Major scales PART 3

Saturday, 03 December 2016 by

Here comes the Mixolydian G A B C D E F G

major-scales-diag-pt5 major-scales-diag-pt6




Okay! You learned the Phrygian and the Lydian modes, now learn this one and note how it fits into the map and how it relates to the Phrygian and the Lydian. Remember to keep it simple, play each note with the right finger. Don’t play 2 different frets with the same finger. A finger for a fret. There are 4 positions, play them each with the finger that naturally falls on them.

There is no point in making things hard for yourself, especially when you consider how fast you are likely to be playing these scales in the future. Did you notice how, now you have learned the first scale you can play it up and down without really thinking about it? This is because of a thing called muscle memory. If you do something a lot, like throwing a ball, walking, changing gear, the muscles involved learn to do these actions by themselves, without you being aware of the process.

So when you have been playing these scales regularly, you could do a six octave run, up and down in 4 seconds without even looking. You don’t need to be aware of all the processes involved in talking do you? You just do it without needing to think about it.

Major scales PART 2

Saturday, 03 December 2016 by

Remember, all the guitarists you have ever heard about, from Les Paul to Satriani, all started by devoting time and self-discipline to building this toolkit. No craftsman could create something fantastic without using the best tools that he can get and learning how to use them properly. So give yourself what you need, nothing is more important than the following pages if you want to be the best. Be the best you can be. Take over the world.

First scales to learn are the Phrygian E F G A B C D E

and the Lydian. F G A B C D E F
These are the same but for one note. So you might as well learn both of them. Note how they are made up of the three finger patterns? Note how they fit in with the full map.

major-scales-diag-pt2 major-scales-diag-pt3 major-scales-diag-pt4

Major scales PART 1

Saturday, 03 December 2016 by

Consider the above diagram. It’s a map of all the notes in C major and where they can be found on the neck of a guitar. The notes with the crosses on them are C, the root note. The first note in the scale.It looks daunting doesn’t it? It looks like it would take you weeks of boring work to learn. You have nothing to worry about, you can learn every nuance of this in a very short time if you just have some patience and devote an hour a day to learning it. Once you have this map in your head, you can use it to play in any key. When you watch Steve Vai play on a dvd, not only will you appreciate it more, but you will know exactly what he is doing, what key he is in and how hard it might be to do.


More to the point, you will know that you can do it too. You will do what every exceptional guitarist has done since time began; watch and copy. If you learn the scales that follow, you will never need to buy a book of music again; you will never need them. The best thing though, you can make your own music and know it’s in key and perfect. This is why you want to play guitar isn’t it? So you can make that
sound you have in your head, your sound, and make it real. Well then, invest a weekend in learning these few pages and watch your musical ability explode

When you sing or play a piece of music, you play in a particular key. I’ll explain what this means. Everybody’s voice is different, some people have deep voices, some have high voices and the musical instruments that accompany them when they are singing or playing needs to match, otherwise it would sound awful. ’off key’.

If your voice matches what we call the key of C then the notes that you would use to sing or play a song would be C D E F G A B C and the chords that your guitar player would use would be C Dm Em F G Am Bm C. Note that the chords are the same as the notes. This is because the chords are made up from the notes in the scale; the first note, the third note and the fifth.

For example.
C is CEG played together.
Dm is DFA played together
G is GBD played together.

This works for all the keys as shown in the diagram on the next page. You don’t have to learn the following diagram by the way; it’s for reference only. Note how in all the keys the first, the fourth and the fifth notes when they are played as chords are majors and the rest are minors.

The scales for all the keys

Saturday, 03 December 2016 by

I would recommend that you print this page out so you can refer to it later. If you really get into the ins and outs of scales and want to know how ALL of it works, you’re going to need a hard copy of this page.

How music applies to the guitar

All music uses a key which is made up of a scale within which are the chords that are used to provide rhythm. The guitar is perfect for this because once you have learned the pattern for a scale you have learned the pattern for all twelve scales. So there is no need to learn all of the scales as you would if you were playing keyboard, since the same pattern is used for all 12 keys; it’s just moved to another place on the neck.
For example if you were playing in the key of A you would use a pattern on the 5th fret.

If you were playing in G then it would be the same pattern on the 3 fret. The same principle applies to the chords you will be playing in that you play the same shapes but when you change key you move them to a different place on the neck. Unlike piano where every chord is a different shape. This is why guitar became so popular; even morons like me can learn to play it…

finger-scaleAll the scales are made with the following finger patterns.


Classical vs Flamenco guitars

Tuesday, 15 November 2016 by
Classical vs flamenco

Classical vs Flamenco guitars

While both classical and flamenco guitars share common roots and building methods some distinctive musical demands of each style have led to the usage of different woods, dimensions, and setups. The rich and mellow tones desired of the classical guitar were not going to cut it for guitarists looking to accompany the canto (song) and baile (dance) of flamenco music. The guitars needed  to evolve into lighter, brighter instruments with a hard percussive element that could then be heard against the dancer’s feet and the rough flamenco voice. Spanish cypress was chosen for the back and sides of the flamenco guitar due to its abundance and that it can be worked much thinner than rosewood , providing a faster attack and less sustain . The idea of vibrancy and lightness were also applied to the internal design, which used lighter braces, and the headstock were originally  wooden peg heads were kept in favor to tuning machines in order to give better balance to the light body. Some other differences in the flamenco guitars are a flatter neck angle, lower polished frets, and lower action to allow faster passages to better flow. At the same time, to provide a greater percussive, electrifying sound , as well as the use of the ” Golpe ” adding a tap-plate to protect against the hits, drums, and slaps on the top.


Spruce or Cedar top

Spruce is the standard material for soundboards. These days the most commonly used species is Sitka, combined with the relatively light weight characteristics of most softwoods, is a recipe for high velocity of sound. A strong fundamental overtone gives spruce a powerful, direct tone that is capable of retaining its clarity when played forcefully. Spruce is an excellent choice of top wood for any kind of player .You will find spruce to have a brighter more separated tone. This lends itself nicely to multi-voiced music or baroque music as it highlights the clarity between the voices.

Cedar ranges in color from honey brown to light chocolate. Cedar is more of a warm, round sound. The blend of voices that cedar offers brings out the depth of Romantic music and is of course, synonymous with the Spanish guitar. It has a quickness of sound that exceeds any of the spruces, a higher overtone content, and lower stiffness along the grain. Additionally,  cedar tops require a significantly shorter break-in period than spruce tops.

Step 2: Shape fingernails

Once you’ve grown your nails to the length you prefer, shape them with a nail file. There are many different shapes to choose from and each has its own disadvantages and advantages.

  1. Rounded fingernails: are the most common guitar nail shape. They are versatile, produce a balanced tone and are easy to use. They should be the choice for anyone who is still unsure of the particular nail shape they want to go with.
  2. Sloped fingernails: are the most common next to the rounded shape. They reduce resistance when plucking and a produce a warm, mellow tone. To make a sloped fingernail, file the tip of the nail so that it slopes either to the left or to the right.
  3. Flat fingernails: make it easier to push your finger through the string and to produce a very warm, mellow tone. Flat nails are especially suited for techniques such as rest stroke and fast scales.
  4. Pointed Fingernails: are the least common of all the guitar nail shapes. They are preferred by some for the consistent bright sound that they help to produce.

Step 3: Polish Fingernails

After you’ve shaped your nails, polish the tips of each with extra fine sand paper until they are nice and smooth. This will get rid of the “scratchy” texture of your nails and help to give a clean, smooth tone. Try using 500 grit “open-coat” and paper. You can buy it from most hardware stores.

Choosing the correct guitar nail shape:

  1. Come up with a set of exercises that represent a comprehensive example of guitar technique. For example: scales, arpeggios, slurs, rest-stroke, free-stroke, etc… Then make sure your nail easily allows you to play all the different techniques.
  2. Listen to your tone and find out why different nail shapes affect your sound.
  3. Experiment with different shapes to discover what works better for you.

We’ve been getting a lot of questions about guitar nails: do I need to grow my nails in a particular way for playing the classical guitar? how do I take care of my nails when playing the guitar?
We hope to answer all those questions and more with this guide to guitar nails. The most important thing about nail shaping is that you don’t lose sight of playing the guitar. It is not difficult to believe that your fingernails are a key aspect of producing loud, clear and brilliant sound from your classical guitar. This is due to the fact that most serious classical guitarists use their nails to help pluck the strings.

However, in order to achieve this brilliance in sound the guitarist must carefully manage the length and shape of his nails. Consider that the fingernails for a classical guitarist is much like the reed for a wind player or the bow for a string player. Even the slightest difference in the shape and length of your nails can have a big effect on tone quality, technical facility, volume and even more.
Here you will find a step-by-step guide on how to grow and shape nails for the best results in playing the classical guitar. There are also a variety of nail types that you can choose.

Grow your fingernails
A classical guitarist should grow his nails on the thumb, index, middle and ring fingers (p, i, m, a) of the right hand. The nails should be long enough to allow you to easily pluck the strings. A standard length means growing the nails of the index, middle and ring fingers until they extend slightly past the fingertips – generally between 2 and 3 millimeters. This may take 1 – 2 weeks, depending on how fast your nails grow. Grow the thumb nail until it extends well past the fingertip by about half a centimeter.
As you get more advanced with your playing, experiment with longer versus shorter nails to find out which you prefer.

Long fingernails are better for:
• Playing free stroke
• Accurate playing
• Playing loudly
• Bright, clear tones

Shorter fingernails are better for:
• Playing rest stroke
• Faster speeds
• Warm, mellow tones

Size and Shape
Classical guitars are available in a wide variety of sizes and shapes. There are smaller models that are best suited for children but which adults may find uncomfortable. In the same vein, the wide neck of a full-sized guitar is likely to be too large for a child to handle. The guitar’s shape directly affects its sound and “projection”. A thin body produces a smaller sound with more treble whereas a thicker body allows the bass notes to sound out. What shape you choose to buy is solely a matter of preference. Some classical guitars have longer bodies which may not be attractive to most players; whereas others are wider.

The Nylon Strings
The nylon strings of the classical guitar are a big contrast to the steel strings of acoustic/electric guitars. The sound they produce is entirely different and they also feel completely different on your fingertips. An added advantage for beginners is that nylon strings are much more flexible than steel strings, so strumming is easier. Another thing that you should definitely keep in mind is that stringing a classical guitar is done completely different than stringing an acoustic/electric guitar. You will likely learn new methods that most guitarists will not be able to help you with.

The Projection of your Classical Guitar
Projection is a quality that many looking to buy a classical guitar tend to overlook. What is projection? This is the ability of the guitar’s sound to maintain its strength without becoming distorted in quality or clarity. Projection is an important aspect to consider especially if you plan on playing your classical guitar in public settings. You can determine the projection of a guitar by either comparing it to another guitar that you know has good projection or have someone listen to how the guitar sounds when you play it in an open space.

Quality of the Tuning Machines
Classical guitars have tuning machines that are far different in comparison to those found on acoustic or electric guitars. These are more likely to slip, as is often the case with guitars of a lower quality. The result is an instrument that is out of tune. Test the tuning pegs to make sure that they run cleanly without any slippage. Wind and unwind them to see if here are any jumps or catches in the mechanism. Nothing is more frustrating than a guitar that easily gets out of tune.

Following most if not all of these guidelines should help you to find a classical guitar that is just right for you. Happy shopping!

The Beginner Classical Guitar Guide

Wednesday, 14 October 2015 by

The Beginner Classical Guitar Guide

Some beginners prefer the classical guitar when learning to play as opposed to an acoustic or electric guitar. It features a unique sound and is much easier for fingers that are new to strumming. Classical guitars are also the most preferred type for beginning fingerstyle guitar.

Some beginners prefer the classical guitar when learning to play as opposed to an acoustic or electric guitar. It features a unique sound and is much easier for fingers that are new to strumming. Classical guitars are also the most preferred type for beginning fingerstyle guitar.

There are only a few differences between the classical guitar and acoustic or electric guitars:
• A wider neck – classical guitars feature a wider neck than other guitars. This means that there is more spacing between strings. Small hands may find it hard to wrap around.
• A shorter neck – the neck of a classical guitar connects to the body at the 12th fret, whereas most acoustic and electric guitars connect at the 14th fret.
• Nylon strings – Instead of the steel strings that are found on electric and acoustic guitars, classical guitars have nylon strings. They are easier on the fingers and also produce a different sound, although they do take some getting used to.
• Soundhole rosette – Classical guitars are usually beautifully decorated around the sound hole, which serves no other purpose besides being attractive to look at.

Buyer’s Guide for Beginner Classical Guitars
There are a few important features that you should keep in mind when you set out to purchase a classical guitar. These includes:
• Size/shape of the guitar
• The nylon strings
• The projection of the guitar
• Quality of tuning machines