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Quick Tip: If you’re having trouble learning to sing a song, try to learn to play the melody first on the guitar.

This will help you pinpoint the exact pitches, and help you to train yourself slowly to hit the right notes with your voice.

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Jan 21, 2013

I’ve been recommending this tool to students who are traveling and spending time away from the guitar.

A change in your routine does not have to interrupt your development of good guitar technique.

Simply try this squeezy-tool for a few minutes a day, on the train, during meetings or phone calls. Conditioning your fingers, hand and wrist is one of the main goals of playing the guitar, especially at the beginning. Learning the guitar is really a series of inputs: development of muscle in the hand, memorization of specific techniques, recall of particular notes and sequences, and association of sounds with words, letters or locations (ear training). Here’s the trick: these skills don’t have to be developed simultaneously.

Planet Waves Varigrip Adjustable Hand Exerciser

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I realize I risk alienating those among my students who do not appreciate classical guitar music. However, I’ve recently begun teaching out of the book “100 Graded Classical Guitar Studies”and I have to say it’s a great way to gradually build guitar technique for any player interested in fingerstyle or solo guitar. Check it out!

100 Graded Classical Guitar Studies-Fred Noad
 

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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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Filthy lies I say.

Hey guys, George Woods here on behalf of the greatest Guitar School in Boston (obviously…) sending a message to all the folksy songwriters of the world. If you are a songwriter I highly encourage you to branch out from  the open chord/bar chord go to’s and experiment with the instrument.

While, yes, guitar may well be one of the most illogically laid out instruments on the face of the planet that shouldn’t stop you from learning the matrix and delivering a Keanue Reeves style “I know Kung Foo” kick to your audiences with great accompaniment. Guitar is essentially a harp with frets stretched across a drum. That’s 3 instruments right there. Here are some textural options to consider.

1.) Straight up classic strumming. Down up Down up Down up up | Down up … You remember this part I assume.

2.) CONTRASTING sections of your song with more or less active strumming patterns. Maybe your verse sounds like your driving a semi into a brick wall. Try making your chorus completely stagnant and placid letting your vocal carry the rush across the front lines.

3.) Independent bass motion. Finger style or picked. Adding a bass line against stagnant chords not only puts you in the running with Mumford and Sons it makes Granny rock the Charleston and adds depth to your part without becoming distractingly complex.

4.) Harmonizing the sung melody with an independent bass line or a plucked melody line. (granted this generally requires learning different inversions of the chords… DO IT!!!)

5.) For more advanced players. Use the guitars percussion. Strum dead strings and hit the body for the “break it down” sections. Experiment with using nothing but rhythm to sing a verse or bridge. Think “Aint No Sunshine” – Bill Withers.

6.) If You are a soloistic performer learn to become comfortable with a BARE accompaniment. Try just using a simple riff. Or try sections that have no under pinning whatsoever. Sound is nothing without silence a whisper is nothing without a scream.

Of course there is a never ending list of guitaristic possibilities and combinations, but please, above all, remember this. The art of good composition is nothing more than the strategic confirmation or denial of expectation in order to deliver a subject matter fully and accurately.

AKA don’t strum everything all the time, because “it’s what guitars do”. Explore your instrument. Increase your pallet of techniques so that your raw emotional lyrics have room with that raw emotional guitar part. Don’t hide your art, don’t hide behind your guitar playing let each enhance and influence the other. That way you can really say what you need to say, and others can really listen.

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Renting vs. Buying

Mar 11, 2012

If you’re just starting guitar lessons, you’re probably wondering what to do about getting a guitar.

A decent beginner guitar can easily cost $300-$500. And it isn’t until you get into the range of about $1,000 that you start seeing more and more professional-level instruments. You kind of want to know when you’re learning that you’re the cause of problems and not a faulty instrument.

Until you’re ready to commit to a larger guitar purchase, why not consider renting a guitar? We offer rentals starting at about $49 per month. That way you’ll have something decent to work with until you’re ready to buy.

Greg

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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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ThumbTack Page

Mar 9, 2012

We’re now listed on Thumbtack!

Boston Guitar Lessons – ThumbTack Listing

If you’re a current or prior student, maybe you’ll consider leaving us some feedback on our ThumbTack listing.

Have you ever used ThumbTack to find a service provider in your area? We’d like to hear from you.

Check it out!

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