Thursday, December 17, 2015

Adding Pedal Tones to Familiar Chords

How do some of our favorite groups get those distinctive sounds on seemingly familiar chords? One little trick involves creating pedal tones within a chord. A pedal tone is a sustained note that carries through changes in harmonies or chords. We usually think of a pedal tone as being in the lower or bass part of a chord or harmony, but there is nothing to prevent us from creating pedal notes in the higher notes of a chord.

Here are examples of pedal notes transforming otherwise familiar chords:


Chords like these are used quite a bit in rock music to change the sound and make it a bit more memorable.

Here are links to a few songs that make good use of these "pedal-type" chords.

Every Rose Has it's Thorn- Poison
Wonderwall- Oasis
You and Me- Lifehouse

Try them for yourself and come up with your own ideas!

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Collaborative Guitar Project

Okay folks, your group has been asked to perform a cover song for a "Save the Penguins" benefit album. A list of songs is posted on our website. (30 basic songs in the links section)
Your group has to choose a song and work out the chords and strumming. Each person in your group must participate in the performance. Not everyone has to play each chord or play them all the same way (not everyone needs the same strumming for example). 
The goal is to perform the song in class where it will be recorded for this fictitious benefit album.

This will happen over 3 consecutive class meetings.

  • Meeting 1 - establish the group, pick song and work on chords and style.
  • Meeting 2 - practice the song and make adjustments to the performance.
  • Meeting 3 - perform the song live and record the results

Thank you (and the Penguins thank you)

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Beginning Picking Exercise (downstrokes)

We are focusing in on improving our picking. Here is a (relatively) fun picking exercise (from that can help improve the accuracy of your picking as you move across the strings. Here are some tips for playing this exercise:

  • You can rest the side of your hand close to the bridge of the guitar or use your fingertips to guide your hand
  • Play slowly and evenly with the pick hand
  • Try not to look at your pick hand while playing
  • Use any finger to fret the note on the first string