been an extremely busy Summer here at Guitar Tips and things are
just starting to heat up. I have had the pleasure of hearing back
from some of you with great suggestions and ideas, which are now
the last few months, we have been taking a closer look at how to
practice arpeggios, chords and scales. This week's edition is going
to use every aspect of those skills as we dig into a new frontier...
Learn how the greats conquered their fretboard and played riffs
in front of millions that they had never played before. You too
can be this good and we're going to show you how!
this week's Feedback Booth, we will give you an inside glimpse at
what we have in store for you over the next few months as I personally
answer some of the most popular questions.
also have a brand new section of the newsletter called "The
Severe Gear Premiere". It will be giving you some great
gear ideas and show you how to get it through our friends at Guitar
Trader. We also have a new contest to tell you about!
that was a mouth full so let's dive right in.
Musical Organization of Improvisation.
it's all about.
the last few years, improvisation (hence forth known as "Improv")
has become a personal favorite that has taught me the most about
I began my journey to learn how to master my fretboard, I had little
knowledge on improv and didn't understand how important it really
was. What I failed to see was that all of the greats, such as Van
Halen, Stevie Ray Vaughn, Jimi Hendrix and Jeff Beck used imrov
as an important tool.
would start their original songs with a little lick that they found
when practicing or jamming with the rest of the band. Then, they
began to expand on it using different techniques and key signatures.
Before they knew it, they had a hit song waiting at their fingertips.
may be known by the common public as composition, which is writing
songs. Improvisation is a form of composition, the main difference
being that you don't know exactly where you're headed with the song
other than the key that you're in. In other words, you don't prepare
is common place in many venues. For example, if you're going to
jam with a couple of your friends, you probably won't have enough
songs to fill three or four hours. So you use what you have and
change it around, mix it up and add on. That's a form of improv.
scenario is that your band is holding a concert and thousands of
people show up to see you play. Maybe you get a little tense and
when you're performing a solo, you slip up. Then you jump into action
and use a beautiful lick in that key and save the day!
could go anywhere you want it to and sound completely different
every time. Jazz and blues made improv famous but don't kid yourself,
it's a tool that can be applied to every genre.
to begin when there is no start.
be honest with you, there is no "correct way" to teach
improv. Many purists would say that you need to know music and music
theory, how to perform over harmonies and chords etc. This once
simple idea of having fun and playing your heart out just became
a lot more complicated and now there are all these strings attached.
I read articles in famous guitar magazines, I'm often left shaking
my head. They have the right concept and the music is certainly
correct but the medium that they deliver it over is quite complicated
and hard to understand for the general public.
I started out, I just looked at the tabs and played them because
I simply didn't know music theory to that level for guitar. It doesn't
have to be like that for you to sound good!
improv truly involves putting together a good balance of technique,
chords, scales and emotion in a mix that reflects you. It's not
that hard at all.
I have three rules that I use when playing improv. They are as follows:
it's good enough to play once, it's probably good enough to
play three or four times. hhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh
the techniques that you have in your toolbox and apply them
in different ways.ggggg gggggggggggggggggg
your heart into it.
what I said with #2. Use what you currently have. No one ever said
that you need to be professional to make up cool riffs. If you know
how to do hamer ons and pull offs , then try to incorporate that.
If your strength is chordal work, then improv with chords. Use your
current strengths and add on as you learn more.
doing this you not only get experience with practical applications
of your skills but you also polish them and learn new things along
the way. This is why improv is so helpful to a guitarist.
the last few articles, we've covered a range of material that is
essential for improv. The most important aspect that we've covered
a look at the sounds you want.
has their favourite type of music. Some of us love to play it all,
while others are drawn to one particular sound. To make your guitar
sing to the style that you prefer, there's some ground work to cover.
from our last scale lesson, different scales tend to be used for
different types of music. However, one aspect that we didn't look
at was different forms of the same scale.
have received a lot of emails asking why I didn't include more variations
on some scales and the reason is simple, too many scales at once
can be confusing.
we're going to do now is take two identical scales that are in different
positions on the fretboard. This will take your knowledge a level
higher as you will not see patterns when playing these scales, even
though they are the same notes. The reason for this is the location
of the notes on the fretboard changes.
this E Mixolydian scale in fourth position for example:
Now compare the scale above to the scale below:
completely different note sets and different root positions. This
makes them similar yet gives them a different tone. Perfect for
improv. You may have noticed how certain notes overlap one another,
making them ideal "links" between the scales.
not only gives you a nice working space on the fretboard with lots
of options but your fingers are there in the correct spaces, only
a slide away. Here is an example of the two scales in action:
riff above uses some relatively simple techniques that spice things
up. In our next edition we'll go more in depth on using these techniques.
It Into Practice...
that we have an understanding of the frame work evolving around
improv, let's see it in action. Here are some riffs that I've written
for you that will give you the leading edge. Change them and make
them into something that you like to listen to.
off of an E minor pentatonic scale:
off of an A natural minor scale:
off of a D harmonic minor scale:
common reoccurance throughout all of these riffs are the techniques.
Slides and bends are relatively simple things that truly add to
a piece of music. I encourage you to learn some new scales and play
around with them.
listed above is written off of a scale. You may have noticed that
in the D harmonic minor riff, the "5" on the G string
shouldn't be there.
called an accidental, which is a great tool and you can do that
when playing improv. You will know it's an accidental by the sign
in front of the note. For example:
of those sharps in front of the notes are examples of accidentals
because there are no sharps in the key of C. More on this will covered
in a future lesson.
accidentals will allow you more room to use the fretboard and give
you the desired sound you are looking for.
Severe Gear Primiere!
to our brand new section dealing with gear reviews and how to's!
You can also get the information you need on how to get your hands
on some of the hottest items available on the market.
month, you will be able to check out whats the best gear at the
best prices with some commentary from myself. Guitar Tips would
like to thank Guitar Trader for their assistance in making this
section possible by providing the information on their products.
on to the reviews. Hope you enjoy and let us know what you think!
has been making quality guitar since 1966 when Charlie Kaman, an
aeronotical pioneer, decided to revolutionize the acoustic guitar
world by creating a product that was tailored for high peformance.
He wanted something that fit guitarists' needs while still making
it an affordable choice.
hand picked a select group of engineers and what they ended up with
was of pure beauty and tone. Known for their rounded backs, Ovation
guitars have a unique feel with a good balance of bass and treble.
have personally played them and was impressed with the quality.
I was very sckeptical when I picked up the guitar as I wasn't used
to having a "bowl" in my stomach. I quickly adjusted to
that and my negative thoughts of plastic replacing wood soon faded
as I jammed away and enjoyed the great response the guitar gave
reccomend this guitar for anyone who wants to take their playing
to the next level. Whether you're a beginner or a pro, this guitar
has a little something to offer everyone. Don't let the killer low
price deter you as I guarentee that this deal is one that shouldn't
be passed up. Plus, it's half off!
AEF37SSG Acoustic/Electric Trans Sunset Gold Quilt Maple
is a company that's founded on making an affordable guitar at a
reasonable price. The beginnings of Ibanez actually started in 1908,
however, the company didn't actually pick up the name "Ibanez"
until 1971. Since that time, this company has come a long way and
it wasn't always a smooth ride.
has been sued by the big name companies like Fender and Gibson for
their headstock designs. Ibanez soon changed to it's own original
design and crept away from those issues. Now they are known for
their professional models that are coupled with affordable prices,
Ibanez has made a come back. bb
like these guitars quite a bit and almost bought one of their acoustics
a little while back. I enjoy listening to shredders use these guitars
masterfully and seeing what guys like Joe Satrianie and John Petrucci
can do with them.
have a very unique distortion tone and are a great value for the
money. Don't kid yourself, this company can be rivelled to any other
proffesional guitar when put in it's own class. They just happen
to be one of the more sensible ones that realizes not everyone has
$2000 to spend on a decent guitar.
week we have two Ibanez guitars that are both half off! The acoustic
is featured above and below is the electric guitar on sale. These
prices are unbeatable!
at Guitar Tips, we always like to spice things up and make life
a little more exciting. With our latest contest nearing an end,
Guitar Trader thought it would be a great idea if we teamed up again.
This time, we have an Ibanez SCA220 BP electric guitar signed by
Joe Satrianie to give away!
here and enter your details. I will pick a winner sometime in
September and one of you could be a proud new owner of a guitar
signed by Satch himself. It's just that simple.
Dream Package Update.
those of you who are wondering, the current contest of the $1000
givaway will be ending on the 31st July 2005.
here and enter your details. We'll broadcast the winnner to
all of you and if you win, you will hear from me before we announce
it to the public as I will need to get some informaton from you.
feedback has been astounding and is continually improving the way
we do business, so a big thank you goes out to all who have participated
week, I thought I would respond to some of the most popular requests
and tell you where we're at and where we plan to take the newsletter.
Here are some of the most popular requests that I recieve on a daily
how's it going down under? Anyway, I'm fairly sure I'm not the only
one asking this, but could you print detailed info on techniques
please? I've just started guitar, and most 'aids' I've found are
really vague and crap. Really detailed instructions on stuff like
tremolo, slides, hammer-ons, etc would be damn helpful. Thanks
P.S. Love the newsletter, great idea!!
is right, he isn't the only one asking me about getting some articles
on techniques launched. We have recieved hundreds of emails requesting
the same thing. I absolutely love the whole concept and truly think
it is needed.
is why I have chosen to focus our August newsletters on this very
issue. We'll cover everything you see your favourite professional
guitarists perform! Before you know it you'll be playing with new
tricks that you never knew your guitar was capable of.
Hackett writes to us with yet another popular request:
love the newsletter as it is....but since you asked me, there is
one thing I think would be great. What if there was a song tab of
the day everyday? Maybe displaying one tune by classic artists each
day like zeppelin, the dead, beatles, stones, some hendrix or whatever
people would want to learn. I think it would be cool to see a random
song up there everyday that we (as readers) could (try to) learn.
That is just one suggestion. You are probably getting a lot of cool
ideas from other people, but I just thought I'd try mine out!!
of you have emailed asking for specific songs and tabs over the
last few months. Unfortunately, my answer thus far has been "Sorry,
due to the large number of requests, I cannot give you the individual
song" and then I go on to talk about where to go.
the deal. I still can't give people individual songs simply because
I would have to work 23 hours a day. What I can do for you however,
is help you work through some rough spots if you're having trouble.
you want to locate a specific song, check out these site for the
best in tabs and chords:
Murphy writes to us with this great compliment from our last newsletter:
Jordan, just aquick note to say how valuable I found this weeks
newsletter, sometimes when you look at scales they can seem "intimidating".
I now feel more confident about using scales and also learning them.
Keep up the good work. Regards, Kev
I thought I would end on this inspirational note from Mike Steffani
- Tacoma, Washington
for the great stuff you guys put out... I am getting old(48) and
thought I'd never really learn guitar. I tried lessons when I was
young and recently but came to the same conclusion each time, it
doesn't work for me. This newsletter and your practice tips and
PACS have done for me in the last month alone more than any lesson
I have ever taken. I think I can do it this time, and I have you
guys to thank. keep up the great work.
you Mike, it's wonderful to hear that. As of the last few weeks
I have had a handful of emails from people who ask me this question:
I'm getting up there and I just started. Is there any hope for me
and is this obtainable?"
answer to that queston will remain the same until the day I die,
you are never to old to learn music. I encourage all of you who
are in this situation to email me and I would be happy to go over
it with you.
look to the future...
you're going to get an article unlike any other you have ever recieved
from us before as we will have pictures, audio and the new addition
of video! You will now be able to see me perform the techniques
and songs in slow motion and try them out for yourself. We will
get this video up and running for late August so stay tuned!
also in the progress of getting some interviews for the coming months.
When you put it all together, there's a lot happening and a lot
left to learn!
certainly hope that you have enjoyed this week's article. There
are a lot of new and innovative things popping up in the near future
but we can't do it without you! You're ideas and support are the
driving force behind this newsletter.
can be made as complicated as you want it but take the time to sit
back and enjoy it. The possibilities are limitless with the endless
arrays of tones, scales and chords out there waiting for you to
discover them. This article had barely scratched the surface of
improv but it gives you the idea of what it's all about.
next time, keep on rocking!
BY GUITAR TIPS
If you've always wanted to learn to play the guitar but
never had the chance, give me 17 minutes a day for 90 days
and I'll show you how to play virtually any song you want!