Become A Better Guitar Player Today

Become a better guitar player by developing the habits of greatness.

become a better guitar player

We all strive to be the best guitar player we can be no matter what style we play, no matter if we play rhythm, lead or both.  We want to be the best guitar player we can possibly become to enjoy what we are doing.  But sometimes it can be hard. If the right qualities are not developed.

It’s these qualities that will make all the difference in your playing.  It’s these qualities that will determine if you stick with it long enough to get good quickly, or if you’ll hinder your progress by being unfocused jumping around from topic to topic.

My journey to becoming a better guitar player.

I remember when I was young starting out I didn’t have the power of the internet so I had to learn the hard way.  I learned from other guitarists showing me a thing or two here and there (which I would forget half the time when I got home) or I would have to learn from books as I didn’t have the funds to take lessons.

Without being able to afford good equipment like Gibson guitars & Marshall amplifiers which seemed to be the norm back in those days, I didn’t think I would do well.  Because all I had was a used knock-off guitar (series 10 I think it was) and a used beat up crate amplifier. Not the greatest tone in the world but I made it work.

Eventually, I was able to upgrade to better equipment but what I did have was the desire to learn.  The drive and willpower to move ahead and get better no matter what.  So in this lesson, we’ll look at Top 10 qualities needed to become a better guitar player today.

Top 5 Qualities needed to become a better guitar player today!

1.) You must have a Goal

Having a goal is important. Without it you are going nowhere.  Why, because you have no destination.  It would be like getting into your car and not knowing where to drive.  Sure you can do that, but you’ll waste a lot of time figuring out where to go as you drive around.  So make sure you have a goal or destination where you want to go and what you want to accomplish with your guitar playing.

2.) Be determined to give it all you got

You must be determined to become a better guitar player. When I was starting out I didn’t have great equipment but I had great determination!  I knew where I wanted to go and I was determined to give it all I got to get there.  I wanted to be the best guitar player I could be and with the willpower to do so, I did.  You must also possess this skill in order to get to where you are going and become the best guitar player you can be.

3.) You must develop discipline

Discipline is one of the hardest things to develop.  Especially now in the digital age we live in.  We are constantly being bombarded with everyone trying to get our attention.  Whether it be the latest social media post, youtube video or ad coming from Google, we are in constant distraction mode.

Developing discipline can be extremely difficult. But as stated above, this is a must if you are to become a better guitar player. It is this discipline that will make all the difference in your progress.  Without discipline, you will not become the best guitar player you can possibly be.  You’ll just become average.

4.) Let time take its course

Whenever we learn something new we must go through what’s called a learning curve.  The time it takes to develop new skill sets.  Learning the guitar is no different.  At the beginning of my journey, I went through a serious learning curve.  I had to practice for hours on the fundamentals and develop patience knowing that I would get there eventually.

Give it time.  This is another hard step to accomplish in today’s society because we live in a world of instant gratification.  Which can make it hard to learn and stay focused on our objectives.  Only by being patient and giving it time to develop will you get over this hurdle.

5.) Practice Consistently

You must apply yourself on a consistent basis at whatever you choose to do.  You must get a practice routine developed, you must provide a place for you to practice and you must be there practicing on a daily basis to see any progress at all.  If you pick up the guitar here and there, you won’t accomplish much.  And when you do make progress when you practice it will start to diminish when your d=not engaged in the activity.

This is just the way it is.  Not my opinion, this is a fact!!  That is why these 5 qualities need to be developed for you to become the best guitar player that you can possibly be.  So be sure to look inside yourself and see how bad you want it and what it is your willing to do to get it.

In Conclusion

It all comes down to you!  What you want, how bad you want it and how hard your willing to work to get it!  That is why developing these habits over time will make all the difference in your guitar playing progress.  You must learn discipline.  You must stay focused.  You must have a goal or destination.  You must have a plan of action to get you there.  And above all, you must have the faith and courage to head down the rocky road to get there.

No accomplishment in anything we do in life comes easy.  If it did we’d all be successful.  But in reality, only a very small percent of people ever reach their destination.  Will you reach yours?  You will if you develop these top 5 qualities needed to become a better guitar player today.

Additional training tips:

The importance of learning guitar licks

How to enhance your guitar playing creativity

Until next time, take care.

Dwayne

 

 

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How To Enhance Your Guitar Playing Creativity By Using 7th Chords

7th Chords can be used to enhance your guitar playing creativity.  If you know how to form them and move them around the fretboard.  With a simple easy trick and the right mindset, you can do this quite easily.

Enhance Your Creativity By Using 7th Chords

Being able to form this one chord shape will allow you to open up your creativity in new ways.  It will allow you to think about what your playing and develop your musical knowledge of the fretboard.

If you need to learn how to read chord charts, I suggest you check out my lesson on this topic.  It will really help you out in this lesson.

How to read chord charts in 7 easy lessons

By being able to form this one chord shape, the C7 and move it up and down the fretboard, you can create all kinds of cool sounds quite easily.  You just add your pinky to the C major chord (which is your flattened 7th note of the major scale) and move the chord up and down the fretboard.

Here is what I mean.  C Major scale:  C D E F G A B C each one of these letters has a number value.  If you look at the scale the numbers are 1-8.  Which means, the 7th of the scale would be the B.  If we flatten it (bring it back by one fret, this note now becomes an A# or Bb (same note) which is the note that the pinky is now laying.

Adding the pinky to form the 7th chord.

Adding the pinky can be a bit tricky at first.  But it is necessary for this exercise and chord shape.  Her are some tips to help you include your pinky in your guitar paying.

1.)  Work on finger exercises.  This will help limber up your fingers before you play.

2.)  Always include your pinky when ever you can.  This will allow you to form chord extensions along with the 7th.  like sixth’s 9th’s and so forth.

3.)  Be aware of the enhancement qualities you can develop by using your pinky in your playing.  You will be able to play things most people can’t.

Find additional chords quickly by knowing your notes

By knowing your notes and being able to see them on your fretboard, you will be able to find chords quickly. You will be able to create chord progressions and figure out ways to alter chord shapes and add substitutes.  But this takes time.  You must study the fretboard.  If you need help in this area be sure to check out this lesson.

How to recognize notes on the fretboard

Practice this technique of forming the 7th chord and moving it up and down the fretboard. Look at ways to play the chord easier for your own enjoyment.  Look for different ways you can find chords on the fretboard as well.  Like for instance, where can you find the A7 chord with this shape?  How about if you go from the C7 to the G7.  How many frets apart are these two chords?  What if you try a progression like C7 to F7 to G7?  Where along the fretboard would these chords be located?

These are the things you want to master.

1.)  What your notes are on each string,

2.)  what your major scale formula is

3.)  where these chords reside non the fretboard

4.)  In any key

By being able to form the C7 chord shape and repeatedly move it up and down the fretboard you are going to able to enhance your guitar playing by creating new exciting tones.  And when you add different types of picking as well as rhythm patterns, your going to be able to expand your playing ability.  Your going to be able to recognize chord shapes within songs that you otherwise would have not.

Lesson Conclusion

When it comes to improving your guitar playing over all you must keep learning.  Learning new note locations, new chord shapes, new scale patterns and new music theory.  You want to keep experimenting with new tools to move your guitar playing forward.

Make sure you develop a practice routine for accelerated learning.  Make sure to set your goals so you know where your going.  Be sure to practice and study on a daily basis.  Even if it’s just a little bit.  It will help improve your development of motor skills and memory retention.

And if additional help is needed, check out The Guitarists Chord Book.  This  has helped me out in my learning over the years quite well.  If it helped me, I know it will help you too.

Here’s some additional lessons to look into as well.

How to find any major scale when playing guitar

Dunlop crybaby wah review 

How to switch between chords quickly and easily

Until our next lesson, take care.

Dwayne.

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The Importance Of Learning Guitar Licks To Become a Great lead Guitar Player

Jimmy Page in concert

One of the key elements of learning lead guitar is learning guitar licks.

Guitar licks are what guitar solos are made up of.  It’s not just learning the scale that is important, its learning guitar licks.  And this is best done by learning them from your favorite players.  By doing this you begin to learn what notes are necessary & how they are put together to create guitar solos.  In doing so you start to develop a feel for this style of playing. Lead guitar.

Lead Guitar Playing

This form of playing is a lot of fun but requires far more discipline than just playing rhythm.  Rhythm guitar has it’s challenge’s as well, don’t get me wrong and if you’d like to know more about developing your rhythm playing I’d highly recommend you grab my book “Rock Guitar 101” on Amazon.

Playing lead guitar is a bit different in the fact that solos are usually only played once in a song and being that’s the case they don’t get imprinted on the mind as easily as rhythms do.  Rhythms are easier to remember because they repeat themselves multiple times in the song. Solos do not.

What your approach to learning to be a good lead guitar player will be to “cop licks” (as they call it in rock & roll) from your favorite players & eventually take those phrases & rhythm patterns (yes solos have a rhythm to them) & begin to put your own mark on them.

It’s best not to put too much emphasis on your equipment, although this is important to your overall sound, your sound comes from your fingers & brain. How you approach the guitar & how you decide to put notes together.

Common Lead Guitar Licks To Learn

In this guitar lick, you bend the third string up at the seventh fret and then pick the second string on the fifth fret and the first string on the fifth fret.  This probably the most common guitar lick there is and used in multitudes of guitar solos.

lead guitar lick

In this guitar lick, you pull off from the eighth fret to the fifth fret on the second string then play the seventh fret on the third string and then the fifth fret on the second string. This is all one lick that makes use of the pull off.  Very common technique in playing lead guitar.

Lead Guitar Lick

In this example, you use two pull-offs.  One on the second string from the eighth fret to the fifth. Then one on the third string from the seventh fret to the fifth.  This technique can be utilized on all the stings in the scale.  Or any scale for that matter.  You just have to make sure you know the interval of the notes.

Lead guitar lick

In this last example, a combination of techniques is used.  You start with sliding up to the fifth fret on the first string then the eighth fret on the second string with a pull off from the eighth fret to the fifth.  Then you proceed to the third string seventh fret down to the second string fifth fret back up to the third string seventh fret with a bend then play the fifth fret on the same string with a tremolo added.

lead guitar lick

Utilizing personality techniques to create guitar phrasing that sounds interesting.

If you just play the scale (any scale no matter what kind it is major, minor, diminished, etc) by itself it sounds good played in the correct place on the fretboard and at the right time.  But when you use techniques like bends, slides, hammer-ons etc the scales come alive with personality.  Your personality.  They become an expression of you.

This is what you are aiming for.  Being able to put you into the music.  And the best way to do this is by learning guitar licks from songs of your favorite players.  You start out by:

1.)  Learning the scale pattern (start with something simple like the pentatonic)

2.)  Learning the individual licks (bends, slides, vibrato etc)

3.)  Learn to read these in tablature format

4.)  Look at solos from your favorite players

5.)  See how these are put together to create phrasing

6.)  Use these concepts and techniques to create your own solos.

Follow a system to accomplish all this faster!

The best way to go about this is to follow a system that can clearly show you how to do this.  That is why I wrote Lead Guitar Wizardry.  A book that clearly shows you in a clear and concise way of accomplishing exactly what is stated above.  This system will show you exactly how to get started playing lead guitar in such a way that it will be fun and easy to understand.

Although you will still need to study & practice on a daily basis.  Because like I’ve stated before, lead guitar playing requires more discipline and a higher commitment to the instrument.  So if you feel this is you, check out the book.  It will teach you all you need to know to get headed in the right direction of becoming a lead guitar player.

Additional training:

5 tips that will improve your playing today

How to enhance your guitar playing with 7th chords

Until the next lesson, take care.

Dwayne

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Planet Waves Capo Review & Lesson On How To Use

acoustic guitar with capo

Today’s lesson is about how a Planet Waves Capo can expand your guitar playing abilities.

By adding a capo to your guitar toolbox, it will allow you to expand your possibilities on what you can do with your guitar.

We will be learning what a capo is, and how to use it.  And for this lesson, I will recommend the Planet Waves, NS Tri-Action Capo.  

Acoustic & electric guitars are great because they are:

  1. Portable.  Can be taken and played just about anywhere

  2. Minimal cost invested.  Easy to get started on.

  3. Don’t always require an amplifier.

Now one accessory that is common with the acoustic or electric guitar is a capo.

What is a Planet Waves Capo?

A capo is a device you clamp on to the fretboard that allows you to change the pitch of the guitar.  This is very helpful for singers who play to get the guitar to match the key that they sing in.  Or for a guitar player to accompany a singer and get the instrument to match the voice of the singer.

It also allows you to play open guitar chords that would normally be played on the first three frets higher up the fretboard.  If you look at the picture above you will see this very clearly.

This device can be useful for playing acoustic or electric guitar.  As the two instruments have the same notes on their fretboard.  But it is most commonly used on an acoustic.

The way this works is you clamp the capo on the guitar neck in a certain spot (say 3rd fret)  and play the guitar as you would normally.  Except now you can play your natural chords (Am. C. G. F. etc) further up the neck.

Benefits of using the Planet Waves Capo

As you begin to do this, you will see how the timbre of the guitar changes.  This is very helpful for playing certain songs that use this device.  It can be placed anywhere on the fretboard and can be useful for a multitude of applications.

With all this in mind, the capo I recommend using is the Planet WavesNS  Tri-Action Capo.  Which can be adjusted to fit your hand strength & your guitar neck string tension.

The Planet Wave Capo is designed for use on any 6 string acoustic or electric guitar.  It has a micro-tension adjustment screw to assure buzz-free in-tune performance at any fret.

With its tri-action geometry design, it is easy to operate with one hand and can easily clamp on to your headstock when not in use.  No longer are the days when you need to wrap the capo around the guitar neck to clamp it in place.  The Planet Waves Capo is spring loaded to give you easy installation & movement for use. anywhere on the fretboard.

It’s also made of quality aircraft grade aluminum construction. This allows for the weight to be light while providing strong durability for years of professional or recreational use. By adding a capo to your guitar playing tools, you’ll be able to expand your song repertoire and enhance your playing skills.

How to use a capo:

  1. Decide where on the fretboard you are going to use it.

  2. Clamp it onto the guitar neck in the desired position

  3. Strum the strings to make sure all strings are clamped properly & ring out.

  4. Form chords as you would in the open position around the first three frets.

  5. Play like you normally would.  Whether that be with a pick or with your fingers.

  6. Notice how the timbre of the guitar changes.

This little device can really open up your playing and if you sing and play, it can really help you out there as well.  Because with the capo, you can adjust the guitar to fit the key (pitch) that you sing in if it’s a bit higher than normal.

This device is essential if you have a player that inspires you to learn & they use a capo.  And in my opinion, you can’t go wrong with the Planet Waves NS Tr-Action Cspo.

I myself use this capo and after using many others throughout my career of playing & teaching guitar, I find the Planet Waves Capo to be a professional quality product that is most helpful in this area of playing guitar.  And when I’m not using it I simply clamp it on my acoustic guitar headstock and don’t worry about it until I need to use it again.

Then when I do, I just grab it with my fretboard hand & clamp it on the neck where necessary & I’m good to go.  It allows for quick key change for different songs that require a capo when I’m playing a set of songs.

So if you are looking to add diversity to your playing be sure to grab a Planet Waves Capo and watch how your creativity is sparked into new directions.  And as always if you have any questions, feel free to let me know.

Be sure to check out additional lessons:

How to improve your picking technique

How to switch between chords quickly & easily

Dunlop Crybaby Wah Review

Thank you for reading.  Until our next lesson, take care.

Dwayne.

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How To Find Any Major Scale When Playing Guitar

Music Theory

How to find any major scale when playing guitar is a skill all guitarists should know.

The reason this is so important to learn is that they are the foundational building blocks of music.  So learning a lesson in this area of the guitar will really benefit your playing.  For this lesson, we are going to use the scale of C Major.

What makes the major scale fun, is that the notes become the “Do Ra Me” we all know from either school or movies.  If you’ve heard this Do Ra Me before it is because it represents the major scale.  We use the C major scale for this example because it has no sharps or flats in the notes.  Any major scale is made up of 8 notes.  By knowing how to find these 8 notes, you are able to find any scale for creating an unlimited arrangement of possibilities.

If we look at the C Major scale, we start on C and go through the alphabet we get the notes C D E F G A B C.  As you can see, no sharps or flats.  Easy to understand.  If we give each note a number value we get 1-8.  The C is the 1 the B is the 2, C is the 3 and so forth.  Up to 8 notes (the 8th note representing the 1 of the next octave) and these 8 notes in all keys are what you want to master!

8 Notes Of The C Major Scale:

C     D    E    F  G  A   B   C = Notes

1      2    3    4   5   6   7    8 = Numbers

Do Ra Me Fa So La Te Do = Syllables

This works with all Scales.  Major or minor.  They just have different notes because of the difference in keys, but the formula stays the same.  Master this.  Remember it.  It will serve you well throughout your guitar study.

How To Find The Major Scale

Any major scale can be found on the guitar on any fret on any string if you just know the formula!  That’s right, the musical formula!  The way it works is simple.  One fret represents a “1/2” step.  So for example, if we moved from a B note to a C note which is right next to it, that would be considered a 1/2 step.  If we move two frets, that would be considered a “Whole” Step.

The major scale can be broken down into a formula that uses this information.  The Major scale formula using 1/2 & whole steps are.  W-W-H-W-W-W-H.  This magical formula will allow you to find any scale on any fret on any string.  Let’s look at it in more detail.

Key= C  Notes = C D E F G A B C  Formula = W-W-H-W-W-W-H

C W D W E H F W G W A W B H C  As you can see in the formula, the notes line up.  In the scale, we have an E & F which are next to each other & line up perfectly with the formula as note 3 & 4.  Which have a half step between them.  This works every time, on any string on any fret.  Master this formula and you’ll be able to enhance your music theory & fretboard knowledge.

The more you understand how your notes work in relation to each other, the better you are going to be able to create music. The better you are going to understand how it all fits together & works in harmony.  That is why it is so important to learn how to find the notes in any major scale.  Then expand on it by flattening the third & 7th & finding the minor scale note formula.  It’s a science & this secret information allow you to have musical insights that many guitarists do not.

Why Start With The C Major Scale?

We start with the C Major scale because it is easy to understand & allows us a simple place to start building our musical foundation.  Once you learn the C major scale you can then (with the formula that you learned in this lesson) move on to other scales. G A D E etc.

By mastering this formula, your going to open doors to how music works & how the notes fit together to not only form scales but chords as well.  In fact, you master this formula & many others that the guitar holds, & you’ll be able to skyrocket above the crowd.

But it does take time.  You must put in the work.  It doesn’t happen overnight.  But if you work on it a little each day, you’ll see it benefit you in other areas of your learning.  Be patient & have a steady stride.  This will allow you to learn in a fun & enjoyable manner.

Lesson Conclusion

If you’ve gone through this lesson & really understood the importance of knowing your notes, you’ll see how easy you can find your notes in the major (& minor as well) scale all over the fretboard which will allow you to build chords, play unique interesting rhythms, scales & melody lines that are unique to you & your own sound.  As well as give you insight into how the “Masters” used them.  But that’s for another lesson.

But that is what we are going for.  Learning the techniques needed to create our own originality as well as pay tribute to those who inspired us to play in the first place.  For me personally, it was the Masters!!

Hendrix, Page, Clapton, Angus, Eddie, Randy, Priest, Maiden, Sabbath Kiss, Metallica, Etc, Etc, Etc.  We all play the same notes on a fretboard that has six strings, it’s just how we utilize those notes on those six strings that makes the difference.

By knowing some basic music theory like knowing how to find your major or minor scale anywhere on the fretboard at any time is really going to propel you forward in your music.  So take some time & figure out those notes.  Have fun.  Write it down on paper.  Make a game of it.

Additional training:

5 tips to improve your guitar playing today!

How to use 7th chords to enhance creativity

Until next time, take care & let me know if you have questions.

Dwayne.

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Fender Squire Vintage Modified Jaguar Electric Guitar

Fender Jaguar guitar

The Fender Squire Vintage Modified Jaguar Electric Guitar story starts awhile earlier when a man named Leo Fender came on to the music scene.  Who had a dream to do with guitars what Henry Ford did with cars.  To mass produce them so that everyone could afford one.  And that one would be a Fender.

I believe this has been accomplished.

The Fender Jaguar first came out in 1962 as Leo Fender’s top of the line guitar.  Taken from the roots of the Jazzmaster, it was characterized by the offset body. an unusual switching system with circuits that were separated for playing both rhythm guitar and lead guitar.  Not to mention knobs and strange rollers.  It was at the time and still is today a very original design.

During its initial 13 years in production despite different modifications, it never sold as well as the less expensive Stratocaster & Telecaster.  Which have been the bread & butter for Fender since their invention.  The Stratocaster is still one of the most popular model guitars sold in the world today!

Where It Found Its Home

Where the original Fender Jaguar from 62 found its home was in the surf music scene.  It seemed that it was designed for this style of music.  As the surf rockers seemed to feel it fit them.  Here the guitar seemed to flow with action.  But sadly, being that it did not sell as well as expected it was discontinued in 1975.  Many years later these guitars started to become popular again.  But this time with American punk & indie rockers.

Punk rockers & alternative rockers started leaning toward these now vintage guitars.  The Jaguars contributed to these indie rock movements that were popularized in the late 80’s & early 90’s. These guitars helped to propel this new style of music just it had done earlier with surf music.

The reason why the guitar was appealing to these musicians was that the Fender Jaguar was out of style with the mainstream (very appealing to a 90’s rocker) and being so it was cheaper than other guitars in its class.  This allowed indie rockers to create artistic vision that connected with the masses at an affordable cost.

Fender Makes A Move

Seeing the rise in the popularity of this guitar & how it was fueling a new style of music, Fender decided to start making them in Japan in the 1980’s to see if they could capture on this new fame that the Jaguar was now acquiring. The production line proved a success and so they introduced a USA-made reissue in 1999.  The lower end Japanese models were made from 1984-2015.

Other variations have been made throughout the years like ones with humbuckers and a Jaguar Bass was introduced in 2006.  These reissues have had different configurations & colors throughout the years but have kept the integrity of the original intact.

The Squier Vintage Modified Jaguar Electric Guitar gives you authentic style & originality at an affordable price.  The guitar has a very comfortable lightweight body that is designed for ease of playing with

  1. 24″ scale

  2. Controls with dual-circuit switching

  3. Floating-vibrato bridge with bar

  4. Two Duncan Designed pickups

  5. Eye-catching classic finish

These pickups are great in the fact that they can give you a nice clean ring but then get nasty hard when you push them.  This allows for more diversity in your overall tone & playing.

When you pick up the guitar to play it, it doesn’t take long to realize that you are playing something special.  With its sleek design and onboard tone options, your inspiration can be sparked many times over in many different directions.  From crystal clean tones to nitty-gritty grind, the Squire Vintage Modified Jaguar can do it and everything in between.

This Is A Vintage Inspired Hot Rod Of A Guitar!

What is special & unique about the Squire Jaquire is its Jaguar switching system.  Designed to get the most out of two Duncan Designed single coil pickups that work in total harmony with this system.  This allows the guitar to produce a superb assortment of sound colors that can be mixed and matched to create the most beautiful artistic expression.

With the neck slightly shorter than most & a rosewood fretboard, your playing will develop skills you never knew you had due to these two factors.  And although the original body shape with its offset design was considered “radical” for its time, now many years later it is being hailed for its comfort.  A design that seems to fit no matter if you are sitting down studying or standing up performing.  This guitar has got you covered both ways.

Squire’s Vintage Modified Series

This series was designed to tap into history by modifying new guitars with old guitar features.  Meanwhile being constructed of the highest grade components & Top shelf engineering.  Not to mention the fabulous intricate finish.  The vintage modified series has it all.  The looks, the style & the classic sound.

 

Fender Squire Vintage Modified Jaguar Conclusion:

It appears to me that Leo was on to something that was ahead of its time.  Which does happen to many ideas that hit the market.  Same thing with Gibson’s Explorer guitar.  Not well received at the time of its inception, but over the years has grown a cult following much like the Fender Jaguar.

You know you’ve created something special when it helps to produce two different styles of music from two totally different eras.  First the surf rock of the 60’s.  Then the indie rock of the 90’s.  I think Leo Fender would be proud.

For me, I give the Jaguar a thumbs up for its innovation in design  & variety of sonic sounds one can make due to its “special switching system”  that is totally original & unique to the Jaguar.  If you want 60’s surf rock, grab a Jag plug into a Fender amp, turn the reverb up all the way & you are ready to go.  Surf rock tone at its finest.

But then again, if you like the indie rock of the nineties then this can also be your go-to guitar.  It has been played by many famous contributors of this generation.  Here you can get both the crystal clean tones but also get the down & dirty tones this music is known for.

Either way, the Fender Squire Vintage Modified Jaguar Electric Guitar can be your best friend.

Squier Vintage Modified Jaguar Electric Guitar Features:

  • Lightweight basswood offset body and short scale length give you enhanced playability

  • Comfortable Vintage Modified C-profile maple neck with 9.5″-radius rosewood fingerboard

  • Medium-jumbo frets, 24″ scale length; 1.65″ nut width

  • Chrome hardware; vintage-style tuning keys

  • Adjustable chrome bridge; vintage-style non-locking floating vibrato

If you are looking to inject some inspiration into your playing, the Squire Jaguar will do the trick.  Start playing more, having fun more & enjoying your own personal ability enhancement.

And if you are looking to add to your self-expression check out the Dunlop Crybaby Wah Pedal.  It is a very cool effect that helps take your playing to new places.  Check out my lesson on that.  And if your thinking about possibly purchasing a Jaguar, you can learn more here.   Until next time, take care.

Dwayne.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

vintage Jaguars sell for many times their original price.

 

 

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Dunlop CryBaby Wah Guitar Pedal Review

Dunlop Crybaby Wah front

One of the most icon guitar effects pedal to ever be invented (besides the overdrive pedal) is the Wah pedal.  Especially the Dunlop Crybaby Wah Pedal.  This pedal has been hailed by professionals & hobbyists throughout the world since it’s creation back in the 1980’s.

But the wah pedal was originally invented by Bradley J Plunkett back in November of 1966.  Bradley worked at the Thomas Organ Co and used a VOX organ pedal to create it.  Later he would work with Del Casher who would take the idea a step further.

Del worked on the pedal in his studio in his Hollywood Hills garage like a mad scientist working on a secret formula.  And the “sonic sound” he created became popular with musicians who were looking for an edge in expressing their music.  Since it was a bit edgy in its design and tone, it was hard to get out to the mainstream.

Then came along artists like Jimi Hendrix, Eric Clapton & Jimi Page who got the pedal & created guitar wizardry with it.  Squeals & swoops of sound would seem to just pour out of their guitar as they rocked back and forth with such swag & style.  Effortlessly as if commanding a spirit from another world!

This made the wah popular among guitarists of all kinds who felt it would be an excellent addition to their guitar playing arsenal.

With this pedal, you could mimic a muted trumpet sound and when played through a high-gain amp like Hendrix did, you could really get some sounds that were out of this world.  I highly suggest you pick one up & add it to your guitar player toolbox.  It will inspire your abilities to enhance like they never have before.

Over the years, other pedals were made for guitar players who were now able to create total originality in their sound by mixing and matching pedals.  Including the wah.

But throughout the years the sound quality could never really be captured consistently (as each pedal sounded a bit different) until one man stepped into the picture and changed the history of the pedal forever.  Mr Jim Dunlop.

In the 1980’s Jim Dunlop, a machinist who made his own style of guitar accessories such as picks, capos & slides was able to acquire the crybaby brand and decided to work on making improvements to this fantastic technology.  The ability for someone to see an opportunity & make it work is one of the key elements to any success.  Jim Dunlop was no exception.

Although it wasn’t an easy transition with technical & logistical hurdles to overcome, Jim wasn’t going to give up.  He assembled a state-of-the-art engineering team, purchased the highest of components from vendors and methodically took the pedal to a whole new level of consistency and reliability.  By doing so, he created the Dunlop Crybaby Wah (that is still, after all these years) sought after by professionals & hobbyists alike.

The Dunlop Crybaby Wah

What makes it so special?

The Dunlop Crybaby Wah has a very distinctive style & sound.  When you hear it, you know it’s a wah.  And not just a wah, but the Jim Dunlop Crybaby Wah.  This pedal has been used by some of the most popular recording artists, played on stage by the most icon guitar heroes & utilized on songs that have become the soundtrack to our lives.

This is one of the few pedals that are not only used by guitarists, but also by keyboardists & violinist.  I know, crazy huh?  I can just imagine a violin with a wah.  Jimmy Page come to mind?  What an awesome guitarist.  Listen to how he utilizes the wah in his song “Dazed & Confused“.  After hearing that, how could you not want to plug into one and check it out?  You know what I mean?

Or how about when Eric Clapton uses it in “White Room” with Cream to get that crazy wild sound that sends shivers up & down your spine.  Or how about when Jimi Hendrix uses it to maximum effect in the infamous song “Voodoo Child” where the intro alone grabs you by the “you know what” and slams you to the ground.

The wah pedal has also been used in different styles of music.  Like Pop, Reggae & Funk. Very popular in funk music.  When you hear that wank-wank sound that’s popular in that style, it’s the wah.  And probably, a Dunlop Crybaby Wah.  So is this a special product?   You bet it is!  And that my friend is why it is on my pedalboard and is highly recommended, you have it on yours.

When you can create something that is part of people’s everyday life, you know you have created something special.  And the Dunlop Crybaby Wah definitely fits into this category.

Millions of people around the world use this pedal & like I always say, “if it’s good enough for all our rock n roll heroes who use it (Stevie Ray & countless others) then it should be good enough for us”

Dunlop makes all kinds of great products for guitar.  From pedals to picks, polishes, slides, capos and more.   If you aren’t already using their products, I suggest you check them out. You won’t be disappointed.

Not to mention what Jim Dunlop did for the guitar pick, capo & slide.  Pretty interesting stuff.  But that will have to be for another lesson.

How Does The Crybaby Wah Work?

It works by stepping on it & rocking it back and forth in a sweeping motion.

Some Technical Aspects of the Dunlop Crybaby Wah.

Jim Dunlop created the first GCb95 Crybaby wah pedal in the late 80’s that was designed to replicate the original from the 60’s.  But with better sound quality, consistency & reliability.

Thomas Organ Co were the pioneers of the of the wah, but unfortunately, they failed to patent their technology & the wah-wah name.  Which caused many replicas to flood the market while their model was starting to finally take off.  This was unfortunate because it created much competition for the company.

With the wah pedal technology now in Jim Dunlop’s hands, he set out to make a greater pedal than had ever been produced before in the whole history of the wah pedal.  The Dunlop GCb95.  This guitar pedal became the first of its kind to produce crispier funky rhythms, a cleaner signal that did not distort the original guitar tone and a reliability to not break down.

No matter if you were on the road, on the stage or in the studio.  A working musicians kind of pedal that he or she could rely on to give them the signature crybaby sound night after night consistently.

The Dunlop Crybaby Wah does exactly that!  Made up of heavy-duty construction fit for a tank.  A nice long shape that is designed to rest your foot on while rocking back & forth and is powered up by using a 9v battery or a Jim Dunlop AC adapter.

Inside the heavy-duty construction is a circuit setup branching into four compartments. These four blocks consist of, a power supply circuit, an input buffer, an output stage, and an active filter. The Thomas Organ Company used a similar setup to create the VOX V847. The only problem with the VOX guitar pedal is that it had a glitch in tonal variation. This was a result of low input impedance on the guitar pedal.

When Jim Dunlop took over, he found a way to correct the low input impedance issue by raising the input voltage. This allowed for a much cleaner more controlled sound.

Over the years the crybaby wah has been redesigned, features added on sister models & a couple years back Dunlop made some upgrades to the original.   Cosmetic changes to boost its ergonomics and tweaks to the battery compartment to make it more accessible.  Which makes it easier to change the battery without interfering with the rubber footing.

The Good Points

  • A solid metallic casing that is durable and resistant to damage

  • Produces funky wah-wah sounds iconic with the 60’s, 70’s & 80s

  • Does not distort the original tones of the guitar

  • Improved design for easy access to the battery compartment

  • Revamped bypass switch to curb loss of tones

  • Universal power jack that is compatible with all power supply units

The Bad Points

  • Lacks LED backlighting to improve visibility in the dark

  • A bit heavy compared to other pedals.

  • Needs oversized space on your pedalboard

That is why the “mini-wah”  was invented.  For easier transportation & less space taken up on the pedalboard.  The Led light thing I believe they are still working on. LOL!!  I’ll admit, it does help to see as much as possible when your playing in a dark venue.

Guitar players have enough to worry about, no need to make it harder trying to determine where the wah pedal is when you need to step on it.  But then again, if it doesn’t hinder Slash’s playing when he’s all drunk (or at least used to be) then it shouldn’t hinder ours.  LOL!!!

I will have to say though, I did see GNR over the summer of 2017 and I must admit they still got it!  I was impressed (didn’t think I would be but I was) Slash played & sounded KILLER so did Axle & the whole band.  Got invited by one of my favorite students and I feel very grateful for the opportunity.

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Review Conclusion:

I think for the sound quality, consistency, reliability & price range your not going to go wrong with either the original Dunlop Crybaby Wah or the “Mini” Dunlop Crybaby Wah.  The wah pedal has been around since the 60’s.  The Dunlop Crybaby Wah has been around since the 80’s and is still as popular today as it ever was.  Still used by millions to help create musical masterpieces & proudly will be as long as there is electricity to plug an electric guitar into.

No matter your style, if you are looking for a new sound, or a new pedal to boost your inspiration, I recommend you check out the Dunlop Crybaby Wah pedal.  Or if you are tight on space and need something smaller on your pedalboard or just want to use one pedal real quick, be sure to check out the mini Dunlop wah pedal.  The “mini-me” of its bigger brother.

Grab one today & start producing some of that magic that the wizards of guitar used to do & still do that makes us want to pick up our guitars today, just like yesterday, get on our knees and pray,……We don’t get fooled again.  LOL!!

And if you are in need of learning how to recognize notes on the fretboard, check out my lesson on that.  If you have any questions, feel free to contact me.  And if you haven’t already (if you have, thank you very much) be sure to sign up for my guitar club where you will receive membership discounts.

Until our next lesson, Take care.

Sincerely, Dwayne

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How To Recognize Notes On The Fretboard

Notes on the fretboard

recognize notes

How to recognize notes on the fretboard is one of the most important aspects to playing guitar.  And believe me there are many.  This is the most crucial mystery to solve.  In this lesson we are going to look at ways to do so quickly and easily.

How is this done?

It’s done by learning & understanding how the fretboard works.  The notes are laid out in such a way they create patterns.  Through the sacred knowledge of these patterns, you can easily find notes.  And you’ll amaze your friends being able to do it!

Now there are many, many patterns on the guitar & too much for this lesson, but I’ll mention a few of the basic ones to get started with so you know what I mean.  This will guide you in the right direction.

1.)  You want to learn & memorize the musical alphabet!

A A# B C C# D D# E F F# G G#  This is the musical magical formula you want to master!

Everything you create on the guitar comes from these notes.  Consider it to be the DNA of music.  All music does not matter what style!  Know this scientific formula!!  It will aid you in creating chords, strumming rhythm, playing hot solos & many other things.

2.)  Learn & memorize the names of the strings! 

From low to high:  E A D G B E 

This will allow you to have a certain letter value (E, A, etc) in the musical alphabet as a starting point on each string.  And since they are named different, your starting point is different.  For Example, your lowest string (thickest, that’s closest to you) is an E string.  So you start with the letter E.  You play the string open (without putting a finger on the fretboard) it’ll be an E note.  Then you progress from there.

The first fret is F, the second fret is F#, the third fret is G, etc.  It’s like this because that is the way the notes line up in the alphabet.  A-G#  If you start on E your next note is an F.  If you start on A your next note is A#.  This comes easy when you know your musical alphabet.  So study that!

If you notice in the example above, the notes always follow the same order.  It just depends on where you start that determines what note comes next.  To the left of the example.  The letters represent the name of the strings & if they are played open (without fretting a note, this is called open) they become those notes.

You then proceed through the alphabet from there.  As you can see, A becomes A# then B and so on.  When viewing it from a distance it looks confusing & intimidating, but once you know the “insider secret” of how to recognize notes, it’s not so scary.

3.) Visualize where your notes are at. 

You must be able to see the note patterns as you look at the fretboard to recognize notes!

Being able to recognize notes and where they lay on the fretboard is the objective your shooting for.  This can be difficult at first.  But if you stick with it, over time it will begin to sink in and you’ll begin to “see” the notes as you learn how to recognize notes on the fretboard.

We can actually start this process with some simple chords.  Look at these chords.  Look how the notes are organized in a pattern.  If you can practice & develop your visualization skills (and anyone can so don’t say “sorry Dwayne I can’t”), Yes you can you just have to truly want to progress in your playing enough to go through the pain to get the gain!

Now, of course, there is no pain here, but you know what I’m saying.  You must step out of your comfort zone in order to grow.  So practice visualization.  It will work wonders for your learning.  I guarantee it!

Now back to the chords.  Here are some examples.

 

Notice how they create a pattern or shape?  Especially the G E & D.  Look at the C.  A diagonal line across the strings.  The A is a straight line across 3 strings.  Real simple stuff if you break it down that way.  And this works with all chords that you’ll come across.  No matter if they are natural chords, or alternate chords or barre chords or even simple power chords.  It doesn’t matter, they can all be broken down this way for easier learning.  But in order to do so, you  have to know how to recognize notes.

Be sure to check out my lesson on how to read chord charts in a very simple easy to understand way.  It will open your eyes more to what we are talking about here today.

Here’s an example of a scale used for playing lead guitar.  Same principle.

As you can see, the notes line up in a pattern.  A shape if you will.  You master this shape, pattern, scale (or whatever else you want to call it) recognize notes and you can play solos up & down the neck in various keys.  There is more you need to know of course to use it properly for playing lead guitar but this is a good example of what I’m talking about.  Notes in a specific pattern that can be applied elsewhere for quick fast results.

If you’d like to explore scales more & how they work for lead guitar then check out my lesson on scales used for lead guitar playing. 

You’ll discover how these scales & fretboard patterns are used to play guitar solos & stay in key while you do it.  Very important lesson to learn if you are going to approach that type of playing. You also want to remember that it requires more study & discipline to be a good lead guitar player. And by being able to recognize your notes you’ll be able to create better phrasing.

Now in this lesson, we’ve discussed how to recognize notes on the fretboard in a few different ways.

By learning the musical alphabet A-G#

By learning the names of the strings.  From low to high – E A D G B 

By visualizing shapes & patterns.  Like with chords & scales.

By taking daily action of study & practice.Develop a practice routine.

And lastly by consistent application of these principles & concepts. 

Music is a language & you must learn it in order to understand it.  Just like any other language.  You want to make sure you can recognize notes and this is accomplished through memorization.  Which is developed through repetition of practice & study.

There is no other way!

So do as instructed above.  Learn these “insider secrets”  and you’ll recognize your notes.  By doing so you’ll begin to see your guitar playing get better because you’ll be inspired to apply what you have learned.  And if you need additional help then what has been provided here I suggest getting a good book on music theory. Here are a few I highly recommend:

The Guitarist’s Music Theory Book 

Music Theory For Guitarists

The Circle Of Fifth’s For Guitarists

Any of these books would be good for learning music theory and worth looking into.  Because if your going to be serious about your guitar playing you want to make sure you recognize notes and know how to put them together.

If you have questions, feel free to contact me.  You can contact me by replying to this email or through multiple channels throughout social media. whichever you prefer.

And be sure to (if you haven’t already) join my guitar club for more insider secrets and membership discounts on products that can help improve your guitar playing.

Thanks again for reading & until next lesson, take care.

Sincerely, Dwayne

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5 Tips That Will Improve Your Guitar Playing Today!

Training knowledge

5 tips that will improve your guitar playing today. The number one thing you should always be doing is looking for & putting into action new ideas that will improve your guitar playing. No matter where you are at with your playing, your bound to run into a few hurdles.

When running into hurdles or facing a wall you can’t get over, it’s time to look for inspiration in other areas of guitar playing.  These areas are what’s going to get you unstuck and moving forward again.  So let’s look at 5 tips you can use to help improve your guitar playing and improve it today!!

Tip #1.  Practice new material on a clean channel.

When you’re learning something new it’s always good to practice “clean” so that you can really hear yourself.  Make sure you are not making any mistakes.  And if so, which ones are they & what’s needed to improve them.

This will also allow you to improve your ear because you are hearing the natural sound of the guitar with no effects.  You can add those later.  But whenever your practicing chords, scales, rhythm phrasing, picking patterns, harmony notes & a whole world of other stuff related to playing guitar.

So when you are practicing these things you really want to tune into what you are doing.  And the best way to do this is to play clean.  Listen to the tone being produced.  Listen to the pitch of that tone.  Capture the vibration that the string is making. All this can be accomplished by tuning in & listening while playing on a clean channel.

Once you have it down and feel you can execute the technique flawlessly, then & only then will you want to put distortion, gain, overdrive, fuzz or any other type of effect in the signal.  This way you know if you are reaching the next level.  When you try to put gain or distortion in the signal & you don’t have the technique down, it comes out sounding…..well, not too pleasant.

So make sure you do this.  And if you have questions about creating a practice routine, check out my lesson on that by clicking the link.

Tip #2.  Learn things through entirely.

A common problem among most self-taught players is that they learn bits and pieces but not the whole thing.  This creates “lack of trying”  When a hurdle pops up the runner stops.  You must learn to get over hurdles.  They will always present themselves at the most crucial moments & they will make you want to quit, but if you find a way to plow through somehow, you’ll find victory on the other side.

So if you are learning a song, learn it from beginning to end.  Get over the hurdles.  All songs and musical passages of any kind are going to have their hurdles.   You just have to:

Break it down into sections.

Take it slow one little section at a time

Piece them together bit by bit

Have patience

You must have patience!!  Those that are truly passionate about learning, accomplishing goals & moving forward are those who find a way to do this.  You must become this kind of person in order to get good at playing guitar.

Tip # 3.  Open  your mind to new styles

When you open your mind to new musical styles, you open yourself up to new techniques & new ways of thinking.  Every style of music (country jazz, rock, etc) have their own special vocabulary that makes them who they are.  Gives them their character.

When you approach learning these techniques you begin to see very clearly a whole other way of thinking.  And this is good because not only does it expand your mind, but it also allows you to learn some different ways to approach the guitar.

Then you begin to not only learn new concepts & playing methods, but you also add tools to your guitar playing toolbox.  To get good, you want to acquire a mechanic’s toolbox full of guitar playing tools.  Look at both Jimi & Jimmy.  They both had a warehouse full of guitar playing tools.  That’s what made them so great & mysterious.

Be like them.  Acquire tools & learn how to use them.  Carpenters have tools, so do guitar players.  They are just different types of tools that are needed for the trade.  And the best way to do that is by being open-minded to new musical ideas & concepts related to learning & playing guitar.

Tip #4  Play with music and other people

Playing with others can do wonders for your playing if they are the right people.  If not, they can’t.  But if you happen to find someone you can play with, I suggest you do so.  Playing with others can do wonders for your learning.  They can be someone that:

Helps you to get over those struggling hurdles.

You can bounce ideas off of

Can help encourage you & you do the same

Can just make learning & playing more enjoyable.

Now if you can’t find someone, learn & play songs on the radio or to a CD or iPod, or your phone.  No matter how you do it, play with songs.  I can’t emphasize this enough.  It will improve your playing 100%!!  You will develop listening skills.  Like listening to the other instruments, finding where you should be in the mix, how you go into certain parts as individuals & come back together as a band.  How to hold rhythm & recognize different rhythm ideas when they are presented.

Playing with recordings improves your motor skills, eye-hand coordination, ear-hand coordination as well as your internal clock that every musician must develop.   This is not easy to do at first, but give it a try.  And if you give it an honest try, start out with something simple, you will begin to see in no time how this learning strategy improves your playing.

Tip #5.  Practice Consistently!

You must be consistent!  Or else you’ll never get there.  It’s much better to practice a little each day then a lot every other day.  It makes your mind stay more focused on the task at hand.  Plus your motor skills get developed more thoroughly as well as remembering musical concepts.

By having a daily practice routine, you will begin to see a transformation in your abilities & understanding of the guitar.  You will begin to see how the music is put together so to be a pleasant experience to the ear.  And you will also build self-confidence on the path to your guitar playing success.

So take these 5 tips, apply them to your learning & I guarantee you will see results for the better in your guitar playing.  Until next Lesson, Take care.

Dwayne Jenkins

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How To Switch Between Chords Quickly & Easily

playing electric guitar

How to switch between chords quickly and easily is one of the hardest things to do at the beginning of learning guitar.  In today’s lesson we are going to talk & learn about how to switch between chords easier & more efficiently.

I remember being there myself as a beginner.  I felt like I was never going to get it.  I had to practice a lot & unfortunately didn’t have the power of the internet back then.  What a difference that would have made LOL!!

Anyway, After many hours of practice, I finally got it.  But it wasn’t easy.  I felt like” am I going to have to practice three to five hours a day to get this”? Is this going to take forever??  Is this above my abilities?

If you’ve ever felt like this, then please read on…

When you eventually get your chords down to where you can form them well (without cramps in your hands) and you can switch them fairly easily, that’s when the fun begins & it becomes a joy to play some of your favorite songs.

And it becomes a thrill to nail the transitions & take on the challenge of getting through them very much like a runner jumps over hurdles.  As you begin to accomplish this, you feel good about yourself and a smile creeps on your face because you know you are moving forward with your guitar playing. And in doing so, keeps you coming back for more.

Essential Keys For Getting Better

I’d like to share with you what I would say is one of the essential KEYS to switching chords quickly & easily.  It’s very simple & should not be overlooked.  You just need to pick a couple chords, to begin with, and focus all your attention on switching between them.

For now, at this time in your guitar learning journey you want to forget about all other chords, strumming or anything else & just focus on this one thing.  Focus is one of the most important skills to master in accomplishing anything in life.  Especially guitar and the more focused you are on small tasks such as this, the quicker results you’ll see.

Just take two of the easiest chords you can form.  Like E & Am or G & C (very popular in many songs) and focus mentally like a laser beam on switching between them.  Back and forth, back & forth.  Every time you do this it gets easier & easier because you build a link between your brain & your fingers.

Where is each finger landing on the fretboard?

Be sure to look where each finger is landing on the fretboard.  Which strings should they be on?  What frets should they be on?  By focusing on these fundamental aspects of changing chords, you’ll see very quickly that after a while you’ll build “muscle memory” and your fingers will know where to go automatically.

Then after this is accomplished, move on to two more chords & so forth & so forth.  Continuously building your chord vocabulary.  You’ll see that you are making massive progress at an unbelievably short period of time.

Once you get over the learning curve (which there is one in anything and I do mean ANYTHING new you learn) you’ll be able to start playing songs that you love hearing & you’ll be hooked on guitar just like all the other millions out there.

Take it slow, don’t get impatient & practice focusing on one little task at a time.  You will see quick results and you will know how to switch between chords quickly & more easily.  And in the process, you will be building valuable skill sets.  Focus, concentration, muscle memory & well-established motor skills.

Best of luck to you & if you have any questions feel free to let me know.

Here’s some additional training:

How to improve your picking technique

How to improve your guitar playing today!

How to use a capo to enhance your playing

Thanks for reading and take care.

Sincerely, Dwayne Jenkins

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