It is my sincere hopes all of you have found this blog both interesting and useful. My intention was to provide guitar information to individuals ranging all skill levels. Hopefully I achieved that goal. In my initial post, I wrote an approximate course outline. I have decided to eliminate the last group of postings from my blog choosing to rather summarize the topics in this farewell post.
I would like to discuss purchasing equipment. There is a wide array of guitar and amp manufacturers, therefore the buying process may seem overwhelming. Your choice of equipment will obviously vary dependent on amount of disposable income and personal playing preferences. I would like to stress, it is not the equipment which matters, but rather the skill of the player. Sure high end equipment is a bragging right, but it certainly does not improve your playing skill, only good old practice will.
The next topic of discussion is taking care of your equipment. Guitars require maintenance much like a car does. The most frequent maintenance activity will be changing strings. Strings lose tone and become rusted due to oil on your fingers. Changing strings is not very complex, but may seem overwhelming for a beginning player. There are a multitude of sources instructing how to change strings on the internet, may I suggest this video http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xHeFA_qlR0I . Try not to become frustrated, changing strings requires practice. In respects to guitar set up, which refers to collective hardware adjustments, I would suggest a professional performs these activities. Adjustments such as string height and string intonation can easily be performed with a common household screwdriver, while other adjustments such as a truss rod adjustment requires other tools and can have significant ramifications if done incorrectly. In brief, if you feel confident making these hardware adjustments go for it, just remember if done incorrectly it may greatly effect your instrument’s playability. May I suggest this website as a good starting point to build from http://mysite.verizon.net/jazz.guitar/guitarsetup.htm .
The above topics conclude my blog. If anyone has any questions or concerns in the future or simply needs some advice please feel free to contact me. I hope reading this blog has been as much of a pleasure for my audience as it has been for me writing it.
In the last posting, I discussed natural harmonics. Artificial harmonics can be performed anywhere on the fretboard, rather than only naturally occurring locations as seen with natural harmonics. Artificial harmonics are commonly referred to pinch harmonics in the guitar community. Pinch harmonics create a high pitched sound, similar to a squeal, and are used commonly in hard rock and metal genres. In order to execute a pinch harmonic, the note needs to be pushed down and fretted as usual. The string is then strummed with the pick and lightly touched with your thumb as the string is still vibrating. As a word of advice, try not to become discouraged, pinch harmonics are a slightly more advanced technique. They require a certain feel which is extremely difficult to explain in text, just keep trying and it will come with time. Let’s take a took at pinch harmonic dictation within a tab.
The pinch harmonics are dictated as “*” in the above tab. The numerical value refers to the fret number in which the pinch harmonic is to be executed.
A harmonic can be performed on all stringed instruments. They are considered slightly easier on guitar because the frets indicate where the most powerful natural harmonics are located on the fret board. String length from the nut to bridge, which indicate the end of the strings respectively, can be separated into equal distances. In order to play a harmonic, do not fret the note, but rather place the finger directly over the fret as lightly as possible and strum the string. You will notice a chime like tone. Harmonics are strongest at the 12th fret. Harmonics are second strongest on the 7th fret. Harmonics are also commonly played at the 5th fret. Harmonics can be played on any string. Theoretically, harmonics can be played on any fret, utilizing pinch (artificial) harmonics, which is a more advanced concept to be covered in the next posting. Let’s take a quick glance at natural harmonic notation in tabs.
The “*” indicates a natural harmonic at the 5th fret on the 4th and 3rd strings in respective order. As always, if there are any questions/concerns feel free to comment.
Upon first glance of the EMG pickups Facebook page, it appears they are active. There are 109,224 likes and 11,815 people currently talking about EMG. Original posts, shares, and videos seem to be common in daily activity. There are hundreds of photos and a few videos. Overall, the Facebook page is impressive. EMG’s twitter is licensed as an official page. EMG appears to tweet on a daily basis, spreading brand image and thoughts. EMG has 1,973 tweets and 17,434 followers. In conclusion, EMG appears to have dedicated considerable resources to social media activities.
Upon first glance, Seymour Duncan appears to have an equally, if not more active Facebook page in comparison with EMG. There are 339,233 likes and 53,718 talking about Seymour Duncan. Seymour Duncan has no videos on their Facebook page however. Seymour Duncan has a link to its Twitter page on its Facebook page, while EMG does not. Seymour Duncan’s Twitter is also licensed as an official page. Seymour Duncan has 3,510 tweets and 27,559 followers, which suggests a slightly more active Twitter account in comparison with EMG.
It is evident both companies have invested a substantial amount of resources into social media activities to improve brand awareness. I am not surprised at this finding because they are two major guitar pickup manufacturers trusted by many professionals. In addition, they are close competitors. As a side note, I prefer EMG pickups, I installed a set in my Les Paul and have been nothing but pleased with the performance.
A string bend refers to playing a fretted note as usual while moving (bending) the string in attempts to change the pitch. The note needs to be continually fretted throughout the duration of the bend. Let’s discuss an example, for instance play the note located on String 4 (G) fret seven. While playing the preceding note, bend the string and the pitch will change to a similar sound of string 4 (G) fret nine note. Bending can be in full bend, half bend, and quarter bend types dependent on the severity of the bend. Bending can be used in riffs or solos, but is more commonly seen in solos. The bending technique is common in most genres of music. Let’s take a look at a picture of the string bending technique and tab notation.
This player is executing a bend on the fourth string at the seventh fret.
The “b” in the below tab indicates a string bend. As always, please comment if there are any questions/concerns.
In this blog post, I am going to discuss the sliding technique. Sliding is typically used in soloing, but can also be seen in riffs. A slide is accomplished by playing a note and then “sliding” down the fret board while the note is still ringing out and fretted. For example, lets say you fret and play the note on the fifth fret of the fifth string, while that note is still ringing, slide to the seventh fret of the fifth string, and you have completed a slide. The technique produces a unique sound, almost a hybrid between the two notes as you slide your finger down the fretboard. Keep in mind, this technique is very different from “slide guitar”. Slide guitar is using a glass tube and running it across the strings. I will not be covering slide guitar in my blog, however I did want to make that distinction.
The 2/4 indicates a slide from the second fret of the third string to the fourth fret of the third string. The 1/2 indicates a slide from the first fret of the fifth string to the second fret of the fifth string. Please free feel to comment if there is anything that is unclear.
The topic of this posting will be Hammer Ons and Pull Offs. These are simple techniques seen commonly in soloing and a few selected riffs. Essentially Hammer Ons and Pull Offs are used to play two notes while only strumming once instead of twice. You simply use the pressure of the fretting finger in order to ring out the other note, instead of strumming in order to ring the note out. For example, say you play the fifth string (A) on the fifth fret. You would strum and play the note in full. While the note is still ringing out, fret the seventh fret of the same string and you will have successfully completed a Hammer On. A Pull Off is essentially the inverse of the Hammer On technique. Therefore in the example above, you would start at the seventh fret and finish at the fifth fret. In tabs, Hammer Ons are typically shown as an “h” between notes whereas Pull Offs are shown as a “p” between notes. Below I will post a picture of a tab, indicating the use of Hammer Ons and Pull Offs.
Hammer Ons and Pull Offs are used heavily in this main riff from Thunderstruck by AC/DC. Feel free to comment if there are any questions.
Palm muting is another type of muting, which differs significantly from standard muting. Palm muting uses the strumming hand, rather than the fretting hand. In order to execute a palm mute, the note must be fretted with full pressure as usual. After fretting the note, the palm of the strumming hand is laid lightly on the end of the string at the bridge. The palm laying on the end of the string creates a muted tone. The technique is used commonly in rock and punk rock genres. Chords are often palm muted during verses to create variations in songs. Palm mutes are oftentimes dictated with dots below the chords in tabs. Below I will post a tab indicating the use of a palm mute.
The power chords above are palm muted throughout the outro of this song. Below I will post a picture of where to place your strumming hand on the bridge. Let me know if anything was confusing or if you have any questions.
The topic of this post will be muting notes. When a note is muted, it simply does not ring out. Muting is commonly used in chord transitions. A common example of frequent muting is observed in the main riff of the song Smells Like Teen Spirit by Nirvana. Now let’s discuss how to actually achieve muting.
In order to mute a note you need to lightly press on the string in order to dampen it, while being careful not to press down hard enough to actually play the note. Individual notes or chords as a whole can be muted. As said previously, it is common to see muting in chord transitions. Mutes are commonly displayed as “X” on guitar tabs. Let’s take a took at the Smells Like Teen Spirit tab to see all the mutes Kurt Cobain uses in the famous main riff of the song.
As you can see there is a lot of muting between the chord transitions. If you listen to the song, it is certainly noticeable and gives the famous riff its unique sound. Let me know if you have any questions.