Showing posts with label Guitar. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Guitar. Show all posts

Saturday, November 10, 2018


PRS Standard 22 Platinum Guitar
PRS Standard 22 Platinum Guitar (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
For a music aficionado, the electric guitar is the instrument that offers the greatest thrill. Many classes offering courses in guitar playing have sprung up. Hence purchasing the right electric guitar will help you to enjoy your learning experience. Here are some easy to understand tips that will enable you to make a correct decision in purchasing your electric guitar.

Are all the guitars the same?

No. There are many types of electric guitars available in the market. The right guitar depends on the sound that you are interested in. While some guitars can easily switch between jazz, blues and rock without any perceptible difference, the others cater to only one type of sound. Choosing the sound that you want will simplify your purchase decision. Besides, the sound you also need to take into account the location of the neck on the guitar. The two most common types of positions are the "set-neck" and the "bolt-on" necks. The set-neck allows you to keep on playing longer than bolt-on. The meeting point of the neck and guitar is tighter to allow the sound to move freely between the two.

The only disadvantage of set-neck is that it is difficult to repair or replace once it is damaged. The bolt-on style is available with the cheaper versions of guitars. The design is simple, locking the neck in a slot of the guitar body. Musical experts consider that this type of neck style does not give good quality sound and cannot be played longer, but this is more due to the type of materials used. If you don’t mind spending money for a superior quality sound but not a durable electric guitar, go for a set-neck.

What are frets?

You can choose the electric guitar based on how wide and long the neck is. 21, 22 and 24 are the number of frets that you can get with the usual guitars. The guitars from Stratocasters have 21 frets. This gives you a shorter neck but opting for large frets will let you play more easily. Jackson guitars have higher frets. The number of frets you should choose will depend on the number of notes you want to play. A higher number lets you play more sounds.

Thursday, November 8, 2018

History of UKULELE Music - You Can Get in on the Fun Too!

English: Martin Ukulele 1930 - Style 3K Martin...
Martin Ukulele 1930 - Style 3K 
(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Instrumental ukulele music is on the verge of becoming just as popular as mainstream ukulele music is. People are finally starting to realize that the ukulele is capable of making very good music. This instrument has been around since 1879 and it is just now being realized how it can make such enjoyable quality music.

When the ukulele has first invented the Hawaiians were not impressed with the beautiful music that the instrument was capable of making. It wasn't until around 1915 that the ukulele popularity came over to the mainland. It was after that the craze of the ukulele began which raised the popularity of the instrument. No matter what the history is behind it, the ukulele is now Hawaii's most popular musical instrument.

There was a great demand for ukuleles, which meant that production had to increase substantially. Of the original creators, by 1910, only one of them remained and he couldn't keep up with the demand. New competitors entered the field after time offering unique designs. Although there was a great deal of competition, there were still enough orders that each business was still being flooded.

The competition took a turn when the mainland guitar manufactures started making ukuleles around 1915. The Hawaiians where angry when it was learned the mainland manufactures started stamping "Made in Hawaii" on their Ukuleles. The Hawaiian ukulele makers created an original stamp that the legislature backed. Sometime in the 1920's, mainland makers started mass-producing the ukulele.

Today we are seeing surges of ukulele music popularity coming back. Hawaii is home to many musicians who have devoted their lives to playing the music of the ukulele. The ukulele is very light and also very portable which means that it makes it very easy to practice it.

Even though ukulele music has been around for over 130 years and it is still a very popular musical instrument choice. The music has a lot of history behind it but no matter what the history is, it is now a very popular instrument in world-wide. Even now the demand of ukuleles is growing in South America and other unexpected places.

The ukulele is the little brother of the guitar family and is usually seen with four nylon strings. The volume and tone of the instrument depend solely on the size that it is. They come in four different sizes and are enjoyed by countless individuals all over the world. The three smaller ukulele sizes are the soprano, concert, and tenor, and are tuned to the Key of C with the reentrant "my dog has fleas" tuning. The largest ukulele, the baritone is tuned to the Key of G like a guitar and the baritone ukulele is tuned exactly as the 4 smallest strings of a guitar. All guitar players can immediately play the baritone ukulele, although they may not know it.

If you are looking for a really fun instrument to learn, you do well to find a ukulele.

There is a world of fun you can have with a ukulele. You don't have to be a musician. You do not need any special musical talent. We know this is true because we have been around ukulele folks for over 20 years now. We have repaired ukuleles, hunted ukulele parts, made banjo ukuleles for several years. And now we try to seek out ukulele items that are quality and worth their cost. And certainly, we will help you if we can.

Keep Strumming... Keep Smiling...

Thursday, October 11, 2018

6 Simple Steps to Becoming A HOT GUITAR PLAYER!

English: Circle of fifths Italiano: Circolo de...
Circle of fifths (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Learning how to play guitar well is not easy. There are so many methods and so many conflicting opinions, it makes it difficult to know what to do.

But the simple fact is, if you want to be the best you can, as soon as you can, then all you need to do is - copy what the pro's do...

Master the Basics!
Mastering the basics means being able to play in all keys. Being able to transpose any song to any other key - on the spot preferably.

Did you know that 95% of guitarists DON'T master the basics? Oh yes, they mean to get around to it, but they hardly ever do.

Why is that? Well, it's because they think it's boring, complicated and too much hard work. And most of all - no fun! And mostly they were right. Well, it needn't be that way. Mastering the basics can be a lot of fun if you go about it in a methodical set-by-step way.

What does mastering the basics entail?

There are 6 basic steps you need to follow:
1. Learn the names of all notes on all strings, one string at a time.
2. Learn how to construct a C Major scale.
Basic must-know guitar theory. Easy stuff.
3. Learn how the chords of the major scale are made and what they are... their names etc. C Dm Em F G Am Bdim.
Basic chord construction knowledge.
4. Learn the triad patterns for the C major scale all over the fret board.
Triads are simple 3-note chords. Easy and fun to learn and play.
5. Learn to play those triads with common chord progressions.
Learn to play and apply the triads to the most common chord progressions that fit thousands and thousands of songs.
6. Learn to do step 5 in all keys.
Once you can do steps one to five in the key of C, it's really easy to learn it for the other 11 major keys.
Hint: It's much easier than you think. All the patterns are exactly the same as what you learn for C major. You don't have to learn any new patterns. Cookie cutter stuff.

It really is not hard at all. All you need is a methodical step-by-step method that makes sense and is easy and fun to use

About The Author

John Bilderbeck is a professional guitar teacher. 

Source: Articlecity

Thursday, September 27, 2018

GUITAR LESSONS – String Bending

Example of bending on electric guitar
Example of bending on electric guitar (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Bending strings is used to give the guitar a more personalized and harmonic quality. The technique is used mostly by lead guitar players but is also applied in all styles of playing. String bending and vibrato techniques are two large components in making up a guitar player’s style. The combination of these skills more or less defines a considerable part of what makes your playing different than the next guy.

Bending the strings far enough to reach the desired pitch is the goal. One of the keys is to use three fingers to bend the string, instead of just one finger. Use your third finger on the fret you're bending and place your first and second fingers on the frets behind it, and use the strength of all three fingers when you do a bend.

Fret the note on the 7th fret of the third string with your third finger. Your other finger should follow on the 6th and 5th fret. Our goal is to bend this note up one step (the equivalent of two frets) and then release the note to its original pitch. Before you do your first bend hit the note on the 9th fret, this will be your reference note. When you do your bend the goal is to make the tone of your bend “reach” the tone of the reference note. Repeat: hit your reference note, then immediately jump to the correct position and play a bend until to can consistently match the reference note.

The length you hold the bend, how quickly you release it and any vibrato you add to the bend will define a large part of playing your style. It’s good to just have fun and try doing a number of bends and releases to hear all the different sounds you can generate. Try bending the note before you strike it so you just hear the release, or try using a wide or narrow vibrato so act character and color to your bends.

Be patient you haven't used these muscles before, and it will take time to strengthen. Keep practicing, and you'll get the hang of it eventually.

Tuesday, September 18, 2018


Every day we listen to music. There are various music genres available on the market starting from pop, rock, jazz, folk and ending with classical music and hip-hop. Many of the songs are made with the help of an incredible musical instrument, meaning the guitar. The results are spectacular and this instrument is considered a truly great invention.

We all would like to learn to play guitar. But, there are few people who succeed, as this instrument demands tons of concentration and hard work. This is why there are some websites out there, provided by specialists, trying to make the learning process a little less difficult. They present the fundamentals in order to help one find out how to play guitar.

Their purpose is to prove to the world that to learn to play guitar can really be obtained after a serious time of practice. The guidelines are proper for beginners and advanced users as well, not to mention that some of them offer audio samples and many other helping steps. Information is available in a wonderful style online and there are lots of Internet users who become interested in learning how to play guitar.

Rhythm and timing are perhaps two of the most important parts of the process helping one to learn to play guitar. Absolute learning comes after some time and there are many things that need to be understood. For example, the basic guitar chords are significant for anyone wanting to learn how to play guitar. There are three major types: major, minor and dominant. All of them are important in the creative procedure of making a song and they help one get to the basics of discovering how to play guitar.

Besides guitar chords, there are many other crucial elements in order to learn to play guitar. There is a wealth of information about how to tune a guitar, major and minor scales, electric guitars and guitar effects. Moreover, you can check out the piece of info on popular topics such as guitar positions, fretting the guitar and fingerstyle guitar.

Also, you get to understand the need to use a pick and the various shapes that exist. It is vital to grasp that the pick can severely influence the musical performance in different ways, plus the thickness that can totally transform the sounds. Online there is a wide range of picks available, for anyone interested in learning how to play guitar.

There are many important aspects to the process of learning how to play guitar. Still, the simplest way to get beyond all that and learn for real is to keep on playing until you tire and then start again. Practice makes perfect, an old saying used to say and the idea continues to be perfect for any beginner. Musical instruments do not necessarily require an amazing technique but the mastering of the basic skills.

The Internet is the perfect place to locate all possible information about guitar playing and guides. The heaps of available data can be overwhelming and this is why it is for the best to select some useful resources. Choose the one that has the information clearly presented and that highlights the importance of everyday practice.

Aside from learning guides, one can also find online other interesting information about guitars. There are guitar buying tips, leads on used instruments and famous guitarists. These are many but few of the names worth mentioning include Jimi Hendrix, Nirvana, Julian Bream, and Andres Segovia. All of them are famous guitarists in the world and they have managed to succeed by constant work. It is up to you how you use your talents and your skills.

Wednesday, September 12, 2018


Suzi Quatro, wearing black leather, plays a ba...
Suzi Quatro (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Some people think that if you want to change the world you don't become a bass player, but go into something more challenging and stimulating like the Post Office. But does this myth portray how bass players really are? Let's step back from our habitual way of seeing bass guitar players as necessary but boring members of the group. Like accountants. 

Sure we acknowledge the fine contribution they make to their bands by supplying the bass lines and paying for the beer, but do they actually do anything really creative? This brief listing of some prominent men (and woman) of bass will allow you to see that this apparently self-effacing member of a musical group could be the creative powerhouse.

Let's start with the leather-jacketed but overpoweringly feminine Suzi Quatro. A vocalist and bass player who had a bunch of hits in Australia and Europe in the early seventies, her popularity in the USA stemmed from her role as Leather Tuscadero in Happy Days.

John Entwistle pioneered the use of the electric bass guitar as an instrument for soloists. His aggressive approach to the bass guitar influenced many other bassists.

Flea of The Red Hot Chili Peppers impressed a lot of musicians with his popping and slapping technique which was originally invented by Larry Graham of Sly And The Family Stone. Flea's innovative use of effects pedals has also influenced many bass players.

Jack Bruce wrote most of supergroup Cream's hit songs. Among his other achievements are fighting constantly with Cream's drummer, Ginger Baker and surviving a liver transplant.

Greg Lake is another artist of the early seventies who played with a number of innovators from the glam rock era. Lake is best known for his vocals, bass and guitar work with Emerson, Lake, and Palmer.

Rob Bailey is a bassist who plays loud and aggressive. His bass playing is an important element in the music of AC/DC.

Benny Rietveld, a Dutch musician who went to college in Hawaii, is admired for his musical and individualistic style of play. He worked with Barney Kessell, Sheila E, Huey Lewis, and Miles Davis. He has also made an album featuring Carlos Santana. Talk about diverse.

Paul McCartney performs in Dublin, Ireland on ...
Paul McCartney  (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Paul McCartney played bass with The Beatles. Many bass players say he's quite good, but he changed the world with his romantic song lyrics.

Considered by some to be the king of bass players, Stanley Clarke employs a variation of the pop and slap technique to produce some truly innovative bass guitar music. His 1976 album, School Days, is acclaimed by many critics as one of the greatest bass albums ever.

A true bass lead guitar player, Billy Sheehan has won Guitar Player Magazine's "Best Rock Bass Player" readers' poll five times. Why a "bass lead guitar player"? Because Billy plays bass as if he were playing the lead.

So if you are not familiar with bass guitar players I hope this article has whetted your appetite. Why not spend your next rainy Sunday watching some of their work on YouTube?

Saturday, August 25, 2018

Dreaming Of Playing BLUES GUITAR Chords Like A Pro?

English: Picture taken from taking barre chord...
The picture was taken from taking barre chord on a guitar. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
You know what they say: ”If you’ve got the blues, you’ve got the juice.” Indeed, blues guitar music is the Mecca of all guitar music. After all, you can’t get any better than that head bobbing and feet tapping rhythm that courses through your very soul like a fine wine or a hot cup of coffee.

Blues guitar chords and guitar lessons, anyone?

There are several reliable blues guitar chords and guitar lessons online and offline.  These are all managed by experienced and schooled guitarists. Online sites can have you playing the blues faster than ordinary lessons.  Once you sign up for instructions, you will be regularly provided with progressive guitar coaching. There are also sites that offer 200 lessons for exclusive members.

If you want to learn speed guitar playing with your blues guitar chords, the Internet is a minefield for sites that hasten your accomplishments with the trickier aspects of guitar playing – fingering, phrasing, and picking, useful techniques if you dream of playing like the greats, such as BB King, Jimi Hendrix, Eric Clapton, and blues rocker Anna Popovic.

The homepages of several sites have a list of lessons for beginners, intermediate, advanced, and legendary. Each category is marked by a number of guitars graphics. Two to three guitars indicate the difficulty level of the lesson, so start with the appropriate tutorial. And no, skipping levels won’t help you. You’re only fooling yourself.

Learning blues guitar chords

Learning blues guitar chords online affords you the flexibility of time. You can schedule the hour for your training according to your free time. Learning or slacking, it’s your call. Take note, however, that you have to be consistent with your lessons. A daily dose of guitar instruction will have you playing like a pro in no time.

Of course, you must have a guitar to practice on. If you don’t have one, well, go get one, otherwise, you’re a sitting duck. Playing blues guitar chords are often demonstrated online to give you an idea of how the chords are played. The instructor gives explanations before, during, and after the demonstration. Your background information, basic guitar skills, and understanding of the triads are essential tools for your advanced training.

If you have just started fundamental lessons or still feeling your way around guitars, learning the blues guitar chords will definitely not be a piece of cake. But fear not because frequent practice makes perfect. Set an hour or two for added lessons in blues guitar chords. Know the basics, practice and prepare, then go learn those blues guitar chords. And yes, definitely in that order.

How do I learn the tricks with blues guitar chords?

First, you need an acoustic or electric guitar. These should have steel strings and have the standard tuning of E-A-D-G-B-E. You must have the aptitude to read tablatures. A good chord book and some blues music CDs, preferably of your blues heroes, will help you along, or at least, inspire you. The last and most significant tool you need is your ability to discern the tonal quality of the guitar.

The step-by-step blues guitar tutorials will take you along the 12 chord progression, via audio examples, blues tablature, MP3 jam tracks, detailed instructions, and video demonstrations.
You will need to master the primary elements – pentatonic scale, chord structure, and the different right-hand rhythm styles. As you go along, make sure you are absorbing the blues guitar chords dictionary, including visualizing chord arrangements on the guitar.

When you are ready, you will be introduced to the more complex diminished and augmented chords.  Some cynics scoff at the idea of guitar scales lessons. But little do they know that the great guitarists have learned to add depth to their blues by applying their extensive knowledge and appreciation of scales. This also boils down to learning the organization of the fretboard.

Playing the solo

Playing the solo starts with learning the rhythm part of the blues guitar chords. It can be compared to the blueprint that is used as a guide for solo blues artists. In solo playing, the notes are played one by one, and this is accompanied by the rhythm guitar. In contrast, the rhythm plays the note of one chord all at once or is plucked in progression.

So, with all that said, do you think you can be the next Jimi Hendrix with your blues guitar chords?

Friday, August 24, 2018

UKULELE - Music-Instruments of the World

Ukulele - Music-Instruments of the World

Thursday, August 23, 2018


English: PAF Humbucker Pickup on a Gibson Les ...
PAF Humbucker Pickup on a Gibson Les Paul (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
For years or decades, I’ve played electric guitar in bands at bars, schools, concerts and recording sessions yet I couldn’t tell you what pick-ups (p/u’s) were about. I mean, I didn’t have a clue as to what a pick-up did what to my sound. I grew up in a Gibson family. I mean that my relatives when they didn’t ridicule me for my participation as a rock and roll guitar player, said if I played the guitar, it had to be a Gibson. So, I only had a clue about humbucker type pick-up’s Gibson used. Oh yeah, it’s little brother the P-90.

My first electric was a Tiesco Del Ray I got for Christmas in 1967. I did get a Mattel Tiger guitar that was made of plastic and used a contact type pick-up. My brother and I each got one that XMAS so often times we’d use one of the pick-ups as a vocal mic.

Those days’ electric strings were extremely limited in types and gauges available to young poor city folk like yours truly. I think I only remember Gibson, Fender and Black Diamond strings. This is before the Maestro Fuzz and the Vox Wha-Wha were available to the buying public like me. Back to pick-ups!

With the limited info as to how the stars were getting “THAT SOUND” we just kept trying to learn guitar without “how to” magazines and poor sounding phonograph players playing 45’s on a tiny speaker. You could say there was no reason to discern between p/u’s.

In the mid 70’s I was already playing full time and knew about vintage Les Pauls and the legendary PAF pick-up’s that were installed in them. Around that time an N.Y. Co. was making a name for themselves as a replacement for your non- Gibson brand type (humbucking) pick-up, DeMarzio. I ended up buying one for my 76 Explorer. Mind you I owned since the mid 60’s, a late 50’s Epiphone symmetric cherry finish Coronet with a, I think someone called it a cobalt pick-up. It is referred to as the “P-90”, or “soap bar” single coil type pick-up. I loved that guitar and its sound. I just thought I should have a “real vintage” sounding guitar with a humbucking p/u installed. I also owned a Les Paul Deluxe with the mini humbuckers. It sounded great, I just thought it should have full sized p/u’s to sound and look right. To quote Ian Hunter in the mid 70,s, “Rock guitarist’s seem to have this Gibson fetish”, and I did! I wanted the “look”.

Gil Pini, the other Guitarist playing with me was using the DeMarzio super Distortion humbucking , and I for some reason didn’t feel good about its sound and feel, although it was touted as “heaven sent “ sort of thing, especially for Marshall amplifiers back then (no master volume on the pre-amp stage). I eventually purchased a Super 2 p/u, because it had more bite. And to me, meant, it would cut through cleaner and not be as transparent in the mix. I even bought the Alembic ‘Hot Rod Kit” for my 56 Les Paul Jr. (stupid) in 1976 or 77. That was supposed to be a good idea because it was hotter (better sounding) with a ceramic magnet to install, and since it was from Alembic (from California) and not some “upstart p/u manufacturer” it was the right thing to do. I didn’t think about the DeMarzio pick-up’s and I didn’t know that those pick-up’s used the ceramic magnets at the time.

As I started to record in major recording studios I’d learn to discern my sound. I didn’t have those how-to magazines to hip me to that elusive vintage “sound”. Yet, I could hear my Gibson Explorer and my Les Paul Jr. distorting at all volume levels as well as attack approach. It just wouldn’t smooth out. I was puzzled. Still trying to connect the look with the sound, I stumbled through the maze for years.

Not having the patience, or the money to buy and compare p/u’s, I just tried to make a sound with what I had. I had all the right Pro equipment. Yet I was looking back, “wagging the dog”.

A good sound starts from the fingers to the guitar to the P/u’s. If you don’t start there, you’re spinning in circles and you’ll end up with a transparent (fuzzy) sound without body and response. “Your fingers are your tone generators”. Not the amps or pedals. Those are tools to augment your expression. And if you learn anything about troubleshooting on the fly, you go down the line to find the problem with your sound or rig. The same goes for finding your sound. When establishing your sound you start with you, through the pick-up on down to the amp. With troubleshooting on stage, you should start with the amp and go down the line back to you. Which makes sense since you’ve established your rig set up, and you’re trying to fix what was working, you backtrack. If not, you’re spinning in circles, again!

So, I had a friend who made the point about how some pick-up’s play you and PAF’s don’t. I soon tried two 57 Classic pick-up’s installed on my 92 Les Paul Classic and what do you know? I had a sound that was tight on the bottom ringing on the top and honking clear/dirty mids when I played hard, and subtle soft tones when I backed off the and played lightly. I was in HEAVEN!! And the great thing that went with it was that this same thing happened regardless of the volume setting on the guitar.

My experience was that the tone I got on full could be bright and tight with a honk, and as soon as I backed off the guitar’s volume, the tone would take on a dark or dull shade. This meant I would spend a lot of time tweaking the blend between my rhythms (clean and crunch) and lead tones. Looking for each was a drag and a waste of time!

I’m no tech. so I can’t and won’t waste your time with my take of their specs. I do know that there’s something about the combination of the enamel coated copper wire and the alnico magnets that give me a sound I can play with and use dynamics. It was soon after I started using the Gibson 57 Classic pick-up, that Gibson came out with their 57 Classic plus. This p/u was designed as a bridge p/u.

In the 50;s the gals at the pick-up dept. would wind these pick-up’s using an egg timer or something like that. Sometimes they’d be distracted and some pick-ups would end up with more winds. Other times they would end up with less.

The p/u’s with more sounded “hotter” and when people started going for the tone, they’d notice the sound of certain pick-ups compared to others. It wasn't rocketed science to come up with the idea to put one of those “hot” pickups in the bridge position you would have a bright, tight, and honk’n lead tone where there wasn’t. And a whole new submarket in ‘vinatge' pick-up’s ‘ came about.

Which brings us full circle, “I use Gibson Pick-ups and I’m sure that the other brands quality alnico pickups are a good sounding product. I do know what sounds good to me and what I know from “my” experience. I’m a guitarist who’s been around the block and my ears have a sense as to what a pickup should sound like, that’s what I go for all the time.

Make your self happy and keep the communication’s open!

Wednesday, August 8, 2018

The Influence Of BLUES GUITAR On Modern Music

El considerado rey del Blues con su inseparabl...
El considerado rey del Blues con su inseparable Lucille.(Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Anybody interested in modern music sooner or later asks the question, "Where did it begin?" Well, if you leave blues guitar music out, you will not have much of an answer. So let us look at where the blues came from, where it went and who it met on the way. We will also take a look at the "blues guitar sound" and how it has its unique effect on our feelings.

The blues as a musical phenomenon began around 1911 when W.C. Handy published popular songs, notably "Memphis Blues" and "St Louis Blues", which affected the hearts and souls of the black people. By the nineteen twenties the general population was beginning to hear this new music through its influence on jazz. Early blues singers like Bessie Smith and Billie Holiday sang with jazz bands while others played with "jug bands" accompanied by fiddle, kazoo and washboard.

Of course to people like W. C. Handy who were brought up singing in church, the piano was the natural instrumental accompaniment to their songs. But the guitar is portable and always was popular so it had to have a place in blues and jazz. Blues guitar players like twelve-string guitarist Leadbelly and future electric guitar player B.B. King were making sure the guitar would be an integral part of the blues. Other blues guitarists made their living in smoky saloons playing slide guitar using a bottleneck or the blade of a knife to fret the notes.

After the Second World War young artists like Elvis Presley and Bill Haley were wrapping the blues in a new package called "rock'n'roll" and the players of the electric blues guitar like B.B. King were heralding the arrival of the lead guitar, soon to be a great attraction for both musicians and audiences. Throughout the evolution of the blues the guitar had always taken its turn for solos in jazz bands but now it competed with the singer for the attention of the audience.

Blues guitar can be played in any key that takes your fancy and comes in three basic forms: eight bars, for example, "Heartbreak Hotel", sixteen bars like "Saint James Infirmary" and twelve bars like  "St. Louis Blues". For some reason, the twelve-bar blues form is way more singer-friendly and popular with audiences than the other two, and it is the basis of many great songs outside the blues idiom.

If you go poking around the internet you will find that the blues scales are just your garden variety major and minor scales except that the third, fifth and seventh notes are played flat. However, you may be astonished to learn that blues players managed for centuries without knowing about European musical theory. They learned to sing and play from their families and friends just as many of the young white blues players of the nineteen sixties learned from imitating the artists they heard on records.

And this is where the blues takes another direction. After years of imitating their idols, something odd happened to the white blues guitar players in Britain and the USA. They developed their own authentic, original styles. The older blues players even began using the new arrangements of classic songs and adopting some of the unbluesy musical innovations introduced by young white guitarists like Eric Clapton. So the beat goes on. A foreign culture influences American popular music and in turn gets fresh input from a new generation of guitar players from all over the world.

Saturday, August 4, 2018

FRETLESS GUITARS - An Issue of Taste

fretless "fretboard"
Photo  by alikins 
If one examines the average guitar, either electric or acoustic, one will find small raised bars running width-wise across the instrument's neck. These bars are called frets, and they are placed on stringed instruments to allow the player to accurately and consistently determine where to depress a string in order to produce the desired note. However, not all guitars use frets in the same way; in fact, some lack frets completely. And although such guitars are fairly uncommon, they are by no means unheard of.

A fretless guitar is one that lacks frets completely. Its strings run from the guitar's bridge to its headstock. The instrument is played in the same manner as a fretted version. Because this guitar is, in a manner, less structured than its fretted cousins, it is capable of a wider variety of music. Most guitars are confined to 12-tone scales, but some musicians prefer fretless guitars because they allow for more tonal experimentation.

Fretless guitars also produce a different sound from their fretted cousins. The strings of a fretless guitar are only ever depressed between the player's fingertips and the soundboard. Such a technique absorbs the energy from the string's vibration faster than would occur if a fret were used. As a result, the strings of the fretless guitar have a more "damped" sound.

Without the frets to create a barrier between the strings and the fingerboard, fretless guitars can sometimes suffer from additional fingerboard wear. In an effort to counteract this problem, the fingerboard of a fretless guitar, especially a bass guitar, is usually made of a hardwood, such as ebony. Another solution is to apply a coat of epoxy to the strings or to use a type of string, such as flat-wound, that will reduce fingerboard wear.

Some artists criticize fretless guitars on several counts. For one thing, these instruments are much more difficult to play than typical guitars. The lack of frets leaves more room for error in hand positioning. As a result, more listening training is required of a fretless guitarist in order that he may be able to discern the minute differences in intonation that his instrument permits. Another common complaint is the fact that acoustic fretless guitars are simply softer than those with frets. On bass guitars, this problem is at least partially solved by the instrument's strings. Bass guitars use much heavier strings and have a heavier body overall, which creates a naturally louder sound. The issue, of course, can be solved on non-bass guitars via the use of pickups and amplification.

Although fretless guitars are not the norm, they have gained a certain number of followers, especially among electric bass guitarists. The use of these guitars is particularly common in jazz, funk, and R&B, probably due to the fact that the sound of a fretless guitar is similar to that of a double bass. Famous fretless bass guitarists include Bill Wyman (formerly) of The Rolling Stones, John Paul Jones of Led Zeppelin and the incomparable Sting of The Police.

Monday, July 23, 2018

The Lyrical Accompaniment of the LUTE

Lute - Photo by quinet
In general, a lute is a stringed instrument that loosely resembles a guitar, but has a round body, a deep and round back, a fretted or unfretted neck and is a member of the family of European lutes. The instrument is played by plucking the strings, which vibrate and create the sound.

The strings are placed over a bridge which allows them to vibrate freely and the body of the lute is hollow in order to intensify the sound so that others can clearly hear the instrument. While the instrument is not overly popular today, it was incredibly popular during the baroque music period when people would play the instrument alone or as an accompaniment to other instruments.

When the lute was created is not clear. There is much speculation about how long it has been around. Some say that a variation of the lute may have existed during the time of the Ancient Egyptians, but others say it may not have existed until the 1500s. It is difficult to tell when exactly the lute was first created because there were so many instruments that existed throughout history that somewhat resemble the lute.

Though most may think that the lute is an instrument of the past, it is one that is still played today; however, the instrument is often custom made and is not one that is easily found in used music stores. As a result, this particular stringed instrument can be quite expensive to acquire. Finding someone who can teach one how to play the lute is not as difficult and the lessons may not be as expensive as they can be for other instruments.

In general, the lute is not the first instrument that people will choose to play, probably because it is not one that is seen as often as the guitar or the saxophone. The general population is influenced by the instruments they see most often, which will leave the lute out of the picture because it is not too common in much of today’s music.

This is not to say that the lute will never gain popularity again or that there is not really any place for it. People who play the lute find music to play, though it may not exactly be rock and roll.

Anyone looking for a unique instrument that is out of the norm might want to give the lute a try. It has its own unique sound that is not duplicated by other instruments and one that takes skill and practice to be able to play the instrument well. It can be a little challenging for some, while it can be easier for others at the same time. Some experience with playing the guitar might make learning how to play the lute easier, while someone with no experience is starting from scratch so they may have a more difficult time at first. Someone who really has an interest in learning to play the lute will probably have little difficulty regardless of whether they have previous experience with stringed instruments or not.

By Victor Epand

Victor Epand is an expert consultant for used CDs, autographed CDs, and used musical instruments.

Article Source: EzineArticles

Saturday, June 23, 2018

Good GUITAR TECHNIQUE Will Allow You To Play Anything!

Cheyenne Guitar Society 1-4-11
Photo  by ljguitar 
There are many philosophies when it comes to practicing guitar. Some people don't practice at all, others practice for 10+ hours per day! Steve Vai's legendary 10-hour guitar workout comes to mind. But consider this...who do you think is the better guitar player? The person who hardly practices, or the person who practices on a regular basis? Of course, it's the person who practices regularly!

I'm a strong advocate of practicing on a regular basis because, with good guitar technique, you can play anything! If you think about it, it makes perfect sense. If you can alternate pick most any lick or picking pattern, then any time you’re trying to learn something new you’ll be able to pick it up much more quickly then if you don’t have good technique.

Obviously, you want to practice things that you have difficulty playing, or create your own exercises that are similar to those things you struggle with. By focusing your practice time on these things, you will improve much quicker. Then in the future when you encounter things you previously used to struggle with, you’ll breeze right through it!

Think about it…if all you practice are power chords, you just really limit yourself as to what you can potentially play. By focusing on certain techniques, you’ll be able to do so much more. But you can still play power chords if you choose. I don’t know, maybe some people are happy only playing power chords, but I digress…

Now I'm not saying that you should go out and start practicing for 10+ hours per day. I never practiced for more than 3-4 hours per day. I think that what you practice is more important than how long you practice. Of course, it’s ultimately up to you. This is just how I view the guitar.

Friday, June 22, 2018

How to Restring an ELECTRIC GUITAR

Music's mistery
Electric Guitar - Photo by angelocesare 
For a newbie, this may seem a little intimidating.  But with the right tools, a little knowledge, and some practice, you'll be able to restring an electric guitar like a professional guitar tech.  When I was gigging regularly, I would restring my guitar every week.  My body chemistry is acidic and the sweat and oils from my hands would tend to dull the brightness of the strings as well as make them feel "dirty".  For me, the bright sound and smooth feel of a new set of strings would inspire my playing.  It became a ritual for me the night before the weekend's gigs started.  I would sit in front of the TV and restring my electric guitar; my acoustic was much less frequent.

OK, so you've decided you don't want to pay the guys at the music store and you want to know how to restring an electric guitar yourself.  Here is the list of tools and supplies you will need:

· A new set of strings (naturally!) Click here for info on string sizes
· A string winder (not required but very handy)
· A pair of wire cutters
· A guitar tuner (again, not required but helpful)

You will need to set aside about an hour of time to do this correctly, but as I stated earlier, with practice you will know how to restring your electric guitar in about 20-30 minutes.  

The first thing to remember, do NOT remove all six strings at the same time.  The guitar neck is designed to withstand the tension of the strings and if all of the tension is removed for any significant amount of time you could damage your guitar.

Also, there are some guitars that are literally held together by the string tension. I remember reading a story about a guy who had recently gotten hired as a guitar tech for the Ramones.  Wanting to make a good impression on Johnny Ramone he decided to restring his guitar for him right before the show.  He removed all six strings and Johnny's Mosrite guitar literally fell apart in his hands.  The string tension held the whole guitar together!  What's worse, the bridge of the guitar bounced across the floor and fell down the air conditioning duct.  

If I remember the story correctly, they spent quite some time using a coat hanger and chewing gum trying to rescue the bridge from the duct.  He retrieved it and managed to keep his job, living to restring the guitar another day.  But not all six strings at once!

But I digress.  Some people work in pairs of strings at a time, I prefer to work on individual strings.  You will quickly decide what works best for you.  Use this article as a guideline to get you up to speed quickly.  

OK, let's get down to it.  I always start with the high E string (personal preference); it helps keep me organized.  

If your guitar has a locking nut tremolo (whammy bar) system you will have to unlock it.  It works best if you remove the clamps completely and work with just the nut until the restringing process is done and the strings are stretched and tuned.  Then replace the locking clamps and fine tune using the tuners on the tremolo bridge.

· Use your string winder and loosen the string until there is enough slack that you can unwind the string from the tuning post by hand. 

· Use your wire cutters to cut off the curled end of the string and discard.  Do this to minimize the chance of scratching the finish of your guitar.  Push/pull the string back through the bridge slowly making sure it does not drag across the body.  You don't want to restring your guitar to result in refinishing your guitar!

· Next, unwrap the appropriate new string.  Insert it through the bridge of the guitar, over the saddle, up the neck, over the nut and into the hole in the tuning post.  Again make sure the trailing end of the string doesn't drag across the guitar body.

· Start turning the tuner by hand making sure the string wraps over the top of the tuning post.  Ideally, you want to have 3-4 wraps of the string around the tuner, but this is nothing to stress over. 

· Turn the tuner until the slack is out and the string is properly seated in the nut and over the bridge saddle.  

· Next clip the excess string off close to the tuner and use your string winder to bring the string up to pitch.  

· Use your digital tuner and tune to pitch.

· Next, grab the string with your picking hand halfway between the bridge and the nut and lightly tug the string away from the fretboard.  Do not pull real hard, just hard enough to pull the stretch out of the string and tighten it around the tuner post.

· Tune to pitch and repeat the stretching process until the string stays in tune.

Now repeat the entire process for the remaining five strings.  Know that the pitch of the new strings may fluctuate as you work on the remaining strings.  This is especially true with a Floyd Rose or similar type floating bridge. When you have replaced and stretched the last string make sure all six strings are still in tune.  If you have a locking tremolo system, replace the clamps for the locking nut, tighten, and use the bridge fine tuners to get the proper pitch.

The final step is the best one; sit back, crank up your amp and enjoy. Make sure you play something with lots of note bending in it and make sure the stretch is all played.  

Take satisfaction in knowing that you now know how to restring an electric guitar.

Friday, May 18, 2018


English: Mick Taylor with the Rolling Stones
Mick Taylor with the Rolling Stones (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Playing guitar is just about one of the most enjoyable things you can do. Ask any guitar player and they will tell you that. The trouble is, when you are first starting out, the learning curve can be pretty steep, which makes it pretty tough to reach the enjoyment stage. It's hard to enjoy something when your fingers are sore and you don't really know how to play anything! For this reason, you'll find a few easy guitar songs below. Enjoy!

Please bear in mind that there isn't space or the scope to give you an in-depth explanation of rhythms and strumming here, so the best thing to do is to play along with the record until you have at least a basic idea of how it should sound.

Song 1- House Of The Rising Sun, by the Animals
A great song, tremendously well known and very popular. You?ll find that simply knowing this song will cause some people to give you great acclaim as a guitar player, which can be pretty odd when you are just starting out!
Chords: Am, C, D, F, Am, E, Am

Song 2- Freebird by Lynrd Skynrd
This tune is an all-time great, and guaranteed to cause legions of beer drinking men all over the world to lock arms and hoist their lighter?s in the air! Obviously, the guitar solo at the end takes some time to master, but if you forget about that and just go with the chords you can build up a pretty convincing version of this classic song.
Main Verse Chords- G, D/F#, Em, F, C, D
Chorus- F, C, D
Fast Part at the end- G5, A#5, C5, (cycle all 3 over and over)

Song 3- Knockin On Heaven's Door, Bob Dylan/Guns n Roses
One of the easiest songs to learn and get sounding really good. Just one thing to note, if you want to play along with the Guns? version, note that they tune their guitars down a half step, so the chords you play will need to be one step flat to sound the same as their recording.
Chords: G, D, Am7

Song 4- For What It's Worth, Buffalo Springfield.
Ever wonder what Neil Young did before he was old and grizzled? He was in bands like this. This song is possibly the easiest song to learn for a beginning guitar player, as it's just the same two chords cycled over and over. Songs like this prove that you don't have to be Steve Vai or someone like that to write and play good music.
Chords: E, A, E, A etc etc

Song 5- Sympathy For Devil, The Rolling Stones
An excellent song and one that many people are surprised to find is so simple to play.
It sounds excellent whether played on a beat-up acoustic or on an electric, so go to town!
Chords: E, D, A, E over and over
Chorus- B, E, B, E over and over

Learning simple guitar songs like this is a great way to build up your confidence and experience with the instrument. Once you get these songs down, you'll be ready to go on and tackle more and more difficult songs each time!

Thursday, May 3, 2018

The Development Of The Electric BASS GUITAR

7-saitiger HeKe E-Bass "Goliath"
7-saitiger HeKe E-Bass "Goliath" (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Although the concept of a bass guitar was first developed in the 1930s, it wasn't until the 1950s that mass production met with popularity and the concept of an electric bass guitar became mainstream. Once the idea of an electric bass guitar took hold, and was used widely in groups and bands performing across the world, many companies began developing new styles and methods to create some fantastic ideas for the instrument, and help its popularity grow. Today the electric bass guitar has stepped forwards from the dark shadows of the back of the stage to take a much more prominent position at the front - and has become known as a very popular and stylish instrument to play. Not forgetting, of course, that the quality of sound and versatility have come a long way too.

Since it took about twenty years for the idea of an electric bass guitar to become a mainstream popular idea, it is unsurprising perhaps that it took another twenty years for the next big jump in design and innovation. It was in the 1970s that the company known as Music Man was founded by Leo Fender. It was this company that designed and created the StingRay, which was the first bass guitar to include active electronics. Although these active electronics can sound quite complex, the simple effect was to increase the range of high and low notes, and enhance the crispness of each.

In the early seventies a company called Alembic created the basic design for the high end bass guitars, known as boutique guitars. These were crafted using the highest degree of expertise, with the most highly skilled craftsmen using the finest quality materials. With unique, custom designs, the most premium woods available and some of the most innovative electronic gadgetry included, these boutique bass guitars became well known as the top guitar to have - and brought bass guitars from the back of the stage to the very front - an equal to the standard electric guitar.

Over the next thirty years the designs of electric bass guitars have varied, with new innovations, odd and unusual features and designs, including a headless bass by Ned Steinberger, who also introduced the Trans-Trem tremolo bar. A few years later the Guild Guitar Corporation introduced the astonishing fretless bass, known as the Ashbory. Quite how a guitar would work without frets would challenge any sane thinker - but the Ashbory used silicone rubber strings, with a piezoelectric pickup. The result of this was a sound more like a double bass than an electric guitar.

It was in the nineties that five string basses became popular, and prices began to reduce quite significantly, seeing pre-amplifiers built in to most bass guitars - previously something reserved for the higher end guitar. Today we see electric bass guitars include digital modelling circuits actually built in to the guitar - almost like having a computer built in to the body of the guitar, and able to enhance, distort, amplify and altar the voice of the guitar in such a way that it is possible to program the guitar to sound like any of the well known types of guitar available previously.

    Victor Epand is an expert consultant for guitars, drums, keyboards, sheet music, guitar tab, and home theater audio.
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