Sunday, December 1, 2013

Jam over last Progression

Just wanted to show a brief video jamming over the last guitar progression we looked at. Guitar is in Drop A Tuning Down a whole step:A G C F A D. I've stuck mainly to notes from the B minor/ D Major scale. If any of the guitar licks catch your ears let me know and I can tab them out. Cheers.

Drop A Chord Progression

This is a chord progression using Drop A Tuning Down a whole step:A G C F A D. I thought this progression sounded cool so I wanted to share it. We'll look at some guitar soloing ideas over this progression in the next post.

Saturday, November 30, 2013

Drop A Guitar Riff #2

Another Drop A tuning guitar riff. Guitar is tuned from low to high A G C F A D.
This guitar riff is triplet based so three notes per beat.

Drop A Guitar Riff

Been playing in Drop A tuned down a whole step lately so I thought I'd share a guitar riff I came up with in this tuning. The guitar is tuned low to high A G C F A D. Tuned down a whole step and then drop the low E to an A note. I  use pretty heavy palm muting to keep the second section sounding a little tighter.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Capo Lick

I've been learning a few songs that use a capo. A capo is basically a movable fret that lets you use different notes as "open strings" I've used a guitar tuned down a half step for this guitar lick but capo-ed at the 4th fret. All notes in the guitar tab are as written except the open string notes are actually at the 4th fret because of the capo. The riff is all eighth notes played at a slow tempo. Let the notes bleed into each other and ring as long as possible. Cheers.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Drop D Rhythm Guitar Riff

So I am way late to the party but have just started listening to a fabulous band you probably already know - "Snow Patrol". Loving their last album from 2011 and just starting to delve into their back catalog. Some great passionate and heartfelt music. I found a song called "Hands Open" which has a some cool fairly simple riffs in drop d tuning. After I learned the song I came up with this riff. The only real similarity is the tuning however. You should totally check out the song though its fun to play. Hope you dig the riff. If you have problems following the video I can tab it out if requested. The tracking on the video is a bit weird but the audio should be cool.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Funk / Fusion Guitar Lick

Here's a little funk/ fusion guitar lick. Standard tuning with capo on the fourth fret but there are no open strings so you don't need. It does tend to alter the feel higher up the neck so I'd try it if you got it.

Watch the rests in the music and tab notation and listen to the video to get a feel for the guitar and backing rhythm.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Picking Exercise

So I am trying to tackle the monumental ( for me anyway) task of learning J.P. Cormier's guitar arrangement of 'Dixie Breakdown' on "Primary Color" which is very similar Mark O'Connor's version on "Markology". The song is a pretty up tempo banjo piece by Don Reno.There is a passage that uses a picking pattern on three strings that is difficult to get up to speed. In addition to isolating the passage I also wrote a little guitar lick that uses the  picking pattern as a starting point and then moves through some triads using the same picking pattern.

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Open String Acoustic Guitar Lick

Here is a guitar lick I played on acoustic which incorporates some repeating patterns and the open E string. The guitar tab is below. You can see that all the notes are 16th notes. You can loop sections of this lick or the whole lick together. I think it sounds pretty cool up to speed. Makes for a great practice exercise that is musical too. Start slowly with a metronome and use alternate picking.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Open String Picking Exercise

Here is a guitar practice exercise that focuses on picking open strings in combination with fretted notes. This exercise is basically a one bar 16th note pattern that repeats. The same pattern can also be played on the open B string. I've written out guitar tab for both examples. When you have got both guitar licks under your fingers try combining different sections of the two licks together.

Bring on the Bluegrass

Ok every once and awhile I get the urge to learn some bluegrass. Most recently the bug was rekindled by seeing the amazing J.P. Cormier play. Great set by the way included 'Jerry's Breakdown', 'Dixie Breakdown' and 'Blue Angel'. Anyway this prompted me to pick up the acoustic and try to come up with a little bluegrass style guitar lick of my own. This is a pretty basic guitar lick. Bluegrass guitarists in my opinion are like jazz players the best of them are select in company and monster players. I freely admit I am a total novice at this style. Aside from JP whom I've mentioned I love Tony Rice and the multi-instrumentalist Mark O'Connor.

I kept this guitar lick based around the key of G. Nothing too fancy. The phrasing is slightly different from the written tab so listen to the music for the rhythm. I played this in standard tuning but with a capo at the second fret.

Alternate Picking Exercise

Here is a 16th note based alternate picking guitar exercise to help both finger independence and alternate picking. Try to use on finger per fret beginning on the 7th fret to the 10th fret. Use strict alternate picking for the exercise. As discussed in the video you can break this guitar exercise into two parts and loop each part in isolation treating them as two separate exercises if you want. The best way to practice this is with a metronome. Start at a comfortable pace where you can play through the exercise without any mistakes then gradually increase the beats per minute.

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Open String Legato Lick

I was messing around with "Summer Song" by Joe Satriani and decided to try to come up with a legato guitar lick over a static A chord. In the video I try to follow the tab for the first part then expand on the lick a little. The legato part is played in triplets using the open G string as a start point for each triplet grouping.

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Legato Lick

A quick legato guitar lick today. I got a chance to see Joe Satriani last night and watching him rip up the fretboard was really inspiring. The guitar lick is loosely based around the A Harmonic minor scale but I tended to favor the D# when improvising around this pattern which is not in that scale. This lick sounds great repeated really focus on hitting the F note on the first beat as you loop this phrase.

Friday, October 4, 2013

The importance of Listening

Ok so the guitar lick I posted yesterday completely in the wrong key. My guitar was tuned down but not the backing track. I'm going to leave it up to demonstrate the differences but I recorded a version in standard tuning so you could hear the way it should have been. Lowering every thing down works sometimes but you'll note the increased tension when its not in the right key. I could tell something was off when I recorded it but it didn't hit home until I listened through a small speaker - with the guitar turned up I didn't hear the track clear enough.

Here is the guitar tab again. If you want to hear the "error version" it is in the last post.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Guitar is Like ... Movable blues

Guitar is like a box of chocolates, no wait its like pool no its like painting. This is leading into nothing, well actually that isn't true. That modified line from "Forrest Gump" just popped into my head and I felt compelled to use it no matter how stupid or nonsensical many people will find it. I used it because I liked it and thought it was funny. Yesterday I was listening to a podcast with Joe Satriani and Steve Morse and Steve was discussing how you have to pursue and make the kind of music that is in you no matter what other peoples opinions or how popular that style may be at the moment. This is not to say you shouldn't practice and strive for becoming a better musician. But you shouldn't let the flavor of the month dictate what you are playing or restrict you from expressing yourself on your instrument.

Today were going to talk about Stevie Ray Vaughan. It is his birthday today. RIP Stevie. SRV epitomized pouring feeling into your playing and playing from the heart. He didn't change his style to play with Bowie he just went into the studio and played his own way and it worked because it was genuine. As I get older I may just be more cynical but it seems to me that many guitarists today lack their own voice. Now it is not an easy task to establish your own style on any instrument but I believe that should be a primary goal. In my opinion, which is the only one I've got, you have to strive to be fearless when playing. You can't be hung up on making a mistake or restrict yourself. You've got to be free and open yourself up to people. Ironically I am the exact opposite of this in every other aspect of my life except music.

One way to get self confidence to play without fear is to know your instrument. The more command you have over your playing the freer you will be. One really useful piece of knowledge for guitarists is to know the notes on the neck. A great practice exercise in a musical context is learning guitar licks in several different places on the neck - the same notes but a different position and/or a different octave.

Today we are going to look at a guitar lick played in a few different positions and octaves. As a tip of the hat to SRV we're going to focus on a bluesy guitar lick using the minor pentatonic scale. The easiest transition is moving the shape up an octave. Here we are tuned down a half step to play along. We're using a lick based around the G Minor Pentatonic scale. Played first at the third fret then up an octave at the 15th fret then a variation on the lick starting on the G note at the 8th fret of the B string. To fit in with the progression I play some different licks between the octave licks. I added a few variations on at the end of the video.
So at the very least if you take anything out of this learn the 4 positions of the G note that we used. First fret 3 and 15th string. Eighth fret second string and fifth fret fourth string.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Guitar Playback Contest.

If you tend to procrastinate like me you still have a little time to enter the Guitar Playback 60 second guitar solo contest at

There have been lots of great entries posted you can listen to some at

The backing track for this solo was way outside my normal comfort zone but I tried to embrace the change and put down something worthwhile. I tried to center things around the suggested scales of F# Minor and a bit of the F# Phrygian mode. Hope you enjoy it. I encourage you to try posting your own submission or at least download the backing track and try to come up with some guitar licks over the progression that you like.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Blues Rock Guitar Lick

Here is a blues rock guitar lick over the last progression we looked at. It is primarily based around the E Major Pentatonic Scale. I played the lick as written out in the tab and then improvised a bit using similar phrases. Guitar is tuned down a half step if you want to play along. Cheers.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Chordal Style Rhythm and Lead

In the last guitar lick we look at a Hendrix inspired riff from his days with the "Band of Gypsys". Today we shift gears a bit. This guitar lick while still inspired by Jimi draws on the style he learned with Curtis Mayfield that uses some very cool chord voices and incorporates lead lines and rhythm together. In the first video I've played the tab as written out. In the second video I improvised a couple lead lines using the E Major Pentatonic scale.

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Univibe Guitar Lick

This past week was the 43 anniversary of the passing of Jimi Hendrix. The music Jimi created in his brief but prolific career has altered the course of modern music and produced unsurpassed levels of creativity and improvisation especially for rock guitarists. While Jimi's underlying style and sound were apparent whenever he played a lot of his tunes run a wide and diverse range from chordal based rhythms in "The Wind Cries Mary" to the controlled feedback and sheer screaming in his interpretation of the "Star Spangled Banner". Today I wanted to do a guitar lick that was inspired by Jimi's time with the "Band of Gypsy's. I've used a uni-vibe guitar effect with some fuzz to create a tone suited to that style. I've played over a chord progression that uses the E7#9 chord that Hendrix made famous in "Purple Haze". The chord progression is basically this chord then an octave shape that goes from G to F#.

For the guitar lick I played it through as written a couple times then improvised briefly over the progression to give you a few more ideas to play around with. I've kept mainly within the E  Minor Pentatonic scale although I do add the F# note. I've tuned down a half step for this guitar lick if you want to play along.
RIP Jimi.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Article for Guitar Coach Magazine

I've been busy the last few days but wanted to share an article I wrote for Guitar Coach Magazine. It covers a beginner/intermediate level 12 bar blues in E. There is  guitar tab and video included in the article. It was fun to write and I hope to contribute more to this publication. Here is the link. If you enjoy the article please share and let the publisher know. Cheers.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Metal Guitar Riffs and Licks

A few more metal guitar riffs and licks for today. Tuned down C# G# C# F# A# D# which is Drop D but down a half step. The rhythm guitar kicks of with a riff using 16th notes and muting on the 6th string followed by a power chord section using a bar shape on the 4th 5th and 6th strings. The first guitar lick we look at is a melodic idea beginning on the E note on the G string and resolvind to the D note on the fourth fret 12th string. The second guitar lick we look at is a legato run that starts lower on the neck on the A note and resolves again to a D.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Metal Guitar Riffage

Sometimes just picking up the guitar is enough to get inspired. I kicked of Saturday morning with a cup of coffee looking forward to practicing the new Trivium song Strife. Which rocks by the way. Here it is if you haven't seen it yet.

Anyway I had the guitar tuned to C# G# C# F# A# D# as I've been playing a lot of the new Avenged Sevenfold which also rocks - so I was ready to go. I fired up my practice amp and this lick popped into my head so I quickly laid down a rhythm tracks and lead over it. The guitar lick is 16th notes with muting from the right hand. Hope you like it. Cheers.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Two Fingers and the Truth

No guitar tab today but I promise you won't even miss it. I'm gonna show you some rootless chord shapes that will enable you to play a complete 12 bar blues guitar progression with only two fingers on the fretting hand. I've explained everything in the video. We are in the key of C for this example but the shapes are moveable so you can use these chords in a lot of different keys.

Any questions let me know.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Trippin up on Triplets - More Acoustic Blues Guitar

I've been on an acoustic blues kick today so I figured I'd post another solo acoustic blues guitar piece.There are a bunch of triplets in this piece - hence my super creative title. Yep I just used hence in a guitar blog. Pure genius I know. So the guitar kicks off with a four bar section that repeats two descending triplet sections basically kicking off a 12 bar blues with two turnarounds. Were in the key of E again and the piece mainly uses the E blues scale. The main exception to this is the use of the C# in the triplet patterns at bar 10. I've tried to explain things in the video. I've posted the guitar tab below to help things along too. If you enjoy my videos in general please let me know if the breakdown and explanation in the guitar video are helpful. They take more time to record so I'd value your input on their effectiveness. I've switched over from the "followers" button to the new "google plus followers" so click that widget to become a google plus follower. You can also stay up to date by following me on twitter @jimifan.

Ok here is the tab and video. As always any questions let me know. Happy strumming.