28 January 2010

Jemsite Honours Not Playing Guitar With Recommended Reading Medal

Phew, it's been a busy busy time lately and Not Playing Guitar has been suffering from a lack of new material for the past couple of weeks. But today I'm happy to announce some good news to break the dry run. Jemsite, the community for fans of Ibanez Jem guitars and more, has awarded Not Playing Guitar with a recommended reading award complete with a shiny medal you can see below.


Jemsite
and it's
forum members
titled this site as
Recommended Reading







Vote for us!

Many thanks go out to Jemsite and its readers for the award. Now I'll have to get back to writing some more guitar stuff for you all to enjoy...

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11 January 2010

Make Transcribing Guitar Music Possible


Since I read these words from Jason Shadrick of the National Guitar Workshop in December I knew that this year one of my guitar goals would involve improving my transcription skills,

"For many musicians the idea of “transcribing” something can be intimidating.  When I first started studying jazz seriously in college, I found the idea of writing something out that you learned off a recording a seemingly impossible task."

Why Transcribe?

You might wonder why you should bother learning to transcribe, after all there's a lot of tab out there in songbooks, tutorials and on the Internet. In my experience though there are always pieces I'd love to play that don't seem to have been tabbed, and the only way to learn to play those is to transcribe them (or find someone who will transcribe them for you).

So, I've had a go at transcribing a few of these pieces, and I really know what Jason means by impossible task. There are just so many different things to take care of. Getting the notes right is hard enough in itself, but that's only part of the battle, you have to figure out rhythm and timing, note durations, and playing effects, as well as where to play all this on the guitar neck. So far almost all my attempts have ended in frustration and failure.

The Impossible Becomes Possible

Luckily for me, Jason's article has outlined a logical process that breaks down transcription into distinct steps that help to deal with all this complexity.

The magic thing about it is that it actually makes the seemingly impossible task seem possible. I've had a go at applying it to a few short pieces as a test. Now, while I'm not saying I'm up to transcribing complete jazz solos yet, I have found that the process has helped me get further and feel more confident than my previous attempts.

If transcribing music for your guitar is one of your goals, and if you currently think it seems almost impossible, I recommend you read the entire article Getting Started Transcribing to turn your impossible goal into something that just might seem possible...

Looking for an easy way to create manuscript paper to try this process out? Try Staffnotes.

Looking for free music slow-down software?  Try Audacity.

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Photo by matsuyuki.

6 January 2010

Touch Type Your Way to Better Guitar?


Do you have an office job with a keyboard? Maybe you could use it to help develop finger control and independence that will help you to play better guitar.

I don't have any scientific proof for this idea, but many years ago I learned to touch type for my job as a computer programmer. I am pretty sure that the finger skills I learned and developed through this activity are a benefit for playing guitar.

Touch Typing

Touch typing is a technique that develops individual control of your fingers. Touch typing first came to recognition when Frank Edward McGurrin won a typing speed contest in Cincinatti on 25 July 1888. It is "typing without using the sense of sight to find the keys. Specifically, a touch typist will know their location through muscle memory." Wikipedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Touch_typing

Benefits for Playing Guitar

Apart from making you more efficient at work, how could touch typing benefit your guitar playing?

Well, that muscle memory you develop and the ability to move each finger independently sounds like it should come in very handy. The skills should also help your fingers to be more relaxed.

Learn to Touch Type

I learned to touch type using a software program that provided exercises to train fingers one at a time. It takes only two or three weeks to learn the basics, and after that you will gradually get better and faster as you type. A search on the Internet will show you many choices of touch typing tutor software.

What Do You Think?

So, what do you think? Can touch typing make you a better guitarist? Could your time at the office become a useful practice ally? Share your experience in a comment by clicking the link below.

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Photo by isabel bloedwater.

4 January 2010

Acoustic Guitar Song Lesson: Brown Eyed Girl by Van Morrison

Today's video lesson shows you how to play the Van Morrison song Brown Eyed Girl. You'll learn how to play the instantly recognizable intro lick that uses the technique of playing sixths intervals. Sixth intervals are widely used to create interesting rhythm guitar riffs and can also be used in solos.

The song is not too difficult for a beginner guitarist, it uses only four open chords, G, C, D qnd Em. If you know these chords then give it a try and do your best on the intro lick.



The sixths positions you learn with this video are an invaluable addition to your bag of rhythm guitar playing tricks. They crop up in all kinds of places and give a nice alternative to simply playing chords.

Have a go at the song and enjoy playing those sixths. Once you know how they're done listen out for other songs that use them, one example is the intro is Sam and Dave's Soul Man.

Thanks to Marty Schwartz for this well presented lesson.

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