Why You Have Trouble Writing Songs...

In this video I want to explain some of the most common problems that guitar players will face when they're trying to either write songs or play solos. The funny thing is, that for the most part, they're the same problem.

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Whether you're writing a song, or playing a guitar solo, many of the same problems will affect both of these creative areas. The root cause of a lot of the frustration (for why guitarists experience problems with applying their creativity), has to do with a lack of exposure to source material.

SOURCE MATERIAL:
What I mean by source material is, "where are you getting your creative ideas from." In this discussion, I'm going to explain two important lines of thought to help you move toward solving this issue, gain more source material and eventually help you begin writing better music.




Learn Every Idea You Think Sounds Cool:
Every guitar player who wants to rip out an nice melody line, or write a good /catchy riff, or play some smooth lead needs some reference points. Every guitar player who wants to do anything creative will need to start by building some back-ground awareness for how phrases they enjoy listening to (from other musicians), work on the guitar.

If you hear something cool, learn it... For example, let's say for instance that you hear a guitar part and you say to yourself, "that sounds really cool." Maybe it's a fast Pentatonic lick - like this...

Lick Example:


Whatever the interesting musical idea is, what you'll want to do next, is LEARN it. And, even better yet, learn it using your ear. Don't run to Google and look for somebody's TAB chart.

Learn it yourself by ear. Because, not only does this add another phrase to your repertoire, doing the transcription yourself also improves the overall skill of your ear.




Break Down the Structure of Popular Songs:
When I was attending the Musicians Institute, Paul Gilbert was in and out of the school teaching some classes when he wasn't on tour at the time, with his band, "Mr. Big." And, during one of his classes, he mentioned how he was learning some chord changes of a pop song by Amy Grant - called, "Baby, Baby."

 Baby, Baby: Amy Grant (#1 Billboard Hit in 1991)




Now, hearing that Paul Gilbert was learning a radio hit pop song surprised me because he was one of the greatest shredders around LA, and there he was learning an adult contemporary pop song. It just didn't make any sense to me at the time. I thought instead he'd be learning Steve Vai licks, or Yngwie Malmsteen runs, not chord changes from a Billboard pop tune. I just did not understand the point of learning music like that.

I mean, sure, I knew that Amy Grant song (Baby, Baby) was a #1 song on the Billboard charts. And, I knew it was catchy, but I still asked Paul why was he learning it. And, I'll never forget his answer, he said, "I just wanted to know what the chord changes were." 

That's it... I thought wow, what have I been missing all of these years by not learning the chord changes used in all of the #1 chart topping songs! And, what could I learn from studying them?

What was there to discover, and most of all what could I take in and use from all of these huge #1 chart-topping songs and then - apply into my own music...

The bottom line, is that those chart topping hits, became #1 for some reason. And, as I got older and met many more famous musicians, I learned that all of them did what Paul Gilbert did. Why? Because learning chords and melodies from the #1 hits, will pass along effective ideas that could be re-vamped and then re-applied differently in my own music.




Establishing Reference Points:
In order to be able to create cool ideas of your own, you're going to need to spend time learning what other musicians have done to; create licks, chord progressions and phrases, that you feel are effective musically.

You don't have to learn every song that hits #1 on the Billboard charts. But, if you hear something cool in a song, figure it out. That idea probably caught your attention for a reason. And, if you learn it, the next time that you sit down to try writing a melody, or to try composing a group of chords, or to make up a new guitar solo, you'll have reference points.

The more reference points you have, (the more song-writing ideas that are stored in the back of your mind), will help you jump forward with ideas that you can use quickly and easily to compose music. And, the music you compose will be both interesting and unique.

Reference points build creativity because even though some parts of what you'll do are based on another song or solo, you're still unique, and you'll do those ideas differently. 




VISIT THE WEBSITE:
Well, hey, thanks for joining me, If you'd like to Find Out What You Should Learn Next on Guitar - take a look at the courses over on my website at CreativeGuitarStudio.com.

My step-by-step; Beginner, Intermediate and Advanced courses will cover what you need to know, along with how to be able to move forward and become the best player that you can be. I've worked on these courses since 1992 and I feel that all together they're the best guitar program you'll ever find.

The courses will help you learn to identify what's required to get you up to the next level of guitar playing, in a very organized way, that makes sense. So, I look forward to helping you further at CreativeGuitarStudio.com ...Until next time - take care and we'll catch up again on the next lesson. Bye for now!

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Things You Need to Know About Power Chords

Power chords are one of the most popular ideas on guitar. They're used by guitarists in almost every style of music. However, most guitar players are not familiar with a lot of the details surrounding the power-chord...



Details like; the theory of Perfect Intervals, optional shapes for power chord patterns on the neck, or ways that the interval of the power chord can be used in licks and in riffs.... 

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In this lesson, we're going to run through a number of these ideas and make you better equipped with the use of the power chord on guitar. So, let's get started on this episode of the "Guitar Blog Insider," covering the "Things You Need to Know About Power Chords."



WHAT IS A "POWER-CHORD"?
Let's begin by quickly discussing what a Power Chord actually is. This term "Power Chord" refers to the use of the Perfect 5th interval. And, the Perfect 5th interval is a part of a group of other perfect intervals that are very balanced in their sound.

In fact, when Perfect intervals are struck, they project a uniform impression of tone, almost as if there were only a single tone existing, rather than two separate tones played together.

For example; the perfect group of intervals includes; Unisons and Octaves; the Perfect 4th and the Perfect 5th. When played, you can tell these are very balanced when they're struck together.

However, listen to the difference that a Major 3rd sound has in relation. Or how a Minor 6th interval sounds. After player other intervals, (Major and Minor for example), you can tell, the Perfect class of interval is far more balanced sounding compared to the other classes of Major and Minor. This can make for a big difference in sound when the perfect intervals are applied musically.



EXPLORING THE POWER-CHORD:
Next, I want to explore power chord layouts on the neck. The power chord is a very simple interval, since it only involves taking a starter tone, (what we'll call our root), and then traveling away from that root (five scale steps).

In the Major Scale, that would equal, two tones, a semi-tome and another tone. That's 7 half-steps. From a Root note of "A" that would take us up to an "E." From a "Bb" a Perfect 5th would take us up to an "F."


Play through the most common shapes for the power chord. These shapes make up some of the most popular shapes played in all kinds of styles of music.



RIFFS AND LICKS WITH POWER-CHORDS:
Along with the Power-chord shapes on the neck, another really interesting area where the power-chords 5th interval can come alive in our playing is with the 5th interval being used within both licks and riffs.

The sound created with this Perfect 5th interval approach is pretty cool. Mostly because of the strength of the impact that the 5th interval has upon our listener. For example, check out this 5th interval sliding lick that I've got for ya, it travels along the upper two guitar strings.

Lick #1). Upper two strings, 5th's ascending position shifting lick



Next, we'll go and flip that 5th interval around, creating a similar lick that still applies all the strength of our Perfect 5th (Power chord) interval.

Lick #2). String skipped 5th's sliding lick (4th and 2nd strings)




CONCLUSION:
The application of power-chord concepts (and the Power-chords foundational interval, the Perfect 5th), are abundant in music. And, the application of this popular sound on guitar is by no means limited to its typical use in Rock, and Heavy Metal music.

The Power-chord shape on the neck and the use of the Perfect 5th interval can go a long way in many different music styles. So, take some time to learn how to view the power chord patterns that we've introduced here, and spend time practicing how to take them into all of the different directions that we've discussed throughout this video.

The power-chord and the use of the Perfect fifth interval are a great sound with all types of really cool stylistic applications. Even if you only learn a couple of new Power-chord ideas, I'm sure you'll enjoy adding them into your next riff or guitar solo.

_________________________    _________________________

Well, I'd like to end the discussion by saying, thanks for joining me... If you want to learn more about what I do as an online guitar teacher, then head over to my website at creativeguitarstudio.com and sign up your FREE lifetime membership.

When you want more, you can always upgrade to either a Basic, or a Premium lesson package and start studying the guitar courses I've organized for the members of my website.

Also, I'd be interested to hear your thoughts on all of this in the comment section below... if you enjoyed this video, give it a thumbs up and subscribe for more on YouTube.

Thanks again and we'll catch up next week , for another episode of the, "Guitar Blog Insider."

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GUITAR SOLOING - LESSON 017: Sequence Your Way to Great Solos



January 19, 2018:
Lesson 017 - Sequence Your Way to Great Solos


Scale sequencing technique will organize scale tone groupings in ways that create a uniform collection of scale tones that repeat with an almost endless collection of note patterns. Learning how to build and apply sequences will greatly enhance your soloing skills. 

This lesson will help guitar players understand what a scale sequence is and you'll learn several ways to apply sequencing through major and minor scales. Rhythm duration and its relationship to sequencing will also be discussed. Examples through the curriculum will include both straight time eighth-note and sixteenth-note duration, as well as, triple meter...

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PART ONE:  In example one, a sequence is built from the scale tones of an "F Major" Pentatonic scale. It operates in straight-time feel across a series of eighth-notes. The sequence pattern involves groups of three scale tones.

Example two involves Minor Pentatonic in the key of "G Minor." The note groups of this sequence apply an eighth-note triplet rhythm in a compound group of three tones. 


This sets the impression of a six-note sequence descending through the tones of a "G Minor" scale. The progression is covered using two sequenced phrases that are two measures long for each. 




PART TWO:
In example three, a key of "C Minor" sequence uses the popular four-note sequence combination. This note grouping is one of the most popular sequences. However, in this example, the 4-note grouping does not travel linear through the scale tones. Instead it jumps over a scale tone in its second sequence.

Example four, is organized around the application of a sequence based upon the perfect 5th interval. The example is set in the key of "G Major." The sequence operates in two parts across a three measure phrase. Measure one introduces the first part which applies a 5th's sequence between the 4th and 3rd guitar strings. The sequence approaches a scale tone from below, then travels up a 5th, i.e., "B, C, G," to "A, B, F#," to "G, A, E." 

Daily Deal: Washburn Jazz Series J3TSK


 


Paid members can download the handout along with the MP3 jamtrack in the members area at: CreativeGuitarStudio.com

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Guitar Chords from Good to Spectacular

Have you ever tried taking a group of basic chord voicings further? By adding more notes, and getting them to sound richer? You'll often hear David Gilmour do this technique with chords, and so will Mark Knopfler, Jimmy Page and many others. This lesson, my goal will be to break down how basic sounding chords can have other notes added or even have certain notes replaced all together to take the sound of your chords from "Good" to "Spectacular."



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Good Sounding Progressions: Chord progressions are (more often than not) generally performed using basic open or using common barre chord patterns. And, while this is all well and good, the progressions will tend to come off as sounding fairly generic. 

While that could often be just what the song ordered, sometimes the chord changes within a piece can be greatly enhanced. In getting things started, here's a group of common 6th and 5th string Barre chords using just major and minor triads.

click the image above to enlarge full-screen

Let's break down all of the triad chords that I applied as barre-chord fingering patterns in the above progression. Study the patterns below, starting with the first chord of "B Minor," in the seventh fret-board position.




Spectacular Progressions - STEP ONE:
After you develop the skills for performing basic major and minor Barre Chords, you'll have the ability to perform chord progressions all across the neck in all of the musical keys. 

But, you can enhance the sound of your chord progressions even further by doing some really basic chord swaps. The first is simply stretching basic triad harmony out to seventh chord harmony. Let's do that with the progression that we've just learned. Here's the progression again, but using 7th-chords.



Just like we did in our example progression, let's break down all of these 7th quality chords - starting with the first chord of, "B Minor 7."



Spectacular Progressions - STEP TWO :
Once you've expanded the triad progressions out to seventh chord harmony, you can begin stretching your chords even further yet, by adding extensions like; 9th's, 11's and 13th intervals. 

You can also experiment with "add chord types" and suspended chords, inversions, as well as altered chords. Let's take this key of "B Minor" progression I've been jamming on and expand it out even further yet by adding even more new and unique chord concepts.


Just like we did in our last examples, let's break down all of these new chords - starting with the first chord of "B Minor 9." 

Take note that the "Dsus4" chord is inverted with the "A" tone in the bass.

CONCLUSION:
Learning how the evolution of guitar harmony operates is the objective of this lesson.

Step #1). simple intervals
Step #2). beginners open guitar chords
Step #3). barre chords, (for chord mobility all across the neck).
Step #4). seventh-chord harmony
Step #5). extended, inverted, suspended, 'add' chords
Step #6). altered chords

Once developed they all come together to form an amazing evolution of sound.

Once you learn how to create and control all of these unique chord qualities, (as guitar fingering patterns - on the neck), you'll be able to apply the type of chord you want, when you want it. You'll be able to make each chord fit with the way you hear music operating in your own compositions.


This is a critical factor to controlling sound on your instrument, because you'll learn how to play what you want, as you hear it happening in your mind. And, it's one of the most important skills to composing music. 

____________________ ____________________


Thanks for joining me, If you'd like to Find Out What You Should Learn Next on Guitar - take a look at the courses over on my website at CreativeGuitarStudio.com.




My step-by-step; Beginner, Intermediate and Advanced courses will cover what you need to know, along with how to be able to move forward and become the best player that you can be. I've worked on these courses since 1992 and I feel that all together they're the best guitar program you'll ever find.

The courses will help you learn to identify what's required to get you up to the next level of guitar playing, in a very organized way, that makes sense. So, I look forward to helping you further at CreativeGuitarStudio.com ...Until next time - take care and we'll catch up again on the next lesson. Bye for now!

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ACOUSTIC GUITAR 016: Acoustic Fingerstyle Jazz


Acoustic Guitar 016: 

Acoustic Fingerstyle Jazz...

If you spend time listening to acoustic jazz guitar players like, "Chet Atkins" or, "Earl Klugh," one of the things you'll notice right away is their smooth style and their amazing control over both chords and melody simultaneously. 

Acoustic finger-style jazz has a flowing interchange between how the harmony blends with the melody. It blends elements of; jazz, pop, and rhythm and blues influences. The blend creates its own particular brand of contemporary guitar music. 

In this episode of Acoustic Guitar we're going to explore finger-style jazz in; Swing, Free-Time and Straight-Time Feel, we'll study how to add melodic lines around chords using arpeggios as well as, altered harmony. When we're done, you'll have a number of ideas to start building your own brand of Acoustic Finger-style Jazz Guitar...

Daily Deal:


This lesson studies the core concepts that are used to perform guitar techniques and musical ideas in the style of acoustic jazz guitar...

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PART ONE:
Example one, demonstrates how backing chord harmonies can support short single note lines in a swing feel. A chord progression based in "Bb Major" is used to help integrate short melodic phrases diatonic to the key of "Bb Major." A jazz-swing feel compliments each chord along with the swung melodic statements.

Example two, shifts the feel of these integrated chord and harmony statements into the straight time feel. This example introduces a funky groove using slightly syncopated sixteenth-notes around chords from the key of "C Minor." The slightly off-time groove of the progression uses follow-up lines around chord punches of the key
.

_____________________  ♫  _____________________


PART TWOThe exercise in example three applies combinations of several different feels, techniques and duration. The phrases are both smooth and melodic and they bring together a jazzy blend of associated melody and harmony in the swing feel. The progression is based in the key of "C Major" and applies chord and melody using swung rhythms, alongside eighth-note triplets. The highlight of the example comes in the final measure with quarter-note chord punches.

Example four, includes one of the most popular techniques applied to acoustic fingerstyle jazz, the "free-time feel." Since many players in this style perform alone on-stage, this rhythmic technique (sometimes called "free-style rhythm"), is used abundantly in acoustic fingerstyle jazz. The lack of having any band members allows the solo guitarist to adjust the ebb and flow of time to suit personal taste and song interpretation.

In example four, the key of "F Minor" progression uses a blend of free-time along with straight-time eighth, triplets and sixteenth-notes to form a jazzy harmony and melody. The elements all come together to create an interesting array of rhythmic content.

Additionally, example four also introduces some altered harmony with the appearance of chords which include augmented and diminished fifths. These chord types are based upon both Dominant 7th and Minor 7th chord qualities. If some of these chord voicings are unfamiliar to you, learn the chord fingerings prior to attempting to integrate the associated melodic phrases.




Related Videos:

RELATED VIDEOS for:
 Acoustic Fingerstyle Jazz... 

ACOUSTIC GUITAR 015: Percussive Guitar Technique

ACOUSTIC GUITAR 014: Gypsy Jazz Chords and Rhythm

ACOUSTIC GUITAR 013: Bossa /Samba Latin Guitar Style

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Guitar Chords | F Chord | Guitar Notes | G Chord | C Chord | D Chord | Guitar String Notes

How to Play the Most Popular Blues Progressions [8, 12, 16]

Learning to play Blues progressions is one of the most popular ways that guitar players will begin learning how to improvise... The common place sound of a blues jam, (combined with how quickly most guitarists will learn how to phrase lines with the Blues and Minor Pentatonic scales), will go a long way toward helping to speed up the time it takes to learn how to solo... 

This is why guitar players need to know the most popular forms of Blues Progressions. These forms include the "8-bar, 12-bar, and 16-bar" Blues jams. And, that's why, this episode of the "Guitar Blog Insider," will cover "How to Play the Most Popular Blues Progressions."



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CHORD TYPES:
The examples in this lesson plan will all be from the key of "Bb Blues." Each chord will be of the Dominant 7th quality. Learn the chord fingering of the "I," "IV," "V" chord types shown below. These chords will include; "Bb7," "Eb7," and "F7."




8-Bar Blues: The first Blues progression we'll take a run through will be the popular 8-Bar format. Just like the name implies, this group of chord changes functions across 8-bars of music. The chord changes all operate using the common Dominant seventh chord types following the "I-IV-V" harmony (used as the bed-rock of the Blues Music Style). So, let's break down the chords and their order & sequence across the "8-bar" Blues progression...

 click on the above chart image to enlarge full-screen

8-Bar Blues Examples; "Worried Life Blues" (one of the most recorded blues songs of all time), Nina Simone's, "Trouble in Mind," and Buddy Guy's "Mary Had a Little Lamb." Plus, the song, "Heartbreak Hotel" by Elvis is also a early-rock variation on the 8-bar Blues format.



12-Bar Blues: Next, let's jump into the most popular group of Blues changes on planet Earth, the 12-Bar Blues. This is by far the most commonly applied group of Blues chord changes. This progression is used in thousands and thousands of songs and is an absolute "Must Learn" chord progression.

  click on the above chart image to enlarge full-screen

16-Bar Blues: Our final "important" Blues Progression is a progression that may not get a ton of prominent use like the famous "12-bar" Blues progression, but, it will be one of those Blues Progressions that are very important to learn about, it's the 16-bar Blues. Study the example below and the way that a typical 16-bar Blues progression moves across all of the measures with our; I-IV-V set of Dominant 7th chords.

  click on the above chart image to enlarge full-screen

16-Bar Blues Examples;  The Beatles song - "The Ballad Of John And Yoko," also the Louis Armstrong piece -"Nobody Knows the Trouble I've Seen." And, from the 1920's Classic Blues era, there's the 16-bar piece (by Edward Thompson) called, "West Virginia Blues"



CONCLUSION:
These three examples of Blues progressions are important for all Guitarist's to become familiar with. Not only do they help guitar players better memorize the sounds of one of the most common styles of chord progression harmony (out there in music), but these Blues - chord progressions are an accepted group of arrangements that most other players you meet will also know.

Learning about these blues progressions will help you communicate better as a guitar player in many different musical situations. Study each progression. Do extra research of your own to learn some different chord combinations and above all else, learn songs that will use these progressions.

Next time you jam with a new group of musicians, there's a really good chance that they'll be more than happy to riff-out on a few, of these common 8-12- or 16 bar Blues progressions.



VISIT THE WEB-SITE:
Well, I'd like to end the discussion by saying, thanks for joining me... If you want to learn more about what I do as an online guitar teacher, then head over to my website at creativeguitarstudio.com and sign up your FREE lifetime membership... When you want more, you can always upgrade to either a Basic, or a Premium lesson package and start studying the guitar courses I've organized for the members of my website.

Also, I'd be interested to hear your thoughts on all of this in the comment section below... if you enjoyed this video, give it a thumbs up and subscribe for more. Thanks again and we'll catch up next week , for another episode of the, "Guitar Blog Insider."

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