August 14, 2011

Catching up

I know I haven't been on schedule with my posts so I apologize for that. I've been reading some of the comments and I'm gonna answer some questions.

Q: Can you detail the difference between the harmonic / melodic scales, and maybe link to some audio?
A: The harmonic scale is a 1 2 3b 4,5 6b 7 scale pattern while the melodic minor scale (ascending) is 1 2 b3 4 5 6 7. The reason I say ascending is to avoid confusion. It is often believed that the melodic minor scale has two patterns: ascending and descending. The descending pattern, however, is actually just a natural minor scale ( 1 2 3b 4 5 6b 7b ). As for links, I found this useful, but long video on YouTube. You could start the video around 3:10

Q: Any tips for tuning a guitar without a tuner?
A: The best option would be to look for an online guitar tuner and try your best to carefully listen to the pitch difference. Otherwise, there really isn't much else you could do :/

Again, I'm really sorry I haven't been posting lessons. I should be free for the majority of this week so I'll be writing, attempting to teach, and posting videos of some ideas I came up with. See you then!

August 8, 2011

Intro to Minor Chords

This lesson is very similar to Intro to Major Chords
Play a minor scale - the natural "1 2 3b 4 5 6b 7b": the harmonic "1 2 3b 4 5 6b 7"; or the melodic minor "1 2 3b 4 5 6 7" pattern. Now isolate the 1st, 3rd, and 5th notes in one of the scales (they're all the same) and play them. That's a minor  chord!
Natural Minor Scale Pattern
   1  2  3  4  5  6  7  *
*-octave of 1

Here's your Natural Minor Chord
   C                              C
e|---| But it would sound more  |---|
B|---| complete if played like  |-1-|
G|-0-| this                     |-0-|
D|-1-|                          |-1-|
A|-3-|                          |-3-|
E|---|                          |---|
I gave you the chords last time so you can go out there and search for more chords. Remember that you're here to teach yourself and I'm just a guide :) I know, I suck, but you'll thank me one day.

August 6, 2011

Scale The Summit: Masterclass (The Levitated)

I'm feeling extremely lazy today and I have to go to work soon anyway. I just thought I'd share this with you. Its a tutorial on how to play "The Levitated" by Scale The Summit. I think the members of Scale The Summit are very talented and play with a lot of emotion. Check them out!

If you were looking for a lesson today, sorry :| Just practice your finger exercises and try to learn how to play a new song :)

August 4, 2011

Intro to Major Chords

Remember what I said about the scale degrees? WELL, that applies to here as well. Play a major scale - the regular "1 2 3 4 5 6 7" pattern. Now isolate the 1st, 3rd, and 5th notes in the scale and play them. That's a major chord!
e|-------------------------| Since the 1st and
B|-------------------------| 3rd note lie on
G|-------------------4--5--| the same string,
D|----------3--5--7--------| we must adjust
A|-3--5--7-----------------| our scale pattern
E|-------------------------| formula.
   1  2  3  4  5  6  7  *
*-octave of 1
alternate major scale pattern
   1  2  3  4  5  6  7  *
*-octave of 1

It seems that we still face a problem...or do we? The 3rd and 5th degrees share the same string, BUT I KNOW YOU ARE SMART AND WILL FIGURE THIS OUT. You know that D|5 is the same note as G|0, right??
Here's your major chord
   C                              C
e|---| But it would sound more  |-0-|
B|---| complete if played like  |-1-|
G|-0-| this                     |-0-|
D|-2-|                          |-2-|
A|-3-|                          |-3-|
E|---|                          |-0-|

Due to the fact that the 1st, 3rd, and 5th notes of the C major scale are C, E, and G, adding more of the same notes help the chord sound more "whole", if you will.

Have fun.
   A   B   C   D   E   F   G

You can literally play hundreds of songs, just by knowing how to play 3 or 4 chords.

August 3, 2011

Personal Time

I usually make posts every other day but I don't have much to do today so I decided to tell you about myself. I've been playing guitar for about five to six years. When I first started, my father taught me a few chords and showed me some songs to play. Although they weren't my favorite, I played them anyway, because there wasn't much else I could do at the moment. Gradually, my practice was paying off. It was about time to move on.
I used to be into mainstream pop rock when I first started playing and at this moment, I felt it was a challenge I could now attempt. I was slowly getting there - taking my time figuring things out. It wasn't until someone showed me what tablature was when my adventure really started.
At first, I was perplexed - confused by all of the numbers and letters - but once it was explained to me, it couldn't be any simpler. In fact, it made me wonder why sheet music existed at all. The only problem with tablature was that it forces the reader to listen to the song as they are learning it. Very few tablatures have tempos and time signatures, but I never minded this. The fact was, I could easily read how to play any song, which is a huge opportunity for a self-taught guitarist.
As I started to get better, I became friends with others interested in music. I remember, maybe into my second or third year of playing, an old friend of mine asked me to try out for his band. When I arrived, I showed them whatever skill I possessed (which wasn't much at the time, I promise). The try out ended up with them teaching me new guitar techniques that I still hold invaluable today.
I was jealous of my friends. They have been playing about as long as I have, but, they were so much better than me. I felt embarrassed when I sat there, quietly, as they played riffs I've never heard before. It was then that I realized that they have been exposed to more challenging music than I have. I took it upon myself to challenge myself even more, practice my skills, and someday give my friends someone to look up to.
I slowly started weave away from mainstream rock and found my self more interested in heavy metal. It first started with Metallica (LOL) and some of the other heavier bands one would find on MTV such as The Devil Wears Prada and Attack Attack!. Then I got more into bands like As I Lay Dying and Trivium, who I felt had much more to offer in musical talent.
At this point, it's been three years since that one band practice. The same old friend asked me to try out for the band. I showed them what I could play and some songs I wrote myself. They were impressed, but I was still mesmerized by my friend's ability to literally sweep up and down the neck now. I felt like I have been wasting my time. I found out about new, more technically challenging bands;but this time, I wasn't going to rely on other bands to guide me, nor try to please anyone else. I decided to start writing my own songs and challenging myself.
Within the past outings with my friends, I felt I was able to redeem myself of all the suck I carried with me. I found myself up to par - maybe even surpassing them, but I still can't consider myself a very good guitarist. I have a long way to go.

My top three favorite bands are Veil of Maya, Periphery, and Animals As Leaders. They have been my favorites and my inspirations since the past couple of months. I'm into very experimental riffs and heavier tunings, but I appreciate all forms of music. I'm currently in an experimental/progressive metal band. I will probably post more about it when we record more things.
My guitar videos on YouTube are how I record some ideas that I'm too lazy to tab out. They are generally done on the spot without any practice - I feel I don't need to impress anyone if it's just an idea and not an actual song just yet.

Here are some examples of my ideas

I can easily admit that I messed up a lot in these videos but, as I said earlier, perfection wasn't the purpose of recording these.
I really hope some people enjoy what I write and try to write and share their own music with the world.

August 2, 2011

The Importance of Finger Exercises

Our hands were designed to simply grasp and let go - not for lightning fast licks that run down the neck. Like all other exercises, you first must warm up to prevent injury. Warming up slowly increases your body temperature, which increases the flexibility of muscles, ligaments, tendons and cartilage - which leads to fewer strains, sprains and tears. It also increases blood flow, which will help you play harder and faster. 

When you first begin to practice, try to follow a routine. My routines vary each day but daily consist of warm-ups, many fret stretches, and taxing guitar chords. Depending on your preferred genre of music, a simple cover of a song or at least part of a song may suffice. As I grew more skilled, I tended to lean toward more physically demanding pieces - but everyone is different. 

Here is a good guitar exercise to build speed and dexterity.



You could even play this backwards if you like, but I'll let you practice your tablature reading skills for that. :)

15 minutes a day is all it takes to see great improvement.