Coversongs and Beginners: Some Useful Tips

For this article some useful pointers for beginners to improve their skills to play coversongs.

All too often when people start out to learn coversongs they grab for some tabs from the net and get going with the given chords. Logical as the chords will give them the relevant information about the song they want to play.
What happens when the chords are wrong, or there are too many chords given in the tab, chords which are not relevant to the song?

One of the first things you should do when you are working with a tab: Check the chords against the recorded version of the song you want to play. Do the chords fit? If they do, use them and listen again to the recorded version.

Second thing you should do: Listen to the rhythm of the recorded version, do not only listen to guitar, listen to the drums, bass etc. The whole song does carry the rhythm. What you should do is find strumpatterns which work for you when you play the song on your own. The recorded version may have two guitars (or even three). Often those guitars together will form the body of the song. Again, try to find a rhythm which will carry the song on its own instead of playing a rhtyhm which forms only a small part of the song.
It may take you some time to find out what rhythm works, but it is a useful exercise, it will make your own playing (and understanding of songs and music) much better.

Once you have the chords and the stumpatterns of the song it may be an idea to start to change the shape of the chords. When you are completely new to playing the guitar you may not have any desire to this right now, because it may feel like starting all over again. If you have been playing certain songs for a while it may be an idea to look at different chordshapes, especially when you feel you tackle each coversong in the same way.

What to do when it comes to choosing different chordshapes is the material for next blog.


Beginners and Intermediate Guitar Players: What To Look Out for when Buying Another Guitar

For this article a few short pointers what to look out for when buying another guitar.

Buying On Line:

Usually hard to try before you buy. Once your guitar has arrived put some new strings on it, especially when it is a used guitar. New strings should bring out the tone much better than old, dead strings.

Play a few chords, if the guitar is electric, first play without using amp. Look for resonant woods. Usually you will find out very soon how well the guitar resonates. If guitar does not ring out that well it may still soud fine when using it through the amp. Hopefully pick-ups are not too bad.
Once you amplify, and guitar still does not ring out that well, time to pass the guitar on, unless you really like it.

Usally a guitar will speak to you in the first few minutes. One chord is all it takes usually (similar with amps).

Buying from a Shop:

When you looking for an electric, bring your own amp to the shop, and try out the guitar with your own amp. Better would be to take the guitar home and try in your own environment without any pressure. Some retail-outlets may let you do that, you may have to pay a bit extra, but it may be worth it.

If you are new to guitars, bring a friend, who knows about guitars, along with you and let him/her try out the guitar of your choice.

If you are a beginner, you cannot really make many mistakes, all you need is a guitar to play with, and hopefully it is something you can grow with for a little while until you get better.
Experienced players may find it easier what to look for. Any person will have his/her own opinion. Sometimes this can be useful, but the bottom line is: “Do I like the sound of this guitar or not?”

Why you like a certain guitar may be related to issues you are not aware of:
Make of Pick-ups, kind of woods, the set-up for the guitar etc. All issues you can educate yourself on, but they are also things you probably will get better with over the years to come. 

Guitar Shape:

This is the last thing to worry about. I know, we all have our own personal preferences what we like in terms of what is pleasing for the eye. Find someting you like the look of, and see how it sounds. If it does not sound good, try another one of similar looks, or something completely different.
The looks of a guitar are not really that important, the guitar should feel good in terms of weight and balance. Some guitars are better with this compared than others.
Stratocasters are usually very well-balanced guitars to play, but this does not mean other types of guitars are no good. See what feels good to you and go with your instinct.

New or Used?

Depends on your character. I do know people who do not like the sound of the phrase “second-hand” personally I have no issues with that. Used guitars may be played in a bit, may feel better, but new ones can also feel very good right out of the box. Make sure if there is any back-up serice if you are dealing with a retail shop: Guitar may need some simple maintenance work and a set-up to come alive. Any good retailer will help you with these basic kind of issues as they are happy to keep you as a customer. Just ask before you buy.

Happy shopping and hope to see you here soon again,

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.

Better Versions “Your So Easy” Eddie de Hamer songs

Here a little loop for the bridge section, demonstrates very well the new guitarsolos with a more jazzy feel and a different backing from the rhyhm guitar, also different vocals including harmonies:

Here is the full song with the new bridge section, including solos and backing:

More songs up soon, including coverversions of well-known songs.
Cheers and see you soon,

Improve Your Guitar Technique: String Bending for Beginners

For this article a short lesson on how to bend strings on the guitar. I will have a look at the double bend (bend one string while you play a second string).

First check out the riff we will use before we play the actual bend:

             C               C                  Em           Am
              /               /                   /              /

  E  ——8—–5—————————————————————————–

  B   ——————8——5—————————————————————

  G   ———————————-BEND FROM THIS POINT IN SEQUENCE!! ———–

  D  ——————————————————————————————-

  A  ——————————————————————————————–

  E  ——————————————————————————————–

  In this tab I did not notate the bend, I do mention where you actually bend. check out Part Two to check for details if you are not sure.

 I think, if you observe the tab, then watch both videos you should be able to get a good idea of how this particular piece works.

Here are both videos:

See you later for more related guitarblogs,

Bookreview: Keith Richards

For this article a short review for Keith’s book “My Life” which came out it 2010.
First check the interview here for Keith’s motives why writing the book:

If you are new to Keith Richards and the Stones, this book will send you off to a journey of checking out all the Stones’s older songs.
If you are well-read upon the Stones and Keith Richards, the book will give you additional insights in particular issues such as “Death of Brian Jones”  “Who is who on a lot of Stones Recordings?” “The Drug Years, and Why Keith actually got into using dope” “The Anita Pallenberg period” “The Magic of the Exile on Main Street Period” ect. ect.

If you do not fancy reading the whole book (almost over 600 pages) but are interested in the period where the Stones became the Stones what they are known for today skip to chapter 6 and 7 and you get the “Beggars Banquet years up and till Exhile on Main Street period”
Stangley enough —but not so strange really– you get nothing, absolutely nothing about “It’s only Rock and Roll” album. Just a mention about the single and that it was Mick’s idea with added riffs from Keith. No mention about any of the other songs and what went on during that time.
My feeling is, a lot of those songs were recorded during the “Ghost Head Soup” period, very similar sounding songs, very similar back-up musicians ~the usual Stones crew such as Billy Preston (organ and electric piano), Nicky Hopkins (keys) and Bobby Keys (horns)~ 

The keen Stones listener (just listen!!) will have noticed that a lot of songs come from similar periods: Songs were recorded over a period of time, because everyone was around, they were in the right location ect. ect. but a lot of those songs appeared on different albums which are sometimes years and years appart from each other.
You can find this out by listening and looking at the notes on the album. I agree, you need to know a bit about the Stones, their recording habits ect. but you can see it, also the music is quite similar in some cases.

An acception to this rule is “Some Girls” and again you can hear it: Album sounds fresh and new. It was a new period for the Stones: Ron Wood is now full time Stones member, and this album is his first full album he plays on. They used a new engineer, were recording in a new Studio ect. ect .
What is interesting to read is that “Start me Up” —from “Tattoo You” (1981) was first recorded during the “Some Girls” sessions in 1978, although the “Tattoo You” album does have a  very,different, overal sound.

When you read the book you find out that friendships are quite important for Keith, it may well be one of the reasons why the man plays guitar in a band.
The book is full of pictures about his family, his children and of course, the Rolling Stones. Most of those Stones images you will have seen before, from other books or somewhere Online.

Maybe something you should check out?

More Rehearsal Recordings Eddie de Hamer

More rehearsal recordings: “You”, without backingvocals, but new arrangement—–

This one here still sounds good. “What is this?” you may wonder, I was going for Smiths sound with the Twin. Basically what you hear is a guitarsound based around Twin Reverb and my Guya guitar, but Guya does sound like a mix of Les Paul and Strat, so you will not really recogize the sound as guitar does have its own sound.
I will get a “proper song” around this sound as I do like how it came out even though everything is just first take and a jam really………………..

Next one is “Easy” without backing vocals.

Most of these songs now sound better with new backing vocals and some other details, but no recordings yet………..
There will be rock songs later on, as the ones you hear here are more “easy listening” type. There will be some “White Stripes” kind of things, really just R and B in Stones vein as that what White Stripes and so many other bands are. The Stones did it all, and so many copied and changed the sound. Stones borrowed a lot as well, and changed it and………..but that is the story of life, modern music and pop culture.

My aim for now is to get some good sounding melodies and wrap them up into songs which have their own sound.

Enjoy playing your music,

Future Articles and Videos Eddie de Hamer

It has been a while since I created last blog.
It is my intention to create more videos where I will play through some well-known cover songs. Songs whihc do have the beginner in mind, since the starter needs most inspiration and ideas to get his/her playing up to a higher level.

When you look at what I mentioned earlier in the year you will see that I still have to do some work on the Bosspedals: There will be more videos related to creating sounds with particular pedals, also overviews of certain pedals which may not be well-documentated on YouTube.

There will be more rehearsal songs and scratch ideas, but that is an ongoing issue. Will upload more rehearsals later on.

Keep revisiting the blog as I will update it regularly.

Improve Your Guitar Solos in 11 Minutes!!

For this article a few points how to improve your solos, which I back up with the uploaded video.
The video is not about how to play some of the riffs and ideas I play here, it is more about your approach, and the kind of ideas you can use in imrove your own solos.

The first idea I use is Chordtones: Whenever you play over a song find out first what the chords are. It may also be a good idea to play the rhythm guitar part of the song you want to play solos over. Good solos come from understanding and being able to play rhythm well. It all starts with the groove, check out those chords first, get to known what tones are in each chord, find out where those notes are on the fretboard, and start making melodic ideas with those tones.
Broken chords are called arpeggios, it is possible to play all your solos in arpeggios. It will give your solos are certain sound, but it is worth working on this approach. It will also help you to get to known the fretboard much better, which is a must for all guitarplaying really.

The second idea I use is Scaletones: To get more variation in your sound you can mix the chordtones with scaletones. Play your scaletones over the song you want to play, to check how they sound. Some of the scaletones may not sound good, but if you mix them well with your chordtones you may get some great results.
Work with the scalepatterns you know and check out different scales to find out about different musical flavours: Each scale has its own sound, over time you will learn what you like and works well in the songs you want to play your solos over.

The third idea I use is Melodic Phrases and Ideas: Try to sing musical ideas over the song you want to play. Once you can sing some ideas try to find those ideas on the neck of your guitar. Singing ideas will improve your solos, it will also free you up and get you out of: “What Kind of Scale Do I Need to Use For This Song” mentality. Once you get comfortable with this approach you will never be stuck for ideas. If you cannot hear anything to sing you can always fall back on your scalepatterns!

The fourth idea I use is Rhythm: Try playing your scales with 1 note on the beat, then play two notes on one beat, then try playing on the off-beat of the rhythm. Try also to hold on for one note for a while. Do not be afraid of the space this will create. Music is all about space, harmony and tension. If you play all the time you may want to create some space. A lot of this will depend on the style of music you play, but a lot of possible. Try to practise first with a metronome (or drummachine) to see if you can keep time, also try to hear what the effect is of playing these different rhythms. You can clap the beats while your song is playing, so you can hear the rythmic effect of the beats you are going for.

The Fifth idea I use is Double Stops: Double stops are basically small parts of chords—you can harmonise a scale with all the intervals available Maj. 3rds, Perfect 4ths Perfect 5ths ect—–  Try to play a scale by using powerchords. Most of you will known what powerchords are and what they look like. Just play first scaletone and put a 5th underneath it. Two tones will do for your powerchord. Play whole scale in this way and you will be there. Now try playing some solos in this way. You probably end up playing a handful of riffs, but that is a start. Keep at it, and try also some other intervals to get more variation in your sound.

Just keep working on some of those ideas and after a while you will start to notice a different in your sound.

See you soon,