Sunday, August 21, 2011

What's This??? A Grandpa Guitar?

This one is just a little thing for the guys and gals who have never ever picked up or let alone played an acoustic guitar, also known as a "Grandpa Guitar." Sometimes people over look the power of playing an acoustic and think it's wimpy. If you pick up an acoustic and just have yourself and the guitar, you can sound balls to the wall powerful, sad, happy, mean and every emotion known to man without an amp or any effect pedals. Playing an acoustic makes you use your hands to make feelings. Having just the pure sound of wood really makes you make a note count. Your left hand vibrato can sing and scream. Your right hand and make it delicate or make it scream. Even some of the best known electric players had some great acoustic moments. Even the the makers of metal had some beautiful acoustic moments. Black Sabbath's Toni Iommi had songs like "Laguna Sunrise" and nothing is like the acoustic end to "Symptom of the Universe." Guys like Bob Dylan make a career of acoustic songs. Some great delta blues can be played with nothing more than a slide and an acoustic guitar. Check out some of the great blues tunes by the great Robert Johnson. Playing an acoustic can toughen up the ole finger tips too. Playing those thicker strings will make man calluses appear (after some blisters) on the tips of your fingers. Tons of great old time country songs are on acoustic too. Name any Willie Nelson tune. Listen to it. You will hear Willie *cough cough* smokin up that acoustic. You can hear an acoustic sound heavy too. Proof of that is Alice In Chains. Listen to their unplugged album and tell me it doesn't sound heavy. With all these examples of how awesome an acoustic guitar is go get one and get to playing it!!!!

Here is Laguna Sunrise by Black Sabbath

Here is some Robert Johnson Hell Hound on My Trail

And Alice In Chains Sludge Factory

Friday, August 19, 2011

Major Diatonic Scales:Part 1 Whole Whole Wholey McWholerton

One thing we have yet to touch on here in the blog is the major diatonic scales. There are two ways I teach them to the students. One is the generic patterns and one is the three note per string patterns. All of our examples will be the three note per string kind. Major Diatonic scales are 7 note scales. With our 3 note per string patterns that will leave us 7 patterns/positions to learn. The make up of a major diatoninc scale is whole, whole, half, whole, whole, whole, half steps. Here is an example of this in C major:

>whole step
>whole step
>half step
>whole step
>whole step
>whole step
>half step

You can use this formula for any key. Just change your root. What you want to start out doing is find a C note on your guitar/bass/any stringed instrument, go up that string going whole, whole, half, whole, whole, whole, half. You are playing the scale on one string. You repeat this process for everywhere you have your root. Once you play the scale in said key everywhere you can, switch keys. This is going to get you use to hearing how a major scale sounds and get you use to moving around the neck and knowing where all your roots are. Once you get this down we will move on to part 2 next time.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Spotlight Licks:Michael Baideme

This edition of "Spotlight Licks" is from Rock Bottom Music salesman and guitar player for Sibling String Michael Baideme. It is a lick based in A minor pentatonic. It goes through 3 positions of the scale. It has some whole, half and 1/4 step bends in it. Make sure you execute them well. When I tabbed out his lick I broke it into 5 sections to make it easier to learn. Work on one section at a time then start doing them one after another. Have fun with it and when you got it come down to Rock Bottom Music and play it for him!!!! Click on tab pic to make it bigger.

here is the video to hear it and play along to :

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Getting Your First Amp

Picking an amp is really hard to do when you first start playing. There is so many choices out there and alot of them cost a good bit of money. I am going to tell you about two that I recommend for the new player that are decent and cost effective. In your early years of playing your ear is most likely not developed enough to be able to tell one amp from another or even be able to tell a sound you like. When I have a new student interested in an amp I steer them to one of the Line 6 Spiders or the new Fender Mustang amps. Why? Because those amps have decent sounds from the touch of a button. While they are not as killer as a tube Marshall Plexi or a Fender Twin, they are easy to get a sound out of and they are cheap to buy. When you are first starting to play you cant tell the difference between a $2,000 amp and a $100 one. The Line 6 and the Fender Mustang have good clean tones, sounds with a little crunch all the way to blistering distortion. They also have a ton of effects built right in. Delays, chorus, flanger, reverb, tremalo and tons of others. Pedals are another thing you need to know what you like before you start spending tons of money on pedals you don't want. That is another big plus of the two amps I am talking about. They get you use to the different effects and what they do and you can practice on how to use them. It will do you good starting out on either of these two amps. Once you develop an ear for what you want, after a year or two, you go out and try out your tube Marshall, Fender, Peavey, VHT, Rivera, Soldano or any of the other great companies out there making amps right now. We will get into those kinds of amps later on. I have a ton of great tube amps at home and love them. The Fender Mustang and Line 6 Spiders sell for around $100. Get out and check one out.