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.

How to Set Up Your Bass Guitar for a Live Performance

bassist has his own set of gear that he or she uses. If you are just starting out as a bassist, then you will want to try out any and every piece of gear you can get your hands on. I’m going to give you a simple layout that you can use for the bass and change the gear up if you want to. Here are some things you should have:

  1. A direct box. I like the Boss DI 1. A Direct Box stabilizes unbalanced instruments to make them balanced. That’s another article in itself.
  2. An effect box, for the option of different sounds and a tuner. Not all bass players use the effects on an effect box, but having a tuner at your feet is very useful. There are countless effect boxes out there. I use a Zoom B2 effect box.
  3. 3 bass guitar cables.
  4. An amplifier. I like the Gallien Krueger 700RB-II with an Avatar speaker myself.
  5. A Shure SM57 microphone.

Start by inserting a cable into the bass guitar and then plug the other end of that cable and into the input of the effect box. Then take your second cable and insert it into the output of the effect box. Now take the other end of the cable that’s in the output and plug it into the input of the direct box. Use your final cable to plug into the output of the direct box. From there, plug in to the input of the amplifier. Your amplifier will generally have 2 input options. It will have an ACTIVE option and a PASSIVE option. This refers to the pick up on your bass. If your bass uses a battery for the pick-up, then it is active. If no battery is required, then it is passive. Once the amplifier is on and the volume is up you should be hearing sound coming out of the amplifier when you play. Find the effect you want to play with and get the volume and tone the way you like it on the amplifier.

You now have 2 options, you can either go to the mixing board directly from you D.I. box or you can use a microphone which you place in front of the amplifier. The benefit of going straight from the D.I box is that you don’t have to worry about the microphone picking up other sounds. The direct box is a solid line to the mixer. The benefit of using a microphone is that you know the sound you are hearing when you stand in front of the amplifier is what you want you’re bass to sound like. It may not sound like that going straight from the D.I box. It depends on how well your mixer knows your style and what you want. Try both and see which you prefer.

Using the Microphone Method

Once you get the sound you’re looking for out of the amplifier, take the Shure SM57 microphone, in a short microphone stand, and put it in from off the amplifier about 2 – 4 inches from the speaker cone, slightly off center. The microphone goes directly to the mixer and will pick up the sound from the amplifier which is set just the way you like it.

Now remember that the speakers out front of the stage are different then the ones in your amplifier. They may have a higher or lower character to them so you have to play and have someone listen out in front of the stage. If it sounds like it’s too thin and needs more bass then move the microphone closer to the amplifier. If the tone isn’t bright enough then move the microphone to the side, closer towards the center of the speaker cone. For a softer tone place the microphone more towards the outside edge of the speaker cone. You will need to play around with the positioning of your microphone to find where you get the best sound.

There is no set way to set you Bass guitar up. It all depends on your gear and your style. This is just one of many ways to do it. You can use this set up as a starting point for your own set up. Depending on your budget, developing your own personal set up can take awhile. Just keep playing and trying new things. As time passes you will develop your own sound.

 

How to Be a Girl Guitar Hero

 

Now you’ve done it. You pawned the Gucci handbag grandma bought you for Christmas and spent the money on a second hand flying V and a mean Marshall stack. (Can you say “whammy bar” grandma?)

Your spirit is strong. You are channeling the guitar-Zen of Jennifer Batten, the fury of Nancy Wilson, and the machine-gun rhythms of Gabriela Quintero. But that beast with the chrome finish is staring at you from it’s place on the wall.

Pick it up. Now.

You won’t become the next girl guitar hero by staring at it.

First, don’t be afraid to turn it up. Feedback and dissonance are part of nature’s glory; things collide in chaotic and random ways. Harness the power of this chaos and give harmony a rip in the pants. Realize that anything played loud enough, with enough force and confidence, will either sound incredibly cool or incredibly intimidating. Either is acceptable.

Second, learn to play power chords.

The End of Guitar Hero

On Wednesday February 9th, 2011, Activision Publishing announced that it would be discontinuing the Guitar Hero game series. This move brings to an end the game series’ six year life and potentially signals a shift in the direction in the future of musical gaming.

Activision cited a severe decline in sales as the key reason for this move, but there are a few other factors that have hurt Guitar Hero’s sales success. Only a couple of years ago, the game pulled in over $2 billion dollars in sales, but has experienced a steady decline since then. The latest installment of the series, “World Tour” moved under 100,000 units. This seemingly was the final straw that pushed Activision to direct their financial and manpower resources in the direction of their much more profitable projects, including World of Warcraft and the Call of Duty series. The Guitar Hero series demand quite simply depleted to lows that Activision viewed as financially irresponsible to continue to pursue.

The evolution of music gaming was, of course, another factor. The development of Rock Band for example, expanded the concept of interactive musical games from just one instrument, to multiple ones, allowing for a more diverse field of attention for their games.

Other factors include the rise in popularity of dance based games, such as those offered by X-Box 360 with the recent release of its Kinect technology. The trend of these games seems to be moving players away from music games involving any hand held technology, and allowing for more free-motion based experiences.

Along with Guitar Hero, Activision announced that the DJ Hero series will also be ending. While there is some speculation that for some period of time there would be new, downloadable game packs available with new songs for the Guitar Hero series, it is unlikely that this will last for long. Activision’s intent is to shut down all development for this series, and move on to more profitable projects. They have, however, stated that support would still be available for the defunct series to users who continue to play the Guitar Hero games. There is no timetable on the longevity of this support at this time.

 

Guitar Playing Tips

This article is a collection of tips for any guitar player, beginner to advanced that will help you learn and get the most out of your practice time.

Find a quiet place to practice all to yourself

You need a room or space all to yourself. This can be a bedroom, place by the computer or a full studio. Make sure you have all your equipment ready. You will need a music stand or another place to put your books, picks, music books, and tuner. Try to keep this area clean and free of clutter so you can concentrate on your music. If you live with other people tell them not to disturb you unless it is very important. The more distractions you have the less you will accomplish. Another tip is to turn off your cell phone or other electronic devices. Unless you need that phone for work, turn it off and get to work.

Warm up before you practice

You would be surprised how many guitar players do not warm-up before playing. You will need a good 15-30 minutes to fully warm-up before you begin any practice routine. By doing this you are fully stretching your muscles and tendons in your hands and avoiding injuries. Play scales and simple exercises before you move into any wide stretching or complicated moves. This is especially important when coming in from cold weather, Warm up your hands first before beginning. You can also wash your hands in warm to hot water this will get the blood moving and help to relax your hands. Take your time and you will find your playing is easier when you are fully warmed up.

Focus on your weak areas

If you keep practice the same songs, riffs, and scales over and over you will not improve much just get a little better or faster at what you already know. The trick is to challenge yourself with every practice session. You need to learn something new and apply it to your routine. This can be as simple as one new chord or a whole piece of music. Push yourself to the limit and see what you can do. This way of approaching practice will make you a better player and introduce new ideas into your daily practice. Buy a new book or explore the internet just keep improving and growing.

Maintain a positive outlook

One of the best things you can do doing practice is to stay positive. No matter how hard something seems you can overcome it. Even if this involves practice one piece a thousand times. You will be rewarded if you keep at it and don’t give up. Stay positive and replace all those negative feeling you may have about your own playing. Every player is unique and has something to say. Music comes from within.

Write and record everything

You need to write down or record everything you practice. If you come up with a riff or lick you like write it down or record yourself playing it. Do this with everything even scales. Record yourself playing the scale and listen to it. Make note of any mistakes and try to correct them. Keep a notebook of your ideas and refer to it often. Save your recordings as well for future reference.

I hope these tips help you with your playing. Good luck and keep jamming.

Benefits of Guitar Hero

Not Just a Game … but Exercise

Most people think that Guitar Hero is just another game for kids to play indoors that takes away from their daily activity. In reality, it is a great way to get your kids active. In addition to getting your kids a bit more active; it works out their forearm muscles, sometimes gets them up and jumping or dancing to the music, and it significantly helps improve hand-eye coordination. If you have never tried the game, you should. After the first day I played, my arm was actually twitching. It took me a while to figure out why this was happening. I knew it meant my muscles were fatigued, but I didn’t think guitar hero could cause it. Well, it was definitely the cause. Once again I spent a few hours in front of my TV with a guitar controller attached to me via a strap around my shoulder, and once again my arm was fatigued. I give all these kids who can sit there and play the game without stopping for hours on end credit.

I have always been one for active games and sports, and I still am. However, if you are going to be playing video games, it should be one that benefits you in some way. The main benefit of course is exercise for the 20 muscles in your forearm and exercise for your mind. You have to hit the correct colored button and strum at the exact time that the colored button appears at the right spot on the bottom of the screen. Sounds difficult, well it can be, especially as the levels increase and the songs get longer and more difficult. Imagine the exercise your hands and your mind are getting. It is almost like Dance Dance Revolution (although that is a bit more active because your jumping around). It requires you to do something at the moment you see it, which is exactly how your hand-eye coordination improves. There is another benefit that I almost forgot about, musical beats. Not everyone can keep a beat, and this game truly teaches you how to strum with the beat (when the color gets to the bottom of the screen). For kids, this is especially important because we try to teach kids about music at a young age because it is an important skill mentally. Of course, the more you play, the more you benefit physically and mentally. Overall though, it is quite a physical activity that benefits everyone who participates. I highly recommend that you give it a try, because guitar hero has a lot more benefits than you may think.

Tuning Your Guitar by Ear

Keeping Your Guitar in Tune

What do you do when you don’t have a tuner available ,and being able to play in tune is necessary? What are the ways you can tune without having a tuner? Basically, tune by ear! The easiest way to tune by ear you must first have a basic understanding of the strings. Standard tuning is eadgbE. Low to high. E being your thickest string and also known as the 6th string. You will also need to have a relatively good ear to differentiate the pitch. When playing your guitar in tune you will have a good understanding of how it should sound. So chances are if your guitar is sounding different at any point you should be able to recognize this difference immediately.

If you are a beginning guitar player this may seem a little awkward, but using this method is very simple. We are going to use the top E string or the 6th string as a basis of tuning the rest of our guitar. Using this method of tuning we are assuming that you have already managed to tune your top Estring with a pitch pipe or some other means. To use this method we will begin by holding down the E string being the very top string (6th string), on the fifth fret. Hit it, now pluck your A string or 5th string open. The two strings should relatively have the same tone. If not adjust the A string until they both reach the same. Once that is achieved, we are going to repeat the process.

Now place your finger on the A string same fret. We now are going to tune the Dstring to the A string. using the same technique by holding down your A string, hit it, then by hitting your d string. It too should also have the same tone. If it varies adjust your D string accordingly until it reaches the same level as your A. Now we are going to tune our our G string (no pun intended there) we will tune our G to the D string. Same process, we will place our finger onto the D string and hit it , and desire the same tone. Now once that is accomplished and you have reached the same tone as your D string we are going to tune our B string to the G string. Same process with a slight variation. In order to tune the B string to our G we will have to move our finger down to the 4th fret. Once accomplished, we now are going to tune our e string to our b string by moving back up to the 5th fret repeating the same process.Once this has been achieved, your guitar should now be in tune and ready to play!

What’s in a Guitar Lesson?

It’s a familiar story, kid wants to learn to play the guitar and parents say no they don’t have the money for lessons. At least that’s the way it was for me when I was growing up.

Hi, my name is Ken. I am the youngest of four and when my oldest sister wanted to play the guitar my parents bought her an electric guitar and amp. Well that lasted about two weeks, at that time I was too young to know much about playing music much less playing the guitar. I do remember the noise though. That guitar amp had several synthesizing buttons and a cool lever on it that did some kind of reverberation thing with the sound. My parents ended up having to sell it for a loss.

Next my other sister wanted to play in the school band and my parents bought her a clarinet. Boy was that some head knocking sound she was playing but I she persevered and did make the school band. And through Junior High School and High School she played in the band. I even think I saw a picture of her at my parent’s house in her uniform. Heady days to be sure.

Next my older brother wanted to join the school band and play the tuba. My memories of him with that tuba were any kid brothers dream. That thing seemed to rap itself all around him and made him look like some kind of space alien. I couldn’t help it but I had to make fun of him. After all what are little brothers for anyway? Needless to say His tuba playing lasted about two weeks and again my parents had to sell the thing for a loss.

Now it was my turn. I wanted to play the guitar. But I wanted to play the acoustic guitar not the electric guitar. Know what my parents said? You got it. “We aren’t going to pay for another musical instrument and lessons just so we can sell it later at a loss. So I was shot down. My dream of being another singing star was crushed unceremoniously. But I didn’t give up. I got a summer job and bought myself a classical guitar and a chord sheet and started to learn each chord one at a time.

My fingers just didn’t want to go in those positions on the guitar frets like I wanted them to. I thought I would never get that chord change down. I also found that my rhythm wasn’t what it should be. But that didn’t stop me. I eventually learned to play a few songs that were popular at that time. A few friends thought that was cool which made me cool. But you know I never really mastered playing guitar the way I had envisioned it.

Now I believe that if I had been given those guitar lessons I may very well have been a classical Guitar playing great. OK maybe just a very, very good Guitar player. I really only wanted to play the Guitar to impress my friends. If I would of had a good Guitar course when I bought my first Guitar I would have gone a whole different place with my playing.

You know what? I don’t think I’ll leave this childhood dream left unfulfilled. I’m going to go and string up my old classical and start strumming again.

 

How to Make a Guitar Pickup

I play bass and I used to play electric guitar and I’ve always wondered if I could make my own set of pickups. Well, now I can and you will to with this how-to guide for homemade guitar pickups.

Basically you’ll need some durable plastic, you will cut it in the shape of a pickup, and for that you can just look in a music instrument catalog and find out what regular pickups look like. Glue the two cut out pieces of plastic to a wooden core, and make sure they’re glued on with hot glue, not wood glue because wood glue peals over time.

Secondly you have to wind the pickup with wire. The wire will feed to the output jack in your guitar and that will create the sound and the tone. If you have a Piezo pickup microphone, don’t worry about winding because the pickup microphone will carry the sound. After you wind the pickup leave a lag of wire and solder that to the output and input jacks running inside the body of your guitar. Hollow bodies are easier to wire and rewire because of course the bodies have been hollowed out for a more sustained tone and the sound carries better with hollow body guitars and bass guitars.

After wiring and soldering the lag to the output and input jacks inside your guitar, run a sound check to test the tone and overall sound. If there is no sound, consult a professional and let then wind the pickup. Winding the pickup is the most difficult part because you have to make sure you have enough wire.

Drill four small holes in the pickup and connect the wire to each hole. Check for sound and keep testing it until your indicator let’s you know you have a sound hookup. Take one small screw and screw it into the coil of your pickup, check for sound but don’t use anymore screws.

Lastly, dip the pickup in a small bowl of hot wax from any old candle around the house. Just melt the candle down, all you need is one so don’t overdue it, and dip the pickup in the wax for 1 minute to 1 minute 1/2 for an even coating. The wax will protect the pickup from damage over time.

When you’re all done screw the pickup into its proper place on your guitar. Sound check the guitar one more time to make sure the pickup is responsive.

Learning Guitar

I found an interest in music when I was around 13. I wanted to play the acoustic guitar, so my parents bought me a cheap one off the internet, thinking it wouldn’t last. I ended up finding a Hal Leonard guitar lessons book and began reading that. After a few months I realized how much I enjoyed music and playing guitar. I began using youtube as well as a few other websites to watch how other people played so I could follow them . I started learning some basic chords and began to put those together to forms songs. It took almost 5-6 months before I could even think about playing a full song. but after that time passed, I was able to transition between chords easily and found myself playing much more advanced songs. I still teach myself everything I need to know on guitar and continue to practice and learn new songs on a daily basis.

Some tips:

-don’t give up! It can get extremely frustrating at times, but it takes a while for fingers to get used to that type of movement.

-practice scales. scales can strengthen your fingers to play those hard to reach chords

-start slow. don’t try to play the whole song the first time. start just playing the chord progression then speed up until you reach the speed of the song.

-play every day! if you take time off, its easy to forget how to play, and also the strings can be rough on your fingers

-watch others play. don’t try to learn just by reading. go to youtube or some other website, and watch how someone more advanced does that skill, then try it for yourself!