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.