Tuesday, July 19, 2005

How To Play Guitar Like a Pro!

By: John Bilderbeck

Having taught the guitar for many years, I see the majority of
beginners experiencing the same problems and making the same
mistakes over and over again in their quest to learn how to play
guitar. It's my job to steer them through these problem areas.

These "mistakes" are basic errors that most beginners naturally
tend to make. But these mistakes can cause major problems if you
allow them to become habits in your playing. Unfortunately, 90%
of guitarists have done just that!

Avoid These 3 Mistakes Like The plague

The three main mistakes MOST people make when learning how to
play guitar are:

1: Trying to play too fast too soon.

Don't be in such a rush. Trying to go too fast too soon causes
serious problems. Sloppy playing and mistakes will become your

Learn to practice slowly and perfectly. The reason for this, is,
what you program your brain and fingers with while practicing,
is what you'll get as a habitual and subconscious end result.

The GIGO computer term describes it best. Garbage In = Garbage
Out. If you program a computer with faulty data, your results
will be faulty too. It's exactly the same with learning how to
play guitar.

So practice everything very slowly and perfectly. Do this, and
your playing will be to a higher standard than 90% of all other
guitarists. Yes - even those that have been playing for years!

2: Too much body and hand tension.

Have you ever noticed how the top professionals make it all look
so easy and effortless? How relaxed they are?

Take a lesson from that.

When learning how to play guitar, and in all practice sessions,
you need to be as relaxed as possible at all times.

Unnecessary tension anywhere in the body when playing will stop
you like a brick wall. Any "excess" tension in your fingers,
hands, arms, elbows, wrists, shoulders, neck, chest, stomach,
thighs, legs is extremely hazardous to learning how to play
guitar properly.

Practicing the right things in the right way will give you
amazing results - even if you practice only 10 - 20 minutes a

3: Learn the difference between practice time and noodling time.

Basically, you learn how to play guitar in two ways:- 1: when
you practice, and, 2: when you noodle and try out new ideas.

Practice Time is SERIOUS Time!

It's when you are specifically and very deliberately teaching
your body and brain new motor and muscle-memory skills. This is
all done very slowly, with great care and meticulous attention
to detail. Never practice fast.

Practice time is where you develop muscle-memory and train your
body to act in the most beneficial way for playing guitar.
Remember - GIGO!

This is the foundation building time.. where you lay the
foundation for learning HOW to play guitar the best way you can
- without imposing limitations upon yourself through bad
practice habits.

Noodling Time.

Noodling Time is where you learn how to play guitar by putting
into practice what you study during your practice time. It's
where you to steal licks, chords and solos off records. It's
where you hunch over your cd player or computer with your guitar
trying to hear and learn that tricky chord or lick.

It's where good habits can easily become undone!

Better to do this... Once you learn a lick, sit down in your
chair in the proper position and play that lick over and over at
a slow speed while focusing on being as relaxed as possible and
with absolute minimal finger movement. Program that lick, your
physical movements and relaxation "perfectly" into your brain.
Only when it becomes 2nd nature to you, and you "own" that lick,
should you start speeding up.

But... always focus on being as relaxed as possible.

Noodling is fun, and a necessary part of learning how to play
guitar. Do as much as you can. But.. don't mistake it for real
practice time. Don't noodle with bad habits either.

Next... you need to ensure you are practicing the correct things
in the correct way too. But that's another story.

About the author:
John Bilderbeck has been teaching guitar for 30 years. He shares
his valuable insights on his new Free Guitar Chords web site.
For a FREE e-Book on How to Master Guitar Like a Pro, visit:
http://www.free-guitar-chords.com now.

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Beginner Guitar Tips: How to Get a Feel

By: John Stockwell

Technical ability aside, the difference between a good guitarist
and a great guitarist is often the "feel" that they apply to
their music through their playing.

Adding "feel" to your guitar playing is easy to learn and will
make a huge difference to the way your playing will sound to

"I don't like to go into the studio with all the songs worked
out and planned before hand.. You've got to give the band
something to use its imagination on as well. That can make a
very ordinary song come alive into something totally
different... the X Factor - so important in Rock And Roll -
which is the feel" - Keith Richards. When you're learning or
writing a new song the most important thing is the feel.

The beat, the pulse.. Call it what you like. Its stirs the

It's that magic spark that makes a good song stand out from the

When you buy a new cd/album/record it's the one song that grabs
you by the balls.

You can feel the passion and enthusiasm that the musicians put
into it.

So how do you get 'the feel'?

You just close your eyes and connect with your true feelings -
hence the term 'the feel'. You are transferring your feelings -
your passion to the fret board.

But first you have to feel it inside your head, heart and soul.

Try listening to your favorite music with your eyes closed and
no distractions. Take notice of the way it effects you.

What do you feel? Is it joy? sadness? anger? frustration? love?

The feeling will sweep over your whole body. Take notice of this
feeling. Stop the music and try and reproduce this feeling.

Once you can reproduce the feeling grab your guitar and play.

Don't play a song you already know, just play some chords and
see what happens. Don't think just feel and play. Visualize
where you want to be - then start taking a small step in the
direction of your desire. Start with simple, easy to attain
visualizations. No need to make them gigantic. Build confidence
as you move along the path.

And as your confidence grows, so will momentum.

Pretty soon you're literally steam-rolling over obstacles that
once seemed huge.

About the author:
John Stockwell is a guitar player and the author of the
acclaimed "Mind Over Music for Guitar"
http://www.learn-to-play-guitar.net/mindovermusic/, a unique
approach to learning to play the guitar by ear for beginners to
advanced students.

Saturday, July 09, 2005

Guitar Books

Amazon now has a huge selection of guitar books. Check it out:

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

Building A Good Relationship With Your Guitar

by: Ismael D. Tabije

The guitar is considered the friendliest musical instrument there is. It is because the guitar is the handiest musical instrument that could stand on its own. A group can enjoy music with just a guitar even without the accompaniment of winds and percussions. The term “acoustic” is referred to, in the music context of today, the rendition of songs in all the glory of guitars. No percussion and piano and other instruments needed, just guitars. Sometimes, it can be the jamming of more than just one guitar. Acoustic is a favorite type of music today because of its relaxed and soulful rendition of songs.
The guitar can be carried everywhere and is one of the easiest instrument to be learned in no time. All you need is a songbook or song hits and you’re ready to take the stage and perform to your heart’s desire. It may sound so easy and can be done in a snap, however, playing a guitar is an art that needs to be perfected with constant practice. There are basic steps you need to know before mastering playing the guitar.
Basically, a guitar is like a friend you need to familiarize yourself with. Get to know the guitar and you’ll be able to make good music together. For beginners, the first lesson starts with getting to know the guitar and its parts. Some examples of different types of guitars are the electric guitar, the base guitar, the 12-string guitars and the non-electric acoustical guitar.
Parts of a guitar:
Head – is where the tuning keys are found. The strings are wound up around pegs which can be twisted to loosen or tighten the strings.
Tuning Keys – are the keys which hold the strings. These keys are twisted to adjust the tones of the strings
Nut – found at the edge of the fret board on which the strings pass before wrapping around the tuning keys
Fret board – is where pitch and expression of the tones are controlled.
Frets – 19 divisions on which fingers are placed
Little Metallic Bars/Fret bars – thin metallic bars dividing the frets
Neck – accommodates the fret board
Sounding Board – the body of the guitar
Sounding Hole (Rosette) – sounds produced are resonated. This serves as the amplifier of the acoustical guitar
Strings – are of different sizes made up of either steel or nylon which are the foremost cause of sounds
Bridge – the part where the strings are attached opposite. It is found at the body of the guitar.
Tuning the guitar is the next thing a guitar player should know. It is where he can further intensify his mastery and familiarity with the guitar. It is a gift if a person has the remarkable natural ability of hearing. He can determine if the guitar has good quality through hearing its tune for the first time. However, there are people who do not posses that certain gift. But there are other ways of tuning the guitar. One way is the ordinary method.
The first step to the ordinary method of tuning the guitar is finding a tuning instrument like a piano or an organ to base the tune.
The E chord or the 6th string should be based on the sound of the lower “mi” key of the piano or organ.
Press the same string on the fifth fret, which makes it the A and base its sound on the sound of the “la” key of the piano or organ.
Press the 5th string on the fifth fret, which makes it the D and base its sound on the sound of the “re” key of the piano or organ.
Press the 4th string on the fifth fret, which makes it the G and base its sound on the sound of the “so” key of the piano or organ.
Press the 3rd string on the fourth fret, which makes it the B and base its sound on the “ti” key of the piano or organ.
Press the 2nd string on the 5th fret, which makes it the e and base its sound on the higher “mi” key of the piano or keyboard.
Make sure that every string’s tune sounds just like the sound of its corresponding key on the keyboard. And with that, you now know how to tune your guitar!
Knowing the parts of a guitar and learning how to tune it are vital aspects in picking or choosing very good quality of guitar. In choosing your own guitar, you must first try the accuracy of the frets. To do this, you must tighten all the six strings and check to hear a full tone when strummed or plucked.
Then do a complete scale for each string by, first, plucking the open string, then press the 2nd fret (of the same string), then the fourth fret, fifth fret, seventh fret, ninth fret, eleventh fret and twelfth fret. Each scale must produce the exact sound of the musical scale: do, re, mi, fa, sol, la, ti, do. The sound when the twelfth fret is pressed must be one octave higher than the sound when the open string is plucked. This process is called the mechanical test.
After completing the mechanical test, the next step is tuning the guitar. Since you already know the process in tuning, what you must achieve is to look for the fullness or roundness of the tone and not the loudness.
Lastly, the next thing you must consider in finding the best guitar for you is the comfort you will achieve while playing it. Choose a guitar that would require you to exert minimal pressure in pressing the frets in order to produce a full and booming sound. In this way, you would avoid blistering your fingertips which would make your practices easy, enjoyable and painless.
About The Author
The writer, Ismael D. Tabije, runs the website www.song-lyrics-with-guitar-chords.com that features guitar lessons, guitar chords, guitar song books, guitar sales and unlimited MP3 music and video downloads.