegs (or tuning machines), which allow you to tune the guitar by twisting the knobs.

2.The nut, which holds the strings in place and keeps them the proper distance from one another

B. The neck. On the neck there are 3 main components:
1. The fretboard. The fretboard is the wood that the frets are placed into. The fretboard can me made of various types of wood, but the most popular are rosewood, maple, and ebony. Different woods produce slightly different results.
2. The frets. These are the steel lines that are put into the fretboard that allow you to play different notes by pressing in between any two frets.
3. The inlays. Thsese assist you in knowing what fret you are playing. They are commonly found on the 3rd, 5th, 7th, 9th, 12th, 15th, 17th, 19th, and 22nd frets of the guitar.

This is the area on the body there the tone knobs, volume knobs, and generally the pickup selector switch are located (on Les Paul model guitars the pickups selector is usually to the left of the D section of the guitar).
1. These are “f” holes. These are only found on hollow body and semi hollow body guitars. They allow for the sound to resonate out of the guitars body, functioning similarly to the sound hole on an acoustic guitar.

2. Tone and Volume knobs. These allow you to control the sound of your guitar. Some guitars have tone and volume knobs for both the neck and bridge pickups, some just have one volume and one tone knob that control everything.

3. Pickups selector switch. This allows you to select which pickup your guitar’s output is using. There are two types of pickup selectors: 3 way switches and 5 way switches. Here is a diagram on how 3way and 5way switches work:

3 way pickup selector switch positions on guitar
5 way pickup selector switch on guitar

D. In this section of the body are the pickups, the bridge, and the tailpiece.
Pickups are what capture the vibration of your guitars strings and send that sound to your amp.
1a. This is the neck pickup, it has a thicker sound with more bass.
1b. This is the bridge pickup. It has a thinner, sound with more treble.
NOTE: Some guitars have a middle pickup that is in between the Neck and Bridge pickup
2. This is the bridge. This is where the bottom of your strings rest. This is also what determines how high or low your guitar’s “action” is. (The action on your guitar refers to how far away from the fretboard your strings are. Some player prefer higher action on their guitar, some prefer it lower. It’s a matter of tatse.)
3. This is the tailpiece. It is where your guitar strings are anchored in.

That is a basic outline of the important hardware on your guitar. If you have any questions about your guitar’s hardware please post them to the comments section below.

The Major Scale- using notes to make a scale March 15, 2007

Posted by rgordon83 in Beginner, Guitar Lessons, Introduction, Music Theory, Notes.
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Today we will take a look at how to build a scale using certain notes on your guitar (or any other melodic instrument you play). Just like notes are the building blocks for scales, scales are the building block for composition. All chords are derived from scales. And in western music there is one scale that is more important than all the others: the Ionian scale, (most commonly called by the “Major” scale.)

The Major scale and its modes (a “mode” is a musical scale that is derived from another musical scale by starting from an alternate note within the parent scale. We will get deeper in to modes in another lesson) are used by almost every composer in music today. You will need to understand them if you wish to compose your own songs, improvise, or do almost anything else on guitar.

The first thing you must know is that the Major scale and its modes are all “diatonic” scales. This means they are 7 note scales where all the notes are derived from the tonic (the first note).

If you recall from the lesson on notes, there are 12 notes in all. How do we know which 7 notes we need to make a scale? Easy. There is a formula.

Remember, each note is a half-step away from the next. By using a formula of whole and half steps we can make a scale.
The formula for the Major scale is W-W-H-W-W-W-H (W=whole step, H = Half step).

So you can start with any note and then follow the formula to get that note’s major scale.

See the following diagram showing the C major scale and the G major scale as examples:

Note that the C major scale has no #’s (sharps) or b’s (flats) in it. This is the only major scale with no #’s or b’s in it. For that reason many people will use the key of C major for examples, because it is much easier to follow. I will be using the key of C major to explain things quite often.

As a final point. It is said the tone and character of the major scale is happy and joyful sounding. Other scales and modes will have their own tonal qualities as well.

I hope this was some help. If you are still not getting it perhaps try referring back to the lesson on “Notes”. If you have any questions please post them to the comments section of this post.

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.

So you wanna play guitar? March 13, 2007

Posted by rgordon83 in Introduction.
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Ok. So you decided you want to play guitar. Maybe it was because Jimi Hendrix captivated you with those magical screams that you never thought could come from any instrument. Maybe you decided you wanted to write a love song for someone. Maybe you just have a lot of free time on your hands. Whatever the reason, you have to understand one thing: If you want to be good it’s going to take practice and commitment.

Sure, almost any old Joe can pick up the guitar and strum a few chords. But you have to realize, the better you master your guitar, the easier it will be to express yourself. And isn’t that the reason you want to play? Isn’t music all about self-expression? So instead of being that person who can play Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door, or Sweet Home Alabama, and a few other 4 chord songs, why don’t you make a commitment to be more than that.

Before you start playing guitar, make a commitment that you are going to practice as much as you can. Set a schedule for yourself. Whether it’s 1 hour every other day or 4 hours every day, make sure you stick to a schedule. And try to learn something new AT LEAST once a week. (It doesn’t have to be something complex.)
And if you already play guitar, it’s not too late to change your practicing habits. Many great guitar players did not get serious until after they have been playing for a few years. So now’s the time to change your ways. Remember, you’re only going to get out of it what you put in to it.

Why I Started This Site March 12, 2007

Posted by rgordon83 in Introduction.
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I have been plaing guitar since around 1999. In the past 7-8 years I have really learned a lot about the guitar. I still have a lot more to learn. But i am often approched by friends looking to get more insite into their instrument. So i wanted to start a site where i could share what i know with everyone. Hence “The Guitar Resource”.

When i first started playing i learned almost everything from online. The internet is a great place to learn how to play guitar. Hopefully this site will teach you something new and you will check back and continue to learn as i update it. Please feel free to ask questions in the “comments” section of a post.

I will try and update this site as often as I can. But i hope to post at least once a week. I plan to use youtube to show video lessons as well as upload tablature for songs. If you have any input at all for the site please let me know. I hope you enjoy!