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How to Read Tab

April 9th, 2010 No comments

The ability to read guitar tab is an essential skill necessary for guitarists who want to learn the guitar online. It is quite easy to understand and read once you get the hang of it. The ability to read tabs gives you one of the quickest and easiest ways to start playing the guitar.

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Guitar tab is divided into bars (horizontal lines) with a set number of beats (usually 4 beats) per bar. Each horizontal line represents a string of the guitar. The top line represents the 1st string of the guitar, the thinnest string (high e) while the bottom line represents the 6th string, the thickest string low E).

Here is an example using the chromatic scale. The chromatic scale should be practiced and played as often as possible because you play all 12 notes on the guitar in half steps. It is also a great warm up exercise.

How to Read Guitar Tab

Here is how to read/play this:

Play the 6th string on the 1st fret.
Play the 6th string on the 2nd fret.
Play the 6th string on the 3rd fret.
Play the 6th string on the 4th fret.

Play the 5th string on the 1st fret.
Play the 5th string on the 2nd fret.
Play the 5th string on the 3rd fret.
Play the 5th string on the 4th fret.

etc…

Be careful on the 3rd string as you only play three frets!!

The main drawback of guitar tabs is that they do not provide the duration of the notes. In most cases you have to figure out the timing of the tabs yourself.

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Guitar Styles

March 28th, 2010 No comments

Learn to play guitar like Yngwie Malmsteen, Eddie Van Halen, Dimebag Darrell, and others. Check out our online store for dvd guitar lessons, guitar software, guitar tab books, and more.

 

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Yngwie Malmsteen
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About

March 26th, 2010 No comments

Total Guitar was founded in 1998. Total Guitar features dvd guitar lessons, online guitar lessons, guitar software and more. 

We provide beginner, intermediate, advanced guitar lessons for guitarists in all styles of music including metal, rock, and blues. Total Guitar has put together a list of dvd guitar lessons to provide guitarists with the all the info necessary to help you choose the best one for yourself. Our advanced guitar instructional dvd lessons feature Michael Angelo Batio. Michael Angelo Batio has filmed 6 dvd guitar instruction videos for Metal Method: Speed Kills, Speed Kills 2, Speed Kills 3, Speed Lives, Speed Lives 2, and Speed Lives 3.

Prices and availability of products are subject to change without notice. Total Guitar is not responsible for these changes.

Total Guitar operates an online store at www.totalguitar.net/store.

Total Guitar is also a paid affiliate of Learn & Master Guitar, Amazon, as well as other dvd vendors and guitar and/or music vendors listed on www.totalguitar.net. Total Guitar receives a commission for every affiliate sale made though the website.

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Learning to Play Guitar

March 15th, 2010 No comments

For the beginner, learning to play guitar is definitely not an easy task. In fact, it can be quite frustrating. I can’t tell you how many times I almost quit or threw the guitar out the window. Learning how to play the guitar is not something you can do overnight. I takes time to develop your hands and fingers. It takes time to learn chords. It takes time to learn songs. You have to be very patient. The beginning stages of learning the guitar can be very boring and frustrating. There have been many times I have felt that I was getting nowhere, but I did not give up. I cannot tell you how good it feels when you know you have gotten to the next level of guitar playing. It is an intense feeling!

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I had struggled with learning guitar for many years. I took guitar lessons. I tried to learn theory. I spent hours practicing scales over and over. Nothing I ever did seemed to work. My breakthrough came when Dave Bates of Total Guitar told me to just have fun. Dave said that in order to make progress on the guitar I had to have fun with it. He told me to continue practicing and to learn more songs that I liked so that I could keep the learning process fun. I took his advice and started playing for the fun of it. I discovered that by just playing the songs and having fun, I was actually learning how to play the guitar! I was not only learning the song that I happened to be working on, but also the theory, technique, and subtleties behind the music.

Finally, I was learning how to play the guitar and I was having fun in the process! It was easy to get through the boredom and the dull periods. If I became bored, I would just pick out another song to learn so the learning process became interesting and fresh all over again.

If you are having trouble with learning and playing songs, then I would suggest purchasing a Beginner Guitar Lessons DVD. A beginner guitar lessons dvd will teach you the very basics including how to understand and use guitar scales, read tablature and standard notation, build and play hundreds of chords, develop speed and coordination skills, and more. Check out  Learn & Master Guitar lessons on DVD.

Songs are made up of chords. Chords are made up of single notes. The secret to learning how to play guitar is combining the notes into chords and the chords into songs. When you are learning songs, the pieces begin to fall into place over time and your ear begins to develop. You begin to pickup the chord changes in the songs. Once this happens, the techniques and all the theory just begin to fall into place. Once this happens you will begin to love playing the guitar.

NEVER GIVE UP!

– D

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Beginner Guitar Playing Tips

January 26th, 2010 2 comments

Guitar Playing and Practicing Tips for Beginners. Consider these tips your first beginner guitar lesson by Total Guitar!

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Step 1 – Warm Up Your Hands and Fingers
It is very important that you warm up your hands and fingers before you begin playing or practicing the guitar. Your hands will get a good workout when you play the guitar and there is always the possibility of developing carpel tunnel syndrome from the repetitive motion of playing the guitar. You could experience very painful cramps that could, in extreme cases, lead to the loss of ability to play the guitar. Therefore, you should spend at least 5 minutes warming up your fingers and hands before you actually start to practice or play the guitar. You should also take a a break if you play or practice for longer than an hour. The following exercises are ideal for warming up your hands and fingers:
* Gently massage each hand. Concentrate on area located at the base of the thumb.
* Place your hands against one another and press your fingertips together.
* Stretch your fingers out as far as you can and then curl them inward. Repeat twice.

Step 2 – Practice the Chromatic Scale
The chromatic scale should be practiced and played as often as possible because you play all 12 notes on the guitar in half steps. This scale is contrary to a whole note scale, which consists of playing the notes in whole steps. Below is the Chromatic Scale starting with C:
C – C#/Db – D – D#/Eb – E – F – F#/Gb – G – G#/Ab – A – A#/Bb – B – C

Chromatic Scale

Step 3 – Start Playing
To start improving on guitar, you’re going to need to set aside a bit of time to practice. Developing a daily routine is a good idea. Plan to spend at least 15 minutes a day practicing everything you’ve learned. At first, your fingers will be sore, but by playing daily, they’ll toughen up, and in a short amount of time, they’ll stop hurting. 
* Learn a new chord
* Learn one section of a new song
* Practice picking, strumming, and plucking

Step 4 – Cool Down
The cool down phase is a time to bring your session to a close. Instead of abruptly stopping and putting your guitar away, this is the time to sort of reward yourself by leaving the session on a positive "note." Whether you are practicing or playing the guitar, you are probably challenging your skills.
* Play a short, familiar piece that is comfortable for you
* Don’t focus on playing your finale piece with perfection,  just play it
* Closing your eyes can help calm you if the practice session was difficult or frustrating
 

If you found this guitar lesson helpful, please link to it by adding the following code to your website:
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Beginner Guitar Lessons

January 26th, 2010 No comments
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The Lydian Mode

August 4th, 2009 1 comment

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The Lydian Mode happens to be one of my favorite guitar modes. To me it has a sort of "smart" sound. If you use this mode on electric guitar within the context of a rock or metal song, you will end up sounding very sophisticated. Of course, this is my opinion and guitar modes are very subjective. If you have been doing your homework, you will already have found a couple that you prefer. Hopefully, I can help make Lydian one of them.

Let’s cover a few basics of the Lydian Mode:

1) Lydian is a major mode. It is determined major because it contains a Major 3rd. In the key of A Lydian, the major 3rd is C#. (If it was C instead of C#, then it would be some kind of minor mode. ie., phrygian, dorian, aeolian.)

2) Since it is a major, you can use A major pentatonic right along with it.

Example 1: This lick combines sweep picking and tapping in conjunction with the Lydian mode. The first 5 notes of lick #1 are played with a single downward stroke. This is called sweep picking. The tapping is done with the third and middle finger. I find this use of multiple fingers works best. This enables me to use my palm to mute the string noise and my pick to pick any notes that are not tapped. Work on this technique slowly. It can be very difficult to get down. The chord in the background is an A Major. The notes that are picked in the background are D#, A, and E.

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Example 2:
This lick takes the techniques used in all the last lick a little further. The notes that are not tapped are played by using sweep picking. If the notes ascend, they use a downward sweep. If the notes descend, they use an upward sweep. This covers this technique in more detail. Again, the tapping is played with the third and middle fingers. (3rd finger taps the D# note on the 23rd fret). Also the notes that are tapped on at the end (A-24th, G#-23rd) are natural harmonic’s. Although it is not notated, while you tap these notes on, you will hold the same note one octave below it on the same string (that would be the 11th and 12th fret). This lick is played against an A power chord (A, E). The effect that was used on this lick is a phaser.

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If you found this guitar lesson helpful, please link to it by adding the following code to your website:
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Guitar Scales

August 1st, 2009 1 comment

Chords & Scales

A guitar scale is a graduated series of musical tones ascending or descending in order of pitch. Scales build strength and independence in your fingers. Playing scales helps to train your ears to recognize common note combinations. They can be used as note choices in both improvisation and music writing. Scales must be a part of every musician’s practice routine.

There are 5 basic scale shapes that every guitar player should know. They should be practiced and played daily in all positions. Try to use them in your playing by writing or improvising melodies with them.

 

Major
Guitar Scales

 

The major scale should be the first scale that you learn. It is a great warm up and technique builder. It is the starting point for all theory. This is a two octave scale. From the 1st red circle to the 2nd is one octave. Oct is the Latin prefix for eight, so the 2nd square is eight notes above the 1st. The spelling for this scale is: 1,2,3,4,5,6,7.

Even guitar players with no prior music training can easily learn music theory, scales and modes, fret positions, fingering patterns, notation, tablature, and more with this easy-to-use self instruction book with something for every guitarist.

Scales

Guitar Journals – Scales is the ultimate reference guide of studies and solos in several different genres. This huge collection of scales is perfect for guitarist’s everyday use. They are all covered here: major; natural, melodic and harmonic minor; diminished; whole-tone; bebop; blues; altered; pentatonic; more.

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Minor Pentatonic
Guitar Scales

Minor pentatonic is the most common of all scales used in rock, blues and many other styles. The pentatonic scale has only five different notes before you are back to a root.The spelling for this scale is: 1, b3, 4, 5, b7. Theoretically, all scales are written (formula wise) from the major scale. That is why the spelling for this scale contains a flatted third and seventh. They are altered tones from the major scale. It is also worth noting that if you were to start this scale from the 2nd note (if we were in A for example; the 2nd note would be C ) you would be playing C major pentatonic. You would therefore use it in a C major context.

Guitar Scale Dictionary

The Complete Guitar Scale Dictionary features scales shown in notation, tablature, and diagram form. Rules are given for each scale showing construction and appropriate usage in relation to chordal structure and harmony.
In addition to a myriad of scale forms for major, minor, pentatonic, and blues, in-depth sections are contained on modes symmetrical altered scales, exotic scales.

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Blues
Guitar Scales

The blues scale is the minor pentatonic with an added note in both octaves. This scale is not only used in blues, it is used in all styles of music, including "heavy metal" and "country" music.

Blues Guitar

You Can Teach Yourself Blues Guitar – Learn the blues scale, blues chords including power chords, moveable chords, and barre chords, strum patterns, and how to accompany a blues song in 6/8 or 12/8 time. Learn turnarounds, fill-ins, the capo, double stops, blues licks, bass line accompaniments, blues techniques, how to build and play an improvised solo, and fingerpicking blues and more.

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Major Pentatonic
Guitar Scales

For the major pentatonic scale shift your hand and play the notes on the 1st and 2nd strings with your 1st and 3rd fingers. Usually you should shift positions if you are playing more than 1 string. That does not include your 1st finger.

Guitar Method

Monster Guitar Method 1 dvd guitar lessons are the perfect guitar lessons for beginners just starting out. Learn how to find any note on the fretboard without using a chart. Monster Guitar Method includes lessons on the major and minor scales; the minor pentatonic and blues scales; basic and “bonus” chords (major, minor, dominant 7th, power chords); rhythmic notation; strumming patterns; and much more!

Guitar Dvd, CD and instructional booklet.

Minor
Guitar Scales

The minor scale requires a shift on the 3rd string only. Use your 1st, 2nd, and 4th fingers for the notes on the 3rd string. Stay in position for all of the other strings. Starting this one from the 3rd note would give you a major scale. Using scales in this manner is what all of the great improvisers do; instead of just having a major or minor scale you can potentially have seven different scales. In fact, it is the harmonic context that you place a scale into that will make it sound several different ways. If this loses you, I would encourage you to study more music theory. You can never know too much.

Encyclopedia of Scales

The Encyclopedia of Scales, Modes and Melodic Patterns is a unique approach to developing Ear, Mind, and Finger Coordination. This is a great source book for dozens of scales from the traditional major and minor forms. This book of scales and patterns trains the mind, the ears and the fingers to work in perfect synchronization to respond instantaneously to any given chord progression.

 

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Finger Tapping

August 1st, 2009 1 comment

Today’s guitar lesson covers one of my favorite techniques, finger tapping. This technique was first made popular by Eddie Van Halen and became a big part of his early sound. Those of you who are familiar with finger tapping already know how difficult it can be. First, you must coordinate both hands while trying to hold onto the pick. Then you have to decide which fingers to use for tapping. When you finally get all of this together there’s often so much string noise that the lick sounds like a mess! This guitar lesson has three playing examples with guitar tabs and sound files.

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The hardest part about this technique is not the actual tapping itself, but being able to control all the potential string noise that can occur. That is why it is crucial to work on this very slowly, gradually building speed. While this is true for most cool techniques, it is imperative for finger tapping. Keeping this in mind, let’s move on to the first example.

Example 1: This lick is a great tapping exercise. It starts in A pentatonic minor and ends in A Dorian (at the 32nd notes). I recommend to use the middle finger for tapping. This enables you to hold the pick as usual so that eventually you can combine picking and tapping as will be demonstrated in example 3. The effects that I used on this are digital delay and a little bit of chorus. To avoid string noise use your right hand palm to mute the strings as you tap.

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Example 2:
This example takes the whole idea a little further. I’m tapping with both my second and third fingers on my right hand. The benefits of doing this are huge. For starters, you will end up moving your right hand around a lot less, substantially reducing the amount of string noise that will occur. Also, you will be able to go a lot faster because you will not be jumping around so much. Last, but not least, it looks much cooler. This lick is in A major (or F# minor). Basically what I did to build this lick was hold down one arpeggio shape while I tapped another arpeggio shape on top of it. It kind of has a "mirror" effect. This time I used digital delay but no chorus.

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If you found this guitar lesson helpful, please link to it by adding the following code to your website:
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Arpeggios

August 1st, 2009 No comments

An arpeggio is notes of a chord played separately. Let’s shed a little light on the process I used to build the lick in Lesson 1 – The Lydian Mode. You may have noticed there was a little more going on than just running through some scale. To build it, I started out with an A major arpeggio (An arpeggio is notes of a chord played separately) and plugged it into the A Lydian mode (A, B, C#, D#, E, F#, G#).

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Example 1 is the lydian scale shape and example 2 is the arpeggio shape that I used. Arpeggios are a good way of breaking out of those "stuck in a box" scale type licks. Throw in some sliding between the notes and you will be able to put some real distance between your licks. I chose the A major arpeggio because A lydian is a major mode.

Here’s a little more theory for you. You can easily use the F# minor arpeggio in conjunction with the A major arpeggio because they are relative. (Relative means scale wise they are the same.) Technically in doing this you will be playing an A major 6 arpeggio. 

Example 1: The "A" Lydian Scale

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Example 2:
 The Arpeggio

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Example 3: Let’s get into some licks. This lick is a very cool sweep picking arpeggio lick. It starts out in an F# minor arpeggio, moves up to an A major arpeggio, moves back to an F# minor arpeggio, then back to A major and finally ends in F# minor! Remember that these keys are relative. This lick is great for getting around the neck and covering some pretty good distance. The effect that I used was a phaser. The chord progression is in F# minor.

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Example 4: This lick is very similar to the last one, except that it is in the key of C# minor (or E major – these two keys are relative.) Simply put, although I played this lick over a C# minor context, it could also be played over an E major chord or chord progression for that matter. The tapping is done with my middle finger.

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Example 5: This last lick sounds impressive because it covers a lot of distance. I personally like to use this one to end songs that are in the key of D minor. To build this lick I combined a D minor arpeggio with the blues scale and finally threw in some major 3rds! This one just tastes good.

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<a href="http://www.totalguitar.net/online-guitar-lessons/guitar-techniques/arpeggios/" target="_blank">Total Guitar Lessons – Arpeggios</a>

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