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Showing content with the highest reputation since 07/13/2020 in all areas

  1. 8 points
    Here is a live song from a teacher's concert at my wife's music school. My wife played the piano, the other piano teacher played the drums and I was a guest that evening, playing a Burny jazz archtop guitar. The song is called Spirit Song.
  2. 8 points
    I'm sad to hear that Peter Green died today aged 73. Back in the old days, he played the blues with so much soul. He did not play too many notes, but he played the right ones with great feeling. I dived a bit deeper in his songs and style when learning to play Albatross 2 years ago. A little tribute to Peter Green 🎸😪 Wim.
  3. 8 points
    Here is my first go at a song using percussive techniques "Edelweiss".
  4. 7 points
    Although the 2020 Guitar Gathering Conference was canceled, a few of us decided that we would like to visit Nashville anyway. We contacted Steve and he said he would be happy to see some familiar faces and could meet us one day for lunch. So the trip was on. After arriving in Nashville, Keith Morgan and I had a quick lunch and then headed into Nashville and guitar stores. North American Guitars (formerly Cotton Music) was first. We had a great time playing some very expensive guitars and chatting with shop owner Kim Sherman. We met up with Collin Hill and it was on to Gruhn Guitars. Gruhn has recently started carrying sinker mahogany OMs and I was eager to see what those were like. Between the two of us, I think Collin and I played about every sinker OM in the store. Greg Voros came down from the third floor and we talked a bit about the COVID impact on the shop (many of the employees have been laid off). Collin and I narrowed the sinker mahogany search down to one or two specimens and Greg took us upstairs to see if there were any OMs we had missed. George Gruhn joined us and suggested that we play in the shop stairwell (very nice acoustics). See photos below. On Thursday, we met Steve and Paulette for lunch and then headed back to the hotel for some rest and relaxation as well as a bit of guitar practice. Keith and I had intended to perform a song at the conference – Keith was ready – I was not 🙂 After an early Friday morning meeting with Instruments of Joy President Joshua MacLeod, Keith and I visited Artisan Guitars (where Keith played a killer Collings C100). We then headed to Clarksville to visit Collin and his family. In spite of getting lost - hey – we only missed their address by 16 miles – we eventually found Collin’s new home and got a tour of his new studio. After a brief tour of downtown Clarksville, which included a new guitar store owned by a former Gruhn's employee, we had a nice dinner, and then it was back to the hotel in Brentwood. By the way, the Holiday Inn Express in Brentwood was a great place to stay. It was convenient to both Nashville and the Franklin/Cool Springs area. The trip was over all too soon. Hopefully, we can all be together next year. Photos below: -Gruhn's new mural (under construction) -Collin playing the best sounding sinker mahogany OM -Collin playing in the stairwell -George and Greg listening to Collin playing -Our mini Guitar Gathering 2020 official photo
  5. 7 points
    "Something special" can have many interpretations, so I will take a stretch here and submit this recording to the challenge instead of the other recording section because it is special to me if not necessarily to the specifics of guitar technique. I did double play the lead and rhythm sections in separate registers (somewhat successfully if not perfect) which was a bit new to me but technically this is just another "rock and roll " song. What makes it special to me is recording it with my 15 year old granddaughter who had to be coaxed out of singing retirement ( she has been out of choir for a couple years- I truly loved hearing her sing, since age 4) to take on the challenge. Let me say I missed her musical expressions and if was fun bonding this way with her. She is a lover of all forms of music herself, as am I. I began this a month ago as a secondary project inspired out of the power chord challenge , but just as a fun thing between the two of us. I have been busy with the restartup of my two bands-we socially distance of course- so it took me a while to finish it. I had to challenge her to be a sassy girl, which she warmed up to as the song progressed. Drums and bass are tracks, guitar and backup vocals from me. I hope it brings joy to others as it has to me.
  6. 6 points
    Here's my attempt at Laurence Juber's "The White Pass Trail." This piece is special for several reasons: 1. It's one of my favorite originals by one of my favorite players. 2. It's in DADGAD tuning. 3. There's a lot going on: hammers, pulls, bends (both subtle and full step), slides, frailing, slap harmonics, percussion, just a little muted rhythm, and a pinch harmonic where the 24th fret would be if I had a 24th fret. Some of those things are going on simultaneously. I did some things differently than LJ does (some of them actually on purpose 😀). I changed the transition to the percussive section with a brief lick and the aforementioned 24th fret harmonic. I also changed the transition to the outro. If you've heard the original, you know he plays a little blues lick there. I've never really felt like that belonged, so I changed that bar. This piece is a little above my ability level, but I gave it a shot. No one was injured in the making of this video, so here it is.
  7. 6 points
    I'm a bit hesitant to post this lick as it needs so much work. It's from a TrueFire course I’m working on by Jeff McErlain. it’s his take on a lick from Dire Straits Sultan’s of Swing The lick Jeff McErlain calls Guitar George (remember Sultan's of Swing.. "Guitar George knows all the chords") Remember , I’m working on it.. It’s half step bends on the first finger, full step bend on the third finger, hybrid picking , pull offs and hammer on trills, slides and vibrato; it's got a lot going I’m choking out the notes when I finger pick so hard the string slaps the next frets and kills the note.. I have to fix my over pluck on that.. grrr.. (once I'm done, I'll have to learn the rest of the song) So its 5:15 of will he ever play this right . (And yes @NeilES335 I did use the Sharaton for this phone recording)
  8. 6 points
    For this month I chose another song from the L&M Fingerstyle course. This one is from session 6 and it is one of my favorite tunes from the course. Steve has put several techniques in his arrangement: hammer-ons and pull-offs, harmonics, slides, 6ths,10ths, octaves and pedal notes. To make it even more fun, the tuning is drop D. This is the first song I recorded using my new Focusrite Scarlett Studio Bundle and Reaper as my DAW. Wim.
  9. 5 points
    Perfect timing. I am right now in session 7 "Jazz" of the fingerstyle course, so that fits perfectly with the challenge of the month 😀. This is a walking bass style arrangement of the jazz standard Autumn Leaves. Wim.
  10. 5 points
    Having been picked to choose this months recording challenge theme, I thought I would get going on a Jazz Standard. This is All of Me, straight out of the Real Book. I know we are going to study this one for the Jazz Standards Academy course, so I thought I would try it on my own first, and see the difference after Steve presents this in class. Thanks for any comments.
  11. 5 points
    For this months recording challenge, I am submitting my version of All the Things You Are, a well known Jazz Standard. This song, written by Jerome Kern & Oscar Hammerstein, contains an interesting (or special) intro and outro, which contain b7#9 cords. Steve has performed and analyzed this song a while back on Live Lessons. It was a great song to learn. Skip
  12. 3 points
    For all of you who have worked on, repaired and/or just love guitars, this is a great read! Enjoy. Mike https://www.guitarplayer.com/gear/the-raising-of-lazarus-bringing-an-old-gibson-back-from-the-dead
  13. 3 points
    This is only going to be relevant for a day or two (I have no Idea actually ) so if you have an iOS device (iphone, iPad or iPod ) jump on this ! i only a few of the others and they are excellent. here is the link : https://apps.apple.com/us/app/sessionband-jazz-2/id701553885 hope you all have been well ! Maria
  14. 3 points
    And I just recorded a HIP HOP song! Just kidding 😉
  15. 3 points
    Hello I have been taking the course for a while and have just started session 9. I have spent a long time on barre chords and now feel confident about moving on. I can play great sounding barre chords with increasing speed and actually start sounding like something. A MAJOR milestone. Besides I have to justify having bought a new Gibson Studio Les Paul and Fender Twin Reverb tube amp a couple years ago. The tube amp sounds sooo good it is truly amazing. Amp is so powerful on 2 with guitar volume all the way up is Loud. Rambling sorry. I give the course a double thumbs up it has been my sole resource for learning guitar. Steve is an excellent instructor and I have found if you keep practicing AND practicing you break thru and it’s a great feeling. I supplement the course with Hal Leonard Barre Chords now to branch out a bit. I have been a taker and not much of a giver with reading the many questions and answears from everyone. Please know that this has been helping me out immensely over the years. Thx everyone for sharing!!! One thing I’ve figured out about learning guitar, you gotta want it. Get Excited about learning guitar and make it happen. I’ve come too far to turn back now.
  16. 2 points
    I'm there with @Eracer_Team-DougH Play it and enjoy it - and trust me, that comes from a guy that is the poster child for being OCD. I hear good things about the SE replacement locking tuners, so that might be a good $95 investment. Once you cover the back with belt buckle scratches, you'll probably forget about the other imperfections! And congratulations on that Core! I purchased a Korean made SE Custom 24 (after I laid hands on it at a Guitar Center). I had never played electric previously and frankly just didn't feel like dropping the coin for the Core model. I got lucky I suppose - no obvious flaws, but then again, I haven't placed it alongside a core model.
  17. 2 points
    Hello Everyone, The theme for the Recording Challenge for August 2020 is 🎩"Jazz" 👠and comes from Skip Russel This is what Skip said "For this months guitar recording challenge, I suggest recording a Jazz Standard. There are thousands of standards to choose from. Pick up a Real Book or Fake Book, or look in the Learn & Master Guitar course chapter on Jazz. In addition, this month Steve is launching the Jazz Standard Academy, it would be great for all of us enrolled to submit a recording of a standard we are working on." Here is a list of Jazz Standards from Wikipedia https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_jazz_standards however I am not strict so you can post anything which loosely fits the category or mentions Jazz. 1. Fretless playing "Spirit Song" 2. Skip Russel playing "All of Me" 3. Wim VD1 playing “Autumn Leaves“
  18. 2 points
    This is a really great deal! Greg
  19. 2 points
    Turns out there are two for free. Here is the other one a Jazz/funk/fusion. Session band https://apps.apple.com/us/app/sessionband-jazz-2/id701553885
  20. 2 points

    Version 1.0.2


    This is the PDF of exercises for the Chords You Need to Know Workouts
  21. 2 points
    UPDATE Here's the last batch of "Song Lessons". These are the ones added this time: Kylie Minogue - All The Lovers Vertical Horizon - Best I Ever Had (Grey Sky Morning) John Lee Hooker - Boom Boom Jimmy Reed - Bright Lights, Big City Johnny Cash - Cocaine Blues The Decemberists - Don't Carry It All Chevelle - Face To The Floor Michael Bublé - Haven't Met You Yet Deep Purple - Highway Star My Morning Jacket - Holdin' On To Black Metal My Morning Jacket - I'm Amazed Billy Squier - My Kinda Lover Glen Campbell - Rhinestone Cowboy Foghat - Slow Ride Eddie Cochran - Summertime Blues Cheap Trick - Surrender Creedence Clearwater Revival - Suzie Q REO Speedwagon - Take It On The Run Patrick Stump - This City With these, the project is now finished. In case I find some new files and videos within the Internet Archive, I'll make sure to add them to the site when I have the time. If you find any glitches or errors in the site, please let me know so that I can correct them, for everyone's benefit. Also, if you have any suggestions, I'd love to hear it. Enjoy! 😁
  22. 2 points
    Thanks, Mandy and Neil. @NeilES335, the string noise is indeed still an issue when recording my acoustic. It is a bit better with the new microphone. I have Elexir Polyweb strings on now and will try out Martin SP when I change strings again. In this song, there were some slides of full chords, making it hard to avoid squeaks. Wim.
  23. 2 points
    @Joao Peneda you do realize that Steve's Spot Light Series are separate disciplines on their own and not a requirement to work through L&MG. Which is more than big enough on its own. the L&MG series was to give you (as Steve 'coins') "Tools for your Bag" , after giving all the basics and theory from Sessions 1 to 9,, Sessions 10 to 20 just add 'bites' of styles for you to explore. doing the Finger Style course instead of Session 10, is going to be a fairly long road before coming back to LMG. as is the Blues Guitar Spot Light, it's a chunk on it's own over and above the LMG sessions The Song Hits is a companion to the LMG series which can be run alone side the LMG .
  24. 2 points
    Hi Mandy, you made your rendition a little special indeed. Wow, you can multitask! I was already impressed by how you could combine singing and playing, and now you add some nice percussion as well 👍. As always, I enjoyed your song. Thanks for sharing, Wim.
  25. 2 points
    I lo-o-o-ve my Fishman Loudbox Mini, paired with an L R Baggs Anthem pickup in my Guild dreadnought. It has a second channel for a vocal microphone. I'm a chemist, so this is very scientific data, Ron @matonanjin 😉
  26. 1 point
    Hello Everyone, This months Recording Challenge topic was chosen by Wim VD1 🤩"A little special"☘️ Wim said "The challenge is to record a song that has something special. "Special" could be the use of a specific technique like bends, hamer-ons or pull-offs, slides, octaves or harmonics. "It could also be the use of some chords that go beyond major or minor triads like sevenths, 2 chords, sus chords, chords with color tones or anything special you can come up with." So get recording everyone and give us something to listen to! Best wishes Mandy 1. NeilES335 playing "Mon Cheri Amour" 2. Nutty 1 playing "Edelweiss" 3. Wim VD1 playing "This is my Father's World" 4. Skip Russel playing "All the Things You Are" 5. Eracer Team Doug_H playing "Guitar George" 6. Slaphappy playing his own composition "Wasting Time in A Major" 6. gotto and grandchild playing and singing "I Love Rock and Roll" 7. Muzikluvah Mike playing "The White Pass Trail"
  27. 1 point
    Electro-Harmonix has an impressive range of pedals that delve into keyboard-voicing territory, including the Lester-G rotating speaker pedal. See it and the short video on the EHX web site, here.
  28. 1 point
    Thanks @gotto and @Nutty 1 for your gracious comments and encouragement.
  29. 1 point
    Thanks very much! I use medium gauge, .013 and .017, for the 1st and 2nd strings, and D'Addario EJ-16s (light gauge) for the 3rd thru 6th strings.
  30. 1 point
    PRS CE24 in Burnt Amber Smokeburst. Love this guitar. Easy playing satin neck. Superb workmanship, including the fretwork. Wide range of great tones. The only thing I dislike is the size of the strap buttons. They're way too big. It took me 10 minutes and I worked up a sweat getting a strap on, lol, but I'll take care of that tomorrow by installing strap locks. I think she's a beauty!
  31. 1 point
    The Guitar Gathering Conference returns to Trevecca Nazarene University in Nashville, Tennessee! Four days of lessons, workshops, masterclasses, and concerts. Details will follow at: https://www.guitargathering2020.com.
  32. 1 point
    @matonanjin I have just jumped in and pre-orderd a Spark amp in the "Last Chance" sale. Although there have been delays in the manufacturing and shipping earlier this year (mainly due to Covid-19) the word on the street is that it is worth the wait. Positive Grid seem to be trying to keep updated about deliveries now and there is even an online order tracking feature which gives me an estimate of when my amp may ship. What fun! One thing that (out of many!) I am not doing is jamming to guitar tracks or playing with bands so I am hoping that this amp will at least get me starting to play with tracks. I quite fancy the "follow my guitar " feature as well and the fact that you can just search for a guitar hero's sound and instantly get the simulation of their setup that would sound a bit like they do (if I could play like them that is 🤓).
  33. 1 point
    Way to go Greg, that was excellent. Nothing is more special in life than bringing the Grandkids into a shared project. Henk
  34. 1 point
    WOW!!! That has a great top! Congratulations!!!
  35. 1 point
    I hadn't heard of his passing so thank you for posting this. His playing was always so soulful and moving. Probably no song of his demonstrates that soulfulness more than "Supernatural". It will always be my favorite of his. Wim, very well played and just a nice tribute.
  36. 1 point
    So glad that you are sharing your great chops in these challenges. Very nicely played, a difficult line and you performed it very well. Thanks for sharing. Greg
  37. 1 point
    @Eracer_Team-DougH HI Doug, you put a lot of good effort into that recording, I thought is sounded great, mistakes and all. I always learn something new with each recording I do, or song a learn. It's all about the effort. Good job. Skip
  38. 1 point
    Awesome Joao - thanks much for all the work you have put into posting these lessons!
  39. 1 point
    @Steve Goeringer @Eracer_Team-DougH Thank you so much for the encouraging words, Steve. I guess I may be aiming a bit too high and too hard for myself, but I believe I'll get there, as many others before me did. For quite some time, I have had a lot of fun singing and strumming the guitar (as I still do today), but not being able to express myself better through it is something that has been weighing on me for a long time. That's why I really want to get all of this to be done right and thoroughly. Because I really need to feel confident in what I'm doing in order not to think about it. And that's also why I consider doing the spotlight series content before the respective L&MG course lessons, even though I'm fully aware of how big of a chunk both of them are, relative to those lessons. I do realize these are not requirements for the completion of the course, but I view them as a deeper dive into the concepts taught in the course. And I do want to dive deep, Doug. Namely into fingerstyle solo instrumental guitar and blues/rock soloing lead guitar. Again, thank you both for the support and encouraging words.
  40. 1 point
    Mandy! Nice playing. Nice singing. Nice percussion. You did make it look simple.
  41. 1 point
    Thanks Revster, I admit it's disappointing. But I want to make sure everyone is safe. We'll all make it through and I look forward to days again where we can all gather again together and make music. Thanks for being the best guitar family in the world. -Steve
  42. 1 point
    Another old guy who decided to finally learn to play guitar. A few months lessons as a kid, a few months in my 30's, got up to lesson 6 on L&M in my 40's, and now have used pandemic time to forget the world and play guitar. I bought the course a long time ago when I had trouble finding an instructor for an adult beginner. Now I realize that while doing a course at your own pace risks stalling, it also prevents frustration with meeting deadlines. This time around the first 6 lessons went real fast, lesson 7 is new territory for me so the fun begins.
  43. 1 point
    Magnit, that Spark does look really interesting. We had a brief conversation about it earlier this year. It seems to have so many tools for a practice amp. I just don't know what else they could have added for an at home practice amp. Autodisplay chords, jam tracks, audio interface, the list goes on. But I think that they have been shipping and I don't see any user reports yet.
  44. 1 point
    Another interesting amp that just recently came to my attention is Positive Grid’s Spark. Apparently it contains additional features for jamming similar to the Trio+ pedal. https://www.positivegrid.com/spark
  45. 1 point
    I was always somewhat under the impression, based on very unscientific data, that the Fishman amps were the "gold standard" for acoustic amps.
  46. 1 point
    Down Strum - Up Strum - - - - WHAT!!!!??? In general, when playing eighth notes the picking is a down-up-down-up pattern with the downstrokes being on the downbeats and the upstrokes being on the upbeats. For example if I was counting a measure of eighth notes or "1 and 2 and 3 and 4 and" the beats would be the downstrokes and the "ands" would be upstrokes. Now, this is not a hard and fast rule. In some musical situations and some string combinations it may be more comfortable to adjust this pattern as needed. So, don't get too bent out of shape if this is varied occasionally. Now, regarding me occasionally playing through an exercise using all downstrokes. Yep, I do this sometimes. Sometimes it is just to overemphasize the rhythm of the notes or sometimes I'm just going for a more solid sound that downstrokes provide. I guess my overall point is that guitar playing is not math - with only one possible solution. In real playing situations there are constantly changing variables. Variables of how you want to play and attack the note depending on the strength of the sound you want to produce and so on. When you are just learning how to play this may appear confusing. But as you grow (and you will grow) in your skill you realize that this is a natural and freeing part of expressing on your instrument. Making music in general and guitar playing in specific is a wonderful combination of art and science. You can't analyze it as all rule-governed science, it just doesn't work that way. - Steve What to Do When You’re Frustrated and Stuck? · Beware when you are feeling stuck and remember that stopping is the enemy. · Plateaus are a natural, normal, expected part of the learning process. · Some things that help… o Relax. Nothing works right when you get uptight - especially learning. Don’t take the “stuck feeling” too seriously. Chances are nothing is terribly wrong. You’re just in a plateau. Just keep doing what you are doing - whether you feel like it or not and evaluate it again in two weeks and see how things have progressed. o Take a Short Break. Sometimes after beating your musical head against the wall for a considerable amount of time with decreasing amounts of progress, sometimes it’s just good to take a break for a few days, put your guitar in its case, and come back to it after a short time. BUT, don’t forget about it and break for too long or you will start to lose ground. Two or three days is a good amount of break time. o Practice Something Else for a While. There are many ways to get the job done and guitar skills tend to interconnect in various ways. If you’re stuck on barre chords then work on something else for a while and come back to them again in a couple of weeks. Often times this break has a magical quality to get you out of your stuck position. o Put Yourself in a Playing Situation. Nothing shakes the cobwebs of learning loose better than getting out of the practice room and into a playing situation when you are applying those skills. o Get some Fresh Musical Inspiration. Go to that concert, or go hear some live music, buy and download that CD from your favorite band, or get a new piece of gear. Getting new musical inspiration doesn’t need to be expensive - it just needs to excite and musically engage your heart again. o Be a Student of How You Learn. Learning is something you are going to be doing a lot of. Stop and think about the things that help you learn and those things that hinder or distract how you learn. Think about when during the day are you the most mentally engaged and try to practice during more productive times. Analyze the feelings you are having. Would practicing in longer, more focused times be better or would breaking your practice time up into shorter bursts of learning fit your style better? Think about how you learn and adjust your practice times to make them the most effective. o ABOVE ALL ELSE - DON’T STOP!!! Take a break if you need to, press on if you need to, try several different things, but don’t listen to the inner voice that says “Well, I guess that’s it. That’s as far as I can go as a guitar player.” That little inner voice plays in all of our heads and it just might be lying to you.
  47. 1 point
    How to learn the notes above the first position It sounds like you are doing exactly what I would suggest which is play the songs and exercises for Sessions 1-4 in the 5th, 7th, and 10th position. Already knowing the melody will help even more to make the connections with the notes and their placements within those positions. Then try making up a simple melody and play it in the open, 3rd, 5th, 7th and 10th positions. These are all great exercises for ear training and learning your notes. - Steve Too many view the practice room as a prison - a place of endless, fruitless frustration and toil. It's seen as a place to be avoided at all costs - a place where your inadequacies are placed in the spotlight. Any distraction is readily embraced to divert us from the cruel, unforgiving mirror of our frail abilities found in the practice room. Many musicians are enslaved to this view of the practice room. If you are in this unfortunate mindset, let me offer you a small alternative view of the practice room universe. With a different perspective your practice room can move from a prison to become a sanctuary - a place where you quietly go to remember who you are, what you love, and who you want to become. Practicing, and the daily "bettering" of your skills (and thus yourself) yields tremendous benefits beyond the specific skills that you are working on. The time you spend with your instrument is special - it's a time where you put away the other cares of the day and focus entirely on something that YOU want to do. Practicing is something that you do for you - not anyone else. So many of the hours in our days are invested in things for other people but practicing is something you do completely for yourself. Learning is valuable - it is a sacred investment of your time purely for your own benefit and enjoyment. The practice room is a place of trials and triumphs, a place where you are challenged mentally and physically, tested to the depths of your understanding and ability. And a place that on some very special days you walk out of as a conquerer. The practice room is a place where your dream of making music is forged - like a blacksmith working with steel - a place of heat, sweat, and where every inch of progress is not "cheap" but is earned through determined effort. In the end, people may walk past and say to you "Wow, you have really improved, you must just have a gift." But in your heart you know that any ability you have was not "dropped upon you" from the sky cheaply but was forged with great effort and determination in one place - the practice room. Many people dream of being a musician - some for years. But there is only one door that those that truly become musicians walk out of... the practice room. - Steve JACK!!!! Yes, that's him!!!! He died several years back and I'm sure he hated it. He was one of the most "full of life" people I've ever met. He was the only guitar teacher I ever had drop me. I was young and stupid - a "full of myself all-state guitarist" in high school who was bored stiff by this kind old man who tried to teach me a style of playing that seemed way too outdated and un-hip. What I would give for a few more lessons from this living jazz legend now. He told me "Why don't you come back when you have a bit more time to devote to the lessons." I walked out of his home and thought "how rude" but that experience and my time with him taught me several life lessons... LIFE LESSON #1: Don't think more highly of yourself than you should. Learn from everyone you can. I realized he was right to drop me. It was a waste of his time and mine. I was faking my way through his lessons. I thought "what can this old guy teach me". Foolish. LIFE LESSON #2: Don't rely on anyone to spoon feed you instruction. It's your job to reach out and dig for it - to claw it out. When I had lessons with him he never wrote anything down. So, it was all by memory and by the time I got home from the lesson I could remember little of what he taught me. (Ever had that happen...)Eventually, I started recording his lessons, but I still didn't take the time needed to grasp the concepts, and I wrote little down. Foolish. Most teachers in your life will give you little help in the process of learning. It's the student's job to dig for the learning - sometimes the teacher may help in this endeavor, sometimes not. I cannot blame the teacher for my lack of progress just because the teacher is making me dig for it. It's in the digging that you learn the most. LIFE LESSON #3: Chords can mean much more than the sum of their notes. Jack taught me that chords were not just for accompanying but that they can be used to harmonize a melody. He also taught me that a chord can function one way in one harmony and another way in another harmonic situation. I was used to analyzing chords as a slice of time - i.e. you look at what notes are in the chord and you can tell how they are functioning. Jack taught me to look at chords in context of the tune. For example, sure a G-B-D-F is a G7. But looking at the function of the chord can tell me that a G7 is the V chord leading me to a C - AND that that G7 can be preceded by a Dm, AND since the G7 is functioning as a V chord then I can alter it a variety of different ways and it will still make musical sense. Jack also taught me that a chord can be a chord without a root. This was a mind-blowing concept to this long-haired teenage jazz player. For example, the chord B-D-F-A-E seems like a meaningless grouping of notes. If I looked at it on the surface I might come up with some non-sensical analysis as a Bm7sus(b5) ???? It was Jack that taught me that a B-D-F-A-E is a perfect G13th - just without the G. And who needs the root anyway if the chord progression clearly indicates the chords function. This opened up a world of thought to me. Anyway, there is only one tune and a handful of licks, and a few key pieces of musical knowledge I can remember from those lessons with Jack. This is through no fault of Jack. I look back on that part of my learning and I think I was so clueless to what this man could teach me. He was a brilliant player and one of the best jazz guitarists of his day playing with world class orchestras and television bands. All I could see was an old man, in a small house on the wrong side of town. He died some years later, only remembering me as a clueless teenager who didn't have time for his lessons. Never knowing the impact he had on me and now on you. - Steve How not to dig into the strings too hard while strumming Quote 1) Relax your wrist. As you speed up your strumming you need to relax your wrist so that it doesn't become too stiff. 2) Use a thinner pick. When you're doing a lot of strumming a thick pick causes you to dig in too much and will eventually cause too much resistance against the strings. Thinner picks work better. 3) Hold pick securely but with some flexibility. I realize that this sounds like a contradiction. And I guess it is in some sort of way, but in my mind this is what I do. I hold the pick firmly enough so that I have a good grip with strumming aggressively BUT I also am, ever so slightly, loosening the grip on the pick occasionally so that it has a little bit of give in it. I'm still in control but, giving the pick some flexibility when needed by adjusting my grip on the pick helps. 4) Don't use too heavy of strings. Use light strings when you are doing a lot of strumming. It will save your arm. Stiff strings, like a stiff pick, just adds resistance which is unhelpful when strumming for long periods of time. I hope this helps. - Steve Here's my official words of advice from decades of playing experience and teaching experience. Are you ready? Lean in so you can get a good look at it...
  48. 1 point
    Struggling on a Particular Session/Exercise/Lesson/Song 1) Why do I seem to be unable to breakthrough on this one task? It seems like even things I already know seem to fall apart in this one task. 2) What to do when you find yourself in this situation? WHY DO I SEEM UNABLE TO BREAKTHROUGH ON THIS ONE TASK? The short answer: You are at the far outer reaches of your ability. The long answer: If your brain was a CPU, it would be at about 98% of it's usage when you are playing Minuet in C. You're just maxing out it's ability to process all of the tasks. You can play the Notes in the First Position up and down no problem (Brain CPU Usage 60%). You can play rhythm exercises no problem (Brain CPU Usage 60%). But playing the notes up and down, changing direction, according to a specific rhythm that changes from line to line (Brain CPU Usage - Maxed Out!) When your brain gets maxed out it starts dropping things - things that when it is not maxed out it could handle. Think of it like this. Let's say I asked you to dance a simple repeated sequence of steps with your feet. - Easy Task. Or I could ask you to throw a ball up and catch it repeatedly - Easy Task. Or I ask you to say the alphabet back-wards skipping every other letter. - An obtainable task, but it requires a bit of concentration. Each of these tasks is completely within your realm of ability and each can be done relatively easily. But what if I asked you to do them all at the same time. Physically, it's very possible, but mentally, this would be pretty tricky to keep up with and the brain might could do it for a brief moment but eventually one of the otherwise easy tasks would get mixed up. So there is what's happening neurologically. Now, the good news is that your brain will grow rapidly in its ability to process all of these tasks. So... Today's impossible struggle is tomorrow's warm-up exercise. WHAT TO DO WHEN YOU FIND YOURSELF IN THIS SITUATION? Occasionally, in your guitar learning journey, you are going to run into these "Wow, I just can't seem to get this." problems. Minuet in C might be the first you have come up against. But in a few months it might be something else - similar struggle, just a different name. Minuet in C, Barre Chords, Canon in D, Strumming, Pentatonic Scales - just fill in the blank with your "impossible struggle of the moment". What to do? 1) Break the song down into smaller pieces. Take the song and split it up into bite-sized pieces. Instead of wrestling through it from beginning to end, give your brain some time to work out the solutions to the musical problems in much smaller pieces. Start with 2 bar phrases. Just work on the first 2 bars. Once you can play them fairly securely, then move on to bars 3 and 4 and work those. Play bars 3 & 4 over and over until you can play those securely. Then go back and play bars 1&2 a few times to remind yourself how you did those and then try to add bars 3 & 4 to them playing bars 1-4. (Don't be surprised when you play bars 1&2 perfectly, and then play bars 3&4 perfectly, that when you put them together (bars 1-4) that something falls apart. See the first explanation above.) 2) Take it Slow. When you are working out the finger gymnastics of a particular passage, go slow - ridiculously slow - so that you can train your muscles to do what they need to do. Once you have the correct movements down and can play it perfectly (albeit slow) then play it over and over again. This will train your muscles in the proper coordination. Only once the muscles are comfortable in the proper moves can you begin to speed them up. If you try to play something faster than the muscle coordination can keep up, then you will always miss a note here and there. Slow things down to work out the muscle coordination and only then begin speeding the moves up gradually. 3) Work on the problem area for a while and then put your guitar down and go do something else. I don't know why this works, but I've seen this work time and time again. I'm working on something, banging my head against some musical problem, making frustratingly little progress. Then I'll put my guitar down and go play some basketball or something for a few minutes, then I come back to the problem and I can suddenly play through the hard section of the song, when I was previously unable to do so. It's like the brain needs some "cool down" time and once it comes back after a time of doing another task, it can now process the problem better. 4) If you just can't seem to make any progress after many practice sessions on the same musical problem and you are just getting frustrated and discouraged, then wipe the dust off your feet and move on. In your guitar learning journey you are going to occasionally run up against a song or musical problem that fits into this category. Don't let it stop your progress. There will be some songs or tasks that are going to take a long time to master. They can and will be mastered eventually, but it's just not going to happen in the normal course of practicing. I think barre chords for most people fits clearly into this category. They initially approach it as "Well, with a little bit of work, I'll get this. The last concept took 2 weeks to get, I'm sure this will be the same" And they don't realize they have come up against a "6 month" problem, not the normal "2 week" problem. The secret is to realize when something is a "6 month" problem and then move on to new smaller "2 week" challenges while still working on the "6 month" problem for a few minutes each practice session. Sorry to be so long-winded. It's the middle of night here in Nashville on a stormy night, with a stressful day ahead of me tomorrow, and I am having a bit of trouble sleeping so answering a few questions on the discussion board is just the trick to clear my head so that I can get back to sleep. I hope this helps. Don't be discouraged, confused, or frustrated. These problems are something you need to learn how to work with as you learn. All of these musical problems will get mastered eventually, it's just some problems require different tools. In no time you'll be on to other challenges and you'll flip back nostalgically a few pages in your book to good ole Minuet in C and play it perfectly the first time, smile and think to yourself "Wow, I remember when I thought I would never be able to play that." As you progress in your ability you will be able to look back and find more and more of those "impossible struggles" in your rear-view mirror. Keep Learning & Growing.
  49. 1 point
    On Note Reading I purchased your program and I am having difficulty learning the music notes of session2. Do I really need to learn this part? In general, note reading is important and it will be a skill that we will use all throughout the course. I realize that it can get frustrating and slow. Here are some suggestions. 1) Write in the letter names of the notes above the notes. Take a few moments before playing the song to write the note names in. At this stage, there are really two skills that you are trying to accomplish simultaneously - Note recognition (What note is that?) and Guitar playing (How do I play that note on guitar?) It helps sometimes to break up the two tasks by writing in the note names before you play it. 2) Everytime you sit down to play, play through your notes. If you are on Session 2 then you are learning E, F, and G on the 1st string and B, C & D on the second string. So I would encourage you to pick up your guitar and play E-F-G then backwards G-F-E. Then play B-C-D then D-C-B. Then put them both together ascending B-C-D-E-F-G and descending G-F-E-D-C-B. Play the notes and say the letter names as you play them. This will build your memory and muscle coordination. 3) Play through the exercises in the session and the bonus exercises after you have written in the notes. Go nice and slow. Don't worry about speed at all. Speed is not a factor at this stage. Learning your notes is what is important. Start with just the 1st string exercises. Write in the notes then play through them. Just try to get your fingers to cooperate with your brain in finding the right place to finger the note. Play them a few times through. Repetition is great at this stage. Play through the exercise then play it again. When you sit down to play tomorrow play the same exercise again and try to get further into some other exercises. Slowly your muscle coordination and note recognition will start to build and it will get easier and easier. Exercises that you once really struggled with start to come easier. After you practice this way for a while then you move on to the next session with more notes to learn. Once you get to the next session try to only write in the notes that are new and just read the other notes that you have already been working with in the previous session. This may be slow at first but pretty quickly it will get easier. For Session 4 just do the same - write in the new notes only - play through the exercises (even ones from the previous sessions) each time that you practice. Slowly you will be getting quicker at playing through them and the music reading will be coming easier. Here's a word of encouragement. I know that reading notes is difficult at first. It's tedious and frustrating. You're wanting to play great things but instead you find yourself struggling to play Jingle Bells. Many folks just set their guitar down right at this point. They go back to playing the same three chords that they learned years ago or playing the intro riff to some song that their neighbor taught them and their guitar playing progress stops. Progress often comes in the slow, tedious waters of learning something new, wrestling with getting your fingers to do new things, stretching your mind to understand things in a new way, or repetition, repetition, repetition. Like climbing a mountain and struggling with each new step, step by step new challenges await, it's only when you turn around and take a look back where you started that you realize how far you are starting to get. Yes, I see music reading as vitally important. Without the basic skill of knowing how to read notes and turn them into a simple melody, you are doomed to swim endlessly in the shallow end of the guitar playing pool. Sure you can download a few inaccuate TABS off of the internet to maybe learn the intro to a song off of the radio. But being able to write your own song out in a way that other musicians can read will be something that you will forever be handicapped from doing. Knowing the joy of being able to pick up a sheet of music and read it and play it without having someone explain it to you is wonderful. When you know how to read music, you can start to teach yourself because you can read and learn without having to have it explained to you. I would encourage you to be patient. Take it nice and slow. Write in the notes at first and then slowly wean yourself off of writing them in as much. Build your muscle memory through repetition. Go back through old exercises. Don't worry about making great music at this stage, just keep practicing and wrestling with it a little bit each day. And in a couple of weeks you will look around and find yourself in a new and better place in your guitar playing. Keep up the great work. Keep Learning and Growing.
  50. 1 point
    On Playing perfect with Jam CD’s and Memorizing Songs Thanks for the post. I hope the guitar learning is going well for you. The Play Along Songs are there to help you learn and progress through the course. At your stage, I wouldn't worry too much about getting everything absolutely perfect before moving on. Sometimes this tends to discourage folks when they can't seem to get every note perfect and they think that they shouldn't move on until it's perfect. So they get stuck in a self-imposed spiral. Practice with the songs as much as you want. When you have the song pretty much under control and you can keep up pretty consistently with the track, then I think you are fine to move on. Even if you can't keep up with the track on its fastest version I think it is fine to consider moving on. Polishing things to perfection is a wonderfully valid part of guitar learning but at these early stages don't let yourself be sloppy but also realize that honing your skill enough to get every note correct 100% of the time is not really the focus at this stage. When my son was just learning to walk he would pull himself up on the coffee table wobble around a bit and eventually work his way all the way around the table with great effort and determination. I didn't expect him to run smoothly yet. He just wasn't there at that stage yet. That's kind of where a beginner guitar player is at. Play the song and get the notes down. Play it with the track and get used to playing it through to the end. If you bobble a few notes along the way, that is to be expected. Don't let it discourage you or frustrate you. That's just the way it is. Beginners bobble notes. When you are two weeks away from your debut at Carnegie Hall, then it's time to shoot for absolute perfection. As far as memorizing goes. A lot of the simple songs you will end up memorizing anyway because of the repetition and the simpleness of the song. That's completely fine. As the songs get harder, you're music reading will get faster and it will be just as easy to read the song as it would be to memorize. I wouldn't go out of my way to memorize the songs at this stage. It will happen naturally. Just focus on getting the notes in the right places and getting your fingers to cooperate with what you are telling them. Keep up the great work!

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