217-Free-Guitar-Jam-Tracks

217 Free Guitar Jam Tracks

spotify-logo
I want to tell you about a great resource for guitar players looking to practice their chops.

It’s called Spotify and you may have heard of it. If not, it’s a free (with ads) music streaming service that contains nearly every song and CD ever made.

What I’m most excited about is the large amount of guitar jam tracks that I found in their catalog.

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Every-Beatles-Song-Ever

Every Beatles Song Explained

The-Bealtes
Today I’d like to share with you one of my favorite sites for developing songwriting ability. The Beatles Canon.

First off, I should say that I’m a big fan of the Beatles and love nearly everything they’ve ever written and recorded. I know there are some people out there who don’t feel this way and that’s fine…though I really can’t imagine why. :)

Anyway, whether you like them or not hopefully we can agree that they created a large collection of unique songs in varying styles throughout their long career. They were master songwriters who were always pushing the envelope.

Who better to learn from?

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Buying Your First Guitar

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Buying Your First Guitar

I remember buying my first guitar.

My mom tells me that the look on my face as I sat down to play it in the music store was all the proof she needed that it was the guitar for me.

It was a sweet $79.00 Hondo Strat with one humbucker and a volume knob. What else do you need?

I still have it, though after 25 years it’s starting to show it’s age…good thing I’m not. :)

There are many things to look for and think about when buying your first axe. Luckily here to help us out is our first guest writer Suzanne DeCree from the blog Rage & Apathy.com with some great advice.

Take it away Suzanne.

How Much Should I Spend? by: Suzanne DeCree

Ahhh…the question dreaded by music teachers everywhere.? “How much should I spend on a beginner’s instrument?”

This question is a double-edged sword.

At first, it seems that the parent is just trying to get an idea of a good budget point.  Many times, however, this is code for

“I really don’t think he or she will stick with it and I want to spend the least amount possible.

The answer is obvious to most music teachers. The more you spend, the better instrument you get. The better the instrument the more likely the student will be to stick with it. In other words, a $100 guitar is much more likely to guarantee better results than a $50 guitar (we’re talking new, here, not used.)

I can almost guarantee that a $30 guitar purchased in a toy store will not stay in tune. Heck, it won’t even go in tune. It will also, most likely, not survive the next little “mishap.”

So, when you ask me if you should spend $200-$300 on your first guitar,
my instinct is to say “YES!”

That being said, I also realize that not everyone is simply willing to risk that on a child that might be changing his or her mind within the next 2 months. The trick, then, is to find a happy medium.

Here are my official suggestions for a beginner’s guitar:

[content_box_grey width=”75%”]Buy new – unless you already play, you’re probably not sure what you’re looking for.  A new instrument always gives that “I can return it” security. Stick around the $100 – $150 range. This will usually not break the budget but will provide a good enough sound and playing experience for the student to stick with it.

Get an acoustic – I always suggest beginning on an acoustic. In general, acoustic guitars will make the fingers stronger, more dextrous and build better overall technique. There is a trade-off  here, though. An electric guitar will give the student a “fun factor” that they won’t get on the acoustic. So you might want to go for the electric just to make sure your student will pick it up and play.

Check the neck!  There are 3 things I always check for on the neck: (1) Is it straight (not twisted from side to side) (2) Is there a slight “dip” in the middle of the neck (this is a good thing…) and (3) Do the frets stick out over the side? The first two require that you look lengthwise down the neck. I usually start at the tuners and look toward the ground. All of the frets should go in nice, parallel lines. If they don’t there is a problem. Somewhere around the middle of the neck, you should see the frets get a little closer and then a little farther apart (but still parallel). That’s fine, too.

Check the frets – Lastly, run your fingers up and down the sides of the neck. If it hurts and scratches your fingers, put it back. If you are buying from a music store, ask them to run a quick set up on the guitar for you. This should include checking the harmonics (making sure it will stay in tune, basically) checking the neck and adjusting anything that needs to be adjusted. I used to do this with every shipment that came in before the guitars were ever put out to sell.[/content_box_grey]

Other Tips

  • Ask for a new set of strings. That new guitar was probably made overseas, shipped over the ocean on a boat and sitting in distribution centers for awhile. Corroded strings may mean tetanus shots. Tetanus shots are not happy things.
  • Ask to be shown how to change the strings. Being able to change your strings will save you lots of money in the long run.
  • Above all, stick to brands you know. You are likely to get a better instrument and a better warranty by not going with an no-name guitar.
  • One last thought – talk to a musician. Not necessarily the guys who are trying to sell you the instrument. Most of them work for commission. Ask a friend or a guitar teacher. Since I own a traveling studio, we don’t keep instruments in stock. What we will do, though, is take a shopping trip with you to make sure you’re getting a decent instrument.
  • It’s only going to sound good if you can tune it!

Hope all of that helps!

Don’t make excuses – make music.


Suzanne DeCree from Rage and Apathy.comSuzanne has studied music and played guitar almost her entire life. Eager to challenge herself, she studied Classical, Jazz and Flamenco and even began teaching guitar at the young age of 18. For Suzanne, music is the ultimate epic quest.
She blogs regularly at Rage & Apathy.com

Lead guitar Techniques | Stand-By-Me

Lead Guitar Techniques |Stand By Me 1

Stand-By-Me
This lesson comes from a reader’s request that I received.

They were having a bit of trouble improvising over a  I, vi, IV, V  (1, 6, 4, 5) progression which can be found in hundreds of popular tunes.

The Guided Jam Track that we’re going to use for our lesson is “Stand By Me” by Ben E. King.

It sticks to the I, vi, IV, V ( Amaj, F#min, Dmaj, Emaj ) progression all the way through and the tempo is slow enough not to leave you out of breath by the end of it.

Let’s check it out.

Stand By Me Improvisation using Arpeggios

We’re going to start jamming on this tune using only arpeggios. This will help to get each chord’s sound into your head.

In part two of the lesson we will add a couple of extra notes to create a little more interest in your melody lines.

If you have trouble following along simply focus on playing the notes from the bottom two or three strings. In a short while you’ll be able to memorize where those notes are and add in more strings.

Another thing you can try is playing a little rhythm using these arpeggios. Since they are only made up of chord tones, any combination of notes you grab will form the right chord.

Have fun & let me know if you have any questions.

A-Teacher-Story

A Teacher Story

Berklee College of Music

I
thought that I’d take a small break from lessons today to share an experience I had with you.

There are a lot of great teachers at Berklee, and I studied with many of them during my four years. There was one guitar teacher however that I always wanted to take lessons from but never did get the chance. His name was John Baboian.

John’s recognition of my musical sensibilities would always get me through when I felt as if I didn’t belong…

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Stand-By-Me_3

Lead Guitar Techniques |Stand By Me 2

Lead Guitar Techniques |Stand By Me 2
This lesson is the second in a series and comes from a reader’s request that I received. Find the first part here.

They were having a bit of trouble improvising over a  I, vi, IV, V  (1, 6, 4, 5) progression which can be found in hundreds of popular tunes.

The Guided Jam Track that we’re going to use for our lesson is “Stand By Me” by Ben E. King.

It sticks to the I, vi, IV, V ( Amaj, F#min, Dmaj, Emaj ) progression all the way through and the tempo is slow enough not to leave you out of breath by the end of it.

Let’s check it out.

Stand By Me Improvisation using Pentatonics

Last time we used arpeggios to create our solos. This time we’re going to jam on this tune using major and minor pentatonics. This adds two notes to each arpeggio that we used in the first lesson.

To the minor arpeggios we’re adding the fourth and the minor seventh,
giving us Root, Minor Third, Fourth, Fifth, and Minor Seventh.

  • Minor Arpeggio    = 1  b3      5
  • Minor Pentatonic = 1  b3  4  5  b7

To the major arpeggios we’re adding the second and the sixth,
giving us Root, Second, Third, Fifth, and Sixth.

  • Minor Arpeggio    = 1      3  5
  • Minor Pentatonic = 1  2  3  5  6

        common note | added note

You may notice that they pentatonic scales for the A major chord and the F minor chord are the same. You’ll need to highlight the chord tones to really sync your solo up to the progression. If you have trouble remember where those notes are try jamming on the first lesson for a bit then come back and try again.

If you have trouble following along simply focus on playing the notes from the bottom two or three strings. In a short while you’ll be able to memorize where those notes are and add in more strings.

Have fun & let me know if you have any questions.

5-Awesome-Guitar-CDs

5 Awesome Instrumental Guitar CDs

Top-5-CDs
So here we are in late December and the holidays have just passed in the states. Maybe you got a couple iTunes or Amazon gift cards as presents and you’re on the look out for some tunes.

Here’s a list of 5 Awesome Instrumental Guitar CDs for you to check out. I’m no album reviewer but I’m gonna try my best to explain why I like them.

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My-Favorite-Axe-Slingers

My Favorite Axe Slingers

My Favorite Guitarists
Here is a list of ten great guitar players who have inspired me & shaped my sound. They are in no particular order.

While making this list I found it so hard to leave certain players out because in truth there are probably hundreds of players that I’ve stolen ideas from…I mean… um…taken inspiration from over the years.

So here is my short list of totally awesome six-stringers for your enjoyment. I find them not only to be great soloists but exceptional songwriters as well.

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Guitar-Jam-Tracks

More Free Guitar Jam Tracks!

Guitar-Jam-Tracks
I‘m always on the lookout for great free resources on the web to help guitar players improve their playing.

A while ago I told you about Spotify and the large number of free guitar backing tracks that you can find available there.

This time I bring you another great site full of free guitar backing tracks. Guitar Jam Tracks is run by a fellow named Nick who is a curator of sorts that has collected backing tracks from all over YouTube and organized them onto his site.

He’s broken the tracks into these catagories: Read more