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Words of Guitar Wisdom By Steve Krenz


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How Steve Krenz came about in Teaching 

 

What made you want to learn guitar?

My mom was the one that made me pick up the guitar. No one in my family was musical at all. I had no friends at that time that I knew were musical. But, mom wanted a guitar player and I was forced to take lessons. I was neither interested in it at the time nor asked my mom to let me try it.

I started guitar lessons at a local music store in the mall when I was 6 years old. This continued on for years. Friday night guitar lessons then eating out with the family at a nearby restaurant was our weekly pattern.

Every day I practiced while the supper dishes were being done. At the end of every supper my dad would say "Get your Guitar" or more accurately, "Git Yer, Gitcher". And I would practice for about 20 minutes or so while the dishes were being done. I still have some of the old lesson books with water stains on them from being set on the freshly wiped table every night.

At times I begged to quit never understanding what this guitar playing had anything to do with my life or future. My teacher thought I had potential and that was all that my folks needed to keep up the lessons. Week after week, year after year, lugging my guitar around, my parents paying for all those lessons.

My teacher was a gruff italian man Johnny Frisco who smoked like a smokestack. He was a local jazz player and I have only recently realized and appreciated all that he poured into me as a disinterested kid. He taught me how to read music. I never even saw Tablature and didn't even know what it was until many, many years later. Every week he would write out on music paper the song I was supposed to learn.

I have looked back through my old lessons and realized that I was playing pretty complex chord melody jazz pieces by the time I was 9 and 10. He never indicated to me that I was any bit more advanced than any of his other students. And truthfully it never even occured to me that I had any unique aptitude for the guitar until I was in high school.

I was never the least bit interested in playing guitar until 6th grade when a friend of mine said that I could play guitar in the band at school in this special band called a Jazz band. He only came for the first practice with me. He never came again and I never stopped coming. I remained active in the Jazz ensemble at whatever school I was at until the day I graduated from college. I have often thought how my life would have been so totally different had he not invited me to be in Jazz band that day.

Much to my utter astonishment by the time I was 16, I was the top high school jazz guitarist in the state of Texas. Now, many years later, I have played and taught guitar here in Nashville (Music City USA) for 5 years; providing for my family, playing music, recording, and speaking. I am by no means the best guitarist here. There are players that can play circles around me but I feel a wonderful sense of accomplishment that I have been able to hold my own musically in what is arguably one of the most competitive musical environments on the planet.

My parents gave me lessons even though at times I begged to quit. They invested their time and money week after week into me so that I could have a life filled with music. I will be forever grateful that they didn't let me quit when I complained. I am reaping now what was sowed into me by my parents.

I have played guitar on almost every continent and now I have the incredible opportunity to help people like you in learning the guitar from all over the world. I am truly amazed and humbled by it all and I count myself a very blessed man.

OK, now on to your next question...

How did Learn and Master Guitar come to be?

Well, let me back up a bit. In 2000, me, my wife and our three young boys were in San Antonio, Texas. I was the Music Director at our church there and enjoyed the blessings of steady paychecks, provided health insurance and great favor with everyone. We were very comfortable except for this nagging idea in the back of my head that I had had since high-school that I needed to be in Nashville playing guitar.

Eventually, after lots of soul searching and prodding from my wife, it was time to make our feelings known. Needless to say, it was not received well by my family or the church. I distinctly remember telling the pastor (who was in many ways a father to me) that I wanted to go to Nashville to play and teach guitar. I remember his words "Why would you want to go to Nashville and sit in a little room and teach people how to play? I just can't see you being happy like that."

He was, after all, correct. I had a great job and I was getting ready to move not just me but our whole family to a completely new place with the only guarantee of work was one lady at a small music school in Murfreesboro, Tennessee who said when I was passing my resume out trying to get work "Well, when you get to town give me a call." That was all that we needed. I put a deposit on a house in Nashville, we put the house up for sale in Texas, said our goodbyes, cried our tears and moved in July of 2001.

For the next 4 years or so, I did just what my pastor had said, taught guitar in little rooms in various music stores to mostly dis-interested teenagers and kids and an occasional adult and entered the often frightening world of the self-employed. As finances got tighter and tighter I wondered if I had missed it by this whole "thinking I was a guitar player" thing and now me and my family were paying the heavy price.

It was in the midst of that very low point that after coming home from another less than profitable, frustrating day that my wife said that a guy had called about guitar lessons. After a day or so I called him back. He said he was interviewing guitar instructors for a video project that he was doing. He had gotten my name from a mutual friend who lived up the street. So, we met for lunch and he laid out his idea and asked if I could do video. I had never done any video but I said "Sure, I can do a video."

He asked if I could write a book to go with it. Having never done anything like that I confidently said "Sure, I can do the book. No problem"
He said thanks, paid for my lunch, and said that he was going to interview some more people.

I never heard from him for about a month and had truly forgotten about the whole thing when he called back and said "Steve, I think you're my guy." (I found out later that there he had actually picked another instructor who left them high and dry on the first day of shooting.)

This was about November of 2005. Neither of us had any idea the amount of work that was ahead of us. He thought he would have a guitar course by Christmas and I thought I would get some Christmas money.

I got my materials together and put together a course based on what I had seen work in my private teaching and what I actually used in my own professional playing, and I tried to avoid the periferal nonsense that had frustrated me by other teaching materials and just stick to the basics - the "meat" of playing guitar.

After a few weeks of me getting some ideas together we started filming the day after Thanksgiving. I must admit at that time of financial hardship, there was no lofty educational visions of grandeur in my mind. It was strictly just another means to pay the mortgage for my family. (You men who are head of households know what I mean. Sometimes, when times get tough your preferences and desires get trumped by your responsibility to provide.) If there was a check at the end of this then "Sure, I can do a video guitar course. Where's the camera."

So, we went to a friend of his who did some video and had a home studio. We recorded about 3 or 4 sessions at a time - mostly on weekends and occasional very late weeknights. There was just the three of us at that time.

If you would have turned the camera around you would have seen a music stand with my notes on it, the man who hired me sitting on a sofa checking his email, the video guy running one of three cameras that were used bored to death, my guitar cases and gear strewn about the room, and two chinchillas in the next room that slept during the day but became quite noisy and active during the late night hours that we filmed. I remember having to wait to film one time because the next door neighbor was mowing his lawn.

What about the funky blue lights and the candles in the video?

The set was the video guys idea and his gear. The candles, which now seem so dated, were supposed to be hip and cozy and comfortable. The blue lights were borrowed from a nearby university and came off too strong on camera later but it was not a big enough deal at that time to try to do any better. We couldn't have the heater on when we filmed because of the noise, so I remember it being burning under the lights and freezing when we weren't filming.

As the long hours and late night video sessions continued through the Christmas season the anxiety of keeping up with them (as well as my normal day teaching schedule) increased as well, until finally we recorded the last three sessions the day before Christmas. And I was sick as a dog. I remember sitting in front of one of those notorious blue lights before the taping of the last session just trying to get warm and thinking that there was no way I could do another session.

But I knew I needed to finish, I knew there was a check at the end of all of this, so I splashed some warm water on my face and just gritted through the last session. If you look closely on Session 20, you can see in my eyes that I was sick. After it was done well after midnight, I went home utterly exhausted and was sick for several days.

Towards the end of January, I had enough stamina to jump back on the horse again and work on writing the book. Once we started getting the rough video edits back to look at, it became clear that lots of editing were needed. I decided to add musical graphics so that the student could just look at the screen and see the music instead of constantly referring to the book. That decision alone added months to the time line.

Every graphic you see, every note, every dot, every finger number was painstakingly created by me to be put in the video and in turn in the book. Every second of when that graphic was to appear, what it was to be called, and when it was going to leave was meticulously notated by me and emailed to the video guy who put them in, emailed them back to me and we went through the cycle again.

There are probably close to 1000 musical graphics during the 20 sessions that had to be created, refined, put in the book and put in the video. It was grueling, every waking moment, sun-up to sun-down work (while still keeping all of my other teaching and playing going). Easily, the hardest thing I had ever done. And it went on week after week for months. I, and the man who hired me, thought it would never end.

But, mercifully, sometime in May 2006 the process was done. I was glad to have this incredibly difficult project through with and was glad to have it in my rear view mirror.

In July or so, it had been manufactured and I remember picking up the first few copies. Wow, I had my name on something. Pretty cool. Then, I was off to play and teach some more. Then, 1 or 2 a day sold, then 10 a day, then more. Now thousands have gone out.

I would have never guessed how my life has changed since those late cold nights of filming and how many have been helped to become better musicians through some simple concepts of guitar playing that were given. And how through their learning that it would bring so much to their lives and mine.

Eventually, I quit the private teaching to come on and help Legacy Learning Systems to further develop Learn and Master Guitar and other projects (while still continuing to play guitar and speak at conferences).

Are you the owner of Legacy Learning Systems?

I am not the owner of Legacy Learning Systems. It is owned by the wonderful man who I had lunch with that fateful first day and who I have come to respect and care for. Now we work together with several other very talented people to try to put out resources that people can truly learn from.

It is a solemn privilege that keeps me motivated as I go, even today, to edit some session of Drums and ask myself the question "Well, who would really know if I didn't put this example on the screen or if I missed a few notes here and there." The knowledge of all of those, yet unseen, that may get helped by it someday helps me to say "Let's go back and fix that one spot one more time, I think I can make that example easier to understand."

I was conducting a guitar class for this conference just last week and was asked "Don't you have a guitar video?" I had forgotten to mention it to the class and thought how great it was that I now have a good resource that I can recommend to people who want to learn how to play.

All in all, I'm still just a very blessed and grateful guitar player who was up early this morning working on scales (thinking that my chops have gotten sluggish since I have been doing all of this desk work) and looking outside thinking that I need to mow the yard tonight.

Wow, this is getting too long. If anyone is still reading by this point and haven't fallen asleep, you should get a prize or something.

I will try to answer some more later.

Suffice it to say, I love my job - teaching guitar, playing guitar, interacting with you wonderful people, creating quality resources so that people can learn. I like coming to work.


What made you want to learn guitar?

My mom was the one that made me pick up the guitar. No one in my family was musical at all. I had no friends at that time that I knew were musical. But, mom wanted a guitar player and I was forced to take lessons. I was neither interested in it at the time nor asked my mom to let me try it.

I started guitar lessons at a local music store in the mall when I was 6 years old. This continued on for years. Friday night guitar lessons then eating out with the family at a nearby restaurant was our weekly pattern.

Every day I practiced while the supper dishes were being done. At the end of every supper my dad would say "Get your Guitar" or more accurately, "Git Yer, Gitcher". And I would practice for about 20 minutes or so while the dishes were being done. I still have some of the old lesson books with water stains on them from being set on the freshly wiped table every night.

At times I begged to quit never understanding what this guitar playing had anything to do with my life or future. My teacher thought I had potential and that was all that my folks needed to keep up the lessons. Week after week, year after year, lugging my guitar around, my parents paying for all those lessons.

My teacher was a gruff italian man Johnny Frisco who smoked like a smokestack. He was a local jazz player and I have only recently realized and appreciated all that he poured into me as a disinterested kid. He taught me how to read music. I never even saw Tablature and didn't even know what it was until many, many years later. Every week he would write out on music paper the song I was supposed to learn.

I have looked back through my old lessons and realized that I was playing pretty complex chord melody jazz pieces by the time I was 9 and 10. He never indicated to me that I was any bit more advanced than any of his other students. And truthfully it never even occured to me that I had any unique aptitude for the guitar until I was in high school.

I was never the least bit interested in playing guitar until 6th grade when a friend of mine said that I could play guitar in the band at school in this special band called a Jazz band. He only came for the first practice with me. He never came again and I never stopped coming. I remained active in the Jazz ensemble at whatever school I was at until the day I graduated from college. I have often thought how my life would have been so totally different had he not invited me to be in Jazz band that day.

Much to my utter astonishment by the time I was 16, I was the top high school jazz guitarist in the state of Texas. Now, many years later, I have played and taught guitar here in Nashville (Music City USA) for 5 years; providing for my family, playing music, recording, and speaking. I am by no means the best guitarist here. There are players that can play circles around me but I feel a wonderful sense of accomplishment that I have been able to hold my own musically in what is arguably one of the most competitive musical environments on the planet.

My parents gave me lessons even though at times I begged to quit. They invested their time and money week after week into me so that I could have a life filled with music. I will be forever grateful that they didn't let me quit when I complained. I am reaping now what was sowed into me by my parents.

I have played guitar on almost every continent and now I have the incredible opportunity to help people like you in learning the guitar from all over the world. I am truly amazed and humbled by it all and I count myself a very blessed man.

OK, now on to your next question...

How did Learn and Master Guitar come to be?

Well, let me back up a bit. In 2000, me, my wife and our three young boys were in San Antonio, Texas. I was the Music Director at our church there and enjoyed the blessings of steady paychecks, provided health insurance and great favor with everyone. We were very comfortable except for this nagging idea in the back of my head that I had had since high-school that I needed to be in Nashville playing guitar.

Eventually, after lots of soul searching and prodding from my wife, it was time to make our feelings known. Needless to say, it was not received well by my family or the church. I distinctly remember telling the pastor (who was in many ways a father to me) that I wanted to go to Nashville to play and teach guitar. I remember his words "Why would you want to go to Nashville and sit in a little room and teach people how to play? I just can't see you being happy like that."

He was, after all, correct. I had a great job and I was getting ready to move not just me but our whole family to a completely new place with the only guarantee of work was one lady at a small music school in Murfreesboro, Tennessee who said when I was passing my resume out trying to get work "Well, when you get to town give me a call." That was all that we needed. I put a deposit on a house in Nashville, we put the house up for sale in Texas, said our goodbyes, cried our tears and moved in July of 2001.

For the next 4 years or so, I did just what my pastor had said, taught guitar in little rooms in various music stores to mostly dis-interested teenagers and kids and an occasional adult and entered the often frightening world of the self-employed. As finances got tighter and tighter I wondered if I had missed it by this whole "thinking I was a guitar player" thing and now me and my family were paying the heavy price.

It was in the midst of that very low point that after coming home from another less than profitable, frustrating day that my wife said that a guy had called about guitar lessons. After a day or so I called him back. He said he was interviewing guitar instructors for a video project that he was doing. He had gotten my name from a mutual friend who lived up the street. So, we met for lunch and he laid out his idea and asked if I could do video. I had never done any video but I said "Sure, I can do a video."

He asked if I could write a book to go with it. Having never done anything like that I confidently said "Sure, I can do the book. No problem"
He said thanks, paid for my lunch, and said that he was going to interview some more people.

I never heard from him for about a month and had truly forgotten about the whole thing when he called back and said "Steve, I think you're my guy." (I found out later that there he had actually picked another instructor who left them high and dry on the first day of shooting.)

This was about November of 2005. Neither of us had any idea the amount of work that was ahead of us. He thought he would have a guitar course by Christmas and I thought I would get some Christmas money.

I got my materials together and put together a course based on what I had seen work in my private teaching and what I actually used in my own professional playing, and I tried to avoid the periferal nonsense that had frustrated me by other teaching materials and just stick to the basics - the "meat" of playing guitar.

After a few weeks of me getting some ideas together we started filming the day after Thanksgiving. I must admit at that time of financial hardship, there was no lofty educational visions of grandeur in my mind. It was strictly just another means to pay the mortgage for my family. (You men who are head of households know what I mean. Sometimes, when times get tough your preferences and desires get trumped by your responsibility to provide.) If there was a check at the end of this then "Sure, I can do a video guitar course. Where's the camera."

So, we went to a friend of his who did some video and had a home studio. We recorded about 3 or 4 sessions at a time - mostly on weekends and occasional very late weeknights. There was just the three of us at that time.

If you would have turned the camera around you would have seen a music stand with my notes on it, the man who hired me sitting on a sofa checking his email, the video guy running one of three cameras that were used bored to death, my guitar cases and gear strewn about the room, and two chinchillas in the next room that slept during the day but became quite noisy and active during the late night hours that we filmed. I remember having to wait to film one time because the next door neighbor was mowing his lawn.

What about the funky blue lights and the candles in the video?

The set was the video guys idea and his gear. The candles, which now seem so dated, were supposed to be hip and cozy and comfortable. The blue lights were borrowed from a nearby university and came off too strong on camera later but it was not a big enough deal at that time to try to do any better. We couldn't have the heater on when we filmed because of the noise, so I remember it being burning under the lights and freezing when we weren't filming.

As the long hours and late night video sessions continued through the Christmas season the anxiety of keeping up with them (as well as my normal day teaching schedule) increased as well, until finally we recorded the last three sessions the day before Christmas. And I was sick as a dog. I remember sitting in front of one of those notorious blue lights before the taping of the last session just trying to get warm and thinking that there was no way I could do another session.

But I knew I needed to finish, I knew there was a check at the end of all of this, so I splashed some warm water on my face and just gritted through the last session. If you look closely on Session 20, you can see in my eyes that I was sick. After it was done well after midnight, I went home utterly exhausted and was sick for several days.

Towards the end of January, I had enough stamina to jump back on the horse again and work on writing the book. Once we started getting the rough video edits back to look at, it became clear that lots of editing were needed. I decided to add musical graphics so that the student could just look at the screen and see the music instead of constantly referring to the book. That decision alone added months to the time line.

Every graphic you see, every note, every dot, every finger number was painstakingly created by me to be put in the video and in turn in the book. Every second of when that graphic was to appear, what it was to be called, and when it was going to leave was meticulously notated by me and emailed to the video guy who put them in, emailed them back to me and we went through the cycle again.

There are probably close to 1000 musical graphics during the 20 sessions that had to be created, refined, put in the book and put in the video. It was grueling, every waking moment, sun-up to sun-down work (while still keeping all of my other teaching and playing going). Easily, the hardest thing I had ever done. And it went on week after week for months. I, and the man who hired me, thought it would never end.

But, mercifully, sometime in May 2006 the process was done. I was glad to have this incredibly difficult project through with and was glad to have it in my rear view mirror.

In July or so, it had been manufactured and I remember picking up the first few copies. Wow, I had my name on something. Pretty cool. Then, I was off to play and teach some more. Then, 1 or 2 a day sold, then 10 a day, then more. Now thousands have gone out.

I would have never guessed how my life has changed since those late cold nights of filming and how many have been helped to become better musicians through some simple concepts of guitar playing that were given. And how through their learning that it would bring so much to their lives and mine.

Eventually, I quit the private teaching to come on and help Legacy Learning Systems to further develop Learn and Master Guitar and other projects (while still continuing to play guitar and speak at conferences).

Are you the owner of Legacy Learning Systems?

I am not the owner of Legacy Learning Systems. It is owned by the wonderful man who I had lunch with that fateful first day and who I have come to respect and care for. Now we work together with several other very talented people to try to put out resources that people can truly learn from.

It is a solemn privilege that keeps me motivated as I go, even today, to edit some session of Drums and ask myself the question "Well, who would really know if I didn't put this example on the screen or if I missed a few notes here and there." The knowledge of all of those, yet unseen, that may get helped by it someday helps me to say "Let's go back and fix that one spot one more time, I think I can make that example easier to understand."

I was conducting a guitar class for this conference just last week and was asked "Don't you have a guitar video?" I had forgotten to mention it to the class and thought how great it was that I now have a good resource that I can recommend to people who want to learn how to play.

All in all, I'm still just a very blessed and grateful guitar player who was up early this morning working on scales (thinking that my chops have gotten sluggish since I have been doing all of this desk work) and looking outside thinking that I need to mow the yard tonight.

Wow, this is getting too long. If anyone is still reading by this point and haven't fallen asleep, you should get a prize or something.

I will try to answer some more later.

Suffice it to say, I love my job - teaching guitar, playing guitar, interacting with you wonderful people, creating quality resources so that people can learn. I like coming to work.


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How Steve Krenz came about in Teaching 

BEFORE YOU EVEN BEGIN THE COURSE 1) Get your guitar setup.  Learning guitar is hard enough without have to fight to play an instrument that is fighting you back.  Take your guitar down to the loc

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Wow, this is getting too long. If anyone is still reading by this point and haven't fallen asleep, you should get a prize or something.

I will try to answer some more later.

Suffice it to say, I love my job - teaching guitar, playing guitar, interacting with you wonderful people, creating quality resources so that people can learn. I like coming to work.

It just starts over from the beginning. 

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BEFORE YOU EVEN BEGIN THE COURSE

1) Get your guitar setup.  Learning guitar is hard enough without have to fight to play an instrument that is fighting you back.  Take your guitar down to the local music store and have them do a guitar setup, adjust the instrument properly, and change the strings.

 

2) Print out the Bonus Resources Book and have it spiral bound.  Take the Bonus Resources book PDF down to your local copy place and have them print it out, black & white, double sided, spiral bound, with a clear plastic cover on the front and a black one on the back.  

 

3) Consider getting a music stand, guitar stand, and a metronome.  These are going to be of immeasurable assistance down the road.  I recommend getting something like this MUSIC STAND and this GUITAR STAND and this METRONOME.  (There are plenty of other great ones, these are just some recommendations.)

 

4) Find a place to practice. A corner of a room - something that is far away from distractions.

 

WHEN YOU BEGIN A NEW SESSION

1) Before you watch the new session, take a look at the new material in the book.  Get an idea of what you are going to be learning and what is going to be asked of you.

 

2) Watch the teaching portion of the session and go through the workshop with the session as best as you can. Stop or backup the DVD when you need to.  The goal at this point is to really understand what I'm asking you to learn on the guitar.  The out-working of that will take some time but make sure you understand clearly what you are needing to do.  (You've got to understand the target you are trying to hit.) Don't worry about not being able to keep up with the workshop - just do the best you can.

 

3) Work with the session workshop during your daily practice time for a few days. Review the teaching portion of the session if you need to. Don't be overly concerned about progressing quickly.  It's not a race.  Real learning takes time.  Allow yourself time to soak in the concept.  You're not allowed to have an opinion about how you are doing on the new material for three days.  Just put in your time doing the material for three days. People have a tendency to attack a new session, do the workshop once and start evaluating themselves.  That's like me going to the doctor, he gives me the first dose of medicine and, before I leave the office, deciding whether its working or not.   Just trust the process for a few days - whether you feel like it or not.

 

4) After you've worked with the session workshop for a couple of days, then watch the Bonus Workshop and begin working with the Bonus Workshop.  From that point on, don't worry about the session workshop anymore and just focus on working through the Bonus Workshop in your daily practice time for as long as it takes until you've mastered the material. 

 

5) Pay no attention to my "Suggested Times For Learning".  Just strive to understand and do on guitar what I'm asking you to do.  Focus on what you need to learn.  It helps no one to look at the clock.  I've regretted putting these in there ever since we put them in the course.  Everyone's path and pace is different.

 

6) Don't worry about perfection.  Strive for competence, not perfection.  You're going to have mistakes, plenty of them.  Don't put the burden of perfection on yourself.  When you are going for your Carnegie Hall debut concert, then you are allowed to worry about perfection.  For now, just worry about gaining competence on the material.  To put it bluntly, don't say to yourself "I'm not going to move on until I can play this completely perfectly."  That would be the equivalent of me asking a toddler just learning to walk to do a perfect dance step on Dancing with the Stars.  A better thing to say to yourself is "When I can play this 90% correct, 3 out of 5 times consistently, then I'm ready to move on."

 

7) As soon as possible, play for other people.  It doesn't matter what it is - exercises, songs, whatever.  Don't wait to be "good enough", start anyway.

 

8) Relax and enjoy the process.  Everything works better when you relax. You play better, You retain concepts better, You learn quicker. When you get uptight you might as well just put your guitar back in your case and try again later. I could get deep into cognitive tests and brain activity and loads of medical research on how people learn, but just trust uncle Steve when I say... Just relax, you'll learn better.

 

9) Practice consistency is more important than quantity of time practiced. STOP!!!!  Read that again and trust me.  20 minutes of consistent practice 5 out of 7 days a week will get you farther down the road then spending 3-4 hours on a Saturday afternoon. 

 

10) Don't count the drops, count the catches.  My son is a juggler.  Everyone drops when learning to juggle.  Those who spend all of their time worrying about dropping will never learn.  But those that spend their time focused on increasing their catches are the ones that will eventually learn the skill.  Don't count the notes missed.  Count the number of notes played correctly and worry about moving that number.

 

I hope this helps.  You're going to do great.  One more thing, read this book.  THE TALENT CODE by Daniel Coyle. 

 

- Steve 

 

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GUITAR POSITIONS & FIRST POSITION

In the first session, I spoke about where to put your fingers that went something like this ”the first finger goes on the first fret, the second finger covers the anything that comes on the second fret, third finger for the third fret, and fourth finger (pinky) covers anything that happens on the fourth or the fifth frets”. This relationship of four fingers covering a specific five fret range can be thought of as a unit that can be moved around on the fretboard and is called a POSITION.

So, if your first finger is on the first fret (as it is for much of the first half of the course) you are said to be in FIRST POSITION relating to the fret position of your first finger. If we took the whole picture and shifted everything up one fret so that your first finger would be on the 2nd fret, second finger on the 3rd fret, third finger on the 4th fret, and pinky covering the 5th and 6th frets then you would be in SECOND POSITION.

Let’s do one more. If you moved your first finger up to the fifth fret and put the rest of your fingers in their respective positions then you would be in the FIFTH POSITION.

Technically you could play anywhere on the neck so you could have as many positions as you have places to put your first finger and form the others effectively. But, generally guitar playing tends to happen, at least for me, in either the first, fifth, seventh, or 12th position with most of my day to day playing occurring around between the fifth and seventh positions.

FRETBOARD RELATIONSHIPS

Many “Learn the fretboard instantly with my secret tips” courses seem to focus on a unique relationship of the strings on a guitar. (I know I touch on this concept somewhere in the bonus workshops but I have searched for the last hour and I can’t find it. I suspect I touch on it in perhaps Session 17 or 19 bonus workshops somewhere in the middle of two points.)

Anyway here is the quick version of a helpful tool for building longer melodic lines on guitar without having to really think about all the notes involved by just taking a simple line and playing it in octaves all over the fretboard with the same fingering. You are just shifting positions and string sets on the guitar.

OK, here we go. I want you to think about the 6 strings on the guitar as three sets of 2 adjacent strings.
The groupings would be [6th & 5th ] and [4th & 3rd ] and [2nd & 1st ]. Now, notice the relationships of these strings to each other. Each of these pairs of strings shares the distance of a 4th between the two strings.

For example the 5th string A is a fourth above the 6th string E. The 3rd string G is a fourth above the 4th string D. The 1st string E is a fourth above the 2nd string B.

This identical fourth relationship between these strings allows us to do some neat things on a guitar. For example I can play a simple melodic idea using both strings in a pair let’s say I wanted to play a G triad (G-B-D) on the first pair of strings. I would use my second finger on the 6th string third fret G. Then move to the B on the 2nd fret fifth string with my 1st finger. Then I would play the D on the 5th string fifth fret with my fourth finger. So my finger combination would be G – 2nd finger, B-1st finger, and D – 4th finger.

Now, lets move to the 2nd pair of strings, the D and G strings. If I play exactly the same fingering and start at the G on the 4th string 5th fret I end up with the same triad one octave up.

Now, let’s move to the 3rd pair of strings, the B and E strings. Again, if I play exactly the same fingering and start at the G on the 2nd string eighth fret I end up with the same triad one more octave up.

This helpful relationship between these strings allows you to play one phrase in three different octaves by just shifting positions and using the same fingering.

Often the “learn the fretboard instantly” courses are based on this fretboard relationship.

ACHIEVING GREAT SKILL WITHOUT EFFORT

Now, having said all of that let me say that there are no shortcuts for understanding the fretboard. Sure there are some helpful relationships like the one I just mentioned that occasionally allow you to play a bit farther ahead than you may currently understand. But, I play for a living and haven’t found any secret tip that can be explained in a few minutes on a video that will transform you from a beginner to a guitar god before lunch.

Real learning takes time and effort – the two things that we humans avoid at all cost. My course is by no means “the only way” to learn guitar. There are many wonderful instructors out there with great materials that I heartily recommend. But unfortunately there are a lot of guys trying to make money off of our natural tendency to want to believe that there may be a “secret” to playing guitar… or getting in shape… or losing weight or a host of other things.

Sorry to let my thoughts ramble for a bit. I just hate to see sincere people wanting to learn how to do something get fleeced by opportunistic people promising the world and delivering little.

I am glad that the course is going well for you. Keep up the great work with it and thanks for letting me be a small part of it with you.

I would write more but I have to go watch my “Become an Olympic power weight lifter in one easy lesson” DVD that I just got.

Keep Learning and Growing!


 

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ACHIEVING GREAT SKILL WITHOUT EFFORT

Now, having said all of that let me say that there are no shortcuts for understanding the fretboard. Sure there are some helpful relationships like the one I just mentioned that occasionally allow you to play a bit farther ahead than you may currently understand. But, I play for a living and haven’t found any secret tip that can be explained in a few minutes on a video that will transform you from a beginner to a guitar god before lunch.

Real learning takes time and effort – the two things that we humans avoid at all cost. My course is by no means “the only way” to learn guitar. There are many wonderful instructors out there with great materials that I heartily recommend. But unfortunately there are a lot of guys trying to make money off of our natural tendency to want to believe that there may be a “secret” to playing guitar… or getting in shape… or losing weight or a host of other things.

Sorry to let my thoughts ramble for a bit. I just hate to see sincere people wanting to learn how to do something get fleeced by opportunistic people promising the world and delivering little.

I am glad that the course is going well for you. Keep up the great work with it and thanks for letting me be a small part of it with you.

I would write more but I have to go watch my “Become an Olympic power weight lifter in one easy lesson” DVD that I just got.

Keep Learning and Growing!

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1) The Importance of Guitar Setup. - Yes, Yes, Yes. When learning barre chords the first stop is the local music shop to get your guitar and its action properly adjusted and a set of light strings put on. Once barre chords are learned you can go to whatever guage of strings you like.

2) Holding the Guitar with your body leaving the fingers to do the actual playing. - Yes, Yes, Yes. This is good advice for any guitarist. When standing let your strap hold the guitar. When sitting let your lap hold the guitar and your right arm and elbow cradle it into a stable position. Your fingers have enough to worry about apart from holding the guitar. Also, avoid hanging your left hand thumb over the top of the neck like a hook. This also will impede your playing and is a lazy man's way of playing.

3) Where the Strength for Barre Chords comes from. OK, he lost me a little bit here but I think overall its a valid point. We both are describing the muscles to be used and not used when playing barre chords - his perspective (relax your back, keep your first finger straight, pull the barring finger) and my perspective ( keep your first finger straight as an arrow, lower your wrist, the strength is coming from your first finger not the squeezing muscles between the thumb and index finger). I think both of these perspectives are really looking at the same thing from different angles.

For me, I don't really think of it so much as a back issue as much as a finger strength issue but I see where he is coming from and I don't really disagree with his observations. Muscle movements are very difficult things to easily describe in words. This is one of those times that a picture, or video would be a whole lot clearer than trying to put descriptions of muscle movements into words.

His description does tend to make it sound a bit more complex than I personally think it needs to be. Sometimes when you have to think about a dozen things to get a movement it has an unintended negative consequence of tensing up all of your muscles as you perform the motion because you are just having to concentrate on so many things.

However, I don't really think of it as "pulling" the barring finger back onto the neck using the arm muscles (the force coming from the arm). I think of it more as pushing the barring finger agains the fretboard (the force coming from the barring finger).

4) The Advantages of not using the squeezing muscles. I heartily agree with his observations here. When your hand is busy "sqeezing" to get the power needed for a barre chord it tenses up all of the muscles as well as the fingers and this tension will impede your playing.

5) Using the wrist when picking. Yes and No. "Yes", you do use the wrist but "no" it is not the only motion in the mix.

From his perspective as a non-pick using guitarist, I see where he is coming from when he says that all of the motion needed for good strumming comes only from the wrist - this is, of course when coming from a classical perspective, how he would see it. But I think that when using a pick and strumming aggressively that the up and down arm motion is used in conjunction with the twisting motion of a relaxed wrist. If I had an evening's worth of hard strumming ahead of me on a steel string acoustic and I was told I couldn't move my arm, my wrist would tense up, work hard and eventually die after about an hour or so.

The strumming motion is a fluid motion combining several elements. I bet Tiger Woods's golf swing is not 100% arm motion with no flexibility in the wrists. I would think it would be a melding of many smaller motions, joints, and flexibilities to create an overall highly productive larger motion.

Let me also say that some of the posts about rolling your barring finger slightly to the side when playing a barre chord is exactly what I do. My finger remains straight but I roll it slightly off center to get a more even barring surface. When I come straight on the fretboard, the natural ridges in my finger because of the joints seem to come right where the strings need the pressure so rolling my finger ever so slightly off center helps make a more even barre.

Wow, that's more technical information than anyone should have to think about when trying to have fun playing guitar. Technique is very important but it is not everything. Guys who get so deep into technique often don't end up making good music.

To keep these technique issues in proper perspectice let me finish with a story. When I was in college and classical guitar was my pricipal instrument, I remember a particular player who was so obsessed with the physicalities of his technique. He could tell you in excruciating detail about all of the things you needed to do in order to play "the right way". There was only one problem. At the end of his 100 things to make the proper hand position and the endless repetition and analysis of his finger, wrist and arm movements was a confusing tangle of ideas and rules that only led to frustration and very little musical fruit. He was one of the best players in my world at that time but also one of the most joyless and I would venture to say he probably is not playing his guitar today.

Playing barre chords is not complicated. It involves developing your hand and finger strength enough to push the six strings of a guitar about an eighth of an inch to the fretboard and holding them in place so that they make solid contact with the fret when strummed. It involves developing the flexibility in your hand to be able to contort into various positions while still applying the proper amount of finger pressure against the frets.

I have taught many people how to play barre chords and, almost without exception, it takes time and effort - more time and effort than most people realize. But the ability to play barre chords will most assuredly come if you keep at it and don't give up when it sounds bad at the beginning. No secret techniques. No hidden secrets of the pros. Just sitting with your guitar in your lap trying to play them day after day, week after week until you get them.

I have found that the real test for the learner when trying to learn barre chords is not the physical game of playing the guitar as much as it is the mental game of learning the guitar in patience and perseverance.

Keep Learning and Growing.

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Giving up on Yourself

This has been stirring in me for a while so I thought I would get some thoughts down.

Here are things that I hear daily...

"I've got short and stubby fingers, I guess I'll never be able to play chords real well."

"My hand is too small and I can't get my fingers to stretch where they need to be, I guess I'll just have to live with my limited motion and adjust my guitar learning aspirations accordingly."

"I tried barre chords for a whole day and I just can't get them, I guess I'm just not cut out for the guitar."

And within the first few days of trying to learn guitar, many reason themselves out of a bright and productive future playing guitar.

Johnny Hiland has the shortest, stubbiest fingers I have ever seen yet he plays with a grace and facility like I have never seen.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bYkv5mcqevw

Phil Keaggy is missing a finger on his picking hand and yet he plays Fingerstyle brilliantly.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H3iSiij98VY

Django Reinhardt was badly burned and lost use of his 3rd & 4th finger on his fretting hand. He used only 2 fingers to solo with, and could only use the others for some limited chord work.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-iJ7bs4mTUY

Tony Melendez has no arms at all and still plays.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XuIkrsdrJLY

My point with all of this is that we give up on ourselves way too easily.

You can do more than you think you currently think you can.

At the first point of difficulty, we make the mistake of rationalizing in our mind that "I guess I'm just one of the unlucky ones who won't be able to play well."

If you want to play, you will find a way to play.

Your fingers will limber up but it's going to take some time. Sure it's not going to work right now, just keep working at it. Trust the process. And in a few weeks of some faithful exercises and you'll start to get some more mobility.

Your fingers may seem too fat and stubby to fit in between the strings, but give it a little time and they will start to find the sweet spot and soon you'll be playing great.

Barre chords are difficult for everyone and sometimes they take weeks or months to blossom. It takes time to develop the hand muscles needed to play.

But you'll get there.

These are not just ramblings from a rampant encourager. These are the real-world observations of a guitar instructor who has walked thousands of people through the difficulties that you now face.

Don't give up too soon. Many people give up a couple of weeks too soon, not realizing that clear sounding barre chords are just a week or two away.

Stop measuring yourself by instant results. Real learning takes time. Be patient. Don't over-analyze things. Just trust the process.

Many people wrestled with the same things that you are currently struggling with and have made it to the other side.

You can too. 
Your fanatically encouraging teacher

Edited by Eracer_Team-DougH
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On Playing 3notes on a string

When I play a 3 note on a string scale, after I pluck the note that I have fingered then my finger, automatically, shifts position to get ready for the next position that it is going to be needed to play. So, let's say I am playing an F 3 note on a string scale and I start with my first finger on the low F. As soon as that low F is played my finger shifts down to the vicinity of the next string so that it is ready for the Bb on the fifth string when it comes. My fingers all seem to be doing this. So, in answer to your question, I do not leave my fingers in position even after the note has been struck.

Regarding barring of common finger notes like in the first form pentatonic blues scale with the first finger. Yes, you can do this, but you begin to realize that in some situations and finger combinations this works well and at other times it doesn't work as well. So, it is a case by case basis. Also another consideration is that after you pluck these barred notes then they are going to continue to ring. So you will end up with a lot of ringing notes. If this is what you are going for then great but if all of that ringing is going to muddy up the sound a bit then playing each note without using a barre may be the way to go.

I hope this helps.


 
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On Chords and Single notes in same song


Question 1 - Pg.15 Jingle Bells Chords - How long is each chord in effect?

You are correct in your assumption about when to change the chords. A chord written above the music stays in effect until another chord written above the music replaces it. So a chord may be good for just a few beats or for many measures of music.

So, in Jingle Bells on pg. 15 the initial C chord in the first measure stays in effect for 4 entire measures until it is replaced with the G7 chord in the 5th measure. Then the G7th chord is good for just 4 beats (1 measure) and then it is replaced by the C chord and so on.

Question 2 - Pg. 21 When The Saints Go Marchin In - Pickup Notes & When to Change Chords

When the Saints Go Marchin in starts with 3 pickup notes in the first measure. These pickup notes are in the melody part. The accompaniment chord part starts on the G in the second measure. So for those first three notes in the melody line, there is nothing happening in the accompaniment. The chordal accompaniment doesn't start until after those three notes are played and we get to the second measure and then the accompaniment part plays the G chord and goes from there.

Once you get to the second measure and the chordal accompaniment starts with the G then normal chord change rules apply. In other words, keep playing the G chord until it gets replaced by the D7 in the second line.

Think of it like this. There are two things going on - the melody and the chords. Up until this point in the course, these two elements are in effect at the same time. But occasionally you might have a situation like we found in When The Saints Go Marchin In, where the melody plays a few pickup notes with no chords going on. You can also have the opposite situation, where the chordal accompaniment plays for a while before the melody comes in. Like when you have someone playing an intro for a few measures before a singer comes in sing the melody.

I hope this clears things up a bit for you.

Chords and melodies and how they work together are pretty easy to understand once you understand how the two partners dance together. They mostly dance together, but occasionally one can dance without the other.

Chords and melodies are pretty easy. Figuring out the occasional frustrating problems with our friendly discussion board is a little more complicated.

I sincerely apologize on behalf of "all that should work like it is supposed to" about your problems with our discussion board.

I actually was told several days ago of one particular account that had such mysterious problems that the computer programmer guys had to be called in to sort it all out. It's nice to meet you through this thread.

Of all of the recent problems that we have had with the boards, yours has been the worst - through no fault of your own. All of our normal fixes didn't work on your account when we tried to link the information properly. I sincerely apologize and I am glad that you had the patience and perseverance to keep trying to be a part.

(To the rest of you who might be reading this, Lupe has been through a several week long and frustrating process trying to get here to this board - such tenacity to learn will surely help anyone get the results they desire on guitar.)

Now that you're here I hope you find this place to be a very encouraging and supportive place with some of the best people I have found in this sometimes frustrating cyber world. On the ends of this all of these computer screens and servers are really a guitar player with a heart for teaching and a learner wanting to learn. I'm glad that we've connected. Maybe someday we can figure out why some server somewhere insists that you joined in 1969. Until then, thanks for letting me be a part of your learning process.



 

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On Most common Keys

Yes, you can use an Am pentatonic scale over the key of A Major (3 sharps). And you will get... a Bluesy kind of sound. Minor pentatonic scales used in their corresponding Major keys will give you a Bluesy sort of sound. Because you are emphasizing the flatted 3rd and flatted seventh of the key. (I cover this in more detail in the Blues Session on the DVD's)

So, when you are in a major key like A Major (3 sharps) you are faced with a choice...

1) If you want to sound Major then play an A Major pentatonic (also called the F#minor pentatonic)

2) If you want to put a little "stank" on your playing and sound bluesy, then use the A Minor pentatonic scale (also called the C Major pentatonic).

As far as your initial question about what keys are the most common. Here are some observations from what I have experienced in my professional playing career.

1) You as a real musician need to be prepared to play in any key at any time. One of my greatest advantages I think I have over the average guitar player is because I never learned to favor open guitar keys like E, A, D or G. Nor did I learn to fear more heavily accented keys like Db or F#. I think it must have been because I was taught by a jazz guitarist and we quite routinely did things in all sorts of keys. And in my early playing I did a lot of duo work with various other instruments (Guitar & Sax) (Guitar & Violin) so you just played in whatever key that goes good for them.

2) Overall, you are going to see more songs in C than probably in any other key. Next it would be the key of F or G.

3) Different instruments prefer various keys because they just land better on the instrument.

4) Good Open Guitar Keys are ones that open chords work well in like the keys of G, D, A, or E. Most Country songs tend to be in these keys.

5) Most Jazz Songs tend to favor Flat Keys like F, Bb, or Eb.

6) In Gospel music, very flat keys are quite common like Db, Gb, or Ab. (But I have played with Gospel organ players who can just rip brilliantly when the song is in Db, but when the next song comes up in a good sharp key like B, they just fumble around and eventually put their hands down.)

7) Lots of recent Rock songs are in B or F#. I think this is because it is quite common to tune their guitars down a half a step to get a more jangly and raw sound.

The key is to eventually know your barre chords and other moveable forms so well that it is not that big of deal to change to non-guitar friendly keys at the drop of a hat.

A CLASSIC STORY
Here is a classic story I have about that. I was playing a big event one time in an arena (I think in Dallas). It was my first time playing for this group but I was recommended in by my friend who was their normal keyboard player.

We get driven to the arena mid afternoon to sound check with the 1000 voice mass choir and the main singers. The music director who is perched 30 yards from me at the very front of the stage is conducting us all and taking us through the songs for the night.

After numerous songs that I didn't know and inadequate charts to read music from, he finally called up a familiar song that I had played before. I thought "Great, the song starts in Em and the piano has the intro. At last something easy." Just before he counts off the song, the music director's voice echoes throughout the arena and he looks at me and says "OK, let's take this one down a half step and have the guitar play the intro. Here we go. One, Two, Three..."

And that was it. That was all the warning I got to fumble through the intro in Eb minor in front of everyone. This was the big leagues and that was my introduction to it. Well, I did the best I could and by show time I was ready.

The ability to switch between keys is a great advantage that you can have as a guitar player.

Keep Learning and Growing!



 

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Let me touch on the chord naming confusion.

Are chords named loosely? No. Generally, if they are notated with care, then they are accurately represented. If they say a Cmaj9 then they are very specifically wanting a Cmaj9, not a Cmaj7.

But sometimes, chord notes are so strongly implied that they will not be spelled out exactly. For example, if I am in Dm and I see a common chord progression of Emin7(b5) to an Aaug. It is very strongly implied that the Aaug is actually an Aaug7 with the added G. Because it is so customary in this scenario that the Aaug is functioning as the dominant which would include the seventh note (G) in the chord. This is just one example of a little bit of ambiguity that is built into the system.

Now, a similar problem occurs with Diminished chords. When you see a diminished chord it is almost always OK to include the Seventh step (actually the double-flatted seventh step) to the chord. For example, If I see a Dbdim chord, then I almost instictively would be expected to include the Cbb (or enharmonically Bb) into the chord. Even though, technically the chord name is only telling us that the chord is a triad.

That's why a Bb sounds good in a Db dim chord.

But if they didn't want the Bb in there and wanted the Cb or B instead then they would have to tell you to play a Db half-dim 7. But if it is just a Db dim or any diminished chord then it is strongly implied (unless you are playing some Bach classical music piece or something from that time) that you are going to include the 7th step to the triad (actually the double-flatted seventh step.

Sorry for the confusion, but that's the way it is. If the music says that they want an Fmaj13, then you have to play an Fmaj13. But if it says to play an Fdim, then you can play an Fdim but you can play an Fdim7 and be just as correct.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------

Slug and Jsignal, Can any note of the dimished chord (1-b3-b5) or the fully diminished seventh chord (1-b3-b5-bb7) be the root?

The answer is Yes. Any note of a Diminished chord can serve as the chords root. Because you have stumbled upon a musical repeating number. Think of it like this. Let's look at a D diminished chord. The notes in the chord are D-F-Ab-Cb (or
(1-b3-b5-bb7) So this chord is a D diminished but it is also a B diminished... and a D diminished... and an F diminished... and an Ab diminished.

You see, a diminished chord is actually a collection of intervals - all minor 3rd intervals. So, if I switch the notes around I get B-D-F-Ab. Since all of these notes are the identical interval from each other, they have an unusual relationship to each other. Think of it like a repeating number in math. So this chord is just as much a D diminished as it is an Ab diminished. It's wierd but that is the wonderful magic of diminished chords.

------------------------------------------------------------------------

Slug, as far as your initial question about how to use diminished chords.

Here are the main ways that diminished chords are used in chord progressions.

1) As a transition chord. Diminished chords are a great way to approach any chord. Diminished chords are so unstable harmonically you would rarely ever want to just land on a diminished chord and hold it. Usually they are used as stepping stones to get to another chord. And usually the resolution chord is a half-step up from the diminished chord's root.

For example, If I want to get from a C to a Dm, I could slip a C#dim in between them for a smooth, jazzy transition to the Dm chord like this...
C - C#dim - Dm.

It also works for major chords as well. For example I could go from an F to a G by squeezing in an F#dim between them creating F - F#dim - G.

Diminished chords can function as an approaching chord for any chord, major or minor. Just go one half-step down from the chord you are going to and play the diminished chord. This works as a simple, effective, jazzy transition to any chord.

2) Diminished chords can also serve as a substitute for a Dominant seventh chord with a flatted ninth. OK, hang on to your theory hats. Lets say my progression is Dm - G7(b9) - C. Well, the notes in a G7 (b9) are G-B-D-F-Ab (1-3-5-b7-b9). If you take out the G of this chord, the notes left are B-D-F-Ab which are the exact notes of a B diminished chord.

So, if I'm soloing with my jazz quartet and I come across the progression Dm - G7 - C then I would probably turn the Dm into a Dm7, then turn the G7 into a G7(b9) and then play B diminished licks and chords everywhere on my way to the C. It's just a real effective jazz soloing trick.

Anyway, sorry about the long post. But I hope this helps.

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On Simplified Chords

Hello all,

The reason I put the simplified chords in the bonus resources book is for the people that may struggle with the full version of the chords at these early stages.

Neither one of them is more "correct" than any other. A chord is just a collection of notes. A three note C chord on a guitar is just as much a C chord as if a whole orchestra plays it.

So the difference comes down to the "sound" you are going for. Sometimes when I am in the studio, it is amazing at how just the simplest combinations of tones will fit so nicely into a track.

I suggest not getting too confused by it all. If you are on Session 2 or 3 then just focus in on learning the single notes for now and the chords will become a lot clearer by the time you get to Session 5 when chords are officially introduced.



 

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On why musicians practice

I recently came across this article regarding the motivation for practicing and becoming a better musician. This article has been adapted but was originally on musicianshome.com and the only author given is Kevin.

I couldn't agree more with everything that is said. Here it is...

A Musician who does not practice cannot really call themselves a musician. Anyone who loves their instrument and wants to make it part of their life should crave time to further master their art. Sometimes, musicians go through a period of non-practice for a number of reasons, but in general, they have passion and look forward to any opportunity to play music.

A musician can always rehearse, prepare, repeat, refine, sharpen and improve constantly towards further precision and ease, aiming for a flawless and faultless performance every time. They should be able to play their instrument as effortlessly as they can blink or breath and constant, regular practice is the only way to achieve this.

Just because you know how to read music and can work out how to play songs with ease does not mean you do not have to put in time and effort. If you are serious about wanting music to be a part of your life, you will have to learn all you can and continue to improve indefinitely.

Musicians who refuse to practice seem arrogant and conceited and often fall behind everyone else in ability and technique. Lack of discipline is a very unattractive quality in a musician and other professionals only give credit to those who work at developing their talent.

Part of practicing is usually being creative and coming up with new material. If you don't give yourself the time to practice and perfect your instrument, you will never be inspired to master a new tune or write more lyrics. If you are part of a band for example, you don't want to be the only one who never writes new material or contributes to the group. And you want other band members to see noticeable improvements in your abilities so they will respect and trust you. It also isn't enough to write music, you need to practice and perfect it so every time you perform you are faultless.

Many people are blessed with natural musical abilities. This does not mean there still isn't more to be learned about technique and training that has been developed through the ages. Singing is a great example of this and is a musical art form that has been fine-tuned by many exceptional singers from history. Techniques to train the voice and extend the abilities of the vocal chords have been tried and tested and if you don't know them, you are going to be less than you could be.

Singing lessons go further into teaching you tongue techniques, pronunciation practices and posture positions that can improve your sound and success to no end. Those who believe there natural ability is enough to get by in life more often than not fail and look back with regret.

Someone who really wants to make a career out of music could succeed through their actions, not their words. Talking about music and even listening to it all the time is not going to get you anywhere. You have to practice, practice, practice and then practice some more! If you aren't doing this, you aren't serious.

You need to seek out anyone who can give you advice or lessons to further your knowledge and add to your technique. Do not fall into the trap of thinking you know everything just because you have had a few compliments over the years. To truly make it in any part of the music industry, you have to learn from the professionals. Don't be stubborn and be willing to let go of old habits and learn some new and better ones.

It could be something as simple as your posture. You may play guitar so intently, you have never even realized that some of the positions you hold your body in are making things harder for you. A professional can point this out and give you homework you can practice to change your old habits. Singers especially need to know all about posture and how to hold their neck, jaw and tongue. Breathing is very important and practice and warm-ups are vital to success.

If you love your instrument, but are finding it difficult to practice, there are some things you can do about it. You may be lacking motivation or have possibly reached the peak of what you are able to do by yourself. You should look at getting together with others who play appropriate instruments and have jam sessions. This is a free for all group music practice where you play anything and everything, resulting in inspiration and a fresh lease on your musical life.

If you have reached a point where you are uninspired, go and get lessons. You will be bound to learn many new things you can practice and introduce into your writing. If none of these things seem to work for you, then you need to look at whether you really have a love and passion for the instrument you have learned. It could be time to consider trying something new.

Musicians practice for many reasons, but if you don't have a natural desire to spend the time doing it, there is no point in dreaming. If you are a musician but you spend little or no time going over what you know, learning new things and writing new songs, you should look seriously at whether the instrument is right for you. If it is just a case of going through a motivation drought, take some steps to get the spark back and have faith it will pass. Be patient on your musical pathway and know that, if you put in the hard work and stay positive, you will be rewarded.

I am not saying that everyone should give every waking moment to practicing. Learning new skills on your guitar should take its place in the overall list of lifes responsibilities and endeavors. This article is merely pointing out a simple and profound fact that I heartily agree with - that skill is not cheap.

Dreamers and Do-ers are two completely different roads that are available for you to choose as a musician. And the do-er who quietly goes into the practice room faithfully out of a love for music and a passion to play to do the hard work of learning how to play is the only one that will get the reward.



 

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On Playing Left or Right Handed

My thoughts are... if you have already been playing right-handed and feel comfortable doing so and you have reached a level of competency on it, then keep on playing right-handed.

Ultimately, I don't think re-learning left-handed will help you and the musical plateau you are on.

After teaching many, many left handed students and guiding them through this left handed vs. right handed dilemma, here is my professional opinion. I think you have already found your "handed" dominance with your right hand. If you can play at a reasonable level right-handed then I'd say you are probably using the correct hand to play.

A truly dominantly left-handed player would not be able to play very well at all right handed. The motor skill facility would simply not be there. You would still be wrestling with getting your fingers to hit the correct strings and forming a chord would be extremely difficult but strumming along with a chord progression across many chords would be near impossible.

I assume that you are already beyond this capability so I think probably right-handed is the way to go for you.



So then the problem becomes breaking through in your ability to the next level. And that is something that is very possible with some good information, a little inspiration, and some work.

I hope this helps.



 

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On Important Secrets to Guitar Learning

I have had this on my heart to talk about for a while so here we go.

Let me tell you one of the true factors of whether you truly improve. As often as I have said that there are no secrets of the pros, here is a true secret of the pros.

This is one thing that all real guitar players have that guys who just wish they could play do not have. It's not a special cable or strings or a particular amp or style of guitar and yet it will make or break your chances of success.

It is... PERSEVERANCE.

Dogged, unyielding perseverance. It's the voice inside of you that says "I will conquer this thing. It may not be right now as I am practicing it or tomorrow or the next day but rest assured I will wrestle with it until I master this."

It doesn't matter whether it is music reading or barre chords or soloing or playing in front of people or whatever. Winston Churchill still speaks to us even to this day in our guitar learning world when he says "Never Give Up. Never Give In. Never. NEVER. NEVER."

Weak players give up. Wannabe's give up. Dreamers give up.

Real guitar players keep wrestling with the new skill until it is conquered.

The real factor that will determine your success in guitar playing or anything else for that matter, is not found in a guitar store or a guitar magazine. It is in your heart.

I have explained how to do barre chords more times than I can count. I have explained it every way I can think of, every angle imaginable. I have used every analogy that I can think of. But, truly, information can only get you so far in guitar learning. And if I have been negligent, it has been in not emphasizing the vitalness of perseverance enough through the course and on the discussion board.

The factor that will propel you through the difficult aspects of playing guitar is perseverance. One step at a time, One exercise at a time, One practice session at a time you must relentlessly, ruthlessly keep chipping away at the skill until you master it.

If there is a voice inside of your heart, no matter how small, that says "I don't care how long it takes me, I WILL play barre chords." Then I have no doubt you'll get there.

But if you do not have that voice inside your heart saying that, then there is hardly a technique or skill that I can teach you that will push you over the edge into success.

Learning something does not just involve accumulation of information. It must involve perseverance or you won't have the backbone enough to make it through the tough learning times.

Perseverance is a true secret of the pros.


 

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Lots of songwriters can come up with the melody but need someone to help them with the chords.

( I live in Nashville. I wish I had a nickel every time I was asked to help a singer figure out the chords to their song. Or, instead of the nickel, maybe credit in the songwriting credits. But alas, I digress. )

While there are limitless possibilities of combinations that chords can take. The truth is that most songs follow along pretty predictable paths.

On pg. 83 in the Learn & Master Guitar Lesson book there is a section on the Harmonized Major Scale. Take a minute to read that and try to understand the concept.

In every key, the pattern of major and minor chords is the same.

Here are the four chords that you need to know (in roman numerals)...

The I (one) chord - This is going to be your home base - the tonal center of your song. Generally this is the chord that will be the first chord and the last chord of a song.

The IV (four) chord - This is going to be a secondary home base. It even shares some of the chord tones as the I chord.

The V (five) chord - This is an important chord that usually preceeds or resolves to the I chord. Chances are if there is a I chord, then there is a V chord right before it--especially at the end of a song.

The vi (six) chord - This is the only one of these four chords that is minor. It works along with the IV chord as another option to go to.

If you know these four chords in a few keys then you probably could play most songs you hear on the radio. These four chords probably represent 80% of the chords in any contemporary song.

If we were in C, these chords would be C (I), F (IV), G (V), Am (vi).

Common progressions you see all the time are...

I-vi-IV-V

I-V-vi-IV

I-IV-vi-V

So, back to your original question about putting chords to your song.

As you are singing through your song, figure out what key you are in. Chances are you will begin and end on the I chord. When you come across a part where the chord changes in your mind, then go through the 4 main chords and see if one of them fits what's in your mind's ear.

This should get you most of the chords in your song. But if you still have a few blanks left to be filled in, then try some of the other chords outlined on page 83 that fit into that key.

Here are a couple of rules...

V chords want to resolve to I chords. You probably aren't going to want to leave a V chord without resolving it.

ii (two minor) chords like to be paired with a V to resolve to a I. i.e. ii-V-I.

Anyway, I hope this helps.

If you still can't figure out the chords, then make friends with a guitar or piano player, and offer to feed him if he spends a few minutes working on your song.

The old food bribe works everytime with toddlers and musicians. Just a trick of the trade.

Let me know how it turns out.



 

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From my perspective, here are the major milestones in the course...

End of Session 4 - You have learned how to read music, and learned all of the notes in the first position. And, even more importantly, you have shown your perseverance in sticking with it.

End of Session 6 - A smaller milestone but an important one of learning all of the important open chords.

End of Session 8 - Major Milestone. By here, you have earned the right to call yourself a guitar player. You know music reading, notes, scales, chords and barre chords. You are a Certified Guitar Player by this point. You have gained the ability to sit in and play with other musicians. You are no longer a "beginner". You now have the skills that most guitar players have.

End of Session 10 - Major Milestone. If you have made it through session 10 then you have officially added fingerstyle technique into your bag of tricks. This is a very useful technique.

End of Session 11 - Major Milestone - Pentatonic Scales. The world of soloing and understanding of the neck are becoming clearer to you. You're going from being just rhythm guitar player to someone who can play lead guitar.

End of Session 13 - Major Musical Understanding Milestone - Triads. You now are understanding what music is made up of. You are doing college level music theory. If you can come out of Session 13 with the ability to spell any triad by memory, then the rest of musical understanding will fall into place for you.

End of Session 16 - Major Technique Milestone - 16th Note Strumming.

End of Session 17 - Really Major Technique Milestone - Three Note on a String Scales. Major Musical Understanding Milestone - Seventh Chords. This is a huge session with probably the culmination of all the musical elements in becoming a great guitar player, technically and in musical understanding.

End of Session 20 - Major Milestone in completing the course but also in gaining some of the most practical aspects of real guitar playing in learning chords and chord substitutions. If you reach the end of the course there is not much that will stump you in any guitar learning that you might come across that you are not adequately prepared for in some form or other through the course.


 

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Hitting the correct string consistently does take some practice at the beginning. It does take a while for the muscle memory to develop and you become more accurate at hitting the correct string. Yes, bracing will help, so I encourage you to do that, even though it may feel a bit awkward for you at the beginning. Giving your hand this point of reference will help develop the necessary muscle memory and motor skill control.

Also, repetition, will help solidify the muscle movements. Play through the exercises over and over again. Go back through the old exercises and play them again and again. All of the repetition at these earlier stages is important for building consistent finger movements.

Practicing exercises that require jumping between strings is particularly helpful.

Also, at these early stages, I think it is fine and helpful to look at your hands to get a reference point. So, if you feel the need to take a quick glance then that is perfectly fine. But, after a few weeks you need to quickly wean yourself off of looking and force yourself to start to pick the strings by feel. Because I have seen the harmless "beginners" glance turn into a real handicap to your progress in a month or so when you are starting to play at a quicker speed but constantly slowed down by the continual glancing.

So, I encourage you to...

- Keep up with the bracing.

- Go back through the old exercises often.

- Look if you need to. (But after you get your reference point and have played the exercise a couple of times, then try to play it without looking.)

This time of "mis-firing" is frustrating but the good news is is that it is usually pretty short-lived and in a few weeks you probably aren't going to be wrestling with this too much any more.

Keep Learning & Growing!

- Steve Krenz

P.S. regarding reference points for the fretting hand. Your fretting hand, as you know, will struggle with finding it's bearings and reference points as well. My advice to you is to keep doing the finger exercises outlined in the first session. Let them be just your warm-up before you move on to other things. These will help solidify the fretting hand fingers in their open "spread" position. As with the picking hand problems, this does take a while to get used to.

But let me encourage both of you. These are very common frustrations that happen as you are just starting out on this guitar learning journey. Almost everyone goes through this awkward phase of mis-fires and plucking while fretting the proper strings.

I have walked thousands of players through the stage that you are both in now. While it is truly frustrating, please realize that this is truly a short phase and that within a few weeks this will not be as large of a problem as it appears now. In a few weeks you will have other playing concerns and this mis-firing or fretting problem will have worked itself out.

On Barre Chords and Hand Pain
http://community.leg...opic.php?t=2060



I am having a very difficult time trying to get those barre chords down. It took me almost 1 week to figure out how to hold my hand with out causing major pain. I can almost do a full barre at 1st fret, but the other fingers just wont'd the deed. Is there any specific exercize I can do to make it all work? I am not afraid of doing the work, I usually try to practice at least an hour a day. But...I am to old to try and re-invent the wheel...and sure could use some of your wisdom.

Regarding barre chords. Here are some thoughts. Your sharp, cramping type, pain is probably a muscle tension issue. If I could guess, I would guess that when it happens it is occuring in the fleshy part of your fretting hand (left hand) between the thumb and index finger. This is usually where this type of pain comes from. This is quite common when just starting barre chords. Here are some thoughts.

1) Relax. Try to relax your hand as much as possible. The next time this sharp pain happens, take a break from practicing, go to the bathroom and let some warm water run over your hands for a couple of minutes. You will feel the muscles in your hand relaxing.

2) Take a break. Barre chords are incredibly hard work for the little muscles in your hand. While you may not feel like you are exerting that much effort physically, trust me, your hand muscles and those in your index finger are exerting effort like they were running a marathon. When your hand starts to cramp up, just take a break for a while. Come back to it later.

When first learning barre chords your hand is going to need lots of breaks. There is no advantage to playing through the pain. If it hurts, then stop.

3) Hand strength takes some time to develop. The whole game with barre chords revolves around hand strength. And hand strength takes time to develop. If you were training for an upcoming power lifting competition in a few months, you would fully expect to build up to the strength you need over the course of a few weeks or months.

It is the same thing with your hands and barre chords. The hand strength needed for barre chords doesn't come overnight. It may be 3 weeks or more before you, physically, develop the muscles needed to perform barre chords effectively.

Be patient. Practice barre chords for a while then go on to other elements to practice on. You will notice in time that the barre chords are beginning to get easier.

4) Your endurance increases over time. As your hand strength develops so will your endurance to play barre chords for longer and longer periods of time. Your hand may be begging for mercy after five minutes today. But in a week or two you may be able to go 10 minutes or more on barre chords and be fine. Hand strength endurance increases over time.

5) Warm Up Stretches Help Prepare Your Muscles. It's always a good idea to stretch the muscles in your hands a bit before a long session with barre chords. Take a minute, put both of your hands in front of you and touch fingertip to fingertip with your palms apart. Slowly bring your hands together applying a little bit of pressure against each finger until your palms touch. Then go in reverse until your palms are a few inches apart again. Don't over do it. The goal is to stretch your hand muscles not break your fingers.

6) Work on barre chords in the middle of the neck (around the 5th fret) and then work toward the 1st position gradually. In the middle of the neck (around the 5th or 7th fret) is the easiest place to do barre chords. It requires the least amount of finger pressure to get the strings to make sufficient contact with the fretboard.

The closer you get to the 1st fret (1st position) the more finger pressure and hand strength it takes to get the job done. If you're having trouble with barre chords, try them at the 5th fret instead of the 1st and then gradually work your way to the 1st fret.

7) Make sure your strings are a light enough guage. Light guage strings are easier to press down. Period. When first learning barre chords and experiencing difficulty, do yourself a favor and go get a light set of strings and put them on your guitar. Once you have gotten barre chords sufficiently then you can go back to whatever strings you like.

8 ) Make sure your guitar is setup properly. If your guitar and guitar neck is out of alignment then the strings will be farther away from the fretboard. This then requires more pressure to push them down. Your guitar is working against you. Take your guitar down to the local music store and have the guitar technician adjust the neck so that the action (the distance from the strings to the fretboard) is as low as possible to still get a good sound. Barre chords are hard enough as it is, don't have your guitar fighting against you in this easily fixed way.
 
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FRETBOARD RELATIONSHIPS

Many “Learn the fretboard instantly with my secret tips” courses seem to focus on a unique relationship of the strings on a guitar. (I know I touch on this concept somewhere in the bonus workshops but I have searched for the last hour and I can’t find it. I suspect I touch on it in perhaps Session 17 or 19 bonus workshops somewhere in the middle of two points.)

Anyway here is the quick version of a helpful tool for building longer melodic lines on guitar without having to really think about all the notes involved by just taking a simple line and playing it in octaves all over the fretboard with the same fingering. You are just shifting positions and string sets on the guitar.

OK, here we go. I want you to think about the 6 strings on the guitar as three sets of 2 adjacent strings.
The groupings would be [6th & 5th ] and [4th & 3rd ] and [2nd & 1st ]. Now, notice the relationships of these strings to each other. Each of these pairs of strings shares the distance of a 4th between the two strings.

For example the 5th string A is a fourth above the 6th string E. The 3rd string G is a fourth above the 4th string D. The 1st string E is a fourth above the 2nd string B.

This identical fourth relationship between these strings allows us to do some neat things on a guitar. For example I can play a simple melodic idea using both strings in a pair let’s say I wanted to play a G triad (G-B-D) on the first pair of strings. I would use my second finger on the 6th string third fret G. Then move to the B on the 2nd fret fifth string with my 1st finger. Then I would play the D on the 5th string fifth fret with my fourth finger. So my finger combination would be G – 2nd finger, B-1st finger, and D – 4th finger.

Now, lets move to the 2nd pair of strings, the D and G strings. If I play exactly the same fingering and start at the G on the 4th string 5th fret I end up with the same triad one octave up.

Now, let’s move to the 3rd pair of strings, the B and E strings. Again, if I play exactly the same fingering and start at the G on the 2nd string eighth fret I end up with the same triad one more octave up.

This helpful relationship between these strings allows you to play one phrase in three different octaves by just shifting positions and using the same fingering.

Often the “learn the fretboard instantly” courses are based on this fretboard relationship.

ACHIEVING GREAT SKILL WITHOUT EFFORT

Now, having said all of that let me say that there are no shortcuts for understanding the fretboard. Sure there are some helpful relationships like the one I just mentioned that occasionally allow you to play a bit farther ahead than you may currently understand. But, I play for a living and haven’t found any secret tip that can be explained in a few minutes on a video that will transform you from a beginner to a guitar god before lunch.

Real learning takes time and effort – the two things that we humans avoid at all cost. My course is by no means “the only way” to learn guitar. There are many wonderful instructors out there with great materials that I heartily recommend. But unfortunately there are a lot of guys trying to make money off of our natural tendency to want to believe that there may be a “secret” to playing guitar… or getting in shape… or losing weight or a host of other things.

Sorry to let my thoughts ramble for a bit. I just hate to see sincere people wanting to learn how to do something get fleeced by opportunistic people promising the world and delivering little.

I am glad that the course is going well for you. Keep up the great work with it and thanks for letting me be a small part of it with you.

I would write more but I have to go watch my “Become an Olympic power weight lifter in one easy lesson” DVD that I just got.

Keep Learning and Growing!


 

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On Using different Guitars

I don't see a problem with rotating guitars. It is good to keep fresh your feel on various instruments.

I know if I focus on one instrument too long then when it comes time for me to play the others that I need to get used to them again.

Go ahead and rotate as you feel like it.

Keep up the great work on the course!


 

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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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On How Long should I practice

This is a great thread. I am glad that I came across it - albeit a little late in the discussion.

For me, ( and this is just a personal observation) I find that I can only go about an hour or so before I need a break. If I am really concentrating on something, I find that I tend to need a break sooner than that.

Some guys can practice for these marathon sessions. But for me, I find that there comes a point in my length of practice that the balance shifts and I start getting decreasing results per minute spent practicing. When I notice this happening then I just put the guitar down and go do something else for a while, rather than continuing on in my practicing only getting more and more frustrated.

Practice is about quality. Quantity is important too but less so than quality, I think. I wish it was a direct correlation. - The More Time You Spend Practicing, The Better You Become. But it is not quite that simple in every case.

Progress does not come from punching in on the practice timeclock. Progress comes from digging - digging through new material, new concepts, new songs, new demands for your fingers. Digging, and digging and digging. Thinking through the problems that each new musical situation presents and figuring out a way to work through them.

It is in this process that progress comes. Some guys spend hours, and days and years going mindlessly through finger patterns and scales racking up hour after hour of "practice time" thinking that because they have broken a sweat and put in their time that they have actually made great progress, when actually they have just put their fingers through a great workout but not really progressed much as a player and musician.

Going out and playing in a new situation with musicians that are better than you - one that requires you to think about the music and how to create your part in it. A couple hours of that will get you further in your own musical development than a week of mindlessly punching in your practice timeclock.

Just some observations to think about. Keep Learning and Growing!

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On Changing Strings

I recently received a common question about when should a relatively new player change their strings. This has been covered at length before but I thought this might help some folks.

I am a new player and play acoustic guitar. When should I change my strings?

For a player like yourself I would recommend getting Medium Lights or lights strings. Strings come in various thicknesses or guages. The thicker the strings the harder they will be to push down with your fingers but also the louder they will be. It's a bit of a tradeoff. So, for beginners who are still developing their hand strength a lighter string would be better.

Acoustic strings come in various sizes that usually go Medium - Medium Light - Light. So, I would recommend for you getting the medium lights or lights.

As far as what type or brand to get, there are many many brands that all of which claim to be radically different from the others in some way. Overall, I have not found there to be any measurable difference between various brands or types of strings. I have played very expensive fancy strings and I have played strings I bought for half price out of the sale bin and they all last about the same length of time with no big difference in sound.

The only exception is coated strings like Elixir strings. These strings have a slight coating on the strings which makes them a little more slick to the touch on the fingers. Personally, I like the feel of coated strings and am happy to pay the neccessary few bucks extra for them.

So, for my two cents worth, I would suggest that you get a set of Elixir Acoustic Guitar strings in a light guage.

As far as when should you change them. This is dependant on a lot of factors. Here's the deal. New strings sound really great and "sparkly" for about 6 hours. Then they sound pretty good for about another 2 weeks. Then they sound just like every other set of strings past that. Eventually, they will start to stretch unevenly and will be difficult to tune. Once they get to this stage, definately change them.

What makes strings lose the "sparkle" of their high-end is that the strings aren't able to vibrate freely due to oils from your hands that over time increasingly coats the strings causing them to vibrate less freely.

So, some things to consider are. How sweaty your hands are. Whether you wash your hands before you play. (which is always a great idea) Whether you live in a humid environment.

On average, for your amount of playing, I would suggest changing your strings about every 3 months.

Strings are fairly inexpensive and are a quick way to really improve your sound so changing them is always a good idea if you think they need it.


 

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On Using a Pick vs Finger


I encourage you to get used to using a pick. Sure, it feels a little awkward right now. It will feel clumsy, you will mis-fire and hit the wrong string. But playing with a pick is an important skill to have.

Most everyone feels like playing with their fingers or their thumb when they first start.

I encourage you to trust me, and go ahead and try, and wrestle with using a pick.

In my professional playing, about half of my playing I use a pick and half of my playing is pure fingerstyling. Almost all of my live performance playing I use a pick.

It's an important part of guitar playing. Go ahead and get used to working with it now.

Complex strumming, playing fast melodic lines, and all of these things are only possible with a pick.

Let me know how it turns out. Playing guitar and being a musician is a wonderful life enriching thing.

The benefits of a life filled with music and being able to play an instrument will be something that will bless your entire life.

Have a great new year!


 

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Which leg to rest the guitar on

Hi Steve:

Here's my question: I've always been under the impression that the proper way to hold a guitar is to rest it on your left leg, (when sitting). I notice that you rest it on your right leg. Is this just a matter of preference, or should I change my habit?

Thanks,

There are different schools of thought regarding which leg to rest your guitar on when sitting. When I was getting my degree and playing a lot of classical music, I was taught that the proper way to hold a guitar from a classical perspective is to have your left foot raised on a foot stool and to rest the guitar on your left knee. This angles the guitar quite a bit horizontally which can be helpful when trying to make big hand stretches.

While this does give you good access to the upper frets and a very close view of the guitar, it does get a little awkward after a while because your right leg gets angled out slightly thus twisting your back, which after a long time of practicing or playing can begin to be uncomfortable.

A more popular way to hold your guitar is to have it rest on your right leg when you are seated. The guitar is then almost parallel to the ground horizontally. Overall, this is much more comfortable for me, so I generally use this for day to day playing. Personally, I like to have my right foot up a little bit off of the floor so I might raise it a bit by putting it up against the leg of the chair or sometimes I will put my case on the floor and put my foot on my case.

For me, it seems to feel the most comfortable when my foot is about 5 inches off of the ground.

So, the issue of which leg to rest your guitar on is really one of personal preference for me. Sometimes if I am in the studio and I am playing a particularly tricky part I will switch to the classical way of holding the guitar (resting it on the left leg) and angling it up more so that I can get the notes a little bit better.

Experiment with both, neither is right or wrong. Figure out which works best for you.

Keep Learning and Growing!


 

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