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Reasons to Ditch Your Guitar Pick
Lately, I haven't been using my guitar pick all that much. I got this tab book of some good ol' Gatemouth Brown finger picking blues. I've been enjoying myself so much trying to get this fingerpick thang goin'."
I'm starting to understand the arpeggio-phrasing technique a lot more. Gatemouth Brown is a legend and a true musician. He plays acoustic / electric guitar in all genres. He can also play the fiddle like nobody's business. He is also a drummer, harp player, and banjo playing fool.
So, let's cover some of the techniques I've found to be very effective in my playing. Using these techniques can add color to your performance. Think of it as a small toolbox of tricks you can pull out to add character to your songs and live set. Effective pick-hand technique provides the kind tone and textures that can give a personal touch to an old classic or to provide a step off point for other creative musical endeavors.
Try Different Styles and Genre
Play the root notes with your thumb. The down-strums with the tips of your fingernails, and upstrokes with just you finger tips. Get yourself a metronome and play to different speeds, Do some stagger strumming. Strum to the off beats. Download or find music that you might not jam to. Try a calypso feel. Do some cowboy songs and "Yes" hammer-on those top bass strings and get into some alternate picking, etc. Try a walking bass line while playing the three higher strings open. These are just ideas to opening your mind!
Turn Your Acoustic into a Percussion Instrument
Bang on it like a hand drum. Strike or tap the strings with the inside surface of your fingers as if you swatting a fly. Now? don't bang on it to hard. I don't want to be blamed for someone's guit-box being damaged. Let your fingers kind of bounce off and away from the strings for them to ring-out. Experiment with different taps all up and down the fret board and back side of the neck too! Use the top of the guitar as a drum. I've seen duos with one person playing the guitar and the other person playing the percussions on the back of the guitar laid flat across the their lap. Remember to use the different parts of the hand to include knuckles, fingers -rings, etc.
Slap and Pop Technique
Bass players use this technique for rhythmic power. Use the outside of your thumb joint to attack the strings. If you experiment with this approach, try getting bell like tones out of those bass strings.
Put Some Snap into Your Playing
Use your index finger to snap those high strings when playing lead solos. Try yanking lightly on each string, releasing it against the fret board with a bright snap. Give those strings a real pinch when needed too (Don't be shy...). This is good for rock and blues flavored solos.
Use Muting and Volume in Your Playing
Slap and pop with some funk. Use your thumb and middle finger playing octave notes. Kinda like a cat claw approach. Don't forget to use the heel of your pick hand to mute and use as a volume control for the strings. Rest the heel of your hand lightly on the saddle. Now practice strumming and muting the strings while the heel lightly lays across the strings. Next, mute the strings with your chord-hand by lightly touching the string while strumming your guitar with your nails on your finger-tips. Kinda like playing percussions on the strings. I call it chickin'- scratchin' those strings.
"Again, I hope I've sparked some imagination for playing without a pick. These ideas will help you develop your own style too!"
What is Piano GHD Syndrome?
Do you remember the movie, Groundhog Day? In this wonderful movie, TV weatherman Phil Connors (Bill Murray) relives the same day - Groundhog Day, over and over and over again. No matter what he does, he wakes up the next morning and it is once again Groundhog Day. This continues until he decides to learn and grow. Only after he begins focusing his efforts on helping others instead of concentrating on himself does he move forward and awaken to a new day.
Open Position Piano Chords - Perfect for the New Age Style
The Open Position Chord (OPC) allows you to create a vented sound. A sound that is open, literally, as opposed to the closed triads taught in most course books.
These MIDI Tools Are Music To My Ears
Curious about MIDI? Want to find out what tools are out there and what they do? Here are a few pointers.
Les Paul Vintage Gibson Guitars
Les Paul vintage Gibson guitars were first producedin 1952. These guitars were the first solid body electricthat Gibson had made. The 1952 version of the LesPaul vintage guitar has a gold top nitro-celluloselacquer finish, and no serial number. This Gibsonwas designed by Les and included Kluson tuners,a pair of P90 pickups, and retailed for $210.
Tips on Performing Your Music for Others
Have you ever dreamed of performing a piece you created for others. Imagining that they are captivated and held spellbound by the music? If you have, you know that it can be a long road from actually coming up with something, practicing it, and then giving it to an audience. In my own case, I had a good opportunity to perform. It was in a coffeehouse that already had a decent piano.
Painting with Sound
Whenever I go to a Borders bookstore here in San Diego, I make it a point to look at the art instruction books. I'm not a visual artist, but I've always enjoyed the step-by-step approach authors of the better books take to teach students how to create a finished painting.
How to Find Musical Ideas
The Russian Composer Igor Stravinsky once said: " A good composer does not imitate; he steals."
Ouch, It Hurts When I Sing!
When I first set out to write this article about voice problems in singers, I was looking for two experts from contrasting fields of medicine ? "medical" and "holistic". What I found, instead, in the first practitioner that I interviewed, was a delightful mixture of the two.
Piano Playing and Performance Anxiety
I'll never forget the first time I played the piano for an audience.
Musicians Injuries: OUCH, It Hurts When I Play (But Please Dont Tell Me To Stop!)
This article takes a look at musicians' injuries. For an expert perspective, I interviewed Dr. Sarah Mickeler, B.Mus., D.C. Dr. Mickeler is a former professional musician and a chiropractor who concentrates on musicians' injuries in her practice.
Top 50 Music Quotations
Discover the phenomenonal complexity of music and reflect on the way it can positively influence your life with this sound collection of riveting quotes...
Writing Hit Songs
There are a lot of factors to writing a hit song. First, you should focus on writing a good song. Once you've done that, you are not far away from writing a hit.Like most other things in life, it takes persistence, patience, drive, knowledge, belief and maybe some luck.Stop and think about your favorite songs. Really analyze them and figure out what it is that you like about those songs.Different factors may come to play here. Maybe it is the good beat, lyrics that hit home, a beautiful melody, something spiritual or patriotic, or maybe even that it is humorous.If you include one of these elements in your songwriting you are well on your way. If you combine two or more of these elements, you may have yourself a hit.A Good BeatRhythm is important in music. I have to laugh and think of Jerry Van Dyke on "The Dick Van Dyke Show" years ago trying to play the banjo and sing, "I've got rhy-rhy-thm, I've got mah-mah-music..."But, unless you are very funny like Jerry Van Dyke, your audience is not very likely to stay with you. Your music not only needs to have a good beat, but must fit the genre of music you are trying to write. A Metallica beat in a George Strait type song may not get you very far. A song with a good enough beat might be a hit even with no melody and no lyrics. Remember "Green Onions?"Along with the beat is the tempo. Country music is easy to write (I did not say it is easy to write well) because it is about people's lives and everyday experiences. However, too often people write slow songs for country music, when in fact the industry is starving for upbeat country material like "Country Roads" and "Rocky Top." It is much harder to write a good up-tempo country song than it is a tear jerker.Lyrics in popular music can range from broken relationships to political issues, and just about any point in between. Those that tend to be the most popular are about situations you and I may encounter in our everyday lives; "Workin' 9 To 5," "I Just Called To Say I Love You," "Your Cheatin' Heart," "God Bless The USA" (which ingeniously incorporates spiritual, political and patriotic views).A beautiful or interesting melody can get you into the ranks of hit songwriter with no lyrics required. Going back in time to prove a point about beautiful melodies, you might consider songs like "Last Date" and "Sleepwalk."Songs with great melody lines are very easy to be found in many hit TV show themes like "Peter Gunn," "Hawaii 5-0," along with many of the 60's surfer songs like "Wipe Out."Well done humorous songs usually find an audience, such as Ray Stevens "The Streak," and Jerry Reeds "She Got The Goldmine, I Got The Shaft." If you have a knack for both humor and music, you might make a fortune.Spiritual and patriotic songs, if they are well done and come out at the right time, are easy hits. Every time the U.S. gets involved in any type of world conflict, the songwriters get their pens out.Keep your ears and eyes open, and keep a shoe box to put your ideas for songs in. Every time you think of an idea for a song or a song title, write it down and drop it in the box. It could be your first, or your next, big hit.
One Way to Improve Your Music Journalist Relationship
Boy, I really detest how some people do websites. Bands are some of the worst. Seems like any band that wants to look "professional" feels they must create a website using pop-ups and flash. Why? Cuz that's what the Majors do?
More so than any other music since the blues, hip-hop is all about stories. And its stories are both criminal minded and grand, making them enthralling and unbelievable, but also making them only as interesting and convincing as the teller. That's why, despite being blackballed by the industry, without a major-label recording contract, heads still gravitated to Jamaica, Queens' realest son, 50 Cent, like the planets to the sun. 50 Cent, born Curtis Jackson 26 years ago, is the real deal, the genuine article. He's a man of the streets, intimately familiar with its codes and its violence, but still, 50, an incredibly intelligent and deliberate man, holds himself with a regal air as if above the pettiness which surrounds him. Born into a notorious Queens drug dynasty during the late '70s, 50 Cent lost those closest to him at an early age. Raised without a father, 50's mother, whose name carried weight in the street (hint, hint, dummies), was found dead under mysterious circumstances before he could hit his teens. The orphaned youth was taken in by his grandparents, who provided for 50. But his desire for things would drive him to the block.
Yo, is Rap Just Another Four Letter Word?
Flaunting any excessive or anti-social behavior is considered brazen. When it is no longer considered brazen it is proof that it has become embedded as part of our culture. Not to say this is a good thing, after all headhunting was considered a cultural norm in some societies. The question to ask here may be, was rap ever truly a part of our culture? Will it eventually run out of steam and go the way of things like doing the twist, afro haircuts or break dancing? I for one would argue that it is not truly a part of the American cultural scene, but is a forced, twisted and contrived money machine that appeals to only the basest passions of the youth in our country.
Rhapsody Music Downloads Part II - A pleasant experience?
Welcome back to Part II of Rhapsody Music Downloads! I hope you took an opportunity to enjoy the first week of your two-week trial. Must have been a joy to stream and download online music by the truckloads. Now...you did take the liberty to utilize the free trial, didn't you??
A Guitar Lesson to Help You Develop Your Vision
Have you ever done any of the following?
Guitar Performance - Make The Most of It!
Getting ready for any type of guitar performance can be a little scary at first, but if you are well prepared, you will find the experience much easier to handle. Whether you're playing with a band, or by yourself; are a seasoned performer, or a rookie; there are several things you can do to make the most of your performance. First and foremost, realize that you are not the first one on the block to ever feel jittery about playing your guitar in public. It's a common experience among musicians, and being a little nervous can even work in your favor.
Interview With Josh Epstein of Vision Music USA
Vision Music USA is a proactive and progressive music service firm with the interest of their clients the driving force that makes them successful. President Josh Epstein and CEO Nick Stamoulis are focused on helping the Independent artists to maintain control of their career by saving them time and their hard-earned dollars. Josh took some time from his busy day to talk to me about their growing company.
Musical Improvisation Basics - 8 Vital Things To Remember
This article discusses 8 vital things to remember as improvisers - whether advanced or just getting started:
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