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One String

May 4, 2012

Visualizing the neck horizontally is vital to avoid getting stuck playing in a box (or in one position on the neck).

Instead of learning the A minor pentatonic at the 5th fret (low E) and going down the strings at that spot, try playing it
only on that string.  Continue to do that for each string.  Practice this daily until you become comfortable with it.

Now, when you go to do a simple improvised solo you can move up and down the neck, instead of staying in one spot.

You can use this for a guide: http://www.tonart.com/Main/ScaleLessons/pics/ampent.gif

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Virtual Amp Simulators/Software are great, especially if you live in an apartment, have neighbors who complain a lot, or if you are a night person and like to record/play late at night.  Guitar Rig, Amplitube, Eleven by Digidesign, Waves GTR, Overloud TH2, the list goes on and on.  They don’t truly capture what it’s like to have a real amp, but they are still a valuable tool to have in the right situations.  I personally use Guitar Rig for when I record demos, or when I want to jam to a song or a backing track.  I know some of these have demo versions, so I highly recommend checking them out!

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I’m guilty of it myself, when I was younger all I wanted to do was blaze scales up and down the neck.  It looks and sounds cool at first, it even has its uses…but then you hear the “same” solos from Yngwie Malmsteen that he played 10-20 years ago on his most recent releases or you see this:

At some point, it just isn’t music anymore.  Can you even tell that it’s ‘Flight of the Bumblebee’ anymore, at the later tempos?? It becomes noise/noisy.

Used correctly, speed can be tasteful.  Toss in some bends, vibrato, slides, etc., but please, PLEASE, don’t dedicate all of your team to trying to play quickly.  Dedicate SOME time to it, an hour a day where you alternate pick scales to a metronome, but then go and play some blues, or something similar. :)

 

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Non-Guitar Music

Mar 9, 2012

I highly recommend that you try to add music to your repetorie where the guitar isn’t the main focal point, or maybe isn’t even included at all.  It helps to broaden your ear to listen to other instruments and you’ll eventually come up with some interesting ideas/licks of your own.

Recommended listenings:
Masato Honda w/ Voices of the Elements:

John Coltrane:

T-Square (breaking my own rule a bit :) )

2:27 to 2:33 is one of my favorite licks of all-time. It still gives me chills.

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Melody

Mar 2, 2012

I find that listening to foreign music (or if you speak a second, third, fourth, fifth, etc. language, then from somewhere you don’t understand the language) is a good way to appreciate music from a different side.  You don’t get lyrics you can sing along with, you get the melody instead which you can hum.  A pet peeve of mine is whenever I hear someone say “Oh, this song is great, the lyrics are so good.”, and don’t get me wrong, I understand the importance of lyricism in today’s music (I “sing” along too!), but once you strip away the music, you’re left with words.  Melody is what makes the world go ’round!

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Bending?

Feb 24, 2012

Hi, I’m Jeff and I’m the newest instructor at Boston Guitar Lessons and I’d like share with you one a special lesson I once took:

Bending a string was one the most confusing concepts for me when I started playing guitar.  Everything I read just didn’t make sense, and to this day I still don’t get why I had such a hard time with it.  I brought this to the attention of a friend of mine and he simplified it for me.

“Well, you hold the guitar like this, right?  Now, fret/push down on the string and then push it up towards the ceiling, or down towards the floor.”  It was so simple all of  sudden! When you break it down, learning the guitar is pretty simple and fun.  It just takes time and dedication!

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