This past week, I was doing some spring cleaning, and I came upon some notes given to me from a few lessons I took from a famous jazz teacher in the late 1980s in NYC. I took only three lessons from this gentleman, mostly due to the fact that during every lesson he was under the influence of certain mind-altering substances, which I found really unprofessional considering the amount he was charging me.
As you can tell from my previous blog posts, learning and knowing the fretboard to the best of one's ability is of the utmost importance to me — and something I stress to all my guitar students. How much do I stress this point? So much that last week one of my students wanted to know why is it so important to me. I thought about it for a day or two. That's why I love teaching; it gets me to reevaluate all that I know.
Hey, everyone. In my last two blog posts, I discussed arpeggios and how to incorporate them into your playing to learn the fretboard and add some color to your leads. This time, I'd like to discuss some really cool major- and minor-scale exercises that will help your overall guitar playing on many levels.
There are four types of chords that are built from the major scale: major 7th's, minor 7th's, dominant 7th's and diminished. Each of those chords has its own construction, but their common thread is that they will be constructed from the first, third, fifth and seventh notes from their respective major scales. In short, the 1, 3, 5, 7.
Hey, everyone! In this blog post, I'd like to discuss one of my favorite exercises to learn the fretboard and add a little mojo to your lead playing. Before we begin, let me define what an arpeggio is. An arpeggio is a broken chord. We can play a chord two ways. The first way is to play all the notes at the same time; the second way is to play the notes one at a time, consecutively. This latter method is called an arpeggio.
The one thing I'm most proud of in my career is the fact that I've always gotten the gig I wanted, without fail. Whether it was passing the audition for a band, getting accepted into a conservatory, creating a successful teaching business or getting shows, I've gotten the job done.
When one of my guitar students wants to learn lead guitar, I usually show him/her the minor pentatonic scale first. Once that scale is down in all keys, I play different and familiar chord progressions and have my students solo over them using the scales they've just learned. Almost always, the same thing happens: The student's leads sound like a continuous scale. I call it the musical equivalent of a stomach virus.
Have you ever played a gig during which your gear inexplicably goes dead in the middle of a face-blistering lead? Have you ever been on your way to a show and have the back of the van pop open and watch a drum set and keyboard spill onto the New York State Thruway at 70 mph? Have you ever watched the singer in your band run a bar tab so high that it exceeded what your band was supposed to make that night?
Whether you are a beginner or an advanced player, we need to seek out instruction. There is no way to get to the next level without it. As teachers, we have an immense responsibility to a student's growth as a player and as a person. It is one I take very seriously and I hope you do also. We are entrusted with the authority to shape a student's musical future.
So you're stuck. You're stuck playing the same old tired Eric Clapton/Chuck Berry blues/pentatonic licks you've played for the past 20 years. You're stuck listing to the same bands and songs since high school. Your playing and musicianship is stagnant, spinning its wheels in quagmire of the same old same old. I get the picture. We've all been there.