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Chord Extensions-Building 7th Chords April 8, 2007

Posted by rgordon83 in Beginner, Chords, Guitar Lessons, Music Theory.
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Now that you know how to build a chord and use it in a diatonic progressions (if you don’t, see diatonic harmony) we can take a look at making more complex harmonies and interesting sounding chords by using 7th chords.

A 7th chord is called an “extension” b/c you are adding additional notes to the 1-3-5 notes that compose a common triad. As the name indicates, we are adding the 7th note of the scale, so the chord has 4 notes, not 3.

There are 4 types of 7 chords that you need to know. Here are those 4 types and their formulas:

Major 7th chords: 1,3,5,7

7 chords (sometimes called dominant 7th chords, but that will be discussed in a later lesson): 1,3,5,b7

Minor 7th chords: 1, b3, 5, b7

Half Diminished 7: 1, b3, b5, b7

These 7 chords are built the same way that triads are built—by stacking 3rds. Lets take a look at some of these chords by using notes from the C major scale

C – D – E – F – G – A – B

Now lets build a Cmaj7 chord. To do that we will start stacking 3rds from the C note. So we have C,E,G,B, or 1,3,5,7. So Cmaj7 chord is spelled C,E,G,B. At the end of this lesson will have chord charts for how to play this chord on guitar.

Now lets build some more chords. Here are the 7 chords for D through B. In the prentices I will put that chords major scale so you can compare the notes with the formula used to derive the 7 chord.

ii Dm7 – D, F, A, C (1,b3,5,b7 of D major: D, E, F#, G, A, B, C#, D)

iii Em7 – E, G, B, D (1,b3,5,b7 of E major: E, F#, G#, A, B, C#, D#, E)

IV Fmaj7 – F, A, C, E (1,3,5,7 of F major: F, G, A, Bb, C, D, E, F)

V G7 – G, B, D, F (1, 3, 5, b7 of G major: G, A, B, C, D, E, F#, G)

vi Am7 – A, C, E, G (1,b3,5,b7 of A major: A, B, C#, D, E, F#, G#, A)

viiº Bm7b5 (AKA B half diminished) – B, D, F, A (1,b3,b5,b7 of B major: B, C#, D#, E, F#, G#, A#, B)

Here is a look at the easiest way to play these 7th chords on guitar. Note that there are MANY other way to play these 7 chords on guitar:
Cmaj7 guitar chord Dm7 guitar chord Em7 guitar chord Fmaj7 guitar chord G7 guitar chord Am7 guitar chordBm7b5 guitar chord
See a video of me playing these chords below:

Buy a Guitar-How To! April 5, 2007

Posted by rgordon83 in Articles, Guitar Gear, Tips.
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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

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

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.
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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!

Diatonic harmony- the building block of composition March 25, 2007

Posted by rgordon83 in Chords, Guitar Lessons, Harmony, Music Theory, Notes.

Note: Before you read this post it would help you if you read my post on notes, the major scale, and building chords.

As discussed previously a diatonic scale is a scale consisting only of the 7 notes which fit within a givins scale’s formula. The most famous and useful (at least in western music) is the major scale (i.e. The major scale is diatonic b/c is consists of all 7 notes derived from the W-W-H-W-W-W-H formula). If you recall, major chords are built from the major scale by taking the 1,3, and 5 notes of the scale and the minor chord is made by taking the 1, 3b, and 5 notes of the major scale. These notes are chosen because chords are made by stacking either major or minor 3rd intervals (See my post on intervals if you don’t know what major and minor 3rds are)

Now lets get into the diatonic harmony. Basically diatonic harmony is using the 7 notes of a scale to make 7 different chords that are all in the key of the root note. So all the notes and chords in diatonic harmony will only use scale tones. No outside tones are used.

We will use the key if C major as an example.

As discussed before the C major scale is C – D – E – F – G – A – B – C. This is in the key of C because the 1st note of the scale is C. So if you start from the C note and “stack 3rds” (note, an easier way to look at stacking thirds is that we are using every other note) we get C, E, G—or the 1, 3, 5. Those are the notes of the C major chord. But how do we derive other chords from the C major scale? Simple. We just start stacking thirds from another note and then compare the results to that notes major scale. Here is what I mean:

C major scale notes to make Dm chord
If we start on the second note, D, and stack 3rds we get the notes D, F, and A. Lets compare those notes to the D major scale so we can see what chord that is.

Let’s apply our major scale formula of W-W-H-W-W-W-H to the D note. The result is D-E-F#-G-A-B-C#-D. So the notes D, F, and A would be the 1, 3b, 5 of that scale. (because the F# note is flatted to an F). So 1, 3b, 5 is the formula for a minor chord. So the notes D, F, A are a D minor chord. So the second chord in the C major diatonic harmony is D minor!

Lets look at the rest of the notes. (blue represents the 1st note)

C major scale notes to make chords Em, F, G, Am, Bdim
So we have
E, G, B or the 1, 3b, 5 compared to the E major scale of E-F#-G#-A-B-C#-D#-E. that gives us an E minor.

F, A, C or the 1, 3, 5 compared to the F major scale of F-G-A-Bb-C-D-E-F. That gives is F major.

G, B, D or the 1, 3, 5 compared to the G major scale of G-A-B-C-D-E-F#-G That gives is G major.

A, C, E or the 1, 3b, 5 compared to the A major scale of A-B-C#-D-E-F#-G#-A. that gives us an A minor

B, D, F or the 1,3b, 5b compared to the B major scale of B-C#-D#-E-F#-G#-A#-B. That gives us B diminished.

So the diatonic chords of C major are:

diatonic chord progression of C major
Note the roman numerals below each chord. These refer to the degree of the scale each chord is build on. And the case of the numeral indicates if that chord is major or minor. The little “zero” by the vii indicates that chord is diminished. So if someone says they are playing a ii-V-I ( 2-5-1) in the key of C they want you to play the chords Dm, G, C.

It’s also important to note that each one of these scale degrees as a different name:
scale degree chart

Here are the chord charts for each of the chords in the key of C major:
C major chord on guitar D minor chord on guitar E minor chord on guitar F major chord on guitar G major chord on guitar

A minor chord on guitar B diminished chord on guitar (updated this image based on the 1st comment below)

In later lessons we will talk about how to use these chords to create tension and resolution—the backbone of good composition.

Intervals March 23, 2007

Posted by rgordon83 in Beginner, Ear Training, Guitar Lessons, Intervals, Music Theory, Notes.

An interval is the distance between two notes and it is calculated from the lower note. Different intervals have different sound qualities. Learning intervals will help you develop your ear and it is a great ear training exercise. For instance, if you can recognize the sound of a Minor 3rd interval then you will be able to hear when a melody you like uses it, thus you will be able to play it back.

There are two types of Intervals: harmonic intervals and melodic intervals. A harmonic interval is the distance between two notes played in unison. A melodic interval is the distance between two notes played in succession.

Here are some tabbed examples:

Harmonic Interval Melodic Interval
——————– ———————-
——————– ———————–
——————– ———————-
———–2——– —————-2——
———–3——— ——-3—————-
———————- ———————–

There are two characters for every interval: size and quality. Size refers to the distance between the two notes and quality describes the type of sound that interval has.

There are 13 common interval distances (numbers), intervals higher than 13 are rarely used. The first 8 intervals are called “simple intervals” because they are within an octave. Intervals 9-13 are called “compound intervals”. Interval distance is always counted from the 1st note of the scale:

interval distances on guitar (since that is hard to read, here are the numbers for each interval. the first number is the lower number, the 2nd is the one above it: Unison: 8, 3. 2nd: 3, 0. 3rd: 3, 2. 4th: 3, 3. 5th: 3, 5. 6th: 3, 2. 7th: 3, 4. 8th: 3, 5. 9th: 3, 3. 10th: 3, 5. 11th: 3, 1. 12th: 3, 3. 13th: 3, 5.)
There are 5 terms that describe the quality of intervals: perfect, major, minor, diminished, and augmented. These are the same types of sounds that are used to describe chords.

To figure out the quality of intervals we need to look at the interval numbers and qualities in the major scale.

The major scale has two qualities of intervals: perfect and major. The perfect intervals occur on the unison (1st), 4th, 5th, and octave. The major intervals are the 2nd, 3rd, 6th, and 7th. The compound intervals are the same as the simple intervals.
Interval qualities on guitar (since that is hard to read, here are the numbers for each interval. the first number is the lower number, the 2nd is the one above it: Unison: 8, 3. 2nd: 3, 0. 3rd: 3, 2. 4th: 3, 3. 5th: 3, 5. 6th: 3, 2. 7th: 3, 4. 8th: 3, 5. 9th: 3, 3. 10th: 3, 5. 11th: 3, 1. 12th: 3, 3. 13th: 3, 5.)

Minor, Diminished, and Augmented intervals are made by altering a perfect or major interval either by moving the second note a half step sharp or a half step flat (if you do not know what this means see my post on notes). By altering an interval you do not change the number, just the quality.

Whenever a perfect interval is raised a half-step it becomes augmented. So if we raise a P1st (perfect first) one half-step it becomes an A1st (augmented 1st).

Whenever a perfect interval is lowered by one half-step it becomes diminished. So a P5th lowered by a half-step becomes a d5th (diminished 5th).

When a major interval is raised a half-step it becomes augmented (just like a perfect interval). So a M2nd (major 2nd) raised by a half step becomes a P2nd.

When a Major interval is lowered by a half-step it becomes minor. So a M3rd lowered by a half-step becomes a m3rd (minor 3rd. Major gets a capital M miner gets a lower case m).

When a minor interval is lowered a half-step it becomes diminished. So a m3rd lowered a half-step it becomes a d3rd.

I know this is a lot to digest. I would say start with the intervals of the major scale and play those. Get your ear familiar with them. Once you are comfortable, have a friend play and interval from the major scale and try to guess what it is (no peeking). This is a good ear training exercise.

If you have questions please post them to the comments.

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

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

Posted by rgordon83 in Articles, Beginner.
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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

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.