Category Archives: Beginner Guitar Lesson

How To Use Finger Tapping In Your Guitar Solos

One technique that is really cool to learn on the guitar is how to use finger tapping in your guitar solos.  This technique is great for adding flare and pizazz to your guitar playing.  But in order for it to do so, you will need to practice.

Eddie Van Halen

The technique of finger tapping has been around for many years but was made most popular by Eddie Van Halen in the late “70s with his debut album “Van Halen” that came out in 1978.

Van Halen made people sit up and take notice of the guitar.  And of course, this hadn’t been done on this level since the debut of Jimi Hendrix 10 years earlier.  Many great guitar players emerged during that tie from the late ’60s to the late’70s but didn’t have the impact Eddie Van Halen did.

What is finger tapping?

finger tapping

Finger tapping is a very cool (but more advanced) technique that allows you to spice up your guitar tone.  I say this because it has a very distinctive sound and once you recognize it you’ll know it’s finger tapping.  This technique will make you sound awesome on the guitar.

It is a technique where you do a hammer-on and pull-off with both hands at a rapid pace.  You start off slow and eventually increase your speed.  It is when you get your speed increased that the technique really starts to come to life.

Example #1.


Finger tapping

This is an example of just finger tapping on one string.  The B string.  One finger (picking hand) taps on the 12 and the other finger (fretboard hand) taps on the other notes.

In this example, the fretboard hand will stay on the 12th fret while the fretboard hande will move from fret to fret.  Make sure to tap one note right after the other.  Not at the same time.  Make sure your fingers are stretched well before trying this exercise.

Example #2

Finger tapping lick

Here we have another finger tapping lick where you tap on the 12 like before with the picking hand but then do a hammer-on with the fretboard hand.  You keep the index finger down and hammer on to the second note.

In this case, the fretboard hand starts at the 5th fret and proceeds to move down to the 2nd fret all along while hammering on the note three frets up.  This gives the technique a different type of sound.

Here’s how to execute finger tapping:

*You tap on one string (try the second one) with the index finger (or the second) of your picking hand and then push the string off the fretboard.

*Then take the index finger of your fretboard hand and do the same thing.  A hammer-on with a pull-off right after.

*When doing this (if done correctly) you should hear a sound that is similar to a siren.  Kind of like those cops in movies from London England. But of course way cooler.

*You can also just start with a hammer on to get the technique down and then add the pull-offs later.

*Do this one finger right after the other to get the desired effect.  Remember to start off slowly and then increase speed.

Watch the finger tapping lesson below

Finger tapping can be done by anyone.  You just have to learn the proper steps to execute the technique and stay committed to its development.  If you do this long enough (it won’t take too long with daily practice) you will begin to see progress and be able to sound awesome!

Hammer-ons and pull-offs

These are some of the most common ways to give notes on guitar expression and personality.  It is highly recommended that you practice daily perfecting these techniques.  These are simply a way of adding and subtracting notes.

When executing a hammer-on, you are starting with one note and adding another to it.  With a pull-off, you are doing the opposite.  You are starting with two notes and taking one away.  Basic fundamental principles of playing the guitar.

Additional help

As a guitar player, you should always be looking to learn techniques that help you to play guitar better and fuel your creativity.  Finger tapping is one of those techniques.  In the process, it is always a good idea to get some additional help where you can.  especially when playing guitar solos.

Why?

Because playing guitar solos requires more study and practice than just playing rhythm  Now I’m not saying anything against rhythm, I feel the rhythm is very important and provides the foundation for the guitar solo to stand on, but chords progressions usually repeat themselves several times throughout a song which makes them easier to learn.  Thus, in turn, makes it easier to play.

Playing guitar solos, on the other hand, are harder because each measure(or section) of the music changes.  Not to mention the speed of some of those sections might be quite fast and even utilize advanced techniques such as sweep picking arpeggios 

Or possibly even finger tapping.  Yup, playing guitar solos requires more dedication, patience, and commitment. In doing so sometimes requires additional help.

Method of study

I have been playing guitar for over 30 years and at that time I have written songs and created my own guitar solos.  As well as learned hundreds of guitar solos from my favorite guitar players.  And I can honestly tell you, that it’s a lot of work.  When you play create guitar solos, you definitely need to know what you’re doing or else moving around the fretboard will not sound good.

That is why I wrote and published my book Lead Guitar Wizardry (both volume 1 and 2) to help out in this area.  This method of study will show you exactly what it is you need to know to create guitar solos of your own, how to play other people’s guitar solos and how to sound great wherever you choose to play along the guitar fretboard.

Lead Guitar Wizardry finger tapping

Lead Guitar Wizardry will provide an essential on your journey to becoming a great lead guitarist.  It will show you the secret formulas, scale patterns, and techniques used by professional lead guitar wizards to create jaw-dropping solos that capture the listener with magic.

Combine the study of this training manual with a regular daily practice routine and you will begin to develop skills you once thought were beyond your ability.  Before you know it, you will be casting your own brand of guitar magic that will leave those listening in amazement.

Daily study and practice

In order to accomplish being able to play great guitar solos all over the neck at will, you must commit to daily study and practice.  Especially if you want to master the art of finger tapping.  Without daily study and practice, your progress will be slow and unfocused.  This might lead you to quit altogether.  But with proper training, you will come out a winner.

Lesson conclusion

In conclusion, learn how to use finger tapping in your guitar solos.  A technique that will allow you to create some really cool sounds.  But before you get too far ahead, make sure that you have a solid foundation of the fundamentals.  Make sure you understand your scales.  Where to play them and how to execute them properly to sound like music and not just scale runs.

And if you haven’t already, grab my FREE action-guide “Guitar Solo Secrets” to get a head-start on heading in the right direction.  Need more help than that, feel free to shoot me an email and follow me on Social media.

Keep practicing and until our next lesson,

Sincerely, Dwayne

How To Play Guitar Like Angus Young Of AC/DC


writing music

How Important Is It To Learn Music Theory?

music theory

Learning music theory can be beneficial in a lot of ways when it comes to playing music.  But more so when it comes to understanding how the notes in music work together in harmony.  It is this harmony that allows the music to connect with the listener.

The language of music

Music is a language like any other type of language.  English, Spanish, Chinese, etc.  And the concepts and principles that govern the musical language are very much like the concepts that rule the written language of words, phrases, and paragraphs.

Musicians who understand the language of music theory know how to use it just like writers know how to use the letters of the alphabet to create stories that move the reader.  A musician knows how to use the notes to move the listener.

Benefits of music theory

There are many benefits to learning music theory:

  1. write out your own ideas that others can execute

  2. transcribe music from the audio recording.

  3. understand what notes reside in any key.

  4. learn how to transpose these different keys.

  5. put notes together to create chords.

  6. String together chords to create chord progressions.

  7. figure out scales and notes that are in them.

And many, many more things.  Too many to list really.  But this is just a few that will give you a better understanding of what can be accomplished by learning music theory.  Is it important to learn music theory?  I’d say it couldn’t hurt.  It definitely gives you a better understanding of what you are doing.

Playing by ear

playing by ear

A lot of guitar players (especially rock guitar players)  play by ear.  Which means they don’t depend on knowledge of music theory to write their songs.  They just put enough hours into the instrument to figure it out by ear and know what to play through hours and hours of dedicated practice.

I’ve read in many interviews in guitar magazines and have also seen them in interviews on TV and on Youtube, with successful guitar players (you know the ones who inspire you to play) and they have mentioned time and time again that they don’t know any theory.

Some (most actually) don’t even know how to read sheet music.  In fact, there is an old joke that says:

How do you get a guitar player to turn down?

Put sheet music in front of him.

Reading sheet music can be very beneficial, but it doesn’t seem like it is necessary to be able to write great songs.  The Beatles didn’t know about the inner workings of music theory and how to read sheet music as a symphony musician does, but yet they wrote some of the best rock songs the world has ever known or ever will know.

So, how important is knowing music theory?…

When playing by ear, they listen to a song or a piece of music and replicate it on the guitar.  This is a very common practice among rock guitar players.  Actually, some of the best players like this and still do to this day.

Playing by ear is a whole other skill set that can be developed if you just take the time.  Some people are actually born with this skill.  I’ve heard people say they could play anything they hear without having to look at the sheet music.  In fact, they prefer not to.

A great many rock songs that you like were written like this.  Not by studying music theory and then writing from that point of view, but from listening to sounds in their head and getting them to come out through their guitar.

A little bit of both

It is a good idea from my point of view as a guitar teacher to learn a little bit of both. Learn some music theory for a better understanding of the instrument and learn to play by ear.  Both require two different skill sets an that is why most guitar players choose one or the other.  But if you could acquire skill sets in both areas, you could be above most guitar players that have a skill set in just one.

You learn music theory to get a full understanding of how music works and you learn to play by ear for motor skill development.  See, if you just study music theory you’ll get great at understanding the music but you won’t get great at playing it because your physical abilities won’t be developed.

That is why it is so important to add playing the guitar as well.  Now if you take the music theory you learn and apply it to writing your own songs, that will develop these skills.  But don’t overlook the fun of playing songs by your favorite artists.

Lesson conclusion

Is learning music theory important?  Yes!  It can really help you to understand how music works and how to communicate the language to others who know it.  It can also help you to do all that is stated above.  But make sure you don’t get so wrapped up in learning music theory that you miss out on the fun of playing songs by your favorite artists.

There is a lot of fun doing this.  Not to mention the skills that you learn along the way.  Ear training, timing development and the overall discipline of trying to get a song down the way it is written.  This skill requires much study and practice and will also help to improve your guitar playing as much as studying music theory.

Remember most rock guitar players that have hits on the radio play by ear without looking at sheet music.  So study their approach to the instrument and follow suit.  As you will learn all kinds of skills not found in studying just music theory alone.

And if you need any further help, check out my books I have authored on playing guitar:

Rock Guitar 101. 

Rock Guitar 101

A starter book that teaches the fundamental principles of how to play rock guitar.  From the correct tools to get started with chords, rhythm, picking hand development, establishing timing and classic rock riffs.

Learn Guitar For Beginners. 

Learn Guitar Simple Method for beginners

A classic study on learning to play the guitar no matter if it is acoustic or electric.  A step-by-step method that takes you from not knowing anything about the guitar to being able to play songs and understand what you are playing.

Rhythm Guitar Alchemy.

Rhythm Guitar Alchemy

The science of playing rhythm guitar.  This book is for the person who wants to take their rhythm playing to the next level.  For those who know a few chords but want to expand on them.  Those who know how to strum but want to learn more.  A person who has good timing but wants to develop it better.  All this and more can be found in this book in a simple step-by-step method.

Lead Guitar Wizardry vol 1. 

Lead Guitar Wizardry volume 1

Beginners guide to playing lead guitar and guitar solos.  From learning about music notation, 12 bar blues, rock riffs, minor pentatonic scales, personality notes, harmonies, octaves and everything else needed to create your own guitar solos and learn guitar solos by your favorite artists in your favorite songs.

Lead Guitar Wizardry vol 2.

Lead Guitar Wizardry Volume 2

A more advanced guide book on how to take your guitar solos to the next level.  For the person who already knows how to play guitar solos, but wants to enhance their playing with new scales and guitar licks.  This volume goes through modes, additional minor scales like harmonic, melodic, diminished & more advanced concepts such as using double stops in your solos and melodic sequencing.  Plus many more things to improve your learning and understanding of music theory as it relates to playing guitar solos.

So check them out and if you have any questions about what I’m teaching, be sure to visit my website at DwaynesGuitarLessons where you will find all the answers to your questions.  And if you need private instruction, feel free to contact me.

Best of luck and take care.

Sincerely, Dwayne

Chord Progressions That Work With The Minor Pentatonic Scale


Jimi Hendrix playing guitar behind his head

How To Get Started Playing Guitar Solos

In today’s lesson, we are going to learn how to get started playing guitar solos.  This is very important for efficient progress in your lead guitar playing.  If you get going correctly from the very get-go you will have fun along your journey of becoming a great lead guitar player.

Best scale pattern to get started with.

The best scale pattern to get started with by far is the minor pentatonic scale.  This scale is very common in a lot of “classic rock” songs and has been used by all the great rock guitar players.  Players uch as Jimi Hendrix, Eric Clapton, Angus Young, Eddie Van Halen and of course the infamous Jimmy Page.

There are actually 5 scale patterns that you want to learn but I recommend you start with pentatonic scale pattern 1.  This is a very easy scale to learn and what you can create with it is endless.  If you learn the other 4 and learn to connect them together, you can create a road map that your fingers can drive on.

How to play anywhere on the fretboard.

First of all, create a fingerboard road map that your fingers can drive on.  you learn how to play anywhere on the fretboard.  This allows you to stay in key.  This is where the fun is.  Being able to play anywhere on the fretboard with confidence!

Knowing that any note you play will sound good no matter what!  You must first get started.  Start out with scale pattern 1.  The one shown above.  As you can see, this pattern is easy to understand and will be easy to play.

Many guitar players face a common problem.  Knowing where to play.  This means they don’t hit all the right notes.  By knowing where the right notes are located along the fretboard, they are going to sound good when you play them.  This is the “secret” to playing guitar solos.  Knowing how to sound good every time.

Lead Guitar Wizardry volume 1.

Enter the solution to the problem.  My book I authored called Lead Guitar Wizardry volume 1.  This book shows you exactly what I have been talking about here in this article.  Getting started playing guitar solos and how to sound great every time you play them.

Lead Guitar Wizardry volume 1

The benefits of Lead Guitar Wizardry are:

  • Learn the basic concepts of guitar solos

  • Easy scales to start out with

  • Step-by-step method

  • How to bring these scales to life

  • Key progressions to solo over

  • 12 bar blues and blues scale

  • Transposing to different keys easily

  • Harmony notes, octaves & hybrid picking

Lead Guitar Magic

Along with additional spells and incantations to help you build a solid foundation for creating guitar magic.  Get started with becoming a lead guitar player, and have fun in the process.   This book will show you how. It will show you everything you need to know to get started creating your very own awesome guitar solos.  Just like the masters.

If you look at guitar players like Jimi Hendrix, Eric Clapton & Jimmy Page, they’ve all used this information to become great guitar players. and now you can too.  And what is even better is that this book is easily accessible online in both ebook and print format Through Kindle & Amazon.

Get started today, on the magical journey of playing guitar solos and master the art of lead guitar playing.  And as always, if you have any questions about what I’m teaching, feel free to shoot me an email or contact me on social media.

Thanks for reading and best of luck to you.

Sincerely, Dwayne Jenkins


Tony Iommi

How To Play Classic Rock Riffs With Power Chords

In this lesson, we are going to learn how to play classic rock riffs with power chords.  This is the fun of learning these types of chord shapes.  Once you learn how to form them and move them around the fretboard, you’ll be able to play all kinds of cool rock riffs.

Rock Guitar 101.

It is a great training method for getting started playing rock guitar. It is a simple 7 lesson method book that is easy to understand and provides quick results with full-color pictures and diagrams that anyone can learn from. especially if they have no prior music knowledge or training.

Rock Guitar 101 wi teach you how to acquire the right tools, how to tune your guitar, easy to play chords, establishing a rhythm, picking hand development and how to play classic rock riffs. All this in an easy simple method for all beginners. Not to mention free video lessons to go with the book available on my youtube channel. Which will allow for even easier learning and even quicker results.

By lesson 7 you should know.

The tools that are needed to get started. This includes the right type of guitar (certain guitars are best for playing rock guitar) cable and amplifier. These three tools are vitally important as they set up the foundation for your whole learning journey.

How to tune the guitar with an electronic tuner (which is recommended to start) by knowing which one is best to choose, where to get it either online or off and how to use it to tune your guitar.

You should have learned how to get a good solid rock tone which is also very important for this style of music. Plus additional training on how to get this out of a guitar effects pedal. This is an alternate way of getting your rock tone if you can’t get it out of the amp.

Easy rock chords.

By this time you should know how to form your simple open and closed power chords that are the fundamental chord types for this style of music. Open and closed power chords are the easiest you can form and the most common for playing rock guitar.

After learning these, you should have learned how to switch between these and move them along the fretboard for creating chord progressions that are the foundation of playing songs. As well as learning how to develop your hands and fingers to hold and move the chords better.

Establishing rhythm.

Once you have gotten comfortable playing chords on the fretboard you then need to be able to establish a rhythm. This is something you should have down as well. Rhythm playing is the foundation for playing songs of any type in any style of music and rock music is no exception.

Being able to establish and hold rhythm is a very valuable skill to learn and develop and should not be overlooked. It is like the concrete foundation that holds up a house, but in this instance, it is the music that is being held up. And this establishment of rhythm is set you up for what is coming next, an intro to lead guitar playing.

Intro to lead guitar playing.

Since this is a starter book I don’t go into major detail about this but I think it is important to introduce you to the fundamentals of lead guitar playing in-case in the future, you want to get into playing guitar solos. This can be done by learning the minor pentatonic scale.

The minor pentatonic scale is the one that all great guitar players of the past have used and should be learned by you. This scale is very versatile.

By this time you should have all that is stated above down physically and a well-rounded understanding of their concepts and principles.  If you do, great we can proceed.  If not I recommend you go back and get down what is needed to understand lesson 7.  Playing classic rock riffs.

Lesson 7. Playing classic rock riffs.

Rock riffs are a section of music that catches attention.  It is usually a part of the song that repeats and sticks in people’s heads.  It is usually this rock riff that makes people want to play guitar in the first place.  That is why classic rock music is so appealing to rock guitar players.  It has plenty of rock riffs to catch our attention.

So in this lesson, we are going to look at a couple of easy rock guitar riffs that will put all we’ve learned to use and allow us to play some music.  Because what good is learning all the chords and putting in the hours of development if we can’t play songs?  It makes no sense.  Rock Guitar 101 is designed to get us developed to eventually have fun playing songs and here is where we are going to start.

Smoke on the water.

This is the number one rock riff of all time so we will start here.  I’ve written it in closed power chords so that it is easy to play.  If you’ve done your homework, this should be quite easy to master.

Smoke on the water riff

This is the main riff of the song and is repeated several times.  It is suggested that you listen to the song to get the timing down.  Once you feel comfortable playing the riff, try playing it along with the song.  This is a bit challenging at first but I guarantee you that it will pay huge dividends in the long run.

Highway to hell.

This is another classic guitar riff that is very recognizable and not too difficult to play.  Although a bit harder then smoke on the water.  I say this because of the timing that is needed to execute the song properly.

Highway to hell riff

Once again I have presented this in easy power chord format.  This is originally played with natural chords and can be a bit tricky for a beginner.  That is why I present it in this format.  So that you can get used to playing your closed power chords.

As I mentioned before this is a nice riff to practice your timing skills.  Notice the space between the first and second parts.  Without this, the riff won’t sound right.  So listen to the song and get down the groove.  AC/DC is known for their groove and if you are ever to play their hor rocking songs, you need to master this.  There is no exception.

Lesson conclusion.

If you want to get started playing rock guitar or know anyone who does, Rock Guitar 101 is an excellent starter book.

Rock Guitar 101

With everything needed to get you progressing forward at a rapid rate with no previous music knowledge necessary. Once you get the fundamentals down you will be able to springboard from there.  And in doing so you will build a skill set that can last you a lifetime.  You might even be able to pass it along to someone you love in the future.

Free video course on Youtube.

In addition to the book, you can also get a free video course on my tube channel of the same name as my website.  Dwayne’s Guitar Lessons.  Here you will find a video lesson for all the lessons in the book to help further your understanding and help you to get quicker results.  And as always, if you need additional help feel free to reach out as I am always happy to help.

You can get this book on Amazon or through my eBay store.  If you get it through my eBay store I will personally sign it for you.

Best of luck and until the next lesson, take care.

Sincerely, Guitar teacher, Dwayne Jenkins


Eddie Van Halen playing guitar

Rock Guitar 101 Intro To Playing Lead Guitar

In today’s lesson, we are going to look at something that is very exciting to me personally.  This is Rock Guitar 101 intro to playing lead guitar.  This is where we learn to unlock the mysteries of playing guitar solos and melody lines that make people go WOW!

Looking past the fundamentals of rhythm playing

Once you get the fundamentals of playing rhythm guitar down, you can then look into what it takes to play lead guitar.  Rock Guitar 101 shows you this in lesson 6.  Lead guitar is more about melody and this is created by learning how to play guitar scales.  Scales are the foundation for playing guitar solos.

Lead playing is a bit more advanced than playing rhythm.  In my experience, it requires more string-time, more commitment and much attention to detail.  The dedication and patience needed to be a good lead guitar player are greater because a guitar solo in a song only comes through once and does not repeat as rhythm does.

Producing rhythm

A chord progression that produces the rhythm of the song repeats over and over to provide the foundation for the melody to stand on, as where the guitar solo is just a small piece of music within itself to enhance the rhythm.  This is why it requires more work but also gets more attention as well.

Now when it comes to guitar scales for playing guitar solos, there are literally thousands to choose from.  I know, crazy huh?  But for our purposes today just getting started we only need to know one.  The most common and that is the minor pentatonic scale.

The minor pentatonic scale

The most common scale that is used by all the great rock guitar players is the minor pentatonic scale.  The reason for this is because the notes fit together in such a way that they work over any chord progression that makes up the rhythm of all rock and blues songs.

Once you get this scale (fretboard pattern) down and be able to visualize it on the fretboard, it will come very clear to you how they use it to create those jaw-dropping solos. And when this happens a light bulb will go on above your head and you’ll see how you can use it too.

Minor pentatonic scale in the first position.

Minor Pentatonic Scale

This means that it is being played at the first fret.  Now what we want to do is get real familiar with this scale or box pattern as it is sometimes called.  In fact, I’d recommend you think patterns as it will make the guitar easier to learn and understand.  Study this diagram.  Know it, see it on your fretboard and get to where you can execute it on any fret.  The 8th fret, the 12th fret, the 5th fret, etc.

Here is another way of looking at it in tablature format:

minor pentatonic scale in A

Here we have the same scale pattern presented at the fifth fret in A.  We call it A because the note on the sixth string at the fifth fret (the note we start the scale with) is an A note.

What is great about this pattern is that it stays the same no matter where you play it.  The notes change, but the scale stays the same.  This is a great place to start for creating guitar solos.  So run through it from time to time as you’re learning your rhythm techniques.

Once you can play this pattern up and down across the fretboard with ease, you will then want to learn your personality licks.  What are personality licks?  These are little guitar phrases that give the scale personality.  And this is when it really begins to get fun and interesting.

Add personality

When you play the scale by itself, it sounds good.  But when you add the personality licks such as hammer-ons, pull-offs, bends, slides, trills and so forth you get the scale to sound like music.  And that is what you are after.

In addition to learning this scale, you also want to develop your dexterity and motor skills through finger exercises.  These will help you to get your hands in shape for future studies on this subject.  Since this is a beginner book we will stop here as far as lead guitar goes.

Lead Guitar Wizardry

But if you want to learn more about what’s necessary for playing lead guitar and creating lead guitar solos, I recommend you look into my book Lead Guitar Wizardry Volume 1 that gets the beginner started on the path to lead guitar playing.  It teaches the fundamental principles and secret techniques needed to play jaw-dropping guitar solos.  It will allow you to build a solid foundation of understanding in theory and practice.

You will learn finger exercises, picking techniques, scale patterns, and fretboard knowledge.  Among many many other things to help you develop the mindset and skillset to become a great lead guitar player.  And if you take it one step further and really study and put in practice time, you’ll become a lead guitar wizard!

Lesson Conclusion

Lead guitar playing takes work.  There is absolutely no doubt about it.  Playing rhythm does as well but I think lead playing is a bit more.  Especially if you would like to play some of the guitar solos that your favorite players who inspire you to play have written.  Which I highly recommend you do.  But this my friend, takes dedication and commitment to the most serious.

But for now, just learn the minor pentatonic scale.  For this is a great place to get started and I guarantee you that it will serve you well for years to come.  And once you get it down clearly in your mind and you watch some of your favorite players on video or in concert, you’ll see them using it and how.

Thanks for reading and if you need any help in anything that you’re working on, feel free to reach out.  here or on social media.  Also, be sure to grab my FREE action-guide “Guitar Solos Secrets”  to learn more about how to accelerate your progress.

Best of luck and until our next lesson, take care.

Sincerely, Dwayne Jenkins.


Finger exercises

Exercises And Hand Warm-Ups To Get Your Fingers In Shape

In this lesson, we are going to learn exercises and hand warm-ups to get our fingers in shape.  When it comes to playing guitar, you want to make sure you do what athletes do, you warm up and get your fingers in shape.  This is very important for forming and holding guitar chords and playing guitar scales.

By working on effective exercises for developing your finger dexterity independent finger motion.  This is very important to develop for playing such things as barre chords (which use all fingers and can be very challenging to form and play) as well as for extended chords like add7#9 which can demand finger stretches.  These are just a couple of examples that finger exercises and hand warm-ups can help to improve while learning guitar.

So let’s look at a few examples that can get your hands and fingers in shape, ready to tackle those tricky guitar parts.

Example #1

Finger exercise #1

In this example, you want to use all four fingers and start on the 6th string.  One finger per fret. Index finger on 1, second finger on 2, and so on.  This will help you to develop a stretch for your fingers.  It might be a bit challenging at first, but if you really apply yourself like a true warrior who wants to get better, I guarantee it will pay dividends in the end.

Example #2

Finger exercise #2

In this example, you start on the 1st string at the 5th fret.  Once again use all four fingers and go across all strings.  This will be a bit easier than the first one and feel a bit different because you’re starting on the first string instead of the sixth.  It will also help you to train your ear to hear certain notes.

Example #3

Finger Exercise #3

In this example, you keep the fret positioning the same but you change up your fingers.  Instead of doing 1 2 3 4, you want to do 1, 3, 2, 4.  This will allow you to develop finger independence.  Not to mention your brain needs to think differently as well. This is the discipline that is needed to accomplish what I stated in the first paragraph of this lesson.

In order to really play certain things on the guitar, your fingers and hands need to be disciplined and have the ability to do whatever you need them to do.  Some chords can be difficult to form and certain scales and guitar licks will require advanced finger discipline.

Finger exercise conclusion

This is just the nature of the instrument.  The guitar is a wonderful instrument in the fact that you can approach it from many different aspects.  But in order to do certain things on it (the really cool stuff) your hands and fingers need to be disciplined.  Especially if you want to play guitar styles like flamenco or classical guitar.  These are very disciplined arts.

Even if you just want to play simple chords, it’s always a good idea to warm up your hands, wrists, and fingers. And these examples along with many others (I’m sure you can figure out more on your own) will help you to do just that.  Keep your guitar hands in shape.  Just like a runner or any other type of physical activity. Keep yourself in shape and you will come out a winner.

One more thing,

Now if you are interested in learning more about what to do once you learn exercises and hand warm-ups to get your fingers in shape.  And more about the process of developing them, you can check out some of the books that I’ve published on playing guitar.

Rock Guitar 101

Rock Guitar 101

This is a great starter book for beginners who want to get up and running quickly in the art of rock guitar.  It’s a very simple book that covers the fundamentals in 7 easy to understand lessons.  With full-color pictures and diagrams for quick study and solid foundation development.

Learn Guitar Simple Guitar Method

A simple step-by-step method for beginners is an easy study for those who want to learn either electric or acoustic guitar.  This book teaches the fundamental principles needed to get started on the right path to guitar playing success. A starter guide book designed for the total beginner with everything you need to start having fun playing guitar today. No matter your age.  This book can benefit you.  With full-color pictures and diagrams for quick learning and fast results.  This book will get you playing and having fun in no time.

Lead Guitar Wizardry

Lead Guitar Wizardry volume 1

This book is designed for those looking to head down the path of lead guitar playing.  A comprehensive course on the inner workings of lead guitar playing.  From finger exercises to picking techniques, scale patterns and fretboard knowledge.  Lead Guitar Wizardry will show you the secret formulas, and incantations used by lead guitar wizards to create jaw-dropping guitar solos that will capture the listener with magic.

So if you are interested in improving your guitar playing in any of these areas, I recommend you pick up one of my books on Amazon.  They come in both digital and paperback formats.  And as always, if you have any questions about anything that I have taught in these lessons on my site or in my books, feel free to reach out.  That is what I’m here for.  To help you improve your guitar playing.

Thanks for reading and best of luck in your studies.

Sincerely,

Dwayne Jenkins.

Dwayne Jenkins standing in studio


Izzy Stradlin

How To Form Power Chords And Create Rhythm

In this lesson, we are going to learn how to form power chords and create rhythm.  Once you have mastered your open chords or would like to take a break from them, you can proceed to work on your closed power chords. Once you get the open chords down you can focus on learning power chords & creating rhythm with them.

Closed power chords.

Closed power chords are very much like your open power chords, it’s just that now your playing two strings where neither one is open. These are going to be then next chords in your vocabulary to learn because they are played with two fingers instead of just one. Your index finger and your ring finger. Or the pinky if you prefer. Everyone plays a bit different.

I recommend you use the first and third fingers as this is more standard and will leave your pinky open to add chord embellishments later when you learn to form chords using three and four fingers. But for now, we’ll just stick with two.

What’s great about these chords is two things.

  1. The chord shape always stays the same no matter where you’re at on the fretboard.

  2. They allow you to move up and down the fretboard, unlike the open power chords that stay at the second fret.

This allows you to unlock many mysteries of the guitar and rock guitar songs by playing chords of this type.  Most rock songs ever written, mostly use or have used these types of chords.  So make sure you take some time to learn how to form them and then learn how to move them around the fretboard.

When learning to form power chords you will need to stretch your fingers a bit.  Because this chord shape is created by two fingers on two strings with a fret in between them.  And once you learn this to form this chord, you will need to keep this shape when moving it around the fretboard.  Be sure to watch the video lesson on how this is done.

Chord types of these are not the easiest to form as a beginner, but with a little consistent effort on a daily basis, you will begin to see some progress and that is when the fun starts to happen.  And as with all things, you must be patient and not give up. If you stick with it, your reward will be all the cool rock songs you’ll be able to play.

Reading power chords in tablature format.

Watching me form them in the video lesson is fine.  But it is very beneficial that you learn how to read them in the written tablature as well.  This will give you more of a rounded education, a step up on most guitar players (most don’t read sheet music) and a more enhanced learning experience. Heres some examples of what power chords look like in tablature format.

G power chord

Here we have a G power chord.  Where the first finger (index) is on the sixth string third fret and the third finger (ring) is on the fifth string fifth fret.  Remember in guitar sheet music your biggest string will be on the bottom.

D power chord

This is a D power chord played on the fifth string.  Apply the first finger on the fifth string fifth fret and the third finger is on the fourth string seventh fret.  The D power chord is played on the fifth and fourth strings and provides a bit of a brighter sound than the G chord formed on the sixth string.

Rt4 A power chord

Above is an A power chord played on the fourth string.  Using the first finger on the fourth string seventh fret and the third finger on the third string ninth fret.  Since this chord is played on the fourth string, we will consider it a Root four A power chord.  Because the root of the chord (which is an A note) is located on the fourth string.

Always remember (I can’t stress this enough) that the strings in the sheet music are upside down.  I know it can be confusing.  Sorry but I didn’t create it, I just teach it 🙂  Anyway, now that we know how to form a few chords, let’s look into how to create the rhythm with those chords.

Creating a rhythm with power chords.

Accomplish this with proper timing and emotion.  When creating a rhythm with power chords playing rock music you want to start out with a simple 1 2 3 4 count.  Because this is the most common timing of rock music.

Listen to bands like AC/DC.  They use this timing in almost all they’re songs.  You can tap your foot to the beat and follow along to the music.  It is simple and effective.  Then once you get the initial timing of rock music down, you can create more complex rhythms.  But in the beginning, keep it simple.

Malcolm Young

This creates the internal clock that all musicians must have and by focusing on improving your timing by counting (to yourself or out loud) you begin to develop this very important skill set.  I can’t begin to tell you how many musicians I’ve met who have not developed proper timing.

Additional counts to use when creating rhythm.

Here are a few more to experiment with:

1 & 2 & 3 & 4 &.

1 2 & 3 4.

1 2 3 & 4

Any of these examples will produce a nice rhythm and if you work with them enough, you’ll begin to discover other ones you can create as well.  Think of how creative you can be with just these four numbers.  Look at our number system 0-9 and all the endless possibilities that we can come up with.  Even though you’re just using four numbers, the concept is the same.

Once you work with these counts you’ll begin to recognize familiar parts of songs you already know.  So practice these rhythm counts while moving your power chords up, down and around the guitar fretboard.  That way you will develop your internal clock and be on your way to becoming a good solid rhythm guitar player.  Which is vitally important.

Moving your power chords is essential to learn. Make sure to lift your fingers slightly off the fretboard but keep them on the strings and play only the two strings that the chord is made of.  The rest of the strings try to mute with your fretboard hand.  This will keep unplayed strings from vibrating and causing unwanted sound.  It will allow you to produce a cleaner, rich guitar tone.

Lesson Conclusion.

There are certain techniques that are associated with playing rock guitar that you will need to master.  This takes time.  But with the proper training, it won’t take as much time as you think.  That is why I wrote Rock Guitar 101.  A simple step-by-step method on getting started playing rock guitar.

Rock Guitar 101 will help out in many ways and allow you to progress at your learning faster than you ever thought possible.  Once you learn what tools are necessary,  you will then learn how to set them up and get the best out of them.

You’ll also discover how to develop practice habits, basic music theory and much, much more.  All without previous musical knowledge or ability.  This can be very very beneficial when getting started.  If this is you or anyone you know, be sure to order this book today on Amazon and get started having fun learning how to play guitar.

Until our next lesson, take care.

Sincerely, Dwayne Jenkins


Tuning your guitar

How To Tune Your Guitar And Play Your Very First Chords

In this lesson, you are going to learn how to tune your guitar and play your very first chords. This is very important because without being properly in-tune, anything you play on the guitar will not sound right.  It might even sound quite unpleasant.  So we can avoid this by learning how to get our guitar in-tune.

Once you get your guitar, amp and tone set, you can then progress forward with where the fun comes in. Learn to tune up your guitar and play it!  Start off with open chords first. These are great because they require only one finger to form and play them. Chords like Open E, Open A & Open D. These are the easiest to learn and will set a solid foundation for your development of playing rock guitar.

But first, we must get in-tune!

Before you start playing anything on the guitar you want to make sure that you’re in-tune.  Meaning that all six strings are at the correct pitch relative to each other.  This way when you play them they will be in harmony with each other.  And for this, we need a guitar tuner.

When it comes to guitar tuners, there are many to choose from but for getting started I recommend you get a simple clip-on tuner.  These can be found at your local store or online at a place like Amazon.com

How to tune your guitar.

Now that you have learned a little bit about the guitar, you are ready to learn about how to tune it. But before you do, I’d recommend you learn the name of the guitar strings.  This will allow you to know what to tune the guitar strings too.

Names of the Guitar Strings

The names of the strings are (from thickest to thinnest)

6-E

5-A

4-D

3-G

2-B

1-E

A good way to remember this would be to use an acronym.  Eddie Ate Dynamite, Good Bye Eddie.  Or you could do it in reverse.  aster Bunnies Go Dancing After Easter.  Either way is fine, it doesn’t really matter as long as it helps you to remember the strings name.  After you learn and you remember your strings name, you are now ready to tune your guitar with a guitar tuner. I recommend a Snark clip-on tuner.

Learning your first chords.

Once the guitar is in tune and everything is set to go we can now proceed to actually play the guitar and start to make music with it.  And this is where it starts to get fun.

The very first chords you want to learn are your open power chords.  We start with these because they are the easiest to play.  As stated before, they only require one finger.  Your index or first finger will do.

In addition to that, it is best to learn a little bit about how one might read these chords on a sheet of music paper as well.  Like tablature.  This is simplified sheet music for guitar.  Here is an example of what they look like.

Chords in tab

Open chords:   E            A            D

your first chords

The horizontal lines represent your guitar strings.  Biggest on the bottom, smallest on the top and the numbers represent the frets in which you will put your fingers.  Except for the 0 which stands for open, which means you play the string without putting your finger on it.

In the example above for the Open E chord, you will place your index finger on the 2nd fret of the fifth string and strum only the sixth & fifth strings.  For the Open A chord same thing just a string down and same for the Open D chord.  These three chords are all formed and played on the second fret.  They just change strings that you play them on.

Strum only two strings.

When playing open power chords with one finger, be sure to only strum the two strings that the chord is on.  This will make it easy to get a good sound out of your guitar to start.  Eventually as time progresses and you learn more complex chord voicings, you’ll strum more strings and get more sound out of your guitar, but for now, just strum the two that the chords are made of.

By taking this approach to form and play simple one-finger chords, you will be able to build self-confidence fairly quickly and you will be setting up yourself for closed power chords.  Two note chords that move up and down the fretboard.

Lesson conclusion.

In this lesson, we have learned about how to tune our guitar and start off playing simple one-finger chords.  By doing this we are now setting a foundation for our other chords that are needed to learn for playing the art of rock guitar.

There are many guitar chords to learn but these are the easiest and most common to start with for playing rock guitar. Not just guitar mind you, but rock guitar.  This is a certain style of guitar playing.  Very much like Jazz or country or blues.

Rock Guitar 101

Now if you are interested in learning more about how to get started playing rock guitar I recommend you check out my book Rock Guitar 101.

Rock Guitar 101

A is a simple step-by-step method book for beginners.  It is designed to teach the fundamental principles of the art with easy to understand lessons and full-color pictures so you can learn easily and get quick results.

It goes over everything that is needed to get started.  From what type of guitar, amp, tuner, chords to learn, how to develop timing for better rhythm playing, intro to lead guitar and much much more.  It even has a rockstar training quiz at the end to make sure the student fully understands the material.

And the best thing about it is no previous musical knowledge is necessary.  This book can be learned by anyone at any age who wishes to learn the art of rock guitar playing.  All that is necessary is the desire to learn and want to get better.

Additional training

So if you have that desire, check out the book and get started enjoying the fun of playing rock guitar.  You’ll be glad you did. And if you haven’t already, I recommend you grab my FREE action-guide Beginner Guitar Secrets that’ll give you insider tips to excel your guitar playing.  And if any further help is needed, I’m only an email away.

Best of luck and until our next lesson, take care.

Dwayne Jenkins.


Marshall rock guitar tone

How To Get A Good Rock Guitar Tone Out Of Your Amplifier

Know your amplifier

Knowing how to get a good rock tone out of your amplifier is essential to your guitar playing. In fact, most guitar players spend many, many hours searching for the ultimate tone.

Now for our purposes here, just getting started we don’t need to do that. All we need to do is get familiar with our amplifier. How it works and how to set it up to sound the way we want it to.

What do the amp knobs do?

The amp knobs are the heart and soul of the amplifier aside from the speaker. But the speaker is only going to project what the knobs are dialed in to so we want to make sure we get this part right. And to do that, we need to first learn and understand what they do and how they function.

Marshall MG10 faceplate

Most amplifiers are two-channel. One clean channel and one rock channel. I call it the rock channel because it is the channel that has the gain knob that is needed to dial in your rock tone. After all, you can’t be a good rock guitar player without a good rock guitar tone.

In addition to the two channels, the amp is going to have two volume knobs (one for each channel) and either a contour knob (on the smaller practice amps) or a three-knob equalizer (bass, mid & treble) to help shape the tone once you get it dialed in.

The proper configuration for a rock guitar tone.

When it comes to amp settings, it is important to know how to configure them.  This is how you get the best rock tone possible.  You combine a little bit of this knob with a little bit of that knob and before you know it, you’ve got the rock tone you’re looking for.

The clean channel is usually just the volume knob and some form of contour knob or a three-band equalizer set up.  Very much like your car or home stereo.  With these knobs, you shape your tone.  Add more bass, take out the mids, or have partial treble.  It’s really all personal preference.

Then there is the second channel the “rock” channel as I like to call it because it has the secret weapon!  The gain knob!  The gain knob is what gives you that sound.  That overdriven distortion sound.  You know, the sound that makes you want to turn it up!  yeah, that’s the sound of rock!

Dial it in and crank it up!

Well if your just getting started you don’t want to crank it up too much, but you know what I mean.  Channel two on the amp (the rock channel) has everything the clean channel has except for the gain knob and when turned clockwise it adds gain to the overall signal.  Your gain is determined by how much you turn the knob.  This is how you create your rock tone.

Learn what your knobs do by experimenting with them and find the tone that you prefer.  It really comes down to you taking the time to learn your amplifier and what it’s all about.  Then and only then will you be able to dial in your own rock guitar tone for maximum playability.

How about an alternative?

Well, an alternative to using an amplifier would be to use guitar pedals.  Preferably an overdrive or distortion pedal of some sort.  There are many to choose from but my recommendation would be to choose BOSS pedals.

BOSS pedals have been around since the ’70s and have been used by a lot of the great rock guitar players.  They are made of quality components and have shown they can stand the test of time and is used in the studio and on the road in a band on a daily basis.

I recommend you either choose the DS-1 Distortion pedal

Boss DS1 distortion pedal

(great for getting a classic rock tone like AC/DC, Lynyrd Skynyrd, etc)

or another great choice to produce a great one is the MT-2 Metal Zone.

Boss Metal Zone

Which works well for more heavier stuff (like Metallica, Slayer, etc)

There are many pedals to choose from and these are just two I recommend.  It is always best as with anything, to try out a few you like for yourself.  Test them out.  Plug into them and start turning knobs and see how they react and what kind of tone they produce.

Lesson Conclusion.

And like the guitar amplifier discussed earlier in this guitar lesson, you want to experiment with the knobs and find the tone that works for you.  Finding and developing a great rock guitar tone is not too difficult if you put in the time.  Where people have issues is they don’t want to put in the time.  They want someone to just tell them what to do.

That’s the last thing you want.  Music is very personal, so take the proper time to learn your tools of the trade and how they work.  Before you know it, you’ll come up with a sound that is unique to you.  And in the process, you’ll have fun doing it.

And if you’d like to learn more about getting started with learning rock guitar or know someone who is, be sure to purchase my Rock Guitar 101 book on Amazon and get started in the right direction with the fun and easy guitar lessons.  If you have any questions, feel free to reach out.

Until our next lesson, take care.

Dwayne.


Marshall amplification

Best Type Of Amplifier To Use For Playing Rock Guitar

When it comes to playing guitar, you want to make sure you know the best type of amplifier to use for playing rock guitar. Knowing which amplifier is best when playing electric guitar is vitally important because, without the right one, you won’t be able to get the tone that works with that style of music.  In this case. rock music.

What is the best type of amp to use?

Now since rock & roll’s inception back in the ’50s with Chuck Berry and Elvis Presley (and many others for that matter), guitar players have been searching for the proper guitar amplifier.  The one that has been most popular for years is the Fender amplifier.  Leo Fender saw there was a demand for a better amplifier for the new revolutionary electric guitar that was getting popular at the time.

He could see that guitar players were having trouble getting a good tone.  So he designed amps that worked great for the electric guitar. And after all these decades later, it is still an amp favorite today of many great guitar players.

But as guitar playing progressed and rock & roll music developed into more of an expressive art form, guitar players who were learning how to play guitar wanted something with more of an edge.  People like Pete Townsend of The Who, Jimi Hendrix and Eric Clapton of Cream.

Enter Mr. Jim Marshall.

Jim Marshall was a drummer, teacher, and store owner who sold drum equipment to his drum students.  Every once in a while, they would bring their guitar playing friends in with them and they asked “why he didn’t sell guitar stuff”  well, he saw the demand and started doing that as well.  By selling guitars and guitar related products he knew he could help guitar players get better also.

Then in 1962, he noticed a request for something with more of an edge.  Something that would give that overblown sound of a radio that distorts when you turn it up too loud.  So,  Jim got a group together and set out to design the first rock amplifier.

Marshall amplifier

His idea takes off

His amplifier was a hit!  More and more people liked his style and sound that he came up with that it became the go-to amp for rock guitar players.  It had that sound that they were looking for.  That sound with an edge.  Throughout the generations, guitar players all over the globe have plugged into a Marshall.  Some of them won’t use anything else.  That’s how awesome it is.

Over the next four generations, Marshall amplification dominated the rock & roll landscape.  Creating all kinds of different models for different applications.

Amp and speaker separate like in the infamous 1/2 stack

Marshall stack amplifier

Or possibly something a bit smaller for playing in the bedroom like a combo amp.

Marshall combo amplifier

I remember when I was younger playing in bands, you were taken seriously if you had a Marshall.  Anything else was considered inferior.  And when it comes to playing rock guitar today.  I think that still stands.  Of course back then you’d have to get a second job to afford such a Cadillac of guitar amplifiers, but when you actually got one and saw why so many great guitar players chose it all the hard work was well worth it.

Since Marshall amps were so popular with rock guitar players it helped to propel rock guitar playing forward.  Over the decades Marshall Amplification has defined the sound of classic rock and if you have a favorite classic rock song (anything from the late 60’s to the mid-’90s) it’s very possible it was recorded using a Marshall!

In fact, it has been said that a Gibson plugged into a Marshall is the sound of rock!  If you look at most rock guitar players n the 70’s they were most likely playing a Gibson plugged into a Marshall.

Gibson guitars

Personally, I like Ibanez.  I think Ibanez is more the modern style of rock guitar.  Of course, it wasn’t dominating the market like Gibson was back in the ’70s but either is both great guitars to plug into a Marshall.  And let’s not forget to mention Fender.  The Fender Stratocaster is an iconic guitar plugged into a Marshall.

Fender Stratocaster

Lesson Conclusion

So as you can see, Marshall amps have been played over the years by all the masters of rock guitar.  People like Jimi Hendrix, Eric Clapton, Angus Young, Jimmy Page, Ace Frehley, Eddie Van Halen, Slash, Pete Townsend, Randy Rhoads, Joe Satriani, Yngwie Malmsteen, and Zack Wylde.  And that’s, just to name just a few.

So when it comes to getting a good solid rock amp. which one are you going to get?  That’s right, a Marshall!!  And as always if you have any questions about purchasing one just reach out and contact me.  I’m always here to help.

Good luck finding your rock amp.  Be sure to join my guitar club for great insider tips and training to help get your playing to the next level.

Until our next lesson, take care.

Sincerely, Dwayne Jenkins