Let’s face it—the blues are weird. Your standard 12 bar blues contains three major chords and yet the main scale we use to play over the blues is the minor pentatonic. A minor scale over major chords… a bit strange, no? But that’s part of what gives the blues its unique sound. Ideally, listeners of…… Continue reading Combining the Pentatonic scale with wall shapes to play the blues
For today’s post, I want to offer a bit of “learn from my mistakes” advice, specifically related to jazz improvising. I started working on jazz soloing about 30 years ago. I’d only been playing a year or two at that point and, frankly, I didn’t know what jazz was. I just knew that playing jazz…… Continue reading Don’t learn jazz soloing the way I learned jazz soloing
In a previous post, I pointed to my “Star Wars” theory of guitar solos. This is the idea that solos should be like stories; they should offer a variety of dynamic levels, from mellow to exciting. To build the solo effectively, the first half should have more mellow sections and the last half should have…… Continue reading Creating dynamics in guitar solos
I’ve occasionally stumbled unto the advice that a guitar solo should tell a story. But what is really meant by that? Let’s take a look a great story: Star Wars. What happens in that movie? Well, Luke Skywalker stumbles across some lost droids belonging to the old nomad, Ben Kenobi. Upon receiving the droids, Ben tells…… Continue reading What can Star Wars teach us about writing a great guitar solo?
Originally posted on The Singemonkey:
I wrote this in 2012 on the South African Guitar Forum. I’ve had very good responses to this piece and thought it worth sharing here. I also wanted to make some edits and updates, as I’m not able to edit the original. While it’s slanted towards the equipment available in South…
One interesting thing about the guitar (and similar stringed instruments like the uke) is that there are so many different ways to play it. You can play with a pick, fingers, or some combination of both. There are also all sorts of relatively new ways to play the guitar in a percussive manner. This post…… Continue reading Different ways to play guitar (with videos)
I talked, not long ago, about the process of strumming chords on a guitar. That post focused on what the right hand does while playing the instrument (presuming the player is right handed.) Let’s consider the what the left hand does while fretting different chord shapes. We’ll focus on what are called open chords. Open…… Continue reading Learning chord shapes on the guitar