Usually when someone proclaims the “best guitar riffs”, it usually stirs up the most controversy, but most guitarists will agree that some of the easiest riffs are the most melodic. Some riffs are, however, so significant to the song, they can be called the best, and in this article we’ll discuss the riffs that are the most significant in rock music. Read more
Young, Dumb, and Full of Strum — Many of us were inspired to pick up a guitar and play because we were turned on by an advanced, experienced player we heard in our formative years. For some it was Jimi Hendrix, for other it was Eddie Van Halen, still others may have latched on to Tony Rice. In their effort to match the chops, skills, and solos of these players, many students forget that these guys play the way they do because of fully mastering some fundamental parts of music and guitar playing and this is what gave them the ability to go as far as they did. This article (and accompanying video) are the first in a series I am doing for Gear Vault that is intended to identify these crucial basics and help you improve your playing from the foundation level on up. I have taught hundreds of students over the years and have observed that the ones that take the time to really get a handle on these basic skills are the ones that achieve their playing goals most effectively.
Let’s Learn Open Chord Rhythm
The first topic in this series is rhythm. Rhythm is the most elemental aspect of music and is the thing that holds the whole band together. The most basic kind of rhythm guitar playing is open chord strumming. The first position ‘cowboy’ chords are often the first thing many of us learn when we start playing and some players never really go past them, especially if they are trying to be singer/songwriters. One of the most important skills a new or advancing guitarist can develop is the ability to strum these guitar chords in a solid and steady way. The key to this skill is the basic down/up eighth note, or pendulum, strum.
The pendulum strum is really a simple pattern of down/up/down/up/down/up/down/up across a measure of eighth notes in 4/4 time and is counted 1 and 2 and 3 and 4 and, or 1+2+3+4+. The whole idea is that your picking hand goes down on the number and up on the ‘and’, swinging back and forth like the pendulum in a grandfather clock. You can see me demonstrate this in the video and get an idea of what it sounds like. I play the open G, C, Em, and D chords on the clip but you can do this from any chord you know to any other chord you know when you practice. The big thing to strive for is keeping it even and steady, as that is what you will need to be to play well with other musicians or even deliver a solo song convincingly. Most listeners don’t notice if we drop a clam in some blazing solo but your grandma can tell when your time is herky-jerky. Go as slow as you need to to keep the rhythm strong and make your chord changes with no dead air in between.
Once you get the hang of the pendulum, you start to realize that most of the strummed rhythm patterns we hear are based on this idea and that the key to making different rhythms happen is selectively hitting and missing the strings on different eighth notes within the original pattern. Get really good at this and learning all those ‘strum and sing’ type of songs is suddenly really easy. Neglect this basic skill and you will have a gap in your groove thing. You will know you are getting somewhere with this when drummers and bass players start liking you a whole lot better. Now get in the shed, start working it out, and watch this space for more goal-oriented guitar lessons. Peace.
Visit Mike’s website @ www.mikeocull.com
The Dream Of Building Your Very Own Cigar Box Guitar
Our existence in the 21st Century has taken on a disposable quality that probably won’t be much admired by future historians. Look at us. Every time Apple trots out a new iWhatever, 50 million “old” iWhatevers get tossed out the window. Our jobs, our mortgages, our marriages, NBA contracts – it all gets torn up in the end, and we begin anew. Read more
Few dictionary entries are as subjective, or as relative, as the word “easy” (adj., not hard or difficult; requiring no great labor or effort). This is especially true when it comes to music, and for some reason, for the guitar. Some people will find the guitar to be easy to play right from the outset. Others cannot fathom even the most rudimentary of concepts – even if they are already music-savvy and proficient in other instruments. Read more
Beginner guitar chords for easy reference
Below is a free printable guitar chords chart with all the basic guitar chords any beginning guitar player should learn. I highly encourage you to print or download this chart for your reference. Whether you play acoustic or electric guitar, this guitar chords chart will help you.
After you learn the basic guitar chords, check out good electric guitar songs for beginners.
If want to learn easy acoustic guitar songs, then please check out easy guitar songs on acoustic guitar.
Click to enlarge and print this Guitar Chords Chart!
There are as many ways to learn to play the guitar as there are students who want to play. Some people enjoy and do very well on the more formal, traditional path of private lessons, books, and study. While formal lessons are a proven, time-tested method for musical improvement, they are not for everyone, as they require a fairly large commitment of time and money to be truly effective. Many guitarists of the modern generation have turned to their computers in their efforts to conquer the guitar with mostly mixed results. Video guitar lessons, which really began with Arlen Roth’s Hot Licks tapes in the 1970’s and 80’s, have truly come into their own with DVDs and the Internet but, these, too, are not for everyone and seem to work better for more advanced students than for those looking to learn the basics. Lesson software is another popular choice and can represent a great alternative for those who wish to use it. The eMedia company is one maker of instructional software and sells a number of programs that can be of use to many different guitarists. One of eMedia’s most popular offerings is the Guitar Collection Pack, which is a bundle of four programs, Guitar Method, Intermediate Guitar Method, Blues Guitar Legends, and Guitar Songs Volume I, that provide the advancing guitarist with enough learning options to keep busy all winter. Read more
For the longest time, I refused to play anything but DR’s on my electric guitar. Though, once I really began gigging out every other weekend, I began to encounter a really frustrating issue. Every two-three shows, I was breaking a string. After considering a setup and messing around with new saddles, I decided to try a set of Ernie Ball coated slinky strings. I haven’t looked back since. Read more
The heart and soul of an electric guitar comes right down to the pickups. Pickups can be modified and adjusted to change the tone that your electric guitar produces. Messing around with your pickups can be quite the task, but with a little know how you can achieve a variety of tones. Some of these tips are simple adjustments that you can do yourself, while some of them might be a bit more difficult and require you to find someone skilled in the trade. Read more
Electric Guitar Rig Tone Tip: How To Dial In Your Amplifier
Trying new and different electric guitar rig tones can literally open your mind up to a whole new world on your guitar. You don’t have to be an expert to create a sound that exceeds your expectations, but you do need to have some relatively decent equipment and know the inside scoop on creating a sound that you love. Read more
Most of us readers at Gear Vault remember what age we started playing guitar and what kind of guitar we played. But many parents are stumped on which kids guitar to get their youngster. Rather then buy your child the ever so popular ‘Guitar Hero’ TV game system, why not persuade them to play the most popular American instrument, the guitar. Hopefully this article will shred light on a difficult decision on which kids guitar to purchase. Read more