Preliminary Bass Lesson in Leeds for Beginners

20110504122530eddieFor this article a few simple tips of what you can do before you actually take up any Bass lessons with a private Bass guitar tutor. There are some things you can do at home before you make  start with your lessons. These tips will make the start easier and you will get more out of your lessons.

When you get your first bass check if you can hold the Bass comfortably.  Sit down with the Bass and try to keep the neck in balance so the Bass does not fall down to the floor.Is it too heavy or maybe to light? Try different Basses if you can to see what works for you. For children I recommend you have a look at the www.Gear4music. com site. Look for their Kits Bass Guitars page, they have a fantastic range of 3/4 seize Bass guitars. I am sure you will find something in there you will like!

Once you have your first bass you will need to tune it. If you have bought your Bass from a pack, the pack will include a tuner. Find out how it works and make a start tuning your bass. Tuning your own instrument is part of playing the Bass (or guitar) Make a habit of tuning the Bass before you start playing. You will get the hang of it quickly.

Now you have tuned the Bass let us make a start playing the open strings. The Bass does have four strings, and all of those strings have their own musical name: The lowest (thickest) string is called an E, the next string underneath is called an A, the one directly below is called a D and finally ,the thinnest string of them all, is called a G.
Being aware of the note names is a good thing, it also makes the communication easier: You will know which string to play whenever a particular string is mentioned.

Okay, so far so good, let us now make a start playing the open E string: Rest your thumb on the pick-up (look the finger position in the image above—the Thumb is resting on one of the pick-ups ( the black piece of plastic) while the first and middle finger are being used to play the string—
Use your first finger to strike the E string from underneath. Make sure you get a nice, smooth sound. We do not want any popping string noises! Once you have used your first finger, now do the same but now using your middle finger. When you do it right you get a “walking movement”. This is probably the most important playing technique for the Bass.  Play the E string over and over again using the walking movement. Once it starts to feel comfortable, move on to the A string and do the same, Similar for the D string and finally play the G string.

You are now ready to start using your fingers to fret the notes, at this point you may want to make a start with your Bass lessons. If you live in the Leeds region why not give me a call on 07796 808633 to see what I can do for you?

Thanks and speak to you soon!
Eddie

Get The Best Out of Your Guitar Playing while in Leeds and Lessons: Tips For Beginners

20130917120746eddie smallFor so many students their guitar lesson is a source of inspiration, the weekly hour acts as a boost for their playing. Most of them probably will not play for one full hour on a daily basis, therefore the moment of the lesson can be an intense experience for them.
In this article I will highlight a few issues on how to improve your own playing.

Fingering:
Students take up guitar lessons because they want to learn to play the guitar. The lessons also act as a way to correct some of the mistakes in your playing,  things you still may not get right, fingering corrections and other details. Hopefully these corrections will help your playing to improve and develop over time.
For most students the weekly lesson is a session full of various ideas, ideas they can take home and improve.
To get the best out of your playing you should take some of those ideas and work on them until you can play them as how they are intended to sound like. Any student will have their own difficulties but it is common for students of all levels not to use the right fingering. Fingering is something which is easy to correct but it takes discipline: Stick to particular fingerings for certain ideas, also get used to the method of using one finger per fret. All of this will help to keep your playing sound clean.

  Mastering One Idea at a Time:
It is worth from a student’s point of view to play a song right. Most songs with have various ideas and each of them will have their own difficulties: When it gets to the chords, there are the changes. Some songs have quick chord changes while others may be slower.  To get your chords to sound clean and good takes time, but for each song it helps if you can play the changes without too many gaps: You need to go over the chords slowly, play the whole idea in time ( without any speeding up-or slowing down). Chords are hard to master, you need to spend time on them, but you should not only play chords and also not just practise one idea until it is perfect. Practise all things you have learned so far as they will all improve over time.
The same song I mentioned before may also have an intro riff made up of single notes. Play these notes first slowly, then play them a little faster. Similar as what I mentioned about the chords, play all notes with the similar pace so the whole intro will start to sound like music instead of a random idea put together of various notes.

When it comes to practise, try to master each idea. Ideally master what you learned last lesson. This approach will make your playing grow, and when your playing sounds better you will want to play more so you will enjoy your guitar playing even more.

The trick is to stay with it and to iron out all the little mistakes you may have in your playing. Once you have the right approach anything you want to learn will become so much easier, it will be just another song, instead of climbing another mountain.

Have fun and hope to catch you soon again for more.
Eddie

Ukulele Talk: Which Type of Ukulele Should I Buy?

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Common Type of Ukuleles:

The Ukulele family, as we know it today, contains of four different type of instruments. The smallest one is the Soprano and the biggest one is the Baritone. In between these two are the Concert, which in size looks similar to the Tenor.

The Soprano is the most common one for beginners: It is relatively cheap and small to carry.

When it comes to buying your first Ukulele please do not buy the cheapest one you can find.Usually the budgetmodels will not stay in tune very well, their tuners tend to slip which makes tuning something of a nightmare.

As with any instrument, the better the instrument, the better it will play and the easier it will be to get a tune out of it. This is especially true for the less experienced player. There is not need to buy a really expensive Ukulele [only if you are inclined that way] Something in the pricerange from £30.- to £40.- will buy you a fine instrument which will last you for a long time.

 

Tuning:

The most common tuning is the C-tuning which reads like:  G, C, E and A   (low to high). Soprano’s, Concert’s and Tenors are tuned in this tuning, Baritiones are tuned similar as the top four strings of the guitar: D,G,B and E (low to high). Because of this tuning, the Baritone can be seen as a small guitar: The chordshapes are similar as the chordshapes played on the top four strings of the guitar.

 Creating an Ochestra of Ukuleles:

In the previous blog I talked about the Twin Guitar Sound. It is possible to get a smiliar sound from the Ukulele: Put together various types of Ukes and play any chordsequence or song and it will create a beautiful, full sound of matching Ukuleles. If there are any people out there who are interested in putting a Ukulele Orchestra together, please get in touch as I would love to arrange music for this type of band/orchestra.!

More Ukuleles:

Apart from the Ukes mentioned above there are two more different types of Ukes, they are less common but both of them have their own sound: One is the Resonator Ukulele, this Uke looks similar as the resonator guitar with its metal body and metalic sound. This Uke is a lot louder than the more common,  wooden-type body Uke.

Another type of Uke is the Ukulele-Banjo which was popularized by George Formby. This Type of Uke does sound somewhat similar as the Banjo.

Why Play Ukulele?

The sound of the Uke is quite distintive and the size of the instrument is compact which makes it an ideal travelpartner.

A lot of people tend to think the sound of the Uke is somewhat commical. It is true, with it’s C (or D) tuning, that a Uke sounds quite bright, cheerful and less mournful that it’s fuller brother: The Guitar with it’s standard Emsus4 7 tuning.

 

Want to develop your Ukulele playing? Stay tuned for more special Ukulele blogs about different playing styles/techinques and using guitarcapos for your Uke.

 

See you soon,

Eddie

Learning to Play Boogie Woogie Piano Style Basslines a la Jools Holland on Guitar in Leeds

20140222153811IMG_5187For this article a short brief how you can create Boogie Woogie style bass lines on the guitar. Boogie Woogie is a style of music which is associated with Blues, Jazz, Rock and Roll and Swing. The style is very diverse and sounds like fun. The best, well-known name today maybe Jools Holland but there are many, many other pianists such as Little Richard, Jerry Lee Lewis and Champion Dupree who played in a similar style.
Many beginners get at some point introduced to that typical Blues idea where you move bass notes about. That idea originates from Piano players who played in Barrelhouses in the 1920s and 1930s in the United States. Acoustic guitar players picked up on the idea and that is how it developed. By the time Chicago Blues was happening aournd the 1950s, the idea got more exciting and electrified.
The basic idea of a Boogie line is you play a particular idea over one chord and repeat this idea over the next two chords.

Here an example of a simple Boogie Bass Line based on a G6 chord

E ———————————————-
B ———————————————-
G ———————————————-
D ——————————2————–
A ———–2–2—-5—5———5—2—–
E —3–3————————————–

You can use this bass line over a G6 chord, the Root is on 3rd fret on low E string and the sixth of the chord is on the 2nd fret on the D string.

The next bass line for the C6 chord is exactly the same but it will start on the A string. Just move the whole thing down a set of strings and just play it is a similar way.

For your third chord, which is a D6 you move your whole C6 bass line up starting on 5th fret on the A string and then play the whole thing again.

As you can see, there is only one Bass line, and it is repeated over the next two chords, even the fingering remains the same as for the first chord.

The sequence is a 12 bar in G, and yes you can just play chords if you like, try using 6th chords which will give you a different sound compared to just a straight major chord.

Just experiment and play and have fun.
Hope to catch soon again for more.

If you are interested in learning more about Blues or any oher guitar style just give me call on 07796 808633 to find out how I can help you.
Thanks
Eddie

Guitar Lesson: Barre Chord Shapes For Beginners

20140116184607IMG_5327Barre chords are chords which use your first finger of your fretting hand placed all across the fretboard, holding down all six strings.
Barre chords are often moveable which simply means you can play the same  chord shape to create different chords. It is possible to play a whole song by using the same barre shape, all depending on the chord sequence of the song.
Most beginners will start off by learning to play open chords, since they tend to be easier. Once they will start using barre chords they may experience some trouble getting all those six strings to sound clear. Most beginners do not realise that you do not need to play all those six, guitar players will use often only four strings out of a six string barre chord, it all depends on the sound you want.

For this article I will give you one useful barre shape: It is the shape which forms the open E-chord. This shape can be used for moving chords up and down the fretboard. Here is the E barre shape starting at the fifth fret creating a A chord:

E ——————–
B ——————–
G ——–6———-
D ——–7———-
A ——–7———-
E ——–5———-

Look at how you leave out the top E and B string, you do not play them at all! The chord gets its name from the Root note which is found on the low E string at the fifth fret. Move the whole chord shape where the low E becomes an open string. The A and D string will both be fingered at fret two and the G string is fretted at the first fret. Recognize the E shape now? This is where the barre chord gets its name from!

Okay, now move the chord shape back to fret five and use four fingers to play the chord, no need to barre with your first finger. Your first finger in used to play fifth fret on the E, use your other three fingers to play the rest of the remaining three fretted strings. Once you have the chord underneath your fingers ( you may have to move your wrist a little to get the chord to sound clean) start moving the shape up and down the fretboard to create different sounds. Remember the low E string is where the chord gets its name from. This exercise is also great for learning your E string all across the fretboard.
Be patient at first, your main goal is to get the chord to sound clear and clean while you move up and down the fretboard. No need to rush things as you will master this shape in time, just relax and enjoy the different sounds you can now create with this new chord shape.

Happy playing and hope to catch you soon again for more.
Eddie

Modify Your Amp for Great Jazz Tone: Plug Straight Into Power Amp!

20140329132756IMG_4372When you listen to a lot of Jazz Players you realise that a lot of them play with a fairly dark tone, this is related to most Jazz Cats using a Semi Hollowed Body guitar ( they tend to sound darker ) but they also seem to roll their treble all the way down.
Plugging straight into the power amp of your guitar amplifier will give you a similar tone without rolling off all the treble. This trick can make solid bodied guitars sounds like a hollow body guitar, cool!

You could get a separate power amp, and a speaker set and use that a your main set-up (again, a lot of Jazz Players do it that way!) but you could also modify your amp by getting another input which will allow you to plug straight into your power amp. The power amp section does not deal with any tone controls of your amp, they will no longer work when your guitar is plugged straight into the power amp. It is a great extra feat. to have this on your amp. Why do amp not come standard with this mod eh?

Using a power amp may also be a good idea for those of you who like to hear their effects without any colouration of the pre amp: You will be able to tweak you sound any way you like without hearing any extras from the pre-amp.  The pre-amp is the part of the amp which creates the soul ( colour ) of the amp, the power amp is there to amplify this sound –and therefore does not add any more colour to the signal—-

Hope to catch you soon again for more guitar fire.
Eddie

Guitar Lesson: Arpeggio Shapes For Beginner- and Intermediate Guitar Players

20140116182109IMG_5338Arpeggios are simply a broken chord, you play all the notes of the chord, one at a time, to create the sound of the overall chord. Arpeggios are not the same a picking a chord. When you pick a chord you usually will keep your fingers on the fretboard to hold down the chord, arpeggios, on the other hand,  are played note for note on their own. Arpeggios can be played in one position only covering one Octave, or you could play them across the whole fretboard covering as much as three Octaves.
A lot of guitar players do use arpeggios for their solos without even being aware of it. The technique of using Arpggios is not new. During the Shred Period of the 1980s and early 90s some guitar players started to use Arpeggios exclusively for their solos. One of the most well-known Arpeggio player is Ingwie Malmsteen. He will play Arpeggios at super speed all across the fretboard. He is just an extreme example of how to use Arpeggios but you can apply them in many other ways.

Why is it a good idea to learn to use Arpeggio shapes for your Solos you may wonder? Arpeggio notes will make you play harmonically, which is one of the hardest things to do for any beginning, improvising guitar player. Most people will hear riffs and licks and other melodic ideas in their head when it comes to playing solos, harmony notes seem to come less natural and you have to work at it. All of this becomes apparent when you start to improvise over more complex chord sequences, as you riffs may no longer make sense.

The whole thing with learning to play the guitar (and learning the fretboard!) is this puzzle idea: At some point all chords and scales fall into place, they will all lead to this similar place where you can draw from to play over any chord sequence.  Working on different parts of your playing will help you and as any good guitar player will admit: None of this will happen over night, you need to work at it!.

Okay time to introduce two different Arpeggio shapes: The first shape is simply a C shape in the key of D. The chord is a D7, which is a basic triad—-Root, Maj. Third, Perfect Fifth and Dom. 7th. The Root is on the 5th fret of the  A string and the next Ocatave if sound on the 3rd fret of the  B string.
E  ——————————

B  ————————-3—-
G ————–3—5———–
D ——–4———————
A —-5————————-
E ——————————-

Here is the same chord (D7) but now played over three strings to make it more flexible for your fingers:
Root is still on 5th Fret A string , next Ocatave note is now found on the G string 7th fret.

E —————————–
B —————————-
G ——————–5–7—
D ————-4—7———
A ——–5——————-
E —————————-

Use for your own playing some other well-known open chord shapes, play them first as conventional chord shape, then experiment with putting some of the notes on other strings to create a different chord shape.
When you start experimenting with various shapes you will soon discover that each shape does have it own advantages and disadvantages: Some of the shapes may include a lot of string skipping, large finger stretches or other issues. Rework them to find out which shapes work for your own playing.

Playing with a lot of different Arpeggio shapes you may discover that most shapes on the guitar can be brought back to those basic, five open chord shapes that you learned in the very beginning. Realising this can be so much of a benefit for learning to visualise the fretboard: Try to recognize the basic open chord shape wherever you are on the fretboard and it will help you to play the notes you want to play.

Have fun with your playing and hope to see you soon back for more.
Eddie

Blues Tips For Beginners and Intermediate Guitar Players

20131111140925eddieStudents ask me from time to time how you play a Blues. The answer is simple you may think: Show them a 12 bar blues and there you go. Is it as simple as that? The key is in listening and what people associate with how a Blues sounds like. There are so many types of Blues songs, and that typical 12 bar, Chicago-style Electric  Blues, may not be everyone’s idea of what a Blues is about.
Not only beginners related the idea of a Blues song to a 12 Bar Blues, more experienced players may have a similar association: I can remember when it came to doing sound checks with a local Rock n Roll band and I started with a shuffle groove, all the other band members jumped on that typical 12 bar Blues idea and the vocalist often started to sing the beginning of “Sweet Home Chicago” My idea of the shuffle was to set up a particular groove without really thinking about “Sweet Home Chicago” Funny how some of those things go, but they can also be confusing.
For this article a few short tips on what you can do to improve your Blues playing, but as you have guessed by now, it all starts with listening and having reference points to how a Blues can be played and sung.

Right back to guitar now: Most of you who have an interest in Blues, will start out with the minor pentatonic scale and playing solos over a 12-bar Blues. Before we go there let me introduce you to a few basic Blues techniques which are an absolute must to get under your belt: Single String Bending and Vibrato.

Single String Bending:
Bend your strings using Three Fingers: One finger does the actual bend while the other two are there to support your String Bending Finger. Check for the image at top of the page, and look at B.B King’s fingers whenever you see him bending a string (Yes he uses this technique a lot!!) While you bend your string check for tuning accuracy: Bend up the string for half a note, or a whole tone or even one and a half tone. You can check your tuning against the note your are bending into. There are double string bends and single bends, but the point is to get your accuracy spot on. Be very precise with how you bend your string, do not rush the string bend and take your time. It does take time ( and an interest in how your string bend sounds like!) so do not rush!

  Vibrato:
One you have bend that string you do not leave it there hanging in the air, no you Vibrate that string to make it sustain forever!. Like String Bending, the Vibrato needs to executed in a particular way: Use your first, second or third finger of Left Hand (depending on position you play in) as a pivot point, now take your thumb of the neck (when do you get told to do so? I have to tell beginners often the opposite—Keep your Thumb on the neck of the guitar All Times—okay now it is time to leave your Thumb of that neck!) Once you will do so you will notice that the string only has contact with that one finger, rest you hand against the neck and now shake your wrist while you hold that note. Check out B.B King and how he holds his hand and watch his wrist as he shakes it to get that note to vibrate and sustain. B.B is the Master at this technique. Get it smooth and you are on your way to play with an authentic Blues sound.

Okay once you have those two techniques under your belt you can start playing phrases which will give you a Bluesy idea. The easiest is to think from chords instead of the minor Pentatonic Scale: The chords will make you play the right harmony notes and will tune in your ears as to which notes to play. The minor (and major) Pentatonic scale will fit into all of this, but start out with arpeggio notes of the chord. Once you become more experienced you will see that whatever you play can be related to either a chord or a scale, for now just get some phrasing ideas. Again listen to B.B King, he is a good reference point, he can play fast but often only plays a handful of notes, and those notes can be used to create a whole solo over the whole chord sequence of the song.  Get the String Bending and Vibrato smooth and that is a start.

So many players you will come across do play their Blues ideas with a Rock approach. This is not wrong, it is just a matter of what people have listened to and what they think it should sound like. Slow yourself down and work on your String Bending and Vibrato, those two elements are really key to getting a great Blues sound.
Once you have them under your belt start experimenting with playing major scale ideas over minor chords. This sound is often used by T-Bone Walker. Listen to him and try some of the ideas and you realise that is what goes on.

Have fun playing the Blues and hope to catch you soon again for Arpeggio Fire.
Eddie

Guitar Tutorial: How To Approach Jazz Harmony (Chords)?: Triads and Intervals!!

20131127164900eddie 2Anyone who is interested in Jazz guitar will go through that phase of: Heck so many chords I do not know, how will I get to grips with any of these?
For this article I will give a few tips on what you may find useful as most guitarist will go through some of the similar issues.

First of all: Do not get overwhelmed with all the possibilities. When you open up any book about Jazz you will be greeted by an encyclopedia of chords. Treat it as any encyclopedia and use the chords as reference for some fingerings you may not know, or may find useful.

If you have no, or limited knowledge of harmony than the story is a little different: Educate yourself about basic harmony such as triads, intervals and how chords are formulated. Most books will guide you through some fo these basics. Once you have some knowledge how harmony works you will be able to relate it to any of your Jazz studies.

Most guitar players seem to learn about their chords quickly. Usually people start off playing the guitar by using chords therefore playing chords becomes second nature. What may not be second nature is the knowledge of what each inteval is in each chord. This knowledge is crucial for advanced chords, unless you want to keep playing chordshapes you have memorised without knowing what each interval stands for.

A good starting point to learn triads, and play them as three notes as opposed to the big barrechords you may already use. Barrechords are fine but they often repeat notes, you will often end up with five or six strings containing only three notes. Those same three notes can be played on just three strings: A note per string, and a set of three  strings will make up one triad. Simple!!

  System for Learning Triads:

A very simple system is to start with the low E, play your Rootnote here, then on the A you play the third, and on the D string you play the fifth. Job done, you have now one set of a complete triad. Follow this system through all your strings and you will end up with four options where you play your basic three note triad chord: First one will start with its rootnote on the low E, second option is rootnote on the A, third option will give you root on the D string and the last option will be on the G string. Some of the fingerings you will end up with may be familiar, some not. This is the point eh? You want to start seeing triads over the whole fretboard. It will help you with your chordknowledge and also with your understanding of the fretboard.

Once you can play your triads all over the fretboard you can start adding other notes such as 7ths, 9ths, 11ths. and 13ths. These are the kind of intervals you may need to create other kind of chords you will find in most Jazz Standards.

Work with any chord samples you find, but relate them to your own knowledge of triads. How do these chordshapes differ? Yes you will end up with four notes most of the time, but you still should be able to see that basic triad.  Try to work with as much as what you already know. You are learning a new musical language (Jazz) and not relearning how to play the guitar.

Okay so what  about those intervals eh?
A 7ths what is that? Well there is a major 7th, which is one fret (A half step) below your octave note. Use this as an easy guide and you can never go wrong! The other 7th is the dominant 7th, which is basically two frets (one whole step) below your octave note. Most guitarists will know their octave from having played powerchords before, so again, use what you already know to fill in the existing gaps in  your theory knowledge.

A 9th is simple: Just one note up from your octave. See how I refer back to the Octave? It is the interval most guitar players seem to know!

Now onto the 11th, what is that? A fourth in the next octave!! Most guitar players will know their suschords, well the sus 4 can be placed in the next octave and you will end up with the 11th. Play some of the samples you may have. Do they remind you or sus chords you may know or……….?

Last one is the 13th, this is basically the 6th in the next octave. Once you know the note you are looking for you will be able to place it in the new chord.
As with any learning, it helps if you can connect whatever is new to what you already know.
The beauty of music theory is also: This is the stuff you will be using all the time, as long as you play songs which will use some of the chords mentioned above.

Try to get the chords in your head instead of reading them of charts all the time, also try to understand what creates the sound of the chord, find out where the crucial intervals are within the chord:  The 7th, the 6th, the 9th, the 11th and the 13th. Apply this to your system of the triads and you are on  your way.
Is this all there is? No no, this is only the start, but try to have an easy ride with learning those new chords and you are on your way.
For next few articles more about arpeggios, how to approach them and the wonderful world of Two Handed Tapping.

Stay tuned and hope to see you soon again for more,
Eddie