Connect the Heck Outta the Neck...

Do you ever feel like you're getting bogged down when learning your scales by a lack of awareness for certain areas of the neck that exist "in between" the scale layouts that you know well, and those areas of the neck that you don't know as well?



We could simply call those areas of the neck that you're still learning, "Gray Zones." These "Gray Areas," are going to generally be locations found "in between" the scale patterns that initially become well known to you as you learn your neck better. In other words, the issue to overcome as you learn your neck, would be to start clarifying any playing area on the neck that you feel is a "Gray Area."

Even if it's only using a few notes at first, you need to start filling in those gray zones with around 4-5 scale tones. After some time and practice, you'll have a much better awareness for notes on the neck in your weak playing areas. In this lesson, I'm going to cover ways for "connecting the heck, outta the guitar neck."

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COMMON SCALE PATTERNS:
Let's begin with a general understanding that many students of guitar start from. Most guitar players who have started learning their scales on the neck form a working knowledge of at least two guitar scales that they tend to start from.

To keep things simple, we'll go with two patterns that would generally be found as the most common among guitarists, the 6th and 5th string root minor pentatonic shapes...

Minor Pentatonic - 5th String Root... 



Minor Pentatonic - 6th String Root... 



These scale patterns make up two of the most popular scale shapes known to practicing guitar students. This is especially true for students who are just beginning their study of scale shapes on the guitar neck.

However, the problem that tends to occur, (after a few common shapes are developed), is that there are gray areas on the neck that form in between the popular shapes. The solution to this "dead zone" problem lies in the introduction to and the development of small "scale pieces" that can help the player connect the gray zones that end up existing in between those more popular scale shapes.



DEVELOPING GREATER AWARENESS:
Once you have formed a basic awareness for how to begin introducing a few small groups of scale tone layouts and you comprehend how those smaller scale layouts can be used (as a way for connecting one pattern that you already know, over to another scale pattern you know), the next step is putting the new knowledge into action, by composing a few licks and runs to help with bridging the gap between the shapes.

This approach will help you to start clearing up the gray areas that exist between the full patterns that you know on the neck, and areas that are still under development.

Let's learn a couple of connecting licks that I've come up with in the key of "D Minor." These licks should help you with getting started for using this connecting procedure...

Lick #1). Ascending lick connecting several neck regions

click on the image above to enlarge full-screen


Lick #2). Descending lick connecting the neck patterns

click on the image above to enlarge full-screen

CONCLUSION:
As we're learning our guitar fingerboard, a lot of us simply do not practice scales enough when we're first exposed to the study of them. I know I was guilty of it as a teenager, and I've read articles by famous players like; Steve Vai, Larry Carlton, Al DiMeola and Neal Schon, as well as, many others, who've all said the same thing.

In the early days of studying guitar, there probably isn't a single guitarist out there who hasen't said to themselves, "I should have practiced my scale more than I did."

Eventually, all the famous pros did their scale practice, and so did I, and so will you... but for the guitar players who are still working on all of this information, the method that I've described in this lesson, will go a long way to helping you learn scales faster along with being able to apply scales on the neck with more success.

Of course there's a lot you'll need to work on if you want to have tons of control with doing Guitar Solos, (and my Guitar Soloing Course can certainly help you with that), but in the meantime, develop small segments of adjoining pattern scales, using 4-5 notes, and what you'll find is that the neck will start coming together a heck of a lot faster!



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 on YouTube, give it a thumbs up and subscribe for more through my YouTube channel.

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

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QwikRiffs #020: Hard Rock Riffs in "F Minor"


NEW: QwikRiffs Series - Video (020)


The latest QwikRiffs video, Hard Rock Riffs in "F Minor" is available in the members area. Includes PDF handout!

QwikRiffs are available to members at Creative Guitar Studio.com. Lessons in the QwikRiffs Series run through collections of rhythm guitar riffs covering all types of playing styles. I cover different 'famous artist' playing approaches and I will demonstrate ideas based on rhythm guitar techniques... 

Daily Deal:



Episode #020 covers three "Hard Rock" Riffs.

Riff one applies a 2-note power chord idea in the neck's low register. The rhythm is a steady 8th-note driven Rock feel. Both the 5th (power chord) and its inversion the 4th are used in this riff. Take note of how the 4th offers a different tonal effect.

Riff two includes the use of syncopation within a 16th-note feel. Along with the syncopated groove, scratch-rhythm is also included to emphasize the arrival of the beat of three. 


Riff three takes our Hard Rock feel up into the higher fret registers on the fingerboard. This high fret-register riff is focused on primary color tones including the "b3" (Ab), and the "b7" (Eb). An "F Minor Pentatonic" lick ties it all together.

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Sign into the website (or create your free members account) to join the members site. Sign up for the Basic Monthly or Premium (annual) membership to download the PDF handout for this lesson and study all of the other classes available on the website. 

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Looper Practice for Better Phrasing...

This lesson discusses and demonstrates the benefits of practicing with a looper pedal for enhancing your overall feel and for developing better phrasing into the backing chords of progressions... 


IMPORTANT:
Before we get started, if you own a looper, but you're not all that great at using it, and you need a little help perfecting its application, then before watching this video, take 10 min. out and watch my YouTube video titled, "THE ART OF THE LOOP Why You're NOT Able to Use a Looper Pedal."

The many benefits of using a looper pedal are multi-faceted when it comes to teaching yourself how to obtain better feel and better phrasing.




If you don't own a looper, I'd highly suggest buying one, and if you do own a lopper, but you're allowing it to collect dust in the corner of the room, I hope this video gets you to grab that dusty looper pedal, plug it in and start using it a whole lot more when you practice.

Loopers are not very expensive with excellent base-models such as the TC Electronics Ditto and the BOSS RC-1 priced at under $100. And, more powerful /robust units like the DigiTech Jam-man pedal priced under $125. There's no excuse for not owning a looper!


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Tone Targeting with Your Loops:
Whether you're working on your phrasing, or you're working on your ability to feel time (and the sub-divisions of a beat), there's almost nothing better than starting out by simply looping a single chord and then targeting into that chord's color-tones.

All you need is to have a chord being played back from off of your looper. Just record a single chord quality, and then work at targeting into the; Root, 3rd and 5th. The seventh is also viable (even if the chord is a triad).

NOTE: The chord's 7th's are easier to hear in the early days when they're actually included within the chord voicing that you've recorded onto your looper pedal.

Example #1).
Practice jam over a single chord loop that's using an "Em7" chord for the jam.

click on the above image to expand full-screen




Relative Major and Minor: 
The next step with your chord jam loop practice is to add another chord into the routine. With my own private students, I always suggest working within a four bar progression and then adding the second chord at measure three. That way, you'll have two bars over the first chord, and then two more bars for playing over the second chord.

Applying each chord for two measures will allow you a little more time, when trying to discover phrases to connect into each of the chords of your jam.

Another suggestion that I like to make, is to use the Relative Major or Relative Minor chord; in the third measure. For example, if we keep the, "Em7," as our chord for measures 1 and 2, then we would switch over to playing, "Gmaj7" on measures 3 and 4.

Here's an example of doing - just that - with a loop track.

Example #2). Two chord jam loop using two measures of "Em7" and two measures of "Gmaj7."

 click on the above image to expand full-screen





Hitting the Resolutions:
One of the important concepts that comes up time and time again in progressions that we're learning how to play over is successfully making it to a clean, "Resolution."

If you've spent time studying harmony, I'm sure that you already know how chord changes "point" at what most music instructors will call the, "Home Chord," of the key that you're song is based in.

That drop which occurs into, "Home Chord," comes along in the music with a strong sense of completion throughout the span of the chord progression. And, that strong sense of completion in our music makes this situation in playing melody or solos, one of those excellent practice areas.

As an example of this, I'm going to use a "IV," "V," "I," progression in the key of "A Major." This means that we'll be moving from a "D," to an "E," with the resolution occurring on our tonic chord of "A." Here's an example of doing that with a loop track.

Example #3). "IV-V-I" progression in the key of "A Major."

 click on the above image to expand full-screen




Conclusion:
Owning a loop pedal is an amazing opportunity to apply backing riffs in a manner that helps you hear chord colors and improve your sense of time. Each chord found in a progression allows for us to tastefully target into specific color tones. And, that skill can make a big difference for all those people who are listening to what we're doing as musicians.

Plus, when we are working with a chord progression loop, it helps practicing musicians understand far more about our own sense of timing. This can be especially helpful when we want to explore the down-beats and the rhythmic sub-divisions implied across a chord progression.

When we develop this skill up to a high enough degree, we will be able to perform improvisations in a very natural way.

The music will start to feel effortless to produce and it will slowly become easier to play in front of others when your turn arrives on stage to play a lead melody or to perform a guitar solo.




SIGN-UP TO 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.

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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Chords that Fill Life with Inspiration...

Certain guitar players seem to be able to fit together chord progressions that offer a lot of inspiration. The sound of specific note combinations on the neck can resonate with a collection of intervals that while sounding simple enough, at the same time, these chord tone arrangements are very unique and in turn inspire us...

Whether it's; Tommy Emmanual, David Crosby, James Taylor, or Lindsay Buckingham, many guitar songwriters have found a way of blending note combinations that can instantly inspire us by changing our state of mind and our mood within seconds of us hearing these types of chords.

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THE 2nd INTERVAL:
One of the top abstract sounds that guitar players can rely on to produce that inspirational dreamy "cloud-9" sound-effect are chords that add on 2nd or 9th intervals.

C add2: One of the most common of these is the "Cadd2." In this chord, the "C Major" chord tones of (Root, 3rd and 5th) are all present, with the addition of the "C Major" scales 2nd note of "D." Here's popular chord pattern shape for it...


G add2: Another dreamy chord effect from the world of the add two color is the sound of using the "Gadd2" chord. This chord (when played in the open position), once again includes all of the, "G Major" chord tones and it adds the second scale degree of the "G Major" scale, which is an "A" tone. Here's a popular open position chord voicing for this inspiring chord sound...


E add2: The effects of including the added second interval can also exist off of placing the second degree into a lower register location of a chord. A great example of this sound is the open position,"E add2" performed with the overall shape of a typical, "E Major" chord voicing from open position.





COMPOUND INTERVALS:
Extensions can be taken up an octave and included within seventh quality chords creating a compound interval of a "9th, 11th or 13th." And, they can be combined to produce calming and abstract extended chord sounds.

Bm9/add11, (Bm11): One of the most popular chord voicings for this sound is the "Bm9/add11." Often called the "James Taylor" chord. Here's the voicing that James Taylor will often use in his music...


SUSPENDED:
Another chord idea that can be included in this group of inspiring, relaxing chord effects, is the sound of the suspended 2nd. And, one of the most popular of these is the "Dsus2."


Dsus2: Suspended chords, have no quality, since their 3rd chord tone, (the defining note), is missing. Here's an easy to play dreamy sounding, "Dsus2"



ADD CHORDS:
Along with those dreamy suspended sounds, there's also the abstract effects of one of my personal favorites the "add4" chord.

The "add4" chord in our example takes a common "C Major" open position chord voicing that includes all of the chord tones, and slides it up to 3rd position.

Once in this 3rd position, the shape adds in the scales 4th degree. The end result (when its played), is a very captivating sound that certainly doesn't come off sounding like very many of our typical open position chords.





EXTENDED INVERSIONS:
I have one more "INSPIRING chord" that you'll really enjoy using. This one (in particular) is an inversion of "D Major" that also inverts the chords third chord tone (F#), into the bass, (which is referred to as a first inversion voicing).

To further enhance the effect of this chords' color even more, the open "B" string can be included for an extension of a "6th." Practice playing the voicing I've provided below...


VISIT THE WEBSITE:
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.

I'd be interested to hear your thoughts on all of this in the comment section below... if you enjoyed this video (on YouTube), 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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GUITAR SOLOING 019: Copying Guitar Solos

February 16, 2018:
Lesson 019 - Copying Guitar Solos
 

This guitar soloing lesson stresses the value that comes from learning licks and lines performed by other guitarists across different styles of music. The number of solos that practicing guitar players should learn has no end. With every new solo comes fresh new ideas for how to use scales and how to apply rhythms, as well as, ways of applying new guitar techniques. 

By the end of this lesson, you'll have a collection of new playing skills for better solo lines that can be applied to any style of music. 

Join the member's area to download the PDF handout and study all of the examples. Be sure to spend time on learning the guitar solo I performed at the start of the lesson in the "Part One" video...

Watch the Part One Video FREE on YouTube:



PART ONE:  In example one, two licks from the "Blues-Rock" style are demonstrated. The focus is on, "Hendrix" and "Stevie Ray" phrasing concepts. Each lick employs open strings with an emphasis on how open strings relate to the key of "E Minor" across two different areas of the neck.

Example two targets different tonal resolutions within a hard rock format. The application of each tonality is formatted by way of the final resolution tone. This "tonal center modulation" effect can be found in many hard rock songs by groups like; Van Halen and Aerosmith.
 




PART TWO:
In example three, sounds of the Southern Rock style shine through with reference to classic elements of Lynyrd Skynyrd's "Sweet Home Alabama." The lead performed in this iconic Southern Rock guitar standard demonstrates unique effects upon both melody and rhythm.

Example four, shifts into the style of jazz with a melodic line that covers a traditional II-V-I progression in the key of, "Eb Major." 


Jazz offers us greater soloing insight that delves into the use of unique scale coverage, along with a lot of arpeggios, combined with diminished concepts. Jazz will also apply the "swing" rhythmic feel.

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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A Theory Lesson That Changes Everything

In this weeks YouTube posting I'll be covering some of the work of bass player, musician and teacher extraordinaire Anthony Wellington... We will focus on his thoughts regarding music theory and in particular his concepts regarding the simplification of keys and practice through the the study of the key signatures.


With all the work that you'll tend to do in your life as a musician (in training) with scales and arpeggios and chord harmony, this is going to be a very interesting lesson. Especially for those of you who've never been exposed to these theoretical principles.



After this discussion, I think that you'll walk away with some interesting new directions of thought regarding how you perceive your own personal musical development, and how you currently apply a few of the corner-stone principles of music theory.

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Musical Awareness:
In many of Anthony Wellington's lectures he likes to discuss levels of awareness when studying an instrument, like the first ever stage of being blissful, happy and excited about your instrument, as in when you first held your first guitar.

Think back to when you'd first held your first guitar, how did you feel the first time you ever held your first guitar. You didn't know back then what you needed to learn, you were just excited to have that instrument in your hands. It was pure bliss!

The next level is moving to being more aware and getting to know what things are going to be important to learn on your instrument. Things like learning to make a clear sound and developing an ability to feel rhythm.

Learning notes and keys and scales. Sadly, some players never make it past this stage of development, (the hobbyist) because it involves so much effort and time, patience and dedication, to go further beyond this point.



If a musician can make it past that second stage, then they come to a new level where they reach an understanding with information. At this stage they are thinking about a lot of information while they perform. It's a stage that Anthony says "good" musicians reach.

However, there are limitations at this stage because within it, there's a whole lot of thinking going on to achieve the playing. Now, if musicians can push past this one, they reach the ultimate stage which is what Anthony calls, "Unconscious Knowing."

In this state of mind, the musician is blissful and is no longer thinking, the music just naturally pours out of them, without effort. They simply know what they're doing so well, so perfectly that the music becomes a spiritual experience that takes no real conscious thought or effort to produce.



The 30 Musical Keys Principle:
Now that you know a little bit on how Anthony Wellington thinks about a musicians stages and levels of awareness, let's dig into his foundational music theory concepts on musical keys. His views are different, because they reach further than the common 12 keys concept.

Music keys are the cornerstone, the building blocks for everything we do, so they need to be well understood. Most musicians think in terms of there being 12 keys. But, not Anthony, he takes the perspective of this a little bit differently with instead of 12, he thinks in terms of there being 30 different keys.

And, if you met him, he'd probably ask you, "Do You Practice in Every Key?"

Now, you're probably wondering what this means. To begin with, Anthony believes in treating Minor and Major keys separately. So, instead of thinking in terms of 12 keys, now there's 24 keys. But, that still leaves 6 keys unaccounted for.

Let's clear all of this up by breaking this down step-by-step...

There's one Major key with no sharps and no flats. That's the key of, "C Major." Then, there's seven Major keys with sharps. Starting from "G Major" (which has one sharp), all the way up to "C# Major," (which has all seven tones as sharps).

This means that so far we have 8 keys up to this point. But, then there's the Major flat keys, from "F Major" (with one flat), up to "Cb Major" (with all seven notes flat). Now we've got seven sharp keys, seven flat keys and one natural key, giving us a grand total of 15 Major keys. Double that to include the Minor keys and you've got 30 different keys.

So, once more, back to that initial question, "Do You Practice in All Keys?"




Know Your Accidentals:
Before we wrap up, here's another great Anthony Wellington theory idea of knowing the accidentals in keys, I call it the, Theory of Seven.

How many sharps are in "E Major?" That would of course be four. Now, how many flats are there in "Eb Major?" There's three right. What does that total? Right, SEVEN.

The total between sharp and flat keys always equals seven. Let's test it again, how many sharps are there in "A Major?" There's three, so how many flats have to be in "Ab Major?" There has to be four because they always total seven!

Same thing works for minor. How many sharps are in "D# Minor? There's six, so that means, "D Minor" has to have one flat to add up to our theory of seven.

And, the one note in "D# Minor" that isn't sharp, (which is the note of "B"), is the one flat tone found in "D Minor." "D Minor" has ONE flat, "Bb."

It's all a numbers and letters game that's easy to make sense of when you start thinking about it in simple ways.

Some of these principles on musicianship and music theory that we've discussed here can be found easy enough online through different lectures that have been posted by Anthony Wellington, and also by bassist, "Victor Wooton."

A few other musicians are also quite dedicated to posting concepts about music theory in a way to keep things simplified and straight-forward. The bottom line is, that Music Theory and learning music in general and becoming a musician, doesn't need to be difficult or complex.

Most important, everyone needs to realize that sometimes it doesn't take a lot of information to make a big difference, all it takes is an idea that's explained in just the right way, so that it can be taken in and used.



VISIT THE WEB-SITE:
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.

I look forward to helping you further at CreativeGuitarStudio.com ...Until next time - take care and we'll catch up again on the next video. Bye for now!

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