Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Guitar I: Time to Jam!

We are going to start improvising with a set scale and repeated chord progression. Some people might call this jamming. You might be one of those people. I know I am.

We are going to use the Em pentatonic scale to improvise over a vamp (repeated musical idea or chord progression) of the chords Em-Am.

The pentatonic scale is a 5 note scale. It generally removes the notes that might cause clashes with the chords of the accompaniment. The notes of the Em pentatonic scale will work over these 2 chords and sound great in the process. As you listen to the backing track, try out notes of the scale in different combinations, repeat notes, play notes together... You get the idea. Jam!

First here is what the scale looks like...


And here is the backing track. Go to town!

Monday, April 28, 2014

Guitar I: Chord Change DIagnostic

Here is a basic chord progression using open position chords:

G         D        Em      C       G        D          C  D   G
|| / / / / || / / / / || / / / / || / / / / || / / / / || / / / / || / / / / || / / / / ||

Each slash represents one beat.
Work through the chords using downstroke strums. Once you have it worked out, try playing it using the syncopated strum.

The following three tracks are recordings of the progression at 3 different tempos (speeds): Slow, Medium and Fast.

Your goal should be to work toward the fast tempo with clear, clean chord sounds and movement from one to the other. Slap on some headphones or ear buds and play-along!

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Guitar 1: Ear-training

One of the best parts of playing the guitar is learning songs on your own. Some people do this by finding tabs or chords and lyrics online. Other people have to figure out those tabs and chords. Many times these people are doing this by ear. Which means they listen to a piece of music a few times and just figure out what is going on. Let's try that.

Here are a couple of videos in which the neck of my guitar is conspicuously hidden.
You job is to try and figure out what chords I am playing in these videos and try playing along.

Chord progression #1 Chord progression #2

It may take some time figure them out but don't be discouraged. These chord progressions only use chords we have played in class many times.

Good Luck!

Monday, April 7, 2014

GHS Guitar I: Power Chords!

GHS Guitar I: Power Chords!: Power Chords are awesome! These wonderful 2-note chords can function as Major, or minor chords and can move all over the fingerboard. Just b...

Friday, April 4, 2014

Guitar I: End of 3rd quarter- "What should I be able to do?"

As we reach the end of 3rd quarter. Take a moment to review these foundation elements of playing. Though we are all at different levels, we should be at or reaching for these benchmarks.

Chords- A, A7, Am, Am7, B7, C, D, Dsus2, Dsus4, D7, E, E7, Em, G, G7
Applying strums and smooth transitions from one chord to the next at a slow to moderate tempo.

Strums- Basic, Rock, Latin, Syncopated
Maintain a continuous, smooth strum pattern for each of the prescribed styles listed above.

Note Reading- Simple melodies using notes on the first 3 strings.
Be able to identify and play at a slow to moderate tempo, simple melodies that use rhythms of whole notes, half notes, and quarter notes.

Finger-style- Proper right hand placement (index finger on 3rd string, middle finger for 2nd string, Ring finger for 1st string). Beginning elements of the travis-style picking.

Regardless of what else you are working on, these foundational elements should be a part of your regular warm-up and review process.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Guitar I: Good Riddance (Time of Your Life)

Here are the chords and some of the lyrics to the Green Day song. This song works with a fast syncopated strumming pattern. This is a good song with which to practice chord transitions. 

"Good Riddance (Time Of Your Life)"

                        G                               C                       D        
Another turning point, a fork stuck in the road
                 G                                        C                          D
Time grabs you by the wrist, directs you where to go
                   Em               D               C                          G
So make the best of this test, and don't ask why
                     Em         D                    C                        G
It's not a question, but a lesson learned in time

                                                                                                                            Em                    G                    Em                G                                       It's something unpredictable, but in the end it's right.
                              Em                       D               G
I hope you had the time of your life.

                G                                         C                         D  
So take the photographs, and still frames in your mind
                    G                           C                              D
Hang it on a shelf in good health and good time
                        Em           D                  C                  G
Tattoos of memories and dead skin on trial
                      Em               D                 C                  G
For what it's worth it was worth all the while

                Em                   G                Em                G
It's something unpredictable, but in the end it's right.
                        Em                      D                G
                     I hope you had the time of your life.

                      Em                   G               Em                G
It's something unpredictable, but in the end it's right.
                        Em                      D                G
                     I hope you had the time of your life.

                     Em                    G               Em                  G
It's something unpredictable, but in the end it's right.
                        Em                      D                G
                     I hope you had the time of your life.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

GHS Guitar: Pull-Offs!

GHS Guitar II: Pull-Offs!: Here is a re-post of a post on pull-offs. It does contain the riff from Crazy Train which uses pedal tones in the main riff.

Guitar II: Pedal tones (notes)

Using pedal tones (or notes) can transform the the sound of an otherwise everyday chord progression.
What is a pedal tone you may ask?

Here is a definition from the internet:
ped·al note
noun: pedal tone
  1. 1.
    a note sustained in one part (usually the bass) through successive harmonies, some of which are independent of it.

This is the way we will play around with pedal tones.

These are the chord shapes Randy Rhodes use at the beginning of "Crazy Train"
As you can see, the A note on the 5th string is ringing over each chord. That is the pedal tone.

We can do this with other open strings to get the pedal effect.

If we want to use the open D (4th) string for the same purpose, we might try these shapes:

We can do this with the Pedal E (6th) string as well:


Play around with these chords and see if you can come up with your own "Pedal Chords."