Wanting to Play Rock Guitar? Learn To Palm Mute Your Strings!!

Today a very short idea which I will follow up in a next article with more ideas to expand it.

Have a look at these Powerchordfingerings:

      E   A   D

G  ———2–

D ——2—0–

A –2—0——

E—0———-

Now play each chord as 2 bars, play in straight 8ths, which means you play each chord for 16 times before moving on to the next chord.
First play chord without palm muting, then try it with palm muting, try to get a clear sound.
For electric guitar players: Try this both with a clean sound and a slightly distorted sound, again get chords to sound clear and clean, try to move on to next chord without hestitation and without gaps in the sound.

Why are these chords important? It is the essence of Blues and Rock style guitarplaying. Yes it is utterly simple, but do not overlook it. Get it to sound good and bold and brave, be able do play this in your sleep and your guitar playing future will look bright.

That’s all for today folks, next time I will expand this idea and talk you through how you can turn this little ditty into a full grown Rock Monster.

Have fun and see you soon,
Eddie

Update on the Courses Page

Over the last few weeks there have been some updates on the website: More images of me on the blog and on some of the other pages, and the course page has been updated. The course page does contain now more information about the guitar lessons and prices.
Hope you enjoy reading some of the articles on the blog and love to see you soon again.
Cheers,
Eddie

Fuzz and Wah: Using a Wah to Create Your Fuzz Tone!!

Shorty after I had finished the article of the last blog I felt there must be more to the Fuzztone. Of course there it was, why had I not thought about that one before??: Using a wah to get a dirty Fuzztone. It is one of those tricks used by a lot of guitarists of the 1960s such as Hendrix, and I have known this trick for a long time, but I simply overlooked it. Heh, there are too many options available to get particular tones.
Okay, so I checked it out how to use your wah and to get happening Fuzz tones, and boy did I get great dirty tones over the last few days?!  Even if you do not have any great amps, the wah trick should send your overdrive into a frenzy to create some great 60s sounds. Not into the Fuzzsounds of the 60s? Hey, bands such as Muse use this sound as well. Try out this trick as it will give you such sick overdrive and Fuzz sounds.

Before I will take you through some sounddetails check out the soundpatch I mainly used:

         Gtr.—>Compressor—>Peavy Dirty Dog—>Boss BD2—>Wah—>Graphic EQ—>Reverb—>Amp Nr.1
                                                                                                                                          —>Amp Nr.2

   Not familiar with Peavy Dirty Dog pedal? Don’t worry, it is just another dist. pedal, I will explain it in futureblogs, as it is really special, and there is not much information about them on the net.
Most of you will know the BD2, no need to talk about that one now, I will talk about which wah I used, but again it does not matter for now. The Grahpic EQ and Reverb are there just to finish off the sound, they add more detail to the overal sound. Not using two amps? Again do not worry as it is just an extra nicety you may want to try out for future.

The placement of your pedals does make somewhat of a difference, try most combinations to find out what you like best of all. Here are some of my basic principles I used:

                    Treble Booster BEFORE Wah:

In my given soundpatch I use both the Peavy pedal and the BD2 as a treblebooster. When I want to drive the amps I boost the gain on the BD2 and the Peavy will add extra treble [read extra grid] to the overdrive from the BD2.
Placing the Wah after the treblebooster creates a bright, somewhat slightly distorted Wah sound. Pushing the gain on the BD2 will create more distortion while still keeping the Wah smooth and fairly clear.
I did experiment with the placement of the compressor: I placed it after the Wah, tried it in between the BD2 and the Wah and all of these variations give you a slightly different sound.
Overal the compressor adds more body and brightness to the sound, I like it most of all when it is first in the patch as it adds extra body and brightness to the overal sound. Again, just try and see how you like it best of all. The kind of compressor you use also makes a difference. I use an Aphex Punch Factory, they are very smooth and subtle. It just happens to be the one I could find here which works quite well for what I want.

                   Treble Booster AFTER Wah:

Using the Treble booster after your Wah will create a more dramatic, agressive, in your face, kind of sound. A lot of you may like this kind of sound. Reminded me very much about Muse, also heard recently a song by Pulp, it was  during a radiobroadcast from BBC Radio 2 about Glastonbury 1995, and there was one song in particular where the guitarist of Pulp used his Wah in a similar way.

                  Afterthoughts:

In all the applications I described before I used the Wah  as an envelopefilter: Ride the pedal slowly and smoothly up and down to accentuate particular parts of the frequncyspectrum. I did not use the Wah in the conventional way to emphasise accents in the rhythm of your chords. Usually this is done with a clean sound like what you hear in so many great funk songs.
                   Which Wah?  
 I used mainly a Dunlop GCB 95 Crybaby. Again, because of what I have and because it used to be the main Wah you could find in musicshops in the late 80s and early 90s [before Wah became popular again in Rockmusic, mainly promoted by Guns ‘n’ Roses] Yes there was a time when you were thinking about Wah, you were mainly thinking about the 70s and 60s, as Wah sounds left the sound of populair music for some time.
Now the Dunlop may be great for those 60s sounds, they can also be a pain, they sound very honky, take away most of your bass and the pot can be scratchy from time to time. I had mine replaced twice. The last pot was fitted in 1998 and it still sounds fine. Again it is one of the issues most players experience with older Dunlop Wah’s.

Overal I believe the kind of equipment you use does not matter, as long as you know how to use it to get happening sounds.
I will leave you with this great Funk Classic, have fun and see you soon for more guitar-and sound talk.
Eddie

Create Convincing Fuzz Sounds from your Guitar Amp and Pedals

In the last article I explained how the sound of Fuzz was discovered and how it became the staple sound of the 1960s. In today’s short article I will explain briefly how you can achieve Fuzz sounds from your own gear.
One of the characteristics of Fuzz is gain, and loads of it. Let us use and apply it:
 
One way to achieve the Fuzz sound is by simply putting the gain control of your amp to the max, keep the mastervolume at listening levels and play. What you will get is a maxed out distortionsound which does work as a Fuzz. When you hit the strings harder you will notice that the sound actually does not get any louder. Why not? Because your amp has reached its headroom point!

A better and more satisfying sound can be achieved by using pedals combined with the distortion channel of your amp: Put the Gain control of your amp on Full [or almost] push the sound up with any distortion pedal you have, again, put the distortionlevel of your pedal quite high, and adjust tonecontrols to your liking. Keep the tonecontrols of your guitar way down. Use the neck pick up for  playing musical ideas on the unwound G, B and E string. Use the  bridge pick up for playing ideas on the wound D, A and E string. Just play riffs and melodies and enjoy that eversustaining sound.

If you are not into some of the primitive garagerockbands of the 60s [who is not???!!] but are more into intellectual, intelligent, melodic solos listen to Robert Fripp. How does he get those sustaining sounds, and what about the Elephant sounds? Mmmmm, sounds like a Fuzz? Yep, it is, combined with using a trem, try it and you will be in King Crimson Land.

         Any pedals which work well for this application?

Just keep it mind to put your highest gain pedal first in the chain, and boost the gain all the way up.
Using a Boss FZ-2 and a BD-2 in combination works very well: Use the FZ-2 in boost mode, push gain, and adjust volume to unity level, let the BD-2 be pushed by the FZ-2, and let the BD-2 push your amp a bit. I did use a preamp to keep the overal volume at a sane level.
Overal I can say that any pedal will do this trick, just try and see what you get while bearing some of the basics in mind: Keep your tonecontrols on your guitar down, play mainly riffs and melodies as chords will turn into mush!

Did I use valveamps or transitoramps or? I acctually combine both type of amps, but that is the subjectmatter for another blog, I will also discuss more about the hype around valveamps and some particular makes, will discuss more about the “magic” of Marshall amps.

Just to show you that the 60s were not only about the sound of Fuzz I would like to leave you with a song which was enjoyed by Frank Zappa as well, just enjoy and hope to see you next time, Eddie

Fuzz and Why it Became the Sound of the 1960s

Today’s guitarplayers have a wide range of choices to increase the volume of their guitars. Some of us will use overdrive, whilst others prefer using distortion or fuzz or whatever name is there to label the overdriven sound.
If you were a guitarplayer in the 1950s you did not have any pedals available to boost your signal. If you wanted your guitar to sound a bit louder you simply had to turn the volume of the amp up. Turning your amp up to create a bit of distortion is unpredicatable and it can also cause unrepairable damage to the speakers of your amp. Guitaramps in the 1950s were mainly designed to produce a clean sound, turning up the volume would increase the clean sound up till the point where the amp would break up and produce a distorted sound. Overal not an ideal habit to create overdriven sounds. But heh, who wanted distortion in the 1950s? During the mid 1960s the musical landscape started to change, not only the music was changing, the guitarsounds were changing as well [as discussed in an earlier article on this blog]
Eventually manufactorers of musical equipment realised that by overdriving a small preamp you could create a lot of distortion. This signal would then be fed into a guitaramplifier set for listeninglevels whilst still giving you a nice, distorted sound. The guitaramplifier was no longer needed to create the distortion, as the distortion came mainly from the preamp.
For today’s article I want to introduce you the many flavours of distortion and one in particular: The sound of Fuzz. But before I will dig into fuzzbox teritory let me first remind you why preamps were designed:

                                The Birth of the Preamp:

The electric guitar is a low-level output musical instrument. Its signal needs to be boosted to make it audiable. A simple test you can do for yourself to check the validity of this statement: Plug your guitar straight into a speakercabinet, play your electric guitar and see how exhited you will get about its sound.
The answer to this problem is: Put an amplifier in between your guitar and the speaker. The amplifier will have its own preamp build into it, and it is this preamp which is so important to boost your guitarsignal up to audiable levels.
Most typical guitaramps will have a control which says PRE, apart from this control there will also be something like POST, or MASTER or simply VOLUME. Very small guitaramps may only carry one control for volume. If this is the case you cannot manipulate the preamp, as your preamp is set to work at optimum levels to create a clean sound.
Over the years guitarplayers have discovered that overloading the preamp will create a desirable distorted guitarsound: Simply turn the level of the preamp up whilst keeping the mastervolume at listening levels.

                               Using Overdrive/Distortion and Fuzz pedals as a Preamp:

Most distortion/overdrive pedals work as a preamp: You can overload them to create distortion. Most typical controls on distortion and overdrive pedals are labelled as: LEVEL, TONE and GAIN. The gain control will act as a preamp, while the level control acts as a mastercontrol for your volumelevel. In most cases you want to keep the level similar to the volumelevel of your guitaramp.
Fuzzes are no different from distortion/overdrive pedals: They are specialised preamps designed to maximise distortion.
Distortion comes in many flavours and colours but they are all based on two types of Clipping that creates the distorted sound of an amp. 

                               Hard Clipping:

This is the type of distortion you get when you play through a clean amp whilst putting up the volume. At some piont the amp will start to distort, break up the sound, as it is no longer able to produce a clean sound. The distortion will usually be heard when you hit the strings harder. This type of distortion in often unwanted and it is not a pleasant kind of distortion.
Most guitarplayers prefer a distorted sound which appears while the amp is still at a fairly low volume level. This type of distortion is called Soft Clipping.

                              Soft Clipping:

Soft clipping simply means the output level becomes progressively more distorted as the input signal increases [by turning the Preamp up!]. This type of distortion is more “natural” and it will preserve the dynamics of the sound: Hit a string harder and you will get more distortion, and the distortion will change as the sound of the string decays. With hard clipping there is not that much variation in the sound until the output signal passes below the clipping point.

                            The Sound of Fuzz:

Fuzz boxes were one of the first type of effects created to overload a small preamp to create a lot of distortion. They became popular during the 1960s. Using a Fuzz meant you could get a distorted guitartone regardless of the level of your guitaramp since the preamp in the Fuzz would distort at any given level!
Fuzzes became the flavour of the day after the release of  the song “Satisfaction” by the Rolling Stones. The popularity of the sound of that particular song meant that any garageband in Britain and the United States wanted to use that guitarsound.
For those of you who are want to know what all this fuss was about listen to this here:

Some of the first commercially available fuzzboxes in Britain where the Vox Distortion Booster and the Arbiter Fuzz Face. In the United States there was the Maestro Fuzz Tone.

                               Applying Fuzz:

Since Fuzz boxes produce a very high output signal the settings fo your guitar will make a big difference to the overal sound.
You can get a smooth sound from your Fuzz by using the neck [bass] pick-up whilst keeping the tone control set for minimum treble.
For a more ranchier sound use your treble [bridge] pick-up.

                             Pick-Up Adjustments:

Pick-up height adjustments are crucial to getting a happening tone from your Fuzz: Angle your pick-ups slightly so that the bottom three [bass] strings are further away from the pick-up compared to the top three[treble] strings. It will create a brighter and less boomy sound. These pick-up adjustments are not only useful for when you play using a Fuzz, they will make your guitar sound better in any kind of playing situation!

For next blog I will talk you throuhg how you can use the Boss FZ2 and the BD2 to get you close to that sound which satisfied the world of the 1960s so much.
See you soon.
Eddie 

Using Boss BD2,FZ2 and Pro Co Rat as Treble Booster

Today I want to continue with the discussion of last article about the subject of Trebleboosters. In this short article I will highlight how you can use the Boss BD2, FZ2 and the Pro Co Rat as a treblebooster.  

                                Boss BD-2:

This pedal is an overdrive but can be used effectively as a treblebooster as well. The pedal does have three controls: Level, Tone and Gain. To boost the treble of your guitar simply keep the Gain control low down and boost the tone to where you like the sound of your guitar. Set the Level to similar level as your guitar amplifier. The BD-2 works best for this application with single coil guitars such as Stratocasters. They will also work with humbuck equipped guitars, but a bit of care is needed with regards to the level as you may  get unrequired distortion!

                                Boss FZ-2:

This pedal is a Fuzz pedal, it has the capability of producing two different Fuzz sounds, apart from that there is a booster mode. In the booster mode you can boost the volume, treble and bass. Simply put pedal in boost mode and adjust the bass/treble control to your likings. The FZ-2 does also compress your guitarsound a little, but this can be a good thing from time to time.  The FZ-2 will work well with both sinlge coil- and humbuck equipped guitars. A novel function of the booster mode is to put the gain to max, put a pre-amp after the FZ-2 which you use as master volume control [set it to unity level with your guitaramp].  Using the pedal as described before will give you a natural, open-sounding Fuzz sound, not as compressed as mode 1 and 2 of the pedal. If you do not use a pre-amp you will end up with a massive volume-boost which makes it hard to control for regular playing, however some of you folks may like this mayhem noise.

                               Pro Co Rat:

As all the pedals mentioned before, this one is a distortion pedal, but can be used to boost your treble signal as well. Pedal contains Distortion, Filter and Volume controls. To boost the treble without distortion simply put the Filter control at 12. 0’clock [ or 10. o’clock, or anything near, just dial in how you much treble you want!] whilst keeping the Distortion control all the way down. Set the Volume to similar level as your guitaramp’s level. The Pro Co Rat will work well with single coil and humbuck equipped guitars.

                              For the Ones Who like Experimenting:

The novel sound I described before with regards to the FZ-2 [boosting the gain all the way to the max!] can also be obtained by combining the FZ-2 and the Rat together: Simply use the FZ-2 to boost your treble signal while dialing in a distorted sound with the Rat, go for a moderate distorted sound. In this application you will not need a Pre-amp, as you can control the overal volume with the volumecontrol on the Rat and your amp.

Happy Playing and hope to see you soon again!
Eddie

Treble and Bass Boost: Exhite Your Distortion and Overdrive Pedals to Get a Fuller Sound

In the early days of the electric guitar, tone was a simple and straightforward issue: Plug in your guitar and play. Most of the music of those days [I am talking mid 1950s/early 60s] was simple as well: Minimal production with emphasis on the song. Recording engineers were mainly concerned with recording a true documentation of what was being played and sang.
Rock ‘n’ Roll may have toyed about with reverbsounds but as far as exhiting guitarsounds we have to fast forward to the mid-up to late 1960s with guitarplayers such as Jimi Hendrix, Jeff Beck, Jimmy Page and a host of others who started to experiment with their guitarsounds in the studio and on stage.
The development of guitartones is related to the improvements made in recording technology, soundreproduction equipment such as personal stereos and public amplifiers. Not only technological improvements had an impact on music and guitartones, society on the whole, and lifestyle in particular, had an impact on populair music: The mid 1960s were the start of the beginning of a more individual and liberal society for the Western World. As an artist and musician it was now possible to sing about your own personal problems [Think of “Manic Depression” by Hendrix]] instead of glorifying the ideals of the state or the company you worked for. It is during these times that we see the birth of heavy Rock and the thought that any guitar player should have his/her own sound, and this sound was to become more and more reliant on the use of guitar effects.
Instead of giving you a historical overview of the development of the sound of Rock guitar from the 1960s up to where we are today, I would like you to introduce to the one steady ingredient of most rock guitar players throughout the years: The use of Boosterpedals.

                       Booster, Why and What?……….:

One of the obvious reasons to use a booster is to increase your overal volume. Increasing your volume will not necessarily result in a better quality in the tone of your guitar. To alter the quality of your tone you may want to use a treble booster. Put them infront of any overdrive/distortion pedal  and you will get a more exhiting and expansive sound without adding more decibels.

                      Treble Boost:

Your guitar tone is made up of different frequencies, by boosting some of the treble frequencies you can add more drama to your overal guitartone. There are a number of ways to achieve this goal. One of them is by using a compressor. Use the compressor as first pedal in your sigal chain, it will create a treble boost to your overal signal, but it will also add compression, and some guitarplayers may not like the idea of this.
Another way to add treble is by using a graphic EQ, as menitioned in an earlier article on this blog, you can use them to boost the treble of your overdrive/dist. pedals by simply putting them infront of your favourite dirtpedal and boosting the treble.
A cleaner way to increase your treble is by using another overdrive pedal: Boost the tone and volume on this pedal before putting it infront of your other overdrive/distortion pedals.  Be careful with the various volume-controls, try to keep the overal volume not much higher than the level of volume coming out of your amp.

                     Bass Boost:

 Adding more treble to your sound may make you feel you have lost some of the body of your guitarsound, to overcome this problem you can a bit a bassboost: Add a bit of bass boost to enhance more fulness to the body of  your guitar sound. You can do so by using a graphic EQ where you simply boost the bass. Another way to boost more body is by using another overdrive pedal, placing it staight after your main overdrive/distortion, use it for a clean boost by keeping the gain all the way down. Some overdrive pedals add a powerful bassboost, but not all of them do! Check out the ones which do and start experimenting to discover what you like.
Using a treble and bass boost will give you the feeling you are playing guitar with a more expansive and exhited tone. 

                    Test For Beginners:

Check out any multi-effector you can get your hands on. Find your favourite effect patch and check out which individual effects are being used to create this sound. Changes are there will be more than just one single effect at work! By doing this test I hope it will become aware of the fact that to get great guitartones you may need to mix several individual effects to get the happening tones you like. There are no right and wrongs to mix whatever you want, your ears are the final master: If you like what you hear than you are doing it right.  Guitartone is not only created by pedals and your amp, your speaker and the preamp of your amp do play an important role as well, but that is the subject matter for future blogs……………

                    Go Vintage or…..??…??

In today’s world it is possible to get your hands on the tools of the past to recreate some of those magic guitartones of the 60s, 70s, and 1980s. If you do have patience and do like exploring and experimenting you may like the idea of checking out a lot of pedals to see if you can find some of them which actually do have the sound of some of those magical 60s pedals. You will need to check out a lot of pedals, but it is worth doing so as there are quite a few relatively unknown pedals out there which are able to give you some of those classic 60s and 70s sounds. It is a journey of fun and exhitement to discover how you can apply some of those gems to get the tones you enjoy for your own guitar playing.
Happy Travelling!!
Eddie

Forgotten Dutch Bands

There are some bands which are simply forgotten because they never had that much of an impact or they only had minor hits in small countries. Today a selection of some songs I do remember, and I listened to them today and some of them I still enjoy.
The first song is from the Mo, when I looked for them on Youtube it first told me: “no files found under the Mo” just a sign of how well-known this band was. Anyway, the opening of the song is great, then it seem to carry on, in the tradition of songs of the 1970, without adding to much new information to the listener. If you type in the title of the video you can see that this song does get quite a lot of comments, mostly from folks who grew up when this song was hit. Heh we all have our own nostalgia-trip.

Next song, the Shirts with “Tell me your Plans”. Don’t they have that Stranglers sound? Okay, this is the odd one out here because they are not a Dutch band [just testing, now sit still on that chair!!] Still sounds fresh in some way, but then it also may carry on too long. Heh, how times and music has changed, or is it just me and wanting a lot more from music and songs in general. There must be a reason why we do not hear any of these songs being played often on the radio. It could also be something to do with the Anglo-American domination of the world. Heh, are we getting all political today then? Hmmmmmm, what do you mean? Let me fast forward quickly to the next song…………………………….

Oh la la, for this one we go all sunny and bright. It is Earth and Fire with “Weekend”.  Reminds me of the summers of the late 1970s and early 1980s. The production on this song is great, but who cares about that when you are reading this for guitars and other related issues. Heh did someone say a while ago: “It is the Singer not the Song”. What about the singer in this band? Do people still dance like that? I wish they did!!!

Next song to show that I do have good bad taste. Hmmm I seem to remember far better songs of this trio, but I think this one will do for today, the video is great, funny to see how innocent things were in the late 1970s. Don’t they sound a lot like Abba? Great!!

Heh how bad can things get? Have a look overhere, great intro, reminds me what I once did with the intro for “Vivious” by Lou Reed. I think I still have that mentality, make is silly and go all the way. Heard some My Chemical Romance today and they had that vibe as well, heh make it go silly and have fun, afterwards you can still show the world that you know how to shred!!

Okay before you all start to believe I have fallen of the planet today I want to share this song with you, one I still like, like the whole thing, the attitude, the sounds of the Guitar and the Singing. Okay here we go, all clap your hands for Herman Brood, His Band, Bertus Borgers on Sax [Heh were is he Man???] and his Bombitas!!

Okay, now for all the Dutch speakers among you, here is Normaal [Heh Eddie, they are not forgotten what the heck are you on about??] What about the intro? Great sound!!

Here a song to boost up your knowledge of the Dutch language, yes you can even sing along. Oh before we go all insane, just listen to the guitarsolo, heh isn’t that a delay? Yep it is, well spotted!

Okay for next song we all go serious [yes that happens from time to time………..] Berlin in the early 1980s, what else can I say? Maybe I should leave this to our German Friends who will have, no doubt, a lot more to say about this subject than me. Ain’t is strange, that just a little while after this song came out things would change and they would change forever!

Last song for today as Forgotten Dutch bands are thin on the ground. Anyway, I will leave you with Annabel.
Enjoy and hope to see you soon for my next update, EddieSmile

Learning to Play the Guitar: Organise Your Practise Time Efficiently

Learning to play the guitar is a mixture of getting used to particular motorskills and using your brain: Your fingers need to get used to making particular movements and your mind needs to become aware of what you are doing musicwise, the kind of rhythms you are playing, what kind of notes you are playing, you need to memorize particular parts, you need to become aware of the fretboard ect.
All in all most of these skills can be learned fairly quickly, however I meet a lot of people who struggle, and some of them keep on struggling because they do not ask the right questions to themselves, and also they may not practise as efficiently as they could. Today a short overview for all of you who feel they can do with a bit of improvement in this department. 

                                                   Time:
No matter on what level you are, you do need to practise, to improve your playing, to get it smoother, to deepen your horizon and to grow musically. Spending time with your guitar helps you to get engaged with music. A lot of people do find it hard to find time to practise, most people want to play, but still it seems to be hard for them to find the time to play. Why is it so hard? Because of the distractions around us, and how we get conditioned from a young age onwards. I was brought up with the attitude that hard work rewards, and you will need to make choises about what it is you want to do and stick to the choises you have made.
Childeren do not have a mindset of their own yet, often they go with what their parents tell them what to do, or their teachers or their peers. Of course every child does have his/her own character and talents but usually childeren will copy and just go along with whatever they are told to do. This is fine as long as they are shown the right example. Parents can tell their childeren they need to practise their guitar at particular times of the day. Follow a particular habit with regards to practise and you will see the results.
For adults things are pretty similar: Try to set yourself a particular time of day when you practise your guitar, try sticking to this as much as you can, of course there will be moments when your habit will be broken up by your environment, be flexible  at those times but also stick to your regular habit of playing the guitar. What time is good for you is different from what is good for me, I can only give guidelines here, but I can guarrantee that a good habit of practising your guitar regularly will pay off.
Okay so you play your guitar regularly but you are still not improving, what is up then? Well there is another matter: What do you actually do during the time when you are playing your guitar? Do you play what you already know or…………………….. Let us have a look at this now in greater detail.

                                                  Activity:
Again, a habit may be good, but these habits may need to change from time to time, all depending on the goals you have set for yourself. A good habit is to start with some warm-up playing, this could be particular fingerexersises [see one of my early blogs from late Oct. 2010 for more details] or some scales, or even chordsequences, or rhythmic exercises. How long should I do this for? Depending on your time. [in an ideal world I,myself, will play about 2 hours of warm-ups, I will develop songideas from this and then go into other activities, but this is ideal, often I get less time or more……………]
After warm-up time you should go into what is new for you, what is hard to play, what it is you need but is not yet smooth. Whatever this is I do not know, it could be a new song, a new song you create yourself, it could be material from a book, something of the internet, something from a CD or ….. but it should be something new and something you can not do yet. It is a good habit to learn new things all the time. In my own case I do spend an awful long time on technique, one of my early goals was to be able to play whatever it is I wanted to, or what I could hear, or what people wanted me to play. This goal is wide and never-ending, however it does pay-off to practise all kind of techniques and to stick to this routine.
Do not only play techniqual exercises, it is a good  habit to turn these ideas into songs or songideas you can later use for compositions or whatever.
Finally you should reward yourself with playing whatever it is you like playing, and play this really well. Tell yourself there is an audience watching you so you really have to play well. Get up and play, dance around and make it fun! Do not be like “Oh I play this little part of this song and then go to another part which I know well” No, play the whole song, get it down as well as you can, if you are struggling you know what it is you need to do!

                                             Know Yourself:
This is the hardest for most people, and most of us do not like to admit this. Do I know myself? Well I do know what I want to achieve in the short term, and the long-term ideas change from time to time, has been like this for quite some time. Once you feel you know what it is you like to do, be proud of it, do not be shy, do not think it is silly you want to play, for example Metal, no if this is what you want to do, fine, let the rest of the world think whatever they want to. At least you know what to do, stick to it and grow and make it loud and play it proud.
Once you know what you like doing stylewise, find out what kind of techinique you need to play this style of music. There is a core set of techinques any player of any level needs, but from there on it gets quite specific. Find out what it is you need, and what you like and work on this, as much as you can, as your playing will start to sound like the style you want to emulate.

Enjoy your Journey!
Eddie                                                  

Delay and “Rope” by FooFighters

Delay is a universal name being used for Time-Shifting effects. Tims-Shifting effects add a touch of ambience to the sound of your guitar. Subtle use of delay will hardly be noticeable for your audience, but you, the guitar player, will notice what the effect does to the sound of your guitar.
Well-known examples of time-shifting effects are: Flange, Chorus, Reverb, Echo and Delay.
The main difference in all these effects is their different delay times and their different applications. 

                             Different Delay Times Explained
          
                                            0-15 mS

The shortest specific delay is a Flanger. Typical delaytimes for Flangers are from 0 to 15 milliseconds. Flangers can be used to add extra dimension to your original guitarsound. More dramatic settings can create a “jet airplane” sound. In the 1970s it was common to take the whole mix of a song through a Flanger to add a more dramatic effect.
Listen to this Queen song here from 1978, from 3.09 they open up the flanger to add more drama to Brian’s guitarsolo. Queen was very good at their special effects and their fantastic light-show to add extra drama to their live-shows.

                                           10 to 25 mS
Chorus effects have a typical delay time in this range. Chorus pedals are great to give you the idea of playing two guitars at the same time. They are popular to thicken up the sound of an electric guitar.

                                          25 to 50 mS
A delay time from 25 to 50 milliseconds gets you into echo. With delaytimes as short as these you can create “Slapback” echo, which is a very tight echo sound often heard on older Rock “n” Roll recordings of the 1950s and early 1960s.
                                
                                         50 to 200 mS
Delays covering this range are able to give you a more spacey and ambient sound.

                                        200 to 800 mS
Most delayeffects which cover this range will have a “hold” feature which makes it possible to harmonise your guitarlines: Play a short idea, press hold, and the orginal sound is played back as long as you keep the hold function engaged. It is now possible to play other ideas over your original idea, you can create a short solo or harmonise your orginal idea with another guitaridea.

                                       800 to 5200 mS
From 800 to 5200 mS we get into some “serious” delay times. Most delay effects within this range make it possible to create short loops of your guitarplaying. As mentioned above, within this range you will be able to create guitarideas which will be played back to you, but now they can even be longer, much longer really!! These loops can be used to solo back over, or to create miniture compositions. Most of these loops can be overdubbed with Sound on Sound which means you can now create layers of sound.
If you like your delaytimes to be long you may also be interested in looping pedals, which can be seen as “super” delays pedals with an extreme long time-delay range.

                                 

                                  Delay and How to Use Them:

At thi moment in time I will not go into detail in all the various applications of the different delaytimes. I will create more blogs in future which will deal with this. Today is just a short overview of various delaytimes and their various units. A taster if you like, but not to worry, there is much more to come, as this man is experimenting daily with all the possiblities of all effects under the sun.
I will tell you how NOT to use your delay: Put you delay-time on maximum, and strum as quick as you can through the chords of your favourite song, or play your sinlgle-note solos at light-breaking speed. The delay may add a touch of extra thickness to your sound, but only you wil notice that. If you really want to hear your delay at work why not play a chord, and mute the sound while you listen back to the sound of your guitar coming back to you from the delay pedal. It is just one way to make a delay stand out and make it noticeable to the music you are playing.

Here are some songs which use the delay in the way I mentioned before:

First of all “Let’s Dance” by David Bowie, listen to the chords on the guitar and how they hold them, then the chord is repeated back for a couple of times. The delaytime is just long enough to notice the echo on the guitar. Yes you could play all those chords, but the delay will help you to keep things tight. 

Here is another one, a more modern example, and the delay is there on the first chords of the intro, nice!!

Here is an example where the delay is used on the vocals,  listen at around 1.99/ 2.00 it is very subtle but the vocals are coming back on the shout. This idea is used throughout the song. It is one idea which is used often over time by various artists.

Last example, this is a more subtle example of a delay, it is used in the intro chords of this song. Typical example for using a delay to thicken up the sound, and to give you the idea there are more guitars at work.
Enjoy and hope to see you soon!!
Eddie