Warford here, Editorial Manager for Guitar Tips.
for taking the time to tune in this week. I can assure you that
you will not be disappointed! Considering that this is the first
newsletter of 2006, we thought that it would only be appropriate
to have our first article focused around one of the most intriguing
and complicated aspects of playing guitar - Jazz.
matter what your style or taste, there is something to be learned
from this genre. So let's take a look at what's in the first newsletter
of the 2006 year!
picking up where we left off in 2005 with our special series focused
on playing various genres of music. This week we have honed in our
sights on jazz guitar. You will get the inside tips and tricks,
in addition to ideas for the future that will help you to build
the foundation you need to become a great jazz player and a more
well rounded guitarist.
matter how good a guitarist you are, it is nearly impossible to
lay a proper foundation to jazz guitar in only one newsletter. As
a result of this, we will be doing a mini series to our series so
we can go more in depth on this genre. We'll be covering scales
this week, and then move onto jazz chords in our next edition.
musicians are multitalented and enjoy acting as well. This week
we have a great special feature to share with you that evolves around
integrating your guitar with acting. Hear what you can do and get
pointed to a site that will help you achieve a new level of success!
site review this month will be taking a look at Guitar Leads. This
is our newest and most involved site we have to offer the budding
guitarist. Learn what it's all about, how it came to be and what
is on the inside.
always, you can come and check out what your fellow subscribers
are saying in our Feedback Booth. We'll see what was in our mailboxes
over the Christmas break and get some new ideas for future newsletters.
further a due, let's get started!
To Conquer The Fear
is a common trait amongst guitarists. You may be sitting at your
computer right now thinking, "He's insane, what could there
possibly be for me to be afraid of besides the odd poke from my
guitar string?" The fear I'm speaking of has nothing to do
with a physical fear, rather, the fear of trying something that
you know you're not good at.
perfect example of a genre that evokes the most heart retching fear
out of many guitarists is the thought of playing jazz guitar. There
are so many different chords that have names many of us can't even
pronounce, coupled with flawless technique, lightning fast speed,
sense and feel of emotion and knowing the theory behind it all.
Who wouldn't be a little freaked out?
one of the few areas of music that encompasses so many individual
disciplines. Now the question remains, "Why on earth would
I want to learn something like this?" The beautiful sounds
set aside for a moment, the answer is quite simple: To build your
you stop and think about this situation for a second, you'll realize
that it really doesn't hurt as much as you think it does. Practicing
a chord like Em7-5 or A9+11 really isn't as bad as you may perceive
it to be. In fact, it's really just a weird name and that's all
that separates it from a more popular chord like E minor or A minor.
won't lie, if you want to get serious about your guitar and learn
these skills you will get frustrated and it won't be easy. The good
news is I guarantee that you will improve with practice and most
importantly, no one can hear you if you practice quietly in your
professional musician I have seen or heard knows this material,
whether they use it or not. The techniques spill over from other
genres that we have covered and the things you will learn from jazz
are easily applicable to all kinds of styles.
we really start to lay out the foundation, I want to make two more
points. First and foremost, don't expect to sound great right away.
You may progress faster than most or slower. Either way, you have
the potential for greatness if you choose to practice it and learn
I can't describe how large the genre of jazz guitar is. We could
spend two years with one lesson after the other teaching you the
things you need to know but unfortunately we don't have the time
for that at the moment.
this lesson as an index to any household manual. We'll give you
the getting started tips and list off the things that you should
consider learning. This will hopefully build the interest and get
the neurons firing.
further a due, let's move onto the basics of jazz.
the bridge from what you don't know to what you know.
best way to learn jazz guitar is to simply break it down into baby
steps. You have already seen quite a bit of the material we're about
to talk about, it was just in a different form. First let's recap
on the top three areas that make a jazz player rock.
They know their chords.
They know their scales.
They have impeccable rhythm.
far we're on the right track. We've covered chords and how to learn
new ones, we know the basics of scales and we have done some rhythm.
No, we're not experts in these categories but it's what you need
for the foundation.
we're going to do now is expand on each of those categories. In
todays lesson, we will take a more in depth approach to scales.
So you think you know your scales? This will take you to
a completely new level, I guarantee it. The number of scales that
can be used in Jazz guitar are astonishing. However, the same can
be said for various other genres of music as well.
at what we already have available to us, there are plenty of options
we can utilize that will allow you to branch off of familiar scales
that you already know.
your ego gets too bloated, there is more memorization ahead (after
all that comes with music.) One thing many beginners, and even intermediate
guitarists fail to realize is that the keys that Jazz guitarists
play aren't unusual from the keys that we play on a regular basis.
the difference? They utilize their fretboard to the extent that
they can play any note that is within that key anywhere on their
fretboard. In essence, they "own" the notes.
accomplish this task by using scale "Positions."
Every scale has five common positions that are numbered from one
to five. Look at them as fingering patterns (which can be categorized
under the same number as the position.)
can play these fingering patterns all over your guitar neck, therefore
allowing you to hit every note on your fretboard that is in that
scale type has its own set of five different positions that
can be shifted to cover every note. A great example of this would
be an A Ionian scale (known to many as the major scale) which has
five different positions in different locations on the neck. You
can shift this position up two frets and locate every position available
for the B Major scale.
here's the catch, you cannot use that same fingering pattern for
anything other than Ionian type scales. If you were to play a mixolydian
scale, you would need to learn the five new fingering patterns to
play the scale in its five positions on the fretboard.
most common position/pattern, and the one that you have seen most
frequently on this newsletter is the first position. Here is an
example of what a first position scale will look like:
this case, the key is A Major (Ionian.) Take note of the fingerings.
You will use that finger to recreate another scale in the Ionian
mode that will be in the first position. To do that, let's first
visit all of the various five positions, where they are located,
the patterns, and the fingerings.
down to business.
our purposes today, we will take the F Major (Ionian) scale and
locate all of its positions and fingerings. Let's examine all five
positions of the F Major scale:
how every position and every fingering pattern is different? This
may seem like a lot right now, but you have really won 1/7 of the
you have taken the time to begin to memorize your notes as we have
talked about in previous lessons, you should know your low E string
inside and out. Every one of the above positions are linked to knowing
these notes and frets.
say I was playing my F Major (Ionian) scale in its third position.
However, we want to change keys and play the E Major (Ionian) scale
in its third position. All we do is simply move down (or up depending
on what key you want) from the key we are currently on.
we are on the fifth fret, we go down two spaces and land on our
E Major scale which is on the third fret. We can keep the same fingering
and pattern, just move it all down two frets. Then you have your
E Major scale in its third position.
the above examples as reference points to figure out the other scales.
For instance, we know that if we want to play our F Major scale
in the second position, it starts on the third fret of our low E
string. Figuring out the same scale position for a different key
is as simple as counting up or down the fretboard by twos.
reason why you count by twos is because every fret is equal to a
semitone and there are two semitones between each whole tone (Ex:
A to B is one whole tone.)
you have 35 new scales to practice just by learning the five positions
and applying them to every Ionian scale. Pretty cool stuff eh?
far, you've probably been wondering what some of this terminology
means and where it all comes from. These are healthy thoughts to
think about since we're about to jump into some material over the
coming months that will be dealing with it.
start with a little history lesson. Thousands of years ago, the
Greeks used a different form of scales that were composed off of
tetrachords (the first or second half of any scale.) These modes
were popular amongst the Roman Catholic church and they enjoyed
using them, however, they had some transcription errors and the
translations weren't working out for them. In other words, they
Pope Gregory I was there to lend a helping hand by reorganizing
these modes for use in the church. He renamed them to make more
sense and got things back on track. These modes would then turn
into the guitarists' best friend years later.
the Greeks made up these "Scales," there were seven of
them. This still holds true today. The reason I put scales in quotation
marks is due to the confusion between scales and modes.
guitarists like to call modes scales. The fact of the matter is,
they are theoretically linked through music but have two different
term scale can be defined as a series of notes ascending or descending
in order of pitches of key or mode between the root and its octave;
starting on the tonic and ending on the tonic. While that may not
make any sense to you, don't worry about it. Hang in there for one
more second and all will become crystal clear.
mode is simply a way of manipulating the scale to create a greater
assortment of sounds. According to the definition of a scale, a
mode is technically a scale but it is used by musicians to open
up the doors to new sounds.
are divided into specific systems. Like I mentioned a moment ago,
there are only seven of them and they go as follows:
An easy method of remembering these modes, and one that Chris (Owner
of Guitar Tips) uses, amongst many other guitarists is the acronym
"IDon't Play Loud
Music At Lunch."
It works like a charm and gives you a head start.
three Major modes are the Ionian, Lydian and Mixolydian and the
rest are considered minor. Jazz guitarists rely on modes to set
the tone of the music.
the beginning of this lesson on scales, I said that they play the
exact same keys we do. This is true, however, in addition to utilizing
the full neck of the guitar, they also use modes to get the awesome
flavors out of the scales. Look at it as the meat seasoning on your
out our newsest site, Guitar
Leads, for more of this kind of information and a more in depth
look at modes.
we move on to the rest of the newsletter, a quick explanation is
warranted. I didn't cover various scale positions and modes for
no reason. One helps you to understand the other better.
are many more positions and patterns that allow you to discover
an easy way to find and memorize all of the modes in every location
on your neck. They are quick and relatively painless with a few
hours practice on each.
is an example of all of the modes for the key of D. They are all
seen in the third position to make life easier for all of you when
going through each of them. Please enjoy!
Natural minor (Aeolian):
it into practice...
that you have the basic ideas of where some of this material comes
from, it's time to look at how you can practically use it. This
section will be slightly different from the usual practice riff
that we include on a regular basis. This week we're going to give
you the tools, let you see them in action and then begin learning
your own unique style.
relies quite a bit on improvisation and composition. In order to
get to that point, read this
article and check out our archive.
First, let's take a look at your techniques.
order for you to perform at the highest level, you need to adopt
some proper technique. Insure that the strap of your guitar lifts
your guitar up to roughly midway on your chest. It will feel tighter
than usual but you'll find that your left hand will have more mobility.
I like to use the analogy, "Hold your guitar like a gun."
guitarists not only look at the location of their guitar but also
where their right hand is. You shouldn't have to strain to pick
out the notes, nor should you feel any discomfort on long stretches
with your left hand.
the classical tricks like hammer on's, pull off's, trills, slides,
etc. to get the desired effect. Jazz sounds very mellow sometimes
but it can also move extremely quickly. Don't be afraid to use rests
and other various pauses in the music you play. Here is a brief
audio example of the F Major scale (Ionian) in action:
brings me to our next topic, speed. Jazz guitar tends to involve
quite a few fast licks that require top technique. The best way
to achieve top speed is to keep your thumb planted behind your neck
and to use the tips of your fingers.
it may not feel natural right now, you will grow into it. Go extremely
slow at first and work your way up to top speed. A metronome is
your best friend for building speed. Here is a video example of
how you can practice for top speed:
that in hand, continue to work on learning those scales that we
have just covered and connect them together when playing so you
can use the entire fretboard. We'll give you some riffs to play
that incorporate this in our next edition.
& Drama: The Valuable Connection
is an extremely vital element to many aspects of our lifestyles.
Whether you're watching a movie, play/production, or if you are
just looking for that piece of serenity at the end of the day, the
guitar is a great place to start.
aspect of music that is often underestimated is the relationship
it holds with the other art forms. Drama is one of those art forms
that seems to fit like a glove. Until recently, I had not thought
of this obvious connection. Then a subscriber and drama teacher
by the name of Andrew McCann sent me an extremely detailed email
that included all of this great information.
immediately asked him to give you the inside scoop on how guitar
can be such a great tool for drama teachers and students alike.
McCann has an amazing resource online that is worth a visit. He
is highly skilled and a trained professional. He undoubtedly has
a passion for igniting the flame of education, which is a very encouraging
thing to see.
a must read for anyone involved in the fine arts. Here's what my
fellow colleague had to say when I asked him the simple question,
"How does guitar fit into teaching drama?"
guitar has always proved an essential tool of the trade to myself,
as a drama teacher. An acoustic or semi-acoustic guitar is portable
and flexible enough to provide a backing source at a moment's notice,
whatever the location, when rehearsing standard songs or when improvising
advent of high-tech effects pedals and workstations (I use the Digitech
GNX3) , modeling amplifiers and guitars, has made studio-type sound
effects available at the touch of a button (or pedal) for the benefit
of audiences used to the sophisticated effects associated with today's
top level bands or cinema-based drama.
There has also always been a close relationship between the teaching
of drama and the teaching of music. Most drama teachers whose work
involves a performance element will undoubtedly have considered
incorporating music into their productions at some time or other.
For a drama teacher to be a musician as well, is a considerable
traditionally, the guitar is a complex instrument and I had the
advantage of being lead guitarist in a group before becoming a drama
teacher, which gave me a head start. So why should I advocate that
drama teachers should consider learning an instrument that takes
years to master? Well, what brought me to this way of thinking was
when I was trawling across the Internet for a means of encouraging
my teenaged son, Felton, to persevere with the new Strat he had
been given for his birthday.
Like many kids of his age, he was keen to learn, but wanted to learn
quickly. The idea of being a rock star was great, but the thought
of grafting through laborious finger exercises, hour after hour,
developing his skills at the pace of a snail, did not exactly appeal
to him! Then I stumbled across Chris Elmore's ad which boasted "How
To Play the Acoustic/ Electric Guitar in 30 Days."
I was reticent. Having been playing, myself, for over forty years
(-and still having much to learn-) how could I expect a mere child
to acquire such a skill in so short a time! To my surprise, when
I studied what Chris had to offer, it was different from the usual
approach to guitar teaching. It cut corners, but without omitting
essentials. It went straight to the heart of what was required,
with immediate effect, which created a sense of purpose and the
fulfillment of progressive achievement from the outset. ("I can
do that- and now I want to learn how to do this!")
is more, the course was online, interactive and visual, with the
facility to use sound to support the learning, when appropriate.
It was also downloadable to subscribers, thus making it available
offline. Updates could be accessed at no extra cost, as and when
they were made available. Interesting and highly informative newsletters
were e-mailed at regular intervals. Overall, it was a treasure trove
for any guitarist!
is more, I found to my delight that all levels of guitarists were
catered for by Chris Elmore's site. There were backing tracks to
jam to; favorite songs to learn; and even a new facility aimed at
developing advanced lead guitar skills, each individual aspect available
for a one off additional modest subscription. I believe that Chris
Elmore's Guitar Tips site will enable both practicing and potential
drama teachers to add an additional dimension to their teaching
by learning to play the guitar quickly, easily and skillfully.
who can currently play the guitar will benefit by access to backing
tracks, favorite songs or advanced lead guitar playing skills which
will serve to enhance what skills they already have. By using the
guitar in their teaching, drama teachers will be able to back singing
rehearsals, improvise new material and provide instrumentation for
the skills have been acquired, they will be able to use guitar workstations,
effects pedals and digital recording methods (using digital multitrack
recorders and/ or computers) to create backing tracks to support
performances. If you are considering learning the guitar to support
your Drama Teaching, then there is no better starting point than
Chris Elmore's site. Click the links, explore them for yourself
and see what you think."
of links to click on, you can check out Mr. McCann's site by clicking
here. I hope to receive more emails in the future from those
of you who benefited from this special edition.
next time, keep on picking!
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!