Damping the Guitar Strings

You can damp strings in a variety of ways. Most often the guitarist will release pressure on the strings that are being held by fingers producing the chords. The pressure is released just enough to return the strings to their normal height, but your fingers do not completely release the strings. This method works well with chords that do not use open strings. You can damp additional strings that are open by not only releasing the fretted strings, but by using those fingers to touch additional strings. In some cases you can release the fretted strings and then slightly angle your fingers so they touch adjacent strings slightly to quiet them.

Another method to dampen open strings is to use part of your right (pick) hand to dampen the strings. This is very common in many forms of Spanish and Flamingo music. Sometimes strings that have not been strummed or plucked still start to vibrate because of “sympathetic” vibrations of the strings that have been played. Sometimes this sympathetic vibration will be heard at an octave higher than you might expect. In some cases your left hand thumb can be brought around the neck just enough to dampen the sixth or even the fifth strings if needed.

In some cases you may want to dampen strings even as you pick single notes, this is usually done with the heel of the right hand while you also pick the string. You might also practice playing a “flat pick” song normally and then completely but lightly dampened. It makes a great new sound for the same song. I have done this for many country type songs.

A significantly more difficult technique is very similar to damping which is creating “bell tones”. Most guitarists have some experience with doing this while they tune a guitar, because bell tones can help you to get a guitar into a more accurate tuned condition if you don’t have an electronic tuner. Typically bell tones are produced by lightly touching the string at the 5th, 7th, or 12th fret just after picking the string. In this case you are not damping, but you are causing only the upper harmonic of the string to sound. The technique can be expanded to every location on the guitar, but you must pick the string with your right hand while holding the pick with an outstretched index finger. It is the index finger that will be used to slightly touch the string at specific points along the neck of the guitar. Thes points are proportional to the length of the string.

If for example you are holding the first string at the third fret (G note), then there are harmonic bell tones that you could play at the point where the string would be one half the way toward the bridge, but now this is three frets higher than the G note you are holding. This proportion holds for the 5th, and 7th locations also meaning they would be 5 frets higher than the G note you are holding and 7 frets higher than the G note you are holding. The 5th and 7th locations produce weaker bell tones that the 12th fret version.

If you are holding a typical C chord starting at the first fret of the second string, you could in fact strum the guitar in a pattern similar to the shape of the C chord three frets higher than the 12th fret. This is very tricky and you do dampen some strings that you do not want to sound in the process, but it gives you many more bell tones to potentially play.

Damping is particularly important in jazz which often wants to stop one particular sound before starting another sound. Damping has a lot to offer the guitarist that can master the technique.

How to Play Guitar Faster

Fastest Way to Boost Your Guitar Playing Speed

I want to share you a speed training method that I got from some guitar lessons and my own experience. The most important thing to have in speed training, is a metronome (beside of the guitar and the pick, of course). Without metronome, you will waste more time, since you can’t keep track of your own progress. Before starting to do anything, keep in mind that it will take time for you to be as fast as you want to be, don’t rush things, you will only accumulate bad habits and having more weaknesses than you should be, and believe me, changing a bad habit is a lot of works. Be modest, and know your current ability, it doesn’t matter if your friends or band-mate can go twice as fast as you, just accept it, that is the first step of improvement. And hey, if playing guitar were that easy, anybody can do it, and there will be no point on learning it at all, since every guitarist started playing guitar because they want to look cool and outstanding, right? And also, keep your picking hand to always do the ‘alternate picking’ (means up-stroke and down-stroke alternately), it will save you from bad habit that can reduce your speed later.

First of all, do some stretching (i’m serious), stretch you shoulder, forearm, and your fingers, this may sound stupid, i also thought so until i strain my shoulder later in the training. When you’re ready and warmed up, set the metronome to a slow 4/4 tempo first (the easiest to keep up), let’s say about 80 bpm (beats per minute), then try to play ‘quarter notes’ (means you play 4 notes for every beat of the metronome) along with the metronome. As for the notes, you can play scales that you’ve already familiar with, or just do a chromatic run starting from the 5th fret, 6th, 7th, and then 8th fret from the low e string to the high e string and vice versa (the reason why I tell you to start from the 5th fret is because of the fret width, notice that if you start from the 1st fret, it will be harder because the gap between frets is to wide for your hand to play with comfort). Once you’ve been comfortable with the pace (note that being comfortable here means that you can play every note clearly, and not slacking of the tempo), try to raise the tempo to 85 bpm, and do the same thing. Keep doing this until you reach the speed you desire (John Petrucci can reach more than 200 bpm, you can literally see his picking hand blurring out). Once again, don’t rush things, the concept of this training is to mould your picking hand technique while playing in a slow tempo, so the technique that you do in a slow tempo should be the exact same of what you do in a fast tempo, that way you will gain ‘true speed’ instead of ending up looking like a speed-freak wannabe.

The problem is, sometimes you will stuck at some point, and can’t play cleanly no matter how hard you try. If that happens, try raising the metronome’s tempo a bit, for example : let’s say you got stuck on 110 bpm, then set the tempo to 115, and like John Petrucci said: ‘go kill yourself’, just try to keep up with the tempo, no matter how sloppy or dirty you play. Keep doing this for about 5 minutes, then set the metronome back to 110. It will feel much easier. Another problem is, this training is quite boring, so try to play different scales to deal with that, doing so can also improve your scale knowledge. And the last but the most important thing is to keep your motivation up, it requires a lot of works to be a good guitarist, moreover an outstanding one, so keep watching those guitar-gods in action, I personally got a new dose of motivation injection every time I do that. Good luck with the training, and always keep in mind that every single day you train, even just for a bit, you are faster than yesterday.

 

How to Choose a Guitar Case

If you own a guitar, then a guitar case should be something you should consider having. It is not smart to travel with your guitar open and vulnerable. Plenty of things can happen to a guitar that is not properly cared for. Depending on what kind of a guitar player you are and what kind of budget you have, there are a few different choices of guitar cases. Here are three different types and which one is right for you.

Hard shell
The hardshell case is perfect if you are a gigging musician or if you take your guitar to different places to play. A hardshell case will stand up against natural elements and protect from any kind of physical damage. A good hardshell case can get kind of expensive, so it is important to decide if it is something you will absolutely need.

Bag
Guitar cases also come in the form of bags. These cases are good for professional guitar players like teachers, composers, etc. They often have pockets for important papers and accessories. If you always have different sheet music, lesson plans or song lyrics to carry around with you, you should consider getting a nice bag case.

Soft shell
A soft shell case is similar to the hard shell, except it is not as durable. They appeal to guitar players on a tight budget because they will still provide protection, though not as much. You can think of soft shell cases like the bare minimum of insurance coverage.

No matter what your needs are, if you ever plan on taking your guitar out of your safe room, you will really want a carrying case to keep it in. I hope this has shed some insight to help you choose.

 

Learning to Play the Guitar

A Guide for Guitar Beginners from Personal Experience

There are thousands of reasons you might want to learn to play the guitar. Learning takes commitment, however, so it is a good idea to research what you are getting into before you begin. What follows here is my own personal experience in learning. I will share with you what music means to me, as well as some tips for consideration for you to get started with this awesome instrument.

When I was very young, my father gave me the gift of music. Actually, I suppose you could say music was bred into me. I come from a long line of musicians, although people outside of the family would not recognize their names. No, none of my relative musicians were ever recording artists but they never aspired to be. For my family, the love of music is what compels us to play, not the search for fame and fortune.

Let me return to the subject at hand, though. As far back as I can remember I have memories of my father playing his guitar. Sometimes a few friends would come to join in on the fun and sometimes he would just play while my mother and I sang along with him. I was always intrigued watching his fingers move along the fret board and my sole desire at the tender age of 7 was to learn to do the same thing.

I guess you could say that I was lucky. I never went to any guitar lessons or studied “how-to” books. My father was my teacher. Day after day he patiently worked with me, showing me the proper finger placement, the correct way to hold a pick, and how to make the strings resonate. If I ever had a question he would always take the time to help, and at the age of 8 I gave my first public performance at our little country church.

It has been years since I last performed for people, but I still enjoy playing for myself. My husband is a fellow musician, so we do occasionally enjoy playing together. We have totally different styles but have learned a lot from each other. He has shown me that an electric guitar can be fun, and I have shown him the value of an acoustic.

My advice for aspiring guitarists would be first and foremost to make the commitment. If you are not willing to spend a specific amount of time to practice every day then you will never play well. Natural ability can only carry you so far. You may be a musical genius, but without practice your potential is lost.

Invest is a good guitar. Beginners may be surprised at the toll guitar strings can take on their fingers. Until you build up your calluses it is going to hurt, but you must push through the pain to toughen your finger tips. Make sure the guitar you choose is easy to fret so that you don’t have to apply so much pressure to the strings and you will be able to endure longer practice sessions.

Expect to invest a couple of hundred dollars in your first guitar. If you are unsure that you will continue past a week or two, try searching out pawn shops or classified ads. You can get some really great deals here, but do be careful of what you buy. Guitars that are improperly stored can warp and crack, have the bridge separate from the body, or even a loose neck, so inspect your prospective purchase carefully.

Determine your method of learning. The internet is a wealth of resources for guitar playing how-to’s. You can find many free sites offering techniques, chord charts, instruction videos, and more. Sometimes having a personal instructor helps more than anything. Think about the ways you learn best and go from there.

Decide the style of music you want to play. It will do you no good to learn the fundamentals of playing country music if your ultimate goal is to play heavy metal! Certainly you can eventually incorporate all manner of techniques into your playing, but for now pick one to master. Knowing how to read tabs doesn’t mean you can read chords and vice versa.

Above all, practice! I never remember actually playing till my fingers bled, but I came close a few times. I can remember staying up all hours of the night playing with my father and we had a little plate of ice that we would use to numb our fingers so we could keep playing. If playing the guitar is truly a passion for you then make the time to do it.

Once you have learned and mastered the fundamentals, a completely new world of opportunities will be open to you. You will be able to create your own unique music. Form a band, go it solo, perform in public, or don’t. Always, always play for yourself first or you will find yourself resenting the thing you once loved.

For me, the guitar is a way to get back to myself after the world has taken a toll on me for a while. It is soothing to me and a part of who I am. If I am never recognized as a guitarist I am ok with that. In fact, I think I would prefer it that way.

Whatever your own personal reason for wanting to learn to play, I can tell you that it is a deeply satisfying accomplishment. It takes a great deal of dedication and perseverance, but the pride in knowing you took the time to master the guitar is well worth the hours of practice. Music gives a joy like nothing else in this world, and I wish you great success in your journey.

Learning to Play the Guitar

Starting a New Instrument

Wanting to start an instrument? Have you started playing music, just wanting to try something fresh, something new? Well if the guitar is your choice, this is the place to be! Teaching simple chords, and simple techniques can get you far out into your musical career. You’d be suprised how many musicians use simple chords and techniques. Power chords and C, D, E, F, G, A, B scales and tuning, all getting you started on your road to musical success!

The six strings on an electric or acoustic are best tuned to standard tuning if you’re wanting to start out. Your lowest string on your guitar will be tuned to a low E note. If you’re near a keyboard/piano, find your low E note and press it. Match the note to the pianos sound. Match the strings in order going up the piano matching the notes. Lowest first : E, A, D, G, B, E.

Now that your guitar is tuned… hopefully, its time to move one to reading tabs. Tabs are simple, easy ways, bound to give you a boost in learning.

E—-0——-1—2–4–5—7–8–9———-

A—————–3——————————

D———————5————————–

G————————————————-

B————————————————-

E————————————————-

Each line represents a string with a letter of the note. The numbers represent the fret on your guitar neck. If the number is 0 the string is played open. You play the notes on the string in order. If two number are placed above/below eachother, you play them at the same time. Once you understand how these work, they will help you play many different songs. On the internet there are many different songs that you can learn via tab.

Now lets move on to simple chords!

C CHORD:

E——————————————–

A—-3————————————–

D—-2————————————–

G—-0————————————–

B—-1————————————–

E——————————————–

D CHORD:

E——————————————–

A——————————————-

D—-0————————————–

G—-2————————————–

B—-3————————————–

E—-2————————————–

E CHORD:

E—0—————————————-

A—2—————————————

D—2—————————————

G—1—————————————

B——————————————-

E——————————————-

F CHORD:

E–1—————————————–

A–3—————————————–

D–3—————————————–

G–2—————————————–

B–1—————————————–

E–1—————————————–

You play and F chord with your index finger holding down and the string with your other fingers on each fret.

G CHORD:

E–3—————————————–

A–2—————————————–

D–0—————————————–

G–0—————————————–

B–3—————————————–

E–3—————————————–

A CHORD:

E———————————————-

A—3—————————————–

D—3—————————————–

G—3—————————————–

B———————————————-

E———————————————-

B CHORD

E———————————————-

A—1—————————————–

D—3—————————————–

G—3—————————————–

B———————————————-

E———————————————-

Now that you know your chords, it’s always good to give them a bit of a practice. Practice going from one chord to another, it will greatly improve your playing. If you don’t practice transitions between chords, playing will become very difficult.

If it helps, play with a plectrum (guitar pick). You can vary sizes, thickness, etc. You can buy them from any music store within your area. You can play with your fingers, whatever you feel comfortable with. Playing with a pick helps very much with playing fast notes. Fingerpicking is a style of playing with your fingers (obviously), but that’s a different matter. For now, practice your chords and playing with picks and fingers. Feel free to look up tabs of songs, give them a practice wouldn’t do any harm. Most of all, have fun!

 

 

Learning How to Shred Your Guitar!

It’s Not Going to Be Easy, but You Too Can Play Wicked Guitar

From Paul Gilbert to Yngwie to Eddie Van Halen the guitar heroes of our time and times preceding never failed to wow us. Are they blessed, did they make a magic wish? Of course not! They spent hours and years building on talent and the desire to create incredible music. They used tried and true methods and even created some of their own. Presented here are some of the tips and tricks to help you on your way to shredding a mean Guitar, but keep in mind this is not for the faint of heart. A basic skill in guitar will help, but even if you are new to the axe you can set these tips aside for when you are more comfortable with the instrument. Now, on to the good stuff!

Thirty Second Note Legato Runs

Reading this article alone shows that you have an interest in increasing your skill so I am sure that you have heard many guitar solos. In many of these solos you have heard these runs. To many people this point impresses because of speed, although we know shredding is much slower. Developing legato techniques is important along your three notes per string scales and pentatonic Scales. Take the time to listen to Joe Satriani, will give you great examples of some excellent legato sequences.

Finger Tapping

For some insanity in your solo learn the art of finger tapping. A technique coined by the legendary Eddie Van Halen. For the most drama 8-finger finger tapping is best, but you will start with 2 than 4 than 6 until you build up and you will want to build your skill in the middle and upper register combined. Tapping arpeggios and being inventive will provide you with a more unique sound.

Shredding

A metronome will help you with your rhythm and timing while you practice increasing your speed to 16th notes at approximately 200 bps. The best on the axe shred up and down scales, but have also learned to arpeggios and Pentatonics at this speed. Get online or get a book that teaches you everything not just diad.

Tetra chords

Tetra chords demand intense finger stretching. These are four notes per string diatonic scales. It is a lot to tackle here but if you search on Google or simply look up Charles Gacsi, you should find great tips and lessons.

Tension and Release

Intense guitar isn’t about doing the safe soft melodies. It’s about stepping outside of the box! You can try chromatics to create tension or try a number of notes off a strange scale which will be released to a sound of contrast when you begin playing in key again. For the best release a simple melody repeated will do.

Guitar Face

Last but not least guitar face will provide you with uniqueness. When is the last time you saw a guitar hero droned out with a straight face? Never! Be sure to work on yours when you are in the mirror practicing your moves.

This will all take considerable time and practice. Just keep in mind that if you want to play like a pro you have to practice like a pro as well.

How to Learn To Play Guitar

Guitar Playing Simplified

Guitar players have always been known for their live-life-large attitude and massive female fan-following. Wouldn’t you like to become one of them? There is no other musical instrument which is as popular as the guitar. Guitars are basically of two types- Hawaiian and Spanish. Spanish guitar again has two categories- Acoustic guitar and Electric guitar. In this article, we will talk about playing acoustic as well as electric guitars.

Considering that you are aware of the basic parts of a guitar, i would directly talk about ‘learning how to play the guitar’. A good guitarist must have three things- speed, technique and style. With speed, I mean the speed of the right hand (or picking hand) as well as the left hand. Contrary to the general belief that one must concentrate on developing left-hand speed, I firmly believe that developing right-hand speed is indispensable for becoming a professional guitarist.

There are a few techniques using which one can develop speed. Practicing scales on the guitar making use of all the four fingers of the left hand will help develop speed as well as accuracy. Concentrate on building right-hand speed by practicing upstrokes as well as down strokes individually on each string. Practicing with a metronome will make you a fantastic guitar player.

Learning chords is very crucial. You must practice bar-chords as well as open chords. Take your time learning the chords. It takes a few months to master the basics. Ear-training is very important too. Do not just look up on the World Wide Web for the tabs of a particular song. Listen to a song again and again until you can play the song by yourself. There are hundreds of guitar learning videos on the Internet which would definitely help you.

Practice! Practice! Practice! There is no short-cut to success.

 

How to Make Your Own Guitar Picks from Gift Cards or Credit Cards

 

Guitar Project

Do you keep losing your guitar picks? Do you want to make you own or just happen to have an old gift/ credit card laying around waiting to be made into something? Well, here’s how to make your own guitar picks. If you use old gift cards, you’ll get a pick about medium thickness; however, you can try other materials if you want to.

To start, you’ll need a guitar pick to use as a template, an old gift card, scissors, and a nail file. First, place the template pick onto the card and trace it. Next, cut out the pick carefully with the scissors. Don’t worry if it doesn’t follow the tracing exactly, that can be cleaned up with the nail file later. Once the pick is cut out, match it up with the template pick and file the new one to match. Once you have the shape you want, round out the edges a little so that there won’t be a scraping sound as you pick the strings.

There you have it, a brand new, quick and easy guitar pick! What’s good about this project is that you can make your picks any shape you want, with any material you want. Try out different shapes and materials, find what you like and go make some music.

Guitar: The Basics and History

 

Guitar is one of the most unique instruments in music today. The range of sound you can get out of a guitar is very broad. Which is mainly why it is used for so many different types of music. The style that the electric guitar is known most for is rock and roll. This is the music that gave birth to the electric guitar. Styles such as blues and jazz will still use an electric guitar, but will use a clean tone instead of a distorted tone. Distortion is what gives the electric guitar the overdrive or “heavy” sound.

Aside from the electric guitar, there are Acoustic guitars, Banjos, and Bass. Acoustic guitar has a very powerful sound and doesn’t require an amplifier to get a great sound out of it. Banjo’s started with bluegrass and country style music. The bass guitar usually only has four strings but the sound that comes from a bass is very deep in tone. Basses are used to give a song structure or backing. It is also used to give the guitar player room to improvise within the notes or riff that the bass player is playing. Guitar used along with other instruments can be astounding. If you have four people that know music theory, you could take basic scales and notes and make a great sounding jam.

Over the last five decades the guitar in modern music is the most dominant force for modern audiences. Over the last fifty years of popular music, the guitar has had “Elvis gyrating behind it, Jimi setting it on fire, and Kurt bashing it to pieces”. Despite the reputation of guitar in popular music, it is more than the naughty stepchild of the strings family. For other musicians it can be a classical instrument with many unique possibilities.

In guitar theory, there are many scales which you can use to make riffs or leads. A scale with a guitar is a set of notes that sound good together when played with certain techniques. The major scale is one of the fire scales you should learn when you start playing the guitar. The major scale is the starting point for all types of music theory. The minor pentatonic scale is the most used scale in blues and rock style music. Pentatonic means five, so the scale only cycles through five individual notes until you are back at the root. The blues scale is the pentatonic scale with one extra note added in both octaves. Then there is the major pentatonic and minor scales. Many of these scales have similar positions and structure with just small changes to make it sound differently in a riff of lead.

Playing the guitar is a good skill to have if you enjoy music. If you are a beginner at guitar you should probably want to start out learning basic music theory first. Basic music theory consists of learning all of the letters assigned to each string on the guitar. It also consists of how flat and sharp notes sound and work together. Guitar works the same way as all other instruments as far as music theory goes. This is why the guitar sounds good with all different types of music. In my opinion the guitar is the most versatile and unique instruments because yo can get so much sound out of it in so many different ways.

Famous guitar players such as Jimi Hendrix, and Jerry Garcia started a revolution of using technical techniques in popular music. The grateful dead started a new genre of music in the 60’s and gave birth to what is now known as the “Jam band”. This type of music is based largely around the guitar shaping the songs structure. Jerry Garcia use the pentatonic and diminished scales to make music that many people have not heard before. Jimi Hendrix to many people is on of the greatest guitarists that ever lived. He has a style of playing like no one else. He played his guitar upside down and many times he even would use his teeth as a guitar pick. He is well known for his great live performances especially his version of the Star Spangled Banner, which he preformed at Woodstock in 1969.

The guitar has many ways of being played and technique is a big part of the type of sound you get out of it. Many guitar solo’s use techniques such as hammer-on’s, pull off’s, bending, sliding, tapping, and sweep picking. A hammer on is performed by bringing a fretting hand finger down onto one of the frets on the fretboard to get the sound of the note without actually picking out the note. The opposite of a hammer-on is a pull off. A pull off is when you pull your fretting hand finger off the fretboard quickly to get the sound of the note. When you use a lot of hammer-ons and pull offs together in a solo this technique is called trills. Trills produce a nice rippling effect and sound great with any type of rock solo.

 

Is it Hard to Learn Guitar?

How easy is it to learn guitar? Is it hard to learn guitar? Some people say it is difficult to learn guitar, others say it really isn’t that hard. Like they say, nothing worthwhile comes easy. If you’re attracted to the guitar and you can see yourself playing the instrument, then go for it. Go out and buy yourself a guitar, download some chord charts and guitar tabs from the internet, get yourself a guitar tuner, and try teaching yourself.

Learn your basic 4 count rhythms. It’s very important to learn the names of the chords. You may not want to learn music notation, but you should really know the names of the chords. Keep in mind, these chords will never change.

When you start learning how to play guitar, your fingertips are going to hurt from pressing down on the strings and you will feel uncoordinated. Don’t worry, it will get easier. You will build calluses on your fingertips.

Pick up a song book because the chords are usually displayed above the lyrics of the song you want to play and or sing. Learn the easiest songs possible. Your beginner books usually have a few simple songs you can learn. Most of the simple songs have two to three chords in them. Take your time and learn your chords and practice changing from one chord to the next. Don’t be hard on yourself and don’t get discouraged.

You could try taking some lessons with a guitar teacher. If you can afford that, you will always gain something from the experience, even if the teacher isn’t much good. Or you could keep teaching yourself, making use of guitar tutors that you can buy at your local music store the free guitar lessons on video that you can view on the internet.

You need to learn one thing at a time and memorize it. Do it over and over again until it becomes second nature. When you learn a chord, keep in mind where your fingers are positioned in relation to the dots on the fret board.

Try to get involved with other musicians as well, even a quick jam will help with your progress. Playing with other guitar players and musicians is the single most important thing you can do while learning to play your instrument. Your first session may not sound that great but you are making a very big step in your education. Your first jam will probably be with your guitar teacher. Try to find as many people as possible to jam with and share musical ideas.

Learning how to play guitar takes a lot of patience and time. Though a lot of things do, but you can learn if you really set your mind to it. The combination of using the ebook, games, and videos to teach you chords, basic techniques, and strumming techniques is by far the best for learning simple songs.