Archive for the ‘Guitar’ Category

Clean Up Your Lead Guitar

Wednesday, August 11th, 2010

One of the common problems several aspiring lead guitarists run into is that once they take up that role, the guitar is a little sloppy. Obviously this is not wanted as you want nothing more than to shine in your lead guitar role.

Thus, the point of today’s post is to examine A) what makes choppy lead guitar and B) how you can correct this issue.

Generally, if you have a hard time playing lead guitar cleanly, the most likely reason is due to excessive guitar string noise. So, for the majority of guitarists this may have nothing to do with improving the way they play but rather simply watching what they do when they strum. 

The root of excess guitar string noise lies in the notes (or strings) that are accidentally played. Ideally you want nothing to do with these notes as they drown out a portion of your lead. Consequently, your remedy lies within a term known as muting techniques.

What are muting techniques?

MusicInfo4All breaks string muting on a guitar into three basic categories – String Muting, Fret-hand Muting and Palm Muting. While all three are different in both technique and purpose, the primary goal of all is simply to mute or distort unwanted notes. Both fret hand muting and palm muting are very individual and stylistic techniques, reserved best for advanced players while string muting is a little easier and more common.

When muting guitar strings, the guitarist has an option of either A) stopping unwanted guitar string noise from LOWER (in pitch) strings or B) muting the higher (in pitch) strings. Again, different methods exist, however the techniques listed below tend to be the most ideal.

Muting the Lower Strings

Most guitarists use the palm of their picking hand to mute lower strings. Although this technique is fairly adequate, some are against this practice as it tends to A) cause a slight delay in the muting of a string which has just been played; and B) when the guitarist uses their palm the natural position of the guitar pick (when not playing) is now away from the strings. This is what some refer to as your Natural Point Of Rest.

Note: The slight delay of unwanted guitar string noise is caused because the flesh of your palm is much softer than the side of your thumb and therefore takes more time for your palm to actually stop the string from sounding. Also, it’s not easy to get your palm in the perfect position thereby reducing the effectiveness even further.

Some say that when your pick is resting up and away from the strings, your picking hand is ultimately working harder and also significantly increasing the chance for sloppy play, string noise and slower picking speeds.

Thus, a fantastic alternative is to mute with your picking hand’s thumb for all lower (in pitch) strings. When you follow this technique you will also notice that the “Natural Point Of Rest” is now on the strings. The result is a drastic reduction in wasted motion as well as a much more comfortable position. 

Muting the Higher Strings

While muting from the lower strings is very common among guitarists, muting the higher strings is actually a foreign concept to the vast majority. Unfortunately, many guitar players are totally unaware of the possibilities for muting unwanted guitar string noise from the higher strings and the result is sloppy lead guitar.

Thankfully, two main techniques exist. Individuals may use the underside (fingerprint side) of the fretting hand’s index finger. This part of your finger is then used to lightly touch the higher strings that you want to mute. The emphasis is on lightly. Simply resting your fingers on the string(s) will do. Secondly, individuals may mute higher strings by using the unused fingers of their non-picking hand (such as middle, ring and pinkie). This extra layer of muting will ensure the removal of unwanted noise. 

In conclusion, guitar muting equals stronger lead guitar. Not satisfied with your current lead guitar. Clean it up with these simple, yet relatively unknown tricks.

Guitar Made Easy: Guitar Strings

Thursday, July 29th, 2010

The very thought of restringing your guitar alone can make some people fret (again, no pun intended), however the process is much easier than you may have previously concluded.

There are, before we get started, a couple myths related to restringing your guitar:

  • You don’t have to do it often
  • It’s very difficult and best left in the hands of professionals

You should restring your guitar often (especially if you play a lot) to preserve that pure sound, although there are a couple of steps you can take to increase longevity. Also, it’s a practice that you can do without the aide of a local guitar shop, instructor, etc.

So, before we begin, you must first tell yourself, ‘I can restring my guitar.’ If you still do not believe it, than say it again and again.

Annoyed? Good, now let’s get rolling… 

The first thing you must consider when it comes to new strings for the guitar is the size. Just as a size nine foot will not fit well in a size 13 shoe, a particular size string may not “fit” with your guitar and style of music.

Consider this: What tune do you regularly play in? The lower the tuning = the heavier the gauge. The higher the tuning, and you guessed it, the lighter the gauge. Selecting a gauge appropriate to your music will keep your strings consistently tight and avoid too much fret buzz.

Once you select a gauge, you must either own or borrow a string winder (manual or automatic), wire cutters, and a bridge pin puller if you have an acoustic guitar. NEVER attempt to restring a guitar merely by hand. It’s a waste of your time.

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Once you have the new strings with appropriate gauge and tools, it’s time to get dirty. First, remove the old strings. The first step, as in most cases, is really straightforward and easy. All you need to do is unwind the strings until they flop off. 

Note: A bridge pin puller is needed for this step if you are working with an acoustic guitar.

Once the old strings are off, it’s out with the old and in with the new. Open the package and begin with the lowest string (low E). You’ll want to work low to high because tonally it makes much more sense.

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Start by placing the first string through the bridge hole. If you are re-stringing an acoustic, place the strings anchor in the bridge hole and then place the bridge pin after it. Make sure you keep the string tight so the bridge pin stays in place.

Next, bring the strings end up through the hole in the tuning peg and pull it until there is enough slack to wind the string about three to five times around the peg. The string should now be nice and tight and perform something of a relevant tone. Use the wire cutters to trim off the excess and repeat the process for the remaining strings.

Once you finish with the high E string, it’s time to move to the last step in the process. Please note that this step is important as it will prevent any premature snapping.

Loosely tune the guitar so you know how tight your strings are going to be. Once again, beginning with the low E string, place your left hand over the first few frets as if you were muting the strings. Use your right hand to pull gently upward close to your left hand.

Repeat this moving up the fretboard as you double check to make sure the string is nice and stretched out. You will than notice that the string you just tuned is way more flat sounding. Tune this string again and it should be able to hold its tune for a much longer period of time. Continue this process for the remaining strings.

As you have probably discovered while reading this post, restringing a guitar is fairly straightforward and a rather mindless activity. Remember, work low to high and place emphasis on the final step to ensure quality and longevity.

Jazz Guitar: The Sheer Basics

Thursday, July 22nd, 2010

Welcome to the wonderful world of jazz music.

Jazz has long at the epicenter of American music. It originated at the beginning of the 20th century in African American communities in the Southern United States from a confluence of African and European music traditions.

According to A New History of Jazz by Alyn Shipton, from its early development until the present, jazz has incorporated music from 19th and 20th century American popular music. Its West African pedigree is evident in its use of blue notes, improvisation, polyrhythms, syncopation, and the swung note.

However, Art Blakey has been quoted as saying, “No America, no jazz. I’ve seen people try to connect it to other countries, for instance to Africa, but it doesn’t have a damn thing to do with Africa.”

Regardless of what you connect as the origins of jazz, you will, no doubt, also attribute its impact on a variety of other sub-genres. From big-band in the 30s and 40s to bebop, Latin, funk, and hip- hop – jazz has left an impression.

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Naturally, it is then acceptable to see why so many aspiring guitarists want to learn jazz. This is especially true of people who have a deep rooted appreciation of music and belove the improv nature of this amazing genre.  

Every guitarist has his or her own style. Some are very traditional, like true “modern rock” or “metal” guitarists, while others find one style they like and add bits of influence from many other genres into their music.

That’s the beauty of music. There is no limitation.

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If you would like to make jazz your style, than you must first understand the basics, theory, and common practices of this special genre.

The jazz guitar can be a tough style to learn because it has a very distinctive sound to it. Whereas rock guitar and other styles utilize reverb and distortion to alter the sound of the instrument, jazz guitar is renown for its smooth sound. Thus, you must be able to hear the strings, not gain or distortion.

Improvisation, as previously mentioned, is not only a trademark but key element of jazz guitar. Improvisation is of course, a difficult skill and one of the few that is very hard to teach. For example, the most famous jazz guitarists such as Charlie Christian, Grant Green, Wes Montgomery, Pat Martino, and George Benson were already blessed with a natural ear for improv. 

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Improvisation is much more of a natural talent or skill than it is something you can acquire, however it is possible to heighten your senses to it by having an advanced understanding of scales, chords, and keys. These three elements are absolutely essential, as the leader of a jazz band will often call out a different key on the fly and expect everyone else in the group to immediately follow suit.

Learning different types of chords and scales is absolutely crucial. Chords like sustained chords and augmented fifths are simply regular chords with a note or two added and are great places to start with the jazz guitar. Also, individuals should practice scales beyond the regular pentatonic and chromatic scales to increase versatility.

At first glance, mastering the jazz guitar may appear a daunting feat and rest assured, it is a large challenge. However, it’s not impossible and with an advanced understanding and focus on chords, scales, keys, and improvisation, you too could become the next great jazz musician.

Play the Guitar without an Instructor

Thursday, July 15th, 2010

“Many will enter, few will survive.”

The above quote may be more appropriate for a gladiator movie, yet it’s also in a strange way fitting of the process in which you attempt to learn to play the guitar.

Think about it. The guitar is not too physically demanding but what it lacks in real, tangible stress it makes up for in mental frustration. Learning a musical instrument is not easy and by now I’m sure you have heard that a thousand different times.

That’s not the point of this post. The point of this post is to examine the many ways in which it is possible to learn to play the guitar without the aide of an instructor.

Personal instructors are time consuming, demanding, and more than anything expensive. And I’m here to tell you that you don’t need them. In fact, I’m here to tell you that you can do better (gasp) on your own. I’m here to tell you that learning the guitar has never been so easy to pick-up as it is in the 21st century.

So, where do you begin? Self-taught guitarists would tell you that it is definitely possible to self teach guitar based on their experience. These people are also highly dedicated, organized, and determined to their craft – playing the electric or acoustic guitar.

However, not everyone is as dedicated, organized, and determined as those same individuals. In fact, most struggle to remain self-motivated, especially when they are picking up the guitar at an older age when school, work, family, etc seem to always take precedence.

Consequently, in theory, it’s not that hard to learn the guitar but it is hard to stay committed. If you’re a real human like the rest of us, chances are that getting an education or making a living is going to have to take priority over being a rockstar…for now anyways.

- Dedication, Organization, Determination -

Get it, Got it? Good.

If you really think that the guitar is self-taught than you must possess all three traits. Then, you need to look into the three most important, yet overlooked tips.

1. Structure Your Lessons

The most common mistake is to pick up short tutorials from various sources such as guitar books, websites, or magazines and fail to structure everything together. The problem with studying various and seemingly unconnected tutorials is that they share no relation, so beginners are unable to make sense of the standard guitar concepts.

The result is the revelation that you’re not progressing but merely picking up a variety of otherwise useful lessons scattered in an inconceivable order. Hence, the individual losses passion for the instrument, failing to develop a strong foundation in proper techniques needed to progress.

Structured guitar lessons should progress in challenge and complexity. You should start with the sheer basics, such as posture, hand position, holding of the pick, tuning, etc. Slowly you should evolve into basic chords, scales, rhythm, and strumming patterns. The lessons are sequential.

Get it, Got It? Good. 

2. Learning Plan

Now that you have structured lessons, the guitarist must institute a lesson plan. When will you play and for how long? This should be a strict time each day that is consistent. It’s not good enough to just assume you’ll practice when you “have a minute.” Daily practice is necessary, so you cannot merely think it’s a once or twice a week type of activity.

3. Self-Discipline

A wise man once asked, “I have the foundation and the tools, what else do I really need?” Exactly. The structured lessons will serve as your foundation while the lesson plans will work as your material and tools. With this solid foundation, material, and tools, the guitarist truly does not have a reasonable excuse for failing.

Remember, it all goes back to dedication, organization, and determination. Everything is outlined for you, now it’s time to put your intentions into action.

Now, laying out the three basic (but often) overlooked tips may seem easy enough, but if you are a logical person you can probably cite something that is even wrong with this plan.


The bottom line is that you can be the most stubborn, organized, and driven aspiring guitarist of all-time, but if you lack the knowledge of the instrument you are destine to fail. That is where personal instructors came in for decades and where the Web is slowly replacing them. Someone or something must be your source for reference because after all, if you already had all the information, knowledge, insights, and wisdom on the guitar, you probably wouldn’t be classified as a “beginner” now would you?

Here is where online, self-taught guitar lessons come into the equation. They are one part personal instructor (often taught by expert in the industry who lives far, far from you) and another part self-driven. So you are essentially learning to play the guitar alone, but with the advice, tips, and lesson plans from one of the greatest guitarists in the world.

Not bad when you think about it.

In fact, GLC has dedicated its entire online existence into providing you with the very best online guitar courses in the world. Suddenly, $19.95 for JamPlay or even $149 for Learn & Master Guitar doesn’t sound so bad.

Click Here! For our full, detailed reviews on the top four programs.

Here is my challenge. I dare you to skip the costly needs of a personal instructor and to otherwise use that monetary investment on an online guitar course. Often you can download or order these programs via mail, go through the lessons at your pace, and learn as much if not more from these highly skilled and knowledgeable teachers.

Playing the guitar without an instructor…it’s as simple as that.

Customize the Guitar Neck

Wednesday, July 7th, 2010

The majority of artists throughly believe that their own instrument is an essential element of the music experience. The “one size fits all” mentality does not exist in the musical world. We’ll leave that to baseball caps.

Rather, the musical instrument you play is completely central to you – the artist. Aside from the artist’s need to have a guitar that feels suitable within their hands, the instrument must also communicate the correct mindset of one’s music. The challenge, thus becomes for the musician to transform what appears to be a guitar, like any other guitar, into one that complements the distinctive style and reflective tone of the artist.

Keep in mind that the ideology of a “customizable guitar neck” is more appropriate for the moderate to advanced player. Most standard guitar necks are adequate for the typical guitarist. However, when those same guitarists begin to advance either in interest or skill, some desire for a more custom-made piece.

Enter [customized guitar necks]

Customizing the guitar neck is popular among guitarists largely due to the fact that it’s rather easy to accomplish and several different varieties exist.

Among the most popular and easiest is to merely switch out a neck plate. The World Wide Web is filled with a nearly endless supply of neck plates, which when combined with your local music shop, is likely to have something for you. Yet if the abundance of guitar plates available on the Internet is still not enough, a few will opt to completely customize their plate from a specialty store.

How To Replace A Guitar Neck Plate

Note: A few guitarists, especially those with famous vintage guitars, are frequently blessed with an already distinctive and recognizable guitar neck plate.

If you really have an artistic side, some will take the customizable approach a step further by manually painting the guitar neck. This is a very rewarding experience, especially if you do the procedure right. Should you be experienced, prepared, and confident enough to carry out this task, consult the proper ways to paint the guitar neck. In any event, the musician must be certain that the proper kind of finish is utilized on the guitar, in order to preserve the correct tone.

Making Neck Adjustments on an Electric Guitar — powered by

If you still do not feel comfortable with the whole “I’ll just paint it myself concept,” several guitar shops will be willing to carry out your “dream project.” Stop by your local music shop when you get a chance and ask about what they will do for “custom guitar neck creations.”

You will find that most, if not all guitar shops, will offer some type of guitar customization and should have plenty of terrific ideas for the guitar neck specifically. Provide them with the exact theme or details you want. Maybe you’re favorite band is The Rolling Stones and the shop could find a way to incorporate their famous tongue logo onto the neck?

The options are literally endless.

So if you have a birthday (or even Christmas) coming up soon, why not splurge a little and treat yourself to a brand new look? The beauty of guitars, perhaps more than any other instrument, is the numerous ways they are designed, constructed, painted, and even bruised through the years of playing.

It’s true, no two guitars are exactly alike.

The Perfect Fifth – Guitar Interval

Monday, June 28th, 2010

Welcome to the complex, confusing, and difficult world that most beginner guitarist affectionately refer to as guitar intervals.

It should be noted that learning the intervals alone can be quite difficult for guitar players, especially if you are just beginning to learn the various names such as major second and perfect fourth. Match this alongside the trouble many beginners have in remembering that guitar sounds one octave lower than written, and you have a subject that most desire to ignore or skip altogether.

According to Mike Hayes, a guitar coach, the numerous years of teaching experience has led him to one simple conclusion in regards to intervals – they’re easy to understand when presented in a particular sequence that the individuals can successfully recall the sound.

The first interval you need to learn is the major third followed by the minor third. Once, you are able to accomplish those feats, the “perfect fifth” is your next grand battle.

The perfect fifth interval is a very common interval and when the two notes of the perfect fifth interval are played simultaneously, they produce what is technically called the “harmonic fifth.” In rock terms, the harmonic fifth is more commonly known as the ”power chord.”

Interesting enough, most guitarists have been playing the harmonic fifth for quite some time, although they do not refer to it by it’s technical title. Similarly, they say most writers understand grammar, yet are unable to dissect the piece and individually label each word by it’s grammatical term.

The same is true of the guitar and it’s relationship to intervals.

Harmonic Fifth

If you would like to hear a phenomenal example of the harmonic fifth, listen to the opening chords of Dire Straits – “Money For Nothing”

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Now that you have an understanding of what the perfect fifth is suppose to sound like, do your best to attempt to hear the interval when played as single notes. Begin by playing the equivalent of middle “C” (piano) on the guitar fretboard. Middle ”C”s reference pitch is the third string; fifth fret.


Now play the note “G” (second string; fret eight).


Listen closely to the sound of the two notes. That, my friend, is the interval of a perfect fifth when its ascending.

Play the two notes again, this time listening carefully for the “space” between the first note (middle C) and the G. That’s the sound you need to be able to recall.

Now, play the two notes as a chord…

Harmonic Fifth


Note that this harmonic fifth is different from the one presented earlier in the song, “Money For Nothing.” While it may sound different, the Dire Straits song and the chord you just played are from the same interval only in a different key.

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In order to hear, recognize, and most importantly recall the sound of the perfect fifth interval, GLC further recommends these songs for the ascending perfect fifth:

1. Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star
2. One (Metallica)
3. Star Wars
4. Scarborough Fair
5. Can’t Help Falling In Love (Elvis Presley)

The five songs listed above are just a few of the many that begin with this interval. 

In theory, a guitarist that constantly “looks” for the perfect fifth interval will eventually master the technique in his or her own work.

In other words, we just gave you an excuse to listen to music. Now go!

Essential Blues Scales

Wednesday, June 16th, 2010

Guitar scales in blues music are one of the most important factors to consider when playing blues guitar. If you fail to learn the fundamentals behind these vital gems, you will consequently fail to gain a real understanding of the notes you’re playing or how to eventually create your own sound.

Today’s lesson?

Discover the two essential blues scale patterns – pentatonic scale and blues scale:

Pentatonic Scale in E
E: Open & Three, A: Open & Two, D: Open & Two, G: Open & Two, B: Open & Three, E: Open & Three

Blues Scale in E
E: Open & Three, A: Open, One & Two, D: Open & Two, G: Open, Two & Three, B: Open & Three, E: Open & Three

(letters represent the strings and the numbers represent the frets)

If you studied the above diagram, you’ll easily note that the blues scale is more or less the same as the pentatonic. The only difference is the extra note, in this case, the Bb. This note plays an important function in blues guitar as it’s often referred to simply as “the blue note.”

The blue note is what gives the blues it’s unique style and sound. GLC could attempt to describe what this sound does to your music, but don’t you think it would be a lot more practical just to try it yourself? 

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The best way to play with the pentatonic and blues scales are with a backing track. It’s important to hear how the scales sound within the context of a song. See if you can locate something with a particular “blues feel” or merely build your own with such handy devices as the looper pedal.

Once you have the backing track, try to shred some licks. What exactly is a lick? Guitar licks are essentially phrases written using these scale shapes. Hence, they’re perfect for incorporating the scales interactively into the sound rather than just settling with a simple collection of notes.

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The world of improvisation (a trademark of the blues) is sure to open a broad understanding of the different blues scales and how they blend into the musical process. Thus, you must possess these basic skills in order to become a successful guitarist who can improvise and create brilliant riffs.

1. You should be able to visualize the scale on the fret board and play them instantly.
2. Your fingers should be able to instantly play each note of the scale on the entire fret board.
3. You must also know how many notes are there in the scale, what are their degrees and where you can exactly use a particular scale.
4. The last but not the least and the most important thing is to reproduce the scale in a musical way without the monotony of just playing the notes of the scales on the fret board.

If you fail to meet any of the four vitals above, than it’s a clear indication that your knowledge of guitar scales is less than 50 percent. Unfortunately, this will really affect your improvisation skills.

Fret not (no pun intended). The people who possess all of the above are in the minority and that is the minority group of “guitar masters.” It will take a lot of determination, hard work, and patience to become an expert.

Patience, it would seem, is the key to everything.

Guitar Basics and Theory

Saturday, June 12th, 2010

Before you pick up the guitar for the first time you should know a few simple yet very important basics (or rules if you will) to the guitar. Like any new hobby, the individual improves over consistent and effective practice. If you pick up bad habits early on they’ll be very hard to break later.

Key point: Learn the right way from the beginning.

Aches and Pains

Your fingers will hurt for awhile. This is inevitable. One of the biggest complaints new guitarists gripe about is pain in the fingers. The truth of the matter is that you’re using new muscles in a different way and they’re going to get sore. Think about the first time you went snowboarding or ice skating. Were you really sore the next day? Same thing goes for learning the guitar. Thankfully it will not last after a good month of playing.

Accuracy is better than Speed

If you’re into the guitar because you want to learn it fast, than you are in it for all the wrongs reasons. Likewise, just because you play fast does not mean that you are in fact a good guitarist. Take time with each lesson (even the most mundane) and follow the instructions slowly in order to ensure that you do not pick up bad habits.

Technique is Important

At times you will come across a technique and might even feel that it’s easier to do this your own way. This is especially true with chords, as sometimes the fingers and positions listed do not appear to make a lot of sense….YET. Keep in mind that many techniques have you position your hands and fingers a certain way because later on this hand and finger is important for transitioning quickly to say, another chord.

Practice is NOT a Chore

The moment it becomes one, the second you should drop playing. Keep in mind that you got into the guitar because it looked like something entertaining to do. Push yourself in practice but always keep it lively.

You Can’t Do it Alone

There are several hobbies that you can learn on your own. The guitar, is not one of those. The cold hard truth is that you need help. Thankfully, the internet is very fertile when it comes to guitar lessons, instructional videos, and other material designed to improve your skills. Not only that, but they are more affordable than ever before.

Click Here! For our outstanding review of some of the greatest online guitar courses on the Web.

Now, to guitar music theory…

Guitar music theory is something you may have heard about before. It’s the idea of applying musical theory to the guitar in order to recognize patterns or styles of music. Understanding this theory will enable you to play any style of music because you will see that music can be broken down into parts. It’s the science of music.

Music theory applies to the guitar through scales, steps, chords, and chord progressions. Each of these aspects contribute to the overall song. If you learn these, than you will learn all of the components of the science of the song.

One online guitar expert likes to compare guitar music theory to a recipe. For example, if I was to say that I’m making supper and I needed the following: tortilla, rice, beans, chicken, salsa, and cheese - you would assume that I’m making a delicious burrito. Which is true.

Furthermore, the scales, steps, chords, and chord progressions are the key ingredients of a great song. The better each of these ingredients are, the more well defined and unique the taste.

To make a song you need to incorporate different terms like: a major scale, a chord progression, and rhythm. A scale is typically a major or minor scale. It represents the relationship that notes have to each other.

The C Major Scale, for example, is defined as: C-D-E-F-G-A-B-C.
A G Major Scale is defined as: G A B C D E F# G.

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Each of these feature what is known as a step sequence. The step sequence utilizes such terms as “whole” or “half steps”.

The C Major for example: C whole step, D whole step, E half step, F whole step, G whole step, A whole step, B half step C.

After you understand the scales and steps, you must progress to the chords. A chord is like a scale as you typically only hear two types - major and minor chords.

A C Major chords looks like this: (C E G), the intervals that define this are: C 2 steps E 1.5 steps G. A major chord is defined as: 2 steps – second note – 1.5 steps – third note and a minor chord is defined as: 1.5 steps – second note – 2 steps – third note.

Time to progress to the progressions – the chord progressions that is. If you can start to add these variations in to the progression: ACE, DFA, CEG, FAC, GBD, EGB, and BEG you will have ultimately achieved a song. You may of course alternate what chords you want to play. 

Learn these simple terms and you have in fact unlocked the foundation to the song. If you do the dirty work now, the basics, theory, and terminology of the guitar will ultimately improve your overall intelligence and appreciation for the guitar.

The Looper Pedal & The Guitar

Thursday, June 3rd, 2010

One very versatile and effective music product that has been lost in the massive wave of modern technology is the looper pedal. What exactly is a looper pedal? A looper pedal is a special little toy that will enable any guitarist the ability to produce loops from scratch.

If you want to be an excellent guitarist, practicing with a looper pedal is essential. Why? Few pastimes are as enjoyable as creating an entire song by yours truly. Musical creativity is endless when you have the chance to layer the chord progressions, bass lines, rhythms, and drum beats with one individual and with a single instrument.

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Did you know? Loop-based music was initially made popular by Robert Fripp, the musician who benefited from a stream of experiments involving tape loops.

What is great about looper pedals is A) how easy they are to use and B) their afford-ability. Looper pedals range from $160-$600 depending on the number of tracks recordable and other features. As a guitarist, you may have different aspirations for the loop pedal than that of a singer. Think about what you want to get out of a looper pedal and research accordingly.

Too often it’s easy to get suckered into the most expensive product with a million different features (a quarter of which you’ll probably use regularly). For example, if you are just looking for a pedal that will allow you to layer three or four different guitar tracks, than a $200-$250 looper pedal should do just fine.

Most looper pedals have similar functionality. One pedal is commonly reserved for recording, playing, and overdubbing. On the first tap, it records you playing, the second tap stops the recording and starts the looping, and a third tap allows you to overdub.

Guitarists may then build up their backing track with whatever other instruments they seem fit. Most loopers will also allow you to undo your last recording and it’s highly recommended that you invest in a looper with this capability. Secondly, look into pedals that allow the user to switch between different loops, reverse loops, play along to a drum track, as well as change the tempo of the recordings on the spot.

Over time, guitarists can build up their own backing track by adding to the existing loop. In loop terminology, this is known as overdubbing. Looping is fantastic for practice and jamming out at home, however you can also gig alone with one if you desire.

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Did you know? Fripp’s experiment with loops was successful enough that the musician ended up on a tour appropriately titled the Frippertronics Tour? It was here where Fripp brought delay and looping effects a step further into the mainstream.

Looping is a very cheap, simple, and effective way to record music. If you really want to get serious about your music, you’ll one day need to invest in higher quality recording and engineering devices. In the meantime, however, you may surely learn a lot from a looper pedal.

Ask most guitarists and they will tell you that having a backing track or variety of backing tracks is a great way to practice once you have moved past the basic lessons. Not everyone has the ability to call up three or four friends and meet for a quick jam session. People are busy and always working. Thus, you will have a lot of time where you’re only able to practice alone. Enter the pedal.

Once you purchase a looper pedal, try to make four or five different backing tracks. They do not have to be complex, but rather something that you can vibe well with and is easy to strum along to. Try to record a few different styles or genres, and mix up the tempo for further skill.

Click Here! For an excellent review of the five best looper pedals from 2010.

Purchase Guitars Online

Wednesday, May 26th, 2010

It’s true. The buyer’s market is shifting to the World Wide Web. People cannot get enough of shopping and buying products online. The availability and ease of comfort (shopping from one’s home) are clearly two of the strongest selling points for online retailers.

Which brings us to a question we often receive on Guitar Lessons Critic. “Should I buy my new guitar online?”

Purchase Guitars Online: Overview

First, let’s study the benefits of buying the guitar online:

  • Wide selection
  • Shop from the Convenience of your Home
  • Cheaper Prices and Terrific Sales
  • Shipped to Your Front Door

Based on the selection, afford-ability, and comfort of online shopping – many beginner guitarists opt to go this route. However, they may miss out on a few opportunities that one would receive if they were to buy the guitar from a local retailer. For example, shopping at an actual retailer provides the following benefits:

  • Chance to actually “feel” and “see” the Guitar before Purchasing
  • Conversing with a Store Representative who is likely an Expert with Guitars
  • Taking home the Guitar the same day you Bought it
  • DO NOT have to pay with Credit Card and hand over Personal Information
  • Generally offer better Return Policies and Warranties

Purchase Guitars Online: Questions to Ask

Now that you know the pros and cons of purchasing a guitar online you must make a decision. Will you buy from a local retailer or opt to go online? If you still are sold on the Internet, than you must ask yourself the following:

  • Is the retailer reputable?
  • What is the company’s history? How long have they been in business, what is their feedback rating, where are their headquarters?
  • Do you know anyone who has shopped there previously? Were they satisfied with the product? The service?
  • What type of payment options do they offer? Anyone who does not utilize PayPal is sketchy at best.
  • What is their return policy like? How long is the warranty good for?
  • Are they easy to contact? Do they offer a resolution center with 24/7 chat and a valid 1-800 line?

Always try and purchase products from trustworthy online retailers like eBay, Amazon, etc. This is even more important when you desire to buy something used, but it is still not “bulletproof” as scams occur on eBay too.

Purchase Guitars Online: Buyer Feedback

The buyer feedback is quite possibly the most valuable tool online shoppers can use. Feedback on sites like eBay allow users the opportunity to discover a little about the seller’s history. Most general feedback systems display the number of times feedback was left and then a percentage of that feedback is calculated as positive/negative. eBay takes it a step further with the “Power Seller” label.

If you plan to purchase a guitar from a site like eBay, Amazon, etc you should only do business with buyers that have a 95% or higher approval rate with a minimum of 10 reviews (20-30 on the very conservative side). “Power Sellers” do this for a living and have likely sold hundreds if not thousands of products online.

If you plan to buy a guitar from an actual retailer or distributor, do business with companies that search high on Google, Yahoo, etc and have a detailed background with high quality customer service and return policies. Keep in mind that it’s real easy to create a “professional” looking web page, so do your research prior to making any purchase.

Purchase Guitars Online: PayPal

PayPal appears to be the “go-to” escrow system for online transactions and for good reason. The site is very reliable, protecting both your identity and funds. Never just blindly send a check in the mail, hoping that this company will someday return with a new guitar. Make sure that the buyer is verified with the Veri-Sign Secured button at the bottom of the home page. Keep in mind that anyone can copy and paste, so you need to click on the button to ensure it’s accuracy.

For example, when clicking on the Veri-Sign button on the home page of a guitar retailer like, one is transfered to this page.

Purchase Guitars Online: Recommended Retailers

Below is a list of a few music suppliers that we would recommend for your new guitar. Please keep in mind that their are several other reputable companies not listed below.

Guitar Center
Musician’s Friend
Guitar Trader Online


Purchase Guitars Online: Conclusion

Please consider the article as a warning rather than an attempt to steer you away from online shopping. By listing everything that could go wrong or you need to look out for, we hope that this will successfully provide you with a pleasurable experience.

Your guitar is meant to be enjoyed and once you do own one, be sure to check out some of our top rated online guitar courses. These courses will truly take you to the next level and allow your dreams to become a reality.