Blog Archives

Awesome Zakk Wylde style guitar lesson

This guy knows how to teach.  A fantastic Zakk Wylde style guitar lesson coupled with some positive words to inspire other guitarists.

Advertisements

Yngwie Malmsteen

Born in Stockholm, Sweden, in 1963 Yngwie Malmsteen is the guitarist credited as being the first of the neo-classical rock guitarists popular in the 1980’s and 90’s.

Discovered by Mike Varney of shrapnel records he was flown to the U.S. in 1982 and had brief recording stints with the bands Alcatrazz, and, Steeler before releasing his first solo album, Rising Force, in 1984.

Rising Force won the Guitar Player Magazine’s award for Best Rock Album and was nominated for a Grammy for ‘Best Rock Instrumental’, achieving #60 on the Billboard album chart. The guitar playing on the album was like nothing that came before. Rapid fire arpeggios, dark sounding harmonic minor scales and modes combining to produce a totally unique, dynamic, and exciting sound.

Malmsteen is famous for his use of Fender Stratocaster guitars and Marshall amplification and has signature series guitars and amplifiers. His guitars have scalloped fretboards and brass nuts to improve playability and sustain.

Malmsteen spawned an almost new style of playing and as such influenced many guitarists to learn theirs scales and improve their technique. His influenced can be heard in a lot of guitarists from the late 80’s and 90’s and continues to this day. He has released a number of studio and live albums and continues recording and touring as a solo artists and also as part of the G3 tour.

Albert Lee

Albert Lee is an English guitarist known for his hybrid picking technique and rapid fire phrasing. He left school at 16 to play guitar full time and has been playing professionally ever since.

His playing credits read like a who’s who of music. Too many to list but they include Bo Diddley, Eric Clapton, and the Everly Brothers. He has also recorded a large number of solo albums under the names “Albert Lee” and “Albert Lee & Hogan’s Heroes”

He is known as the guitar player’s guitar player because of the presence of so many guitarists, famous or unknown, everywhere he performs. Albert Lee is also referred to as “Mr. Telecaster”.  Lee has been described by his peers who include Jimmy Page and Ritchie Blackmore, as a complete gentleman who does not know the meaning of the word ego.

His song “Country Boy”, shown in the video above, helped to redefine country guitar for a whole generation of players.

Albert Lee can be seen live touring with “Albert Lee & Hogan’s Heroes” at the time of writing, July 2012. If you get chance go see him play.

Mark Knopfler

Mark Knopfler was the guitar player and singer in Dire Straits from their beginnings in 1977 to their break up in 1995, selling over 120 million albums worldwide they are one of the worlds most popular recording artists.  Since 1995 Knopfler has had a successful solo career covering a diverse range of musical styles.

Mark Knopfler is left-handed, but plays right-handed, and fingerpicks  instead of using a plectrum. Fingerpicking is usually associated with the acoustic guitar, but Knopfler usually (though not always) plays an electric guitar. He revealed during a French interview that he uses a pick for his rhythm work during recording sessions. He surprised the interviewer by pulling a pick out of his pocket and saying that he usually carries one. He has long favoured Fender Telecaster and Stratocaster style guitars. Fender carries a Mark Knopfler Artist Series Stratocaster. During the 1980s he came to appreciate the tone of the Gibson Les Paul and his original 1958 has been used regularly in the studio and on stage.

Paul Gilbert


Paul Gilbert is one scary guitar player.  Awesome technique, Phenomenal speed coupled with a strong melodic sense combine to make him one of the greatest rock guitarists of all time.

At age 15 he contacted Mike Varney, head of shrapnel records, asking for a gig with Ozzy Osborne.  The gig with Ozzy did not happen but Gilbert was featured in Guitar Player magazine at age 15.

After spending three years at GIT Gilbert then joined Racer X. This is where Gilbert gained his reputation as one of the worlds fastest guitarists.  Gilbert then formed the band Mr Big who had a number one hit with the acoustic tune “To be with you”.   Gilbert left Mr Big in 1997 to pursue a solo career.

He continues working on solo projects as well as holding guitar clinics around the world.  He is also a teacher at GIT and is well-known for his instructional videos.

Leo Kottke

Blues, Jazz, Folk, Fingerstyle, slide,  syncopation, and much more.  Leo Kottke is a truly innovative and one-off guitarist.  He hasn’t had it easy in his playing career and has had to overcome a number of obstacles along the way.  A partial loss of hearing, and, tendon damage in his right hand resulting in him having to alter his technique.  Leo Kottke is a recognised master of the guitar.

Kottke has focussed on composing and recording instrumental music but has also been known to sing as well.  He has also collaborated with many other artists including.  Chet Atkins, Lyle Lovett, Margo Timmins, Mike Gordon, and Rickie Lee Jones. He has recorded tunes by Tom T. Hall, Johnny Cash, Carla Bley, Fleetwood Mac, The Byrds, Jorma Kaukonen, Kris Kristofferson, Randall Hylton, and many others.

Ry Cooder

Ry Cooder is a guitarist, singer, and, songwriter.  He is known for his slide guitar playing in particular and also his interest in traditional American music.

He has collaborated with many musicians, including Larry Blackmon, The Rolling Stones, Van Morrison, Neil Young & Crazy Horse, Randy Newman, Earl Hines, Little Feat, Captain Beefheart, The Chieftains, John Lee Hooker, Pops and Mavis Staples, Flaco Jiménez, Ibrahim Ferrer, Freddy Fender, Vishwa Mohan Bhatt and Ali Farka Touré. He formed the band Little Village with Nick Lowe, John Hiatt, and Jim Keltner.

He has also written and performed on many film soundtracks.  Have a look at 80’s guitar/road movie crossroads to which Ry Cooder provided all the slide guitar parts, terrible film but a great soundtrack.

Throughout his career he has played many different genres of music encompassing folk, blues, Tex-Mex, soul, gospel, rock, and much more.  To date he is still writing, recording, and putting down some awesome guitar parts.

2. Naming the notes

Musical notes are named using the letters of the alphabet.

A B C D E F G

The lowest sounding note would be the A on the left with the notes gradually getting higher towards the G. After the G the pattern would start again at A and continue getting higher, likewise it could continue getting lower before the A on the left like this.

A B C D E F G A B C D E F G A B C D E F G A B C D E F G

These notes are known as natural notes. If you look at a piano keyboard the natural notes are the ones in white. If you pick any note from the list above and count along the line till you reach the same note again you should have hopefully counted to eight. If you got to seven make sure you counted every note including the one you started on. This distance is called an octave.

Example

A to the next A is an octave

B to the next B is an octave

C to the next C is an octave
Etc

Octaves

If you find the open E string on your guitar, this is the first or sixth string, then look for a double dot on the neck, this dot Indicates the 12th fret. If your guitar does not have a double dot count up to the 12th fret. Play the open E string and listen to the note produced, this is an E, then play the E string again but this time pressing down with your fretting hand on the 12th fret, this note is also an E and this is what an octave sounds like. The double dot is to indicate where the notes start again, or in other words is one octave higher than the open string.

Flats & Sharps

You have hopefully noticed that we have said that an octave is eight notes apart but to play an octave on the guitar we have had to climb up twelve frets. This is because in between the natural notes there are other notes. These notes are called sharp or flat notes. The symbol for a sharp is #, and the symbol for a flat is b. To avoid confusion I will always put the note names in capitals and the flat sign in lower case. For example Eb would be E flat. F# would be F sharp.

To flatten a note you need to go one fret lower down the fret board. For example, if we took the E at the 12th fret on the E string and moved it down one fret to the 11th fret this note is Eb.

To sharpen a note we need to go one fret higher. For Example if we took the D on the tenth fret of the E string and moved it up one fret to the 11th fret this note would be D#.

In the two examples above we ended up on the same fret but with two different note names. This is because D# and Eb are the same note. Every sharp note has an equivalant flat note.

There are sharps and flats in between every pair of natural notes except B and C, and E and F.

So if we put all the notes down now we end up with this.

A – A#/Bb – B – C – C#/Db – D – D#/Eb – E – F – F#/Gb – G – G#/Ab – A

If we transfer this to the guitar using the E string again we can play the notes using the following frets

Fret       Note
0               E
1               F
2           F#/Gb
3               G
4           G#/Ab
5                A
etc .

Try counting up the frets on the E string and naming the notes as you go along. You should be at E again when you reach the 12th fret.

Tones & Semitones

A distance of one fret on the guitar can be called a semitone and a distance of two frets can be called a tone. For example if we play the fifth fret on any string then move it up it by one fret, to the sixth fret, we could say we have raised the note by a semitone. If we raise it by two frets we could say we have raised the note by a tone.

Exercise

Try naming all the notes on one string by starting with the open string and then working your way up the string. You should end up on the note name you started with by the 12th fret. If you dont something has gone wrong. Dont worry. Try again.

Next up:  Lesson 3 – Finding the notes.

1.What is music theory

Music theory is the language of music and the study of how music is put together. Having an understanding of music theory is helpful in many ways. For example, when teaching it is much easier & quicker to communicate ideas to a student if the student has a good knowledge of theory. If you play in a band ideas can be passed around and expressed clearly and concisely if the members have good theory knowledge. For lead guitarists theory helps you put the right scale with the right chords. For writers and composers it provides clear direction on chord progressions and melody.

Almost all of the top guitarists today have a good knowledge of theory as well as strong technique. If you want to join them you will need the same.

Music was around a long time before theory came along so it could be said that theory is just a way of writing down and remembering things that sound good. I have come across students who have no musical knowledge what so ever but have written some great music. When we have sat down and analysed what they have written we have found that their music conforms with accepted music theory. The reason for this, I believe, is that we grow up listening to music and are conditioned to hear music in a certain way. Therefore when we write music it conforms to the musical patterns we have grown up listening to. If somebody can write music with no theory knowledge what is the point of learning theory? By learning why your music sounds a certain way theory can help you recreate that sound or avoid it. It should also open up new musical avenues for you to explore.

Finally, music theory will help you gain an insight into how your guitar works. Attempting to jam with other musicians without theory is guesswork usually. Theory gets you straight in and playing something cool which surely is what playing an instrument is about.

Next up:  Lesson 2 – Naming the notes

Jaco Pastorius


Jaco Pastorius is probably the most influential Bass player of all time.  Playing a Fender Jazz with the frets removed Jaco had a unique and instantly recognisable style making use of harmonics, false harmonics, legato, and punchy lines .  Jaco recorded with Weather Report, Herbie Hancock, and, Joni Mitchell amongst others as well as recording his own solo projects.

Jaco had two Grammy Award nominations for his self-titled debut album. He won the readers’ poll for induction into the Down Beat Jazz Hall of Fame in 1988, one of only four bassists to be so honored (the others being Charles Mingus, Milt Hinton, and Ray Brown), and the only electric bassist to receive this distinction.