How To Play Guitar Like A Pro
Here is a 2 page preview of my upcoming short(16-20 page) PDF Format Ebook "Advanced Guitar Secrets Revealed."that is filled with tips,pointers,shortcuts,that will be of benefit to all guitarists...It will cost in the $3.99-$4.99 area. Please feel free to send me any comments,suggestions,or things you would like to see included in the book.
My Experiences Playing Different Makes And Models Of Guitars.
Like all guitarists I am always on the hunt for the perfect guitar to play,its like the search for the Holy Grail.(Gadzooks...this is starting to sound like a Harrison Ford Raiders Movie.)
If you're like me and have very small hands.(Gosh...maybe I should've taken a growth hormone or steroids when I was a kid...I guess all those years of smoking stunted my growth maybe that's why I'm only 4'11'' tall...Oh Well.)
One thing I've discovered is that Classical Guitars are very uncomfortable for me to play because of their wide necks. So I got one with a real skinny neck its a ¾ size acoustic classical by Beaver Creek. It's a very light hollow body electric classical it probably weighs about 2-3 pounds.
I also find certain electric guitar models extremely heavy,(for exp...the Gibson Les Paul Professional is very heavy and to stand up and play a 3 hour gig with it is very hard on your neck,back,and shoulders.) it's almost like carrying a canoe on your shoulders.
A much better choice for a light electric is the Gibson SG or the Fender Thin-line semi-hollow body Telecaster. They both sound good and are versatile guitars. The Gibson ES-335 is also light and its good for blues...and yellows,greens,and purples...just joking.
Any of the real thin electric guitars along the lines of the Fender Stratocaster, Gibson semi-hollow body Casino are all usually quite light.
Anyone with a bad back can get a guitar called the ministar line. All they are is the neck of the guitar with all controls located on it, and they weigh approximately 2-3 lbs.
I'm very partial to playing Fender Telecasters and Stratocasters. Here's why...I prefer an electric guitar that has all 6 tuning pegs in a row, or parallel on the headstock, instead of 3 tuning pegs on each side of the head.
Having the tuning pegs all on one side of the electric guitar head gives you the option of being able to bend strings behind the nut.
This is a very cool natural guitar effect that you can do at the top of the guitar neck,just behind the nut where it joins with the guitar head.
You can play chords conventionally on the guitar and then bend notes behind the nut,this gives you some really cool sound effects. You can also bend 2-3 note chords behind the nut as well as harmonics.
The method for bending strings behind the nut is to cup all 4 fingers of your left hand together to do the bending. Using 4 fingers to make the bends gives you added back up strength,instead of trying to do the bend with 1 finger with your left hand. You've heard the saying “two heads are better than one.” Well 4 fingers are better than one.
I've found that the Stratocasters and Telecasters have the deepest groove behind the nut,this allows you to push down and bend the strings into tune. Not all electric guitars have a deep enough groove behind the nut to allow you to bend strings in tune,and if the groove is to shallow it's uncomfortable and just about impossible to bend them to pitch.
This bending behind the nut versatility isn't very feasible on guitars having 3 tuning pegs on each side of the head of the guitar.
For example...on a acoustic guitar with 3 tuning pegs on each side of the head you may be able to bend one note behind the nut, but usually not because the groove isn't deep enough to bend it into tune. p.23
A Few More Words About Tape Recorders Versus Media Players On The Internet Pertaining To Learning Guitar.
I just want to expound a bit more and clear up any confusion you guitarists may have when it relates to the fastest most efficient way to learn guitar licks and songs off cassette tapes,and videos and the internet etc...
There's a wide array of media players on the internet like the VLC player and others that will slow down the pitch of guitar videos while still keeping them in tune,they also allow you to zoom in,pause, fast forward,rewind, pitch control,etc...There's no doubt that these media players can aid and assist you in learning guitar. But they do have their limitations.
Now I'm going to throw a monkey wrench into the works here and offer a word of caution, pertaining to the use and abuse or total reliance and dependence on media players to learn guitar. Remember one of your #1 critical goals as a musician is to develop your ear to the highest degree possible its absolutely essential for your development and growth as a musician. Don't become so dependent on these media players that you can't learn a guitar lick or a song by ear, or off the tape recorder without having to double-check or rely on the media player to get a video visual confirmation that you're doing it right.
It would be real bad and detrimental to your musical growth to fall into that trap. Just remember this...when you're out on a live gig and have to use your ear for songs,you don't have the time or any computers on the bandstand to second guess yourself with. Its just you and your guitar.What are you going to do when someone requests a simple song and you can't play it by ear?
And also its been my own personal experience and opinion that its always been easier to work and learn things off of a tape recorder....Think about it...you're still using and developing your ear...you're not relying on a visual confirmation,and besides that its a lot faster to hit the rewind button on a tape recorder with a tape counter than it is to get that exact spot on a media player, where you have to set up the zoom and the pitch before hand,blah ,blah,blah, or yada,yada.
When I go to learn something off of a guitar video I always transfer the sound to cassette tape. I just use the built-in mic on the tape recorder and take the sound right off the computer or the TV or Radio or whatever. There's no great mystery or secrets involved here.
Its nothing fancy just basic stuff to get the sound so that I can replay it over and over if I have too. I've done it so much over the years and its developed my ear to the extent,that a lot of times if I hear a guitar lick off of a guitar video, I can almost instantly play it without even taping it,unless of course it's super complicated jazz licks or chords then I'm going to have to tape it and work it out.
Now I'm not saying this to brag...I'm just telling you that if you develop your musical ear properly over time you will be able to do exactly the same thing. And it's no mystery or secret its just being consistent and doing it all the time. And you will reap the rewards of this invaluable talent for the rest of your musical life.
And another thing I want to touch on with you my fellow guitarists. Don't think that I own some super sophisticated high-tech sound equipment that I work off of. I don't... I'm like 99% of you guitar players out there. I've just got very basic everyday recording equipment.
I have a Gateway notebook computer,2 good quality sony cassette tape recorders with tape counters built-in I have 3-4 sony and panasonic microcassette recorders,and for slowing down cassette tapes and keeping them in the same pitch, I have an old 2-speed Ibanez RP-200 cassette tape player.
So this is just old basic functioning equipment I have probably like a lot of the stuff other guitar players out there own. On the other hand if you've got tons of coin...by all means go out and buy the top of the line latest high-tech recording equipment. But for the average moderate income musician we can still do the exact same thing with basic equipment.
One other tip for you guitarists...use headphones when you practice learning guitar on your tape recorder or computer. You want to be able to isolate the sound you're hearing...It's super distracting trying to compete with outside noise when you're trying to learn music.
And another little tip pertaining to the use of headphones...I used to use the great big jumbo,picture frame size headphones with all the bells and whistles,separate volume control,sound separation left to right etc...I've come to the conclusion that these things are way to bulky,the wire gets in the way of the guitar neck all the time sure you could go wireless...but their still bulky...now I just use a little super-light weight cheap stereo ipod set from the dollar store...they're the size of your thumb nail and you just pop each side in your ear...they've got really long wire and it doesn't get in the way of the guitar neck at all.
Sure you don't get the extra 10 gizmos built-in like on the big over-sized sets...but you'll find you don't miss that at all..and they sound almost as good as the big ones. In my book simplicity rules you don't need that extra stuff.
Okay to wrap this page up...always use a good quality acoustic guitar to learn your guitar licks off the tape recorder or computer...if you're using an electric guitar you have to plug in to an amp or headphone set...I like to keep it simple the less wiring the better... it gives you more incentive to practice when you don't have to plug in 5-6 wires before starting...and don't try and learn your guitar licks on a shitty $25.00 guitar it's hard enough to do as it is without having to battle a hard to play out of tune piece of junk. Don't subject yourself to that.
Oh...and one last thing some of you may ask why do you have to use an acoustic guitar with the headphones set? Because you can hear the acoustic guitar over the headphones while still having them plugged in,even if you don't plug in the acoustic with the headphones....remember the less wires the better.
Okay...let me summarize this whole page...you can still use media players to work out guitar parts...hell use anything that works to your advantage... guitar tabs the sheet music whatever...media players and video are a superb teaching tool for being able to see and hear at the same time exactly whats going on...I'm just saying don't use them so much that you completely neglect training your ear,which is why its so important to always work with a tape recorder...because every time you use it your ear is going to get a little bit better and trained each time.
Keep this in mind...your #1 most important skill and weapon in music is to have a super developed trained musical ear...in my opinion its more important than having lightning fast technique or super fancy guitar licks and tricks...being able to hear chord changes and improvise is what a great musical ear gives you. It is the be all and end all.
I can't tell you the number of times I've had songs and music that I wanted to learn and nothing to learn them on except my cassette tape recorder...No guitar videos,no sheet music,no guitar tabs...and I was able to learn them due to the fact that I have a trained musical ear and I've worked with the tape recorder for years...and that is what trained me to hear music properly and if I can do it you certainly can too.
Well that's just about it for this page, I'm just going to end off with a few paragraphs on buying cassette tape recorders. In today's high-tech world its hard to find the old style 2-speed,variable pitch control, tape counter,built-in microphone,built-in speaker, portable cassette tape recorders. But fear not my fellow guitarist all is not lost,you can still find them in pawn shops,garage sales, and 2nd hand thrift stores.
There used to be a company called “Marantz” that made the cadillac model of cassette tape recorders with all the bells and whistles. It had everything on it including view meters and all sorts of other options. But it wasn't portable it was picture frame size,and had to weigh at least 20 lbs. But still a great machine to have. I think it cost about $550-$650 and thats 25 years ago. Also it doesn't wash windows or do dishes.
Other good options are Sony and I think Panasonic made some too...and of course there's probably other Companies that make them that I'm not aware of...just make sure its a good quality brand before you buy it. I make it a point to visit the pawn shops about every 2-3 weeks...you just never know what kind of electronics will be there and you might come away with some real rare stuff.