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Playing acoustic guitar is quite a lot of fun, especially if you play alone or consider yourself a singer-songwriter type. Acoustic guitar is an excellent choice for accompanying a singer, whether it’s you or someone else.
Most of the time, when you’re playing acoustic guitar, you’ll be strumming chords. This means you’ll need a solid knowledge of the various types of chords, their shapes and where you can play them on the neck.
Know your Chords
Some guitarists stick with the basic open guitar chords (“cowboy chords” as some call them). It’s easier that way, but it takes away a lot of options. Playing chords in different places up and down the neck add some variety in terms of sound as well as making it easier to play certain progressions.
This is where it really helps to know barre chords, which allow you move different open chord shapes to different places on the neck. Transitioning from an F major chord to a G major chord is much easier if you play them both as “E” shaped barre chords and simply move the chord shape from the first to the third frets.
The other thing that’s important when playing acoustic guitar is having rock solid strumming patterns. Most often, you’ll be playing downstrokes during the on beats and up strokes on the off beats. This is the most common way of playing but there are times when you’ll break this rule.
You’ll need to have a good sense of timing as well. The best way to learn this is to practice with a metronome, or as I prefer, a drum machine. I have a really basic drum machine that’s not good for much other than laying down a steady beat. By playing all of my songs and exercises with the drum machine, I’ve developed a good sense of timing and this carries over to times when it’s just me and the guitar.
Another consideration is choosing your strings. Acoustic guitar strings are labelled according to the gauge of the lightest string, such as 9s, 10s or 11s. This refers to the thickness of the string in 1,000ths of an inch. You might also see them marked as lights, ultra lights, medium etc. Lighter strings are easier to play and I recommend getting the lightest strings possible when you’re a beginner. Heavier strings have a slightly different tone and are less likely to break, but it’s usually more advantageous to go with lighter strings.
Finally, it’s important to choose the right pick for the way you play. In most cases, acoustic players will be strumming chords and accompanying a singer, rather than playing solos. You’ll probably want a relatively light, flexible pick that gives you a softer tone and blends the notes together well. Heavier picks are fine for playing loudly and allowing individual notes to stand out, but this is not what you’re looking for on acoustic guitar most of the time.Read Full Article
When most kids dream of becoming a rock star, they dream of being the lead guitarist. Let’s face it, lead guitar is where it’s at. There’s no cooler job in a band than shredding lead riffs and high octane solos. So, the question most of us want to know is, “how do you get to be a good lead guitar player?”
If I had to answer in one sentence, it would be, “Know your guitar scales like the back of your hand.”
Learning Guitar Scales
Scales are the building blocks from which killer solos are built. Unfortunately, many guitarists never take the time to learn their scales properly.
There are two reasons for this. For one thing, it sounds boring. I think the thought of learning scales for some people conjures up images of sitting through a classical piano session playing do re mi … over and over again. Let’s face it, that is boring, but your scale practice doesn’t have to be that way.
The other problem is that it can seem a bit overwhelming. There are so many different types of scales, major, minor, pentatonic scales, blues scales and so on. Not to mention the various modes with complicated-sounding terms such as Locrian, Phrygian and Myxolydian.
The key is to take it slowly and go one step at a time. Start with learning the major scales first. These are basic. Once you’ve got them down pat, the next scale you need to know is the minor pentatonic. The minor pentatonic scale is used in so many popular songs that it’s fundamental to learning how to play lead guitar.
From there, you can start to branch out into blues scales and even some of the more advanced scales, such as the three types of minor scales and the various modes.
Once you know your scales, the other key to becoming a great lead guitarist is simply your musicianship. This means you need to have a good musical ear and a sense of how your lead lines fit into a song and how they can enhance the music, rather than taking it over completely. This sense comes with time, listening to other artists you respect and following a well organized practice schedule.
There are no shortcuts, but the journey to becoming a lead guitarist is a lot of fun along the way. The good news is, you don’t need to learn it all at once, and you can play some great sounding lead solos based on something as simple as a pentatonic scale. The more you learn, the more you can experiment and add your own personal flair and inspiration.Read Full Article
Learning the basic guitar chords is the quickest and easiest way to get you playing along to your favourite songs and sounding like a real guitar player. If you like to sing, being able to accompany yourself by strumming chords on an acoustic guitar is a fairly easy skill to learn and have you sounding great in a fairly short period of time.
Learning Guitar Chords
When you first start learning chords, the quickest and easiest to pick up are called the open chords. These are the basic chords that everybody learns when they first start on guitar. The chords are fairly easy on your fingers and are all up at the top of the neck. You can go a long way as a rhythm guitarist just by knowing the open major and minor chords.
The next step is learning how to move the open chord shapes up and down the neck using barre chords. The most common major barre chords use the A and E shapes while holding down all the strings one or two frets above the shape using the first finger of your left hand. You can adapt the shapes of the open C, A, G, E, and D chords in this way, hence the term CAGED chords.
Just like the major chords there are various minor chord shapes that you can use either open or as a barre chord as well. Depending on the type of music you’re playing, they’re a little less common, but important to know as well.
Once you know the major and minor chords, you’ll want to add a little more colour to your playing by adding some of the other chord types as well. The most common of these are the 7th chords. 7th chords can be major, minor, dominant or even diminished.
As you might expect, 7th chords differ from regular major or minor chords by adding the 7th note to the chord, giving the chord its characteristic sound.
Another way to spice up your rhythm guitar playing is to use different inversions of the various chords. By changing which note you place on the bottom of each chord, you change the inversion of the chord and each inversion has its own particular sound.
Finally, rhythm playing requires you to have a rock solid strumming technique. There are a wide variety of strumming patterns that you can use, but they’re all based on having a good sense of the “feel” of the song and applying some basic rules.
Becoming a good rhythm guitar player, like being a good lead player is all about understanding the song and using your musicianship skills to ensure that your part fits in seamlessly with the rest of the band.Read Full Article