Reevaluate Your Guitar Goals

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What more can you wish for when you’ve achieved most of the goals you had in the past?

I’m pretty grateful for my life right now and all the things I’ve experienced and accomplished.

I’ve played in a lot of different bands, done hundreds of gigs, played music for a living, met a beautiful girl, got married, traveled to beautiful countries, started teaching guitar for a living from my home studio, started a blog, got three kids and made some really good friends along the way. Of course, that’s the short version.

While I’m really happy with accomplishing a lot of the goals I had, goals can also change once you get older. Life changes, circumstances change, you change and so it’s not that strange your goals change along with you.

Lately I read something in a book that really struck me.
Let’s fast forward a couple of years. Suppose you are somewhere around 85 years old, you are lying on your death bed and look back on your life. Are there still things you wish you had done in your life or regret you didn’t have? Think about it for a moment.

Now let’s rewind again. Read More »

How to Memorize Music and Lyrics Forever and Ever!

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Memorizing song lyrics hasn’t always been my strongest asset.

Learning chords, chord progressions, scales and guitar solos were always the easy part.

I’d go through them once or twice and they were stored in my brain for ages. But those nasty lyrics didn’t seem to get further than my short term memory.

I ultimately tackled this problem by using a learning technique called spaced repetition.

Spaced repetition works with graduated time intervals. It makes use of the spacing effect where you learn something several times spaced over a long time span.

Instead of cramming (hastily and intense studying at the latest possible moment) which is great for storing huge amounts of information for a short period of time, spaced repetition will pass the information from the short term memory onto the long term memory and make it last indefinitely.

This technique was first discovered by Hermann Ebbinghaus, a german psychologist who experimented with the study of memory and did some extraordinary findings. He contributed to science with brilliant insights on the forgetting curve, the learning curve and the spacing effect.

While you can apply the spaced repetition technique to any kind of (musical) information, we’ll take “memorizing lyrics” as an example. Read More »

How to Play The Most Common Types of 7th Chords

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7th chords are over the place in every style of music.

There is the dominant 7th chord which is the main ingredient for blues and the major 7th chord which you can find a lot in jazz music, but also chords like the minor 7b5 and diminished 7 are part of the jazz chord vocabulary.

Well to be honest, I don’t think there is a 7th chord that you don’t find in jazz music.

The minor 7 and dominant 7 chords are very common in pop music and also the major 7 is not unusual. Today we’ll discuss the most common types of 7th chords in music.

For each 7th chord you can see four examples (see images below). The first two chords on the left are open chord shapes (containing open strings) and the two chords on the right are moveable chord shapes (containing no open strings). The first moveable chord has the root on the low E-string and the second has the root on the A-string. I’ll explain…

A moveable chord can be moved all across the neck and played in every key. For example if you take the Gmaj7 chord (see image below, third chord from the left). The note on the low E-string is your root note. In this example it’s a G note. If you move the entire chord up a half step (1 fret) it becomes a G#maj7 chord. Your root note has now moved up to the 4th fret low E-string which is a G# note. (So if your root note is a G# note that means your chord is G#maj7. Move the entire chord up another half step your root note becomes an A note so your chord becomes Amaj7.

The same applies for the moveable Cmaj7 chord shape (fourth chord from the left). Here the root note is on the A-string. The root note is on the third fret A-string which is a C note, so it’s a Cmaj7 chord. Move the entire chord up a whole step (2 frets) your root note becomes a D note so your chord becomes Dmaj7.

You can do this with all the other moveable chord shapes as well.

– Practice and memorize all the common types of 7th chords shown below.
– Play songs with 7th chords to hear and recognize how they are applied.
– Locate the root of the moveable chord shapes and practice them in different keys.

Okay, it’s time to expand your chord vocabulary!
Read More »

20 Ways to Improve Your Improvisation Skills

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Learning to improvise is a covetable skill and it is the next step to becoming a more accomplished guitar player once you’ve mastered a decent amount of guitar solos.

Improvisation gives you the freedom to express and explore your creativity on the guitar.

When you’re the lead guitar player in a band it’s a necessity but also an incredible feeling to be able to compose a solo on the spot anytime it’s required.

Delivering a fresh, original, sweet rocking solo will be the icing on the cake.

In truth, improvisation is really the spontaneous and creative reorganization of things you already know. So you need to build and accumulate a soloing vocabulary from which you can create.

Here are 20 ways to build that vocabulary and improve your improvisation skills.

Apply these tips to your daily practice routine to get the best out of yourself!

Here are the keys:

1 – Learn new licks
Keep amassing fresh original licks from different styles and genres.

2 – Listen good and listen a lot
Listen, really listen to guitar solos of your favorite guitarists and also listen to various guitar players to expand your horizon. Study their phrasing. Read More »

How to Play Guitar and Sing at The Same Time

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Once you know how to play some chords and strum a few songs, the next step is to sing along with the rhythm you are playing.

It’s a great feeling being able to play and sing at the same time.

Developing this skill will open up a whole new world for you. You can entertain friends and family or learn to perform and play for an audience.

For me it’s also a feeling of freedom. Whenever I feel like it, I pick up my guitar and start playing and singing my favorite songs. It makes me feel good instantly.

Learning to play and sing at the same time is tough in the beginning, but if you follow the tips below and practice regularly you will get the hang of it.

Work hard, have fun and reap the benefits!

1 – Start off easy
First things first. Pick a song you like and something that is easy to play. A familiar song with easy chords and an easy strumming pattern.

2 – Listen first
Before you start trying to play and sing simultaneously you first need to listen to the song quite a few times. Listen to the song on your iPod, iPad or whatever device you prefer, until you know the song inside out. Listen to the melody, listen to the lyrics, listen to the guitar and listen to the beat of the song. Try to count the beats. You can do this by listening to the kick (bass drum) and snare of the drummer. Read More »

50 of The Best Alternative Guitar Songs of the 90s

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The 90’s. Oh dear, they were really good times for young guitar players like myself who adored rock music.

There were so many alternative rock bands back then you got lost in the woods, but that didn’t bother most of us.

Not that everything was great, but at least it was guitar music playing on the radio.

Nowadays I even like some of the songs that I didn’t really dig back then. It has all become nostalgia.

They make me think of the good times or maybe I just listen to those songs differently now. Has my alternative taste expanded? It doesn’t matter. The bands and their songs that were so awesome then have just become more awesome after all these years. Those cranked up guitars just got better.

Favorites? Of course: REM, Radiohead, Alanis Morissette, Oasis, Beastie Boys and the Red Hot Chili Peppers, but it was great putting the entire list together.

Yes, there were many more songs that i wanted to add, but fifty seemed like a nice round number. So here you are. Read More »

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