Friday, August 27, 2010

Basic Scales for Guitar. Friend or Foe?

Basic Scales for Guitar.
Friend or Foe?

Guitar teachers and books all seem to preach the dogma of scales. How much do basic scales really help? Find out in this interesting article.

If you're reading this, I'm assuming that you're interested in playing lead guitar, improvising and/or composing.

Love/hate relationships...I have a love/hate relationship with scales. After 25 years experience with the guitar and about 35 years with music (I'm also a singer and semi-decent pianist) I'm convinced that scales are not the best way to learn music. I've also noticed more than a few students get turned off by music - from scales.

OK Dave, so why the heck do ya' have an article on them? Well, for some people, especially in the beginning, they can be useful to get their chops together. ( If you didn't already know, chops are what we musicians call technical ability on the instrument).

Basic scales are very moderation. Especially in the beginning for ear training and basic mapping out of the guitar fretboard. Once these tasks have been accomplished, basic scales should be left behind. The student will progress further and faster by focusing on music.

What do you mean by "music"? Songs, licks, riffs and composing. I write more about these essential ideas on my theory page, but I will expose the strengths and weaknesses of basic scales for you right now.


get playing mechanics together quicklyear trainingfretboard mapping


The weaknesses require more explanation. First, some background...

I got into music through my mum (Canadian, eh) who was an excellent singer and also accompanied herself on the piano while she sang. She would teach me to sing songs by ear, and I would attempt to figure them out at the piano.

Later,(about age 7 or so) I began a formal study of the piano. I had a good teacher and for the first 5 years I made great progress. Once I hit the age of 12 or 13 though, I wanted to try to play songs I heard on the radio. I also wanted to improvise. This led to some frustration because everything I'd been learning was either printed music or scales.

The upside was that I made it a mission to learn to play by ear and to improvise. I also developed a passionate interest in guitar and rock music. Not too long after this, when I was about 15 I started forming a vision of being a musician. For me, that meant "going against the grain" of the establishment.

Of course my musical vision has gone through several transformations by now.Long story short, I decided the easiest way for me to be a full time musician after high school was to audition for the Jazz Music curriculum at Toronto's Humber College. Humber College is kind of like Canada's version of Berklee in the United States. Although much smaller, it boasted teachers who were all world-class masters at what they did.

The drawback was that scales were the method by which a lot of the music was explained. I played scales and "modes" up, down and sideways. I started to believe that becoming a world-class jazz musician wasn't worth it. This is probably why I continued to pursue playing mostly rock music at that time in my life. Who wants to play basic scales all day and night? Especially when I didn't see any results in my ability to improvise.

My point about the weaknesses... guitar scales and basic scales can make you lose sight of the forest for the trees. You start to think and analyze too much. Instead of responding in a spontaneous way.

More Background

Luckily for me, I had a spark of imagination and common sense. As soon as my assignments for school were complete(or before!)I would learn all the Eddie Van Halen and Slash tunes and solos I could. I also played out in a couple of cover bands while still attending Humber College.

As soon as I graduated (after 4 years of basic scales...yikes!) I formed my own original band here in Toronto and started playing the clubs. I didn't play a scale or even look at printed music for many years, and I made more progress than I ever had!

I'm sure my teachers at Humber College had learned this way too. Jamming, copying licks from recordings, writing music...Of course, my studies gave me a solid musical foundation upon which to build. My point is that you don't want to get caught up in too much theory or scale playing. Make music!

Sidenote: Humber College was an awesome experience for me. My teachers were some serious world-class musicians. Many of my fellow students were amazing musicians. There was a lot of jamming going on. It wasn't all scales ;-) I'm sure that a lot of what I'm capable of now is due to the seeds planted at Humber :-)

More "ranting"...Basic scales are just a convenient form for teachers to package musical ideas in. Teachers don't mean to do any harm. They probably don't know how they learned what they know, or they just don't know how to express it.

People have been making music for eons. Melodies have been around for centuries. I believe they come from the collective consciousness of humanity. If that's a little "out there" for ya' , hey! I'm a musician!

The point is that basic scales are man-made. They were invented by academics who analyzed music that was made by musicians and noticed patterns.

These patterns are akin to the "rules" of grammar. The language developed, and then grammar was invented. Do you think that knowing a lot about the rules of grammar helps you communicate your ideas more effectively?

In summary: Practice your scales on guitar. Just don't forget the goal is to make music :-) Best in guitar and Life,


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Thursday, August 26, 2010

Guitar Playing Techniques

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Ear Training for Better Guitar Playing

Ear Training -
for better guitar playing!

Can ear training really help you become a better guitar player? Wouldn't you be better off just playing more guitar? And just what is ear training? Let's find out...

Those are great questions. Yes, to improve on guitar you need to practice consistently. However, imagine being able to get 100% more out of your practice sessions than you are right now. Could that be possible?

Understanding theory and scales etc. is important. Being able to read music can also be a useful skill. However, as important as these skills are, they also depend upon your specific goals with music. All great musicians, despite the many differences in genre, style, age, gender or cultural influence most definitely have one thing in common - great ears!

Ear training is crucial - no matter what your goals in music may be. Yes, even if you just want to hum n' strum some songs on the guitar. Why? Well, do you remember learning to read back in elementary school? You know how your teacher would ask you to write a report on the story you just read? You know, to make sure that you actually read it?

The teacher didn't only want to check that you read it. They also wanted to know how well you understood what you read! Now read that sentence again and let it sink in :-) What's the point of reading something if you don't grasp its meaning?

THAT is ear training. Being able to understand the music you're playing. Not through analysis (although that definitely has a place), but through lightning fast perception! Your learning of the guitar and music will increase 300%!!! In other words, it'll go through the roof.

Everyone's musical ears are at a different stage of development when they take up the guitar. For a lot of people, when they hear music, it's like they're listening to a foreign language. They don't have much comprehension of what they are hearing.

Others may have a little more experience and be able to grasp musical ideas and concepts more quickly. Still others (a rare few) have had just the right factors of Nature and Nurture and have highly developed musical ears.

If you're worried that your ear may not be that great or that you can't develop it, relax. It's easy to improve. See the ear training exercises at the bottom of this page for some ideas.

No Previous Experience with Ear Training?

Perhaps a cup of tea :-) and finishing this page could be helpful before jumping into the exercises. If you have actual physical issues with your sense of hearing in any way, just be sure to do whatever it is that the experts are advising you to do in order to take care of them. Playing guitar shouldn't be an issue.

NOTE: about hearing protection...a lot of people take their sense of hearing for granted. If you play music with a drummer, or are regularly exposed to any loud sounds, please see more about hearing protection.

What about being Tone Deaf?...I'm here to tell you - and you'll simply have to trust me on this one for now - that ear training is possible for everyone. If you enjoy music enough to have the inspiration and determination to take action on learning how to play a guitar, then you are NOT tone deaf! Let me ask you this... if you had to choose your 2 favourite songs, what would they be? OK. Now, if you were to be blindfolded, and then those 2 songs were played back to you, would you be able to tell them apart? Of course you could! If you were indeed "tone deaf", they would both sound like the same "mush".

Can You Benefit from Ear Training?

Yes. Ear training exercises are easy to do. There are some great ones below to help get you started. The good news is that once you start becoming more aware of the sounds you're hearing, your musical ear will take on a life of its own. It'll continue to grow without you even knowing it. As long as you follow the one rule that will make or break your results in music...

Pay attention! Always pay attention and listen to the best of your ability. Whether you're tuning your guitar, playing your guitar or engaged with music in any way. This is what's meant by connecting your ears to your hands. Simple. If you have some way you can record yourself practicing, that can also help big time. It'll make you more aware of the sounds you're playing. Oh yeah...just don't be too hard on yourself when you hear stuff you don't like - look for the stuff you like :-)

What About Perfect Pitch?

Who cares?! Perfect (or absolute) pitch is something of a myth that has been around for a long time. No one has actually been scientifically verified as having perfect pitch as far as I know. I've known musicians over the years who reputedly had "perfect pitch" - but when tested, ( I can tell you 'cos I was present) - while they displayed some impressive feats with recognizing the pitches, they were certainly not perfect!

NOTE: In a nutshell, perfect pitch is the ability to hear a random musical tone, and to know precisely whether that note is an A or a C#, etc.

My feeling is - and I'm not a scientist, so I'm not saying that my view on it is absolute ;-) - that a certain "pitch memory" occurs with a musician after many years. I myself seem to have it at times with guitars and my voice. It's usually only on the musicians "main axe" that this phenomenon occurs. In my experience, it's more of a memory thing.

The human brain is simply not "wired" for absolute pitch. If it were, these musicians would not only be able to know the pitches in standard A 440 tuning, but in A 432, etc. It's similar to being able to accurately guage distances. Who knows precisely, even 9 times out of 10 what 3.3 metres looks like? If someone does, it is probably more a case of memory than actual perception.

It's All Relative!

My point is, while there may well be some "freaks of nature" out there who could be rigorously tested and found to have some ability that we "mere mortals" are missing - it doesn't matter!

Relative pitch is the fastest and most accurate way to understand what you are hearing when you are playing guitar! Just ask Einstein ;-) Or many other recognized masters of music who had nothing more than a highly developed sense of relative pitch.

As a matter of fact, if you know anything about the classical/romantic composer Beethoven, you'll know that although he lost all his hearing, he continued to compose utterly fantastic music! Wow! How? An unerring sense of relative pitch, that's how. (Not to mention incredible will, courage and determination.) I love Beethoven's story!

Relative pitch is the only kind of ear training you need to concern yourself with. If you develop great relative pitch, you'll be" miles ahead" ;-)

Relative pitch is simply knowing what notes or chords you are hearing by comparing it to other notes or chords that are happening in the tune.

If you haven't got a strong background in music, you'll definitely find it helpful to study a bit of guitar music theory. That's because theory and ear training are like two sides of the same coin. If music is a kind of language, then theory is like grammar and spelling. To take this idea further, ear training would be similar to speaking. Be sure to Bookmark this Ear Training page so you can come back to it once you get a little understanding of theory. Otherwise, just stay here and develop your musical ears first :-)


You'll need some basic tools to help you do the ear training exercises. If you have a keyboard, that's easiest. If not, a piano or your guitar will work just as effectively.

If you don't know where middle "C" is, you need to see guitar music theory now. Find out where "C" is on either your keyboard or guitar and come right back. Without training your musical ear, all the theory in the world won't help very much.

Play either middle "C" or the "C"one octave below that. Men will usually need the "C" below. It doesn't matter which, as long as you're comfortable and not straining in any way.

Sing or hum that pitch. In other words, you want to match the pitch of your voice to the instrument. If it's too low for you, move up one octave.

If you can easily hold your voice steady on the pitch for several seconds, try a few more notes close by. If those are also easy, move on to Lesson 2.

f you're having some difficulty, or feel unsure about whether you are doing it correctly, relax :-) It only means you have some work to do in this area. If you are currently with a private teacher, get them to help you. If they can't, ask them why. Ear training is an extremely important area to work on.


Play the "C" note that's in your vocal "range".

Match the pitch with your voice.

Start sliding your voice up in pitch. It should sound a bit like a siren. Or a slow string bend.

you're aiming for a "notch" - it has a distinct feeling to it. It's called a perfect 5th, and means you are now singing a naturally tuned G note. The G note on your keyboard or guitar will be tempered tuning - this is actually "out of tune", believe it or not! The one you are humming is the accurate tuning.

Check with the instrument to make sure you're on a "G". Can you notice the slight difference in tuning? The instrument is in "tempered tuning".

If that drill was easy, you can aim for another "notch". The ma3rd. Starting on a "C", that would be an "E" on your instrument.

If you hit the "notch" vocally, you'll really notice the difference in tuning. Major 3rds should sound sweet. Sometimes, my guitar drives me crazy 'cos the 5ths and 3rds never seem to balance out :-( The downside of tempered tuning. The upside is we can play in all the different keys :-)

If you persist, your musical ears will really start to come to life. It's like going from black and white to color. You'll reap a lifetime of rewards from this time you spend developing your ears.

Where Do You Go From Here?

If you enjoyed these exercises and you can, I mean...hear... the value in how they will catapult your guitar playing and musical skills forward, I would strongly suggest learning more about ear training and guitar music theory.

Once you have these fundamental sounds in place, important guitar playing activities such as learning songs or even "lifting" from recordings become much easier. It's especially important to hear the natural tunings as guitar players because we are always hearing the "fuzzy" versions from tempered tuning. Another by product of ear training is that if you sing with others, you'll be able to sing great harmonies!

Thanks for listening ;-) and allowing me to be play a part in "inspiring you to keep dusting off your guitar." - Dave

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Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Toronto Guitar Lessons in the Beaches

Toronto Guitar Lessons

Toronto guitar lessons are available here :-)

If you're looking for fun guitar lessons that deliver results - if you practice! (chuckle) - then you're in the right place.

ADULTS...want to spice up your playing? Been strumming the same tired ol' chords for decades? I can show you how to juice up your playing.

GUITAR FOR'd love your children to get more exposure to music and learn to play an instrument? But the Conservatory style or Suzuki etc. seem too rigid and stiff. Perhaps music's an opportunity you never had as a child...

Adults, teens, kids, beginners... all are welcome! Toronto guitar lessons - aka Davidson Yeager - is pleased to serve.

Learn the basic guitar skills that will last a lifetime. Plus, I can show you how to play the songs you love that are in your i-pod!

Basic strumming, classic rock, folk, blues, jazz, lead guitar...Toronto guitar lessons has you covered :-)

Toronto Guitar Lesson InfoPlease note that all fields followed by an asterisk must be filled in.First Name

Monday, August 23, 2010

Barre Chords Made Easy

Barre Chords - made easy!

Struggling with barre chords? If you've been frustrated,here's a great free guitar lesson that reveals important tips you need to know. With a little practice these "moveable chord shapes" will be something you look forward to playing and using in your music.

I remember growing up as a teenager, being able to play them was some kind of a benchmark. "Can you play barre chord shapes?" - "Oh yeah..." I'd coolly respond ;-)

What's a Moveable Chord?

" Moveable chord" is just another name for barre chord - speaking of which, why is it spelled like that? I've heard that the spelling is from the French. Here in Canada, we have French on all the packaging. I learned to speak a little French from reading cereal boxes as a kid:-)

These moveable chord shapes that can be played just about anywhere on the neck of the guitar. The great thing about them is that they are symmetrical. Once you've learned one shape, you've got a whole bunch of useful guitar chords.

The most important thing to realize about barre chords(and possibly even music in general) is that there are 2 types: major and minor. See guitar music theory if you don't understand the difference between major and minor chords.

The second most important thing to know about barre chords is which string the root of the chord is being played on. For our purposes, there are 2 strings that the root could be located on. Some people call the root the bass note. As always, a picture speaks a thousand words, so check out the guitar chord charts below.

Are things making a little more sense now?

Do you understand how there are major and minor? Do you know what the root of the chord means? An excellent way to train your musical ear is to sing the roots of the chords while you play them. I strongly suggest investigating ear training further if you are serious about developing as a guitarist/musician.


place the index finger of your fretting hand in 5th position(5th fret)

barre the first two strings with this finger

check and see that both strings are ringing clearly

feel the "weight" - or pressure - that you're applying with your index finger. Make sure that your finger is as close to the fret as possible. This means you don't have to apply as much pressure, and you'll also produce a much better sound.

so far so good? OK, now place the 2nd finger of your fretting hand(don't count your thumb)on the 6th fret of string 3 while still barring the first 2 strings!

if you're still with me, relax your hand for a sec...shake it out a bit 'cos here we go with some more "finger yoga" :-)

Hold the first 3 strings down as described above. Once you have a good sound, place the 4th finger of your fretting hand on fret 7 of string 4. Got it? Good!!

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Music Theory Basics and Rhythm

4. Same thing. Tick tock like a clock.

There are 2 types of meter. Simple and Compound. The songs and examples listed above are Simple Time. When each basic pulse is divided into 3 ( an odd number ), you get Compound Time. An example of this is "House of the Risin' Sun."

In Simple Time, these basic pulses are also subdivided. But it's into 2 or 4( even numbers).

One more consideration is whether the pulse is "straight" time or "swing" feel. Most traditional folk music and classical is "straight". Again, tick tock like a clock. Hip Hop is a "swung" 16th note feel. This means the pulses are divided into 4 and are loose and uneven. Another common groove is called a Shuffle. This is a swung 1/8th note feel. The nitty gritty explanation of this is beyond the scope of this article. Don't worry. Just play. And count out loud! It'll come to you :-)

Rhythm is a layer superimposed on top of the meter. It's not an even pulse. The even pulse is the "canvas." Think of the word Mississippi. The word has a rhythm. The accent is on the 3rd syllable. It's painted on a Simple Meter.

Oh yes! I almost forgot. Many songs do not start on beat 1. There's a pick-up or "anacrusis." With "Happy Birthday" it's the word "happy."

Still confused or overwhelmed? Don't try so hard to figure it out. The best way to get this information is to listen to music and try to find the pulse. Tap it with your hands or feet. Count out loud. Don't worry if you're wrong or right. Just do it. If you play an instrument make it a habit to count out loud when learning new songs. And ask yourself if the song is in Simple or Compound Time. If Simple, is it in 2 or 3? Are the subdivided beats in 2 or 4? That's it!

OK. So you came to this page expecting to learn some kind of secret formula ;-) There are certainly some more areas of misunderstanding in music theory that I could be writing about. But for now, I chose rhythm and timing because it's confusing for so many people. Even professional musicians. They just happen to be in the category of lucky individuals who do it intuitively. Rhythm and meter are the most basic of music theory basics!

Thanks for tuning up. I hope this article on music theory basics has helped you see the forest for the trees with rhythm and timing. All the best,


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Saturday, August 21, 2010

How To Play Acoustic Guitar for the Beginner and Intermediate

How to Play Acoustic Guitar -
fuel for your acoustic guitar playing quest...

Some of the online lessons about how to play acoustic guitar are either confusing or risky. Here's top instruction for your acoustic guitar playing quest. Whether you're a beginner just starting out or you've been playing a while and want to take it to the next level - everything you need is here.

Btw, if you ARE a beginner, I'd strongly suggest taking a look at the beginner guitar lessons - if you haven't already. The lessons below are best suited for those of you who have mastered a few basic guitar chords and are ready to spice things up.

How to "do" these lessons...

The best way to approach these acoustic guitar lessons is to take an honest look at your own playing. Just saying "it sucks" doesn't help you pinpoint the areas that need work. Read through the lesson carefully - and if there's a guitar lesson video on that page, watch it.

I would recommend going through the above procedure for each lesson that interests you. Not only that, but I strongly suggest repeating each of your lessons a minimum of 3 times. That way, it becomes like a seed that grows as you nourish and water it. It will eventually expand into all your guitar playing. It does take some discipline to learn how to play acoustic guitar - but it truly is worthwhile :-)


If you're like most of the students I've seen over the years, your strumming could probably be "juiced up" a bit. You might need new ideas and patterns. Not to mention a stronger sense of "time". If you've got a good handle on strumming, you can improve any number of other guitar techniques or concepts. Why don't you take a look at the acoustic guitar lessons below and see what strikes a chord? ;-)

The Lessons

Tune Acoustic Guitar Online
There's an online tuner on this page as well as some important tips on how to tune your acoustic guitar.

Fingerpicking Lessons
Start learning acoustic fingerstyle guitar with good technique. These 2 lessons get you started right.

Guitar Strumming Patterns
Learn the fundamentals of rock solid timing as well as new ideas and patterns to strum.

Guitar Bar Chords
The infamous barre chord ;-) Not only are barre (correct spelling) chords necessary to play songs, but they lead to deeper understanding of the guitar fretboard.

Guitar Chord Lessons
What can you do with a chord besides simply strum it? This acoustic guitar lesson opens your mind up to other possibilities.

Guitar Pentatonic Scales
Penta... wha'? Simple patterns for single note runs. Can also be used on electric guitar - but here, we'll focus on how to play them with acoustic guitar.

Learn Guitar Fretboard
Do you know the names of the bar chords you've been playing? Learn the notenames quickly and easily. Here's how...

How To Play Reggae Guitar
Ya mon! Who doesn't love the chilled out vibe of reggae guitar? Learn the basics of this popular world beat and start jammin' ;-)

Hope you're enjoying your stay here at how to play acoustic guitar :-) There's a lot of material here to dig into. If you have any questions - or you feel unsure about anything, click here to contact me. I'd love to hear you're feedback. Best in guitar and Life,


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Friday, August 20, 2010

Secrets to Playing Guitar Revealed

Guitar Lesson Articles.
There Are No Secrets to Playing Guitar.

Do you believe there are secrets to playing guitar? Find out the truth in these free guitar lesson articles and lessons. Simply click on a link from the Table of Contents below that interests you.

Some people claim they have the secrets that "only the pros know". Or that there's some magical ingredient missing from your guitar playing - and of course, they can provide it ;-)

So much hype...don't believe it! There's only one secret to playing guitar. And it's the same "secret" that applies to any field. Consistent action. Applied and focused concentration.

When it comes to how to learn guitar, it boils down to TOI - Time On Instrument. Of course, some guy and gals will tell you they've been playing for 20 years. But they don't seem that fantastic. Why is that?

Did they play consistently for those 20 years? That means almost daily. They probably didn't. Personally, I believe in taking occasional breaks from the guitar. But that's only because I need one. I've been consistent. I actually improve and refresh in my time away from the guitar.

Another important guitar secret ;-)
Challenge yourself. Imagine if you were a bodybuilder and you want to increase the size of your muscles. You would need to have a discipline in place. You'd also need to progress - either by using heavier weight or doing more reps with the same weight, etc.

How do we do that with learning and improving on guitar? We set small goals or targets for ourselves. It's important that it's something we have control over. Such as," for the next 3 weeks I'm gonna practice alternate picking techniques for 30 minutes a day." Pick an area of guitar playing to focus on. If you have more time, pick 2 areas :-) Use your own common sense and intuition to guide you.

Don't end up playing the same things every day... set time aside for focused learning. New songs, new skills, etc. Also find ways to manage stress. It's a lot easier to learn when you're feeling relaxed and positive. Jamming with others is another great way to stay motivated and learn new things. Also, is there any way for you to perform? Check out some open mics in your area.

By all means buy that "guitar secrets" course. Take that lesson... if you know you're going to follow through. The teacher or guitar lesson video can't practice for you. There are no secrets to playing guitar - remember? At the end of the day, YOU teach yourself. Someone like myself is here to give you signs to follow. Just make sure you've got a clear and reliable map.

Practice meditation or do some deep breathing. Exercise daily or go for a walk after lunch. Whatever works for you. Slow down and pay attention when you practice guitar. There's no rush...and you know what the funny thing is? You make more progress when you're not trying so hard to make progress. Just do it :-)

Secrets to Playing Guitar ;-)

Guitar Playing Techniques
A guide to which guitar playing techniques to practice. And how to practice them.

Basic Scales
An article on the meaning of scales to the guitar player. How to practice and use scales.

Barre Chords
Gain deeper insight into the fretboard with this great guitar lesson on barre chords.

Ear Training
Can ear training really help you become a better guitar player? Wouldn't you be better off just playing more guitar? And just what is ear training? Let's find out...

Music Theory Basics
Beginning music theory can be overwhelming. This music theory basics article will help you see the forest for the trees when it comes to rhythm.

Hope you're enjoying these secrets to playing guitar. Of course, now we know there are no secrets ;-) Feel free to bookmark this page or share it with others. Best in guitar and Life,


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Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Tune Acoustic Guitar Online...Helpful Tips

How To Tune Acoustic Guitar Online...
Works for Electric Guitars Too

Online tuners are easy to find on the internet...but how to tune acoustic guitar online is an excellent tutorial on tuning your guitar. A tuner is useless if you don't know what you're listening for. I've seen people who have been playing for a few years make basic mistakes tuning.

Here's An Online Tuner

...but continue reading below for some great tips to help you get the most out of the online tuner.

Important: Is Your Guitar Adjusted and Set-up Properly?

If your guitar is new it should be under warranty. Make sure to have it set-up within the allotted time period. This is usually 1 year. A set-up is like a tune-up for a car. It is crucial to the life of your guitar and to your guitar playing. You won't be able to get your guitar nicely in tune if it's in need of a set-up. A decent guitar is one of the few things in this world that holds its value. If properly maintained it can last for years. Be careful of extreme heat, cold or humidity. Find a good music store with an experienced guitar repair person. Ask them what you need to know about maintaining your guitar. It's a relatively inexpensive job, and depending on the specifics of your guitar it only needs to be done every 2-3 years. Please don't underestimate this important point.

One of the most frustrating things I've seen with beginning acoustic guitar students is that the instrument is too physically demanding for them to play. This can be remedied with a good set-up. The guitar technician can file the bridge saddle down or re-slot the grooves in the nut. The string action can be set lower and light gauge strings can be put on so that you don't need to wear out your hand just to play the guitar.

Tune Acoustic Guitar Online...

OK. So you hear the little digital noise on the tuner. Or, if you're tuning to a friend's guitar or a piano you hear a real sound. What now? Do you just randomly turn the pegs until you think it's in tune?

Before you begin, go through the following list of tips about how to tune your acoustic guitar online.

Which peg is connected to each string?

Which way do you need to turn the peg to make the pitch go higher? Lower?

Not all the strings are necessarily out of tune. I see this mistake often. People assume all the strings are out. Many times it's only 1 or 2 strings.

Take your time and actually listen. What's the rush? Slow down.

Some people need to do some ear training first. Can you sing the pitches of your open guitar strings? If not, or you aren't sure, you need some basic ear training.

If you can match those pitches with your voice, it means you are hearing it properly. Then you can match the string on your guitar to whatever you are using to tune up to.

Consider getting a pitch pipe or tuning fork. Keep it in your guitar case. That way you can tune up away from your computer. Or maybe you dropped your i-phone in a puddle. God forbid!

In summary...if you can't sing the pitches it's going to be just about impossible for you to tune acoustic guitar online... right now. But if you keep practicing trying to sing the pitches and hear them, you will soon make excellent progress. Then the online tuner will help you. So sing to the online guitar tuner first. Then try to match the guitar to it. Stick with it :-)

If you've got your own electronic tuner at home and the needle is jumping about wildly? Assuming your battery is still good, you'll have to know how to tune acoustic guitar by ear. At least to get it close enough that you can then run it through your electronic guitar tuner and it will be able to "read" the information correctly.

That sums up how to tune acoustic guitar online. I hope it made things easier for you on your guitar playing journey. I'm grateful to play a small part in inspiring you to keep dusting off your guitar :-)


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Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Guitar Theory Lessons And How Not To Get Dizzy With The Cycle Of 5ths

but in my humble opinion beginners are more than welcome!

To get the most from this guitar instruction I highly recommend having a solid grasp of the following fundamentals:

The difference between the intervals in a major and minor guitar chord.

The Primary Chords for the following keys: C A G E D.

Be able to hear the difference between a major and minor guitar chord.

Where the semitones are located in the major scale.

If any of the above doesn't make sense to you, don't worry! Click here for a great introductory lesson to help get you started.

This guitar theory lesson is divided into 3 sections for ease of understanding. Enjoy :-) And please feel free to contact me with any questions or feedback. I'd love to hear from you!

Lesson One: Secondary Chords and The Major/Minor System

If you already know that the 3 Primary Chords are built in 3rds from the 1st, 4th and 5th degrees of the major scale, great. What a lot of people don't realize is that there are also 3 Secondary Chords in a Major Key

Monday, August 16, 2010

Guitar Music Theory. Music Theory for Guitar in a Nutshell.

Guitar Music Theory...
"rocket fuel" for guitarists

Have you been trying to solve the riddle of guitar music theory? These guitar lessons are practical and easy to understand. Don't waste any more time learning theory that won't improve your guitar playing.

Most music theory is presented in a manner that is dry. And nobody tells you how to actually apply it. It's usually been put together by a classical "conservatory" or a jazz school.

There's nothing wrong with that, except that it doesn't usually help most guitarists. Nowadays there are so many styles of music that can be fun to play. Whether it's rock, blues or world beat influences, we need something that "cuts to the chase". Theory we can use to get better as guitar players.

Another obstacle is that a lot of guitar players don't read music notation. This is understandable because of how we learn guitar. We basically see shapes and patterns on the fretboard. Plus, TAB is so "cheap and easy" ;-)

That being said, I personally feel that if you really want to improve as a guitarist you need to buckle down at some point and learn the names of the notes on the various strings. That will really help you to apply the guitar music theory you learn here.

Is Guitar Music Theory for You?

Are you truly ready for theory? If you consider yourself to be an "intermediate" or even "early advanced" guitar player and some of the following statements apply to you, you're ready!

You're tired of playing the same licks and chord progressions.

You feel frustrated with not really knowing what you're playing.

You're overwhelmed and intimidated by all the theoretical jargon you hear when you try to learn something new on guitar.

You've studied a traditional form of theory in the past but don't know how to apply it to your guitar playing.

You're passionate and willing to buckle down right now.

It Takes Some Work...but it's not that hard. The lessons are presented in logical order. Some of it may seem different to what you've heard. But that's only because so many music teachers end up repeating the "party line". Remember... this is guitar music theory. It's designed for you to use with your guitar playing.

I strongly suggest going through the lessons in the order they're presented. If you already know some of the material, at least "skim" through those sections. You can never know it too well :-)

Some Tools You'll Need

KeyboardGuitarPencil and paperOpen mind

As far as the keyboard goes, don't panic. If you don't have one, try and find an inexpensive one. Keyboards are extremely useful with understanding music. Especially when it comes to music theory for guitar.

If you can't get one, don't worry. Some of the guitar lesson videos have a keyboard in them. It will help you in at least being able to "visualize" the keyboard.

This is important because most of the music you'll ever deal with is organized from a keyboard's perspective. You'll see this when you get to those guitar theory lessons that use a keyboard in the video. Oh...and one more thing. As far as we're concerned, chords and lead guitar are the same thing at the end of the day.

The Lessons

Guitar Fretboard
When it comes to the guitar fretboard you need a solid grasp of these 3 concepts

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Guitar Scale Charts and Free Printable Guitar Lessons

Free Printable Guitar Scale Charts

Start learning guitar major scales with these free printable guitar scale charts and guitar lessons. This lesson is designed to boost the skills of intermediate level guitarists. What's an intermediate guitarist? You know how to strum basic guitar chords to a few songs and also know the difference between a simple minor and major barre chord. You know at least one version of a power chord and also know the names of the notes along your E and A strings. The ability to do some basic soloing with minor pentatonic scales would also be helpful in getting the most out of this lesson.

Why learn scales? OK

Saturday, August 14, 2010

How to Play Electric Guitar. Free Guitar Lessons that Deliver.

How to Play Electric Guitar...
with continuous progress

Learning how to play electric guitar can be frustrating. There's so much information out there. These free electric guitar lessons and videos point you in the right direction so that you can enjoy learning. When you enjoy learning, you tend to practice more. When you practice more you tend to get better. When you get better, you tend to enjoy learning...

Where To Begin

If you're a beginner, I would recommend starting with beginner guitar lessons. If you really want to learn to play electric guitar, please don't be in a rush. Make sure you get each piece of the "puzzle" along the way.

You really should know how to play all the basic guitar chord charts. Click on the preceding link if you're not sure. If you know those basic chords or variations of them, we're good to go.

How to "do" these lessons...

The best way to approach these electric guitar lessons is to take an honest look at your own playing. Just saying "it sucks" doesn't help you pinpoint the areas that need work. Read through whatever lesson you're working on carefully - and if there's a guitar lesson video on that page, watch it.

Go through the above procedure for each lesson that interests you. Not only that, but I strongly suggest repeating each of your lessons a minimum of 3 times. That way, it becomes like a seed that grows as you nourish and water it. It will eventually expand into all your guitar playing. It does take some discipline to learn how to play electric guitar - but it truly is worthwhile :-)

Fun - da - mentals...I spelt it like that on purpose. If you're like most guitar players, there are some huge gaps in your knowledge. Those gaps always point back to fundamentals. What are fundamentals? To start with, I'm amazed by how many students come to me and they don't know what the controls on their electric guitar are for. Or how to get a good sound from their amp.

On the other hand, If you've been playing for a while, you're electric guitar playing is probably "stuck" in a rut. You play the same tired old licks. In your case, you could benefit from learning the guitar fretboard more thoroughly.

People who are in the beginning stages of how to play electric guitar need to stick with basic stuff. Like picking, simple rhythm guitar, pentatonic guitar scales, etc. If you take an honest look at your playing, you'll be able to figure out for yourself what needs work. And when you figure it out for yourself, you'll learn more.

Take a look at the guitar lesson titles and descriptions below. The lessons are designed to give you top notch instruction on how to play electric guitar. I'm sure you'll find something that can benefit you :-)

The Lessons

Amp Settings
The place to begin if you don't know how to get a good sound.

Guitar Power Chord
A great lesson to get your feet wet with rock guitar styles.

Rhythm Guitar Lessons
Now that you've got some power chords, how do you make them "rock"?

Guitar Bar Chords
These chords are essential to learning electric guitar. This lesson will help you to master them and know how to use them. Also learn the correct spelling for "barre" ;-)

Guitar Finger Exercises
If you're serious about your guitar playing, these exercises will turbo charge it to the next level very quickly.

Guitar Pentatonic Scales
The scales everybody learns when beginning lead guitar. Find out how to get more "bang for your buck" when using these scales.

Free Guitar Licks
This beginner to intermediate rock guitar lesson will give you new ideas on how to play better lead guitar.

Learn Guitar Fretboard
Do you know the names of the bar chords you've been playing? Learn the notenames quickly and easily. Here's how...

Guitar Scale Charts
Start learning guitar major scales with these free printable guitar scale charts and guitar lessons. Designed to boost the skills of intermediate level guitarists.

I hope you're enjoying these free lessons on how to play electric guitar. There's a ton of value here - everything you need to learn and improve your guitar playing. Please take advantage of it. I'd love to here your stories about how you stay motivated with your guitar playing. In the meantime, I'm grateful to be a part of what inspires you to "keep dusting off your guitar".


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Friday, August 13, 2010

Cool Amp Settings for Electric Guitar

Cool Amp Settings for your Electric Guitar Playing

This cool beginner guitar lesson on amp settings gets you up to speed with what the basic knobs are. Find out the best settings for your style of electric guitar playing.This guitar lesson covers all the basics you need...from getting a great sound from your amp to what to look for in a guitar amp.

Clean or Distortion?

It's All In The Hands

That's right! If you aren't getting a good sound at the source no amount of equipment will help you. But hey, that's why you're looking at an online electric guitar lesson like learn and study the instrument. There's plenty of TAB and songs out there on the Internet. Not many people take the time to actually study the instrument.

OK. You've been practicing and you're getting a good sound with your fingers and pick. One of the most common mistakes I've seen over the many years I've been teaching is a "bum" guitar cable. Or a loose jack (where you plug the cable in) or dirty pots. Not the dishes ;-) The knobs on the guitar crackle and fizz. If any of this describes you, fix it now :-)

Alright. Your hands are good. Your guitar and cable are good. You're in tune. We are halfway to getting a, make that great! Guitar sound. let's move on to the amp settings, shall we?

Amp Settings

In the video, I'm demonstrating with a little Roland cube amp. I show you the various knobs and how they affect the sound. This particular amp has some effects built in. That's something else to think about as far as getting a sound. Again, it depends on your needs. If you're in an ensemble (fancy word for group) situation, you'll probably want pedals that you can switch on and off with your feet. Some amps come with foot switches. It's definitely more convenient to be able to switch sounds with the click or stomp of your foot :-)

The first thing to be aware of is the input. That's where your cable goes. If you use pedals, put them between your guitar and amp. There are lots of opinions about the best ways to daisy chain effects pedals...beyond the scope of this lesson.

Next item. Volume. This is the loudness knob. You possibly have 2 of these if your amp has 2 channels.

This brings us to Gain. Some call it overdrive, some distortion. The more Gain, the more distortion. You'll need to turn the Volume down as you turn the Gain up...unless you want to drive your neighbors crazy. Not recommended :-) Headphones are another option, but they're uncomfortable after long periods. Personally, I prefer hearing music in the open room. Another basic error I see is people just cranking the Gain. That's fine if you know what you're doing with your amp settings. Otherwise, it's usually a very unpleasant sound. This is because the sound of the guitar actually gets smaller. Huh?...

More Distortion equals Smaller's that? It just means that there will be less bass or bottom end, and less treble or high end. On very expensive tube amps this isn't the case. On simple practice amps it is. In the guitar lesson video I demonstrate a few basic amp settings. A good clean sound, a classic rock and also a heavy metal type of sound. Keep in mind there are many more options. As you keep playing and listening you'll make more discoveries.

It's All In the EQ...I know... I said it's all in the hands, and it is! EQ is right up there, though. EQ means equalization. It refers to the blend of bass, mid and treble frequencies just like on...oh, never mind! I was gonna say your stereo. Well, maybe you remember that ;-) Again, I'll show you the best amp settings in the guitar lesson video. Tweaking knobs on your amp will also train you to listen and notice things you may not have noticed about guitar sounds before.

Digital Amps and Pods...can make the whole concept of amp settings "moot". Now it can be as simple as dialing in the sound of your favorite player... and Presto! you've got his or her amp settings! These amps are a little pricier than basic practice amps, but not usually as expensive as a good tube amp. There's a lot more I could say here about technology and guitar amps. I've done my best to keep it to basic practice amp settings as well as give you a basic overview of other possibilities.

In Summary

It depends on your goals. Bedroom or rehearsal room?

Your budget and commitment.

If you're recording at home, you don't even need an amp. It's better to have one for practicing though.

Talk to sales staff at music stores. Read brochures. Ask other players. Do your research. Just get a good little practice amp for now. Deal with the rest later. Learn how to really play. Learn how to tweak the knobs a bit. Yeah, now you're talkin' my language :-)

Hope you found this guitar lesson on amp settings helpful. It's been my pleasure to perhaps play a small part in inspiring you to keep dusting off your guitar :-)


Return From Amp Settings to Electric

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Thursday, August 12, 2010

The Caged System Is Powerful Help For Those Of You Weary Of Playing The Same Old

Help! I'm Stuck In A Rut And I Can't Get Out! Introducing The Caged System For Learning The Guitar Fretboard.

Stuck in a rut? Playing the same tired guitar licks? The caged system for guitar is quite possibly the single most powerful method that electric guitar players have if they want to deepen their understanding of the fretboard.

In order to gain the most benefit from this free guitar lesson you should know a few basic barre chords and pentatonic scales. The names of the notes along your E string and A string can also be very helpful. Click here if you need to learn note names. But most importantly of all, you can see the benefits of learning the guitar fretboard and how it will help you to play more interesting and melodic solos. The kind that take the listener on a journey and really serve the song. You know when one of your favourite guitar players just seems to hit that one note at just the right time?

This is probably an intermediate to advanced guitar lesson

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Guitar Bar Chords and Free Online Video Guitar Lesson

Guitar Bar Chords...
There's more than one way to "spell" a chord

Frustrated with guitar bar chords? These clear instructions include a free online video guitar lesson that will heal any frustration you feel.

Electric Guitar

Acoustic Guitar

Before we go further, I'd like to point out that "barre" is the correct spelling. Just in case you're looking it up elsewhere. Now you know that its one of those words that gets spelled 2 different ways. I actually have a different lesson on "barre chords" under the "Articles" section. You may like to read it sometime. It doesn't include a guitar lesson video though.

If you want the quick start guide to making bar chords easier, go to the video now. If you aren't sure, or want to know more about these chords, read on!

Why even bother with guitar bar chords?

I'm glad you asked :-) Here are a couple of very good reasons...

Chords with roots such as "F" or "B" can only be played as some type of barre chord.

You'll have more options when playing songs or jamming with others.

You'll begin to see more patterns on the fretboard.

Electric or Acoustic?

This brings us to another important point. If you play electric guitar, you have no option. You really do need to get the basic barre chord forms under your fingers. Not only for the reasons listed above, but because learning them will truly begin to open the guitar up for you :-)

If you play acoustic steel string it can a little trickier. And it depends upon your goals. This is because guitar bar chords can be physically demanding to play on a steel string guitar. Also, open strings sound so much better on an acoustic!

What some players do to offset this is to use mainly open position chord shapes. If they want to play in a different key, they simply use a capo. A capo is the device that you clamp onto the neck of a guitar. This way, a guitarist can still have the effect of open strings ringing through.

Or some players will play in "open tunings". This means they tune the strings of their guitar to different pitches than the standard tuning. It also means they will need to use different fingerings for various chords. If you're fairly serious about your guitar playing and you're drawn to this type of playing, go for it. Otherwise, I strongly suggest sticking with standard tuning.

The best way for most players to improve their playing on acoustic guitar is to learn the basics really well. And that definitely includes guitar bar chords. Fingerpicking is also a good skill to learn. It can really take your playing in new directions. As always, stay focused. If you jump around too much with curiosity, you won't get anywhere. By all means experiment and do your research. Then, narrow you focus and practice! When you're ready to expand a little, you'll know. It's like building a house. Make sure you have a solid foundation in place. Then it won't matter what styles you want to learn.

Is it Major, Minor or Dom7?

Dom is short for dominant. The "C dominant 7th" chord would be named simply C7. Major will usually be written as "ma" or upper case "M". Minor will be "mi" or lower case "m". Sometimes they will be

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

This Basic Guitar Lesson Gets You Started Right.

Basic Guitar Lesson - get it right the first time.

Learning guitar can definitely seem overwhelming - especially in the beginning. This basic guitar lesson helps you get it right the first time with some important tips. Tips such as how to hold and position your guitar properly so you can stay relaxed and at ease while playing. It also covers how to hold your guitar pick.

The positioning of your guitar and your posture are the foundation of learning guitar. If you're not relaxed and comfortable, it's going to get in the way of your enjoyment. In some cases it can even lead to chronic injuries - but that would take a ton of playing ;-)

OK. It's important to be comfortable and relaxed. But is that it? Can you skip ahead to another "more interesting" lesson now? Sure. But I wouldn't recommend that just yet. Even if you think you already know how to hold a guitar, you just might find out a couple of very helpful tips. And those tips just might be things that help you to improve your guitar playing.

First things first...this basic guitar lesson is similar to if you were at your very first golf or tennis lesson. You'd first learn how to "grip" the golf club or tennis racquet and get into a proper "stance" or posture. Same goes for guitar - ( btw, if you don't know golf or tennis, it doesn't matter ;-)

Let's get started! As always, you can scroll to the video to help you understand even more. Just make sure you do your best to read through these basic guitar lesson instructions once before watching the video. They will really help you put it all together.

Important note: I'm assuming that your guitar is either a standard acoustic guitar with 6 steel strings or an electric guitar. If it's a Spanish Guitar with nylon strings, it's covered briefly in the video.

Basic Guitar Lesson Instructions

How To Hold A Guitar Pick

The hand you use to hold the pick is the hand you play guitar with. For example, I'm left-handed because that's the hand I use to hold my pick.

It's generally best to learn with a pick in the beginning - but it's not absolutely necessary. Just ask yourself if you truly want to learn "fingerpicking"? Or are you just being lazy about learning with a pick?

Whichever hand you decide to use, make sure that the heaviest string is closest to the sky when you sit to play. If it's not, see lefty for more information about how to play a guitar left-handed.

OK. You're right-handed. Sit on a sturdy chair or stool. Best if it doesn't have arm rests. You don't want anything too soft to sit in either. No bean bag chairs ;-)

If possible, you want your thighs to be as parallel to the floor as possible. In other words, you don't want to sit too high or too low. Just right.

Place the body of the guitar on top of your right thigh. Have it angled slightly so that you can see the dots on the fingerboard.

Don't slouch! And have your left arm extend away from your body so that if you grip the neck of the guitar, your wrist is fairly straight.

Your right arm rests on the guitar body. If the guitar is digging into your arm, it may mean it's too big for you.
Final Notes

That's pretty much it. The rest is in the video. You may need to experiment with chairs and adjusting angles a bit. Pay attention to your body as you play. Try not to hunch your shoulders - occasionally take a relaxed deep breath - that should position them properly.

Also important is your left hand wrist. For the most part, it should be straight. Again, the video describes this. If you have any pain in your wrist, stop! Get someone who is a pro to check out your "guitar posture" - and/or check with your doctor. Don't worry! This is rare. It usually takes lots and lots and lots of practice to have any pain ;-)

I hope you enjoyed this basic guitar lesson. If you are still having difficulty and are unsure about things, e-mail me. Perhaps include a photo that shows how you are holding your guitar. Also, is there anything about this website that you think could be better? I'd love to hear about it so I can "fix" it :-)

Best in guitar and Life,


Sunday, August 8, 2010

Basic Guitar Chord Charts. All You Need to Start Easy Chord Guitar Today.

Basic Guitar Chord Charts -
making sense out of them

Confused by guitar chord dictionaries with pages full of tiny diagrams? The basic guitar chord charts in this lesson are all you need to get started playing basic chord guitar today.

Here's a "heads up". Most of the guitar chords listed in those massive guitar chord libraries? You'll never use them. Or if you DO use them, you'll likely be advanced enough to be able to create them for yourself.

You're far better off being able to play a handful of chords well. Don't drive yourself crazy trying to memorize a bunch of abstract shapes. Get to know these few guitar chords well and you'll surprise yourself with what you can do. You'll be making music :-)

Here's where to begin...

If you have little or no experience with a musical instrument , start with the Absolute Beginner basic chords listed below. After 2 or 3 days of practicing those, move to the Beginner basic guitar chord charts. Give yourself time with these ones. They will be at the core of your guitar playing for the rest of your life :-)

The basic guitar chord charts on this page, along with a couple of other skills, are all you need to play most of your favorite songs. You'll eventually need to learn a few guitar bar chords and some guitar playing techniques, but there's no hurry is there? Enjoy...


Saturday, August 7, 2010

How to Play Guitar Notes the Right Way.

Do You Know How to Play Guitar Notes...
the right way?

Learn how to play guitar notes the right way in this easy guitar lesson. For the purpose of this lesson, guitar notes means how to properly press down on the strings. Are you here to learn how to read guitar notation or tablature instead? Click here to go to that page and find out how. Otherwise, stay here and learn some basic guitar playing skills.

This is important because that's how you get a good clear sound from your guitar. It doesn't matter if it's an electric guitar or acoustic guitar. You've probably noticed that when you play some of the basic guitar chords some of the notes(strings) don't ring.

What You need to Know...

Make sure you're holding your guitar properly as in basic guitar lesson
Use the fleshy part of the fingertip. As you advance, you'll begin using other parts of your fingers. For now, keep it simple.
Do your best to keep all the joints in your fingers "arched" and strong. Don't allow them to flatten or collapse. See photo below.
Check that your fingers aren't stopping other strings from ringing - as best you can.
Keep your finger close to the fret that you are playing. If you're playing the 3rd fret, keep your finger close to the 3rd silver fret wire.
Be patient and persist. This will allow you to build the callous on your fingertips that you need. You'll also be developing more strength and control in the muscles of your fingers and hands.

Friday, August 6, 2010

How To Read Guitar Tab - Do You Know How?

Do You Know How To Read Guitar Tab?

If you're just beginning guitar lessons, knowing how to read guitar tab is a basic skill. It's easy to learn with this free guitar lesson for beginners. All you have to do is follow the simple instructions on this page. And practice ;-)

The single best reason I can think of for wanting to learn how to read guitar tab is that there are literally tens of thousands of free songs in tab format on the Internet!

Despite this, some music teachers are against guitar tablature (tab). Some of their points are valid, BUT...probably unrealistic. Tabs have been around for centuries. The reason they are useful for the modern day guitarist is that they're simple to read! And to restate the above point, there are thousands of free songs available.

Pros and Cons...

Standard music notation's great but it takes at least a few years to get fluent with. Not everyone has had the benefit of music lessons in childhood. Not to mention that on the guitar there are many places on the fretboard where the exact same note can be found.

Musician's Joke: How do you get a guitar player to play softer? Put some music in front of him/her ;-)

Most other instruments don't have this situation. A certain note is found in one place. End of story. With guitar tabs you don't have to think about which "middle c" note to play. It tells you which fret and which string. Great!

The other criticism of tabulature (another spelling) is that it's not musical. Personally, I agree with this. When a highly trained musician sees music notation the tune starts to automatically play in their mind. However, nowadays with the availability of recordings it's not a serious issue.

Here's the first important point to keep in mind. When you use tab to learn songs or licks its extremely important to know what it sounds like.Get a recording of what you are trying to play.

Here's How to Read Tab...

The horizontal lines represent the guitar strings
The numbers on the "strings" tell you which fret to press down on
The notes are played in order from left to right
If notes are "on top" of one another, they are played at the same time
Some TABS have the rhythms included. This is helpful if you can read standard notation and rhythms. If not, listen to the recording

That's it! If you're following the steps above, you should at least be able to find your way around simple examples - like a lot of the ones on this website.

Try Reading This...

Now you know how to read guitar tab. Easy isn't it? I would strongly suggest investigating beginning music theory for more helpful information. Especially counting and reading simple rhythms. Thanks for joining me here at how to read guitar tab. All the best in guitar and Life,


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Thursday, August 5, 2010

How to Play Guitar Chords. Try This Free Beginner Guitar Lesson

How To Play Guitar Chords and...
Sound Great!

Find Out What You Need to Know

Get clear instruction on how to play guitar chords. Learn basic chord guitar with this excellent lesson. If you're a complete beginner on guitar, I would recommend clicking here to get started. Come back to this page later :-)

Switching between basic guitar chords.

These instructions get you switching between basic guitar chords. The goal is to be able to change between 2 different chords without hesitation. That is the first challenge to overcome when learning basic guitar.

Memorize 5 chords first... This lesson on how to play guitar chords is based on an earlier exercise from a different page. Go to that page now. Check that you know a minimum of 5 chords from the chord charts there. If you don't, I strongly recommend going through that lesson. And watching the guitar lesson video on that page. Then come back here.

OK. Let's get started...

Choose any 2 basic guitar chords.

Check to make sure all the necessary strings are ringing through clearly when practicing how to play guitar chords.

Make sure you know which string to hit first with the pick! For example, don't hit the low E (string 6) first when playing a D major chord.

Follow the previous steps for the 2nd guitar chord that you chose.

Strum downward only. Switch to the other chord after 8 strums. Do not stop strumming.

If you "miss" the chord change, simply continue strumming. Adjust your fretting hand if necessary.

After 8 strums, switch back to the 1st chord. Continue alternating like this until your fingers bleed ;-)

Kidding aside now. When learning how to play guitar chords it's very important to VISUALIZE the chord BEFORE you make the switch.

At this point, you can try the same exercise with only 4 strums. Once mastered, pick 2 new chords and go through the entire process again.

Playing songs...

If you can now switch a handful of chords with some degree of confidence, you're ready to try this method on a song that you like. Important! Choose a song you already know most of the chords to.

If there are one or two chords you don't know, that's OK. Learn them! Most songbooks have a basic guitar chord chart above the lyrics. If not, go to guitar bar chords . That should give you all the ammunition you need :-)

Relax! There aren't all that many chords to learn if your goal is simply to accompany yourself to songs. That's why I strongly recommend singing along as best you can. Eventually, singing while you play will be effortless. Just like picking up a book, or walking from one room to another.

If you aspire to play lead or solo guitar, you've got a longer - but very rich journey ahead. Interspersed with bouts of frustration, of course. Is that why some rockstars used to smash their guitars onstage? Although personally, I consider that an extreme waste of wood and value ;-)

Moving forward...

There are a couple of other very important skills to develop when learning how to play guitar chords. You've got the ball rolling by being able to switch between some of the chords. Now it's time to add rhythm to the mix.

When it comes to playing guitar chords, rhythm usually means strumming. Notice how close the word strumming is to drumming. They are almost the same. Actually, some people go as far as classifying the guitar as a percussion instrument. This is because when a guitarist is strumming chords, she's keeping the beat. We hope ;-) Here's a free video guitar lesson on strumming.

As always, be patient and persist. Enjoy the moments you have to learn guitar :-) Best in guitar and Life,


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Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Easy Guitar Songs To Play

You're back? Depending on how far along you are with guitar lessons, you might have noticed that "House Of The Rising Sun" isn't quite as easy as you think. If that's the case, don't give up! Although it's classified under easy guitar songs, it can be demanding for a raw beginner.

Here are some Tips...

Make sure you know how to play all the chords.

If the F chord is difficult try using a capo. And make sure to use light guage strings as well. Remember if you use a capo you'll be at a higher pitch -- so it won't match the videos on this page. That's fine! Play the song on it's own and refer to the videos for guidance.

Remember the beat is in a straight 6/8 feel.

Practice changing basic chords in the meantime and come back to "House Of The Rising Sun" at a later time. No need to give up in frustration!

You'll need to dedicate some time to practice. At least 15 to 20 minutes everyday.

Look through some of the guitar lessons for beginners under the "Beginner" tab on the navigation bar.

Watch the videos. Your brain can learn a lot by watching. But don't forget to practice.

Is it mainly the F chord that you're struggling with? Here's an excellent lesson on barre chords that will help.

Even though "House Of The Rising Sun" is considered to be one of the classic easy songs to play, it will still take some practice! But it's a beautiful song and much more than just a guitar lesson for beginners - it's a rite of passage :-)

I hope you enjoyed this free video guitar lesson on how to play "House Of The Rising Sun." There are many other such as "Happy Birthday" or "Amazing Grace." You can also visit the Guitar Shop page for more ideas on .

Best in guitar and Life,


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Monday, August 2, 2010

Fingerpicking Lessons Teach the Proper Technique for Beginning Fingerstyle Guit

Fingerpicking Lessons...
Start With Good Technique.

If you want to start learning acoustic fingerstyle guitar, these fingerpicking lessons will get you properly started. A free video guitar lesson is included to help you see what your fingers need to do. This lesson is best for those of you who already have some experience strumming basic guitar chords. Now you can add some new tricks to your bag ;-)

These instructions will be worded for right-handed guitarists. If you're a lefty just reverse everything. In other words, if I'm talking about your right hand, it means the hand you use to "pick" the strings. And that is the hand we will be dealing with the most in this lesson.

The 1st of these fingerpicking lessons will focus on the right hand technique exclusively. We'll also discuss a little about fingernails. In the 2nd lesson we'll use some basic guitar chords along with our fingerstyle techniques. Both lessons will be demonstrated in the free video guitar lesson below.

So... what's so great about Fingerpicking?

I'm sure you've heard some of the great guitar playing of artists like Paul Simon or James Taylor. You may even already have learned the classic Beatles tune "Blackbird". That's fingerpicking. Sounds pretty cool, doesn't it? Some call it Travis picking...which was made famous by Chet Atkins. This is a particular technique of fingerpicking which is well worth looking into. We will touch upon it in these lessons.

Of course, there are also more exotic styles of fingerpicking such as some of the folk blues and open tuning approaches. Those are fascinating approaches to the guitar but beyond the scope of this lesson. We'll stick with getting your right hand organized first. Then apply that to some chords. The right hand is doing most of the work in fingerstyle guitar playing :-)

The main advantage to using your fingers as opposed to a guitar pick is that you can have multiple lines of music. You can have a bass line moving along with the other "voices" of the chord. It's also much easier to add a melody on the top strings. You can also play 2 notes that skip strings at the same time. Just like a piano player.


This lesson will focus on "planting" the right hand properly on the strings. The technique comes from classical guitar. This sets the stage for all of your fingerpicking endeavors in the years to come :-)

Planting is simply placing your fingers in a "ready to play" position. The flesh and nail of you fingers will be grabbing the string.

Fingernails?...Regardless of what you may have heard, fingernails are mostly a matter of preference. On nylon string guitars it's definitely a plus with both the sound and control. On steel strings it also helps...but some players do exceptionally well fingerpicking with no nails. No nails gives a warmer sound, but it's probably more challenging to get the same amount of control and volume.

There are plenty of opinions around...I would suggest "picking" up a good classical guitar book for beginners from your local music store. Try out what they suggest, but don't be afraid to experiment. I'll also show you my nails in the fingerpicking lessons video.

My opinion... I don't want something that's too difficult to maintain. I have a basic shape that allows my nail to "glide" across the strings without getting snagged. It also allows the flesh of my fingers to be a part of the string attack. Since I don't specialize exclusively in fingerpicking and enjoy playing piano, I keep the length as short as I can get away with. I also play classical guitar and have no major issues with tone or control. That's my way of doing it. You'll have to find out what works best for you and your situation :-)

Let's Play!

Before we begin the fingerpicking lessons, I just want you to aware of a basic point. You can rest the body of the guitar on the same leg as your picking hand or on the opposite leg. The opposing leg is classical position...if you prefer this way, you'll need something to raise your foot with. There are guitar footstools you can buy or you could use a yoga brick or book... as long as it's fairly stable.

When playing my acoustic steel string guitar I generally keep the guitar on the same leg as my fingerpicking hand. When playing my nylon string guitar I use classical posture. I'll demonstrate these 2 postures in the guitar lesson video.

Side Note: I tend to use classical posture when practicing on my electric guitar as I find this feels more like how it does standing up. I can also execute wider stretches with my fretting hand :-)

Watch the fingerpicking lessons video and then follow these tips and'll also see Lesson 2 demonstrated. Just watch it for now and then come back here for some more tips.

Keep your thumb ahead of your fingers when fingerpicking.

In books, you'll see "p, i, m, a" . This is thumb, index, middle and ring fingers.I'll use the same terminology so you can get used to it.

Pick from your knuckles...not from the middle joint in your fingers.

Slow down! This is probably the most important advice of all. Aim for a good sound and clean production of the notes.

Practice the patterns over and over. A large part of good guitar playing is muscle memory. This comes by getting your reps in.

Try This...

Plant "p" on string 6

"i" on string 3

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Guitar Strumming Patterns With Free Guitar Video Lesson

Guitar Strumming Patterns...
let's make music !

This free chord guitar lesson gets you started with guitar strumming patterns. Read the instructions and then watch the online guitar lesson video.

Before we get to the instructions, let's discuss a couple of things. You should know at least 1 or 2 basic guitar chords...are they memorized? Do you know how to hold your guitar properly? Your pick? How about tuning your guitar?

If you can't answer "yes" to all of the above questions, I strongly advise going to the beginners section right now. Scroll down the page to the lesson topic links. Bookmark this "guitar strumming patterns" page and meet me back here when you're ready :-)

Strumming and Drumming... are almost exactly the same word. That's not a coincidence. When you strum chords on your guitar, you're keeping a beat. Just like a drummer does...hopefully ;-)

You need to be able to count to 4. Isn't music great? Music either has 3 beats per bar or 4 beats per bar. You already know this whether you think so or not. That's why you "unconciously" tap your foot when you hear music that you like. There's a well known song by the rock band Queen that demonstrates this perfectly. If you don't know the song, don't worry. It'll all make sense in the guitar video part of this lesson.

We Will Rock Queen. It's played at a lot of high profile sporting events because it has a beat that pumps up the crowd. There are 4 beats to the bar (or measure) in that piece of music. We count it 1