As a guitarist who has always played with my fingers, as opposed to picks, I have always been very interested in bass notes. My right-hand thumb is always free to go looking for bottom end notes, and I’d like to pass on some of what I know.
I have hated the idea of scales all my playing life. I never use them (consciously), and never think them. I think melody. I don’t know, or care to know, the names of the various scales and modes. I know the major scale and see all others as being distortions of it. I am also aware that there is the chromatic scale (all twelve notes) to use at all times. You can link any interval with semitones if you so choose, any scale note to any other scale note, from any scale you care to name. It becomes a question of timing, to get to the note you want in the time left to do so, if you follow. All twelve notes are there for the asking.
One of the most difficult aspects of playing an instrument, but the most rewarding when you’ve figured out how, is the art of playing solos. The ability to manipulate four octaves or so of notes into a coherent melody, on the fly, following (sometimes bending) the musical rules and pulling it off, is one of the best feelings going.
I have been playing guitar for 40 years. I have owned everything, from ES175 to a 58 Les Paul Std, 59 Strat, Travis Bean, Alembic, Cort, Samick, Guilds, G + Ls, you name it, I owned one. And you know what? If I see one more damn Les Paul, Strat or Tele I think I will vomit! Good lord, are they the most boring thing in theworld or what?& I love guitars that are different. I do NOT want to see another guy walking down the street playing the same guitar as me. There is a world of cool guitars out there and yet some guys have noimagination, they just play the same blankity blank guitars that everyone has had for the last 50 years!
While the Pests downed a quick lunch, I grabbed a few instrumental odds & ends from the van and walked across the parking lot to the building with the huge sign, “Consumers Mall”. It’s one of those former discount stores, now indoor flea market which are popping up across the land in abandoned K-Marts, grocery stores and so on. One of the missions of our little band was the rescue of abused and/or neglected guitars, which we found on our journeys and there was a candidate for rescue inside.
Awful as it sounds, it’s the truth. But don’t let it scare you off. The highest number I’ve ever heard in the context of music is 13, so you don’t have to be a genius to figure it out.
One of my students was around the other night and pointed out that even when I was playing his guitar (a beautiful Strat), I still sounded like me. It’s true – no matter what guitar or amp I plug into, I always sound like me. After 38 years of playing, it would be impossible for me not to. For a long time this bugged me. I guess because I was so used to “my sound”, I started to think it was pretty ordinary, and over the years I’ve made the odd attempt to change it. I can’t anymore.
While related, keeping a guitar in tune and having a guitar play in tune up and down the neck are two different issues. If your guitar stays in tune but the chords sound out of tune as you go further up the neck and closer to the body, this is the article for you. Having your guitar play in tune up and down the neck is generally referred to as intonation.
Just because the guitar has six strings doesn’t mean you have to constantly go looking for six-note chords, especially if you are playing in a combo of some sort. Remember, barre chords use repeat notes to make up the full six strings. Sometimes its better to use bits and pieces of a chord than the full version. It’s easier to insert as a part, and more compact-sounding in a band situation.
I finally joined the late 20th century and bought a decent computer. I’ve been working on an Apple Mac LC-475 for 6 or 7 years. Tiny little thing. I was just about to switch over to a PC when I had a good look at the iMac brochure. After due consideration, weighing up all the pros and cons, comparing the two technologies, I decided that having a green computer was the only way to go. Green, to match the philodendrum that sits next to my desk. Seriously though, I’ve always admired the wonderful logic of Macs, and I found a shop here in Brisbane that were doing a good deal on them.
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