Mar 4 2011

Practice, iRig, John Mayer and more

by Josh

How quickly a month goes by!

Amid the frenzy of preparation for our new baby, I have found the time to practice on a handful of songs and techniques that have helped me progress (or at very least remain the same).  I have been working on some fingerstyle techniques lately, thanks to my cousin John I found this YouTube video of Dale Turner explaining Hole Notes in the style of James Taylor.  I found the focus on the formation and ornamentation of chords to produce a more interesting song very helpful.

On the electric side of things, I have been continuing to play with my iRig which has succeeded wildly in letting me explore the more rock/metal leanings of my Les Paul.  My stratocaster has not been neglected, thanks to the discovery of this tutorial (with tab!) of John Mayer’s “Slow Dancing in a Burning Room”.  I am growing to appreciate John Mayer’s guitar abilities… he is one of those artists that I’m not a crazy fan of but I do see that he has talent.  The blues infusion in this particular song and the mellow groove really keeps my interest.  I am by no means good at playing this song, in fact it is a giant struggle to get through the intro but it is helping to practice moving up and down the neck and practicing hammer-ons.

If you like the look of John Mayer’s Black One guitar, John (my co-contributor on this site) operates Custom-Relics.com where he makes a fantastic reproduction of that guitar (among many others).  I have personally laid hands on many of the reproductions that he offers and can tell you that a lot of care goes into making them look “just right.”  Check it out!

Over the next few weeks, I am going to continue working on these songs primarily.  I have a few other projects in the works, but that will have to wait for another time!

 


May 26 2010

Video of the new axe!

by Josh

EDIT: I removed the video so I could reshoot a replacement with better audio quality. Please bear with me while I fix this up. 🙂

This is the first time I’ve ever put a video of me playing guitar on YouTube. I made this video to show my new 1957 VOS Les Paul Custom Gold Top, specifically the differences in the pickups. I recorded this with my wife’s Nikon Coolpix camera, so the audio quality isn’t the best but it gets the job done. The amp I used is my Fender Blues Junior, and that’s about all there is to tell about it!


May 9 2010

12 Bar Blues…

by Josh

Do you like the blues?  Yeah, so do I.  I regularly get a crop of guitar lessons that are made available via YouTube, and I stumbled upon this 12-bar blues lesson presented by MusicMoose.  It looks like there was a website available to get the tablature from, but it has sadly become a parking page as of 4/22.  YouTube still contains a great number of videos for both banjo and guitar, so be sure to check it out.

What I like about this lesson is he gives you a little bit of information about the key (in this case, E) and some great details about how to make the progression work.  He also includes some tips on strumming and holding the pick which is very nice for beginners like me.  At a bare minimum, it gives you some new things to try.


Apr 27 2010

Learning by jamming…

by Josh

I have the notable pleasure of working in an office environment with a bunch of other amateur musicians, so once in awhile we get together and have an office jam. The latest of these was last weekend, and we tend to prepare a new song each jam session and then go back to some old favorites.

I ended up arriving to the jam session late (as usual) and joined in with the group on a long rendition of Hey Joe.  After that, we made a few aborted attempts at Layla by Eric Clapton and quickly just fell into a blues session. A coworker of mine is fairly experienced with the guitar, and I picked up a simple little blues shuffle by watching him which ended up being my main contribution to the song.

Just as with anything, it seems to help if you surround yourself with more experienced players and just try to pick up a thing or two each time to work on.  It was fun getting to learn a few new licks, and that led me to seek out  this YouTube tutorial on a simple 12-bar blues that I’ve been working on lately.  I hope you all enjoy it.


Mar 7 2010

Common Chord Progressions and you…

by Josh

Over the last two months, I’ve been working on a lot of song practice.  Most recently, I have discovered the newest offering by one of my favorite bands: Barenaked Ladies.  For some reason, their new song “You Run Away” has burrowed into my brain and I have been listening to the single I purchased from iTunes frequently.

After some discussion with John, he pointed out that the guitar parts of this song are pretty easy.  I was somewhat skeptical, knowing that Ed Robertson’s guitarwork is on average far more advanced than what I would consider pretty easy, but I asked John to get me the chords for it anyway.  He quickly hit me back with details that as far as he could tell, the song used a capo on the 2nd fret and the chords were G, Dsus4/F#, Em7, and Cadd9.

That sounds like a mouthful, I thought… but I tried it out and quickly realized that these were the EXACT same chords that I use to play Eve, The Apple of my Eye.  I was but a few hours of strumming practice away from getting the pattern and with little effort I had another song in my repertoire!  John pointed out that this is one of the more common chord progressions in pop/rock music today and there is probably 100 more songs that follow the same pattern.  We’ve started work on a list that we will post up here, but it’s fun when skills from one song directly transfer to another!

Thanks to John for the chord tab and to Barenaked Ladies for a great song that inspired me to look deeper.  Their new album arrives in Canada on March 23rd and the US on March 30th, so be sure to check it out!


Nov 29 2009

TotallyGuitars.com

by Josh

Over the long holiday weekend, I had the opportunity to watch Paul McCartney’s concert on TV.  That led me to YouTube, looking up guitar lessons on how to play some Beatles hits and I stumbled upon this video instructing some of the basics about Yesterday along with some history on the variety of ways that the song is played.  I was pretty impressed by this mini-lesson, so I ventured over to TotallyGuitars.com and looked around some more.

After signing up for a free account, I’ve been devouring the lessons taught by Neil Hogan.  He is a very clear instructor, however at times he does excitedly descend into some rather complicated explanations (for my experience level) how different chord or patterns fit together.  So far my favorite lessons have been his “campfire songs” where he takes some popular music and makes them easily strummed, suitable for singing with friends around a campfire.

Neil also goes into some detail with his basic lessons and tips that I really wish I would have had when I first started learning the guitar.  I was always sure that mechanics existed that could be taught to aid with understanding basic strumming, how to hold a pick, and how to form chords more easily and Neil teaches these elements in a concise and easily understood way.

As I mentioned, I have been working on his campfire song versions of Tequila Sunrise and Boulevard of Broken Dreams.  I played the latter without telling my wife what I was playing and she said “hey, I know that song, that’s Green Day right?” which meant I got it close enough to be recognizable!  TotallyGuitars.com has something called the TARGET program which provides much further in-depth song lessons and an Acoustic Genius program that takes you from having never picked up a guitar to being able to do advanced songs and techniques.

Since I’m traveling the last half of December, I intend to continue devouring the free content but after the first of the year I’m definitely signing up for their TARGET program when I can focus on learning and applying his lessons.  I highly recommend heading over to TotallyGuitars.com and signing up for their free account to test-drive some of Neil’s lessons.  If you like it, sign up for their TARGET program and report back how successful you have been!


Aug 17 2009

Daily Practice Makes Better…

by Josh

I have been working to practice daily, my only break in the action was for a four day trip out of town.  I’ve been working mainly on the songs already listed in the Song Practice category, tonight I added “Don’t Wait” by Dashboard Confessional.  It’s all chords I have been working on with other songs, just a different strum pattern and timing.

I need to make my way out into the wide world and get some replacement strings, mine are starting to smell like rust which means its about time to get them replaced.

I intend to get into my Fretboard Logic books very soon, so expect to see some posts on that.


Jul 19 2009

Barre Chord Practice with Paul

by Josh

It’s been nearly a month lacking of updates, but I have been busy practicing!  I’ve been working on the songs that I have mentioned previously here almost daily.  This has caused some measurable improvement.  My friend Paul recently picked up a Fender Super Champ XD Guitar Combo Amp and we spent an evening putting it through a workout.  In the process, he showed me some Sex Pistols tunes including God Save The Queen.

This song is comprised of a variety of different barre chords, including the G major barre chord played at different locations up and down the neck.  I focused the bulk of my practice on this since that night, but Paul did a good job of walking me through the rest of the song so I can practice it once I get better at the mechanics of forming and transitioning the barre chord.

I’ve got a bunch of updates built up since the last time I posted, so you’ll see a little more activity here over the coming weeks as I unpack some of the interesting resources I have accumulated.


Jun 29 2009

Video Lesson: Bell X1’s “Pinball Machine”…

by Josh

This video lesson is brought to you by my cousin, John.  He has been waging an ongoing war against poor Internet tablature and put this video together at my request.

I had been working on Bell X1’s “Pinball Machine” today using this tablature and noticed that while the chords sounded close there was a lot more intricacy to the actual song.  I asked John what he thought about the tablature, and he put this video together in only 45 minutes to help me get straightened out!

I still have to work on the strum pattern and getting the changing fingers more natural, but this certainly helped me on my way.  I hope you all enjoy it!

John specializes in a service that helps aspiring musicians get the unique sound of popular acts.  He’s also darned good at working out simple guitar lessons and tablature as seen above.  If you would like to contact him, you can do so by emailing him at this address.


Jun 23 2009

Practice: Eve, The Apple of My Eye

by Josh

Tonight I decided to work on one of my favorite songs from a band most of you have probably never heard of: Bell X1.  Their song “Eve, The Apple of my Eye” has been featured in several shows in recent years, most noteably on Fox’s The O.C.  I’ve listened to this song a lot, which made it easier to practice with.  I have found that trend to remain true… if you can hear the song in your head as you’re working on it, it plays much easier.

Luckily, this song only appears to be around six chords all together (excerpted from the tablature, provided by Ultimate-Guitar.com) :

	   EADGBe
G	  (320033)
Dsus4/F#  (2x0233)
Em7	  (022033)
Cadd9	  (x32033)
C         (x32010)
D         (xx0232)

The C and D chords are used in the bridge only, which makes switching from the main song to the bridges easy. For the rest of the chords, I learned from my previous experience with Free Fallin’… it makes switching chords easy if you anchor the two fingers on the B and e strings while playing.  That makes it much easier to move just the index and middle finger to form the chords as the song progresses.