Saturday, March 17, 2018

Motivation and music.

I love guitar just about as much as I love my cats which is a lot. However, I still struggle with getting motivated to work towards creating music in a productive meaningful way. I think there is a real two edged sword at play -  pun intended. In my opinion the best way to get better at creating music is to play what you love and play a lot. This sounds easy in theory but a real issue I have is noodling - see video below.  Unless I’m rehearsing for band practice I tend to pick up a guitar a lot and just mess around.  There is nothing wrong with that it just can be unproductive and leave your playing in a rut. The solution of course is some disciplined practice schedule.

My biggest problem with that is I don’t like a regimented routine. I find it easy to suggest a practice plan for students but feel trapped if I try to follow one myself.  I think the biggest thing holding me back is my fear that being diciplined will somehow stifle creativity. However if I honestly assess my recent progress and creative output plainly there is no downside to trying an alternative approach.

Now the best things to practice (again with an eye to music you love) are the things that you struggle with.  Things you are already good at need much less practice. The danger here is practicing material that you find difficult can leave you feeling burnt out and not enjoying practice.  To remedy this I think you need to find a happy medium between playing songs and developing repertoire and pursuing technique and musical improvement. Ideally you could find songs or write Etudes that fulfill both. So if you want to try some fast legato work and your pinky needs improvement maybe some Randy Rhoads era Ozzy would fit the bill. Now that sounds easy.  The real challenge here is honestly picking material that is hard enough that it is a challenge but not so hard that you hate to practice it and find yourself failing miserably when learning it. I think the solution to this is never be reluctant to critically assess your weaknesses. Try to begin this process with something a little below where you would like to be.  Make the first couple routines easy to build confidence and begin to increase the difficulty level once your set on a routine you can stick to.

So I’m gonna give that advice a try and update any progress here.

Sunday, August 9, 2015

Drop D Guitar Riff

Guitar riffs don't always have to be difficult to sound cool. This guitar riff is pretty basic. I am tuned down to drop D if you want to play along. The main part of this guitar riff only uses three notes with a chromatic walk down at the end. I will be looking at some solo ideas over this progression later on my website if your interested.

Questions, comments requests? Let me know on twitter @jimifan

*note in the tab I repeat the section without the walk down three times I forgot to notate that in tab and music notation.

Chromatic Country Guitar Lick

Today we look at a chromatic country guitar lick in the key of G. The lick uses open strings and pull-offs and is centered around a 16th note rhythm pattern. Practice this slowly with a metronome before you try playing it up to tempo and beyond. I've including a slowed down section in the video.

Any questions let me know on twitter @jimifan

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Melodic Guitar Lick in the Key of D

I don't know a lot about Ed Sheeran. He seems like a nice guy though and I like that. I do love his song "Thinking Out Loud". I decided to learn it after it was tabbed out in a recent issue of Guitar World magazine - August 2015 if your looking for it. As millions of people already know it is a really great song. It is really fun to play on guitar and has some nice rhythmic phrasing if you want to practice muting on an acoustic guitar in a strumming pattern.

The chord progression for the main part breaks down to basically a simple I IV V change using D G and A major. This progression is the basis for thousands of songs. After I learned the song I wanted to try and come up with a melodic lick over a similar progression. The guitar lick itself is pretty easy but I like the way it sounds. I threw in a few improvised licks in between. Here is the tab for the main lick:

Monday, June 22, 2015

Fusion Guitar Lick

A break from the vinyl inspired guitar licks today. I was messing around with a chord progression and came up with this fusion sounding guitar lick.It is based around the E Major scale.

The chord progression is based around these chords.

 Here is the tab for the guitar lick.

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Vinyl Guitar Lick - Pink Floyd - A Momentary Lapse of Reason

Today's guitar lick was inspired by the Pink Floyd song 'On the Turning Away' I drew inspiration from the great solo Gilmour plays on this track with his iconic blues rock tone.

The chord progression goes Em|C|Em|C|D|C|Em The lead guitar lick is based around the E Minor Scale.

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Vinyl Guitar Licks - Def Leppard - Hysteria

Today's guitar lick is inspired by the great Def Leppard album 'Hysteria'.  This was a favourite of mine when it was released and it still sounds great today. The production on this album is amazing and it has a huge sound that is still clear and clean thanks to producer extraordinaire Mutt Lange. Guitarists Steve Clark (RIP) and Phil Collen have a great interplay and both sound fantastic.

I was inspired today by the song 'Love Bites'. I tired to come up with a lead melodic guitar part  played over a moving chord progression. The chord progression I used was:

G5  |  Eb5  |  C5 |  Bb5 C5 |

Here is the guitar tab for the lead part. In the video I played the tab as written a couple of times then just jammed over the progression.