You know that suspenseful feeling you get when you’re watching a horror flick at the theatre? It’s dead silent, the protagonist slowly reaches for a door handle when suddenly a loud “BANG” erupts through the speakers as the door slams shut! Even though it’s expected, it still makes you jump. If the door slam wasn’t […]
Guitars are funny. Six strings, a piece of wood, and a rather simple electronic circuit is all they’re made of. They’re all the same thing! Why does one cost $200 dollars, and the next is $2000? While many would jump to “brand name” as their go-to answer, you have to consider how the big brand […]
It’s never good enough is it? With every new guitar and each new amp, every acquisition of gear and fancy “toys”, satisfaction always seems to be fleeting. It’s only a matter of time before you ask yourself that familiar question, “what can I do to sound better?!” and then run out to add something to the collection.
“How can there be a Dm chord in the key of C?” This is one of the most common questions I get asked as a theory teacher. In some cases the person has not considered that there must be different chords in any given key or else we would have to stay on one chord for a long, boring time. More often though the student knows that “the chords of the key of C” are C, F, and G (or G7). This last idea is partly true – those are the MAJOR chords in the key of C. However, every major key contains 3 major chords, 3 minor chords, and one diminished chord. And not only does every major key have that same number of chords of the same type – they are all in the same order.
The blues guitar scales are really based off of the pentatonic scales with one extra note added. We call that extra note the “blue note” because it gives the pentatonic scale its obvious “bluesyness.” The only real difference between the scales on the guitar and the same scales on any other instrument is the fact that there is more than one way to play them on a guitar. This is due mostly to the fact that the guitar is a stringed instrument and there are at least 3-5 ways to play any unique note.
When thinking in terms of practicing guitar scales and guitar chords, many guitarists tend to overlook the overwhelming value of such practice. After all, some might argue, practicing a guitar scale just for the sake of practicing a guitar scale, doesn’t seem like a very exciting prospect. The same argument, for some, is also applied to learning and playing guitar chords. In other words, why learn a major 9 chord, when a major triad is easier to learn and play? We’ll examine the answer in a moment.
Most guitarists, when in their formative years of learning and playing, tend to focus on learning chords. Lead guitar is often something that comes later on, as you need to understand how harmonies work over the existing backing chords.
That’s where capos come in. Whoever invented the guitar must have already thought of the capo, which compensates for the unfriendly keys. A simple idea, it effectively moves the nut up the neck by clamping down all all strings at once. The result is to raise the overall pitch while keeping the relative tuning of all the strings intact. This allows the player to choose another key to play in, a more friendly key. I should really say ‘pretend key’ because the key doesn’t change at all. Only the fingering changes, as if it were a new (friendly) key.
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.
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