Thursday, May 17, 2007

Ladies and Gentlemen, Mr. Derek Trucks:

And ME! That was a great day.

Thursday, May 03, 2007

Beginner Lesson: Changing Chords: How to

After making individual chords, changing chords is one of the first hurdles all beginning guitarists face. There are some good techniques, taught for hundreds of years, that can make your first transitions a little less "fretful." It also will make your first few chords "less forgetful."

Peter Vogl posts great free video guitar lessons on Youtube, and he teaches chord transitions in much the same manner as I do. I've posted Peter's video on changing chords below.

One "Easy Button" suggestion I'll make: If you are still finding individual chords a bit of a chore, try my alternate chord fingerings.


Each of these fingerings uses only your first and second fingers, elminating the need to keep track of that pesky ring finger! I also think these chords "sound better," but that's just an opinion.

One thing you will notice is the use of the thumb, on the D chord, to mute the E string. In classical guitar technique, this is a no-no. However, a lot of American rock guitar, jazz guitar, and folk guitar techniques are based on banjo* technique, believe it or not. And that's a whole different ballgame. Check out this banjo technique hypothesis regarding jazz guitar legend Freddie Green.

My fingering adds a new challenge: you have no guide finger to get you back to the G chord from D. But, you will notice, the G fingering and D fingering are now the "same." Fingers one and two, hold the same shape. Practice moving that shape as a unit, back and forth from G to D. Now you're on your way to more chord transitions. With or without what Peter calls "Pivots" and "guides."

Here's how Peter suggests playing the chords, with three fingers:

Here's Peter's helpful free guitar video:

You can check out more about this lesson HERE.

*If you think banjos sound funny, you should hear a diddley bow!

Professional, fun guitar lessons for the Washington, D.C. community.
Beginner Lesson: Advanced Ipod Management.

This is not a post about playing, but about listening. 'Cause you won't be a very good player if you are not a discerning listener.

I recently added a Motorola SLVR to my list of listening devices, so that I don't have to hump an iPod and a phone everyhwere. Soon, the iPhone!

However, I was soon faced with the problem of the SLVR's max 100 songs. Which 100 songs to chose?

I do this with automated playlists. A master playlist for the SLVR calls up a subset of other playlists which select different types of music to listen to: Music to which I have recently listened, favorites, music to which I have not yet listened, etc.

Here's the master playlist. It selects music from any of the sub play lists. Notice it matches "any" of the rules:

Here are two examples of the subset playlists. Notice, both of these select the match "ALL" selection. This one selects the last 40 rock songs I've listened to, as I listen to mostly Rock on the SLVR. It filters out my own music, and music that is rated one, two or three stars.

Here's another example sub-playlist. This one picks out 20 favorite tunes that I have not heard in 90 days, and that I haven't skipped in the last 2 weeks. It also filters out lessons, and my own compositions. I have separate playlists for those. No lessons on the SLVR, though. I only rock out on the SLVR.

Hope you've enjoyed.

Professional, fun guitar lessons for the Washington, D.C. community.

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Intermediate and Advancing Lesson: Triads and Inversions

Triads, in some ways, should be the first thing you play on the guitar. Here are some diagrams of Triads on guitar fretboards. I'll be stopping back to make annotations, so check back.

In the meantime, check these out. Play them. Listen to them. (You could do that at the same time!) Think about them, but definitely listen to them. Triads are your friends.

Here are some triads, of different types, shown on one string each, so you can measure the musical distance between the notes without tuning getting in the way.

Here are some ways you could play all three notes together at the same time. When the root of a triad is in the bass, it's in root position. These are closed position triads in all three inversions. Open position triads are fun, too. But none of the major triads are even close to being in tune on the guitar. Don't ask me why. Why? Because then I'll tell you.

Make what you will of the next two diagrams.
I can't explain them. But I can play them. Can you?

Sorry, the second one's kinda messy.
Dig the "whoops!"
Sort of indie rock Pavement-esque guitar lessons.
Oh Dandy Warhol, I'm so Bohemian like you:

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