Metronome Only For Beginners?

The metronome may not be a populair device, especially among those older students who used to have piano lessons in the past. Often they were told to use a metronome and often these came as large, chunky clocks which you had to touch from time to time to get them to click in time.
Not matter what the popularity of the metronome is these days, it still is a very powerful tool which can help any guitarist and musician to get a better rhythmic feel.
In this short article I will highlight some ideas how to use a metronome to improve your accuracy, speed, scales and melodic ideas.

Today metronomes come in all kind of style and sizes. The chunky mechanical ones I mentioned before, are still there but there are also the smaller and digital ones. If you do not have one yet, try to find a dedicated metronome, that is one which is not part of a tuner or something of that kind. Dedicated metronomes will often give you more useful options such as being able to tap in the time of your playing, giving you more options with regards to beats etc. Go for a handy size, as it will fit your guitargigbag, and you do not need to worry about breaking it [try that with those mechanical ones I mentioned earlier………….]

Any beginner who has been asked to play with a metronome will use the metronome in a straightforward way: Set the metronome at a particular speed and play on every beat. Each click of the metronome is played by a quarter note on the guitar. Easy peasy as the metronome clicks and you cannot forget where to play.  Of course this will help your sense of rhythm, but the metronome reminds you where those beats are. What about getting the metronome to play only a handful of beats, and you playing on those beats the metronome does not click? In this sense you need to feel where those beats are. How do we do this? Simple, get the metronome to click on beat One and Three, while you play on all beats, that is beat One, Two, Three and Four. I am talking Four beats to a bar here. In this way you need to feel where beat Two and Four are while at the same time keeping in time with the Four Four feel of the music. If you have never tried this idea first try it at slow speeds, something like 40 to 45 Beats Per Minute will do.

Once you are comfortable with this, then put the metronome on beat Two and Four, which is often called the Back Beat in music. Very useful to feel these beats. Similar as above, just play all four beats while metronome is clicking on beat Two and Four. Next, just put metronome on beat One, while you play all Four!

Use the above ideas to play your scales, riffs and melodic ideas. Once you get them down at a particular speed, speed up and see if you can still play them as accurately as you did while the metronome was clicking as a lower speed.


No fingerpatterns today, no breakdown of the basics of any kind of scale yet, all of this is still to come at a later stage. No, for today just a few simple words of common wisdom:
Play your Seven Note Scales [Any Major or Minor Scale] with seven different fingering positions, where each position starts on a different note of the scale. First start on the Root, then progress to the second note ect. untill you have covered all the seven notes of the scale. In this way you create your seven different fingerings and they will help you to move along the fretboard.
Similar idea for the Five Tone Scales, the so-called Pentatonic Scales —Penta means Five in Greek hence the word Pentatonic, which is a scale made up of only five tones instead of the usual seven tones.

Most students get comfortable with the Rootpositions of any of these scales. Great, as this is a start, but do start playing the scale also from the other remaining notes as they will help you to see more patterns. Be sure  to stay in key. Play the First chord of the key to help you to tune your ears into the key: [Am when you are playing Am Penta, D when you are playing D major etc.]

Play your scales first with Quarter notes, then progress to Eights. Once comfortable with this try Triplets, then Shuffle and Swing Feel. Play your scales straigth up and down, then play your scales in melodic intervals like
Thirds, Fourths and Sixths. Once you can do that, why not play some melodic ideas which come from the scale? Shuttle back and forwards to scale notes and melodic ideas, all this while your metronome keeps clicking and you [hopefully] still playing in time!
A lot of work you may say? It sure is, but it is fun, you will learn so much by doing this: It will open you up to become freer with the fretboard and music in general. 

Before I shall return to more Music Theory related articles you can expect more blogs about Loop Pedals and the joys of making music with them.

Stay Tuned

3 Reasons Why Guitar Players Should Learn To Play Scales

Today a very short article about scales, it really is a preview for some longer articles I will create about the subject of Scales in relation to rhythm and speed. For today just a brief outline why it makes sense to learn scales.

When I took up guitar lessons myself I wanted to get deeper with theory and understand how music worked in general. I was not interested in learning songs, I felt I could create these myself, and the theory would help me along the way. Okay, when I took up guitarlessons I was not new to making music, I had more than 10 years of playing organ behind me, had played in a band and with other musicians, but I still felt I did not know the finer details of how music worked:  Words like Keys, Harmony, Chord Extensions ect. all things I was aware of but I could not put my finger on it. My guitartechnique, at this point in time, was still very weak. An issue I was  painyfully aware of and wanted to resolve as soon as I could.

During my first lessons I asked for a lot of ideas to get my fingers to work—I only used three fingers at that time!!—. Some of those finger-ideas were scale based.The scale excursions improved my dexterity and opend up the doors to my own musical ideas. 

The guitar lessons turned very quickly into  extended Jamsessions. I really enjoyed them as I was playing with another guitar player who was much better than me. Finding other people around you to play with is a problem in general, and most of the people I knew at that time were not motivated to get really good at the guitar. Then there were the ones who were good, and I could not keep up with them, another frustrating issue. Jamming in a controlled environment with a teacher was ideal: It opened the door to playing the guitar in many different ways.

Usually I would study a particular scale in various positions, or particular chords, and I would bring them to the next lesson, usually I had done something with these chords: I would put them into a sequence or create a riff around them so it would sound like a short songidea. This idea would then  then be used for the jam.
Out of the jam something new would appear: A particular riff or a new chord ect., and I would explore this idea for the next week as my “homework”.

Scales will certainly improve your knowledge of the fretboard, and they will open you up to playing the guitar in different positions.

Scales are the ideal vehicle for exploring melodic ideas or riffs. Once you become aware of the joys of making melodies on the guitar you will never stop playing the guitar again. This will also open up the world to writing your own songs.

Scales are great for improvising, and improvising will make you become freer on the guitar, and with music in general.

I would say that knowledge of scales will benefit any guitar player, no matter what kind of style of music or playing level you are at. Even if you are only interested in learning to strum  along some chords for the songs you like to sing, the scales will help you to become aware of the notes you are singing, how they work, where they come from and where those notes can be found on the fretboard of the guitar.

More about the subject of Scales for next article.
Now work out those fingers and hope to see you soon again,

Create Static,Dynamic Filter Sounds with Your Delay

Today a short article about a specific application for a delay: Creating static, dynamic filter sounds.

A dynamic filter is an effect which changes the frequency of your sound. A Wah pedal is an example of a specific dynamic filter which can move the frequency up-and down, by moving the footpedal up and down. Leave the footpedal in one place to accentuate a particular frequency spectrum. Frank Zappa used this techinique a lot to make his guitar stand out for a particular part in a song. Not only Zappa, also Hendrix explored this technique often.
A similar idea can be created with a delay: Use short delaytimes, 1 up to 80 mS for example, to get the best results. Put the Feedback-and Delay Time control to dial in the frequency you like and just play. Switch your pedal off quickly as a reference point to hear your original, uneffected sound of your guitar, then switch back to dial in more or less of your delayed sound until you hear the sound you like.
This particular application is also a great method to distinguish the sound of one delay compared to another: Because of the short delaytime you will be able to hear the particular colour the delay creates. Some delays may give you a more pleasing sound compared to others.
While using this method to compare several delays I found the Boss DD7 having a particular pleasing sound, not sure why this model sounded so different compared to other Boss delay models such as the DD2 or DD6, maybe the longer delaytime of the DD7 does have something to do with it, or particular components being used for its sound.
The application as described above will work both for analogue and digital delays.

Next time the scale article as promised before!
Happy playing and catch you soon,

Three Practical Reasons Why Guitarists Should Use a Loop Pedal

Today a short article about loop pedals. I will give a brief description of how they work and furtermore, give you some ideas how you can use loops to improve you own playing.

A loop is simply an effect which enables guitarplayers to play a musical idea, store this idea and play this idea back to you, for as long as you want to. You can treat the loop as another musician you play with: Play a short bassline into the loop pedal, and the loop will play the bassline back as any great bassplayer would do for you. Cool!

The simplest loops which can be found are delaypedals with a hold function. This hold function works as a short loop. Today there are quite a few brands of delaypedals on the market which will give you a hold function. A well-known one is the Boss DD3. The hold function on this pedal works as follows: Keep the pedal pressed down with your foot and it will repeat whatever you play into it. The hold function on the DD3 is very short: 800milliSeconds, however, this is long enough for the pedal to hold one chord, which then gives you the ability to play single notes over this chord whilst holding the pedal pressed down with your foot. All in all, a primitive way to create a loop, but it is a great way to introduce yourself into the wonderful world of longer loops.
Dedicated loop pedals will give you longer looping time, more advanced features and more control to create your own loops.
It is not my intention  with this article to give you a lowdown on particular brands-or types of looping pedals. I leave the reseach for this job over to you, I merely want to highlight some applications you can achieve by using a loop pedal. 

               Three Useful Applications:

New to loops? Not really sure what they can do for you? No problem, here are three useful applications any guitarist on the globe will appreciate whether you are a beginner or an experienced guitar player.

     ~  Create different chords which work together as a complete sequence ~ :

Put some chords together, play them into the loop to hear how the chords work together as one sequence.
There is a theory of how chords work, but by using a loop you can actually hear which chords do sound nice together. Cool! Since you are using your skills in a practical way, later on you can get into the deep with keys and other music theory to find out why certain chords work the way they do, but for now you can just play and enjoy the results of your experimentation. Great!!

     ~   Put a chordsequence into the loop and play some riffs or melodies over this sequence ~ :

Again, as above, there is a theory of which notes, riffs, phrases and scales work over which chords, but for now you can just play and see what works. This way of working is great for getting to know the fretboard in different areas. Cool!!

     ~    Put a chordsequence into the loop and improvise over the given chordsequence ~ :

A great way to learn your scales, improve your phrasing and to get more fluent with playing in different areas on the fretboard.

As you can see from the above, the possibilities of things you can achieve by using loops are infinite. The three applications from above only highlight the backing possibilities of using a loop (using the loop to mimick the sound of a small band playing together, while you, the guitarplayer, play over this sound) What about using the loop to create sounds by  putting different loops together to create particular sounds you cannot play with  an instrument? When you get into this realm you start using the loop as another instrument. This will then open up the door to a whole different kind of playing the guitar, and a different kind of music altogether.

Hope I have given you enough ideas to wet your appetite for using loop pedals for your own playing. Next article will be about rhythm, scales and how to improve your speed.
Hope to see you soon,

Guitar Lesson for Beginners: Learn To Play Guitar By Ear

Today a short article to introduce you to the idea of playing by ear.
Most people start out playing the guitar by buying some books and work themselves through the ideas introduced by the books. A lot of books focus on the readingaspect of playing music. Great!? Hmmm, it is good but why not learn to play the guitar by learning to read and to play by ear?
The advances of playing by ear? You will feel freer and play guitar in a more natural way.
Let me quickly compare learning to play the guitar to the learning of a language as a baby (the learning of a mothertongue): A baby will learn its first sounds and words by copying the mother. It is the most natural and pure way to learn to speak a language. Later on the child will get introduced to reading, grammer and all the other things childeren will learn about a language while at school. All very useful to get on in life but the fun will go away at some point  (for most childeren anyway).

Is it possible to learn by earn when someone does not know any music at all? Yes it is, but it all depends on how one gets introduced to the guitar and playing music. Let me first tell you why some students love books so much  ( I used to be one of them in the past!!) Opening a page with musical notes will give some people security, it tells them what to do, what to play ect. And once people know how to read they can actually play what is says on the paper. The downside? Some people keep on reading, even when they have played a particular piece of music for a long time. The first band I played in ( I used to play organ at that time) I was reading some of the songs we played, I even used the sheets on some of the gigs we played. Why? Because that was how I was intoduced to playing the organ: You read the music from the stand as you go along. Okay, I was not reading closey, I was just skimming, and improvising a lot with those chords and melodies, but still, I kept the music in front of me, just to remind me where we where with the song. There were also some songs I had made myself, I think I just had the lyrics and chords for those songs, but a similar thing applies: I probably knew those lyrics by heart anyway, but still wanted them in front of me as a prop. Wrong! learn to do it without. Scary? Maybe in the beginning, but once you get used to it you will love it, as you will be so much freer in your movements and your whole experience of playing music.

                  Listening to Music, What Do You Hear??

Most of you will listen to music  (Well I hope you do, as I also deal with students who do not listen much, but still want to learn to play the guitar……….)
Your listening experience will change as you start to learn an instrument. Mainly because you become more aware of sound and how it is produced. When you listen to music ask yourself what you are actually listening to? What instruments are being used? Is the music all on one level or does the volume (dynamics) of the music change? All obvious things you may say, but there is a lot going on at the same time, and it takes time to become aware of this.

It may be a good idea to make a choice what to listen to. For example just listen only to the bass throughout an entire song. Do you find it hard just to listen to only the bass without hearing the melody? (in most cases, the vocals of the song) You probably need to try listening in this way for a while before you get comfortable with it. Once you can seperate different parts in a song by ear you are on your way to becoming a better listener! Next time try listening to the chords of the song.

The chords may be played by a whole orchestra, or just one guitar or piano. Again, only try to listen to those chords while forgetting about the melody.

Why forget about the melody? Is it not the most beautiful and important part of the song? The melody is obvious in most music, it is the part which stands out, therefore you will not need much concentration to hear it. Most people will notice it anyway, because of how the song is made. It is an effort to hear the other parts.

Once you can hear the seperate parts of a song, put all the different parts together and try listening to the whole song to see how all those parts interact with each other. There is a reason why a bassline sounds so cool, but you need to hear that bass in context of the rest of the drums or melody or whatever parts are there. Songs are great because of their individual parts, and how they all interact together. Not many songs sound good by just playing only the main melody or riff. Listen to “Smoke on the Water” by Deep Purple. Okay a cliche song, but it still sounds great. What is it that makes that song work so well? The interaction of the bass, guitar and drums. Take away drums and bass, and the rest of the song does not make much sense.

When you listen to guitarmusic, ask yourself which part of the fretboard the guitars use. Do they play over the whole fretboard? Can you hear it? Or do they mainly play in open positions? Whey you get really good at this you may even be able to hear the different brands of the guitars people use. I have to be careful with this obsevation, as the digital technoloy of today can fool you easily. Older recordings may be better for this purpose as they are cleaner and purer in what was recorded and what you hear. 

                  Do It YourSelf:

One way to learn to play by ear is to give yourself a small part of a song you like. Sing this part (or hum it), find the first few notes of this part on the guitar and play back on the guitar what you sing. Why sing? You internalize the music, you memorise how the music goes. It will take some time before you can play a whole part in this way, but stick to it as you will grow so much as a guitar player, and once you can do it you will love it!!

Work out the chords of a song you like by listening to the bass. Play those bassnotes and turn those notes into chords. The only issue you will have at this stage is deciding which chords are major or minor, as the bass does not play any chords but just single notes! To work out the major/minor chords of the song I would suggest for now you just try it. Play either major or minor and see how it souds like. Once you have all your chords you can check on the internet if you have done it right or not. Again, it probably will take you some time to work out the chords in this way, but once you get used to it you will love it. For most of my students I work out the songs they like on the spot, and in most cases it only takes me a few minutes to see how the song goes. Of course, I also use my  harmonic knowledge and whatever else I know about music theory, but for now just trying to hear those chords is good enough.

Once you get curious how it all works you can get deeper into the theory of how paricular chords work together. This may then get you into composing, songwriting and learning more about melodies and scales. Before you know it you are just doing music all the time, just because you got fascinated by how some of those chords of your fist songs worked!


Be relaxed and ease yourself into learing parts by ear. When you are into guitarsolos do not go for those fast solos staight away as it may frustrate you that you cannot hear all those notes, better to play vocalmelodies which you can hear very well. Remember, first sing it, then play it back. There will be times that your fingers will help you to give away those notes of the melody you could not hear at first. That is good too, as all these different aproaches of how to work out a melody, help each other.

Have fun and hope to see you soon again,

Making Choices for your Guitar Lessons

Today a short article about making choices for your guitar playing and how they will help you to speed up your own progress to master the guitar.
Please read the article from the 9th of March 011 which is about setting goals for yourself and how to improve your skills. It can be seen as an additional article to today’s one which will be focussing more on specific choices you need to make for taking your guitarlessons. The clearer you are with these choices, the quicker you can get results.

Any student who takes up the guitar needs to start  off with basic general material, basic tools to make music with such as open chords, some basic knowledge how music- and the guitar works and some simple ideas to get the fingers to work. It is very easy to take this task way to serious and to get all too soon too deep about scales and music theory and finger excercises. At this stage it is better to keep things simple, not to ask too many questions and just to go along with playing some basic material such as open chords and some simple melodic ideas. When a student is serious enough and plays enough in between the time of the lessons, this material should soon open up the door for more interesting music.

Once a student can make some basic sounds on the guitar you should soon progress to material you would like to play, bearing in mind that this material will still sound basic, since your experience  of the guitar, and playing music in general, is still very fresh.

As a student you need to be honest to yourself, you need to ask yourself what it is you would like to do guitarwise. Many people do not really know what they want at the start of their journey into guitarplaying, because they are completely new to the field of playing music. Just be honest to yourself and keep asking yourself questions: Do I play guitar because I want to play in a band? Do I want to play like Jimi Hendrix? Do I want to entertain my friends with the guitar at parties? Try to break down your questions into really small sections: If  you like Blues, then try to learn to play a 12-bar blues, get to play the chords, learn a bit about the chordprogression, learn what a key is, and maybe learn some rhythmic variations in how you can play your chords with regards to this style. Hopefully you have chosen this style because you listen a lot to Blues, so you know the difference between the sound of Bluesartists from the 1950s, 1960s, 1970s, and the more recent artists who play this style. It really helps if you are familiar with the sounds you can make with regards to a particular style. Do not worry at this stage as you will grow in your understanding with all of this, just to make the bold choice that you want to play Blues is good enough for now.

To continue with our example of playing Blues: Once you get to grips with some 12-bar variations, learn some different fingerings for 7th chords in different positions on the fretboard, learn some basic Turn-Arounds, some simple Solo-ideas and Riffs based on the Minor Pentatonic Scale. Once you are familiar with some of these ideas,(and you can actually make it sound like it should!) then it is up to the individual student to get deeper into this style.

The above example could take you up to six months, maybe longer, maybe a lot longer for some of you. Often what happens is that people start to loose interest once they feel they are struggling. Of course it does take time, for example to get the rhythm of your chords right takes an awful long time, but be realistic, once you get a feel for things, keep at it and move on, and keep revisiting what you played before, in that sense you will grow and get better with your playing.

Any good guitar teacher should be able to guide you through the process of learning new material and you should have a sense of progress. You should be able to talk to your teacher about what you want to learn. There may be times you may feel your teacher introduces you to material you may not like. Again, you should be able to discuss the choices your teacher makes for you and you should  be able to come to a general understanding of why particular things are being taught to you. There may be occassions where a teacher may teach you just what they know, if this is the case you should be honest with yourself and realise that you may need to look for another teacher.

It is my own personal belief that any good guitarteacher should have a working knowledge of all populair guitarstyles and techniques, but I also know that not every guitarteacher is able to play Classical, FingerStyle Blues, Pop, Ska, Metal ect.

To find the right teacher is an art in itself, you may have to try a few teachers before you find the one who is right for you. On the other hand, anyone who is more experienced with the guitar and music may be right for you, as it all about the personal relation and the inspiration a teacher can offer you.

Once you are more experienced as a guitarplayer you should start to see for yourself what you need in terms of progress and the kind of material you would like to play. How long does it take before you start to feel you are getting more experienced? It all depends on the individual and on what you want to do. Overal you need to keep asking yourself questions about how your guitarplaying is going, this not only applies to students of the guitar, it also applies to experienced players, as there are always new things to learn, and new ways to approach that six string plank.

Hope to see you soon again,

Unique Guitar Studio in the Netherlands: Jos Rentmeester located on the Bevelanden in Zeeland

Today an article about a special guitarstudio in the Netherlands which I visited about a week ago. It is a guitarstudio run by Jos Rentmeester who is located in Heikenszand, de Bevelanden, Zeeland, the Netherlands.

When I left the Netherlands to live in Leeds, Yorkshire,England there were hardly any musicshops in the local area where I was born. Over the years things changed a bit, some musicshops came and went, some guitarbuilders started up a business and now there is Jos’s very special guitarshop since 2008.

Any experienced guitarist will know this feeling: Looking for another guitar, and go into an average size musicshop and you may find (if you are lucky) two guitars you may like, often these guitars play so so and do have some issues, you will need to set up the guitar to get it to play how you like. Seems to be the usual procedure, but it should not be like that: A guitar should play great as you leave the shop since that is what you pay for!

When I heard about the Jos Rentmeester’s guitarstudio I had to meet the man to see how good the studio was. The studio has been there since the end of 2008. Jos is a specialist in Fender USA, Fender USA Custom Shop, Gretsch and Guild guitars. He is one of ten Fender Custom Shop dealers in the Netherlands, located in one of the most beautiful areas of the Netherlands: Zeeland.

In the studio there are over 100 new- and used USA guitars all personally selected by Jos for quality, sound and playability.
The collection does contain a few jewels: Two Original USA Strats from 1962, a Sunburst Strat from 1959 and a Jaguar from 1962. Apart from these guitars there are some Custom Shop models and a few guitars which Jos build himself with first Class Fender Custom Parts and other high end parts.
Of course the studio does not only contain USA Fender guitars, no, there are also USA Gibsons, PRS and G&L guitars to be found in Jos’s Guitar Studio.

     For Who is Jos’s Guitar Studio?

Anyone who is interested in quality guitars and for who playing guitar means a little more than just picking up that piece of wood every now and then. You know who you are eh?
People living in Leeds are spoiled for choice. We have had Sound Control here and the Roseville Road shop did contain all the goodies Jos’s Studio contains, but I am talking of a city of over a million people, not an area of merely 320.000 people! All in all I do think that the people in the Netherlands, and especially the ones in Walcheren and the Bevelanden are very lucky with a Guitar Studio which offers that much quality and choise for reasonable prices. If you live locally or near the area [Even the good folks who live in Germany,Belgium or anyone living close to the Dutch border should pay a visit to this Studio since you are not too far away and Jos does take the time for you!!] 

Here are the full contact details for Jos Rentmeest’s Guitar Studio:
Noordland 5
4451 RP Heikenszand
Tel: (0031) 06 33177501

Next article will be about making choises for your guitarplaying, hope to see you again soon!

Guitar Lesson for Intermediate- and Beginning Guitar Players: Acoustic Finger Picking,Transposing and Barre Technique

On a day when I should be working on my suntan and be concerned about my hairstyle I write this blog for you about guitar playing, and to be more precise, how to improve your playing and to have more fun with your guitar in general.Let me start as a matter of introduction by mentioning what you can expect for the next few blogs: I will create a short series of articles about the following subjects
  # Making the Right Choises for Your Guitar Playing:
  Many people start out with guitarlessons by not  having a clearcut idea of what they want. The better students [and advanced guitar players as well!] are the ones who have a clear idea of what they would like to achieve. There is no such thing as ” I am interested in learning everything and anyything” no, you do need to make small, short-term goals, which are better to monitor your own progress. I have created an article on this blog in the past about setting goals. The new article will be along the lines of the previous one.

 # Techniques to Ease Yourself into Playing by Ear:
I see the following with some of my students:  Some students get very serious about their guitar playing [Hats off to them!!], get all the books I advise them to get, and as they progess they keep on reading, and playing with music stand in front of them. It is the bad habit of Classically trained guitar players. I do say BAD, because any good musician will know that you play music much better when you know the actual music, and when you play by heart. Now playing by heart and playing by ear are two different matters, but there is a relation between the two of them.
Most people really want to just play guitar, and not having to read ideas from a book to get them to play the guitar. It is all about habits [heh, I know them too well, because I have been there too, and many more of us musicians!] In this article I will introduce you to some simple tools which can help you on the way to get to play by ear.

 # Tips on Metronome, Rhythm and how to Practice your Scales to Improve your Speed Drastically:
If the word scales will give you the shivers, do not worry, I am not going to give you any fingerings for certain scalepatterns [I have not created ANY article about this yet!!] Assuming that you already play scales I will give you tips on how to use your metronome more creatively and how to progress with your speedstudies for your scales. This all with the  one and only goal to become the most economical and fastest speedmonster on the globe.

 # How to be Creative with your Scales and how to Practise them:
Once you have achieved the above goal you may want to know why you should be such a fast speedpicker. Well in this article there will be some eye opening ideas for this so stay tuned if you are a lover of shredfest!

 # Improvising and Playing Solos, How to break away from the Masses and start to sound like You:
Again I have NEVER written any articles about how to play solos. Well it takes time to get good eh? So there you are, you may have been waiting for this as it is one of the most enjoyable and hardest tasks in your career as a guitarplayer: How to play a damn good solo which does have all the right notes and rhythmic moves which keeps everyone singing your solos the whole day long. This article will be about phrasing, so get good with your 4 finger exercises now, be prepared as you will be able to burn over that fretboard with all the right colours of vanilla.

Okay that is what you can expect from me for the next few blogs, now let me zoom in what we are going to do today: I have a great fingerpicking idea which came about as I was playing on one of my unamplified Fenders [for the close reader, you will know that I mentioned before I do tend to warm up with fingerexcerises and all kind of stuff on unamplified guitars] well today’s idea came about in a similar fashion, I already had in mind what to write for today’s blog, but then this idea came along, it made me change my mind about what to write and felt I should put this idea down here as it sounds great, and is very good for taking it further as a musical idea.

Let me put the idea down here first so you can see it, then I will explain how to approach it and what else you can do with it.

  Tempo: 106 bpm

            Gm                   Em                           Asus2             C

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

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

       G ——–3——————0———-     ——-2—————0——–

       D —————————————     ———–2————–2—–

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

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

Count  1  e  2     e        3 e    4       e              1  e    2   e   3     e   4  e

Observe: Each beat is played in straight 8ths, two chords per bar, pinch on beat 1 and 3 of each chord.
              Barre on beat 1 and 2 of first bar, open Strings for Beat 3 and 4 first bar, “standard” C chord at   
              end of second bar.

           To give the idea a finished feel, play after you have played original idea a couple of times,
             a D and a E chord which will create a more finished feel.

Okay, now this idea will be for intermediate players a bit easier because of the barre in the first chord, beginners may find this a bit harder.  [Try it first on an electric guitar before moving on to an acoustic!]The next three chords should be managable for players of any level.
Notice I have put a suggested tempo indication. Play it at this speed once you have a good idea of the sound of the idea and your fingers can actually keep up with a smooth action!. 

           Transposing and Barring:

This idea is great to play along the fretboard in different places. Remember what I mentioned how this idea came about, it was a mere fingerexercise before I realised you could use it as a start for a song.
I will suggest one transposing idea for the people who are not sure what tranposing is,[changing the key of a song] for those who understand the principle of transposing, just move the idea up and down all over the fretboard whilst keeping your first finger firmly barred. Do not make any changes in the fretdistances of the original idea as you will change the actual sound. When you transpose you change the PITCH of the idea, not the sound. The result will be a similar sounding musical idea but in a different pitch. To obtain same sound, the distances between each chord stays same as in original idea.

 Example of Transposing One Full Tone Up:

Move up to fret 5, barre fret 5 just as you did with the original idea, but do it now on 5th fret. For next chord barre fret 2 —-We transpose idea one whole tone up= 2 frets up!!. Open strings from original idea now become fret 2 when transposed up—
For the Asus2 in the orginal idea we get now a barre on fret 2 while your pink and ringfinger hold down the G and D string on fret 4.
Finally play D chord using C shape [Yes keep that barre on fret 2 instead of using regular open D chord shape, this to keep the sound similar to sound of original idea] with the Root on the A string 5th fret.

New Transposed Chords are now:  Am  F#m        Bsus2   D

For Intermediate players I would suggest to experiment with barring the original idea in different places on the fretboard. Try it first on an electic guitar if your fingers get a little tired, soon they should strenthen up to be able to do it an acoustic as well!

              Transposing For Beginners and Capo:

For beginners it may be an idea to use a Capo: Yes you will still need to barre the first chord, like in the orginal
idea, but that second barre, which is held for the rest of the idea will now be held down by the capo. Much easier and you still get the sound. The downside? If you want to transpose up and down over the whole fretboard you will need to readjust the capo in different places physically! Heh you can not get everything for free!!

Enjoy and See You Soon.

Power Chord Guitar Tutorial

Today, as promised, a short powerchord idea on the low E and A string. For those of you who are not aware what powerchords are: Powerchord is a chord constructed from only two notes, instead of the usual three notes in a chord. The notes used for a Powerchord are the Root and the 5th. [The 5 in the name of the chord relates to the 5th] Sometimes Powerchords are played with three notes, in this case the Root is often dubbled to create a fuller sound:


  D —2—-

  A —2—-    

  E —0—-

In the example above we have an E powerchord with three notes. The low E contains the Root, which 
is dubbled on the D string. Leave out the note on the D string and you have the same E Powerchord but now with only two notes. Listen to the difference in sound!

Okay here is the short chord-idea:

        E5    A5          E5   G5        E5   A5        B5   G5

   A  –2—7–       –2—5–      –2—7–      –9—5–  
   E  –0—5–       –0—3–      –0—5–      –7—3–

Observe two chords per bar, all chords are played for 2 beats only. Use of distortion is optional, although you may feel it will make it sound better.

    Playing Vartiations:

Play straight 8ths on the E string of every first chord of each bar, mute the low E string, let second chord ring out. The result? You create a contrast with the first and second chord: First chord sounds dark because low E is muted, second chord sounds bright because it is ringing.

Experiment with where you play these chords on the fretboard:
Play same sequence now using open postion for your A and G chord. Listen to the sound! Forget muting here, as it will be much harder to do so because of the open strings! The sound you get is more of a dirty Blues Rock sound as opposed to a Rock sound in the first example.

Explore also higher registers on the fretboard such as the G, B and E string, listen to how the same sequence sounds using these strings.

For next blog more practical tips on practising to speed up your own development to become a creative guitar player.
Have Fun and see you next time!

Book Review: “From Zero to Rock Hero” by Owen Edwards

Today a short review for a book which I highly recommend to anyone who is new to the guitar. I will go through the chapters of the book in detail, but before I go into that I would like to say that this is a great motivating tool for anyone who is serious about their guitar playing

The book is mainly for players who are interested in Rock guitar, but as so often is the case, the book is great for anyone who is interested in learning to play electric guitar, as most of the techniques explained here are universal and they will be useful for the rest of your playing life.

The book is layed out as six week course containing of seven days. This works great for motivation as you see where you are. Is it realistic to finish the book is six weeks for a complete beginner? It depends on your personality. I know, some people will manage this, for most, however, it may take it little longer, but still I think it is a good way to tackle the motivation issue.

Before you actually start playing the book gives you a short overview of the history of Rock guitar with some of the essential guitar players who have made an impact on the style of Rock guitar. Then you get a buyers guide to the essential tools you will need including how to buy, what to look out for when buying on line compared to buying from your local music shop etc.

Next there is a chapter devoted to the main communcation tools used in guitar education. Things such as TAB, chord-and scale diagrams. There is also a brief chapter on posture and handpostions for different kinds of guitar playing. Oh, and off course, the book comes with a CD so have a change to hear all those great riffs, licks and songideas.

From there onwards you are into the playing zone: You will start off with some basic technical excercises for right hand picking and left hand technique. You will learn to play open-and barrechords.
To get to grips with the open chords there is a chapter devoted to learning to play some of the most well-known Rock songs such as “All Right Now” by the Free, “Wild Thing” by the Troggs, some AC/DC and others. Cool!!

To get to grips with the power chords there is a chapter devoted to learning some classic Rock riffs such as “Born to be Wild” by Steppenwolf, “Whole Lotta Love” by Led Zepplin, “Iron Man” by Black Sabbath, “Run to the Hills” by Iron Maiden, “Panama” by Van Halen, “Ride the Lighting” by Metallica, and then there is some Nirvana and Green Day. Great, as it will be very motivating to make a start with some of these great riffs, and they all sound very much like the original too, as Mr. Edwards has adapted them somewhat [copyrights!!] but still, job well done!!

After you have learned some of those classic riffs it is over to a chapter with more riffs, a bit more challenging and adavanced this time. There are riffs by Clapton, Aerosmith, Ozzy Osbourne’s “Crazy Train”, there is “Beat it” by Michael Jackson and more Metallica with “Enter Sandman” this time. Enough to be keep you going for a while.

Then it is off to a chapter about Phrasing and hot licks where you learn to use some of the most common techniques of electric guitar playing, things like Hammer ons and Pull-offs. Furthermore there is a chapter of cliche licks and ideas [listen to my solo on the Myspace.Com page for MixerMood, to get an idea of some cliche licks! They are some of the things you need to know, and they fall easily under your fingers while still sounding good, combined with some unusual notes they can still make up the brunt of a great solo!]

There is a chapter devoted to scales. It is mainly the major and minor scale and the two related pentatonic scales. The four scales you will use most of your playing life!! Once you get into guitar you can start learning about the modes and some other outlandish scales, but now this will do, learn them over the whole fretboard and you are on your way to become a real six string hero!!.

Near the end of the book there is chapter devoted to theory to put it all together. Again, for those interested it can function as a starting place, get deeper into it with other books and materials from the net, for now, what is offered here will be enough to get  you started!!.

The last chapter is devoted to special techniques for the electric guitar, things such as whammy dive-bombing, harmonics [mainly natural harmonics, not pinched ones!!] and last but not least……….Two Handed FingerTapping, the thing that made the world talk about electric guitar!
Not sure what I am talking about? Have a listen here!!!

It is the kind of playing which made Michael Jackson ask Eddie van Halen to play the solo on “Beat it”


Most guitar books work in similar ways, they ofen introduce you to the basics, teach you some theory and then get you going with some music, which is either motivating or so so. It is an art to get good music for beginners, and any guitar/music teacher will know this. This is why I mainly create my own ideas, things which people can play straight away, while still sounding good at the same time.
What I really dig about this book is that you get to play some of those classic Rock songs straight away, you can hear how they work, regardless of you being able to play them well. Main point is to give the enjoyment of playing something you like, something which will keep you going and keep you at the guitar.
The book is full of pictures of great guitar players. Most people will know some of these guys, whether you are 14 or 25 or 50, there will be someone in there  whose guitarplaying you will know. 

     Who Will Benefit  From Working Through This Book?

Anyone who just bought an electric guitar, anyone who has mainly played acoustic guitar, but wants to learn electric guitar, or you may even have an electric, but mainly have played open chords until now. Hey start playing power chords, use that distortion on your amp and pump up your volume, tell your neighbours to go on a short vacation while you blast out your powerriffs at full power.

What about us who can play? Still good to go through the book I would say. You will find nothing new in there I guess [Heh all depending how hard you have worked at this little ditty called Electric Guitar] No, all joking aside now, I do think you can pick up a few things you may like, it may add a little refinemind to the average pubrock gigger.

Okay that will be it for today, next time, as promised, a bit more on those powerchords. Hey, why not get this book? it will teach you a lot about powerchords, and it will also get you into experimenting with your own riffs.
Hey I am off now, guess you know what I will be doing!!
See Ya,