Blog Archives

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.

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Joe Pass

One of the greatest jazz guitarists of the 20th century Joe Pass was known for his chord melodies, walking bass lines, and, outstanding knowledge of chord inversions and progressions.  New York Magazine said of him, “Joe Pass looks like somebody’s uncle and plays guitar like nobody’s business. He’s called “the world’s greatest” and often compared to Paganini for his virtuosity. There is a certain purity to his sound that makes him stand out easily from other first-rate jazz guitarists”.

Eddie Hazel

Eddie Hazel was the guitar player for Parliamant-Funkadelic putting down some seriously funky grooves and psychedelic guitar.  Have a listen to “Maggot Brain”, recorded in one take in 1971.  Legend has it that George Clinton told Eddie Hazel to imagine he had been told his mother was dead, but then learned that it was not true.  Enjoy the ride.

How To Read Guitar Tab

Guitar tab is a method of getting guitar music on paper without having to read music. The advantage of tab is it is relatively easy to learn and you can be learning songs very soon after learning to read it. The disadvantage is tab has no rhythm notation so can be tricky to learn songs you are not familiar with.

Example 1

The horizontal lines represent the six strings on the guitar. The thickest E string is at the bottom up to the thinnest E string at the top. You read tab from left to right so the first three notes in the above example would be played one at a time.

The numbers on the lines tell you which fret to play. The first note you would play on the above example is the 3rd fret on the A String.

A zero represents an open string, so the second note on the above example is an open D string. The third note would be the second fret on the G string.

When the notes are stacked on top of each other like at the end of the above example this means you play the notes at the same time. Hopefully if you play the last stack of notes together you should end up with an A Major chord.

There are many more symbols associated with tab but we will learn these as we go along.

Guitar Chords For Beginners

These are some of the most commonly used beginners chords.  You will often see these chords on sheet music and guitar tabs.  The chords are the same on acoustic and electric guitar.  The fingerings I have put on them are the ones I normally use and teach but feel free to use your own if you prefer.

Next: How to read guitar tab

Thoughts on Guitar Practice

In this lesson I will show you how to master the guitar in twenty minutes. Learn all the tricks , techniques and scales the pro’s use.
We have all seen the ads that claim to show you how to do this.  Well here I am going to show you how to do it for free.
OK now for the truth.
You cant master the guitar in twenty minutes.  To learn to play an instrument takes time, a lifetime in fact, there will always be something that you can do better.  You will reach different levels of playing along the way but once you reach one level you will find there is a higher level to aim for.
The only way you will improve your playing is practice,and good quality practice. Speak to guitarists you admire, the guitarist in you favourite local band, your teacher, or read articles by your guitar heroes and you will find one common thread running between them. They all practiced, a lot.

Some thoughts on practicing. 

You should practice as often as you can.  Twenty minutes a day is better than two hours every Sunday.  If you practice infrequently you may find that the improvement you made in your last session is gone by the next time you pick your guitar up.
Order Your Practice. Put together a routine with your teacher which focuses on the areas you want to improve on and sustains the areas you are currently happy with.  If you practice nothing but sweep arpeggios for six months you may find the rest of your playing suffers.
Set Targets.  By setting targets you can clearly see how much your playing is improving over time.  Seeing your improvement provides good motivation for further practice.
Practice Slowly and Accurately.  If you practice at a speed which is too high for you, you will end up making more mistakes and playing sloppily.  In the long term you will succeed in becoming a very good sloppy guitarist who makes lots of mistakes.
So there you go.  Master the guitar in twenty minutes….a day.