Tuesday, 13 November 2012

Blank Tab Paper

Click on paper to maximize quality and then right click and “save as"

Wednesday, 15 August 2012

Top 5 Student Questions

How long does it take to learn to play guitar?

The most common answer given by guitar teachers all over the world probably goes like this: “It depends”. That is probably the most boring answer I’ve ever heard, but also it really is the truth. It really does “depend” on several factors: 

1. How long can you practice? A good routine is usually 20-25 mins for kids and 30-45 mins for adults and if you can go for more by all means do so. 

2. Do you just want to play your favourite songs or is this something your looking to really dive head first into?

3. If you’ve ever played another instrument in your life (whether it be in high school or your a flute player trying to learn guitar for example) everything you’ve ever learnt can be transferred over to the guitar. Music is a universal language. 

These points being said it all really does “depend” on what you want and how bad you want it. No matter what your age its never to late to start learning. 

The guitar looks difficult and I’m not really that musically inclined, can I still learn it?

This question and the last one are really popular. The answer is YES. You as an individual can acheieve anything you put your mind too. Musical inclination or “being born with perfect pitch” (as some may call it) is simply a gift that you are born with that puts you a few yards ahead of the pack. Adults can be taught to hear in perfect pitch, using principals of perceptual learning. You weren’t born with the ability to read. Yet, you know how to identify the word patterns in this sentence that form my message. The same goes for learning to hear pitch. 

What kind of equipment do I need to start?

If your not learning to play classical or flamenco style guitar I would recommend starting with any acoustic guitar that you like and that feels right. Go to your local music store and just ask an employee to try out a couple acoustic guitars and see what they recommend. See what you like what feels right and the type of sound your looking for. Then when you get home look up the models you tried and read some of the reviews. I would recommend starting with an acoustic guitar simply because its harder to fret than an electric guitar. This will really help to toughen those fingers so that when you do pick up an electric guitar you’ll be good to go!

Do I need to learn to read sheet music?

Yes and No. 

No, because most guitar players will read tablature instead and its a much easier and more practical way of reading music. However, I too only started reading sheet music a couple years into playing the guitar (and this could be coincidentally) but I actually found that it improved my playing. It made me alot more conscious of my fretboard and this is a great thing. If your just playing for your own enjoyment and your not planning on pursuing your guitar studies at the university or college level then I would say it is safe to just learn how to read tab. But, why limit yourself and learn less when you can learn more?

What are the best teaching methods that I can use individually or with my instructor?

The ideal instructor will not only teach you how to play the guitar but he will incorporate a little bit of music theory with every lesson. Mainly in the innitial stages your going to want to practice how to form open chords and transition from one chord to the other. Your going to want to learn the notes on the fingerboard, basic theory, reading music, practice scales, practice guitar techniques, improvise, etc. Take time to look at these things in your practicing repetoire (even if it means practicing a certain technique for just 5 minutes or until you get bored of it). Get your instructor to give you some suggestions or get him/her to teach you what methods worked best for them for learning specific techniques. 

Monday, 13 August 2012

10 Good First Songs To Learn (Beginners)

1.Seven nation army- White Stripes
2.Knocking on Heaven’s Door- Bob Dylan
3.Leaving on a Jet Plane- John Denver 
4.Hey Joe- Jimi Hendrix
5.Horse with no name- America 
6.Wild Thing- The Troggs 
7.I Don’t Know- The Sheepdogs
8.Wonderwall- Oasis 
9.No Woman No Cry- Bob Marley
10.Wish You Were Here- Pink Floyd

The Major Scale Explained

Every scale your ever going to look at is in one way or another based off of “The Major Scale”. A scale is a set of notes arranged in a specific order from its tonic (the root or central note) to the octave. The major scale is a diatonic scale meaning that it “progresses” through tones. Think of the major scale as a a 7 step staircase or a ladder. Here’s how to look at it:


7 tones -> Each Tone can also be referred to as a “Degree" or "Scale Step”

Order of the Intervals goes:

whole step-whole step-half step-whole step- whole step- whole step-half step

A great way to visualize this (and also to hear it) is to play it on one string. Let’s play The C Major Scale on One String. Start with your 1st finger on the 5th string on the 3rd fret (that’s a C Note). Now play the intervallic formula above starting from that note. In other words, start on your 3rd fret then go up a whole step to your 5th, then another whole step to your 7th, then a half step to your 8th fret and so on and so fourth until you reach the “C” note one octave higher on the 15th fret.

The notes you will have played will be:

C, D, E, F, G, A, B, C (octave)

*Notice how the C-Major scale contains all natural tones (no sharps or flats)

The 12 Major Scales 

C major: C, D, E, F, G, A, B, C

F major: F, G, A, Bb, C, D, E, F

G major: G, A, B, C, D, E, F#, G
Bb major: Bb, C, D, Eb, F, G, A, Bb
D major: D, E, F#, G, A, B, C#, D
Eb major: Eb, F, G, Ab, Bb, C, D, Eb
A major: A, B, C#, D, E, F#, G#, A
Ab major: Ab, Bb, C, Db, Eb, F, G, Ab
E major: E, F#, G#, A, B, C#, D#, E
Db major: Db, Eb, F, Gb, Ab, Bb, C, Db
B major: B, C#, D#, E, F#, G#, A#, B
Gb major: Gb, Ab, Bb, Cb, Db, Eb, F, Gb

1. This is the most important scale you’ll ever learn- Every scale derives from the major scale. 
2. Don’t Overlook This Stuff- Although it might all appear to be very basic, memorizing the intervallic formula will give you access to all of the above scales without ever having to look anywhere else but your fretboard. 

3. Practice, Practice, Practice- Now that you can play the major scale on one string lets look at a more practical way to play it (the way most people would) up and down the neck:

4. Don’t overwhelm yourself with the above diagram- The black dots represent your “C notes”. Play the scales from one octave to the other (so from one black dot to the other). You don’t have to learn all of these either (but its good to memorize at least the first two if you can). 

So let’s say your working on pattern one. Start on your 5th string 3rd fret (C) then play the next string open (D), then the 4th string 2nd fret (E), then the 4th string 3rd fret (F) and so on until you get to the 2nd string-1st fret (C). You should here a "do re mi fa so la ti do” sounding pattern. That's the sound of the major scale! Good job, keep at it!

Saturday, 11 August 2012

Intervals On The Fretboard

In music theory an Interval is the distance between two notes. The smallest interval possible is the half step (on your guitar it’s the distance of one fret). All intervals can be measured by half steps although most musicians will refer to them by their proper names. 

A Half Step or Semitone (1 fret distance)
A Whole Step or Tone  (2 frets distance) 
2 Half Step= 1 Whole Step

This being said, let’s take a look at the Simple Intervals using the C Major Scale (on 1 string) as an example: 

C Major Scale: C (1), D (2), E (3), F (4), G (5), A (6), B (7), C (8) (Octave)

Major 2nd= Semitone= From C to D= 1 Whole Step= 2 Fret Distance
Major 3rd= Whole Tone= From C to E= 2 Whole Steps= 4 Frets Distance 
Perfect 4th= From C to F= 2 and 1/2 Steps= 5 Frets Distance
Perfect 5th= From C to G= 3 1/2 Steps= 7 Frets Distance
Major 6th= From C to A= 4 1/2 Steps= 9 Frets Distance
Major 7th= From C to B= 5 1/2 Steps= 11 Frets Distance
Perfect Octave= C to C= 6 Whole Steps= 12 Frets Distance

So with this you can play any major scale on one string just start on your root note and follow the formula. So how does this make you a better guitar player? Firstly, this will allow you to better memorize your fretboard. Not only that, but now you can play every major scale without having to google it. All you have to do is follow the formula and then on a piece of paper write down the notes you are playing. 

Most importantly what this will do for you is it will get you one of the most valuable skills a guitarist can posses and that's mastering your fretboard and being able to play intervals anywhere (on any string). 

I like to use this table as a reference:

How To Read Tablature

-Guitar tablature, or just tab for short, is a notation system that graphically represents the frets and strings of the guitar. Tab is guitar-specific, and it tells you what string and fret to play. 

-The lines of the tab staff represent guitar strings, from the 1st string on top (high E) to the 6th string on bottom (low E).

-A numeral appearing on any given line tells you to press, or fret, that string at that numbered fret. For example, if you see the numeral 2 on the fifth line from the top, you need to press down the 5th string (A) at the 2nd fret.

e|--------------- 1 string
B|--------------- 2 string
G|--------------- 3 string
D|--------------- 4 string
A|-------2------- 5 string
E|---0----------- 6 string

0= play the open string

-When you see stacked notes (as in the example below) that notation is telling you to play the fretted strings all at the same time, which produces a chord. The fretted strings in the figure below form a D major chord.

e|---2----------- 1 string
B|---3----------- 2 string
G|---2----------- 3 string
D|---0----------- 4 string
A|--------------- 5 string
E|--------------- 6 string

Deep Purple- Smoke on the Water

**Try this song out using what you’ve learned from the Power Chord Post and this last lesson! Goodluck!



Friday, 10 August 2012

Beginner Guitar- Power Chords

-Power Chords are built on the lowest notes of a regular open-position or barre chord in rock music to create a low sound. Power chords are easier to play than barre chords and don’t contain a major or minor quality to them, so they can stand in for either type of chord. 

-Although a power chord consists of only two different notes that are always five steps apart, such as A–E or C–G, the actual chord that you play may involve more than two strings, because you may be playing the same note twice (on a different octave) to give the chord a more striking sound.

-Hard-rock and heavy-metal guitarists use power chords with distortion to create a heavy or ominous sound. They achieve this mood by playing low notes with distortion.

-Try out the two-string and three-string versions on both your low “E string (6th string) and your “A string” (5th string) anywhere on the fretboard to produce a power chord.


I almost always show my students Deep Purple’s -"Smoke Under Water” and Nirvana’s- “Smells Like Teen Spirit” as introductory songs to learning power chords. Check them out in order to see what power chords look like when they come to life!