Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Guitar I: End of Term

As we head toward the end of the school year. I wanted to collect some of the posts in one easy to find location. The skills and content in these posts are the basic skills and understanding for beginner guitarists. I will be listening to each of you to measure your progress toward attaining these benchmarks.

Open Position Chords
All of these chords should be memorized. You should be able to move between them at a moderate tempo both strumming and with finger style patterns.

Strumming Patterns
These are the basic strumming patterns we used throughout the class.

Single Note Reading
You should be able to play this melody, at a moderate tempo, with notes on the first two strings of the guitar.

Finger style patterns
You should be able to apply these finger style patterns to any chord progression using the open position chords (first link).
Sample chord progressions:

Previous Concepts and Review Post
Additional techniques, scales and concepts are connected to this link.

Keep strummin' !

Guitar 1: Self-Reflection

Monday, June 1, 2015

E Minor Pentatonic Scale

It is said that when Prometheus was stealing fire from the Gods, he also grabbed the pentatonic scale for the expressed intent of making guitar players very happy. The 5 note pentatonic scale is an incredibly useful scale. Because the scale removes the "trouble" notes (4th and 7th), the happy guitarist can bang away at the remaining notes without fear of "wrong" sounding notes.

Another great feature of the scale is it's universal sonic qualities. Technically it is a minor scale, but it is equally effective playing over Major sounding chord progressions.

|Em / / / | Am / / / |
Try the scale over these minor chords and you will hear how it smoothly connects with the minor quality of the chords. A song like "Wish You Were Here" by Pink Floyd is a good illustration of how a minor progression and the minor pentatonic scale work hand-in hand.

|E / / / | A / / / |
When using major chords and the minor pentatonic scale you tend to get more of a bluesy sound. Jimi Hendrix was masterful at combining major blues progressions and using the minor pentatonic to get down and dirty.

For our more advanced (or adventurous) players, here is a cool pattern that makes use of descending groups of 4 notes within the scale. Patterns such as this one helps to get a lot of mileage from the 5 note scale.


E minor Blues
The Pentatonic Scale was seemingly made to be played over the blues. Here are a few choruses of the blues in E minor with which to try out the scale.