Category Archives: East London Guitar Lessons

How to Deal with General Pain When Practicing the Guitar

What to Do If You Feel Like Quitting Guitar

You may experience issues with pain while playing the guitar. This is a common occurrence, especially when first learning how to play. Here is how you can deal with pain and some ways to eliminate it completely.

 

Don’t Over Practice

One reason why you experience pain is that you’re playing guitar too often and for too long at one time. This is common with younger players as they feel the need to learn everything all at once. This can set you up for serious injuries later on if you play all the time.

A solid practice session should be 30 mins to 1 hour and not longer than that. You can’t play guitar for endless hours as it puts too much strain on your body. You may not feel this strain initially, but it can build up and lead to injuries like a pulled muscle, tendonitis, or another repetitive stress injury.

Tips to Finger Pick Acoustic Guitar Effectively

Rest if Sore

If you’re sore from playing the guitar, you need to rest. Don’t ignore any sort of hand, wrist, or neck pain. You will make things worse if you don’t take the time to rest your body. If the pain is significant, take pain medication or use ice. If the pain persists, see your physician. Serious pain should not occur when playing guitar. Speak to your guitar teacher about what you may be doing wrong.


Warm-Up

Make sure you warm-up prior to digging into your lesson. This might induce flexing the fingers and wrist for a few minutes or running some guitar scales to loosen up your fingers. You can’t just launch yourself into a complicated song without some warm-up. Aim for a 5-10 minute warm-up session to ensure that your hands are limber. If you’re not sure what to do, ask your teacher for some tips. You’ll avoid a lot of stress and strain if you warm-up first. Make sure you don’t overlook this.

 

Proper Position of the Guitar

Make sure you hold the guitar on your lap in the right position. If the guitar is at an angle, this can bend the wrist too much or put a strain on your wrist or arm. Ask your teacher about the correct position to hold your instrument. You may also want to purchase a footstool, as this can reduce strain a great deal. This is considered the classical position, but it can work for other styles as well. The proper position of your instrument is critical.

If sitting down, make sure your feet are flat on the ground and that your back is straight. Use a chair that allows your feet to touch the floor. Put your thumb behind the neck and keep the fingers relaxed on the fretboard.

What to Do If You Feel Like Quitting Guitar

 

Guitar Straps and Standing Up

You need to take care when standing with your guitar. Far too many players use loose and long straps. They wear their guitar practically near the knees. While this may look like a cool rock pose, it can put a lot of strain in the shoulders, neck, and back. You need to reach down to play your guitar.

 

Your strap should be about mid-range on the body. Try t have it a bit above waist height. This will be the most comfortable and will eliminate the strain on your body. You should sue a comfortable strap and one that has some padding on it. This reduces the strain and pain that you feel in the shoulder. You may have to adjust your strap a few times until you need the right sweet spot in terms of comfort. If your strap hurts your body, buy a new one. Look for straps made out of solid leather as they last a long time and are comfortable to wear.

 

Barre Chords

When learning chords, the biggest hurdle is barre chords. These can cause a great deal of hand pain if you’re not used to playing them. You should practice these a few minutes at a time. If you feel pain, you need to relax and try again. Some pain will occur as you learn them as there is no way around this. The trick is to not stain yourself or push yourself too hard as you don’t want to set yourself back with an injury.

How To Learn the F Chord

Conclusion

These tips should help you deal with general pain issues when practicing your guitar. Take your time when learning how to play and take care of yourself to avoid injury. Common injuries on the guitar are easily avoided when you employ the right techniques.

 

Parts Of A Guitar

Parts Of A Guitar

Whether you're a beginner, or an experienced guitar player, it's good to know the parts of your guitar. It helps you to understand your instrument and care for it better. Also, when you encounter discussions or articles regarding guitars, it is helpful to have knowledge of the parts of the guitar if it comes in on the discussion.

Parts Of A Guitar


The Three Basic Parts

A guitar (acoustic or electric) has three basic parts. For this article, we'll limit ourselves to the acoustic guitar. An acoustic guitar is a guitar that produces its sound inside a hollow sound box. As opposed to an electric guitar that produces its sound through a magnetic coil pick up that is amplified through electrical wires and a loud speaker.


Head or Headstock

The head is found on the narrow end of the guitar. It is where the tuning keys are found. 

In a 6-string acoustic guitar you will see six tuning keys, often three on each side of the head. These tuning keys are also called tuners, tuning pegs, or machine heads. They turn clockwise and counter-clockwise depending on whether you are tightening the strings (higher pitch) or loosening them up (lower pitch). 

You will also see string posts or capstans attached to the tuning keys. These hold the loose end of the guitar string and rotate in sync with the tuning keys.

Parts Of A Guitar


Neck

The neck is the long segment of the guitar. The back side of the neck is often curved to be compatible with the grip of your palm. 

The entire length of the flat side of the neck, divided commonly into 21 frets, is called the fingerboard or fretboard. The fingerboard is where you play the chords. 

The thick metal wires that divide the fingerboard into segments are called frets. If you observe, the fingerboard segments nearer the head are wider, while those nearer the body (sound box) are narrower. 

The main fret that divides the head and the neck is called the nut.It's often made of a thick, hard plastic or other material that is raised slightly above the fingerboard.

You'll also see position markers. They often appear as white dots on the fingerboard itself. Position markers start on the third fret. Then on the fifth, seventh, ninth, twelfth (double dot, indicating an octave), fifteenth, seventeenth, nineteenth, and twenty-first. They guide finger placement.

Acoustic guitars also have (hidden) truss rods that run along the length of the neck. This is used to maintain the stability and curvature of the neck against the tension of the strings.


Body

The body is where the sound reverberates. Usually, the body of an acoustic guitar is hollow with a backboard, sideboards, and a face. 

On the face you'll see the sound hole, where typically, the sound comes out. 

The decorated patterns around the sound hole is called the rosette.

Usually, an acoustic guitar has a pick guard or scratch guard. This is a hard plastic or synthetic material designed to protect the face from scratches caused by a pick.  

The end point in the guitar body after the sound hole is the bridge. This is where the strings are saddled. Pegs or bridge pins lock the strings in place on holes in the bridge. 

The white and slender hard material where the strings rest on the bridge is the saddle. The level of the saddle is elevated slightly to give the strings clearance from touching the frets. 

Parts Of A Guitar


These are the basic parts of an acoustic guitar. We hope you'd learn to appreciate and love your guitar more as a result of reading this article.


Tell us what you think and leave us a comment.

The Importance of Daily Guitar Practice

The Importance of Daily Guitar Practice

Daily practice is critical to your success as a guitar player. Here is why you need to make guitar playing part of your daily routine to see success with the instrument.


It Takes Time to Learn

You will not go far on the guitar if you don’t practice. One of the common complaints that many guitar teachers have is that their students don’t practice enough. You should dedicate 20-30 mins around 4-5 times per week and stick to that schedule. Once you make it part of your routine, it’s easier to get in quality practice sessions. Try to work it around your other daily activities such as work or school.

Learning to play the guitar


Helps with Memorization

If you don’t practice often, you will forget the material that you previously learned. You should work on songs, chords, scales, and other materials that your guitar teacher gives you on a consistent basis. You need a lot of repetition to ingrain the material into your brain and muscle memory. The more you practice, the easier you will retain the knowledge that you have already learned.

The Importance of Daily Guitar Practice


Song Review

By practicing on a consistent basis, you’ll grasp songs at a faster rate. You need to review old songs as much as you need to learn newer ones. Make song practice a large part of your practice sessions as it will help you grow as a player if you review your songs often. You want to develop a large repertoire of songs that you can play fluidly, so practice them often.


Scales and Chords

You need to practice often to master your scales and chords. If you practice, inconsistently, you won’t master these important concepts. Make sure you devote a portion of your practice time to your scales and chords. The more you play them, the better off you’ll be.


Prepared for the Next Lesson

By going over the material you learned in your previous lessons, you’ll be ready for the next lesson. It’s difficult for your teacher to show you new concepts if you haven’t mastered the material already given to you. By practicing on a regular basis, you’ll progress through the lesson materials at a faster pace and be ready for the newer concepts your teacher gives you.


Helps You Overcome Problems Areas

Some aspects of guitar playing, such as barre chords are hard to master. If you dedicate a lot of practice time to areas that you have difficulty in, it’s easier to overcome the area of difficulty. For example, barre chords are a major stumbling block for a lot of new guitar players, and they require a lot of dedicated practice to master. You will never learn these chords if you’re not practicing them on a consistent basis.

Make a note of the areas that you have a problem with and work through these issues. Dedicate a few minutes at each practice session to work on the areas that you’re weak in.

 

Better Hand and Finger Strength

One of the other main reasons to practice often is that you’ll develop a better finger and hand strength. This allows you to do more on the instrument. Your fingers will develop the calluses necessary for longer practice sessions or for playing live.

If you neglect your sessions, you will have difficulty developing your calluses, and if you go for a long duration without picking up your guitar, you will need to develop the calluses all over again, which can be frustrating.

The Importance of Daily Guitar Practice


Avoid Over Practicing

It’s important to practice your guitar often, but you can over practice as well. Do not make the mistake of practicing for endless hours at a time. This can have the opposite effect that you intended it to have. You may injure yourself and have a setback where you can’t play for months.

If you are new to guitar playing, your fingers need rest between sessions. If you push yourself too much, you can get finger strains and muscle pulls, which take a long time to heal.

You should practice around 30 mins or perhaps an hour. If you play longer than that, make sure you take adequate rest breaks to give your fingers time to relax so you don’t get a repetitive stress injury.


Conclusion

Aim to practice guitar 4-5 times per week. Make each session around 30 mins. The more you practice, the faster you will get better on the instrument. Practice hard but avoid over practicing as you don’t want to develop a repetitive stress injury, which will set you back a long time.

How to Work Around Finger Pain as a Guitar Player

How to Work Around Finger Pain as a Guitar Player

When you first start playing the guitar, you're going to experience finger pain. This is unavoidable and a part of the learning process. There are ways that you can work around finger pain so you can minimize how much you experience while you are practicing. 

 

Some Pain is Normal

There is no real way to get around finger pain. It is going to be a part of the learning process. Your fingertips have to develop calluses. Once the calluses have developed enough, the finger pain will go away for the most part. Even with calluses, you may experience a little bit of finger pain. This is a part of playing the guitar. If you use thick guitar strings, you will experience more finger pain.

 

It can be to your benefit to use a lighter gauge string on your instrument, which will reduce instances of finger pain. You can experiment with different string gauges to find one that you like the most. Even with light guitar strings, you may still experience a little bit of pain in your fingers. Don't give up practicing if you have a little bit of finger pain.

 

Short Practice Sessions

If you experience finger pain, reduce the length of your practice sessions. Most beginner guitar players will get by fine with a 30-minute practice session. If you try to play more than this, you may experience more finger pain, and you might otherwise want. Reduce your session to a manageable amount of time, and this won't hurt your fingers as much. 

How to Work Around Finger Pain as a Guitar Player

Rest

If you find that your fingers are hurting you a lot after a practice session, take a few days off and then return again. This will give your fingertips time to heal. If you keep pushing your practicing when experience finger pain, you won't make much progress. It is difficult to learn the guitar when your fingertips start to hurt you.

How to Work Around Finger Pain as a Guitar Player

Warmup

Before you play the guitar, you should warm up your hands. This will help reduce finger pain. For example, you'll find bar chords difficult to play if you don't warm up your hand for at least 10 minutes before you start to play them. You can run scales up and down the fretboard, and this will help to loosen up your fingers. When your hand is warmed up, and your fingers are loose, it's much easier to play complex things on the guitar.


Avoid Plastic Protectors

Some people buy plastic finger protectors to go on their fingertips. This is not the way to go as you won't develop calluses if you have finger protectors over top of your fingertips. These devices will reduce finger pain, but they don't allow your fingertips to strengthen properly for playing guitar. You want natural calluses. It's much easier to play guitar with proper calluses instead of relying on gimmicks such as finger protectors. Some pain when learning guitar is normal.

 

Get Help for Severe Pain

If you find your fingertips or hand is experiencing extreme pain when you're playing guitar, this is not normal. You may be developing a muscle strain or tendonitis in your fingers. If you happen to experience severe pain when practicing, you should stop right away. Call your physician and have your hand examined to ensure that you're not developing any sort of stress-related injury.

 

This is why it's important to have shorter practice sessions. Don't push yourself too much to learn guitar. You can practice a lot, but this may result in a finger strain issue that you will have to address. If you allow the problem to get worse, you may not be able to play guitar for a long time as your hand will have to heal. 

 

Play Each Day

The fingers will develop calluses at a faster rate if you play all the time. This doesn't mean you should have lengthy practice sessions. A session of between 15 to 30 minutes on most days of the week is enough to develop your calluses to a high degree. If you go a long time without practicing, then your calluses will disappear. When you go back to playing again, you'll have to redevelop your calluses.  Try to play on a consistent basis, and you will see proper callus development.

How to Work Around Finger Pain as a Guitar Player

Conclusion

You should expect to experience some finger pain when learning the guitar.  If you experience a lot of pain, this is not normal, and you should have this address to buy your physician. Try to practice for a few minutes each day so you can develop your calluses. Make sure you don't overdo this As you don't want to strain your fingers. Take time before you practice to warm up your hand, which will reduce finger pain.

How to Start Your First Band

How to Start Your First Band

If you have been playing the guitar for a little while, you might want to start a band. It's to your benefit to play in a band because there are many benefits to playing with other people. Here is how you can start your first band.

How to Start Your First Band

You Don’t Need Talent

You don't need to be a talented guitar player to start a band. If you only know a few chords, you can still start a band with other people. You can play simple songs and learn together. This is one of the best things you can do for your guitar playing. You learn about timing, rhythm, and how to sound great with other musicians. Some of the most famous songs in existence are only three or four chords. There are many songs you can play with other musicians that don't require a lot of talent.

 

You can't get this sort of training if you play in your bedroom only. Try to get together with other musicians as soon as possible. You don't necessarily have to start a band, but you can try jamming together. You never know where this may lead, and you may find people you like to play with and want to start a band with them.

 

Play with Friends

If you have friends that play musical instruments, try getting together with them and ask if they would like to start a band. The more you know someone, the easier it is to get along with them and to have a successful band. Many of the most successful bands were friends in high school, and they got together with them to form a band.

 

If you do audition someone for your band, make sure they are a good fit if you don't want someone in your band that's going to be a negative influence. It can be worth it for you to take your time to find members for your band.

 

Check the Egos

One of the common problems with bands is that someone has can have an inflated ego. This is often a cause of bands breaking up. If you're going to be a musician in a band, you should check your ego at the door. You are not there to impress anyone. You are there to create great music together and to put the audience first.

How to Start Your First Band

 If you have someone like this in your band, it can be a good idea to find someone else if they start to be a problem. You want musicians that are going to get along with each other and ones that will support the band. You don't want to have to deal with problem members because that's not the way to make good music together.

 

It Won’t Sound Good at First

When you start your first band, you should expect that the music is not going to sound that great at first. It takes time to develop timing with other musicians. Allow yourself enough time to get proficient together.

 

Start off playing songs that everyone knows. These songs should be simple and not complicated. It will be easier if you can work on the basics together and get that sounding good, before you try more complex arrangements.


First Gigs

It can be difficult to get into a bar or a nightclub if you're not already an established band. You can gain experience by playing shows around your town. Perhaps someone has a birthday party that you can play at. You might be able to play at a graduation party, wedding, or other events. These are places where you can gain experience.

 

You could also just get together with a few of your friends and play some music for them. This will get you established and get people talking about your band.  Most bands start out of their garage and build from there. 

 

Jam Nights

One way to get into bars and clubs is to see if they have a jam night. You may be able to go on stage and play a couple of songs. Not all members of your band can probably do this. You could have the guitar player or singer get together with the house band and play a couple of songs. This can help you gain more experience and develop your confidence. 

If you can establish yourself as being professional, you might get to play a set with your own band. You will probably need to work out an arrangement with the bar or club owner.

How to Start Your First Band

Conclusion

You can start a band as a beginner guitar player, and this is a great way to gain experience. You will learn more about playing with other musicians than on your own. It can be worth it even if you only know a few chords to start your own band.

Learning To Play The Guitar

Learning to play the guitar

You Need To Love To Play

There is one thing you need to know about learning to play the guitar in order to be really successful: You need to love to play. Don't get into learning to play the guitar unless you are really into it. Don't let anyone "force" you into it.

Playing the guitar -- because you love it -- is a lasting affair. The skill you learn doesn't go away as you grow older. In fact, for people who are more enthusiastic about guitar playing, you learn more and improve your skills as you grow old with your guitar. For many of us, the skill and the love for playing the guitar stays on for life.

Having said that love is the most important ingredient, there are some basic things you also need to know in order to be a successful guitarist or guitar player. 


Practice is the key

To be an excellent guitarist, you need to practice at least two hours per day. But, since you're a beginner, an hour a day or every other day is good enough. 

You need to believe in the saying, Practice makes perfect. You need to spend time familiarizing chords, hand and fingers positions, shifting, and strumming. This takes time to familiarize and master. 

You will sleep with your guitar in hand. You'd wake up with your guitar in hand. If you love your guitar and if you are intent on learning to play, then your guitar will be your constant companion and best friend (soul mate). Consistent practice will make your relationship with your guitar a personal one. 

Learning to play the guitar


Choose your guitar well

This is the reason why you need to choose your guitar well: because it will be a lifelong relationship you begin when you own a guitar. If you were given the choice, you need to get a good grip (literally) of your guitar. Since playing the guitar is a matter of getting a good, comfortable grip. 

Don't choose a guitar based on how it looks or appears. Yes, that is also important. But that is secondary. Like a shoe, you need to see if the guitar fits you. And the most important thing in choosing a guitar is if you have a comfortable grip on its neck (where you play the chords). 

If you have long, outstretched fingers, a wide neck (fingerboard) won't be a problem. But if you have short stubby fingers, you need a narrower neck to suit your limitations. It's not a problem because there are acoustic guitars with necks that have a narrow width.

Learning to play the guitar


Start with the fundamentals

If you are a beginner, start with the fundamentals. In choosing songs to play, choose songs that have basic chords and chord patterns. Most of these would be the major and minor chords and open chords. 

I know you would want to play Jason Mraz, Ed Sheeran, or John Mayer. But unless they have songs that have basic chord charts that beginners can strum, you'll have to save that for later. 

The more important skill you need to learn right now is how to play simple open chords in familiar songs, how to shift from one chord to another, and how to position your fingers correctly during the change up. It is also important for you to learn to recognize chord patterns. There are many popular songs that will help you go through the basic chords and chord patterns and prepare you to play some of the more current popular songs. 

As the saying goes, there is no fun without learning the fundamentals.

 

Never give up

Last piece of advice: Never give up. Persevere!

Learning to play the guitar

Ed Sheeran, Meet Jamie Foxx

Why You Should Not Use Guitar Finger Protectors

It isn't easy being a ginger, growing up as a kid. Usually, you get picked on for the sheer colour of your hair. Add to that, weird looks and oversized eyeglasses. And you study in a private school that is sporty and competitive. You are bound to get bullied.

On top of that, if you stutter, it compounds matters. When no words come out of your mouth when you speak in class, because you froze stiff, you get mocked in school. 

This isn't a good formula for high self-esteem.

This was Ed Sheeran.

Fortunately, Ed Sheeran had a musical gene. He loved music. And music became his way out.

He learned to play the guitar at a young age and used that to gain control of his life. He also got involved in the local church choir and sang regularly with them. This gave him happiness. 


Music and singing cured Ed Sheeran of his speech defects. It gave him a sense of accomplishment. And so, he worked hard at his music.


His Irish dad encouraged him to work hard on what he saw Ed was good at: music. So, one day his dad brought him a record of Eminem to listen to.


Ed Sheeran was so impressed by how fast Eminem rapped. And by age 10, he'd already memorized each word.


At age 13, Ed Sheeran already had dreams and ambitions to become a music superstar. He worked hard at it. And Ed took to study music.


He wrote his own music and released two CDs at age 14. 


And at 17, in 2008, Ed Sheeran packed his bags and left his home in Halifax, England. His destination: London.


Ed Sheeran's time in London was spent looking for gigs to play in, seeking recognition for his music, and living homeless for more than two years. He even spent nights sleeping under an arch outside Buckingham Palace! He said it was a comfortable place to sleep in because it had a heating duct.


Ed learned to socialize in London. He knew he'd have to do that to get gigs and a place to sleep at night (he often slept at a train station after his gigs). So, he'd spend time in bars drinking and talking to people. He felt free to do that since he was an independent solo musician. And he connected with Hiphop artists and other acts doing gigs in London.


Ed Sheeran did everything in his power to get to where he dreamed to go. But his biggest step came when he uploaded his music online. This was his big break. It was here that he got discovered.


Example, a british singer-songwriter and rapper saw Ed Sheeran's videos online. And Example was impressed. So, he invited Ed Sheeran to do an opening act for him on tour. This broadened Ed Sheeran's fan base. And it encouraged him to write more original songs and upload them online.


Ed Sheeran was now an online YouTube sensation. But he wasn't signed yet. He had no contracts. He had no label.


In 2010, age 19, Ed Sheeran packed his bags and left the music scene in London. His destination: Los Angeles, California, USA.


He knew nobody in LA. 


So Ed Sheeran sent out his music to anybody he can reach, to no avail. But he got an invite to an all-black open mic night R&B session. The ginger with dishevelled hair and odd looks got recognized for his music. 


Ed Sheeran was introduced to Jamie Foxx. 


And this opened the door wide for Ed Sheeran to spread his wings further and reach the heights he is at today.



How to Master Your First Guitar Solo

How to Master Your First Guitar Solo

Playing rhythm guitar is a lot of fun, but many guitar students want to learn how to play solos too. When you play a solo, it's a little bit harder than a rhythm guitar. You might be a little confused or apprehensive about learning a solo. This guide will show you how to master your first guitar solo.

How to Master Your First Guitar Solo


Master Pentatonic Scales

Before you begin playing guitar solos, it's a good idea to have a solid foundation in the pentatonic scale. You should learn both the pentatonic major and minor scales. Most guitar solos use these two scales. While some solos use different scales, these two form the foundation of a lot of the music that is popular today.

 

It's also a lot easier to learn other guitar scales if you master the pentatonic first. Play through each scale about ten times each during your practice sessions. This will help get the scale under your fingers. Try to learn all of the positions of the scale up and down the fretboard.

 

Short Solos

Start by learning a solo that is short. At most, it should only be a few bars of music. You don't want to try something too complex as this will just confuse you, and you'll get frustrated.

Learning a short solo will also teach you the basics of soloing, before you move onto anything harder. There are many different songs that have short guitar solos. Pick something you like and try to learn how to play the rhythm guitar parts and the guitar solo.

 

There is nothing better than learning all the parts of a song, and this includes a guitar solo. Once you're ready to begin guitar soloing, try something that is short, but that’ll give you a good foundation in guitar solos.

 

Learn the Solo Phrases

Solos are broken up into what we call phrases. These are short chunks of music. Make sure you feel comfortable playing each phrase of the solo before you go on to the next phrase.

Have a look at the notes and how they connect together. Try to look for patterns and how the notes are played.

How to Master Your First Guitar Solo

Once you feel comfortable playing one phrase, add more phrases to that first phrase until you can play the whole solo. You can think of phrases as building blocks of the solo. You work on one block, and then you add another block until the solo is complete.

Phrases can be both long and short. Most short solos that you learn will have phrases that are quite short.

 

Slow it Down

Before you play the solo up to speed, make sure you can play it slowly. If you try to play too fast all at once, your fingers are going to trip up, and you'll make mistakes. Try to play to the solo at a slow pace. It won't sound the same as the solo that is played at full speed, but you'll be able to learn the notes.

 

Once you can play the solo at a slow speed, using a metronome, speed it up until you can play it at the speed on the record. This will take a lot of time and practice. Practice the solo as much as possible and work on your speed. You have to walk before you can run, so slowing things down is one of the best things you can do to learn the solo effectively.

How to Master Your First Guitar Solo

Watch for Problem Areas

You may find that you have some problem areas when you are learning a guitar solo. For example, this might be a bend that is giving you problems. Try to concentrate on the areas of the solo that are giving you the most problems.

It can take time to work through harder parts of the solo, but it's well worth it. Try to see what exactly is giving you the issue and work to correct it as much as possible.

 

Slow down and play what problem notes until they sound right. Once you can play the problem area at a slow pace, try to speed it up a little bit. Once you can speed it up, try to play it to the tempo of the record.

 

Repetition

To learn a solo properly, you're going to have to do a lot of repetition. You'll probably get tired of playing the solo, but this is how you learn it. You need to be able to play it without thinking about it. You can only do this through diligent repetition.

The more you repeat the solo, the faster you will gain the muscle memory necessary to play it through without mistakes.

 

Conclusion

You can learn and master guitar solos. You don't have to stick to just the rhythm guitar. It takes time to learn guitar solos, but it is a lot of fun. Slow down and take your time with them. You should be in no rush to learn the solo.

Practice repetition and look for areas that are giving you problems and try to correct it. Practice to solo as much as possible, and soon you'll be able to play it without any mistakes.

Top 10 Female Guitarists

Top 10 Female Guitarists

 Our list of Top 10 Female Guitarists span decades and come from different genres of music. Most of them also have excellent voices to match their guitar playing skills. Some of them are icons in their respective genre. But each of them have made their contribution in making guitar playing an equal right for females to take the lead and make a name.


Here are our top 10:


1. Sister Rosetta Tharpe.

This woman is a black gospel singer of a bygone era, late 1940's. You can see a (1963) video of her shredding a White Gibson Les Paul SG (1962) while singing Up Above My Head. You'd feel the influence of Chuck Berry in her style of guitar playing.


2. Mother Maybelle Carter.

Mother Maybelle Carter became recognized as a guitar wizard with her inventive plucking style. She was way ahead of her time. Taking in influences from banjo playing, Mother Maybelle Carter could play as if three guitars were playing simultaneously. This style of picking would be known as the Carter Family picking. 


3. Joni Mitchell.

She was a rare talent who had a silken voice and a ponderous mind. Her thoughts are deep and she can sing with broken, open-tuned notes. Joni Mitchell influenced the music of Prince, Tori Amos, and Sarah McLachlan among other well-known names of different genres.


4. Nancy Wilson.

Lead guitarist and back-up vocals of Heart, a band she and her sister Ann Wilson began performing together in 1974, when Nancy was joined the band. Nancy was inducted in the Rock Hall of Fame in 2012, and was given a star (with her sister) on Hollywood's Walk of Fame.


5. Lita Ford.

She is a punk rock icon. She played with lead guitarist Joan Jett with the Runaways and later with her own band Kiss Me Deadly. Lita Ford had been using BC Rich guitars since she started in the eighties (1980's) because it had a certain "crunch" she couldn't get from any other guitar. The Double-neck and the Warlock are two of her signature guitars. 


6. Joan Jett.

Lead guitar player of the Runaways. She's a spitfire singer with a powerful pop rock persona. Started playing with the Runaways when she was 15 years old. Early in her music career, Joan Jett toured and played in almost all states in the USA. 


7. Bonnie Raitt.

Bonnie Raitt will mesmerize you with her singing style, you be waiting for every word to fall out of her lips. You see her on tour playing a Fender Stratocaster or a huge Guild F-50 acoustic guitar. She's a multi-awarded musician with 10 Grammies. Bonnie Raitt's name is in the music Hall of Fame.


8. Susan Tedeschi.

Her musical influences include the legendary Janis Joplin and Bonnie Raitt. Susan Tedeschi can play the blues like a pro on her autographed 1970 Fender Telecaster. You can watch her at Farm Aid Live.


9. Orianthi.

Her lead guitar picks are very impressive. She is a millennial rock star. She auditioned for Michael Jackson playing Beat It, and got the part. She's been present in all MJ's rehearsals for This Is It concerts. She later toured with Alice Cooper and became part of his band. Orianthi was awarded Breakthrough Guitarist of the Year by Guitar International Magazine in 2010.    


10. Kaki King.

She is a young philosopher of sound, who plays the strings of her guitar and taps its body as a percussion instrument, to convey a profound message lodging in her head. Rolling Stone magazine describes her as "a genre to herself". A very unique, intelligent, and innovative musician.

 

These are our Top 10 Female Guitarists. Who else made it to your list?

 

Star Spangled Hendrix

Star Spangled Hendrix

Anybody who plays a guitar and is a fan of blues rock has played Star Spangled Banner, Jimi Hendrix version. Of course not all are as successful as others. Simply playing the notes of the Star Spangled Banner without the Jimi Hendrix effects and feedback would already make some happy. But even the best versions could not come near Jimi Hendrix's powerful interpretation of the American national anthem at Woodstock.


The version Jimi Hendrix played was described by Dick Cavett, when he interviewed Hendrix in his show sometime after Woodstock, as unorthodox. It probably was, in 1969. 


But the first controversial interpretation of the national anthem happened a year earlier during the 1968 World Series between the St. Louis Cardinals and the Detroit Tigers. Jose Feliciano was invited to sing the pre-game national anthem in Game 5 of the World Series. With guitar in hand, Jose Feliciano rendered his soulful interpretation of the national anthem. He did not sing the national anthem "straight" as was expected.  


By today's standards, any artist singing their own interpretation of the national anthem is already commonplace. Sports fans obviously enjoy it. But in 1968, it was considered by some as a serious offence. Jose Feliciano's career took a nosedive as a backlash. Some headlines referred to the soulful anthem as the Starry Spangled. But Jose Feliciano said, he sang it soulfully as an act of patriotism.


Jimi Hendrix said exactly the same thing to Dick Cavett, about his interpretation of the Star Spangled Banner at Woodstock. He said, "I'm American, so I played it." He disagreed with Dick Cavett's comment that his interpretation of the national anthem was unorthodox and told him in turn, "I didn't think it was unorthodox, I thought it was beautiful."


It was indeed beautiful. The Star Spangled Banner Hendrix played on his Fender Stratocaster was the most riveting song he played at Woodstock.


Jimi Hendrix came on stage 8 a.m. Monday morning. He was Woodstock's closing act. He played some of his songs in the opening minutes, including Hear My Train A Coming, Red House, Foxy Lady, and Voodoo Child. Then he started playing Star Spangled Banner to the crowds amazement.


By the time Hendrix played Star Spangled Banner on Monday morning, the Woodstock crowd had considerably thinned out. There were only about 30,000 - 40,000 die hard stalwarts in the field. Many of the almost 400,000 fans who trooped to the Woodstock Music and Art Festival during the weekend had all but gone.


But Jimi Hendrix wasn't concerned at all with the number of people. "You can leave if you want to," he said, "we're just jammin, that's all." He was there for the love of music and freedom.


Jimi Hendrix played Star Spangled Banner on his 1968 White Stratocaster through Marshall amps. The music was loud, the sound reverberated, and Jimi deliberately created feedback. Jimi made his Strat wail like a suffering human, and he made anguished facial gestures to match the sound. He made his Strat sound like a helicopter, fire like a machine gun, and explode like a bomb -- a poignant reminder to everyone of the ongoing war raging in Vietnam, where young Americans fought and died, and many Americans protested. 


In fact, many of the songs sung at the three-day Woodstock festival had political messages and were protest songs. It was an era of unrest and activism in America, and music was one of the avenues of free expression.


In the middle of the war-like noises Jimi Hendrix played on his guitar, he paused and played a line of Taps, before finishing Star Spangled Hendrix.

Common Problems Learning Guitar Chords and How to Overcome Them

Common Problems Learning Guitar Chords and How to Overcome Them

When you're learning guitar chords, there are several common problems that may impede your progress to learn the chords. This guide will help you eliminate problems with your chord playing.


Fret Buzz

One of the most common problems when you are learning guitar chords is fret buzz. There are several reasons why you might have buzzing frets. You will notice that the notes are not ringing out as clearly as you might like them.


To eliminate this problem, you need to press down firmly on the strings so that they hit the frets properly. If you don't use enough finger pressure, you're not going to get a clear sounding note. You want to apply even the pressure across the strings with each finger in the chord you are playing. Try to press down firmly, but don't press too hard as you may put the chord out of tune. This will require some practice, so don't worry if you don't get it right away.


No Sound from the Strings

In some cases, you might not get any sound from the string at all. This is usually because the finger isn't placed properly on the string, or it is hitting the string next to it, and you're not getting any sound. It's important to place the fingertip in the middle of the fret and to ensure it's not touching the other strings.


Watch the spacing between your fingers and the strings while you're playing the chord. Try to play each note individually in an arpeggio as this will show you which notes are not as clean as they could be. Once you can determine which string is producing the problem, you'll be able to correct the issue so that the string sounds cleanly when you play it.


Can’t Reach the Notes in the Chord

Sometimes you might not be able to reach all the notes in a chord with your fingers. This is usually caused because your fingers are not stretched enough. You will have to practice other chords before you can Master some of the more difficult chords. Your fingers need to stretch gradually, and over time, you'll be able to play more chords and ones that are more complex.


For example, barre chords take more finger stretching than a regular open-position chord does. You should practice those open position chords before you move on to bar chords. Try not to stress your hand too much if you're struggling to reach a note that is out of reach. Take your time and allow the hand to stretch properly. You will soon find that you are able to hit that note you've been trying to reach.


Diligent Practice

You will find it easier to play chords if you practice often You should devote around 5 to 10 minutes of each practice section to work on your chords. You will make more progress if you spend the time to master each chord. You should also review all of your materials, as this will help to develop your muscle memory.


Try to add one to two new chords each week. This will give you a nice repertoire of chords that you can draw from in the future. Just make sure to review all of the old chords as you add new ones.


Changing Chords

Another aspect of chord playing is changing from one to another. This takes a lot of practice. First, you want to be able to strum one chord without making any mistakes. You can use a simple beat for this. Try playing four downstrokes on one chord. For example, play four down Strokes on a G chord. Once you can do this, try playing four downstrokes on the G chord and then change to the C chord and play four downstrokes.


The trick is to change chords without stopping the rhythm. You need to be able to change chords quickly. This is why it's important to use the proper fingers for each chord. Look at the chord chart and make sure you're using the right fingers on the right strings. This helps you change chords. Once you can change your chords with a simple beat, try something a little more complex. You can use a metronome to help you stay on time.


Conclusion

These tips and you'll be able to master chords in no time at all. Make sure that you practice diligently as it takes time to master your chords playing. Watch your finger placement and how you change your chords. Make a note of problem areas such as buzzing frets or dead strings and correct the issue at the root source.

Bang! Bang! Maxwell’s Silver Hammer

Blues Soloing Tips for Beginners

Ever wondered what Maxwell's Silver Hammer was all about? 


If you pay close attention to the lyrics, you might be surprised the song tells the story about a serial killer, who kind-a kills every person he meets. Yeah, that's what it's about. 


The serial killers name is Maxwell Edison, and he's 'majoring in medicine'. Hmm, a would-be doctor. His murder weapon of choice… a silver hammer. His method: Bang! Bang! You know how he does it.


If the song was the storyline of a movie, it would be a suspense-thriller. Foreboding music would play when Maxwell is about to strike his victim with the silver hammer. 


But, the irony is, much of the song is played with a light comical tune, a children's song. Except the part after Maxwell (in the song) kills his victim, the music sounds like a satirical dirge at a funeral march. 


Maxwell's Silver Hammer was the creation of Paul McCartney. He's the Beatle with the knack for fun, crazy, sometimes dark ideas. He enjoys the 'pataphysical science' of things, whatever that means to you.


But for Paul McCartney, pataphysical science meant something profound. Paul followed the works of Alfred Jarry, a French writer of the Theatre of the Absurd, who himself coined the word 'pataphysical'. Pataphysical science (philosophy) was a method of expressing symbolic truths using absurdity and irony.


This was the underlying thought in Paul McCartney's head when he wrote Maxwell's Silver Hammer. He was expressing a symbolic truth through absurdity and irony: the downfalls of life. He says that sometimes even when your life is going smoothly, a downfall comes. And how did he express it in the song? 


Bang! Bang! Maxwell's silver hammer came down on his/her head.


Maxwell's first victim was Joan. It's ironic that Joan herself was a student of pataphysical science. Things were going just fine with Maxwell and Joan, who's now his new girlfriend. Maxwell asks Joan if she'd go out to the movies with him. 


"Can I take you out to the pictures, Joan?" says Maxwell. Joan's implied answer is positive, because she was getting ready to go. And a knock comes on the door.


Bang! Bang! Maxwell's silver hammer came down upon her head. Bang! Bang! Maxwell's silver hammer made sure that she was dead.


Maxwell kills Joan. And he made sure of it.


Maxwell's second victim was his school teacher, who was just doing her job as a good disciplinarian. Maxwell fools around in class... again. His teacher was discreet enough not to make a scene out of it. But as his punishment, Maxwell was asked to stay after school and was asked by his teacher to write "I must not be so (play the fool)" fifty times. When she turns her back, he creeps up from behind her.


Maxwell murders his school teacher. And made sure she was dead.


Maxwell's third victim, the judge who convicts him (of a crime he committed). When the judge was about to declare the verdict, a noise comes from behind. It was Maxwell. He kills the judge.


Maxwell is a gruesome serial killer. He not only murders his victims with a hammer. He makes sure they're dead. Ugh!


But we're not really revolted by the song, right?! We love singing along when it's played because it was set to music that was meant for children, a sing-along melody. 


But also, because Paul McCartney tells the story of Maxwell Edison's murders in a surreal way that bends reason, space, and time. It all sounds absurd. And that's why it's fun to sing it. 


Bang! Bang! Maxwell's silver hammer...

Tips to Finger Pick Acoustic Guitar Effectively

Tips to Finger Pick Acoustic Guitar Effectively

Learning to fingerpick an acoustic guitar is a rewarding experience. Finger-picking takes more skill than strumming regular guitar chords. Here are some tips to help you with your fingerstyle guitar.

 

Light Strings

One of the most important things that you can do is to use lighter guitar strings. Many acoustic guitars have medium gauge strings. While these are fine for strumming chord progressions. They are harder on your fingers, and this can be detrimental to your fingerstyle guitar.

 

Try to use a light gauge set of strings or a custom light gauge. These strings and make it easier on your fingertips for learning fingerstyle guitar. Once your fingertips have developed enough and you've gained calluses, you can always switch to heavier strings if you prefer them. You can also switch to a nylon string guitar to try some fingerstyle as these strings want to dig into your fingers as regular steel strings do.

Tips to Finger Pick Acoustic Guitar Effectively


Take Care of Your Fingernails

Try to take care of the fingernails on your strumming hand. You want nails that are long, but not too long. It's important to look after your nails if you want to improve your fingerstyle guitar. The nails should be at a consistent length. You don't want one finger to have a nail that is too long and the other finger to have a nail that is too short.

 

Make sure you file them on a regular basis so that they are rounded and that you take care and not to break them.  I wouldn't rely on false fingernails as these won't work as well as your regular nails do for fingerstyle guitar. You should keep the nails on your fretting hand short because this makes it easier for you to fret chords or play single notes. It's the nails on your strumming hand that need to be longer.

 

Bass Notes

When playing bass notes, you want to ensure that these are ringing out nice and clear. It's the bass notes that are going to give you the nice melodies. When using your thumb to pluck these the notes should be ringing out nice and cleanly. Your thumb will play the bass notes and your other fingers are playing the treble strings. It's the bass note that will move the melody along so these notes are the most important part of the fingerstyle piece that you are playing.

 

The bass notes are more often than not the root of the chord. You want the listener to hear those root notes as you are playing. Play a simple chord progression and concentrate on making sure that the root note is ringing out during the finger-picking progression. Put more of an accent on the bass note so that it rings cleanly and moves the progression along.

Tips to Finger Pick Acoustic Guitar Effectively

Go Slow

You should practice your fingerpicking pieces at a slow pace. It takes time to develop any sort of speed with fingerpicking. You cannot rush the process of learning a finger-picking guitar. It's a good idea to get yourself a good metronome as you can use this to increase your speed.

 

Once you can play something at a slow pace without making any mistakes, then you can begin to speed it up. It's far better to play something slowly without making those mistakes and it is to try to speed through something and make a lot of mistakes. You will keep making the same mistakes if you don't go back and correct the issue. Consistent and diligent practice at a slow pace will make it easier for you to master complex fingerstyle arrangements.

Tips to Finger Pick Acoustic Guitar Effectively

 

Break It Down

Whenever you play a fingerstyle piece there will be different sections of music. You should break it down and play music into small sections. You can work through each individual section and master them one at a time. Try to look for patterns in the music and how the chords are changing.

 

In some cases, you might only need to make small adjustments with your fingers to get to the next chord. If you run into a section that gives you difficulty, analyze it, and figure out what exactly is giving you the problem. You should focus your efforts on this section until you can master it.

 

Listen to Fingerstyle Players

To get proficient at fingerstyle guitar you should listen to all of the fingerstyle masters. This will give you inspiration in your own playing. Have a look at how they play chords and see if you can mimic what they are doing.

 

Try to learn one or two songs from your favourite singer style guitar players even if the music is really complex. Take the time and effort to learn those pieces as they will be valuable learning tools for you. You'll get great satisfaction from learning a complex fingerstyle piece from one of your favourite artists.

Tips to Finger Pick Acoustic Guitar Effectively

 

Constant Practice

It will take a lot of time to gain finger independence for both your fretting hand and your picking hand. Fingerstyle guitar requires you to concentrate more as you're not just strumming through a chord progression. You will be picking individual notes and it's easier to make mistakes.

 

You'll have to sit down with your guitar and do a lot of consistent practice. You should start with simple chord progressions and then work your way up. Once you can play through simple chord progressions, you can try songs. Start with songs that are easy and work towards ones that are complex. The more time you put into fingerstyle, the more reward you will get in the end.

 

Conclusion

Fingerstyle guitar is fun, but it is challenging. You have to sit down and do a lot of consistent practice. You should take care of your nails and use lighter guitar strings. Listen to your favourite artists for inspiration. Break down sections that you don't understand into easy and manageable chunks. Talk to your guitar teacher about fingerstyle guitar as they can help you what areas that are giving you difficulties. 

10 Timeless Eric Clapton Classics

10 Timeless Eric Clapton Classics

Eric Clapton is one of the most enduring guitar players of all-time. His career as a guitar player spans more than fifty years. He's played in different bands -- his own and as a guest -- and collaborated with other guitar players in the course of his musical career.


Many of his songs since his career began in the 1960's are timeless classics that never grow old. And the task of choosing 10 of them isn't easy at all.


But here are our 10 Timeless Eric Clapton Classics:


1. Wonderful Tonight

The sweet and familiar lead guitar intro of Wonderful Tonight sets the mood to this timeless love song. Eric Clapton wrote it in 1976 to his girlfriend Pattie Boyd. He sang it to her at a concert the day after they got married (1979). 

 

2. Tears In Heaven

Clapton reveals his vulnerability in this acoustic ballad. Eric Clapton lost his 4 year old son, Conor, in a tragic accident in 1991. Tears In Heaven is his tribute to Conor. 

 

3. While My Guitar Gently Weeps

George Harrison wrote this song. When he couldn't make his guitar weep on the Abbey Road recording of the song, he invited his close buddy Eric Clapton to play lead guitar. Eric Clapton made George Harrison's Les Paul weep.  

 

4. Bell Bottom Blues

A sweet and painful love song, written for Pattie Boyd, George Harrison's wife, whom Clapton was madly in love with. Pattie had asked Eric to buy her a pair of bell bottoms in one of his trips to America; this became the inspiration for the song.

 

5. Layla

The 7 note riff that fires up the intro of Layla was influenced by Duane Allman (Allman Brothers Band) a jamming partner of Eric Clapton. Clapton wrote this hopeless love song to Pattie Boyd, who was then still married to his buddy, George Harrison.

 

6. I Shot The Sheriff

A Bob Marley original reggae that Eric Clapton adapted in 1974 for the rock & roll world. The song tells the story of a man wrongfully accused of killing a deputy sheriff and pleading his innocence. The Eric Clapton single made #1 in the Billboard Hot 100 on that same year.

 

7. Why Does Love Got To Be So Sad

Eric Clapton rips his Fender in the 1970 Live at the Fillmore Concert performance of Why Does Love Got To Be So Sad. Duane Allman (Allman Brothers Band) who toured with Derek and the Dominos, is believed to have played lead guitar with Clapton in the studio recorded version of the song.

 

8. White Room

The song begins with a military style drumbeat that segues into its psychedelic lyrics. This rock classic is totally out of this world. So is Clapton's lead guitar in the adlib. Clapton used a Vox wah to create the spatial wah-wah effects on his one line licks. The Joker fans caught up with White Room in 2019.

 

9. Crossroads

Clapton plays impressive solo lead guitar to a basic blues riff by Jack Bruce, with excellent drumming runs by the legendary Ginger Baker. Cream performed Crossroads in their reunion concert at the Royal Albert Hall in 2005.  

 

10. Have You Heard

The superb noodles on the solo sax intro (a full minute) is only matched by the impressive vocal intensity of John Mayall and the dazzling exhibition of lead guitar prowess by the young Eric Clapton. This was a defining moment of Clapton's guitar skills.

 

Some of these songs display Eric Clapton's guitar prowess and some his emotional vulnerability.

Some are from 50 years ago and some from more recent times.

George, Eric, Layla… and Lucy

George, Eric, Layla... and Lucy

George Harrison and Eric Clapton were best mates. But sometimes, a girl can come between best mates. Things can get ugly in such a love triangle. But in this case, apparently, it does not. 


The girl who could have come between George and Eric was Patti Boyd.


Patti Boyd was a pretty model and a photographer. She was a leading international model in the 1960's when George met her. George was already a Beatle when he met Patti on the set of A Hard Day's Night, when they filmed it in 1964.


George and Patti fell in love and they got married in 1966.


George and Eric met in 1964 at the Beatles Christmas Show in London. Eric's band, the Yardbirds, was playing the front act for the Beatles. The Beatles were quite impressed with Eric's playing that they befriended him. George and Eric became close friends after this.


Sometime in September 1968, when the Beatles were recording at the EMI Abbey Road studios, George called Eric to come over. George asked Eric to play lead guitar on the song he (George) wrote, entitled While My Guitar Gently Weeps. In a twist of irony, George was having trouble making his guitar weep.

Eric was faced with a dilemma. George was his best mate and was inviting him over to play lead guitar on a Beatles song he wrote. He felt obliged. Eric's hesitation was rooted in knowing that no one else ever plays with the Beatles. But George finally convinced him.


George had arranged for Eric to use his Red 1957 Gibson Les Paul in recording Gently Weeps, through a Fender Twin amp, as Eric recalls the events in a 2013 interview. This Red 1957 Les Paul was originally given to George by Eric after he'd come back from New York earlier that year. This is Lucy, George Harrison's Red 1957 Les Paul. Lucy was a gift from Eric to George.


But George didn't know at the time of the 1968 recording of Gently Weeps that Eric was already falling in love with Patti, his wife. He'd notice later on and would ask Eric what was going on. Eric would say to George that he was in love with his wife.


Eric was crazy in love with Patti and wrote her love letters and verses. He wrote a love song for Patti entitled Layla. In the song Eric pours out his heart and soul to Layla (Patti).


"I tried to give you consolation, when your old man let you down. Like a fool I fell in love with you, you turned my world upside down... Make the best of the situation, before I finally go insane. Please don't say we'll never find a way, and tell me all my love's in vain. Layla."


Who Layla was became obvious to the people around Eric, and George. But there's more to Layla than meets the eye.


The name Layla came from a book Eric was reading, entitled The Story of Layla and Manjun. It was about an Arabian princess arranged to marry her father's choice of a husband for her. This leaves her one true love hopeless until he goes mad. Eric knit his own story of going mad about Patti in the song Layla. 


Layla is introduced by an intense seven note riff pattern. When you hear the seven note riff pattern, you immediately know it's Layla. 


In 1974, George and Patti divorced. Five years later, Eric and Layla (Patti) got married. George and Eric remained best mates. George lost Lucy, but later got her back.

Learning Guitar Over the Age of 50

Learning Guitar Over the Age of 50

When you get older, you often have some free time for hobbies. People over the age of 50 often take up hobbies such as fishing, golf, they go traveling, and so on. A lot of people don't think hobbies such as playing a musical instrument are possible after the age of 50. I want to show you that you can play the guitar and learn at any age. 

 

You Are Not Too Old

You can play guitar at any age, and even if you are over the age of 50, you can still learn. It can be a fun and rewarding experience to learn the guitar when you are older.  A lot of older people think you can't learn an instrument because too much time has passed. We have this misconception in our mind that musical instruments are just for young people. While it does take time to learn to play guitar, you can do it when you are older.

Learning Guitar Over the Age of 50

 

Benefits to Playing Guitar At Age 50

There are numerous benefits to playing guitar over the age of 50, such as the following:


  • Playing a musical instrument is very relaxing. It can help you deal with stress in your life. You may be working a lot or need some time to yourself. Playing a musical instrument such as the guitar can help you deal with your stress levels.
  • Learn something new.  When you pick up a guitar, you are learning something new. You will help your memory and cognitive function by learning. This can help reduce the risks of illnesses such as Alzheimer's or dementia. Research shows us that people that engage their memory more often have reduced risk of these illnesses.
  • Play with friends. You may have people you know that play musical instruments. Learning an instrument, yourself, you can get together with your friends and play some songs. There is a social aspect to playing music that you can take part in.
  • The fun factor. One of the best reasons to pick up the guitar is that it is fun. You can learn all of your favorite songs and have fun playing them. You don't have to worry about joining a band although you can do this. There are plenty of places such as bars and clubs where older bands play. You could live out your dream of playing on stage.
Learning Guitar Over the Age of 50

 

How to Learn Guitar Over Age 50

The best thing you can do if you want to learn guitar over the age of 50 is to find yourself a qualified guitar teacher. There are several basic concepts that you need to learn. You will get the most benefit out of the instrument if you find a good teacher. You will progress at a rapid rate if you have a teacher. You may become frustrated and not know where to turn if you try to teach yourself. This is one of the reasons why many older people put the guitar back in the case.

 

Once you find a good teacher, speak to them about what you want to learn. This will help your teacher tailor the right program for you.  Your teacher is there to help guide you through the process of learning the instrument. By putting in your own input, they can tailor the right program for you too.

 

Go at Your Own Pace

When you learn an instrument as an older individual, you can go at your own pace. You can pick it up and play whenever you want. There is no rush to learn anything. You should pick up your guitar and have fun with it. 

 

My Experiences

When I was teaching a guitar, I had several older students.  They were picking up the instrument for the first time in their life. I had an enjoyable time teaching them how to play the guitar.  I had students over the age of 50, and they were able to pick up the instrument as well as my younger students. 

 

You should have no fear when you're older about playing the guitar. You may have some free time on your hands, so why not devote that time to learning an instrument. You may have dreamed about this in the past, so now is the time to live out your dreams.

Learning Guitar Over the Age of 50

Conclusion

When you learn a musical instrument such as the guitar, it’s a fun process. You can learn this instrument at any age. You do not have to be a young person to play the guitar. If you've always wanted to learn and you are older, find yourself a qualified teacher and enjoy everything that music can bring to your life.

The Birth of the Gibson Les Paul

You Can Learn Guitar at Any Age

You may have heard of the Les Paul. It's a type of electric guitar made by Gibson and named after a man -- Les Paul.


Les Paul (Lester William Polsfuss) was born in 1915, in Waukesha, Wisconsin. He was a prolific musician and an inventor. 


As a youngster, he did gigs at a drive-in restaurant, playing his hollow guitar and harmonica. One time he made an improvised amplifier by connecting the mouthpiece of his mother's telephone to her radio, and brought it to the drive-in. Then one of the audience from the back rows sent him a note telling him, "Your voice and harmonica are fine, but your guitar's not loud enough." This drove Les Paul to modify his invention. 


This marked the birth of the Les Paul electric guitar. 


But the first Les Paul electric guitar was far from whatever Gibson Les Paul you have held and played. The first Les Paul electric guitar was a regular hollow body guitar with a phonograph needle stuck to the wooden bridge, with the phonograph arm taped in place on the guitar body. The phonograph needle was wired to Les Paul's father's radio.

This did amplify the sound of the guitar -- the entire guitar.


Les Paul was quite unhappy with it because what he wanted to hear was not the sound of the whole guitar, but just the strings' vibrations. He needed to eliminate the vibrations of the sound box. 


He attempted to muffle the sound by filling the guitar's sound box with rags and socks, and an entire tablecloth. But this failed. Then he tried filling the sound box with plaster of Paris, a more solid filler made of clay-like material. This, however, took the life out of the poor guitar and broke it. 


Les Paul needed a guitar body that was solid. 


One day, he and a friend took a length of discarded rail about two feet, from the railroad tracks across the street from where he lived. He stretched a guitar string along the length of the rail and fixed it on both ends. To pick up the sound, he used the microphone (mouthpiece) from his mother's telephone.


Les Paul could now hear only the sound of the guitar string amplified by the telephone microphone. And the sound was sustained and went on and on. This was very encouraging.


But his mother pointed out to him that a railroad track would be too heavy for a guitar.


Back to the drawing boards...


Sometime in 1941, Les Paul went to the Epiphone factory, where he had friends. They allowed him to work on his invention when the factory was closed. He found a square piece of pine, fixed strings to it, pick-ups, a bridge, a Vibrola tailpiece, and attached the neck of an Epiphone guitar to this block of pine. 


Les Paul called his creation "the Log". And he was very happy with the sound it produced.


He later redesigned the shape of the Log's square body and gave it "wings" that looked similar to an Epiphone electric guitar.  When he played this remodelled Log at a nightclub, the people couldn't stop talking about it and the sound it produced. 


Les Paul would take this Log prototype to Epiphone and to Gibson, but the executives there thought the idea of a solid body electric guitar preposterous at the time. It will take ten years until Gibson decides to work with Les Paul to manufacture the first Gibson Les Paul Standard in 1952.


It was the Log, however, that gave birth to the Gibson Les Paul -- the first solid, single cutaway body electric guitar.

Two Legendary Les Pauls

Star Spangled Hendrix

You've probably heard about the Les Paul. 


The Les Paul is one of Gibson's popular trademark electric guitars. Eric Clapton's Les Paul was a 1959 Cherry Sunburst with a thin neck, twin black humbuckers on the bridge, and twin white humbuckers on the body. It's the axe (slang for electric guitar) he used when he recorded the album Blues Breakers with Eric Clapton, with John Mayall and the Blues Breakers, in 1966. 


Eric Clapton's Les Paul was nicknamed "Beano" because Clapton was reading a Beano children's comic on the cover of the Blues Breakers with Eric Clapton album they produced. This was the legendary Les Paul that Eric "Clapton is God" Clapton used -- the Beano. 


The Beano was stolen sometime in March 1966, after a Cream rehearsal, making it more legendary. Clapton later replaced the Beano with another Les Paul.


Rewind. There were only around six to seven Les Pauls in London around that time. One of them belonged to Andy Summers (he will join The Police a decade later). It was Andy Summer's Les Paul Standard Burst that first led Eric Clapton to buy one (the Beano).


Andy Summers was playing gigs with Eric Clapton at The Flamingo Club in Soho, London. This was between April to July, 1965. At the time, Summers had just bought a 1959 Les Paul Cherry Sunburst. When Clapton saw Summers' new Les Paul he immediately became interested and asked Summers where he got it.


Summers pointed Clapton to the store on Charing Cross Road in London, and told him they have another one on sale for eighty quid. Eric Clapton bought the 1959 Cherry Sunburst Les Paul from the Lew Davis' guitar shop on Charing Cross Road. 


In the meantime, with the Beano gone, Clapton borrowed Keith Richard's (Rolling Stones) Les Paul for Cream's debut gig at the Windsor Jazz & Blues Festival in July 1966. 


But he still needed his own guitar and was thinking of buying a Rickenbacker as a replacement.


But knowing that Andy Summers owns a Les Paul similar to the one he lost, Clapton started calling Summers asking him to sell his Les Paul to him. After some negotiating -- Summers was telling Clapton that the back pick-up on his Les Paul wasn't working -- Andy Summers sold his Standard Burst Les Paul to Eric Clapton. Clapton offered Summers something like two hundred pounds, more than twice its original price, for the Les Paul. 


Eric Clapton thought Summers' Les Paul was great, and played just like his old (stolen) one.


The Les Paul Standard Burst that Eric Clapton borrowed from Keith Richards is probably the most legendary Les Paul -- the granddaddy of all Les Paul Bursts. 


Keith Richards bought the 1959 Les Paul Standard at a popular second-hand guitar shop, the Selmer's Guitar Shop in London. The axe was originally owned by John Bowen, lead guitar of the band, Mike Dean and the Kinsmen. 


John Bowen had a Bigsby tremolo fitted on his Les Paul, and then some time later (1962) traded his Gibson Les Paul for a Gretsch Country Gentleman, at Semper's. When Keith Richards bought the Les Paul at Semper's sometime later, it included the Bigsby tremolo that they had installed for John Bowen.


The Les Paul Burst with the Bigsby tremolo was Keith Richards go to guitar, his main guitar of choice. He recorded many of the Rolling Stones hits with this Les Paul, including the chart buster, Satisfaction. This legendary Les Paul, nicknamed "Keith Burst", is what Keith Richards is seen holding in many Rolling Stones photos from the 1960's era. 

Where Is Eric Clapton’s Les Paul?

electric guitar

Have you heard the story about Eric Clapton's guitar being stolen? It was a 1959 - 60 Gibson Les Paul Cherry Sunburst. This Les Paul was one of the first guitars Eric Clapton owned.


It happened in late 1966 in the studio that their band, Cream, was rehearsing in. At the time, Eric Clapton had just formed Cream, with Ginger Baker and Jack Bruce, and were rehearsing secretly wherever they found fit. Because, at the time, each of them were still tied up with their respective bands, and so they had to do rehearsals secretly.


Apparently, Clapton left his guitar just laying around after band rehearsals, and some creep helped himself to Clapton's Les Paul, walked out and his Les Paul was gone... for good!

Eric Clapton loved that guitar. He remembers it well, long after it was gone. And he "never really found one as good as that".

The stolen Les Paul was nicknamed, Beano. It was the guitar Clapton used in his collaboration work with the Blues Breakers, in the album entitled Blues Breakers with Eric Clapton. The Les Paul was nicknamed Beano because Clapton was shown reading a Beano children's comics magazine in the album cover. Later on, fans and all would refer to Clapton's Les Paul as the "Beano Burst".


In the album Blues Breakers with Eric Clapton, Eric Clapton displays his prowess and versatility in playing blues on lead guitar. He was only 21 when they recorded the album in March 1966.


One cut from the album, a song entitled Have You Heard, shows what fireworks Eric Clapton can sizzle up on his Les Paul. Clapton "burns and bedazzles like a futuristic amalgam"of various influences in the Blues Breakers album, according to Guitar World magazine. He played his Les Paul through a distorted Marshall amp, creating his signature sound.


As if stealing Eric Clapton's Les Paul wasn't enough, it seems that the creep who stole the Beano Burst came back for more. A week later, at Klook's Kleek, the case of Clapton's stolen Les Paul Beano was also stolen.


Clapton was quoted by Record Mirror in 1966 as saying, "Whoever took the guitar must have come back for the case."  

The Beano Burst actually had distinguishing marks. It had a badly scratched back and had plenty of cigarette burns on the top (probably from putting out lit cigarettes, like you do on an ashtray). According to Eric Clapton himself, the guitar's thick leather strap had the names of Buddy Guy, Otis Rush, and Big Maceo carved underneath. These were Clapton's influences in playing the blues.


Where is Eric Clapton's Beano Burst Les Paul now???

Somewhere in the East Coast, USA. That is according to guitarist/collector Joe Bonamassa.

In a 2016 interview with Guitaristmagazine on the possible whereabouts of Clapton's stolen Les Paul, Joe Bonamassa said, "it's in a collection on the East Coast of America. That's all I can tell you, and that's all I will say."


Joe Bonamassa hasn't actually seen the recovered Beano Burst. He just has it "on good authority"that "it still exists"as he claims in the Guitarmagazine interview. Was he saying this to negotiate a price for its return? How much do you think Eric Clapton's Beano Burst would fetch today?!


Eric Clapton's Beano Burst Les Paul is considered the holy grail of blues guitars. It was the Beano that prompted Londoners to proclaim "Clapton is God" spray painted on the walls of London. And, indeed, Clapton is blues guitar deity.

"I do miss that one,"Eric Clapton said about his stolen Beano.


Blues Soloing Tips for Beginners

Blues Soloing Tips for Beginners

You need a few skills if you want to play blues guitar solos. Many players approach blues in the wrong way. This guide will help you get used to playing these sorts of solos, so they sound amazing.

 

Slow Down

The first thing you should do when playing a blues solo is to slow down. I see many players trying to play blues at a fast pace, but most blues solos are not fast at all. You should try slowing down and creating more space between the notes allowing the music to breathe.

 

By slowing down, you'll get more in touch with the music. If you find yourself playing too fast, slow down a little bit, and you'll find that your blues playing sounds better.

 

Master the Pentatonic Scales

You should Master both the minor Pentatonic scale and the major Pentatonic scale. These are the two scales that are used the most in blues playing. Another useful one to learn is the blues scale. This one is also common. Once you have mastered these three scales, you'll be well on your way to playing great blues guitar solos. 

 

Try to learn all of the various positions of these scales and not only one of them. Your solos will sound better when you are moving all over the guitar neck. Remember that once you learn the positions in one key, all you have to do is move them to the new key. There are no new finger positions that you need to know.

Blues Soloing Tips for Beginners

Phrasing

One thing that makes a blues guitar playing unique is the phrasing. You want to play short phrases when you are playing this type of music. Play a short phrase, give the music a pause, and then play another phrase.

 

This sounds a lot better than playing a million notes. You can still play some longer phrases but try to break them up. You can say a lot with a few notes. Listen to players such as B.B King. He was able to do a lot with his music but only playing a few notes. You can add things such as slides, hammer-ons, pull-offs, bends, and so on. This makes your playing more interesting.

 

Vibrato

One of the key aspects of playing great blues guitar is your vibrato. You should work on this a lot. This is what gives the music so much feeling. You don't have to play a straight notes all the time. You can add vibrato to different notes while you are playing. Vibrato makes the music sing and gives it a personality. 

Blues Soloing Tips for Beginners

Bending

String bending is found throughout blues guitar playing. This is a skill that you need to master to become a great blues soloist. Bends add a lot of dynamic to blues guitar playing. You should work on your string bending as much as possible. 

 

Guitar Licks

Learn a lot of guitar licks and put them in your solos.

You want to avoid being tiresome in your guitar playing. This is where guitar licks come into play. Try to learn as many blues guitar licks as you can. This way, you can put them in while you are soloing. The more licks you know, the more interesting your solo is going to be. Try not to stay on the same lick for too long. You want to mix and match them as much as possible. 

 

You could play a lick in one position, and then move it to a different position and play the same thing. This can make the music sound more interesting. Try to learn licks from all of your favorite artists and then meld them together into your own style.

Blues Soloing Tips for Beginners

Turnarounds

Pay attention to the last four bars of the 12 bar blues progression. You want to create exciting phrases during the turnaround to bring the music back to the top. There are many different turnarounds that you can learn. Ask your guitar teacher to teach you some blues turnarounds.

 

Listen to Many Artists

Listen to blues masters to learn from them.

Spend a lot of time listening to different blues players, and analyze what they are doing. Most blues players use the same scales and the same chord progressions. It's how they play these that make them unique. You will gain a lot of knowledge by listening to different blues players and figuring out exactly what they are doing. 

 

Conclusion

This guide will help you get started playing blues guitar solos. Try listening to blues artists as much as possible. You will gain a lot of knowledge from studying blues music. Work on your phrasing bends and master the scales. Before you know it, you'll be playing amazing blues guitar solos.

How Guitar Playing Improves Your Mental Health

How Guitar Playing Improves Your Mental Health

You may not think that guitar playing can impact your mental health in a positive way, but it can. Playing guitar has several positive impacts on how you feel. Here is how the instrument will improve your mental health.


More Confidence

When you play guitar, you'll have more confidence and self-esteem. You may end up playing for people in a live setting. This can do wonders for your well-being. You will feel energized and have plenty of confidence after playing the instrument. When you're practicing at home, you may play something that you really enjoy. This can help you feel better, and you're less likely to suffer from depression. If you want more confidence in your life, try picking up the guitar.

How Guitar Playing Improves Your Mental Health

Great Therapy
Improve your well being by playing guitar.

Think of all the wonderful songs that were written about life. When you play the guitar, it's great therapy. It can help you deal with a lot of stress in your life. For example, perhaps you're going through a bad relationship or breakup. By writing a song about that situation, you can deal with it in a positive manner. Music helps you express your innermost emotions. You may not let those emotions out normally, but they come out when you write a song.

You will feel better about the situation when you play your guitar. It doesn't even have to be a song that you wrote. You can pick up your guitar as a way to cope with the situation. Playing music helps you to express your feelings so that you are better able to deal with them.


Makes You More Creative

Playing music gets your brain working. You're able to tap into your creativity when you play guitar. You have to think about the chord progression you're playing. You then need to come up with something to go over that chord progression. You're always looking for new ideas when playing the guitar. It keeps your brain engaged and allows you to tap into your creativity.

You may be doing a regular task you normally do, such as working, going to school, or shopping. In those moments, you may have an idea for a song pop into your head. Once you get home, you can then expand upon that idea by picking up your guitar. You're always thinking creatively when you play an instrument.


Better Social Life

Connect with others when you play the guitar.

When you play guitar, it's normal for you to connect with other individuals. These people enjoy playing the guitar as much as you do. You can find them on forums, guitar sites, guitar lessons and so on. If you play live, you're always meeting new musicians. You will spend time with them as you play or discuss music. 

This can help expand your social network by a wide margin. You will have more friends in your life when you play the guitar. You can use the guitar as an outlet to meet new people. When you connect with people that think the same way you do, you're going to reduce your stress. Think of how fun it is to get together with friends for a camping sing-along or barbecue. 

How Guitar Playing Improves Your Mental Health

Better Productivity

When you play guitar, you end up being more productive. You have to learn songs, scales, and chords. All of this takes organization and effort. You may have only a certain amount of time to practice your guitar. If you want to get better during that time, you have to be more productive.

By playing the guitar, your productivity increases as well as your organizational skills. You have to take the things that you were learning and organize them in a specific way to see results when you practice. Playing guitar teaches you how to organize your time. You get your brain engaged as you work through your practice session.


Connect with Yourself

Playing the guitar helps you connect with yourself. You may be extremely shy or not know how to express yourself. The guitar brings out the person inside of you. When you play, you get good feelings about yourself. You can dig deep into your emotions and let them all out as you play.

This self-expression is one of the best aspects of playing the guitar. It allows you to be you, and you do so through music. A lot of musicians use music to write about their lives and things that have happened to them. You connect to your emotions when you play the guitar.

How Guitar Playing Improves Your Mental Health

Conclusion

Playing the guitar is one of the best things you can do for your mental health. The instrument can reduce stress, enhance your creativity, help you be more productive, give you a better social life, and enhance your well-being.

How To Get Used To Playing Barre Chords

How to Get Used to Playing Barre Chords

One of the hardest things to play, especially for new guitar players, is barre chords. These need a lot of finger strength as well as patience when you are first learning them. This guide will show you how to play barre chords and make it easier for you to learn them.

How to Get Used to Playing Barre Chords

Learn Open Position Chords First

You should learn open position chords first. The reason for this is that these chords form the foundation of barre chords. You will learn all of the basic chord shapes by learning open position chords first. Your hand will also get stronger when you learn these chords.

 

The tendons in your fingers will start to stretch as you learn the chords. This will make it much easier in the future to learn barre chords.  It's essential that you learn all the open position chords before you move on as it will be much easier.

How to Get Used to Playing Barre Chords

Warm Up First

You will need to warm up your hands before you start learning the barre chords. Try playing a few scales up and down the neck of your guitar to warm up your hands. Once your hand is warm enough, you can start to practice your barre chords. You will notice a lot of pain in your hand if you try to play a bar chord when your hand is cold.

 

Play Them Slowly

You can't rush into barre chords. You should play them slowly and only play them for a few minutes each practice session. For example, take a common chord progression and play it as barre chords. Your hand is going to get quite fatigued at first while learning these chords as barres, so go slow.

 

If you try to rush the process, you may end up with an injury, or your hand will be too sore from playing other things on the instrument. As you get better at playing them, you can add more time to your playing session.

 

Keep Your First Finger Flat

One of the hardest things people have is keeping the first finger flat. This finger has to be as flat as possible because it is recreating the nut of your guitar. Lie the finger flat across all of the strings. Once the finger is flat, you can put the rest of the chord shape down.

 

For example, if you’re playing a G major barre chord, You play this at the third fret. Put the first finger down at the 3rd fret and the E major shape underneath it. Keep the finger as flat as you can as you put the rest of the fingers down to form the chord.

 

Don't Tighten The Grip

A lot of players will try to tighten their grip when playing barre chords. They think that a tighter grip is going to make the chord easier. If you tighten your grip too much, your hand will get tired, and you won't be able to play the chord at all. You'll get better results with the chord if you keep practicing it as relaxed as possible.

 

Some of the notes won't ring at first. This is common when learning barre chords. You should keep your hand as relaxed as possible. Place all the fingers in the right position and hold a gentle grip. You still have to press down enough on the strings, but don't press down and strain your hand. Have a relaxed grip, and then try playing the chord.

How to Get Used to Playing Barre Chords

Evaluate Problem Areas

When learning in these chords, you may come into problem areas. Some of your fingers may not be sitting on the strings correctly. This will create a situation where the string starts to buzz. You can usually get rid of this buzz by changing the angle of your fingers. make sure they are not interfering with any of the other strings. If your hand is resting on some strings it shouldn't be resting on, you'll get buzzing strings.

 

Play the chord one string at a time and notice where the buzzing is coming from. This allows you to locate the problem areas so you can adjust your fingers. If it’s still buzzing after you do this, you probably just need to practice the chord more.


Patience Is Key

You are not alone if you have problems with barre chords. This is one of the major stumbling blocks that all guitar players face. You have to give the process enough time. Try using lighter guitar strings. These are easier to press down and won't tire out your fingers as much. Practice barre chords every day if possible, but only for a few minutes. As you get better, they will start to ring out clearer and sound a lot nicer.

 

Conclusion

Learning barre chords can be a frustrating process. It will take time before you can play these chords. Be sure to practice some each day but only for a few minutes. Allow your hand to rest if it gets tired. Don't try to rush it when learning these chords.

How to Have a Successful First Jam Session

How to Have a Successful First Jam Session

If you've been playing guitar for some time, you might want to get on stage and start jamming. This can be intimidating for a first-timer, but it doesn't have to be. This guide will show you what you need to do to be successful in the jam session.


Find Out What Is Going On In Your Local Area

The first thing you need to do is to find out what is going on in your local area in terms of jam sessions. Many clubs and bars have jam sessions. In normal circumstances and not much is required of you. All you need to do is show up with an instrument and be ready to play. 

Most players will be allowed between two and three songs. Often, you'll be playing with the house band. These are musicians that play at these clubs or bars. These musicians know a wide variety of different songs so you shouldn't have trouble finding something to play.

How to Have a Successful First Jam Session

Practice a Lot

You should be practicing quite a bit if you want to jam. You want to know your songs backward and forwards, and not have any difficulty playing these songs. It should be natural for you to play them. If you know the complete song, it's going to be easier to play on the stage.

If you only know certain parts, such as the rhythm for the solo, this is fine. The musicians on stage can give you these parts to play when it comes time to play them. The more you practice, the better you're going to sound on the stage. Since you're going to be nervous, you don't want to hesitate with the song, so constant practice will eliminate this hesitation.


Pick Your Favourite Guitar

You don't want to bring a lot of equipment with you to a jam. You should only bring one guitar with you. In most jam sessions, there is not a lot of room on the stage for multiple instruments, so take your favourite guitar with you to the jam and use that one.

How to Have a Successful First Jam Session

Know How to Improvise Somewhat

If you have some improvisational skills, this will help you on the stage. In many Jam sessions, the song is often played note for note. If you're able to solo over the chord progression, this will help you on stage. You'll be able to play the song without having to know the solo note-for-note. It’s a good idea to have it the feel of the solo down, but you don't have to memorize it note for note.


Avoid Alcohol and Other Substances

If you're going to get up on stage, refrain from taking any alcohol or other substances. You want to have a clear head while you're playing. You may be intimidated at first, but alcohol will only make the situation worse. It's fine to have a drink or two after the jam session, but don't make alcohol a priority when you're playing. It's far too easy to consume alcohol in excess and this won't improve your playing while you're on the stage.

How to Have a Successful First Jam Session

Help Out After The Jam

It's stick around for the entire jam if you can. Once the jam is over, you can help move the equipment off the stage. This also gives you an opportunity to talk to the other musicians. If you're looking for a band, they may be able to direct you to people who are interested in other guitar players.


Jamming When Younger

Even if you're not in an adult and going to clubs, you can still jam. Get together with your friends and decide what you're going to play. For example, one person can play the chord progression of the song while the other person can do the solo. You can do this as an adult as well.

Make sure the song is something that everyone knows how to play. This is how bands get started. Everyone picks a song that they like, and you start playing it. You shouldn't focus on your technical ability while you're jamming. The idea is to have fun and to let out your musical creativity. Your first jam sessions are not going to sound all that great. You have to get used to playing in time and keeping the rhythm. This takes a lot of practice.


Conclusion

When you jam, the idea is to have fun. Getting on stage for the first time can be intimidating. A few songs that you know and jam on those.  Once you have jammed a few times, the process gets a lot easier.


How to Help Young Children Practice Guitar

How to Help Young Children Practice Guitar

Many young children want to play guitar. The problem is that a lot of them have difficulty practicing their instrument once they come home from their lessons. As a parent, you can do a few things to ensure that they practice and get the most out of their music lessons. Here are some tips to help your children practice their guitar.

 

Make Sure They Want to Play

As parents, we sometimes pressure our children into doing things they don't want to do. We get them involved with sports other extra-curricular activities after school. In some cases, your child might not want to do what do you think they want to do. You should ensure that your child is enthusiastic about their music lessons. Ask them if they enjoy playing the guitar.  It's going to be a waste of your time if your child is not interested in the instrument. Many students end up quitting because they're not interested as much as you think they are.


Personal Practice Space

Make a room dedicated to their practice if you can.

Many students practice in their bedrooms, but this is usually a poor place to practice. There can be lots of distractions in the bedroom. There may be a stereo system, television, or they might have easy access to their phone. You could decorate this room with some music themes.

It makes more sense to have a dedicated room if you possibly can for practice. In this room, you should have a music stand, comfortable chair, and all of the learning materials that your child is using within easy reach. This will make it a lot simpler for your child to practice when they have everything that they need, and there are fewer distractions.

How to Help Young Children Practice Guitar

Let Them Choose When to Practice

Your child is capable of making their own decisions. Let them decide when they want to practice their guitar. You should not pressure children into playing guitar. You can gently remind them that they should be practicing, but don't pressure them into doing it. The activity of practicing their guitar should be something fun for them, so they should not feel like they are being forced to practice.


Make it Fun

One way you can encourage practicing is to make it a fun activity. For example, you can design a board that has stickers or stars. Perhaps the music stickers could be guitars. You could have a book made up where you can place each one of these stickers from the board when your child finishes practicing. This way, they have a record of their practicing.

This gives them a little bit of reward after they finish practicing the guitar. It can give them that little push or incentive to play their guitar more often. You could try other incentives such as making them their favorite meal, or some other type of small reward. As your child gets used to practicing their guitar, they will probably want to do it more often.

How to Help Young Children Practice Guitar

Have Them Pick Out Their Favourite Songs

Another trick you can use is to have them pick out their favourite songs. Ask them the songs that they would like to learn. You can take this to their teacher and tell them that this list is their favourite songs that they want to learn. As a former music educator, this was one of the first things I used to do when a child came to me for music lessons.


I would have them write down on a piece of paper their favourite songs. This was a homework assignment that I gave them the first day. Most children do not want to learn the boring beginner songs that you find in many music books. Those are old ancient songs that no one today really cares about. By having children learn something that is exciting to them, they will have more motivation to play the guitar.


Encourage Them

You should become the cheerleader for your child. Make sure you are always encouraging them when they practice, and try to always give them positive reinforcement as much as possible.


Your child will pick up on this positive reinforcement, and they will want to keep playing guitar. Take as much interest as possible in their guitar playing. Perhaps you can go together to a music store for books, guitars picks, or to get a fancy new guitar strap for their instrument. 

How to Help Young Children Practice Guitar

Conclusion

These are just a few of the things that you can do to help your child practice guitar. You should never pressure them to practice the instrument. Let them learn on their own, but encourage them to practice. Give them some small rewards after they have finished their practice session and take an active role in their lessons.

How to Write Your First Song Using 12 Bar Blues

How to Write Your First Song using 12 bar blues

Once you have learned a few guitar chords, it’s possible to start writing your first songs. It may seem like it's a complex process, but really it's not. This short guide will show you how to write your first song.

How to Write Your First Song using 12 bar blues

Why Write a Song?

It’s a lot of fun to play other people’s music, but writing your own song is a huge step up. When you write your own song, it’s something that you created. It doesn’t matter how simple the song is. Many popular songs are quite simple, but we don’t realize that they are. Songs can sound complex but only have a few chords in them. Writing your own song is a milestone when you play guitar. Try writing one and see what you can come up with.


Song Topic

The first thing you need to do is to pick the song topic. This can be anything, but here are a few suggestions:

 

  • A past love
  • Heartbreak
  • Life in general
  • A past historical event
  • Tell a story about something going on in your life
  • Faith or spirituality
  • Coming of Age
  • Friendship
  • Something you like or don’t like

 

The list of song topics is virtually endless. You can write about anything you want and turn it into a song. All you need is an idea in your head. You should walk around with your smartphone or some scraps of paper and jot down your ideas. Whenever an idea comes into your head, write it down, or record it into your smartphone. You never know when you might come up with a great idea for a song. If you don't write it down right away, you're going to forget it.

 

Create a bunch of ideas and then pick from your list to write a song. You should pick something that inspires or moves you. It doesn't have to be a positive emotion. Some of the most memorable songs are written about things such as heartbreak or loss. The song should move you in some way. If it does, then you know you are on the right track.

How to Write Your First Song using 12 bar blues

Chord Choice

The easiest way to write a song is to limit it to three or four chords. You should do this at the beginning when you are not used to writing songs. For example, in the key of G major, you could use the three major chords, which are G, C, D. There are countless songs written with these three chords in the key of G major. You could throw a minor chord in there for some variety, but try to stick to the three major chords.  Other chords to use include 7th chords, but feel free to use whatever chords you like.


Structure

There are many ways to structure a song.  One of the simplest ways is to use the blues formula called the 12 Bar Blues.  Here is an example of a verse using the 12 bar formula.

 

My hound dog is barking

And I am lonesome too 

C

Said my hound dog is barking

G

And I am lonesome too

D

Rain keeps falling down

C                                    G   D

I don’t know what I’ll do

 

Of course, this is a simple example, but it shows you how easy it can be to write some lyrics and then make a song. All you need is a chord to match the first line of the lyrics, and then you can build from there. Listen to some of your favorite songs and see what the artist is using for the chords. Make a note of how the chords are arranged. Many songs follow the same formula.

How to Write Your First Song using 12 bar blues

Don't Worry About Singing On Pitch

Your first song isn’t going to be on the pitch for the most part. It takes time to develop your singing voice. Take some vocal lessons along with your guitar lessons, as this will help you a great deal. As you practice, your voice will get better.

If you can’t get your vocals on the exact pitch you want, use a capo. You can slide this up and down your fretboard until you find the pitch that works for your voice the best. Many guitar players use the capo to match their own vocal range.

 

Conclusion

Don’t be afraid to write a song. You will gain experience as you write more. It’s a big step on the guitar to write a song, so get started now and see where it takes you. Have fun with the creative process, and you never know what you’ll come up with.

The Basics of Learning How to Strum

The Basics of Learning How to Strum

This short guide will get you used to strumming your guitar. When you strum the guitar, you rake your pick across all the strings to sound the notes.  Strumming is one of the key concepts you need to learn on the guitar. Here is what you need to know while you practice strumming.


Practice Chord Changes without Playing

One way to get better at strumming is to practice chord changes without strumming at all. Let's take three popular chords. Let's play G, C, and D. Start by fingering the G chord, then move on to the C chord. Finally, move on and place your fingers on the D chord. Practice moving your fingers and back and forth to each one of those chords. Say each chord name out loud as you move your fingers. When you are strumming, you have to be able to move your fingers quickly from one corner to the next. 

 

Practice this on chords, you know already. If you don't know these chords, try some that you already know. The idea is to make quick chord changes while you are strumming.  Make sure you don't stop strumming as you change chords, keep strumming through the chord changes. This is why the chords change has to be a smooth process. Try changing the chords without a strum and then add the strum in once you can make the chord change smooth.

The Basics of Learning How to Strum

Simple Strumming Pattern One

Let's do a very simple strumming pattern.  We are going to play each chord once as we count to four. This is typical 4/4 time. Each chord will get one beat. you want to practice strumming each chord once and then changing to the next chord. This chord progression, we are going to use all pick downstrokes.

Strum G, Strum C, Strum D, Strum G

Count: 1 2 3 4

Try tapping your foot on each chord change and count. One, two, three, four. Once you can do this say the chord names out loud as you play them G, C, D, G.


Simple Strumming Pattern Two

This next strumming pattern is a little bit more complicated. We're going to play a G chord for four beats, but we're going to add in an upstroke. It will look like this:

1 2 3 + 4

The + means “and” or play an upstroke. Play G for three downstrokes. When you get to +, you want to play an upstroke, which will be followed by another downstroke to complete the rhythm. As you play tap 1, 2, 3, and 4. Once you can do this change to C and do the same thing, move to D and finally, back to G.


Simple Strumming Pattern Three

This next strumming pattern is going to be continuous. We're going to play a G with down and upstrokes through one bar of music. It looks like this:

1 + 2 + 3 + 4 +

1 and 2 and 3 and 4 and 

Down, up, down, up, down, up, down, up

Do the same with C, D, and back to G.


Strumming Tips

Stay relaxed.

When you strum your guitar, you want to keep your hand and arm relaxed. Move your arm in an up and down relaxed motion as you are strumming up and down. Think of your arm like a pendulum. It goes up and down the same way a pendulum moves. You want to keep the movement of your arm steady. It's this steady movement that will keep the rhythm going. You don't want to make jerky movements with your hand as you're strumming. The key to rhythm playing is keeping that movement going.

The Basics of Learning How to Strum

Tap the Beats

You may notice people on stage tapping their foot as they're playing. This is a great way to keep the pulse. You tap your foot to the pulse, and this helps you to keep in time. Try tapping your foot as you play a simple rhythm - you can also do this with a metronome. You can have the metronome play at a slow pulse, and then you play the chords on the beat.


Slow Down

Play everything as slow as you can, to begin with. You don't want to rush the process as you learn how to strum. Get used to strumming a few chords and then add in a more as you learn new chords.  Once you can play something slowly, you can start to speed it up a little bit. You want to keep a nice and relaxed rhythm.

The Basics of Learning How to Strum

Don't Stop

Don't stop during the strumming. Keep your strumming hand going even if you happen to fumble around with the chord. Keep the strumming hand going as much as possible. As you get better, you'll find changing chords, and strumming becomes seamless. It takes quite a bit of effort to be able to play chords, change them, and keep the rhythm going at the same time. You need to get used to keeping the rhythm going as this is what will drive the music forward.


Conclusion

This guide should get you started with basic strumming. Start as slow as you can and work your way up. Make sure you keep your strumming hand going as you play. That is the key to getting a good rhythm. Work on it as much as you can until it is smooth and seamless.


Tips to Help You Master Open Position Chords

Tips to Help You Master Open Position Chords

When you first learn the guitar, open position chords are some of the first chords that you'll learn. A lot of beginner guitar players struggle with these chords. Here are some tips to make it easier for you to play them.


Play Slowly

Try not to think of guitar playing as a race, you want to play each chord slowly. You will only increase your speed once you can play chords slowly. If you try to play too fast, you will end up with sloppy playing that doesn't sound good, so slow down your playing until you can do it correctly. This is one of the top tips for learning open position chords. Make sure that you can do something slowly before you speed it up.

 

Use The Correct Fingers

Many beginner guitar players try to use different fingerings for the chord they are learning, which is not a good idea. You want to try to use the exact fingering required to play the chord. The reason for this is that the standard fingering makes it easier for you to change chords. Unless you have some sort of impairment that requires you to use different fingers, I would learn the chords with the recommended fingering. You will find it much easier to learn chords when you use the right fingering.


Use The Finger Tips

You should be playing the chords with your fingertips. Look at the angle of your hand on the fretboard. Your hand needs to be comfortable on the back of the neck. You should curl your fingers up until you can reach the chord.

 

Watch the spacing in between the strings. If your fingers are leaning on an adjacent string, you will get string buzzing. You can eliminate this buzzing if you arch your finger and use only your fingertips. You don't want to be laying parts of your finger down on any other strings. You only want to play the strings that are required for the chord.

Tips to Help You Master Open Position Chords

Practice Without Playing

Practice changing your chords without strumming them. This technique helps to build your muscle memory.  For example, finger G, followed by C, followed by D. You want to place your fingers in the right position for each chord. Practice moving back and forth between the three chords, just using your fretting hand.

 

This technique helps to train the fingers. Try doing this with your eyes closed. Once you can move to the next position with your eyes closed, you're probably getting used to fingering that chord. As you get used to moving the chords around, you can start strumming a chord progression.


Don't Break Your Strumming Pattern

As you play through a chord progression, you don't want to break your strumming pattern. Make sure you keep a nice relaxed and even rhythm as you play the chord progression so that it sounds musical and the sound doesn't stop dead. One common mistake guitar players make when they are first starting out is that they stop between chords. Try to keep the strumming going as much as possible.

 

If you stop between chords, it means you don't know the fingering as well as you should. Try practicing moving the chords back and forth without strumming for a little while so you can get used to the fingerings, and get it into your muscle memory. Once that starts to feel easier, try adding the strumming back in.

Tips to Help You Master Open Position Chords


Master a Few Chords First

Don't be in a rush to learn a lot of chords. It takes time to master chords, so just work on a few at a time. I recommend mastering G, C, D, E, A, Am, Em, and Dm, first. They are some of the easier chords. Once you master these, you can move on to the other ones.


Play Songs

Find a simple song that has the chords you are learning and try strumming along with the song. You don't necessarily have to get the strumming pattern exact. To start with try changing chords to the beat of the song. This will help you learn the individual chords and it also teaches you timing as well as the correct rhythm. Make sure the song is a simple one. If you try to do something that is too advanced, you're only going to get frustrated.

 

Once you can master a simple song, try one that's a little bit harder. Your guitar teacher will be able to help you in this area. They can suggest songs that you can learn based on the chords you already know.

Tips to Help You Master Open Position Chords


Conclusion

These tips should help you master open position chords. Take your time while you're learning them and make sure you use the correct fingers. Try playing them all along with songs, and don't try to overwhelm yourself with too many chords at first. With consistent and dedicated practice, you'll master the open position chords in no time at all.

Tips to Sing and Play Guitar at the Same Time

Tips to Sing and Play Guitar at the Same Time

Many guitar players want to learn how to sing and play guitar at the same time, and some think that this is impossible. The truth is that most people can learn to sing and play the guitar together. Your voice will get better the more you sing with your guitar. You take guitar lessons, so you can take vocal lessons as well. Here are some tips to help you play the guitar and sing at the same time. 


Strumming and Singing

When you sing as you play guitar, your strumming has to be in sync with your singing. It's important that you start out with simple songs. This will allow you to strum the chords and sing along as you're playing them. You will fumble all over the place if you try something that is too complex, so I would recommend that you start with a simple blues song. This is normally three chords, and the pattern is quite easy to follow.

Don't worry too much about your vocals being in tune with the music. You need to practice getting the strumming and singing in sync with each other. This process will take some time so try not to get frustrated.


Know Your Chords

To sing and play guitar, you have to know your chords. You should have a foundation in at least basic chord playing before you try to sing. You need to be able to change chords in a smooth and rapid fashion.

Try to practice your chord changes without singing. Once you can make the change without any effort, add in the vocal part and see how it sounds. Get the chords down first before you try to sing anything.

Tips to Sing and Play Guitar at the Same Time


Metronome and Strumming

Use a metronome to get your rhythm down.

You have to be able to play rhythm guitar well if you want to sing. Get yourself a metronome and practice your strumming, and make sure you can strum in an even and smooth fashion. This will make singing along with the music a lot easier. You want to improve your timing and rhythm before you start singing. Practice the song along with the metronome as much as possible, so you get the feeling for the song.

Using a metronome is the best way to improve your rhythm guitar playing. Once you can master the rhythm, you can add in the vocals. The metronome helps you keep the beat and is the best way to improve your timing. 

Tips to Sing and Play Guitar at the Same Time


Know the Vocals

To play and sing a song, you need to know the chords as well as the vocals. One of the first things you need to know is where the vocals land in terms of the chord that is being played. Try singing the song without any vocals - an easy way to do this is to listen to the song and try to sing along with it. Don't worry if your voice matches the song or not.

The idea is to get used to singing in the song. You will more than likely end up singing the song in your own style. For example, you may have to change the key to get the song into a vocal range that you're comfortable with. This is easy to do if you use a capo on your guitar.

Tips to Sing and Play Guitar at the Same Time


Hum the Melody

One trick that makes singing easier is to hum the melody as you play the chords on the guitar. You don't want to sing the actual lyrics, just the melody of the song. This will get the feeling of the song in your brain. You will be practicing the chord changes of the song as you hum.

Once you're able to hum the song successfully, try adding in the actual vocals. Try to master the song one verse at a time - once you're able to master the first verse, add in the second one. You can then add in the chorus and the rest of the song. Play the song as slowly as you have to. You may not be able to play it up to speed for some time. This is where working with the metronome can help you.


Complex Songs

Some songs are quite complex. They may have intricate finger-picking patterns, and you'll find these songs quite difficult to sing if you are a beginner. Simplify the process and play a simple strumming pattern over the finger-picking portion of the song. This will still give you the general feeling of a song, but it will be easier for you. You don't want to complicate the process of singing and playing the guitar.


Lots of Practice

You'll get better playing the guitar and singing at the same time with lots of practice. Singing and playing do not come naturally for most people, so the more you practice it, the better you're going to get. Start off slow and work your way up.

Tips to Sing and Play Guitar at the Same Time


Conclusion

You do not have to have a masterful voice to sing and play guitar. You can take guitar lessons to improve your playing, and vocal lessons to improve your voice. Pick up your instrument, find an easy song, and start singing. The more you work at the process, the easier it will be for you.

What I Learned Taking Guitar Lessons

What I Learned Taking Guitar Lessons

I began taking guitar lessons at age fifteen. There were several things I learned while taking guitar lessons. Here is what you can expect when you take lessons. 


Patience

When I took lessons, I learned how to have patience. When you first start playing, you can struggle at times. This is normal when learning how to play the guitar. You have to build up your skills slowly over time. Playing an instrument is not something that happens overnight.

Most people tend to forget that it takes quite a bit of skill to play an instrument at a professional level. You need to have patience while you were practicing and allow yourself time to develop your own guitar skills. I learned to have patience and enjoy the process of learning the instrument.


Organization

As a young guitar student, I learned how to be organized. I had a lot of materials that had to be covered, and I kept a detailed and notebook with me where I wrote down everything I needed to do. When you learn how to play guitar, you have to keep yourself organized so you don't get overwhelmed.

As I got older, I kept a filing cabinet with all of my learning materials. I organized my music according to scales, chords, songs, and so on. This helped me keep track of everything that I was learning. This also came in handy when I started to teach guitar myself. I kept all of the materials for my student in my filing cabinet, and it made it easy to refer to the materials when I needed them.

What I Learned Taking Guitar Lessons


Confidence

One of the best aspects of learning how to play guitar is it taught me to have confidence in myself. Like most teenagers, I was quite shy. As I got better on the instrument, my confidence started to soar. I felt confident in my own playing abilities. This confidence gave me what I needed to explore other areas of music, such as music theory.

Playing guitar is one of the best ways to gain confidence in yourself, and I saw this in many of my own students when I started teaching. I would have students come to me that didn't have much confidence whatsoever or were quite shy. They were able to overcome this shyness and gain confidence as they learned how to play guitar.


Motivation

Learning how to play guitar taught me a lot about motivation. I knew if I didn't practice, I wasn't going to get any better and I found that the more I practiced, the better my playing was becoming. This gave me the motivation to keep going. I was motivated by the end result and what I could accomplish with practicing and knew I couldn't play my favorite song unless I practiced. 

Most guitar players that are not motivated don't want to put in the effort required to play guitar. The thing you have to understand is that it takes a lot of practice to get good. You should be motivated by what you can accomplish in the future. If you want to play like your favorite rock star, you have to practice the scales, chords, and so on. This is what motivated me to get better.

What I Learned Taking Guitar Lessons


Coordination

I learned how to be more coordinated by playing guitar. You have to be able to sync your hands together to play an instrument. You have to get it this coming down as well as chord changes. You have to move your fingers up and down the fretboard in sync with your picking as you're playing a solo. You learn to be better coordinated when you pick up an instrument. This takes time to develop, but it will over time as you put in more practice with your guitar. 


Communication

Playing the guitar helps you to be a better communicator. If you want to play live with other people, you need to be able to communicate with them. You need to share the language of music with them so you can all make music together. If you end up teaching guitar as I did, you need the ability to communicate music to your students.

What I Learned Taking Guitar Lessons


Conclusion

You will learn a lot of skills as you practice guitar. It's a great way to build confidence in yourself. You will have more coordination, and you'll be a better communicator. You will learn how to motivate yourself and how to stay organized. Learning music is one of the best gifts that you can give yourself in life. It will stay with you forever.

You Can Learn Guitar At Any Age

You Can Learn Guitar at Any Age

Many people think they are too old to learn the guitar. Some of these individuals are still young. They may be in their late twenties or early thirties. The truth is you can learn guitar at any age. Here is what you need to know about playing the guitar and age.

 

Children and Guitar

As soon as a child is able to hold a guitar, they can start taking guitar lessons. Any child can learn how to play the guitar. They will learn faster and gain the most knowledge when taking lessons from a qualified teacher.  When learning, children pick up a whole bunch of different skills. They learn skills such as increased dexterity, sight-reading, and they gain a lot of confidence.

Children that are quite young might have decreased attention spans when it comes to learning the guitar. They should be taught at their own pace. They should never be rushed into the instrument. Children will start out with simple songs, notes, and other beginner guitar lessons. They will be taught a lot more once some progression is made. I recommended that children start out with a nylon string guitar. It’s easier for them to press the strings down. The nylon strings won't dig into their fingers as acoustic strings do.

For younger children that take lessons with us. Some of them were extremely shy when they first took lessons. As they learn to play, their confidence grew. They are excited to come to their guitar lessons each week. They are learning something that’s fun, and it’s something what they want to do. 

You Can Learn Guitar at Any Age


Teenagers and Guitar

Playing the guitar as a teen, boosted my confidence in myself.

I started playing the guitar as a teenager at around age fifteen. I didn't have a lot of confidence at that age in myself. I wanted to play the guitar because I was interested in rock music. Playing the guitar improved my confidence by a wide margin. I had an excellent teacher, and he taught me a lot about the instrument. I also ended up taking some music theory lessons from a piano teacher.

I learned the basics of the instrument, and this boosted my confidence in myself. Any teenager can learn how to play the guitar. It's an excellent instrument for them to explore. I had great fun learning. It's best if teenagers take lessons from a qualified teacher. They will learn the basics of the instrument, how to hold it, and, more importantly, they will reduce bad habits. These bad habits crop up more often when you try to teach yourself. This isn't to say you can't teach yourself, but it's easier with a good teacher.

You Can Learn Guitar at Any Age


Adults and the Guitar 

I want to focus on adults and playing guitar. Many adults feel that they're too old to pick up the instrument. This couldn't be further from the case. You might have had visions as a teenager of being onstage, but you never picked up the guitar. You can still pick up the guitar as an adult and go on stage.

There are many places in your local town or city where you can join a jam session. At our school here, we even hold our own jam sessions and Open Mics for our students. 

Performing gives you the thrill of playing on stage and help fulfill those teenage dreams. You might think that you can't learn how to play guitar when you are an adult, but you can learn at any age.

You Can Learn Guitar at Any Age


My Guitar Student Rick

I want to tell you the story of my guitar student Rick. He was in his late fifties when he started taking guitar lessons from me. He had no experience with guitar whatsoever. His dream in life was to learn how to play the guitar.

Rick became one of my best students.

He was one of my best students. He was always on time for his lessons, and he never missed one. He dedicated himself to playing the guitar. He did this in his spare time even though he was working. After several months of lessons, he was capable of playing a wide range of songs. He was having a lot of fun learning the guitar. As long as you have some faith in yourself, you can learn the instrument. It doesn't matter what age you are as an adult; you can learn to play the guitar.


Conclusion

You are never too young or too old to learn an instrument. You'll have a lot of success with guitar playing if you take lessons with a qualified teacher. You will learn all the basics, and this will give you the foundation that can help you move forward with your playing. If you have a guitar that is sitting in your closet and you've always wanted to play it, now is the time.