Archive for June, 2014

No matter how many lessons you have, how good your teacher is, what innate talent you draw upon or what your good intentions are, in the end it all comes down to how effectively you practise. But if playing guitar is a hobby, not your day job, you might find it hard to keep a large block of time free every day.

Jamie Andreas, of guitarprinciples.com, has a wealth of valuable guidance about how to practice well. Here she is demonstrating how you can squeeze the most value out of as little as a five minute practice session.

I suggest we all put it into practice!

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TrueFire continue to offer some great free guitar lessons on YouTube, in addition to their excellent catalogue of paid-for lessons. This one is with Sheryl Bailey, creator of the Bebop Dojo. It’s part of TrueFire’s ‘My Favorite Thing’ series – check out the original TrueFire page here.

Sheryl shows how you can create great jazz lines using chromatics  to approach and embellish normal chord tones.

Well worth checking out!

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Here’s the second of three great free lessons from the excellent TrueFire. Check out the original TrueFire page here.

The lesson is part of TrueFire’s ‘My Favorite Thing’ series. It features FAREED HAQUE demonstrating a useful lick you can start deploying in your solos straight away.

Check it out!

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My band FunkeeJunkee are playing at the Brambletye Hotel, Forest Row on Friday. Come along and beat the Friday 13th jinx!

FunkeeJunkee at Brambletye

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The great Lester William Polsfuss would have been 99 today! That’s Les Paul to you and me. Not only did he design the guitars that bear his name but also invented multitrack recording. Difficult to imagine what music would have been like if he hadn’t been around.

He was also a very successful recording artist in the 50s with his wife Mary Ford. He kept playing almost up to the day he died, five years ago. Here he is playing with another guitar hero: Jeff Beck.

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Chord voicings on guitar Pt2. Get dominant!

On a previous post I showed chord voicing options for dimished chords, using different combinations of strings. Here’s the promised follow up, showing how you can use this knowledge to derive voicings for dominant chords.

Dominant chords are hugely important, not just in their own right but also as a basis for building much more complex and interesting chords. You can add just about any other note to the basic dominant and get a cool new sound. One of the most frequent additions is the b9 (flat ninth). As an example that would mean adding F to an E7 chord.

E7, E7(b9) and Fdim

That’s just what the first two diagrams show. To keep things simple I’ve left out the low B, 2nd fret on the 5th string; but the open 2nd string gives you a high B, so the sound is still there. Go ahead and play the first two chords – it’s vital to get the sound into your ears and mind. Hear the sound of that F adding some bite to the chord?

Here’s the thing. If you simply leave out the E (6th string) from the E7(b9) what you’re left with is a diminished chord – as in the third diagram. You can think of a diminished chord as a dominant 7(b9) chord  without its root.

Look at that third diagram. It’s pretty clear that if you lower the F by one fret you get back to a four-string version of plain old E7.

That gives us the key to unlock the secret: in a diminished chord, lowering any note by one fret produces a dominant 7th.

Let’s look at the dimished chord voicing on string set 4-3-2-1.

Diminished to dom 7

From the position shown the diminished shape yields four different dominant 7ths when you lower each note in turn.

This means that for each of the eight diminished voicings in the previous post you can get 4 dominant 7th voicings.

Put it another way, for every dominant 7th chord you can find 8 different 4-string voicings if you’re clear on the diminished shapes.

I’ll leave you to experiment with finding them and developing your own fingerings. Have fun!

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Here’s an excellent lesson on using chromatics from the ever-helpful, ever-great guys at TrueFire. Check out the original TrueFire page here.

The lesson is part of TrueFire’s ‘My Favorite Thing’ series. It features Tom Dempsey showing how it’s done in his straightforward, no-nonsense way. Tom is a fantastic guitarist with a cv to die for.

Check it out!

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