Guitar Lesson—-Main Riff Edwyn Collins “A Girl Like You” for Absolute Beginners—-

For this article I will guide you through the main riff of Edwyn Collins “A Girl Like You” hit from 1995.
The main riff is adapted for people who do not have too much experience with the guitar yet, which means no stringbending, being able to use open strings and be able to play all the notes in the first, open position of the fretboard.
The lesson is backed up by two videos, part one deals with learning the riff, in part two I show you which chords will work to back up the riff, very usefull if you would like to play the riff with some of your guitarplaying friends.

Here is the tab. for the main riff:

                                 Am      Am        Dm         Em                    Am         Am       Dm     Am

                                  /          /           /             /                       /             /        /          /

  E ———————–0———————-3—–0——————0—————————–

  B ————–1—3——-3—-1——–1——————–1—3———3—-1——0———-

  G ———2————————-2–2——————-2————————–2——-0—2–

  D ——————————————————————————————————-

  A ——————————————————————————————————-

  E ——————————————————————————————————-

Listen and watch video Part One for feel and which fingers to use:

Check out now Part Two for the chords:

         Playing Guitar on Your Own?

Sing the riff (Hum or nah nah nah, or la la la etc.) play the chords so you get the full idea of how it sounds when playing with two guitars.

       Access to looping pedals/devices? 

Loop the riff on your machine and play the chords on the guitar.

The suggested strums in the tab. are basic, they are there for those of you who just started out with the guitar. If you are more experienced experiment with different feels and also try  the chords in different positions of the fretboard. If  you watch Part Two you can see that I quickly leave the open chords to play partial chords in different positions on the neck.

The original riff of this song is in the key of Cm instead of Am, try transposing the tab. to  thekey of Cm to get more milage out of the riff, similar for chords, transpose them to  the orginal key.
Edwyn’s version also uses some stringbending, which I left out, see if you can play the riff while using some stringbending as well.

As for effects, the original sound of the riff uses a Fuzz. Not sure which make (have not done the research yet………….)
I tend to use the Boss FZ-2 and the sound of this pedal comes very close to Edwyn orginal. FZ-2’s are from the 90s, and this song is from ’95, so maybe Edwyn did use one of those? Who known eh?

Okay, have fun with this little riff here, and hope to see you soon again.
Eddie

Bookreview: “Hotel California” (Singer-Songwriters in the LA Canyons) by Barney Hoskyns

For this article a short brief on this wonderful book called “Hotel California” by British musiccritic and writer Barney Hoskyns.

The book outlines the upstart of the Singer/Songwriter scene in LA during the late 60s until the mid 70s. Hoskyns describes in fluent detail why this scene started in LA, what were the particular circumstances which gave birth to this scene, the recordcompanies and venues who were backing these artists to make the scene become successful worldwide and why the scene died off.
In the Coda Hoskyns gives an update of the some of the artists who used to live in Laurel Canyon, what the Canyon is like now and how the musicscene anno today operates in comparison to the scene of the early 70s.

Laurel Canyon gave birth to artists such as: Neil Young, Joni Mitchell, the supergroup CrosbyStillsNashYoung, The Mamas and the Papas,The Birds, Creedance Clearwater Revival, Gene Clark, Gram Parsons, Emmylou Harris, Linda Ronstadt, Jackson Browne, The Eagles, Jimmy Webb, Warron Zevon, Randy Newman, James Taylor, Carole King, Crazy Horse, Tom Waits, Little Feat, Lowell George, Judee Sill, J.D Souther, Chris Hillman, Richie Furay, Bonnie Raitt, Glenn Frey, Don Henley, Ry Cooder, Jack Nitzsche and Ricki Lee Jones.

Anyone who does have an interest in any of the artists mentioned above will have noticed that a lot of these people used to play on each other’s songs and recordings. Something which is unique for that period in time, something which created a very organic style of playing. Most of these artists have influenced other artists from outside the LA scene, I am thinking in particular of the Rolling Stones and the country influences they adopted for their music between the period of Beggars Banquet up and till Exhile on Main Street.
Another example is Fleetwood Mac during their mid 70s period with Lindsey Buckingham and Stevie Nicks. Both of them used to live at some point in Laurel Canyon.

The crosspolination of particular styles of music related to country, folk, blues and other traditional froms of music started during the heyday of the late 60s. What we call today Americana is a direct influence of what started then. Some of the well-known artists of the late 70s like Tom Petty and Bruce Springsteen carried the tradition forward to the scene of today.

The book comes complete with a extensive discograhpy of artists covered in the book including a list for further reading on the subject and a detailed list of references used for the content of the book.

The book is published by www.harperperennial.co.uk

here a direct link to the book and author: http://www.harpercollins.co.uk/Authors/6584/barney-hoskyns

I will leave you with a song of one of the most unknown sing/songwriters from that particular period

Enjoy and hope to see you soon again!
Eddie

New Strings on Your Guitar: When is it Time to Change to a New Set of Strings??

For this article a short brief for when it is time to change to a new set of strings.

A typical issue with new guitars is: The strings have usually been on that guitar for quite some time. Why? Guitar was manifactured at some point, shipped and located in a store or warehouse for some time. Some retailers are keen to change the strings on any of their new stock, however not all retailers will do this. It is a good habit to get a new set of strings for any guitar that you have bought recently.

    Old Strings: How can you tell the difference??

Worn, old strings have lost their brightness, they do sound dull and usually will feel different on your fingers.
Strings loose their brightness because they are dirty, stretched and played a lot.
“I clean my strings regularly with a cloth, will my strings still wear out?” Yes they do, especially for those of you who do keep their strings clean I would say: Make a habit of changing your strings from time to time. New strings will make your guitar sound better and they will feel better, and therefor make your playing experience more rewarding! It really is that simple.

                    Clean your strings:
You can use a cloth, wrap about two strings at once in the cloth and rub the cloth along the whole fretboard. Do this after you have played your guitar for about and hour. You will notice some dirt will be left on the cloth, this is normal and this is the dirt which will typically stick to your string if you do not clean them regularly. Over time this dirt will corrode your string, and this will ruin the brightness of the string.

                   Clean Strings but………….:
You play often, clean your strings but still, the string will wear out. A typical sign on a worn out string are fretmarks: Little black marks made on the string by the fret. If you dig in your strings you will have more fretmarks. Once fretmarks appear on your string, the string will not longer tune up properly, and intonation will become an issue. Time to change strings!!

                  I use Fastfret so…………….:
Fast fret is a product on the market http://www.guitar.co.uk/accessories/maintenance/271-ghs_fast_fret

which you can rub on your strings, it will make the string feel like new, but it will not resolve the issue of fretmarks and streched strings. Feel will be restored but not the brightness!
Whatever you do, there is no substitute for the effect of changing your strings: It will revitalise your guitar and  improve the overal soud and feel!

                Lose of Brightness, How can You Tell?:
Play on a amplified electric guitar of which you know the strings have been on for quite some time. Compare the sound of this guitar to another unamplified electric guitar for which you have changed the strings recently. When you do this test, try using guitars of similar woods and neckconstruction: Bold on necks cannot be compared to necks which are set-in. Bridges which do have a floating tremolo cannot be compared to fixed bridges. All too complex for you??? Compare a Les Paul with something similar, compare Strats with a similar kind of guitar.
You will be alble to tell the difference, and it will also teach you some basic tone lessons about neck-and bridge construction, which does contribute to your tone. If you are not sure about neck construction and their differences start your reseach right now!!

              Why do these above tests on an unamplified electric guitar?:
Because an amp can makeup electronically for the loss of brigthness in your strings. Once you have new strings on your guitar the amp will enhance your tone, and will make the whole guitar sound so much better.

        Create Your Own Habits:

A lot of experienced guitarplayers will change their strings on a regular basis. If you gig and play often you may want to change your strings once every week, once every two days, all depending on your playing style and own preferences (New strings are usually quite bright, some players prefer the sound of played in strings which have mellowed their tone just a bit).

Beginners are often told to change their strings once every two- to three months. This in itself a good habit, but with the guideline which I gave you above, you can check the condition of the brightness of your strings
for yourself.

               Strings, What Brand Should I Use?:
Experiment for yourself to see which kind of brand you like best. The biggest difference is brightness and how long this will last for: Some stringsbrands do sound very bright in the beginning and then start to loose their brightness very soon while other brands may not be a bright and will keep their brightness for longer.
Experiment and enjoy.

Hope to see you soon again,
Eddie