Slide Guitar for Beginners

For this article a short brief with some useful tips for those of you would like to explore slideguitar.

           What kind of Slide?:

Thinking of Slideguitar, the first thought which comes to mind is:”What kind of slide do you use?”
There are the metal ones, brass and the glass-type of slides. I mention “type of” as most slides bought from a shop will be made out of hard plastic, maybe this is for safety reasons. You could make you own slide from a bottle, you will need to cut the neck of a winebottle, for instance, and then you would need to polish it so it will be smooth and you will prevent any nasty cuts. You could also make your own slide out of a metal pipe. Similar as with the glass slide, you will need to polish the slide to get it to feel smooth on your fingers.

Okay, now we know what are the most commonly used slides you may wonder how do they differ: Metal ones are heavy, the brass ones are harder and the glass ones are the least heaviest. Each material will give you a different sound. Metal ones do sound direct and colder, the glass ones have a bit more twang. Experiment with different materials to find the ones you like best.

          Which Finger to Wear Slide on?

Find a slide which fits the finger you want to use, the slide should fit snuggly around your finger, not too wobby, but also not too tight. Obvious eh?
Different players wear slide on different finger: Some of them use middle finger for slide playing, while others prefer to wear a slide on their pink. Personally I prefer pink, because it leave the other three fingers free for playing. I play phrases and use to slide on particular notes, but again, different players have different approaches, later more on this.

         Slide Playing and Your Guitar:

The slide is used to slide over your strings, do you apply a bit of pressure, but you do not press strings down as when you are fretting a chord, or single string.
To get the best sound you may want to use a heavier gauge string: 011’s on electrics and acoustics 0.12 and upwards. Your action should not be too low. Low action will cause the slide to touch the frets quicker and more often. The volume of your sound will also be lower.
In a nutshell: Heavier strings and higher action will give you the best sound.
Should I now have a guitar set up for slide? All depending on your idea. I have all my electrics set up with 0.11’s and the action is a bit higher than what the typical beginner would prefer. Even if you do not play too often slide, the guitar will sound better set up that way: More tone and volume!
Personally I would not fuss too much over the finer details, just get a slide, maybe change strings if you are using 0.8’s and give it a go.
Once you get on with it you can always alter your guitar to how you prefer it.
Overal you should be able to get a nice, full rounded tone out of your slide, but there are quite a few things you can do to achieve this read on.

          Slide Guitar and Your Amp:

You know what harmonica players do to get a better tone: Use a bit of distortion, to get that harmonica to sound a bit fuller. Similar for slide guitar. The kind of distortion you want is mild overdrive. Something like a Tubescreamer type of pedal will give you that tone straight away. Set your amp up for a basic, straightforward sound, just a bit of bass and treble will do. Stay away from using reverb (The slide will gibe you the idea of reverb on its own when you get it right!) or any other effects as this will help you to achieve a better technique. One you feel more confident you can always experiment with using effects while you play slide, but for now keep things simple!
If you have a choise of various amps, use the most simple and basic amp you have, complex tonestructures may get it the way in the beginning. Again use common sense, no need to buy another amp for slide, just use simple gear.

        Tunings:

There are the players who have their guitar set up in a particular tuning and they tend to use this tuning for when they play slide.
Personally I like to use standard tuning, because it is versatile and you can mimick a lot of open tunings by simply altering one, or maybe just two strings instead of retuning about 4 to 5 strings. I also like the Capo a lot for these kind of techniques. In a later blog I will give you some specific tips for Capo and slide. Will also get a video where I will show some of those techniques close up.

        Playing ideas:

When it comes to playing slide you can play chords or single notes.
Elmore James “Dust My Broom” is a great example of how to play chords with the slide. All the chords are of the “A” shape, an easy shape for using slide, since you can use the three notes of the chord on the D,G and B string, no stringjumping and easy to keep that slide nice and steady. Just give it some vibrato at the end of the phrase.

Another example: The long note which rings out during intro is a single note. Ry uses single notes and chords, he really mixes it all up

To get a good, solid tone out of the slide mute the strings behind the slide. The postion on your fingers will vary depeding on which string you play. When you do not apply this technique the sound of the slide may be tinny. You will get better at this with practise.
You can mimick chords by playing the open, 6th string and play the A string on the 7th fret. Play both strings at the same time: Use your thumb for the open E while you slide on the A 7th fret. Make sure you apply vibrato on the slide to sustain the note. When you do it right you will get that nice, glassy sound.
You can apply this technique to all your open strings and mimick chords in this way.
Next step is to use the slide in a phrase: Play a phrase and apply the slide at the end of the phrase. Repeat same phrase and apply slide to same last note, but now an octave (or even two ocataves) up.
Look into it, and before you know it you will find your own unique way to playing slide guitar.

Have fun and hope to see you soon again,
Eddie

The LA’s: Where did they come from, what happened to them and where are they now?

Who are the LA’s you may wonder? Some of you may remember them as one of those early bands from the Britpop period. Their most well-know song is this one here:

This song came from their first LP, simply called “The LA’s”  The band did not like the version of the album, but that is another matter. The next album, well it never appeared. Listening to that one song you should become curious enough to find out what has happened with this band.
One of the ways to find out is by reading: A Secret Liverpool In search of the LA’S by MW Macefield. The book is from 2003 and revised and updated in 2012 with some fresh, new information.
Here is a link to see the cover of the book: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/In_Search_of_The_La’s:_A_Secret_Liverpool

The author opens the book with an unusual two minute manifesto “Shall I Buy This Book or Not?” This in itself should be enough to work yourself through the rest of the pages…………

The book itself is written by a fan, who sets it upon himself to discover what is behind the facts of this relatively unknown band: Liverpool band, one hit song (see video), released only one album, lead singer Lee Mavers who is “a bit mad” but also a “genius”, band had lots of different line-ups which were all short lived, band disappeared  soon after release of their first album, did bits of touring, were perceived as “difficult”, were not missed too much at first, but as legend grew, more and more people felt: “They were actually bloody mavelous”

What follows is a history of the band told through interviews from the author with the various bandmembers including Lee Mavers. At the end of the book the reader may wonder: “Will we hear any more music from Lee Mavers?”

Check out the book and have a listen to some of those early LA’S songs.

Hope to see you soon again,
Eddie

Bookreview: GuitarPlayer Presents Carlos Santana Edited by Michael Molenda

For this article a short review for this book:  http://www.musicroom.com/se/id_no/0707823/details.html

When you click on the link there is an image of the front-and backcover of this book.
The material from this book has been culled from interviews from Guitar Player magazine. There are ten chapters of interviews which were taken during the 1970s up and till 2008. The last three chapters of the book are devoted to lessons, techniques and scales which will help you getting close to Carlos’s playing.

Reading the interviews, Carlos comes across as a constistent and human musician. In each interview he mentions his sources of inspiration, and they keep being mentioned each time, no matter which year the interview was taken. There is also geartalk, and again Carlos is quite consistent in what he uses: He may have started out on the Gibson SG, these days he uses Paul Reed Smith guitars, and he has been doing this since the 80s, when PRS guitars became more popular. Amps? Throughout they years he has been using Marshall, Fender Twin and a Mesa Boogie MKI, which he has been using since 1972. These days he prefers Mesa  Boogie-and Dumble ampheads. Furthermore there is talk or how to conduct rehearsals, what is important to work on during rehearsal time. He also muses about the effect music does have on people and their feelings.

Carlos, like me, is a fan of Guitar Player magazine. He mentions this a few times during the later interviews. About Guitar Player he claims the magazine covers any style and range of playing the guitar. He is still quite keen these days on learning about new amps and gizmos for processing the guitarsound. His enthusiam for the guitar and music has not waned and he is still as keen as he was in his early days of his fame.

One thing which stands out from each interview is the human element: Carlos likes to mention that as a musician it is important to play from the Heart. It is often too easy to hide behind technique, sound and poses. It is heartfelt music which will connect you with the audience. Very true!
When you have ever been to a Santa concert you will notice the atmoshpere and how everyone gets taken up by the moment of the gig. An amazing feeling, and it is this what we should strive for as musicians, each moment when we play, whether it is during reheasals or gigs. 

Hope to catch you soon again,
Eddie

Videos Guitartutorleeds Eddie de Hamer on Youtube

I had some students asking for videos, and I also had some people who could not find any of the videos.
So in this blog all the videos which have been made so far. For regular readers most of them are old, apart from the ones which were uploaded yesterday. More videos are on the way.
See you soon,
Eddie

Easy Guitar Lesson: “Stand By Me” chords and basslines

 

 

Hello all of you, here is the next guitartutorial brought to you by guitartutorleeds.com. Today a classic, it is “Stand By Me” by Ben E. King. One of those songs anyone knows.

Now watch the video where I demonstrate how you can play this song on the guitar on your own:

We will play the song by using basslines and chords, just as what you hear in the original song. Once you get the feel for playing in this style it will give your playing a feel of accomplishment.

Here are the Chords and the Bassline for the Song:

                         C                   C                       Am                Am
                         /                    /                         /                    / 

     A  —2—-3—–   —2—-3—–   –3—-2—0—-   ——-0—–  

     E  -3————   -3————-   —————–   -0-3——— 
Count 1 and  23 4

                      F                   G                     C                    C
                      /                   /                      /                     /

  A  -0————   —————   —2—-3——-   —2—3——

  E  —-3—-1—-   -1—2—3—-   -3————–  -3————-

N.B: Observe just one strum for the chords, and they are all on beat 4. I would suggest playing the F and G chord as barrechords:

        F            G
 
E  —1———-3——–

B  —1———-3——–

G  —2———-4——–

D  —3———-5——–

A  —3———-5——–

E  —1———-3——–

Playing the chords as suggested is easier as your first finger is already
playing the bassnote of the chord in the bassline.
Pay attention to the counting, the small 3 above the 2 means you hold the beat.
It is my own indication of how to hold beats and not play them. If you have been
using the blog for some time you will be used to my style of notation rhythms, if you are new to this site please pay attention to my additinal indication and explanations about how to play pieces.

I have written out the piece in the key of C major as this seems to be the most obvious key for beginners. If you plan on playing this song for your reportoire just check the key with your voice. This song is an easy one to transpose to different keys. I have played this song in almost any possible key for different occassions.

See if you can make the song flow without any gaps as this will seriously improve your playing. It is better to play a few songs really good instead of knowing a whole lot of songs you can only play so so. It seems to be a guitarist’s attitude just to play riffs or bits of the song. Singing will also improve your playing as you need to pay attention to your rhythm and making it all work with your voice. Hey did I not tell you before: This Music Thingy is a job for life, you will never get bored and there is always more to be done.

Enjoy for now, and stay tuned for some more well-known songs with basslines.
Eddie

Overdrive for Beginners: Boss OD-3—Consistent Sound On Any Amp ??!!—

For this article a short brief about the Boss OD-3 overdrive pedal. My main goal for this article is the question: “How well the OD-3 performs using various amps?” Will the pedal sound the same when played through a small amp compared to using a bigger amp? What about using different speakers, any difference there or will OD-3 still perform the same?

The sound of an amp is defined by the kind of valve, speaker and the pre/and poweramp.
Most beginners will have a simple set-up like one guitar and,usually, a smallish amp. Often the clean sound on these small amps is fine. Nothing too great, but we are talking small, cheap practise amp, so you would not expect amazing, complex sounds, just something which will work for now. The distortion/overdrive often is not too good: lacks controls to vary the sound ect. Often the sound is boxy and thin.
The average beginner does not have any experience with different kind of sound, logical as they only know the sound of the amp they have.
The sound of that boxy overdrive can often be improved with the help of a small pedal. Often this pedal can get a much bigger sound out of the amp with the result the amp becoming a inspiring bit of kit which will keep you playing your guitar for much longer than you normally would.

Now we have our goals in place let us look at the character of the OD-3’s overdrive. The Boss OD-3 is a overdrive pedal which is based roughly on the sound of a Marshall JCM 900, an amp which came out late 80s early 90s. Why did Boss duplicate the sound of the Marshall JCM 900? Because that particular sound is versatile and can be used in many, many musical situations. The earlier Boss overdrives, like the OD-1 and OD-2, were also based on the Marshall sound, but more on the sound of a JMP 70s style amp, which sounds darker.
Marshall keeps changing their ampsounds according to the needs of musicians and musical trends, logical for Boss to copy the sound of a JCM 900.

The sounds of OD-3 are more of overdriven blues and rock kind. Nothing too radical. The actual JCM 900 amp can go much further soundwise!. The OD-3 does only give you a general hint of the sounds the amp contains.

The guitars I used for the tests were Les Paul style guitars equipped with Humbuckers and Single coil Strat style guitars. Most of you will have a guitar which comes close soundwise. These guitars tend to be the most used ones with pick-ups being not too hot and not too weak.

One of my first tests was to play the OD-3 through an actual Marshall JCM 900 connected to a Celestion 12 inch speakercabinet. With the amp on clean setting and the OD-3 in boost mode –drive all the way down– and using a Les Paul, the amp still distorts a bit. Basically, the OD-3 will not clean up with Humbucking pick-ups! Logical, but I whish the pedal could. Single coils do better with this, but I still hear some kind of artifical sound here which I do not like.
Using same setting on amp, but now using mild overdrive on OD-3, the amp starts to sound a lof fuller, just like when you were to push the volume on the actual amp itself. With both Les Paul and Strat you can get that Marshall sound: Play powerchords on the bottom E and A and the strings actually sound creamy, just as what you would expect when you push a Marshall. But remember, I am still playing through a Marshall, but only on low volume setting while the OD-3 is set-up for overdrive sounds at higher volume.
As with many pedals you get a better sound if the volume of pedal is just above unity level of the amp. You can alter this to obtain more radical sounds, but more on this later when I get to the small amps.
Switching pedal of, and pushing the Marshall into overdrive, how does this sound compare to the pedal its sound? Much better! More detail in the highs and lows, more complex sound. I do prefer the sound of the amp without the pedal but the OD-3 is cetainly good at coming very close! 

Next amp: The Twin as you can see above in the image. Using the Twin on a mild, clean setting —these amps only give you clean, or mild broken up sounds— and using the booster mode on the OD-3: Similar results as with the Marshall: No cleans on the Les Paul with Humbucks, you get a bright, trebly sound which does not sound too good. Strat is a bit better, but still, there is a artifical sound underneath the overal sound.
Pushing the pedal into overdrive and you get Marshall-ish sounds from the Twin. Good if you want this, if you would like to augment the sound of the amp with a little bit of push the OD-3 is not your ticket here!
The Twin I used does have stock speakers, which have more treble than the Celestion speakers, something to bear in mind.

Next amp: The small red Marshall you see in the image above. This amp is 12 watts, but does have a 40 watts 10 inch speaker instead of its original 25 watts. This means it needs to be pushed harder to get overdriven-and distorted sounds. Also means the amp does have more headroom and does sound less trebly compared to using the amp with its original speaker (I do have several of these amps, and some of the others still have their original speaker, so I can compare their sound)
The booster trick is similar: No cleans with the Les Paul and the artifical sound still being there when a Strat was used: Very consistent!!
On clean setting while pushing OD-3, I get overdriven sounds at much lower levels. Pushing the amp into overdrive without using the OD-3 creates better distorted tones. The OD-3 is able to augment the distorted sound of the amp: add a bit more body and treble, it can also create a more radical distorted sound if that is what you want.

Last amp: The smallest of them all, a small, no name practise amp with a tiny speaker.
This amp does not really give me any pleasing sound when I use the same scenario as above: Clean amp and pushing the OD-3: I do get the Marshall sounds, but the overal sound remains tinny and boxy.
The overdrive/distortion on this amp is kind of fuzz. Maybe Boss HM-2/MT-3 kind of sound?.
Using this overdrive on a mild setting and pushing the amp with the OD-3 gives me a much better sound: Ratty with much better sustain. With the help of the OD-3 I can create totally different distorted sounds compared to the sounds which were originally in the amp. The level of the  OD-3 was well above the level of the amp to get even better, fuller sounding sound. 
Maybe this is the way to go?: Alter the distortion of you practise amp with the sound of an overdrive pedal to ceate new tones.
Pushing small amps to the limit with overdrives is nothing new, and for those of you who only have small amps, this may be to way to keep your inspirational fire burning.

            Conclusion:

I am impressed with how well the OD-3 performs over various amps: It does keep putting out a consistent sound. I am not pleased with the boosting capabilities of this pedal: Whatever guitar I tried, I did not hear the natural amp sound in a boosted form.
Most of the time I do prefer the hear the overdriven sound of the amp on its own, all depending on quality of the amp. A pedal like the OD-3 is best used for augmenting the natural overdriven tones of the amp: Adding more treble, or body to the overal sound at lower volumes.
The OD-3 excells at pushing the distortion of very small amps to their limits to create new sounds. Most of these sounds will be brutal and radical, nothing like mild, creamy and bluesy sounds.

For those of you who do like the sound of the OD-3 I would suggest to check out any Marshall, as most amps will give you the sound of the OD-3 plus a lot more. Pedals do have their place, but when it comes to it, their is nothing better than the sound of an amp on its own without the use of any distortion-or overdrive pedals.
The sounds you get are usually more complex and detailed compared to the sound of a pedal.
There are pedals which are neutral and just augment your amp, no matter what you do. The trick is to find such pedals, they are the real winners here.

Keep on playing and hope to catch you soon again!
Eddie

Happy 2013 to all you readers: Future articles about Boss Pedals–OD1, OD3, VB2, XT2 and PW2 !!

Happy 2013 to all you readers, sorry that I have kept you waiting so long without any new articles.
I will create some articles about Boss pedals, they will be not so much like a review more about insights and application.
Over the past few weeks I have had a change to test out most of the Boss overdrive/distortion pedals and there are a few things I would like to share with you about what I have noticed. I will go into detail about the OD-3 and how its performs through various amp-and speaker configuration.
Furthermore there will be some insights in the VB-2 and some of the other, more common, pitchshifters such as the PS-2, PS-3 and PS-5.
First of these articles should be up within a few days.
Hope to catch you soon again,
Eddie

Use Jamming as a Method to Improve Your Musicianship and Guitar Playing

Jamming is the opposite of playing composed songs, jamming reflects a guitarplayer’s character, jamming can be done at any level and with any technique, jamming will make you play freer.

Just some statements about jamming, and all of these statements are true.
Let me concentrate  for this article on the beginning musician/guitarplayer who has been playing for maybe three to four years or so. Maybe your experience is getting some tabs from the net, from books (or otherwise) to help you to play your favourite songs. Well these tabs certainly will help you along the way to get the sound of that particular song. What the tabs cannot do is to make you a freer musician/guitarplayer who understands his/her instrument better. Logical, because the path to get better is a long and never ending process: You can always get better and it takes time and experience, however, there are things you can do to speed up your progress and learning how to jam is one of them.

   Jamming All Alone:

How can you jam on your own you may wonder? Does it not take a few players who create the sound of a band? Yes that is true, but you create that bandsound on your own by playing each instrument at a time:
  ~ You can play a handful of chords and record what your are playing. Play the recording back and start playing basslines along with your recording. Do not know how to create proper basslines? Do not worry, just play anything which makes you feel it sounds like a bassline. Yes you can learn how to create basslines, learn about harmony ect. but for now, have fun and just play. Document for yourself the moments when it starts to sound right, these are the moments which will boost your musical skills. You can record these moments on another recorder (or write them down in tab, or any kind of method which will help you to recall what you played before)
Do the same for your riffs and solos: Just play along with these chords your recorded before to see how well they fitt into the sequence. If you like singing, do the same with your vocals, just sing over those chords while you listen and create vocal melodies in this way.

Not able to record? Do not worry, play your chordsequence on the guitar and sing over these chords whatever comes to you to see what sounds good. Having some recordingtools will help you to document what you do, but for now you can just play. Maybe get some simple recording tools at later stage (later more about equipment)
   

    Jamming Together:

  ~ Invite some of your musical friends around and start to play together. Avoid proper songs and suggest to play  whatever comes into your head. At first it may sound like a mess, at some point it may sound pleasing. Run a recorder along with your playingsession to document what you play. Listen back to see if it sounded any good. Changes are that the music sounded better when you were playing, you may also feel you did not play that long, but it reality that jam may have lasted 20 minutes just hanging on to three chords. All fine, do not worry. All in all, you will learn a lot from this. Just analyse it, write down what you liked, remember the fun and how you did it and move on to the next sonic adventure.

   Jamming Will Only Let You Play What You Know:

True, if you only playing experience is jamming you may get stuck. You need to push yourself to learn new ideas, techniques ect. You can do this during your practise time on your own. You may want to jam with others to get these new ideas into your system. Playing an instrument reflects your personality, and there are many, many different ways to play, and jamming is only one mode of playing.

   Jamming Will Let You Play At Your Own Level:

True, because you can only play what you know. I have pupils who have had only a handful a lessons, and they already jam with some of the ideas I have given them. They hear sounds in their head and try to use whatever they have learned so far and try to use that for what they hear to make music.
If you are a beginner and you jam with experienced players you may want to check the emotional field: Jamming should not be a intimidating process of showing off musical ideas. Discussing musicial ideas before you play may help to open up the atmosphere and create a friendly environment.

   Jamming and Sound:

Jamming is a great tool to get you going with your effects: One guitar player may use an acoustic guitar while another player uses a heavily distored electric guitar. Jamming is a great way to explore how those two (seemingly) opposite instruments may blend very well together if played in the right way.
Jamming can also be used as an opportunity to check out particular sounds from a certain effect, and how well those sounds will sit in the mix of other instruments.

    Jamming Tools:

It is impossible for me to mention all the brands of various loopstations, delaypedals with hold fuctions, recordingdevices ect.
Anything you can record yourself on will do for now. It may be a phone, cassetterecorder, Ipod, whatever. Once you get deeper into jamming you can look into whatever particular tool is good for your purpose.
I use a lot of different tools. For spontenous sessions I like tools which take minimal effort and give me maximum results so I can get on with making music.
Loop pedals are great for this kind of playing, but there are a lot of them and all of them have their own issues. Just check out what you like.

Hope you enjoyed reading this article and may see you soon back in the near future,
Eddie