Thursday, December 29, 2005

How To Manually Tune a Guitar

By: Gerard Hiner of

Need to Learn How to manually TUNE A GUITAR? No problem! It's
something ALL Guitar Players need to know.

Let's say you have already tuned the top string (6th string).

Step 1:Press down on the 6th string at the 5th fret and you will
get an A note. This note should correspond to an open 5th string
as shown in the diagram.

Step 2:Strike the 6th string, 5th fret and an open 5th string.
Both strings should be exactly the same. If not, the 5th string
must be adjusted.

A good tip is to hold your finger on the fret and use your other
hand to twist the string. Both at the same time. Do this until
both strings sound identical.

These 2 easy steps can be repeated for the rest of the strings.
With the 5th string, press down on the 5th string on the 5th
fret and you will get a D. This note should correspond to an
open 4th string. Therefore when you strike the 5th string, 5th
fret and an open 4th string, both strings should sound exactly
the same. If not, the 4th string must be adjusted.

The 3rd string however must be played at the 4th fret in order
to equal an open 2nd string. Many guitarists use this tuning
technique when they suspect a string has gone out of tune.

About the author:
is a website by Guitar players for Guitar players! Your Guitar
Center online!

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Effective Rehearsal In A Rock Band

By: Tony Williams

If your band is in rehearsals, either preparing for gigging, or
practising new songs to add to your repertoire, the chances are
you will have to hire a rehearsal room. The costs of hiring a
room can soon mount up if you don't organise your time
effectively. You could be wasting time and money going around in
circles, with a growing frustration that your band doesn't seem
to be making any progress.

The answer is to set a Schedule for your rehearsals. Without a
schedule it's difficult to monitor progress if in fact any is
made. Disorganised rehearsals can soon turn into chaos, with
everyone throwing in ideas and playing different things at the
same time. The rehearsal is not the time for your guitarist to
hone his right hand tapping skills, or your drummer to perfect
his lightning fast paradiddles, it is valuable time for working
together as a band, and should be used as such. Band members
should have their own private schedules for practising
instruments and learning new techniques. During a rehearsal you
should all be working towards the same goal and making each
other sound as good as possible. The rehearsal should never turn
into a 'who can play the loudest' competition.

What should your schedule consist of?

Set goals for your rehearsal times and WRITE THEM DOWN! You
should know which songs you are going to rehearse in advance. If
you have planned your strategy, you will avoid getting stuck in
a rut and your time will be used constructively. Songs you
already know can be perfected and the little nuances worked on,
stamping your own identity on cover songs and putting the
finishing touches to originals.

You should make a list of 'finished' songs, 'work in progress'
songs, and 'new ideas'. As each one progresses, move it up into
the next category, thereby revising the schedule for your next

I would suggest starting with 2 or 3 songs you are happy and
comfortable with, simply to give the band a positive vibe to
build on, and then start work on new numbers. Set aside a
certain amount of time for each song, and then move on! Don't
waste time trying to perfect something that just isn't working,
you can come back to it later or at the next rehearsal. Perfect
the numbers that do work, and you will see positive results as
your repertoire builds up considerably.

Always take regular breaks. Coming back to a number that wasn't
going too well with fresh ears can often be all it needs to make
a distinct improvement. If that doesn't help, there's no point
in flogging a dead horse, so move it to the bottom of the list
or consider dropping the song altogether and concentrating on
another one.

Work on band dynamics and expression, i.e. fast, slow, loud, and
quiet. Get your fills as tight and as fluent as possible. What
you are working on is that elusive 'feel' that is the hallmark
of a good band. Everybody should not only be playing his/her own
instrument, but also actively listening to the rest of the band.

Tape your rehearsal. You don't need any fancy recording
equipment - a simple tape deck and mic will be sufficient. The
idea is simply for the band to be able to listen to their
efforts afterwards. Listening to a song while you're not playing
means you can listen more subjectively and discuss the merits.
Take notes while you listen, that way you are already forming
the schedule for the next rehearsal.

And finally, remember; you are in a band! As such, the sum of
the parts should be greater than the individual contribution.

About the author:
Tony Williams is a musician, writer, and self-confessed eBay
fanatic. He is also the webmaster of MuZiCk! - The irreverent rock
music lexicon. Take some time out and laugh your socks off at

Monday, December 26, 2005

Does Practice Make Perfect? ...not always

By: Lee Tribbey

Often people receive a banjo, mandolin, fiddle, guitar or some
other musical instrument as a birthday, Christmas or special
occasion gift. There's glee and joy everywhere. The giver of the
gift knows how much the receiver of the gift wants to learn this
instrument and the receiver of the gift is ACTUALLY holding the
coveted instrument in his/her hands instead of lusting for it
down at the corner store or through the shop window. NOW WHAT?

Finding an instructor that fits into a busy work schedule is
hard enough.but once you decide on a lesson plan, then the
student must calculate the practice time, how to practice, what
to practice - and let's face it.not all people learn something
the same way. We have math-wizard types that write everything
down, social butterflies that strictly learn by only talking to
others about it and yet others that envision a categories and
divisional compartment-style strategy for a problem and
logically devise a plan to solve the problem in a completely
different way than there next door neighbor! order to
learn a musical instrument, how much practice time is enough and
what kind of practice is right for you?

First the student must identify some goals. 1.What is the
desired gain? Do you want to be a virtuoso or a hobbyist? 2.How
much discretionary time is available to invest in the learning
process 3.Is the student really willing to invest the time for
the ultimate gain 4.Would the student be satisfied with a more
social/casual study of the instrument 5.Identify why the student
wants to learn 'this specific instrument"

There is no set amount of time that anyone should practice a
musical instrument. When I was enrolled in programming classes,
I could have studied nightly for 5 hours each night. It would
have taken me years to learn the art and craft of computer
programming. Though I'm intrigued by the systematic logic of it,
my aptitude is towards another genre all together. However, on
the other hand, if I spent an hour every couple days with a
passionate hobby like playing the violin, not only would the
time fly quickly.I'd also be learning at a much greater pace
since the built-in passion is the motivation for advancement.

So as much as it's important to practice, a step back from that
strategy is to first find the compatible instrument that fits
you as a person; as an extension of your personality. If you're
learning the guitar because it's cool and every guy can snag
chicks if he plays guitar..- & obviously that's the modern-day
hip-factor mindset, however, you might not be actually aligning
your highest aptitude for musical fulfillment with your most
creative advantages you have to offer.

It's been my experience that every person has a certain level of
musical talent. My enjoyable challenge has been to assist them
in this adventure and actually locate their best abilities as
quickly as possible. Then and only then can we match student
with instrument and truly begin a fun and exciting Zen-walk down
the road of happiness and contentment; where music, aptitude,
personality and soul all congregate. Once this piece of the
mystery puzzle is in place, I've never had to work at motivating
a student to practice.

About the author:
Lee Tribbey is the marketing manager of, a
totally online music teaching emporium and instrument lesson

Saturday, December 24, 2005

Guitar Strings

By: Gerard Hiner of

Guitar Strings - How do you know when it's time to change
your Guitar Strings?

Well there are many signs. First simply look at them. Do you
have all 6 strings? Are they rusty or discolored assuming they
are steel strings. If the answer to these questions is no then
guess what? You need new Guitar Strings!

If that doesn't help you the next step would be to PLAY your
guitar. How do the strings feel? Do they feel rough? Have they
lost a bit of their elasticity? Have more of wire feeling than a
guitar string? Then you need new guitar strings!

Most importantly how does your guitar sound? As strings get
older they get corroded from exposure to the elements and from
dirt and oils from your fingers. They won't sound as fresh or
bright anymore and not as easy to play. You then need new guitar

How often you change your guitar strings is a common question.
Think of the guitar like anything else that needs maintenance.
You should periodically change your guitar strings before any of
the above scenarios takes place. Some guitar players I know
change their strings every week or month, and some every other
day! If you play many hours a day every couple of weeks should
be fine. If you play a little bit each day or every couple of
days then you should change them no more than once a month or
every other month.

Be sure to ALWAYS have extra set a strings on hand incase one
breaks. Especially when playing a gig!

My personal favorite guitar strings are Elixir guitar strings.
They make both acoustic and electric guitar strings. They are
slightly more money than other brands but I believe it is
totally worth it. They have a special coating on the strings
that makes them last longer and feel better. Try them and I
think you will agree.

You also need to consider the gauge (thickness) of strings you'd
like. This is where personal preference comes into play;
beginners should start with "medium" gauge strings, and vary
from that as you develop a preference. A simple rule of thumb is
thicker strings provide better tone, but are harder to play.
Acoustics usually have thicker strings for that thicker tone.
Have Fun Playing!

About the author: is a website by Guitar
players for Guitar players! Your Guitar Center online!

Thursday, December 22, 2005

Guitar: What Is The Ultimate Way To Practice On Your Guitar?

By: Peter Edvinsson

What is the ultimate truth about guitar practicing?

Is there a best way to practice on your guitar? Of course you
have to make your practice sessions effective but could there be
a way to practice that is more effective than other ways? There
are many principles involved in an effective practice session
and I think some of these are a motivation founded on a love and
passion for the music you can produce on the guitar, an
acceptance of the fact that you must practice on that technical
level you have reached, a working knowledge of muscle tensions
and how to minimize them when you play and how to work on
reducing them when you don't play.

What shall we do until we find the most effective way to

When I was studying music at an academic level I many times had
the question messing around in my mind about the ultimate method
for practicing on my guitar and other instruments I played. A
well renowned jazz tenor saxophonist who was my teacher in jazz
improvisation discussed this issue with me as I asked him about
it and he gave me the most intelligent answer I ever heard
before or after. He said with a smile, "until you find out the
best way to practice, practice anyway!"

How effective can a practice session be?

My humble opinion after much practicing and playing guitar and
piano and other instruments and also teaching piano and guitar
is that you have to take many things into consideration like the
time available, your motivation level, how concentrated you can
expect yourself to be and more. As real growth often is a slow
process you will not very often be able to measure the
effectiveness of a practice session by how much you have learnt
so you have to find other ways to find out if you are effective.
The roads to Anywhere are many so to find out if you are on the
right road you have to decide your destination.

Can you practice too much or too effectively?

It depends on how we define effective practice sessions. If
effective guitar practice is to work through a long list of
things to improve in your playing and to practice ten hours a
day without interruption I guess you can practice too
effectively. This will mean that you practice in such a way that
you will get fed up with guitar playing and maybe you will even
hurt your muscles and develop an aversion towards guitar playing
for the rest of your life.

What is real effectiveness when you practice on your

Real effectiveness is better measured by how well your
practicing methods and results are pointing towards you goals.
Without goals you cannot measure effectiveness. If your goal is
to have fun with your guitar then you have a very effective
practicing session if you have fun with your guitar. If that is
what you want then it is a worthy goal. I guess you could come
upp with more specific goals than that with deadlines so you can
measure them better. But it is you who have to decide your own
goals otherwise the goals will not be effective.

I hope these words on practicing guitar playing will give you
some comfort and also help you realize that when human beings
like you and me are involved we cannot definitely say how we
ought to play to be effective. Human beings are funny things
that sometimes behave like as if they were identical but
nevertheless they are unique. This also applies to guitar
players like you and me. We are different in many ways but I
guess we want our guitar playing to contribute to our happiness
and joy so have fun and ... "until you find out the best way to
practice, practice anyway!"!

About the author:
Peter Edvinsson is a musician, composer and music educator. He
is the proud owner of Capotasto Music with
free sheet music, tablature and learn to play resources for
musicians and music students.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005


By: Kathy Unruh

Perhaps you have heard the word arpeggio being tossed around by
other musicians, but have absolutely no clue what they were
talking about. Simply defined, an arpeggio refers to playing the
notes within a chord in rapid succession. On the guitar, this
can be done by either using a pick or your fingers.

Incorporating arpeggios into your guitar playing can be a very
simple matter, or a very complicated one, depending on your
approach to the subject. Because I am a guitar teacher, I
generally try to find ways to introduce my students to new
techniques that are easy to understand and relatively easy to
do. So let's see if I can help you learn how to play an arpeggio

If you want to use a fingerpicking style to play an arpeggio,
then you need to know how the right hand fingers are identified.
There are four letters, p-i-m-a, which stand for the Spanish
words: pulgar, indicio, medio, and anular. These four letters
represent each finger as follows:

p = thumb

i = index finger

m = middle finger

a = ring finger

When you are trying an arpeggio for the first time, then I
suggest you start with a chord, or chord progression, that you
can play fairly well. For our purpose today, we will start with
the chord A major and then progress to a chord progression in
the key of A.

While holding an A major chord, play each string that is
identified in the pattern below with the corresponding fingers
of your right hand. Practice it several times until your fingers
get accustomed to the movement. Be careful to maintain a relaxed
"cupped" hand in order to avoid tension and fatigue.

1 ---------------a-----------

2 ----------m------m-------

3 -------i---------------i----

4 ---------------------------

5 ----p----------------------

6 ---------------------------

Notice that your thumb (p) is playing an open A on the bass
string which is also the name of the chord.

The pattern uses eighth notes in 3/4 time and is counted:

p i m a m i

1 & 2 & 3 &

One complete sequence of the pattern is equal to one measure of

Now try playing the same pattern using a D major chord and then
an E major chord. Move your thumb to play the open bass string
which identifies the name of the chord you are on. The other
fingers (i-m-a) will play the same strings on all three chords.

Once you are comfortable playing an arpeggio with the chords: A
major, D major, and E major, try playing the same chord
progression as it is used in the Christmas song Silent Night.
Here is the link:

Silent Night

Have fun!

About the author:
Kathy Unruh is a singer/songwriter and webmaster of ABC Learn
She has been writing songs and providing guitar
lessons to students of all ages for over 20 years. For free
guitar lessons, plus tips and resources on songwriting,
recording and creating a music career, please visit:

Sunday, December 18, 2005

Guitar Chords: How To Solo Over Chords With The Minor Pentatonic

By: John Bilderbeck

Soloing over guitar chords is easy when you know how to use the
minor pentatonic scale. Add spice and power to your solo's with
these simple but highly effective techniques.

The humble minor pentatonic scale is what most guitar players
start with when learning to solo. Trouble is, they don't learn
to use the scale to it's best potential.

Here, I'll show you an easy way to use the pentatonic scale to
solo over the three most common guitar chord types: Major, minor
and dominant 7th chords.

1. Major Chords

A Major chord always has a relative minor chord. The easy way to
find the 'relative' minor of any major chord on a guitar is to
take the note three half-steps (3 frets) below the root note of
the major chord.

For example: a C major chord - the root note is C. On a guitar,
the note 3 frets below a C note is A. Therefore, A minor is the
relative minor of C major.

So to solo over a C major chord, use the A minor pentatonic
scale and you can't go wrong.

Another example: F major chord - three frets below the root of
F, you will find D. So you use a D minor pentatonic scale over
an F major chord.

Another example: G major chord - three frets below the G root
note you'll find E. So... you use the E minor pentatonic to solo
over a G chord.

Now, you may have noticed that I listed C, F and G major chords
there. Coincidentally, They are the 1, 4 and 5 chords of the
'KEY' of C Major. This applies to all instruments, not just

More about this later...

2. Minor Chords

These are easy... just use the minor pentatonic of what ever the
minor chord is. E.g. Use D minor pentatonic for a D minor chord,
an E minor pentatonic for an E minor chord, an A minor
pentatonic for an A minor Chord.

Now, did you notice I used D, E and A minor chords as the
example? Did you also notice that these chords are the 2, 3 and
6 chords of the 'KEY' of C Major?

More about that later, too...

3. Dominant 7th Chords

You have a couple of choices here. But basically, you would use
the relative minor pentatonic, or the minor pentatonic a tone
below the root of the dom7 chord.

For example, over G7, you could use either E minor pent
(relative minor), or D min pentatonic.

The reason you could use the D minor pentatonic over a G7 chord
is because the Dmi chord and G7 chord often go together in chord
progressions. Forcing a Dmi sound over a G7 chord gives a G7sus

4. Thinking From a 'KEY" Perspective

OK, what we have looked at is the KEY of C Major. And basically
you can use just the A minor pentatonic alone for ALL the chords
in C, or you can also use the D and E minor pentatonics to add
some color and more conformity to the chords being used at the

Remember, these principles apply to whatever chord you are
playing at any time, but can also be applied on a KEY
basis,which is a more encompassing picture.

The Key of C Major has these chords:

C, Dm, Em, F, G7, Am, Bmin7b5.

Ami pent can be used over them all, or just the C and Am chords.

D min pentatonic can be used over the F and Dm chords.

E minor can be used over the Em and G7 chords.

We didn't mention the 7 chord (Bmi7b5) because it's not used
very much. But a good choice is the Dm pentatonic. In fact,
though, you can use either of the three pentatonics from the C
Major scale - Am, Dm or Em. Try them, see which you like best.

I hope you enjoyed this article. You can find more information
about guitar chords at my site:

The idea of using pentatonics for different chords is a powerful
one, don't overlook the cool sounds you can create with such a
simple device.

Also, in a future article, I'll be discussing 'Pentatonic
Substitution' where I'll show you how to use substitute and
altered pentatonics for even more sound choices.

John Bilderbeck is a professional guitar coach. If you would
like a free copy of "Pentatonic Guitar Magic" eBook, visit now!

About the author:
John Bilderbeck's web site, is
where he shares tips and secrets gathered from teaching guitar
since the 70's. Most beginner and intermediate players do it all
wrong. John shows how to do it right to slash up to 66% off your
learning time.

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Guitar: How To Improvise The Classical Guitar Way

By: Peter Edvinsson

When I was a fifteen years old guitarist playing rock solos and
classical guitar pieces I remember that I had a desire to be
able to improvise on my guitar in a classical manner. Nowadays I
have developed this skill and I love to improvise in the style
of composers like Sor, Tarrega, Paganini or others or just
trying to find myself somewhere among the notes. These special
moments are a form of meditation that clears my mind and also
helps me as a composer to stimulate my creative abilities.

The most important reason for learning classical guitar
improvisation is that it's fun! If you learn classical guitar
improvisation it will also help you memorizing sheet music, it
will be easier for you to compose your own guitar pieces in a
classical guitar style, you can make up your own techniqal
exercices on the go and it will help you understand your guitar
in a better way.

There are many ways to develop this skill. You can start with
major scales, experiment with easy chords, or easy classical
guitar pieces. The most basic requisite is that you want to
learn this art and with this desire you will find ways to
practice improvisation in all your guitar playing. I will just
mention using classical guitar pieces in this article.

May I suggest that you begin with a very easy melody with just
one voice or maybe a two voice piece with bass notes on open
strings. Learn a couple of bars by heart and play the melody
over and over again and try to change the melody slightly
without losing the classical touch.

The ultimate exercise is to use advanced classical guitar solos.
If you think about it you will realize that classical guitar
pieces are filled with wonderful licks, more or less
complicated. These licks can be developed and added upon to give
you material that will help you developing your improvisational
skills. For example, take a two bar passage in a classical
guitar piece that you like and practice it until you master it
and then memorize it. Now you can play around with it and break
it down, change it, analyze it and so on. If you want to improve
as an improvisational guitarist and musician you can regard
classical guitar pieces as collections of very musical licks
just waiting to be used.

I hope you feel motivated to try these hints and reap the
benefits from improvising the classical way. I described how I
was affected by this type of guitar playing and I guess you
might feel the same. Good luck!

About the author:
Peter Edvinsson is a musician, composer and music educator. He
is the proud owner of Capotasto Music with
free sheet music, tablature and learn to play resources for
musicians and music students.

Monday, December 12, 2005

Which Fender Guitar Model?

Here's a good comparison of the different Fender guitar choices in the article.

When Buying A Fender Guitar Should I Buy USA, Mexican, or
Chinese Model?

by: August Anderson

Fender Stratocaster's are probably one of the most well known
guitars around. When legends like Stevie Ray Vaughn, Jimi
Hendrix, and Eric Clapton are playing them it's gotta tell you

However, not all Fender Stratocaster's are the same. Like
anything, you get what you pay for. If you are in the market to
buy a Fender, I suggest you listen to a bit of my advice before
you decide to make a impulse purchase.

Why should you listen to me?

Well, first of all I used to be a guitar salesman at a guitar
shop in San Diego California. Also, I have owned a variety of
Fender's and have direct experience with multiple strats.

There are basically 3 levels of Fender Strats. I'll break em
down by starting with the best first.

1. The Good Old American Made Stratocaster

You can't beat the American made Stratocaster. The quality is
superb, and can't be matched. However quality comes with a
price. You can plan on paying about $450 and up for a "used"
American Stratocaster. Newer one's are closer to a grand and on
up. There is a huge difference between playing the US guitar and
all the others. Simply put, the US made Fender's are King.

The weight on the US Strat is significantly heavier then the
imports. The reason for this is becuase the body is typically
made from Alder wood instead of some cheaper woods.

2. The Mexican Stratocaster

If you don't have the cash to kick down for a US Strat, then
your next best option is to get a Mexican Stratocaster. Hey,
these babies rock!!! I've had multiple Mexican Strats and they
are great.

You can pick up a used Mexican Strat for about $250-$375. While
it's not quite as good as the US version, it is a phenomenal

3. The Chinese Ax

Last and least is the Chinese Stratocaster. You can pick these
up for about $125, give or take a few bucks. When buying a
Chinese guitar, remember that you get what you pay for. Now I'm
not saying the guitar won't work, or even that it sucks.
However, I am saying that the Chinese model is nowhere close to
the quality of the Mexican Strat or the USA model.

Unless you really want the bottom of the line Fender, or are
strapped on cash, I strongly encourage you to search for at
least the Mexican model when purchasing a Fender. Of course the
US Stratocaster is the ultimate, but sometimes that is not a
reality for everyone.

My advice, go with the Mexican Strat, it rocks!!!!!! ....and
affordable too.

About the author:
August Anderson (AKA Augmented Auggie) has been helping kids to
play guitar for many years. Auggie feels music is a passion that
should be shared with the world.

Please visit Auggie's blog and show your support for this
starving artists...Peace Auggie's Heavenly

See more reviews and comparisons here:

Friday, December 09, 2005

Preparing For Your Recording Session

By: John McKay

Recording is a time-intensive experience, and problems that
arise often seem magnified. No one wants to wait for an hour
while the guitar player runs to Guitar Center for new strings.
So, to keep things going smoothly and efficiently, here are some
things to do in preparation:

1. Practice! You'd be surprised how many bands come into the
studio obviously unprepared. If you can't play through the song
without making mistakes, then you're not ready to record yet.
Take the time to practice the songs you want to track
thoroughly. This isn't to say that you can't be creative in the
studio, but it's a lot cheaper to be creative on your own time.

2. Make sure your songs are finished. Going into the studio
hoping to finish lyrics or parts on the spot is a recipe for
dissatisfaction. You may be inspired by the pressure, but you'll
inevitably listen back to it later on and think that you could
have sang it better, or that you don't especially like this line
or that phrase.

3. Record yourselves. It's very useful to record your practice
using a simple tape recorder. The finished product won't sound
very good, but you'll be able to hear if you're off time, or off
key. It may also make you aware that some parts of your song are
dragging, or that other parts could be extended or more

4. Get your gear in shape. Don't show up for a session that
you're paying for with gear that doesn't work, cables that cut
out, batteries that are going dead, or blown speakers. If you're
afraid that your gear is less than perfect, make some calls. You
engineer can point you to some people in town that rent gear on
a day-by-day basis, or to other musicians who might be willing
to loan an amp or cabinet for a day or two. It makes a

5. Tune your instrument. Drummers should put on new heads about
1 week before the session. The snare head should be replaced
immediately before the session, and if you're doing more than
one or two songs, consider bringing extra snare heads. Nothing
sounds as good on tape as a fresh snare head. Guitarists should
put a new set of strings on a few days before the session. Bring
extra strings, as you probably will break one or two. Bass
players can replace their strings, although new bass strings can
be a bit overly metallic. I recommend changing bass strings a
week or two before the session.

6. Let people know you're busy! You don't want to be called in
to work half-way through your session. Everyone involved needs
to clear their schedules. Nothing creates more tension in a
session than someone wanting to blow out early so they can hit
some party. Also, if you're recording at your home, make sure
your family knows about it. Take phones off the hook, recording
will require some degree of quiet. If you're working at your
practice space, make sure the neighbors know that you'll need
some quiet, if there are other bands at your facility, ask them
for their schedules, and work out a time when they won't be
playing in the next room.

7. Have a plan. It's always better to have fewer songs to
finish, and to know precisely which songs you're trying to get
done. Often, once a session gets rolling, it's easy to just go
ahead and track some of the other songs you have. While this
isn't terrible, in my experience these tracks are usually
discarded, as they haven't been thoroughly practiced, and may
not even be complete.

9. Develop a vision. I like to come see a band before I record
them, just to get a feel for their sound, and develop my vision
for the session. If you envision your record sounding like the
latest MTV hit, you may be frustrated and disappointed. Your
band is unique, and my goal as an engineer is to find what's
best about your band and accent that. Your record may not sound
like anything that's come before, and trying to cram it into a
pre-existing notion of a "good recording" doesn't do it justice.
The Pixies didn't sound like anything that came before them, nor
does Modest Mouse, or the Beatles, for that matter.

8. Relax! Recording is fun, and there's really no pressure. Just
be prepared, and you'll have a smooth, enjoyable session with a
great product at the end!

About the author:
John McKay is the owner of Suitcase Recording, in Phoenix, AZ.
He has over 15 years of experience recording bands, from punk to
surf to indie to hardcore. He does the majority of his work on
location, at the artist's home or rehearsal space. He has also
performed in several bands, and has toured the US extensively.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Guitar: What You Learn When You Practice On Your Guitar

By: Peter Edvinsson

Why do practice on your guitar?

I guess you hope that you will learn to be a better
instrumentalist with the joy that follows. However, there are
many learning rocesses going on at the same time when you
practice on your instrument. After reading this article I hope
you will be more aware of factors that can limit your progress
as an instrumentalist and have more effective practice sessions
on your guitar.

What has feelings to do with your guitar practice?

At times when you practice on your guitar you might find that
you are nervous and don't feel too good when playing because you
feel forced to play due to a guitar lesson coming up and you
feel that you haven't done your homework or maybe other negative
feelings are present for some reason. The feelings we have when
we practice a certain piece of music have a tendency to be
evoked anew when we play the piece at another occasion.

Can tensions stick to your sheet music

Yes, in a way at least. My experience, also confirmed when
reading about this topic, is that your actual tension level when
playing a particular musical composition also tends to be
present when you play the same piece of music in public. Or
rather, it will be harder to perform a piece of music in a
relaxed way when you have practiced it without paying attention
to your tensions or rather not having tried to play in a relaxed

Can you learn not to play a piece of music?

You practice on your guitar in order to become a better player
and maybe to learn a piece of music that you like. My experience
is that if you don't concentrate on your guitar playing you can
make a lot of mistakes when trying to learn a piece of music.
These mistakes tend to slow down the learning process or rather
the will be a part of the learning process, which means the more
times you make mistakes playing a particular passage the harder
it will be to play it right because of those earlier mistakes
trying to get your attention.

How to use these principles to your advantage

In accordance with the before mentioned dangers when practicing
I think it is wise to always practice a new piece of music
slowly so that you can pay attention to your tension level and
correct posture when playing on your guitar. Another reason for
playing slowly is to be able practice a guitar piece without
mistakes if possible in order to maximize the benefits of your
guitar practice sessions.

About the author:
Peter Edvinsson is a guitarist, pianist, composer and music
educator. He is also the proud owner of the website Capotasto Music with
free printable sheet music, guitar tablature and bass tablature
and learn to play guitar and other instruments resources for
musicians and music students.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Best Ways To Improve Your Guitar Playing

By: Dave Lloyd

What grooves you? Why do you want to improve?

Regardless of your intentions - whether to get started playing,
learn a few licks of your favorite tunes, or want to expand your
repertoire to include blues, funk, or rock and roll music, on
your way to recording yourself, there are resources out there
that can help you.

Here are a few ideas that may help you better understand your
guitar playing and some solutions you can consider.

Guitar videos You can purchase guitar playing videos, either for
home or computer watching, that include hand position, strumming
technique, rhythm and timing, and finger exercises that take
through various type of songs. Essentially these become a mirror
for you in learning to play as you mimic what you're watching on
screen and then reproduce this on your own. With commitment and
determination, this can be a good one to go - especially for the
visual learner who likes to learn primarily on their own.

Guitar lessons You can find a community of guitar instructors in
your surrounding area who are either private tutors or work
through a community college. You'll want to consider their
expertise, the type of students they work best with, their
flexibility with your schedule, success stories, and of course
their fees, in considering working with them. In pursing guitar
lessons, you can either do one on one or group - both have their
plusses and minuses but either can work for you.

Playing partners Find someone in your local community who plays.
You can do this through asking the local community college,
posting online to a resource like craigslist, or asking the
guitar shop. The idea is to develop a friendship with someone
who is a bit better than you who wants the accountability of
practicing weekly. What you can provide is the commitment to
meet up with them weekly and practice. In return, you can learn
from their techniques or methods what works. Of course, you
always need to be aware of learning bad habits in situations
like these, which is why it's important to have a foundation in
guitar technique before starting.

Guitar theory Related to guitar technique is developing a basis
in guitar theory. Chord patterns, minor and major chord
progressions, note scales, and overlap with piano and percussion
instruments can all give you a basic structure upon which to
layer in the knowledge and technique you gain in your guitar

Playing guitar can be a wonderful expression of one's musical
and creative talent. And with a commitment to constant
improvement, it can provide a lifetime of enjoyment for
yourself, friends, and family.

About the author:
Dave Lloyd has created the online guide to guitar playing at

Monday, December 05, 2005

Best Sources of Basic Guitar Lessons

The Seven Best Sources of Basic Guitar Lessons and Guitar
Learning Techniques.

By: J M Jones

You're a beginner, and you want basic guitar lessons to start
you off. But you're confused by all the choices: which would be
the best guitar learning technique?

Guitar lessons are like anything else: there are two ways of
learning , and they're not the hard way or the easy way, nor are
they my way or the highway. No, they're teach yourself, or get a

Let's look at teachers first. They come in four guises, and some
are more effective than others. The more effective, the more

The cheapest and probably least effective guitar lessons you can
get are from a friend. I don't say that to be disrespectful to
anyone's playing abilities, but simply to point out that unless
that friend plays by the book and is a qualified teacher, you'll
probably pick up any bad habits they have. They're also not
likely to be available to give guitar lessons on a regular
basis, and may either become impatient when you don't pick
things up fast enough, or may just let things slide, allowing
you to form bad habits of your own. So your basic guitar lessons
will remain just that--basic. The cost is good, though--usually

You may be fortunate enough to be still at school with guitar
lessons available there. If so, take them. You'll get a
qualified teacher, weekly classes, and fellow pupils to swap
notes with (and maybe even get together to play with!) after
your guitar lessons.

Night school is the next most effective and cheap source. It
differs from school because you have to make the effort to go
after a day's work. That usually means you've other things going
on in your life--things that may intrude. Not only that, class
size will probably be large, so you'll have less input about
what you want to learn. And there's usually only two
levels--basic guitar lessons, then improvers. The cost as an
hourly rate will be very reasonable, though.

A professional teacher is the most expensive option. A good one
will bring out the best in you, may encourage you to take
grades, but will get frustrated if you don't practice. If you
have money, time, and are prepared to put the work in, this is
one of the most effective routes to take, because they'll
correct any bad habits, and your guitar lessons are one-to-one.
Obviously, you can save a little if you get your basic guitar
lessons at, say, night school first.

If you can't afford a professional teacher, and you don't have
evening/school classes or a friend handy, the second guitar
learning technique is to teach yourself. You've three possible

You can buy guitar tutors fairly cheaply at most guitar shops,
or online. They used to come in book form, but increasingly
incorporate CDs and DVDs. There's a one-off cost,
non-refundable, and you progress at your own pace.

Once you've got past the basic guitar lessons in these tutors,
you might decide the best way to teach yourself is to play your
favourite songs by ear. So you listen to them over and over,
work out the chords, then play. The advantage of this technique
is that it'll give you confidence, and if you mess up, no one
will know. It's also cheap--presumably you've already paid for
the music.

Also, there are fan sites online where you can download lyrics
and sheet music to your favourite songs, thus saving you the
time of doing it yourself.

Finally, there's the online course. For the cost of a few guitar
lessons with a professional teacher you can get a course aimed
at your level of proficiency. There are anything from basic
guitar lessons online to advanced jazz. The courses usually come
with a money-back guarantee, too, which is not true of the other
methods. Another advantage is that you learn whenever it's
convenient--teachers are available only at certain times of the

So there you have it--the seven basic guitar lessons sources: a
friend, school lessons, night school, a professional teacher, a
book or course, learning by ear, or an online course.

Which is best?

Depends on how serious you are, how much time you can devote to
practice, and what you want to achieve.

If you're just starting, it might be best to go for the
cheapest, most basic guitar lessons you can. That way, if you
don't persevere, you haven't lost much.

If you do persevere, and you want to get really good, you'll
eventually want to consider a professional teacher.

Wherever you want your journey to take you, I hope you get there
and have fun travelling!

About the author:
J M Jones (The Guitar Dog) has been playing since...well, a long
time. In that time, he's occasionally taught, written words and
music, been in bands, and collected a whole lot of theory which
he shares in easy-to-understand language with anyone who's
interested. To browse it or sign up for your free fortnightly
guitar lessons, visit

Get 50 great gifts for guitarists, all under 50 dollars:

50 under $50

Sunday, December 04, 2005

Learn To Play Guitar Sheet Music part 2

By: Peter Edvinsson

In my previous article I suggested ways to develop a command
over the guitar fretboard. Usually when you are playing your
first guitar sheet music melodies you will have to learn the
notes in the first position on the guitar. To have a good grasp
of these notes on the guitar I suggest that you learn them
slowly and with concentration. I usually begin by teaching the
notes on the first string like E on open string, F on fret 1 and
G on fret 3. On string two you'll find B on open string, C on
fret 1 and D on fret 3. With these notes you can play the song
Mary Had A Little Lamb.

Using the previous notes the melody can be played as follows:

E D C D E E E - D D D - E G G - E D C D E E E - E D D E D C

I hope you recognized the melody. This kind of music notation
doesn't give any hints as to how the rhythm is to be played but
presupposes that you already know the melody. Traditional
classical guitar sheet music notation shows both the notes and
the way they are supposed to be played.

My dad was the only guitar tutor in the town where I lived and
he taught mostly classical guitar playing. His young students, I
was one of them, learned those first guitar pieces very fast
because he used a system similar to tablature showing the frets
and strings to play, along with the sheet music. Tablature
wasn't common back then when playing classical guitar sheet
music. I remember somebody remarking that his system prevented
the children from learning to sight read sheet music. His reply
was that if somebody really wants to learn the notes they will
anyway. I agree with that and I have found that if a pupil is
not motivated learning guitar sheet music they will not advance
in this area whether they play with or without tablature.

What has fingers to do with guitar playing? The answer is
obvious. Quite a lot. A more important question is if the
fingers you choose to use can have a bearing upon your guitar
playing. Left hand fingerings are numbers on the sheet music
indication which finger you are suggested to use when playing a
specific note. Usually when playing the first pieces on the
guitar on the first frets it can be a good idea for you to play
the notes on the first fret with the index finger, notes on the
second fret with the middle finger, notes on the third fret with
the ring finger and notes on the fourth fret with your little

What then are the left hand fingering advantages? Can't you play
every melody with your left index finger and forget about all
this fingering stuff? Well, of course you can play melodies with
your index finger but your progress will be very limited beyond
just playing easy melodies. You'll have to move your left hand
all the time as you change frets and, most importantly, when
reading sheet music, you'll have to look at the guitar fretboard
all the time instead of looking at the sheet music which means
that it will be hard to sight read music.

To summarize this guitar article, I could say that the important
thing when learning to play the notes on the guitar is to make a
conscious effort to learn the notes and not to work on to many
notes at the same time.

About the author:
Peter Edvinsson is a guitarist, pianist, composer and educator.
He is also the proud owner of the website
with free printable sheet music, guitar tablature and bass
tablature and learn to play guitar, piano and other instruments
resources for musicians and music students. Visit his website
and download easy free guitar sheet music and guitar tablature
sheet music!

Saturday, December 03, 2005

Learn To Play Guitar Sheet Music part 1

By: Peter Edvinsson

Why is it so hard for many guitarists to read sheet music on the

Probably the answer is easy. They haven't done anything about
it. An old used tyre can stand leaned against the wall of a car
garage for thousands of years. Why? Nobody has thought about
moving it. Could it be that easy also with playing guitar sheet
music? I think so. Sometimes we consider ourselves poor sight
readers or not able to read guitar sheet music at all and we
think this is part of our personality. Every person who wants to
learn to read guitar sheet music notation properly has already
taken the first step towards changing that condition, just like
you have done by reading this article.

Climbing the "Reading Guitar Sheet Music" mountain starts with
step one

Surprised? Well, I have been teaching guitar playing for many
years and I have found that learning to play guitar is like many
other activities. People, not you of course, often want to start
from another position than from where they are. I would like to
suggest that we approach the sight reading assignment from two
directions. First by learning to find our way around the guitar
and learning the notes on the fingerboard.

Make a string safari on your guitar

With the conventional tuning on your guitar you will have the
note E on the first open string. I guess you are aware of the
fact that you can find the same note on the second string too.
If you don't know on what fret you will find it you can listen
your way through the frets on the second string until you'll
find the note that sounds the same as the first string. Now I
will be frank and tell you that E on the second string is on the
fifth fret. Maybe you have already found that out. E on the
third string is on the ninth fret. Practice to play E on these
different places and jump back and forth until you can find the
frets without effort.

How to proceed learning the guitar fretboard

In a similar way you can invent small exercises on you guitar
fretboard like playing all E's on all six strings until you can
play them with ease or finding all C's and play them
consecutively like a picking exercise or as an exercise for your
right hand fingers.

Knowing the notes on the guitar fingerboard will be a great help
for you, not only when playing guitar sheet music but also when
you are playing by ear or improvising a solo.

About the author:
Peter Edvinsson is a guitarist, pianist, composer and educator.
He is also the proud owner of the website
with free sheet music and resources for musicians and music
students. Visit his website and download easy free guitar sheet
music and guitar tab sheet music!