Thursday, October 29, 2009

Hey Jude Flow Chart

Brought to you by the good people at I Love All This:



I do love that. I'll try to be back with some more guitar advice soon....

dcguitar.com
Advancing Guitar Lessons:
Washington, D.C.
Professional Musical Fun
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Follow me on Twitter: @diddleybow

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Aerosmith's Famously Displaced Riff:
Walk This Way

Ever since getting the 'Fever' for rhythmic displacement I've been thinking about its place in popular riffage.

Here's another example of rhythmic displacement in a simplified version of Aerosmith's glorious 'Walk This Way' riff.

Once again, four staves, as in this post.



The first two measures make up a very un-funky version of the riff, simply to demonstrate how the the riff would sound if the second iteration of the sequence of four notes were not displaced to a very funky place: the second sixteenth note of beat two.

Play it safe with the first two measures, then make it funky with the second two measures.

Rock on!

dcguitar.com
Advancing Guitar Lessons:
Washington, D.C.
Professional Musical Fun
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Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Bass Displacement:
"Fever" by Peggy Lee

Hearing "Fever" at Starbucks this morning, I thought: that bass intro is a very simple, elegant example of rhythmic displacement.

So I tweeted a diddley tab.

Only so much you can do with 140 characters, so here's a little expansion:



First line: Musical Notation
I've transposed to Am for ease of use. Capo I to hear in Bbminor. Or transpose it yourself. It's good exercise.

Check out the rhythmic displacement of the first measure in the second measure. In the first measure, C is played on beat 3. In the second, it's displaced one eighth note early, and played on the and of two. The syncopation is given added kick at the end of measure 3, as the melody resolves to the tonic on the last upbeat of the bar, anticipating the downbeat of measure 4.

The Second Line is diddley tab:
One string only. Remember, Capo I to hear in the recorded key of Bb Minor. BbMinor??? Rassa-frassin' Horn keys!

The Third Line is an open position fingering:
This fingering would work well when accompanying a singer. You could ornament the bass line with some hybrid picking and make it sound great!

Fourth Line is 'Lead Guitar' Fingering:
Up an octave for an example of a 'lead guitar' fingering. Doubling the bass player could sound really cool on this. This is still notated with capo I, so be careful if you choose to interpret the articulation marks in the third measure of music as bends. Sliding is more capo friendly. Once you've got the idea, ditch the capo, tweak the fingering, and let 'er rip.


dcguitar.com
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Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Explore The Fretboard: Wipe Out!

Playing on one string, diddley bow style, can teach a guitarist quite a bit about melody. Moving these melodies onto different groups of two and three strings can help a guitarist learn quite a lot about the fretboard.

In order to learn something about this, here are the first four bars of "Wipe Out" by the Surfaris. There are four lines of notation. Each line is a different guitar fingering of the same melody:



The first line is musical notation.

The second line is the same melody, tabbed for one string.
(Diddley Tab, y'all!)

The third line is the same melody, tabbed across the A, D, and G strings. This is similar to the way most rock guitarists would play this famous riff. As you play this, notice how as the melody is transposed, the fingering shape is transposed exactly. You just move the riff around, fingering roughly the same way.

The fourth line can teach you a lot about one of the open mysteries of guitar fingerings, as it moves the melody across the D, G and B strings.

The fretboard shape of a melody changes when that melody is moved from any other pair of strings to being played on the G and B pair.

The fourth line of notation moves the melody to a fingering on the G and B strings at the end of bar 4. You will notice as you play this, that your fingers make a different shape as you play the end of the fourth bar, into the 5th and 6th bars. This new 'fingering shape' is repeated in the 9th and 10th bars.

Things are somehow different when we play on the G and B strings. We know this from tuning the guitar. As in the diagram to the right, all of the other string pairs are tuned 'five frets apart'. However, the G and B pair is tuned 'four frets apart'. This makes playing over these strings a special case. Improvisors take note!

Here is the entire 'form' for of the 12 Bar Blues type riff for Wipeout:

First four bars:



Second four bars:



Third four bars:



Rock and repeat!

dcguitar.com
Advancing Guitar Lessons:
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Friday, October 09, 2009

It Might Get Loud, Pt. 3:
The Edge Brings It All Back Home
By Reigning In The Wankery

There's a scene in It Might Get Loud where they cut to a version of Spinal Tap playing 'Big Bottom'.

The Edge describes his unusual reaction to the hilarious This Is Spinal Tap: he wept. It struck too close to the bone.

And let's face it, it's true. The director and the players in this film are all too tactful to touch it, but really, Spinal tap wasn't all that far from, um, the ridiculous outfit to the right of this text.

But it wasn't just style, according to Edge. It was substance, too.

Edge says something to the effect that the 10 minute guitar solo is too often just pure self indulgence, and he didn't want to go down that well trodden road. It's never stated, but it's true: Page is the original God of Wank.

I don't mean to suggest that his solos are wankery. Far from it. Page is a formidable composer. And composers, for my money, are the most interesting improvisors, because they have command of the most Seminal Whirly of all: Melody.

Jimmy Page's rock soloing is genius. However, the problem of any form of worship isn't usually the God or even his iconography. It's the Idolators.

These days, I guess you could say it's the American Idolators. But I digress.
I'm merely trying to say that the problem wasn't Page, per se, as much as it was his legions of imitators and followers. And they weren't just imitating his riffs. They were imitating his self indulgence.

With Page's dominance, suddenly blues-rock is the DE FACTO sound of the 70's. Everything is covered in wet, drippy blues noodling. Yuk. The opposite of cool.

So Edge's style came as a reaction to this rococo, whirly, noodly style.

However, by Edge's own admission, at the time U2 made their first record, Edge sucked. He could not shred. There was no way he could compete in WPM! (That's Whirlies Per Minute) But the punk aesthetic allowed him to turn this weakness into a powerful asset.

Here's the funny thing: Edge is candid about the fact that when his seminal band started, none of the players in the group could play. AT ALL. The scenes of Edge at the high school where U2 met and formed are charming and telling. Unlike Page, who started Zeppelin at 25 years of age, David Howell Evans was 15 when U2 started in 1976.

If you listen closely his words and his playing, Edge prides himself not on axe slinging, but on creating new sounds, and on serving the emotional needs of the song. He makes no claims to any shred cred. It's exactly opposite the point.

Check out this amusing clip where he lampoons his own 'cool new riff':



Indeed, Edge is definitely responsible for taking the anti-wank aesthetic of Punk to a whole new musical level. However, I don't particularly find his claim that 'he could hear ways to use [echo] that no one had used it before' to be particularly compelling, as David Gilmour and Andy Summers had already explored a lot of the echo territory that Edge claims to invent in the latter part of this clip:



Edge's greatest gift? There's no one in music more capable of creating varied and powerful emotional landscapes than the Edge.


Check out this Video of Edge's tech, Dallas Schoo, explaining how Edge uses his massive effects collection. He says that Edge rarely re-uses a sound or tone. His rig looks like something that should be in an airplane cockpit:



When you see the pile of technology that Edge has collected over the years in order to conjure his electronic voodoo , it's no wonder someone would arrive on the scene in a few years with the idea of paring it down to the essentials. Enter Jack White, in Pt. 4


dcguitar.com
Advancing Guitar Lessons:
Washington, D.C.
Professional Musical Fun
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Thursday, October 08, 2009

Diddley Tweet @ John Mayer

Playing on one string can really heighten your melodic sense. Hence my love for the Diddley Bow.

I composed this Diddley Bow Riff in Twitter, using the Diddley Tab Rules 1.0. Since I envisioned it as a sixteenth note funk type riff, I sent it to John Mayer for fun. Hence the name, 'Tweet John Mayer'.

Here is the Text of the original Tweet:

@johncmayer 1 Measure 16/16ths in Amin. Make it Funky! ||:5-.5.Q.ML'K'L.8\73-:|| Peep my tweets re: Diddley Tab Rules 4 Secret Decoder Ring.


Tweet John Mayer.

That sounds naughty.

The 'Twitter Diddley Tab Code' here for one measure of 4/4 in sixteenth notes is this bit:

||:5-.5.Q.ML'K'L.8\73-:||


Here is staff notation and tablature of that tweeted measure, to help crack the Twitter Diddley Tab code, along with the decoder ring.




Playing up and down on one string does heighten your melodic sense, but it's often awkward technically.

As a bonus, the second measure gives you a practical fingering for playing the melody across the strings. Apologies, I didn't include the articulation markings in the second measure. However, if you play it both ways, you will easily sound it out.

Rock on, Rockin' Robin!


dcguitar.com
Advancing Guitar Lessons:
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Professional Musical Fun
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New! FREE One String Guitar Tabs
on Twitter:
@DIDDLEYBOW

Daily Guitar Tabs And Other Updates.
One String at a Time:

In a quest worthy of Don Quixote, I'm interested in presenting Diddley Bow tablature on Twitter. Why? Why not?

It seems that the secret is saving characters. So, music, on twitter, starts to look like a code you would get out of a cereal box or the back of a comic book. FUN!

Here is the secret decoder ring, so far.

Diddley Tab Rules:

Time Signatures:
Each character in Twitter will indicate one musical subdivision.
So you have to indicate the smallest subdivision you wish to employ in a melody:
For example. 4/4, could be written either below:

If I indicate 16/16, that means sixteen sixteenth notes per measure.
If I indicate 8/8, eight eighth notes. Etc.


Durational Characters:
Each durational character indicates time, one subdivision at a time. The subdivision level and number of subdivisions is given in the time signature.

NOTES:
Notes are indicated by Fret numbers. First, numbers 0-9, and letters for frets 10 and up.
Fret 10=J, Fret 11=K, Fret 12=L. Etc.

MORE NOTES:
Other durational characters are the period and the dash.
A period (.) signifies a rest of one musical subdivision.
A dash (-) indicates a held note of one musical subdivision.

A WHOLE BAR (REPEAT):

The percent symbol (%) indicates playing the last whole measure again.

Non durational characters:
These characters do NOT indicate any passage of time.
BARLINES:
A bar line looks like this: |
A repeat sign looks like this: ||: :||
To save characters, a repeat sign may look like this: |: :|


SLURS:
A single quotation (') indicates a slur. either a hammer on or a pull-off, determined by the direction of the melody.
A slash (/) indicates a slide up.
A backslash (\) indicates a slide down.

That's not all folks!

I'm wrestling with Sibelius right now, but I will be back with some more musical examples to help this make sense of this.








    dcguitar.com
    Advancing Guitar Lessons:
    Washington, D.C.
    Professional Musical Fun
    for Beginners and Beyond


    Follow me on Twitter: @diddleybow

    Monday, October 05, 2009

    Beginner Lesson:
    Individual Chord Practice

    Before beginner guitarists can learn how to change chords, they must learn to make chords automatically from muscle memory. In my lessons, I refer to this as 'Individual Chord Practice'. Here are four chord shapes to practice.



    Start with the Em chord grip above, and follow these instructions to practice your muscle memory:

    1) Form the G chord grip as it is shown in the diagram above.

    2) Sound each string of the guitar by playing a rest stroke to the next string. This way you can hear whether each string is sounding, and whether or not that individual string is muted or is buzzing.

    3) Adjust your fingers so that each of the strings is ringing clearly. Find a friend or a teacher to help you with this. Model your hands on those of your favorite players. Most importantly: make small adjustments. Go slowly.

    4) Release the pressure of your fingers on the strings. But DO NOT REMOVE them. Leave them in contact with the strings.

    5) Re-apply pressure to the strings and repeat the above instructions x15.


    Once you are able to reliably recreate clear sounding chords, step # 4 changes:

    1) Form the G chord grip as it is shown in the diagram above.

    2) Sound each string of the guitar by playing a rest stroke to the next string. This way you can hear whether each string is sounding, and whether or not that individual string is muted or is buzzing.

    3) Adjust your fingers so that each of the strings is ringing clearly. Find a friend or a teacher to help you with this. Model your hands on those of your favorite players. Most importantly: make small adjustments. Go slowly.

    4) Let go of the strings while continuing to hold the chord shape in the air, as if you are mime-ing the chord. Let go of the strings, but only let your fingers travel about an eighth of an inch from the strings. As you get better at this, increase the distance. As always, the 3x correct rule is a good idea.

    5) Re-apply pressure to the strings and repeat the above instructions x15.


    Repeat the above practice with each of the four chords above. As that gets better, you are ready to work on chord transitions.

    Now go play some guitar!



    dcguitar.com
    Advancing Guitar Lessons:
    Washington, D.C.
    Professional Musical Fun
    for Beginners and Beyond

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