Online Electric Guitar Lessons
Learning to play guitar online is arguably the most effective guitar teaching method ever. The only thing missing is a live person in front of you during your lessons, and for some people the drawbacks outweigh the benefits. A real live guitar teacher exuding coolness and dexterity can be handy, but technology has most of the process of passing on musical knowledge and guitar technique covered. So are online guitar lessons for you? Let's look at the advantages of learning in cyberspace, the tools available to you, and the kinds of guitar lessons you will find online.
So why is it better to take online guitar lessons rather than sit in front of a live person? For a start it is much, much cheaper. There are courses that will cost you one hundred dollars or more. Find out how many real-world lessons you get for that price. I can tell you now, it's not too many. Also there's the travelling. Time and money spent just getting to your teacher. Do you really need the aggravation? As far as personal cost goes, online lessons work out to be much less expensive than your local guitar teacher. And you don't have to laugh at your online teacher's lame jokes!
What kind of help and learning materials will you expect from online guitar lessons? Nice clear videos showing you where to put your left hand fingers on the guitar neck and what to do with your right hand to make the music come out. We're talking videos you can play over and over again until you understand what your instructor is trying to pass on to you. Usually some kind of backing tracks are available with online lessons. These are accompaniment for you to test your guitar playing skills. Basically backing music gives you a way of testing your ability to keep time while giving you the opportunity to see how you would sound playing guitar with a real band. By the way, most online guitar courses come with basic tools like a metronome and maybe some written lessons you can print out for future use. Additionally, a lot of guitar courses include some way of asking questions and getting answers back from your guitar teachers.
When you sign up for guitar lessons online, you should be getting a broad musical education. You might have a fair idea of the kind of music you want to play, but online guitar lessons are an ideal method of showing you what is available to guitar players who want to learn more than one musical genre. So just bear in mind you should be able to get a taste of some of the music available to you like jazz, country, fingerstyle, blues, R&B, and so on. Along with a wide range of music, your guitar course should offer you depth of guitar playing experience. You need to learn what it feels like to accompany songs, play solos, and improvise. The best online guitar lessons will give you the opportunity to get this kind of experience.
Okay, so now you know the advantages of online guitar lessons and the materials and tools you should expect to be included in any set of lessons, you can examine any course a little more closely now from a more informed viewpoint.
The Evolution Of The Electric Guitar
References to the guitar more or less in its modern form date back to the 14th century. In its infancy it had four courses of double strings and a rounded body like a gourd or a pumpkin. Its mother would not recognize it today!
Around the sixteenth century the guitar was a popular musical instrument amongst the middle and lower classes of Europe, and as it increased in popularity it began to undergo a change of shape. Luthiers began making instruments with single strings instead of courses and experimented with its form until, by the 19th century, the body of the guitar was made wider, and flattened out. In the twentieth century the wooden tuning pegs which adjusted the tension of the strings were replaced by metal machine heads. Now we have the shape that the modern electric guitar is based on.
The first electric guitars were made in the 1930's in response to a demand from guitarists in bands whose rhythmic stylings could not be heard above the other instruments. The main problem with these electric guitars was that feedback was coming through the amplifier from the vibration of the guitar's body. This challenge began the evolutionary process of the solid body electric guitar.
The early electric guitars had sound holes in the body that were smaller than the sound holes of conventional guitars. In 1924 Lloyd Loar, an engineer with the Gibson factory, used a magnet to change guitar string vibrations into electrical signals, which could be amplified through a speaker. Now it was possible to build guitars that did not possess sound holes but could be heard clearly through an amplifier. Amateur guitar players were able to get their hands on electric guitars through the efforts of Paul Barth, George Beauchamp and Adolph Rickenbacker who founded the Electro String Company in 1931. Their guitars resembled steel guitars, and were played in the guitarist's lap using a slide.
Modern electric guitars are made of many thin layers of wood glued together. The top layer is often a more attractive wood to give the guitar a pleasing appearance, and the other layers are of a wood which gives a good tone such as poplar or ash. The use of laminates endows the instrument with the robust body and tonal quality that would be impossible in one piece of wood. The original solid body guitar was however, made from one piece of wood. In 1941 Les Paul turned a railway sleeper into an amplified stringed instrument. He called it "The Log". When production of his instrument began he stayed with the conventional guitar shape to give his market a familiar image to relate to. Les Paul's invention marketed as the Gibson Les Paul is still extremely popular.
In the 1940's, the Fender Broadcaster Electric guitar came into the world. Nobody really noticed until Arthur Smith used a Broadcaster to record "Guitar Boogie" in 1949. After being renamed the Telecaster, it was put on the market in 1950. Another Fender model, the Stratocaster, caught guitarists' attention with its distinctive tone and light weight. It's still the second most popular guitar in the world.
Ibanez, Jackson, Paul Reed Smith, ESP and Yamaha have made solid body electric guitars with original designs, distinctive shapes and new materials mixed with modern technologies to produce more efficient and versatile electric guitars. Today's electric guitars produce tones varying between futuristic music or quasi-acoustic sounds.
In the 1960's, effects boxes introduced fuzz, delay, echo and the wah-wah sound to the arsenal of sounds available to the modern guitarist. A pedal operated by the guitar player's foot turns the effects on or off. Now guitars contain software that lets guitars sound like other types of guitars or reproduce the sound of other musical instruments. With developments like the latest self-tuning guitars, maybe the old joke about a guitarist "phoning in" a solo will become a reality!
Beginning Acoustic Guitar
So you have decided the acoustic guitar is the instrument for you. What are the first steps to take to get your guitar playing off to a flying start? How about we cover the really basic stuff here, like what kind of music will I be playing? Am I aiming to be a professional guitarist? What type of amplifier do acoustic guitar players use, and what strings are best for which genre of music?
After we have covered these topics you will have a clear idea of the way ahead in your guitar playing career.
Right, so what is your acoustic guitar repertoire going to consist of? Which music attracted you to the acoustic guitar should really be your guide here. The most obvious acoustic genre for many people is folk music. This genre really took off as a form of popular music in the 1960's and now there's a tremendous volume of material for you to choose from. A lot of musicians who are interested in singing ballads go for the acoustic guitar because it's so easy to pick up the instrument and go ahead and sing. Providing your guitar is in tune of course. But in general the acoustic guitar is a great companion for the ballad singer because it won't compete with your vocals.
While we are on the subject of repertoire, don't forget the acoustic guitar is ideal for singing your own simple arrangements of popular songs from many styles of music. Two examples of rock and roll songs that were hits all over again as acoustic ballads are "Layla" by Eric Clapton and "Light My Fire" originally recorded by The Doors, and reworked by Jose Feliciano.
To let your audience hear your playing, you can choose to amplify your guitar by simply playing into a microphone as classical or flamenco guitarists do, or make use of a pickup and an amplifier. The question of which amp to use is a matter for experimentation and talking it over with more experienced guitarists. Generally speaking you wouldn't need any kind of effects for acoustic guitar music; it just needs to have the volume to reach your audience in a restaurant or hall. So just bear in mind you are looking for a nice clear sound from your amp to help carry your vocals rather than set up shop in competition with them.
The choice of strings for the beginner acoustic guitarist is a no-brainer. Learn on nylon strings till your fingers are toughened up. You will form callouses on the tips of your fingers during the first few weeks of playing, after that you can start on a steel string guitar if you wish without slicing your fingers. Regarding the sound of the different kinds of strings, nylon will give you a mellow, unobtrusive sound, and steel strings have a sharper sound which demands attention from the audience. This can augment your vocals and enable you to do solos if you want to.
Now you have got the basic topics covered all that's left for you to do is enjoy your journey as an acoustic guitar player.
Electric Guitar Tabs Explained
Tablature as a means of writing music down has been with us for hundreds of years, but many people today look down on tabs as a third rate method of musical communication. In fact, tablature is not a dumbed down version of conventional musical notation, rather what we call sheet music grew from a need for more versatility in notation as music became more complex in medieval times. Electric Guitar Tabs have been a great help to the many people who have taken up the electric guitar and who wanted to get down to the business of playing as quickly as possible.
Conventional music notation has much more to communicate than tabs, but if you already know more or less how the song sounds, and are prepared to work at your own interpretation, then there is nothing wrong with using tablature.
Guitarists composing music using tabs and sharing the results of their work on the internet have brought a wide range of music within reach of amateur musicians who never learnt to read music. To some guitarists learning to read music is a waste of time that would be put to better use expressing their feelings through music. This attitude is at odds with the idea that the more theoretical knowledge you have, the greater the pool of resources at your disposal for expressing your ideas.
Tablature, on the other hand, allows the guitarist to get to know the basic piece of music in his own way, and use his musical intuition and flair for improvisation to produce a musical work which will be as much his own work as the original composer's. For that reason electric guitar tabs are a boon to the electric guitar player who does not want to just produce a copy of someone else's work.
You can find electric guitar tabs in music stores along with conventional written music, but the quickest and best place to look for electric guitar tabs is on the internet. Even though there's a legal dogfight going on about tab publishers infringing the rights of the original composer, many tabs are still available for free. However you need to exercise your discernment when making use of tablature produced by amateur guitarists. You might need to change things around a little if they don't sound right.
As for the electric guitar player who wants to broaden his musical knowledge, tablature also allows the guitarist to learn new chords, scales or modes very quickly.
Finally a reminder that using electric guitar tabs to learn new material is not a walk in the park - you need to supply some of the information which is otherwise written into sheet music. You need to have some idea of the note values and a basic understanding of time signatures and tempo. What that boils down to is that you can hear the music in your head, and you just want to know where to put your fingers on the fret board. That is what guitar tabs were originally made for.
Playing Bass Guitar Solos
In 1965 British rock group, The Who released a song called My Generation. Apart from its claim to fame as a rock anthem it also contains the most instantly recognizable bass guitar solo in rock and roll. This iconic solo by John Entwistle is typical of the bass solo modeled on similar solo breaks played on double bass and bass guitar in jazz music. This type of bass guitar solo is in the form of a question and answer sequence often found in blues music. The Who's solo also imitates jazz bass solos in that it is played without other instruments behind it. In jazz such solos are played unaccompanied because other instruments tend to drown out the bass.
There have been many bass solos included in rock, funk and jazz but only in pop music has the bass guitar solo stood alone as a piece of music. The first pop musician in England to own and play an electric bass guitar was Jet Harris. He found fame and fortune with The Shadows, Cliff Richard's backing group who were trying to make their own way in pop music as a vocal and instrumental group. Harris played on the band's early instrumental hits featuring the lead guitar of Hank Marvin but decided to try to make it as a soloist like America's Duane Eddy.
Jet Harris' first big hit as a solo guitarist was in 1962 with his rendition of the 1940 song Besame Mucho. The throbbing notes of the six string bass turned a poignant love song into an instrumental work full of menace. Probably inspired by their former band member's success, The Shadows released another six string bass solo called Stingray as a single in 1965.
Meanwhile in America in 1963 a young composer and arranger named Jack Nitzsche made a lush orchestral single called The Lonely Surfer. The orchestra was merely the backdrop for a simple melody played on the bass guitar. The Lonely Surfer never climbed higher than number thirty-nine on the charts, but that is pretty good for a bass guitar solo!
These days the bass guitar is an important part of any band. It was actually born in the nineteen thirties but met with very little success until it was adopted by the early rock and roll groups of the nineteen fifties. The bass guitar is of course descended from the double bass which has always been a solo instrument in orchestral music and was often used for solo work in jazz.
If you want to play bass guitar, you might want to consider learning to play a regular guitar first. It is not absolutely necessary to become a lead or rhythm guitarist before playing bass but it seems to be the way that bass guitar players come into the world. To begin your career as a bass guitarist you can try playing through the bass tabs available on the internet. There are also some lessons available for free plus you can view heaps of bass solos and bass guitar lessons on the various video sites.
Once you have some practice on the bass guitar under your belt there is blinding variety of bass guitar techniques to try before you begin seriously to play solos. You can employ a wide range of plectrums or choose from the many techniques which involve plucking, popping and slapping the bass with the fingers. To some people this might sound like hard work but hopefully you will regard it as a labor of love.
Acoustic Guitars The Best Tuners
Tuning your acoustic guitar is the first step in your guitar playing career. Whether by skill, talent or technology, you must be able to get your guitar into tune.
One common obstacle to learning to tune a guitar is a certain natural resistance to aquiring new knowledge. This reluctance is present in everybody to some degree. The prospect of learning to tune a guitar by ear can fill some people with a sense of dread.
Before we start to tackle the job of tuning, we need to get straight which string is which. The first string is the narrow string nearest your knee as you sit with the guitar in playing position. The sixth string is the widest string, and it is closest to your chin.
And the tuning goes like this:
1st string is "E"
2nd string is "B"
3rd string is "G"
4th string is "D"
5th string is "A"
6th string is "E"
The guitar pitch pipe plays the notes when you blow into it so you can compare the sounds with your guitar.
A tuning fork, when you bang it on your knee and hold it on the body of your guitar, sounds the note you get when you play the harmonic at the fifth fret of the fifth string. Once you get this note right, you tune the rest of the strings to the fifth string.
If you have tried the methods of tuning guitars using a pitch pipe or tuning fork, and still feel less than confident in your guitar tuning abilities, then you could think about acquiring a guitar tuner that has a visual aid to tuning. You can always test your skill from time to time by tuning your guitar without the tuner, and seeing how accurate you have become.
You can also use a keyboard instrument to tune your guitar to. Start by finding on the keyboard the E note below Middle C. Then GO DOWN ANOTHER OCTAVE to tune the sixth string on the guitar. This is because the guitar's music is written an octave higher than it actually sounds compared to a piano!
The electronic guitar tuner is the simplest way of tuning your acoustic guitar. You pluck your guitar string and watch the indicator on the tuner to see how close you are to the correct note. There are also guitar tuners you can get for free on the internet that work the same way.
Online Guitar Tuners often play the notes to you, and you use your ear to see if your guitar is in tune.
Learn To Play Guitar Using Free Software
If you want to learn to play guitar for free there's plenty of software available to help you. This article will enable you to define for yourself how to approach learning the guitar and guide you in setting up the time and space necessary to make solid musical progress.
Imagine yourself sitting down to play the guitar. You want to play to your own musical standards and to make music that impresses your audience. You will play from beginning to end without a hitch. Your attention will be on the music, not nervously anticipating the bits that you can "scrape through" when you are alone in your room but could be your undoing in front of an audience.
To learn to play guitar with a high degree of fluency, the first free resource you will need is time. Even if you have a busy daily schedule you can find say, half an hour to set aside to learning guitar. Think about what you do during the day. After dinner for instance, do you sit staring mindlessly at the television? Could you get up a little earlier in the morning to play guitar? Failing to seriously think about when you are going to practice the guitar will make the other elements of your guitar education more difficult.
Once you have worked when you will practice the guitar each day, you can contemplate the basic needs behind learning music. You can see in your imagination how you want to play guitar, so how do you go about getting the music into your head and your fingers?
An essential piece of equipment you need by your side is your guitar tuner. With free guitar tuners available to download, there's no excuse not to be in tune. I recommend the AP Guitar Tuner. It has a great visual guide to make sure you get your guitar in tune with a minimum of fuss.
Whether you already read standard musical notation or you will be using guitar tablature, you need to go to your friendly neighborhood search engine and look for a free music notation program called TablEdit. Guitarists record arrangements of songs using this program and share it with other guitar players on the internet. You download the software in a zip file and install it on your computer.
Now go to your search engine again and type in the name of the song you want to learn followed by "tabledit". If your request is not too obscure, you will get a number of web pages where you can download your song. As an example, type "classical gas tabledit" into a search engine and you will be rewarded with over one-hundred-and-fifty results. The only drawback with the free version of the program is you can't edit and save the music you are learning.
Another free guitar notation program is called Powertab, so if you can't find a Tabledit file for the piece you want, try your search using "power tab".
Now sit down with yourself and let the notation program play the song. Get a good grip on how the song sounds. Then start to learn the notes in whatever size chunks you need. Break it into licks, bars, half bars, whatever, but don't ride over any bits that are difficult for you. The ultimate aim is to perform a series of small movements, each one leading to the next without unnecessary muscular tension.
If you have difficulty with any part of the song, play it slowly several times on your notation program until you can hear it in your head. Then try it slowly on the guitar.
Finally, if you can't find a TablEdit or Powertab arrangement of your song, the latest version or Apple's Quicktime has the ability to slow down any music without altering the pitch. All you need then is a sound file and a tab or sheet music of your piece and you're ready to rock!
Classical Gas An Enigma Of Modern Music
Classical Gas is one of the most requested and most familiar instrumental pieces of all time. In an episode of The Simpsons called "Last Exit to Springfield" Homer leads the workers of the nuclear power plant in a strike to recover their lost dental plan. While they picket the plant, Lisa plays a bleak worker's song. As she finishes, Lenny shouts, "Play Classical Gas". Lisa plays the guitar and everybody watching the episode on TV goes, "Oh, yeah, THAT tune!" Classical Gas is always asked for whenever a bunch of people and a nylon string acoustic guitar are in the same room. It is not really a great technical showcase for finger style guitarists but it is a great vehicle to show off the sound of the classical guitar.
Classical Gas was released into the world in 1968. A song by The Doors prevented it from turning into a number one hit but it remained in the second place for two weeks. Forty years later it is still among the most familiar tunes of all time and, along with The Anonymous Romance and Leucona's Malaguena regarded as an essential element of the classical guitar repertoire. And nobody can say why.
The impact of Classical Gas is way more than the sum of its parts. There are very few musical ideas in the tune. It is mainly repetition of a theme made up of a few notes. There are a few parts that are unforgettable "surprises" making use of syncopation, scales, strums, and abrupt time signature changes. Somehow all the bits link together like pearls on a necklace, and the final note adds a sublime resolution.
The composer, Mason Williams, states on his website, "I didn't really have any big plans for it, other than maybe to have a piece to play at parties when they passed the guitar around. I envisioned it as simply repertoire or "fuel" for the classical guitar, so I called it Classical Gasoline." Mason Williams' day job was as a comedy writer and stand-up comedian who had lots of other projects besides writing a classical guitar instrumental.
It was Mason Williams' work on the Smothers Brothers' "Comedy Hour" which gave him the opportunity to have his pet composition heard by the American public. The original score of the piece shows only chords and a few notes. Mason Williams had a twenty-three year old composer named Mike Post finish off the arrangement.
At the Grammys it won Best Instrumental Composition and Best Instrumental Performance for Mason Williams and Best Instrumental Arrangement for Mike Post who has had a career full of triumphs in the field of TV theme music. His latest victory is the theme(s) for the "Law And Order" series.
Classical Gas has been employed as the theme music for several news programs, the background music for the Apollo 4 movie, and featured in a number of other movies and TV shows. Many people have mistakenly attributed Mason Williams' solo version of the tune for a cover by Eric Clapton.
Classical Gas is quite an easy piece to play, the challenge is to play it with passion and dynamics because it appears to non-guitarists, more difficult to play than it really is. Maybe this is the reason it is among the most requested guitar pieces ever.
Choosing The Right Nail Gun Nailer For You
Unlike most tools, nailers are not designed for general purpose use - there is no all-purpose nailer that you can use on all your jobs. Nailers are meant to be used for specific jobs, so prior to buying a new nailer it's important to know the tasks for which it will be used.
The kinds of nailers are:
- Framing nailers: These are designed for driving bigger (1-1/2? to 4?) box-type nails into larger pieces of material. These types of nailers are usually fairly big and heavy and are usually stick-type nail guns, they there are some coil-types available too.
- Finish nailers: These nailers are sometimes also called brad or pin nailers. They are meant for fastening smaller finish-type nails into light pieces of wood. These nailers tend to be lighter and smaller than framing nailers, and they are usually used for trim or finishing work. These are almost always stick-type nail guns.
- Roofing and Siding nailers: These nailers are intended for the specialized task of putting up either siding or roofing. They store large numbers of nails that are designed specifically for the task at hand (siding or roofing). These are usually coil-type nailers.
Once you pick the sort of nailer you want, some other features that are helpful to have and which you should consider are:
- An adjustable exhaust output. When nails are driven in, air shoots out from the nailer. It's often helpful to have an adjustable exhaust so that the exhaust air is not shot into your face.
- A large trigger. If you are going to be using your nailer in cold weather, you'll want to be wearing winter gloves. In this case you'll want to make sure you have a good-sized trigger so that you can work when wearing gloves.
- A swivel on the air connector . If you move around often with your nailer, this will help reduce the snarling of your air hose.
- An easy-to-use depth setting. Almost all nailers have some sort of adjustment to controlmanage how hard the nail is put in. Using this adjustment, the nail is not left sticking out of the surface, or sunk too deep far in. Many nailers require tools to perform this adjustment, others can be set without using tools and these tend to be much quicker to adjust. If you think you will be changing this adjustment often, the easier and quicker it is to adjust, the easier it will be to use this nailer.
- If you are going to be nailing a lot of nails, should consider the capacity of the nailer and also the ease with which nails can be loaded into the gun. Choosing the right nailer can save you a lot of time on a job... or cost you a lot of time if you make the incorrect decision.
Finally, make sure you look at the reviews for the nailer you are thinking about getting. Checking out a tool in the store or on the internet, it is really problematic to be sure how well it will work on site. By looking into the reviews of people that have actually used the nailer, you'll get a much better idea if this nailer will work for you.
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