Blog Archives

Joe Satriani

Joe Satriani is the biggest selling instrumental rock guitarist of all time. He also taught, to name a few, Steve Vai, Alex Skolnick, Andy Timmons, and Kirk Hammett. Joe Satriani inspired a new breed of guitarists with his legato technique, melodic style coupled with fast runs, and his knowledge of music theory, his ground breaking album, Surfing with the alien is still a must listen for every guitar player.  He has toured and recorded with artists including Deep Purple and Mick Jagger, as well as taking part in the G3 tour and playing for rock band Chicken Foot. At the time of writing he has just released his 15th studio album and will be touring to support this album. Grab some tickets and go and enjoy a true legend of the guitar.

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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.

Bad day at the office

Guitarist having a bad day at the office. Thankfully his band mates are there to offer support in his hour of need

Vinne Moore

Vinne Moore was discovered by Mike Varney after playing professional gigs since the age of 12.  His connection with Varney led to him featuring in a Pepsi advert and then releasing the albums Minds Eye and Time Odyssey on Shrapnel Records.  He has since appeared on albums by Alice Copper, Vicious Rumours, and, UFO.  He is currently playing for UFO who released their latest album in 2012.

Moore is known as one of the earliest “Shred” guitar players and his early albums feature a neo classical style utilising fast picking, sweeping, and, some pretty cool acoustic playing.  Check out the track above for a wide selection of Moore’s techniques and also his compositional skills.

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.

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.

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.

Andres Segovia

Andrés Segovia, was a virtuoso Spanish classical guitarist from Linares, Jaén, Andalucia, Spain. He is widely considered to be one of the best known and most influential classical guitar personalities of the 20th century, having a considerable influence on later guitarists, particularly because of important guitar works that were dedicated to him by composers such as Federico Moreno Torroba.

Segovia is credited for his modern-romantic repertoire, mainly through works dedicated to him by modern composers, but he also created his own transcriptions of classical works that were originally for other instruments. He is remembered for his expressive performances: his wide palette of tone, and his distinctive (often instantly recognizable) musical personality in tone, phrasing and style.

Steve Vai

Steve Vai recorded and toured in Zappa’s band for two years, from 1980 to 1982. He began a solo career in 1983, has released eight solo albums and won three Grammy Awards. He has also recorded and toured with Public Image Ltd., Alcatrazz, David Lee Roth and Whitesnake. Vai has been a regular touring member of the G3 Concert Tour which began in 1996.  One of the greatest ever guitarists with a seemingly total mastery of the instrument and command of music theory and composition.  A great example to other guitar players of the benefits of practice and total dedication Steve Vai is known for his long practice routines including his legendary 10 hour guitar workout.  Also famous for his connections with Ibanez guitars, his Jem series is one of the most sought after and popular signature guitars ever produced.

Randy Rhoads

Randy Rhoads was most famous for being Ozzy Osbourne’s guitarist on the albums “Blizzard of Oz” and “Diary of a madman”, Ozzy’s first albums since splitting with Black Sabbath.  Randy played guitar for the band “Quiet Riot” before joining Ozzy’s band and was also a dedicated classical guitar player and would seek out classical guitar lessons whilst on tour.  Randy was one of the first “schooled” rock guitarists and had a deep knowledge of music theory, composition, and guitar techniques.  This coupled with his natural musicality combined to make him one of the greatest guitarists ever.  Randy was tragically killed in a plane crash on March 19, 1982.  In 1987 Ozzy released “Tribute”   a live recording of Ozzy and Randy in concert plus some studio out-takes.  Have a listen to the clip above to hear Randy playing both in a classical style and also some great lead guitar.  The solo at around 2 mins 40 secs is a masterpiece.  Enjoy.