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Notes on the Guitar Neck

January 21st, 2011 No comments
Notes on the Guitar Neck

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Why do you need to learn all the notes on the guitar neck? Because knowledge of where each guitar note is on an instrument is absolutely basic to any serious study of it. You must know where all the notes are to understand how to create chords and how guitar scales are formed.

On a 6 string guitar with standard tuning the notes on the guitar neck start with an E on the top string when the string is played open.

If you press down on the first fret on the top E string you’ll now be playing an F. As you move one step up the fret board, you also move one note up the musical scale.

This is the the standard 12-step musical scale, starting on E:

E – F – F# – G – G# – A – A# – B – C – C# – D – D#

Here is a diagram of the frets and notes on the guitar neck. We only go to the 12th fret because then it repeats.

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fret-notes-on-the-guitar-neck

The most important part of improvising guitar is to know where all the notes on the guitar neck are. You should be able to glance at any note on the fretboard and know its name. If you don’t know what guitar notes you are playing you will find improvising extremely difficult.

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Parts of the Guitar

February 17th, 2011 No comments

Parts of the guitar include the strings, tuning pegs, head stock, fret, fingerboard, neck (notes on the guitar neck), neck pickup, middle pickup, bridge pickup, bridge, body, whammy bar, selector switch, volume/tone knob, output jack, and strap pin.

 

Parts of the Guitar

 

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Improvising Guitar

August 4th, 2009 No comments

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This guitar lesson explains how to improvise on guitar. The most important part of improvising guitar is to know where all the notes on the guitar neck are. You should be able to glance at any note on the fretboard and know its name. If you don’t know what guitar notes you are playing you will find improvising extremely difficult.

Printable diagram of all the notes on the guitar neck.

Buy the stickers!

Other things to consider when improvising guitar are scale choices, techniques you wish to employ, and phrasing. Assuming you know the notes on the guitar neck, the next consideration is choosing the right scale. The first scale to master for improvising guitar is the Pentatonic scale. Pentatonic means five tones. In this case we will be using the Minor Pentatonic. It’s a safe choice when improvising guitar because the 2nd and 6th scale degrees are omitted making it quite versatile. With two less notes to worry about, it’s easier to make Pentatonic licks fit a variety of guitar leads.

Example 1: To decide what guitar scales to use look at what notes are within the guitar chords you are going to play over. Our rhythm progression contains two chords, A5 and D7. Both of these guitar chords belong to the key of A minor. A5 has two notes, A and E. Notice that this chord is neither major nor minor so we will be able to play a wide variety of scales and modes over it. The second chord, D7 has four notes, D , F#, A, and C. For this example we will stick to A minor pentatonic because it will work well over both chords. For future reference, the D7 chord is derived from the A Dorian minor scale which contains a raised 6th tone. Notice again that the minor pentatonic does not contain a 6th. After nailing down the pentatonic scale, try adding the F# note (7th fret b string) to the pentatonic scale (pattern #1) and you will end up with the Dorian mode sound.

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Example 2:
Here are two patterns of A minor pentatonic. First, memorize them. Now you remember what notes the chords contain right? These notes are called chord tones. When starting or stopping a lick you will want it to be on a chord tone. This will make the lick sound as if it fits the song. The tonal center, in this case, is the A note. Therefore, you will build licks around the A note. However, when playing over the D chord you may also treat the D note as the tonal center. This will help to lock you in with the chord changes and once again, make the lick sound as if it fits.

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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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If you found this guitar lesson helpful, please link to it by adding the following code to your website:
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Speed Part 1

August 1st, 2009 No comments
Time Stretch Guitar Software

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Developing Speed – Part 1. Let’s set up a good tone for this picking madness online guitar lesson. This is purely subjective of course, but here’s how I would tweak the dials. Bass at 6 or 7, midrange around 3, and the treble around 7. Removing the mids gives you a bit smoother tone which I find eliminates a lot of the noise that can occur when you get going at a good pace. I realize a lot of amps nowadays give you a lot more tonal flexibility such as contour, presence, and resonance, so for these controls, just “ear” them out. You will want to use a metronome to build these up to speed. This will help to develop your sense of rhythm so that later when you attempt to use this stuff, you will be able to lock in rhythmically with the rest of the band (otherwise it will sound like a big mess)!

 

Example 1: This is a tremolo picking exercise in e Minor. It is 32nd notes and 140 bpm (8 notes per click). Use alternate picking starting with a down pick and if you have a neck pick up, use it – it will sound a lot smoother.

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Example 2:
This is another good exercise in E minor. It is a little trickier, especially if you are in the habit of using your arm at all when you pick. You should be using only your wrist. I would recommend resting your palm on the bridge (if you do not already). This will allow you to mute the strings with your palm as you ascend. This is 16th note triplets (6 notes per click). Once you get the hang of it, try it descending. Use alternate picking for this exercise as well.

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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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<a href="http://www.totalguitar.net/online-guitar-lessons/guitar-techniques/speed-part-1/" target="_blank">Total Guitar Lessons – Speed</a>
 

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