Planet Waves Capo Review & Lesson On How To Use

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.

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.


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How To Find Any Major Scale When Playing Guitar

Learning 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.

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






Dunlop CryBaby Wah Guitar Pedal Review

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Fender Squire Vintage Modified Jaguar Electric 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.









vintage Jaguars sell for many times their original price.



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Dunlop CryBaby Wah Guitar Pedal Review

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

One of the mysteries of playing guitar (and there are many)  is knowing how to recognize notes on the fretboard.

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 so you know what I mean.

First, 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.

Second, 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 it works, it’s not so scary.

Third.  Visualize where your notes are at.  You MUST be able to SEE the note patterns as you look at the fretboard!

Being able to see the 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 your 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.

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) 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.

Now in this lesson, we’ve discussed how to recognize your 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 E

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. 

Musc is a language & you must learn it in order to understand it.  Just like any language.  You want to make sure you can recognize your 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 begin to see your guitar playing get better because you’ll be inspired to apply what you have learned.  And if you have questions, feel free to contact me.  You can contact me by replying to this email or through multiple channels throughout the net. 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!

The number one thing you should always be doing is looking for & putting into action new ideas that will improve your guitar playing. So here today are 5 tips that will improve your guitar playing 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

One of the hardest things to do at the beginning of learning guitar is how to form & switch between chords.  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.

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.

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 once 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.

So 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.  Thanks for reading and take care.

Sincerely, Dwayne Jenkins

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How To Improve Your Picking Technique

Knowing how to improve your picking technique is one of the essential things to know in guitar playing. No matter if your playing rhythm guitar or lead guitar. No matter if you’re playing acoustic guitar or electric guitar. So paying attention to your picking technique & working on improving it will help your playing tremendously.

Here are 3 easy steps you can take today that will help you to improve your picking technique.

Step 1. Practice alternate picking:

This is picking up & down. Work on finger exercises across the fretboard in any way you choose and pick each string individually up & down. Upon the first note & down o the second & so forth & so forth.

Practice this slowly at first & focus on getting good tone. If you’re playing electric play on a clean channel so that you can really hear yourself & study your approach & really listen to yourself.

Step 2. Practice in front of a mirror:

Get the mirror to focus on your picking hand so that you can really see what your hand is doing & you’ll get insight into your playing that you didn’t already see.

A lot of times in life we don’t see certain things because of our point of view. This mirroring technique will allow you to see things from a different point of view & show you things in your hand positioning that you didn’t see before & allow you to make changes.

Step 3. Practice strumming:

Strumming is a very common technique to master in any type of guitar playing. It involves the wrist & fingers working in unison together to get the right sound. This technique looks easy when you see people do it, but when you try it yourself it can be a bit tricky.

Strum down first & then once you get that figured out you can work at strumming upward. Then work at doing both together. It does take time & doesn’t happen overnight, but if you give it an honest try it will help to improve your picking.


Focus on your hand. Focus on the way your holding the pick & focus on how you’re approaching the guitar. The more you do this the better your overall playing will become. It’s not going to always be easy, but if you keep trying you’ll see some positive results very quickly.

But you must put in the “string time” and it must be consistent. If you truly give it your best shot, I guarantee your picking, your strumming, your timing  & your guitar playing, in general, will improve.  Thus making you feel good about yourself.  Nothing like the feeling of accomplishment.

If more help is needed in this area, be sure to grab my book Learn Guitar which will show you a simple method for learning the guitar.  Including improving your rhythm.

Be sure to check out additional training lessons:

How to find your notes on the fretboard

5 tips that will improve your guitar playing

Until our next lesson, take care.


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The Best Way To Hold Your Guitar Pick

What is the best way to hold your guitar pick?  Is it better to play with the thumb & first finger, or the thumb & second finger?  Or is it best to use the fingers & pick together?

There are many different ways you can do it & it’s really up to you & how you approach the guitar & what style of music you choose to play.

Playing with your fingers and pick at the same time is called “hybrid picking”  and is a very common technique among guitarists who like to do both.  It’s hard to say what fingers it’s best to hold it between.  Everybody plays different and that is what makes learning guitar so cool.  You can plat it the way you choose.

Playing with a pick does produce a harder sound is can be useful for creating dynamics in your music.  Knowing which fingers to hold it with is another story altogether.  My recommendation would be to experiment.

Learning how to play guitar can be a lifelong study and practicing trying out different ideas your mind presents to you is always a good choice.  It will allow you to develop your own style of playing.  It’s good to look for guidance by watching other people.  It’ll give you ideas as well.

The thing you want to remember though is that what works for one person doesn’t always work for another.  So it’s best to try out different things in your approach.  Only then will you be able to figure it out for yourself what works best for you.

I myself don’t do a lot of fingerstyles and I congratulate you on getting that style down.  Just keep progressing forward with your studies and follow the guidelines in this lesson and you’ll soon discover what works best for you.  Good luck with your learning and if you need some additional training that might help you out. Be sure to check out some of my other lessons here on my blog. If you have any questions, feel free to contact me on Facebook or shoot me an email here on my site.

Thanks for reading & take care.

Sincerely, Dwayne Jenkins

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What’s More Important, A Good Tutor Or DIY?

Tutor Or DIY?

What’s more important, a good tutor or to DIY? A good tutor can show you insights that will take time off your learning curve.  A good tutor can show you things that will reduce struggle and provide better enjoyment while trying to figure things out.

On the other hand, no matter how good a tutor you acquire, it really comes down to you.  How committed you are to getting better.  How dedicated you are to accomplishing the goal of being a well-accomplished guitarist.  How much time and effort (practice) your willing to put in.

Self Discovery

The guitar or any other instrument for that matter is not a quick get the final result now kind of thing.  It’s something that will improve your life over time.  It’s something that will give you back exactly what you give it in return.  The guitar is an instrument that will allow you to build motor skills, better understanding & allow you to discover things about yourself that you never knew existed. 

But of course, that’s only if you put in the practice.  So in answering your question if it’s one or the other, I’d say practice.  Even if your not sure what your doing, if you stick with it long enough you’ll get there.  A good tutor can just help you get there faster.  But it’s still up to you.

Your dedication.  Your commitment to your goals, & your practice schedule.  You must truly have a desire to want to learn the guitar.  Your goal will provide your destination, your plan will provide your action-steps  & your desire will provide your daily motivation.  But you must have all these in place to keep pushing forward along your journey.


You can do it!  But you must stay focused on the tasks at hand and persist through the obstacles.  I’d love to tell you it will be a walk in the park, but I wouldn’t want to lead you astray.  I will tell you this though, you find the right learning method or tutor & I guarantee you will have fun along the way.  With the right guidance, there will be no stopping you.

Best of luck to your learning & if you have any questions, feel free to reach out.  Shoot me an email, or contact me on Facebook.  And if you feel this lesson has helped answer your question feel free to leave me a review.

Until our next lesson, take care.

Sincerely, Dwayne

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