Archive for the ‘Guitar’ Category

Electric Guitar Amp Settings 101

Sunday, February 13th, 2011

If you are a regular on GLC you will probably agree that most of the content on this blog deals with the actual guitar whether it be the instrument or ways to improve how it sounds when you play.

Admittedly, we probably do not spend enough time dealing with something that is NOT on the actual guitar but is very important to electric guitarists. As a result, today we’ll spend time examining the electric guitar amp, examining what all those little knobs do, if for example, you just bought a new guitar package this past week.

Electric Guitar Amp Settings 101

First off, let’s start with the definition of a guitar amp and what it actually does. The guitar amplifier (or ‘amp’ for short) is an electronic amplifier designed to make the signal of an electric or acoustic guitar louder so that it will produce sound through a loudspeaker. Beyond its basic mean of producing “louder” sounds amps can also modify an instrument’s tone by emphasizing or de-emphasizing certain frequencies and/or adding electronic effects.

Now that we have all the “big terms” out of the picture, the reason guitarists utilize amps is because the range of tone available is just so much greater. The guitar amp completely revolutionized rock ‘n roll because it brought a whole new spectrum to sound that musicians never thought possible.

When you first brought home your guitar amp you probably noticed that various knobs like “Treble”, “Middle”, “Bass” and “EQ” are situated on the front. You may have a basic understanding of what these settings do but if not, let’s define each term:

Treble – soprano; having or denoting a high range. Adjusting this setting will determine the amount of high end in your sound. Lots of treble equals a very sharp and crisp sound.

Middle — between the soprano and the bass, your middle control will impact the overall character of your sound. You could say that this is the most important setting. Little middle and you get that classic rock ‘n roll sound while higher mids equal a more blues like quality.

Bass — the low range is beloved by a lot of musicians and fans alike because it has that infamous deep, thundering quality. Most guitarists unanimously love a lot of bass but of course it always depends on personal opinion.
NOTE: You may not get the full effect of the bass with smaller amps simply because they are just not equipped to handle the load.

EQ/Tone —  this is your “overall” control. While Treble, Middle and Bass will ONLY adjust that particular range the EQ/Tone manages all your basic settings with one easy knob.

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Additional Guitar Amp Settings

Every dependable amp should include the above settings but a lot of amps will also feature controls for distortion, chorus, reverb, etc, etc. If you have a solid understanding of Treble and Bass then distortion and reverb are just an added bonus. These types of controls are solely for guitar effects, allowing you to squeeze that sound exactly like how you intended.

Feel free to play around with those settings but always master the basic guitar amp fundamentals before getting too far ahead. As is the case with anything, cheaper amps will probably have less settings and not sound as good (especially when played loud).

If you bought a guitar package (guitar, amp, strap, picks, etc) you likely ended up with a practice amp. These small amps are great, like the name implies, for practice but do not sound exceptionally well when the volume is above a normal level. It’s a great starter tool but overtime most guitarists will eventually upgrade.

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Experiment with your Guitar Amp

Have you ever watched an elderly individual attempt to use a computer for the first or second time? If so, you will probably observe that they are very timid and constantly afraid that one wrong click will “break” the entire computer. Of course, anyone who has used a computer knows this is silly but basically it comes down to that age group not being very familiar with the product and thus scared to use it.

The same could be said about guitar amps. At first, you may not want to mess with the amp settings too much because it could do harm to the machine or others might wonder what in the hell you are doing. In reality, nothing could be further from the truth. The only way you will really know what your amp is capable of doing is by experimenting with its settings. Play with the controls and have fun!

As a general rule of thumb, always starts with ALL dials pointed at 12 o’clock and work from there. Take notes if you find such a practice useful. Over time, you will learn which settings you like best and for what situation. Then, it really becomes fun because you do not have to do as much thinking and rather focus on the creativity of producing new music.

Master Sweep Picking

Monday, February 7th, 2011

If you have never heard the term sweep picking before then you’re more than likely a beginner guitarist. Today’s lesson is designed for the more advanced player although the guide is also set up as an informative piece to educate those who have never heard the term before.

Sweep picking is considered by most to be a technique that separates the average guitarist from the advanced guitarist. In general, advanced guitarists will use sweep picking to play arpeggios. Traditionally, distortion is needed to master sweep picking although it has been used before with a “clean guitar”. However, when guitarists utilize distortion with sweep picking they will find that arpeggios are generally challenging to master.

Guitarists love sweep picking because it essentially allows individuals to control what notes are ringing throughout the arpeggio. Typically, only one note sounds while the other notes are completely muted. The guitarist can accomplish this feat by either using the palm of their hand to mute the strings they are not playing OR use the thumb of the picking hand to do the same thing.

Mastering the muting technique will take some time. Of the above two methods, neither is the preferred approach. If you want, try muting the strings each way and attempt to decide which one feels more natural. The goal is to listen to how clean the arpeggio sounds when you mute the other strings.

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When guitarists sweep pick each note should have definition and rhythmic placement. Someone who is unfamiliar with this technique will simply strum the pick across the strings and the sound will be very sloppy and out of time. Remember, make sure  each note has definition.

As you practice sweep picking you will more than likely run into some other common problems. Guitarists who are familiar with “finger rolling” may complain about certain issues while others will remark about the pull off at the top of each arpeggio lacking the same dynamic tone as the other notes.

If you run into a lot of issues, Ultimate-Guitar has a really sweet guide dedicated to seven major (and common issues) with sweep picking. Keep in mind the general rule of “slower is better” when first learning and it will not be long before you too are mastering sweep picking!

Acoustic Guitar Troubleshooting

Monday, January 31st, 2011

Surf various guitar websites and/or frequent message boards and you will find a big fat myth related to the acoustic guitar. The Web (for all its wonders) has a lot of misleading information and downright lies, but because anyone can purchase a domain and post some content, they are mistaken as creditable resources.

The big myth that I am talking about today is acoustic guitars and how a lot of people seem to be under the assumption that it’s a completely different instrument when compared to the electric guitar. In reality, the tone is much different (obviously), but that’s about it!

If you actually believe that there are certain things you can play on electric but not acoustic, you are wrong. Truthfully, the acoustic and electric guitar are very much the same and just about anything you can do on electric you can also play on acoustic. In the end, the primary roadblock that prevents most from accomplishing (and therefore thinking) that the two are different instruments is because the acoustic guitar is not properly setup.

Make sense? has some wonderful resources on the proper setup of an acoustic guitar. Common acoustic troubleshooting like how to play bar chords, scales, riffs and soloing are all addressed in detail. Here, for example, is one of their videos on dealing with a common issue — the location of the action.

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If you have never played a guitar before and are currently stuck between electric or acoustic, I should note that while some may say it is harder to learn on acoustic that is not necessary true. With the right setup (as introduced above), beginners can learn just as well on acoustic guitar as electric.

In fact, the grand battle between electric and acoustic comes down to your own personal style and budget limits. Yes, acoustic guitars have larger bodies and necks. Some individuals will also note that they have an easier time pressing down on electric guitar strings when compared to acoustic.

In the end, the size of your budget may make the final decision. If so, you’ll likely settle with acoustic guitar since they are generally slightly cheaper. While it’s never good to just opt for the cheapest route, if you really do want to learn to play an acoustic guitar there are a variety of outstanding resources available. Always heed to proper guitar setup and you should be good to go!

Shopping for an acoustic guitar? Check out the Top 10 Beginner Acoustic Guitars.

25 Brilliant Guitar Tips

Monday, January 24th, 2011

“Sometimes you want to give up the guitar, you’ll hate the guitar. But if you stick with it, you’re gonna be rewarded.”
- Jimi Hendrix

Whenever I am having a bad day on the guitar I pick up that quote, read it, and smile. There is something refreshing when Jimi Hendrix, arguably one of the greatest guitarists of all-time even admitted that yes, sometimes you will hate the guitar.

The instrument is a piece of art and all great art takes practice. In the end, though, it’s important that if you stick with it, you will be rewarded.

Check out 25 other brilliant pieces of information from some of the greatest guitarists ever…

1. Individuality

“A good way to crave your individuality is to get a tape recorder and get into a room that’s kind of dark—where you don’t have interruptions—and then just play with a rhythm machine. After a while, it’s like a deck of cards on the table, and you can begin to see the riffs that came from this guy, the riffs that came from that guy, and then the two or three riffs that are yours. Then you start concentrating on your riffs until you develop an individual sound.” —Carlos Santana

2. Improving Performance

“The most important thing to remember when you’re attempting to increase your speed is to relax. Don’t push your muscles beyond what they can give. Practice for about a half hour, and then take a break. You can always resume after a few minutes. This is especially important when you’re trying to get seriously twisted patterns under your fingers. I used to sit in front of the TV when I was a kid, and alternate-pick scales very lightly. I wasn’t really paying attention, and it actually helped that I wasn’t concentrating so much, because I stayed relaxed, and yet I was able to build up my technique and stamina. But never keep playing if you start to feel pain. Ever. Tendinitis is no joke.” —Steve Lukather

3. Challenge Yourself

“Play with others who are more advanced musically. They will help you rise to their level.”—Bill Kirchen

4. Dynamics

“To work on picking dynamics, plug into a practice amp and turn your guitar all the way up. Then play arpeggios—very quietly at the beginning, and then gradually louder by adjusting your touch. The goal is to vary your dynamics, but not change the position of your hands. Many guitarists change the way they hold their hands when changing dynamics. As a result, they end up with a ‘light-touch’ group of licks—the very fast stuff—but they don’t develop any power. What you want to achieve is continually making those conversions back and forth from quiet to loud picking.” —Jerry Garcia

5. Innovate

“Try to keep your playing as fresh as possible, and not rely on set patterns. When I practice, for example, I often tie off some strings with rubber bands to force myself to look at the fretboard differently. I might practice on the G and D strings only, or even the G and A strings.” —Jim Hall

6. Your Band

“Listen more to the other players on the bandstand than you do to yourself.”—Bill Kirchen

7. Ear Training

“For some basic ear training, play any note on your guitar. In this case, let’s say it’s an A. Then pick an interval out of the air—say a perfect fifth, E. Now, try to sing the E note, and then play the same note on your instrument. See how close you came. Don’t play the interval before you try to sing it. Then you’re only imitating, not ear training. Force your brain to seek out and determine the interval you’ve chosen. Start off easy with octaves, perfect fifths, major and minor thirds, and then move on to more difficult major sixths, sevenths, seconds, flat fifths, and so on.” —Rik Emmett

8. Soloing

“Think of a guitar solo as a paragraph. You need a clear beginning, a middle, and an end. Look at musical phrases like sentences, and make sure you break them up using punctuation—or space. You pause naturally when conversing, right? If you don’t, you’ll bore the listener. The same thing will happen with your audience if your solo is one dimensional. You’ll wear them out and lose their attention.” —Tom Principato

9. Big Strings

“Use big strings. I like a set with a .013 E string, but I’ve gone as high as a .018-.074 set. They’ll eat your hands, your tuning pegs, and your amp, but they sound great.” —Stevie Ray Vaughan

10. Got Rhythm?

“To become a better rhythm player, you must listen to the drummer. I’d also advise that you listen to the masters of rhythm guitar. The work that Steve Cropper did on the Stax records is the definitive document of how to play songs and accompaniment parts. Also listen to Chuck Berry. His rhythm playing is so intense that he can go out and perform with bands he has never seen or heard before and hold them together like glue.”—Danny Kortchmar

11. Pickup Balance

“To balance your pickups, plug your guitar into something with level meters, such as a 4-track recorder. Play each string individually, and adjust the pickup height until the level of each string hits the same point on the meters. Typically, you’ll have to lower the bass side of the pickup. If your guitar’s overall output is quieter than what you had, simply turn up your amp to compensate. The benefit here is string-to-string clarity.” —Dave Wronski

12. 12 Bar Blues

“Study jazz soloing using the 12-bar blues form. Most players want to start playing long bebop lines from the start, but the simpler the melodic material is, the sooner you begin to develop a sense of phrasing. In turn, this will give you greater soloing freedom, because you’ll have a larger rhythmic vocabulary at your disposal.” —Lenny Breau

13. Too Much Practice

“Over-indulgence in anything is wrong—whether it’s practicing 50 hours a day, or eating too much food. There’s a balance with me, as there should be with everything and everybody. I’ve tried to keep it so that I’m able to execute the ideas that come out, but practicing too much depresses me. I get good speed, but then I start playing nonsense because I’m not thinking. A good layoff makes me think a lot. It helps me get both things together—the creativity and the speed.” —Jeff Beck

14. Alternate Picking

“A good way to work on alternate picking is to choose three or four notes, and work on those. Too often, players who are trying to improve their right hand dexterity get hung up by trying to play too many notes with the left hand. I hear a lot of players running whole scales from the sixth string to the first, and playing them really sloppy. Keeping it very basic—using only a few notes—and playing slowly with perfect rhythm is a task in itself.” —Al DiMeola

15. Vibrato

“Strengthen your vibrato technique by using each finger to play a note and bending it up and down continuously, in half steps. As you move to fingers two, three, and four, remember that all available fingers can help you attain this half-step movement.” —Jim Campilongo

16. Correct Posture

“When playing while sitting, rest the guitar on your left leg—just like classical-guitar legend Andrés Segovia. This way, the guitar will be in the same position as when you stand. You can even get yourself one of those little foot stands to really anchor the guitar to your body when playing aggressive music.”—Dave Wronski

17. Amp Settings

“Adjust your amp’s volume and EQ settings by listening, rather than looking at the settings. Simply shut your eyes, and turn the knobs to where the amp sounds best. I’m consistently surprised when I open my eyes to discover things such as the Bass being nearly full up in one situation, or the Treble on 10 in another.” —Cameron Williams

18. Pinky and The Brain

“Use your pinky! When I first started playing, an older country musician told me to keep practicing with my left-hand pinky—even though it felt awkward—until it was second nature. That was the best advice I ever got. You were born with five fingers—don’t forget to use ’em all!” —Deke Dickerson

19. Compression

“Using compression is one of the best ways to get a consistently good tone. It makes the guitar feel electric and alive in your hands, because the notes sustain, rather than die on the vine as soon as you play them. Any stompbox compressor will do. I always place the compressor at the beginning of the signal chain, before going into the amp. Setting all the dials at 12 o’clock is a good starting point because it should give you a lot of extra sustain and a little bit of breathiness without affecting your basic tone much.”—Adrian Belew

20. Perform, Perform

“You must perform for an audience, because the real crunch happens when you get in front of people. You may discover that some things you played in rehearsal don’t make any sense, because you fooled around too much with the frilly stuff and forgot the basic drive of the song. Playing live also teaches you deal with situations like dropping your pick or breaking a string, as well as forcing you to project. You have to direct your playing somewhere—unless you want to sit in a room like a painter who won’t show his paintings to anybody.” —Rory Gallagher

21. Embrace History

“The greatest musicians are knowledgeable about music’s roots. Experience provides authenticity for the music we create. Eric Clapton and Keith Richards can teach you a mess of blues, but it’s good to find out about the original artists whose tunes they covered, such as Robert Johnson. It’s like the old saying: ‘How can you know where you are going, if you don’t understand where you’ve been?’” —Marty Stuart

22. Variety

“Play a new thing every day. Learning one new passing chord or a note combination will get you moving towards something that will serve you later on. Someday, a song will come along that all of those things will relate to.” —Ry Cooder

23. True Love

“Don’t be lazy. You have to want to play, and, most importantly, you have to love the guitar.” —Randy Rhoads

24. Restraint

“Don’t play every lick you know before the end of the set, because then you’re screwed. You’ll just end up repeating yourself. But it’s a very youthful thing to jam—it’s like sowing wild oats. But as grow older, you become interested in doing something more lasting. You have to settle down and make everything count—make sure what you do is worthy of being heard again. I’ve become more devoted to the song, and I feel that jamming, unless it has a goal at the end of it, is pretty much a waste of time.” —Eric Clapton

25. Confidence

“Remind yourself that you’re free to feel great instead of reserved or insecure. When you’re feeling good, you’re more apt to take chances onstage, and if you make a bunch of mistakes, it won’t matter. It’s almost like you’re the instrument, and the music is flowing through you like electricity. Like John Coltrane said—the paramount aspect of being a musician is to try to get more in touch and in tune with yourself. When you do that, it’s like returning to the center and everything emanates from there. You automatically become a better musician in becoming a more aware individual.” —Eric Johnson

Excellent Strumming Exercises

Monday, January 17th, 2011

They say that exercise not only produces a healthy body but also fuels a healthy mind. The same could be said about your strumming habits.

Yes, a lot of guitar guides, courses, etc spend a lot of time on your left hand (assuming you’re a natural right) and what it takes to belt out clear notes, crisp chords, strong bends and the plethora of other skills that you will need to become an advanced guitarist. Although that is all very important, your right hand, the strumming hand is also vital.

Think of it this way. You could be exceptional with the various scales, quick at locating the key note and sharp with even the most difficult chords but if you have trouble strumming quickly or picking the right string, truly all of that practice is in vain.

As a result, you’re very first days on the guitar should be spent with a heavy emphasis on strumming patterns and exercise. Practice this stuff daily because it is one of the core fundamentals of the guitar. However, even an advanced guitarist (assuming that he is wise) should simply take five minutes at the beginning of each session to do a few mindless strumming exercises. Why? Because it does not become “mindless” until you have practiced it a lot and continue to maintain it regularly.

Excellent Strumming Exercises: String Acquaintance

Beginners, your first duty is to locate a reliable guitar tuner (you can also tune by ear, but much more difficult). Then, tune the instrument. Once fully tuned, proceed to touch each string with your pick and name off the string name. If you have no idea what the string is called, reference this phenomenal visual.

It’s important that you not only learn the string names but also the sound. Once you have mastered the names, begin at the top with the low (or heavy) E string. Pluck it once. Listen closely to its ring. This is the correct sound (assuming it’s properly tuned) for what we call the “open D”. Pay attention because every once and awhile you’ll incorporate an open string or two into a chord.

Excellent Strumming Exercises: Open Strings, One Count Notes

The next step in the progression is to be able to switch between strings when needed. This exercise will develop flexibility and control of your plectrum.

Strum each open string four times. Then, move down to the next string and repeat. Begin with the low E and conclude with the high E. Start off painfully slow and increase speed with confidence. Play with a backing track or metronome if preferred.

The goal is to eventually create enough confidence that you can easily switch between strings on the fly.

Excellent Strumming Exercises: Varied Rhythm, Same Note

Next, I want you to place your middle finger behind the second fret on the fourth string (or A). For this next exercise, the note will remain the exact same but you will strum the string at a varied rhythm.

Feel free to mix and match but a good starter rhythm is to strum two full counts (count of four before strumming again) followed by two half counts (count of two before strumming again), followed by four quarter counts (count of one before strumming again).

You will note that the pace of the strumming obviously picks up as you move along. Once you feel comfortable strumming to a varied rhythm like the one above you should attempt to really play a complex rhythm like:

2 half-counts, 1 full-count, 2 quarter counts, 1 half count, 1 full count, etc, etc etc.

The rhythm does not really matter so long as you’re strumming and strumming to a purpose.

Moving forward…

As you can see, you could virtually create hundreds of different strumming exercises simply by changing the strings, notes and/or rhythm. As you become more advanced, so should your strumming patterns. Be sure to practice these daily in order to constantly improve!

Everything Country Guitar

Sunday, January 9th, 2011

So you dig country music. It’s your scene. You love the Southern twang, the heartfelt lyrics and generally depressing subject matter.

Today, our focus is on learning aspects of the guitar that are specific to country music.

Check it out…

Country Chords

Although the “current country scene” has produced a little more diverse (and much more pop) sound with artists like Lady Antebellum and Taylor Swift; in my opinion the true country sound was made famous by the older acts, legends like Hank Williams, Patsy Cline, Willie Nelson and Johnny Cash who often used a rather basic sound to let their amazing songwriting shine. Which is really what country music is all about.

In order to nail county you should get a good grasp on the basic chords. The essential guitar chords for country music include D, G, C, A and E. They obviously progress from there. The beautiful thing about country music is that it’s a perfect fit for songwriters (who also play the guitar) because it is one of the few genres still that does include a ton of unnecessary noise. It’s basic and to the point.

Country Rhythm

Get rhythm when you get the blues/
Come on, get rhythm when you get the blues/
A jumpy rhythm makes you feel so fine/
It’ll shake all the trouble from your worried mind/
Get rhythm when you get the blues/

Johnny Cash may have not been the most skilled musician of all-time but he was an incredible songwriter with that notorious deep voice. His hit “Get Rhyhtm” was all about turning to music when you “get the blues” and yes…rhythm is part of the sound that you love. Rhythm guitar will take some time to learn. My best advice is to listen to a lot of country (which you might or might not already be doing) and practice on basic rhythm patterns and strumming daily.

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Country Scales

Forget country, in any preferred genre learning the scales that truly make music tick is one of the most important early lessons for an aspiring guitarist. The blues were very innovative with scales so a lot can be learned by studying such ground-breaking discoveries as the 12 Bar Blues. Learn them early!

Country Songwriting

In the end, great country music comes down to the songwriting. Country music is a great avenue for beginners because the old-school style is fairly basic but that does not mean country music is also a weak genre. It’s not. What really makes country is the songwriting! If you love to play guitar but also love songwriting then this genre is a great place for you to become the next country legend.

Country Music Resources:

Country Music — Wikipedia
Goodwin Music

New Year Resolutions for the Guitar

Monday, December 27th, 2010

We, here, in the United States just love New Year resolutions. It’s a fresh start, clean slate, or whatever else you want to call the resolutions that normally do not come to fruition.

This year, however, we challenge you to be different. We challenge you to set actual New Year resolutions specific to the guitar. If you wish, you may find it easier to refer to them as goals rather than resolutions. Regardless, let’s make all of these happen in 2011!

1. Listen to more music!

I know, easy right? Your first target for 2011 is simply to listen to more music. You will find that your most creative moments on the guitar will likely come while or right after you’re under the influence of your art — music. However, the goal is not too just listen to your favorite tunes but also explore new artists and different genres. The point is to expand your musical boundaries! Be brave, create a list of 5-10 to artists you’ll become familiar with in the New Year and target 1-3 new genres. Now go to Amazon or iTunes and start shopping.

2. Pick up a new course

You know the old adage “You’re never to old to learn”? Apply it! For beginner guitarists this really makes sense as you will only learn much faster and be more productive with your time thanks to the direction of a knowledgable course. For moderate to advance guitarists, we recommend finding a book on a specific subject or skill that you’ve always wanted to acquire. Many of these beginner, moderate and advance skills and lessons can be found in our Top 5 rated guitar courses on the Web.

3. Start a Band/Find a partner

If you feel that you’re advanced enough on the guitar but always jam solo what is stopping you from joining a band? Sometimes, music is best consumed with others. This is even more true when you’re the one creating it! If you love collaborating, be brave and look to hit up the local nightlife for some of the acts doing it locally. Who knows, they might need a new guitarist. If you want to reach out even further, try selling yourself on Craigslist. Not confident enough to play in a band? Try to find someone you can play with ocassaionally. You’ll both inspire each other and learn way more than if you always strummed solo.

4. Treat yourself to a gift

If you spent all of 2010 playing the guitar but still live in your parents basement chances are that you probably have not received any new gear for your guitar in awhile. Consequently, you should reserve a small amount of cash for the New Year dedicated exclusively to something related to your guitar. Perhaps you can only afford a new set of guitar picks? Or you have always wanted to upgrade your amp but always talked yourself out of it? Regardless, reward all your hard work with some kind of gift in 2011. You deserve it!

5. Write a Song

Not much of a lyricist? Who cares? This goal is either something you have always wanted to accomplish or more a joke than anything. Regardless, learning and playing the guitar should be fun and that is the whole point of this resolution. The song may be goofy or it may be deeper than a Radiohead tune. It does not matter. The point of writing an original song is to prove that you’ve made it – from the first day you picked up an instrument to now — you are now able to play the guitar. Relax, it’s not like we’re asking you to play it in front of your girl.

Got Resolutions? We want to hear your goals for the New Year as well.

10 Awesome Christmas Songs for Guitar

Monday, December 20th, 2010

This is your mission should you chose to accept…

Your Christmas party is likely coming up this Thursday or Friday night. At that party, you are going to impress all of your co-workers/friends (single guys=single women) with a few Christmas renditions on the guitar.

Hey, who does not like music? Furthermore, who can possibly turn you down after they’ve downed five egg nogs?

Case closed.

This message will self-destruct in five seconds…

A lot of people will wait until the New Year to make those resolutions but we here at GLC have one more challenge left for 2010. What about learning a few X-Mas tunes on the guitar?

Sure, you may only perform these songs for one month out of each year but they make for a highly original way to celebrate the holidays. Additionally, all of the songs below are pretty easy and appropriate for most beginners who know a few open chords and can strum.

So let’s get into our exclusive playlist:

  • Deck the Halls
  • The First Noel 
  • Frosty the Snowman 
  • Hark the Herald Angels Sing
  • Jingle Bells
  • Joy to the World 
  • O Come all Ye Faithful 
  • We Three Kings 
  • We Wish You a Merry Xmas 
  • White Christmas  
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Jingle Bells

Learn to play this simple classic with the chords displayed (above the lyrics) below.

C F 
Dashing through the snow, in a one-horse open sleigh/
G7 C 
O’er the fields we go, laughing all the way/
C F 
Bells on bobtails ring, making spirits bright/ 
G7 C 
What fun it is to ride and sing a sleighing song tonight, oh/


C C7 
Jingle bells, jingle bells, jingle all the way/
F C D7 G7 
Oh what fun it is to ride in a one-horse open sleigh, hey/
C C7 
Jingle bells, jingle bells, jingle all the way/
F C G7 C 
Oh what fun it is to ride in a one-horse open sleigh/

*Continue to strum each chord until the next chord comes up in the lyrics.

Merry Christmas!

Check back next week as GLC introduces New Year’s Resolutions for the Guitar.

Phenomenal Guitar Apps

Monday, December 13th, 2010

If you’ve been watching television of late you can probably testify to the abundance of Christmas ads. And if you’re someone who takes pride in being up-to-date on the latest electronic products you can also probably testify to easily one of the hottest gifts of Christmas 2010 — the Apple iPad.

I know my favorite iPad commercial is the one in which Apple quickly highlights many of the iPad’s incredible features including (drum roll please) the ability to hook up your electric guitar and use the small device as an amp!

Pretty cool, right?

What’s also great about any Apple product is the ability to download apps, many of which are free. So in celebration of the new iPad and that guitar amp feature, we thought ’tis the season to highlight some of the best guitar apps on the market.

Check it out…

ChordBank for Guitar

Everyone likes stuff that’s free. Consequently, ChordBank is awesome because you get access to over 1,300 guitar chords for the price of nothing. That’s zilch, zip, nada. Strum to hear any chord played out loud or pluck individual strings to pick out individual notes. It’s all there with 22 complete fingerings.


Gibson Learn & Master Guitar

You may recognize Learn & Master Guitar, one of GLC’s top five rated guitar courses available. You may also recognize Gibson guitars, arguably the most famous guitar manufacture in the world. Together? They form quite a potent combination — the Gibson Learn & Master Guitar.

This application provides you with essential tools to help you become a better guitar player as well as free full length lessons from the award winning Learn & Master Guitar.



Don’t own a guitar?

PocketGuitar is a good place to start. It will transform your iPhone or iPod touch into a virtual guitar. Users can press and strum strings and when they get tired of being the next Slash, of course you can always jam out with the electric bass or ukulele. PocketGuitar also has some really sweet distortion effects as well.


Fret Surfer Guitar Trainer

The Fret Surfer Guitar Trainer is seriously worth noting (no pun intended). For the price of $3 (less than a bottle of water these days), owners can learn every…single…note on the guitar. It’s a great resource with tons of customizable features.



GuitarToolKit features both a stellar reputation (very highly rated on iTunes) and loads of killer guitar utilities. The tuner is amazingly accurate and you also get a library of over 500,000 chords.


Do you agree with our list? If not, what fantastic apps can you add?


Cool Guitar Tricks

Monday, December 6th, 2010

What always has been and always will be attractive about the electric guitar is how cool it looks on-stage. Yeah, some people may argue that the lead singer is “coolest” guy in the band but I beg to disagree. Of course, us guitarists may be a little biased but at least we play an instrument (assuming you do not sing and play guitar).

Therefore, when you have mastered the basic fundamentals of the guitar you may want to add some really sweet guitar tricks to your arsenal — especially for that next live performance (or just to show-off in front of friends).

While some of the skills below are somewhat easy to learn (and look really cool when executed properly), we cannot stress the importance of first learning the basic fundamentals of the guitar! You would not attempt to dunk a basketball before you have first learned to shoot a jump shot and you should not expect to make such a profound leap with the guitar either. With that being said, if you think you’re advanced enough, let’s move on to some really sweet guitar tricks!

Artificial Harmonics Effect

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Whenever a guitarist lightly touches the string at specific positions on the neck and then plucks the string they are creating what we like to call “Artificial Harmonics Effects”. When you incorporate this subtle but dynamic guitar trick you in turn create a bell-like quality thanks to the simultaneous vibrations of both sections of the string.

In order to pull off artificial harmonics you need to have some hand-eye coordination because the right hand performs the light touch and pluck simultaneous with the string being fretted by the left hand. Consequently, you have a lot going on for a few simple notes but it’s pretty cool when you do it right.

Double Harmonic Trem Drop

Do not get intimidated by the long name. When you double harmonic trem drop all you’re really doing is hitting two pinched harmonics simultaneously and then dropping the tremolo bar. The effect is a twisted in-and-out phase in which one sound goes off while the other comes back down.

Horse Effect

Basketball is not the only game that can play H.O.R.S.E. because the guitar has a really cool guitar trick called the “Horse Effect”. Made famous by guitarists like Steve Vai, guitarists deploy the special effect by fretting the natural harmonics at the second, third, fifth, seventh and twelfth frets. Then, by using the tremolo bar, advanced guitarists press down on the bar to create a high pitched whinnying sound.

Dropping the Bar Down E Trick

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This trick should probably be renamed “The Jimi Hendrix Experience” because the legendary guitarist is allegedly the first ever to perform it. It all depends on who you ask but regardless, dropping the bar down E trick is really sweet thanks to the end result of a “squealing sound”. In order to pull off Jimi’s move, pick the string and then lightly touch it with the thumb.

Funky Licks

This cool guitar trick is no laughing matter. The funny lick can be used to either jazz up a funky/fusion style or add contrast to guitar solos. Regardless of the purpose, expert guitarists use funny licks to break up the monotony in an otherwise bland verse or solo. The ultimate goal of funny licks is to utilize chromatic notes and rhythmic displacement.

“Your Name” Trick

What’s so sick about the guitar is that you can never stop learning. You may really love to discover guitar tricks and that is great! Explore all that guitarists have introduced and last but not least, do not be afraid to explore a little. Who knows, you may completely invent something new!