There are 4 chords in guitar I like to call The Magic Chords. These 4 chords are used in so many songs you wouldnt believe! Check out the video to see what they are and how to play them!
Every now and then I get asked how long it will take to learn guitar. If Im feeling cheeky I might say "How long is a piece of string". Mostly Ill ask "How much do you want to know?".
I know what people are trying to ask, mostly how long until I could play rhythm guitar in most songs. The problem is everyone is different. Not just different in background ability or flexibility or dexterity but also in the amount of time they can or want to realistically put into the instrument day in and day out.
I have seen people take 6 months to get most chords, Ive seen people take a couple years to get most chords. The good news is that even without regimented structure you will always improve. Always. With structure and push and guidance you will always improve faster.
So without meeting you and instructing you for a while theres no way I can tell you how fast you could learn anything. But, I can tell you how you can improve faster. Play the material given AND find some stuff outside of that you enjoy.
This method combines what you NEED to improve on and to ENJOY the benefits of what you have learnt.
How long will it take to learn? The answer depends on you. But hey, itll be a fun ride along the way!
Till next time,
Last time we talked about playing using the 3 S's: Slow, Steady and Soft. Lets look at the other crucial component of learning a solo; Vocalisation.
Vocalisation means to sing out the solo. You could also hum it or mutter along to it. The main thing is that you can make a sound when all the notes should be in the correct order.
To play a solo from a song you need to know it. If you think you know a solo to a song, try and air guitar and sound out the notes with your mouth. If you truly know how the solo sounds you will be able to mouth the entire solo as easily as singing the words.
Once you can Vocalise, then you can connect the tabs with what your fingers are doing with the original piece. Vocalising will also make it easier to slow down the solo in your own head.
So give it a go! Air guitar away! It really is a useful tool!
'Till next time,
How do you get a solo from a song you love sounding like the record? You make think its just practice practice practice but you'd be surprised!
When it comes to solo's a common issue is you can get one part sounding ok, but every time you try to play further you get stuck or there is a long pause between parts of the solo that you have learnt. To smooth out a solo and play like the guys you love to listen to you are gunna have to change the way you learn them. I have 2 tips for this;
Lets look at the 3 S's today.
1st S: Slow
When learning a solo you have to look at it as just that, learning! Think about learning to drive, would you jump straight onto the motorway without first learning to go around a parking lot? or up and down the driveway? When learning solos we have to tackle them the same as we would learning to drive.
Our brains learn the things we do. Not what we intend to, what we actually do. If you are making mistakes time and time again your brain will be learning those mistakes. Slow down, give yourself time, give yourself a break! the guitarist you are trying to play like has probably been playing for much longer than you or has been doing it for a job!
So, slow down! avoid mistakes when going slow or when you try to go fast you'll crash! Going slow helps with the next part...
2nd S: Smooth
So you are going at a speed where your mind can keep up with everything. Or are you? Here's a test. Can you play the section without pausing? If you have to pause, you have to play slower.
If you rush sections, your brain learns to rush and pause, rush and pause. It doesn't matter how fast you can play one part, If you have to pause before the next part it wont sound right.
If you can go slow enough that you can play smooth enough you will find you can learn the solo much much quicker.
Now these 2 S's will get you far, youll be able to play ever so slightly faster each time you play the solo. But have you ever felt your grip tightening on the strings so much your whole hand cramps up? How does your favourite guitarist play? with this last S
3rd S: Soft
"Soft? that doesnt sound like rock or metal! Every note should be slammed out!"
Its true though, every guitarist has to learn to play with just enough force to make the sound clear.
Try this, touch a fretting finger to a string, dont hold down, just touch. Then start picking. You should be making a muted sound. Now, slowly push your finger down while picking the string. stop pushing once you hear a nice clear note. How hard is that compared to what you normally do? Chances are itll feel like nothing at all!
And that is the key to playing fast! watch the solo guitarist playing. Do their fingers or hands look tense? not at all!(surprising when you think how many people they are playing in front of!) In fact, it looks like the solo is easy for them!
Play soft, Play Slow, Play Smooth. Put it all together and you will play and sound so much better!
'till next time,
We have probably all tried them at some stage. We come across a song we really love but damn...there's a barre chord in there!
We love to hate them but really they are like vegetables, we have to have them! Barre chords will allow you to be able to play all of the chords on the guitar! And just like vegetables you can learn to love them and even enjoy them.
The hardest thing is getting that first finger to hold all the strings hard enough so that they all make a sound. If you are having trouble with this try this: make sure your first finger is completely straight from your fingernail all the way down to that first knuckle.
This makes sure you are pressing down with a good clamp from your thumb and we aren't just pushing the tip of the finger down.
Try doing this and then playing through the strings one by one. If you happen to find strings that aren't making a sound chances are the string may be in one of the natural creases of your finger.
To fix this try moving your finger up or down a little, or try rolling the finger more onto the side of the finger.
Do this exercise for maybe 2 minutes before playing a barre chord. After a week you will have definite improvement. After 3 weeks this improvement on technique will be permanent. But only if you do it a little every day.
That ought to make these things less scary!
Till next time
This is a question most of us think of, even further down the track of our musical careers!
A lot of numbers are thrown around. A common statement is 30 minutes a day minimum. This is great in a perfect world with a vacuum absent of any of life's distractions. In the real world we have things that come up. For kids, there's homework, extra curricular activities, other things they like doing. For adults there are all the chores we need to do, excercise, looking after kids or pets or ourselves! Not to mention other activities we like doing too.
My view on practice is different. When first starting it is important to try to set a regular time that you could possibly pickup the guitar every 2nd day. Be it after dinner or before school. This initial period will last a month or so, to ensure a habit has a chance to set in. This gives us a chance to steadily improve as well and give us a few tricks under our belt to make us feel like there are some things we can do that arent a massive chore. This should ideally be rather short sessions, 10 to 15 minutes.
After the initial period we can feel better about the guitar. We can see improvements, we have a few chords that we can reliably play and a few songs we feel good about. Now if you really focus on the guitar, what you are doing, the fact you are living what you have wanted to do and pat yourself on the back for starting. You can also say to yourself "I am a guitarist"
Now what does a guitarist do? They PLAY guitar!
Not practice but PLAY! This is your instrument now! after a month you will have songs you can play, Riffs you can jam out
From now we no longer say "how long should I practice" we say "What should I PLAY"
Once we shift from a time based mindset to a task based mindset we can make real progress.
Your Task can be "I have this song I want to play" and you will play through the song. Afterwards you should reflect. How did it go? what parts were hard? what parts should be my next task?
The amount of time you practice is irrelevant. The tasks you complete, those are how you should look at playing guitar between lessons.
Till next time, keep PLAYING!