So, do you want to learn how to play any song you can think of right now? Here's how…power chords!
If you listen to rock, pop, or even country, you have definitely heard power chords played in a song. The easy thing about power chords are that they don't have as much notes in them as regular major or minor chords do, which makes them quite easy to play.
There are two types of power chords. The first we're going to talk about is the open power chord. Here are some diagrams in the bottom left as an example:
These open power chords are great because you only need to use one finger. The only down side to these particular power chords are that they are not moveable. Here's where the next set of power chords come in:
Moveable power chord shapes can be used all up and down the neck. Here is an example of a moveable power chord:
The diagram to the right shows a power chord rooted on the 6th string. You can see that the root note is on the second fret ,which is the note F#. This makes this an F# power chord, or F#5 chord.
As long as you keep this shape you can play this power chord anywhere on the neck. You can even base your root note on the 5th string, which would then be a B power chord, or B5.
The biggest benefit of using power chords is being to substiute a more advanced major or minor chord. Barre chords for example, are more difficult and will require a bit more practice to get down. For example, let's say you're learning a song that requires you to play a B minor chord. This chord is a barre chord, but you can replace said chord with a B5 power chord because a power chord is neither major or minor.
Now, I'll never say that you should avoid barre chords, because they are very important to learn. We'll talk about those another time. But, if you're in a pinch to learn a song, power chords are the way to go!
If you have questions, let me know! I'll be glad to help.
That's the Sound-Off for now. Until next time, keep rocking out!
Is there such a thing as too much practice on a musical instrument?
I personally think sometimes having too much practice actually hinders your progress. Here’s why.
Most people think that when they practice an instrument, they need to do so for an hour more at a time. This is not so! In fact, there have been studies that have shown more practice sessions with smaller time increments are actually more effective than less frequent longer practice times. It really comes down to the quality of the time spent and not quantity.
Now, I am not saying that playing your instrument for an hour or more is the wrong thing to do. If you have the time to do so, more power to you! What I am saying is don’t let the quantity of time spent dictate how effective your practice session is. If you find that you only have 10 minutes in a day to practice, you should take the time and really focus on whatever it is that you are currently practicing. Once the 10 minutes are up, move on to whatever it is you need to do. This is so much better than creating anxiety for yourself because you feel you need to practice longer than the time that you have. This will only leave you frustrated and chances are you’re not going to be able perform well anyway.
Set up a practice schedule. Maybe there are certain day and times where you find yourself with more time to practice than others. Also, if you’re working on multiple songs or exercises at a time, separate them so that you’re only focusing on one of them for each time you sit down to practice.
Try incorporating these ideas to your practicing. If you are focused and driven, I guarantee you that you will see positive results very quickly!
That’s the Sound-Off for now. Until next time, keep rocking out!
Picture this. You pick up your guitar and you're excited about rocking out a song you have been listening to lately. You're playing the song and then when you get to the guitar solo, your fingers cease and cramp up on the fretboard! Why is that? Well, here are some answers.
Anytime, for any reason you pick up your guitar to play, you should always warm up.
Think of it this way. With almost any type of sport or exercise, what do athletes do beforehand? Yes, they stretch! If they don't stretch, that really heightens the chances for an injury. The same principle applies to playing musical instruments! In addition to hands and fingers cramping up, musicians also run the risk of getting injuries like carpal-tunnel, tendonitis, muscle inflammation, and possible permanent nerve damage. Those kind of injuries could effect how well you could play an instrument, or maybe end playing altogether.
So now that we know how important it is to warm up, how do you go about doing it? Here are some suggestions.
This first warm-up excercise doesn't even require you to hold a guitar. Take your fretting hand, hold all of your fingers out straight. Then try to pull in each finger one at time, except your thumb. Just fingers 1 through 4. Keep doing this exercise and over time, this will help you to use each finger independently. Especially your ring and pinky finger, since those fingers are the hardest to condition.
The next exercise is what I like to call “spider-crawling”, and it's more of a multifaceted warm-up. As you move your fingers up and down the neck, it will give an appearance of a spider crawling up and down, giving it it's name.
Start by fretting your fingers one fret at a time, index to pinky fingers, on the 1st (high E) string. See the tab example below
Once you reach the 4th fret with your pinky, then you will start the pattern again with your index finger on the second fret. See the example below.
Continue this process until you have gone up the neck as far as you can. Or if you would like, set a certain fret to stop at and then reverse the process by starting with your pinky finger and working your way back down the neck. See the example below
You can even try doing this warm-up exercise on other strings as well.
Another variation of spider-crawling is to cross all the strings while traveling up the neck. See example below
Once you have made it all the way across the strings, you then start on the next fret up.
Spider-crawling not only warms up your fretting fingers, but can also be an effective tool for working on your picking techniques. Try starting out with simple down picks and then once you feel confident with that, start doing this exercise with alternate up-and-down picking.
One final thing you can do with spider-crawling is use it as a speed exercise. Use a metronome to ensure that you have a consistent rhythm to practice to. Start at a slow pace and as you feel more comfortable, bump up the pace a bit more. Don't try to shred this at the speed of light right away, you need to work your way up to playing fast.
I hope that these exercises help you to be succesful as you strive to be the great guitarist that you want to be.
Until next time, that's The Sound-Off for now. Keep rockin' out!
Hey all! I hope everyone is having an awesome fall season. Here's another playing tip comin' at you.
If you're finding yourself in a rut with strumming the guitar? Here's a technique that will breathe new life into your guitar playing. Broken chords.
What are broken chords? The technical term is arpeggiated, which is pretty much a big fancy Italian word for broken. The biggest difference between regular strumming and broken chords are the way you strum. Broken chords are picked one separate note in a chord at one time, rather than strumming all the strings at one time. This does not change how you place your fingers on the fretboard when playing the chords. It depends on the way you pick the strings. Here are a couple of examples:
Broken chord playing strings in a random fashion
The greatest use of broken chords is when you are looking for a part of a song to be quieter than other parts of the song. Usually this style of playing is done during verses or bridges so that it leaves lots of room to build to a powerful chorus or solo. A great song not only tells a story through its lyrics but should do the same with the music as well.
So, the next time you're working on a song you're writing, or simply want to add new life to your favorite song, BREAK IT UP…with broken chords!
Until next time, that's the Sound-Off for now. Keep rockin' out!
Scales…who needs 'em? As musicians, we ALL do! It doesn't matter what instrument you play, scales are with all kinds.
So what is a scale? In music, a scale is any sequence of musical notes in an ascending or descending order. Sometimes, scales contain both an ascending and a descending portion. Below is an example of a chromatic scale ascending and descending.
Here's an example of a music scale diagram for the guitar
Here's an example of a music scale for the piano
A lot of people don't realize that when you play chords, you are playing a scale, but you are playing all the notes at one time. Basically meaning that all chords are made up from scales.
So what's the importance of them, you may ask? Well, I will tell you.
Here's some benefits of learning scales:
- Learn the differences between minor and major chords
- Learn to improvise pieces with any key of music
- Will strengthen your fingers and will gain more dexterity
- Will speed up your playing dramatically
So, don't count out scales! You will be surprised by how much you can learn from them.
If you still have questions about learning and using scales, feel free to leave me a comment. Also, look for some upcoming instructional videos regarding scales on YouTube very soon!
Until next time, that's the Sound-Off for now. Keep rockin' out!
Hey all! Don’t call it a comeback….Yes it has been awhile since my last post, and some amazing things have happened since then. I’m sitting here writing this in between teaching students at my new teaching location! Yes, The Science of Six String is now mobile! We have teamed up with Excel Dance Centre in Texas Corners, Mi to provide a full on music and dance paradise! What an amazing opportunity it has been so far.
It’s so cool being in a location that just oozes artistry the minute you walk into the facility. Even as I type this, I hear music in the studio next to me, and I’m pretty sure there are some people in there working on some pretty wicked moves!
I love the excitement that comes from not just the students and their parents. but the staff here are so passionate and really do care about what they do.
I love being able to be a part of such an awesome local business!
Looking forward to lots of music students and lots of music being made!
Until next time, that’s the Sound-Off for now. Keep rockin’ out!
Hello everyone! I hope you are all having an awesome summer!
We have had the great privilege to be able to work with some awesome people with guitar lessons this summer. It’s been really cool to see people get excited about learning guitar and being able to play their favorite songs!
We have plenty of openings left if you still want to get some lessons in before the summer is out.
If you have been following our blog, you probably have heard us talking about Skype lessons that we offer. This is the latest service we are providing that we are really excited about!
Think about it. You’re sitting in the comfort of your own home, you got your guitar and you’re ready to rock! No need to worry about rising gas prices, traffic or other inconveniences. Everything you need is right there for you. If you or anyone you know would be interested in taking advantage of this exciting service, let us know!
We hope that you have been enjoying hearing from us with our blog posts. If there is any topic that you would like us to post about, comment on this blog or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
That’s the Sound Off for now. Keep rocking out!
Do you have a guitar that just isn’t sounding the way it used to? Or you want a new sound but can’t afford a new guitar? No worries! Here’s an idea for you
The easiest way to get a new sound with your guitar is to replace the pickups. If you’re not sure what those are, the pickups are the components that are located under the strings on the body of the guitar. Every electric guitar has them, because that’s how the sound from the guitar is transferred to the amp.
Ok, enough pickups 101. There are lots of styles of replacement pickups out there. From pickups that give a twangy country sound, to huge power for the heaviest of metal, there’s a pickup style for you.
Most people will replace the pickups as soon as they buy a new guitar. Reason being is that sometimes guitar companies don’t always install the greatest quality pickups.
If you should decide to replace your pickups, you should have a professional help you pick out which ones would be right for your guitar and the sound that you’re looking for. Also, installing new pickups can be tricky because it involves using a soldering gun to connect wires together. If the wires are not connected properly it could effect the sound from the pickups.
If you have any questions at all about any of this, please leave a comment and we can discuss further.
Until next time, that’s The Sound OFF for now. Keep rockin’ out!
Really? Is this possible? My answer is…Absolutely! While this is still a fairly new concept in the music education world, more and more music instructors are doing their trade online. With the help of Skype, and other similar services, teachers and students can work together either from a desktop or notebook PC/MAC, all the way down to an Android tablet or iPhone. The more that technology advances, the more Skype guitar lessons will be accessible.
Also, with the help of Paypal and other sources, payments from students for lessons are a snap!
Some would say that the intimacy and personal touch to teaching is compromised and in some ways, those people would be right. Obviously, a phone call is not as personal as sitting across from someone sharing some coffee together, but with the use of video and web cams the personal touch can somewhat be obtained. With the right software, you can even share desktop views with each other!
Plus I just think the idea of me teaching guitar to someone in Sweden from my own home is pretty freakin’ cool! Provided they can speak English of course. I don’t know a lick of Swedish.
If you have any questions, or would just like to know more about online guitar lessons, email me at email@example.com. I would love to answer your questions.
Until next time, that’s the Sound Off for now. Keep rockin (online?)
As hilarious looking as this video is, there is nothing funny about playing a guitar that doesn’t fit you properly. When buying a new guitar it is important that you get a chance to try it out so that you can see if the instrument is going to be the right fit for you. It’s okay to order guitars from the web but make sure that you have had a chance to hold the guitar and play around with it at a local music store first. You may even find out that not only the size but the overall feel of the guitar just doesn’t feel right as well.
Also, if you’re a beginner, you probably should not go out and buy a Flying V, Warlock, Explorer, or something like that. Those kind of guitars are shaped very uniquely and can be quite difficult to play when first learning the instrument.
Here are some tips:
- Make sure you are comfortable with playing the guitar in the sitting and standing position
- Make sure you can reach your strumming arm around the body of the guitar
- It’s important for your fingers to be able reach aross the neck of the guitar. String 1-6
- Great beginner electric guitar models to play are Stratocasters or Les Pauls
- Great beginner acoustic guitar models to play are Concert or Orchestra guitars. They have a much smaller body than Jumbo or Dreadnaught
I hope that this info helps you find the guitar that fits you perfectly and sends you into pure music making bliss.
Until next time, that’s the Sound-Off. Keeping rocking out!