Monday, February 6, 2012

Guitar Calm

Yesterday I was at a Superbowl party. And, well...I am a long time Patriots fan. Living in the NY metro about 20 miles away from Giants Stadium.

Luckily, it was at my church, so the people were kind and sort of understanding. Anyway, I brought my guitar with me thinking that if I get bored, or if it becomes a depressing blow out, I'll just go off and play my guitar at the half time. The game was excellent, so that never happened.

In the past, the guitar has been like a therapeutic weapon against a bad mood. Thankfully, I left the party in a decent mood. The game was a fun game to watch, the people were great company, and it was the food that kept me up all night, not the replay of Welker's missed catch.

Going on with the mood enhancement therapy, we all can have our down days. The guitar can be used to help combat those days. I'm thankful to God for the day I first wanted to play guitar. It may not always be easy, it may be as frustrating as anything when I try to learn a new song or feel as if I've reached a plateau in skills, but it is a fine instrument that I know I can use to get my mind off of things even if only for the minutes that I am enjoying the guitar.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Locking the loop

Believe it or not, if you don't string your guitar properly you'll likely experience issues with your guitar going out of tune on a frequent basis.

Don't laugh, but I made the same mistake most guitarists make. Sure, I wound them the right way, but sometimes I had an excessive amount of string and failed to lock the loop.

Years ago, I was at a worship conference at a local church. Again, don't laugh, but a former member of Air Supply, David Moyse (I think that's his name), was giving a lecture at the conference. He randomly picked me out of the crowd and asked to see my guitar, and then proceeded to restring it using the locking loop technique.

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Phil Keaggy - The Reunion

Phil Keaggy has long been one of my favorite guitarists. And he is very versatile, not sticking to one particular style or genre. Listening to this, I'm he tuned to DADGAD?

Monday, January 30, 2012

DADGAD Tuning is a beautiful thing

I had recently heard about DADGAD tuning through various avenues and sources. Well, my curiosity got the best of me and I decided to try it out. It was simple enough to tune down to DADGAD, just drop the low E to a D, the B to an A, and the high E to a D. Now, what the heck do I play on this?

>Google searching<...ah, here we go, easy songs to play in DADGAD tuning. Hey! I didn't know Led Zeppelin's "Kashmir" was played in DADGAD tuning! Wow, that song is super easy! And fun.

Currently I have that Zep song and an alternate rendition of Amazing Grace in DADGAD under my belt. Last night I had to tune my guitar back to standard EADGBE tuning to play worship. Somehow my guitar sounded sad. Seriously, that DADGAD tuning is so beautiful. I now want to become a Celtic player!

Anyway, I used to be scared of alternate tunings, but now I can say with authority that I am hooked!

Tuesday, January 24, 2012


I recently discovered Yes, I'm slow when it comes to the latest and greatest places to correspond on the internet. Anyway, I only involve myself in a few subreddits, and namely, I go on the subreddit.

Check it out. There are a lot of interesting topics, and actually, I've learned a few things on that site since first discovering a few months ago. You'll find a variety of players, with varying degrees of skills, and it is a great place to approach the masses with questions about the guitar that maybe you haven't quite been able to understand or solve.

Be warned: Reddit can cause your entire work day to be wasted, so exercise some discipline when perusing Reddit. Don't say I didn't warn you!

Monday, January 23, 2012

The Capo

Yesterday I was playing guitar with a friend and the subject of capos came up. I have nothing against capos, and in fact, I would love to get one of those Spider Capos, check them out! A quick way of setting up alternate tunings!

Anyway, when using a capo, how do you refer to the chords? We were playing a regular I-IV-V-II progression in the key of G and he decided to capo up to the third fret. Even though he was playing the same chords as I was down on open tuning, he was referring to them as the same chords, so for example, Capo 3 and playing a G pattern, he was actually playing a different chord.

Actually, it was a simple opportunity to refresh my memory, and to teach him how transposing works. And a reminder that I need to really focus on memorizing the bass notes of a guitar, but anyway, this was simple. The third fret on Capo 3 is a G. So, when playing a G pattern, he was actually an A chord. Correct me if I'm wrong, it's still too early in the morning for me!

In fact, this guy here has a much better description of transposing chords when using a capo!

Friday, January 20, 2012

Slow but steady

I admit that I'm not the most patient musician. For example, when learning a new song, I would typically rush through the basics of it so it was passable to at least the non-musician. Yeah, to the untrained ear, I may sound like I know what I'm doing, but deep down inside, I knew the truth. I was faking my way through a song, and probably not playing it to true to form.

All that has changed. I found that it is improving my chops when actually slowly but methodically going through a new song, scale, or chord progression. For example, I take a simple tune like Neil Young's "Heart of Gold". In the past, I would be satisfied with playing the basic chords and coming up with what I thought was the rhythm pattern. Instead, now I actually sat down and tried to figure out exactly how he played the song, using the correct mutes, chords, and licks. It made a world of difference, and as a result, I'm satisfied with the song when I play it.

So, from now on, I will choose not to rush through songs, but sit down and deliberately play the song, measure by measure, until I believe I'm as close to the original as possible. After that, then I can add my own flavor to the songs.