Posts Tagged ‘guitar’

Well, I’ve thought about it for awhile and I think I’m going to clean out some things I have laying around that I don’t use.  Turns out that I don’t use my Martin Backpacker much.  When I go camping I can take my full size acoustic so why bother with the Martin which is cool but just have that full sound.

I’m thinking it’ll be up on Ebay before the week is out.  I wonder if I should play it a little and record it on video to give people a sense for what it sounds like.  I have a Washburn 12 string that I don’t play either but I don’t have a clue how to ship something like that.  It has a funky machine head on it that probably should be fixed first.

Hey, here’s a thought!  I can also put that You Tube video up in the auction that shows it being played during that Christmas song  – “I wish it was Christmas Today” with Jimmy Falon and Horatio Sanz.

I’ve decided to take Electric Chili in a little different direction or maybe I should say little different focus. My intent at first was to provide information about guitars, gear, and learning how to play. I think I might have bit off a little more than I was willing to chew. The world of guitars is huge and who could possibly handle it all without a full time staff of writers. There’s just no way one guy can really pull off what I had in mind. Well, how do you really know unless you try right?

So here’s the background…after a little work on putting guitar effects pedals up in the store (and ebay), I starting doing a little research about what I was selling as well as doing some reviews. In my research I found several communities of guitar players that enjoy creating their own effects pedals. I never knew this interest even existed. As an working electrical engineer I find this to be absolutely fascinating and want to jump in with both feet! So that’s where I’m going! I want to develop some of my own pedals as well as offer platforms and parts for developing guitar pedals. That’s my new focus. I admit that I’m somewhat ADD in my interests and move around quite a bit so we’ll have to see what happens.

My first project is to develop an effects development box that incorporates a breadboard inside so that tinkering with different circuits is extremely simple. From there I would like to see what can be done with PICs in the way of modifying guitar audio signals. I’m having a good time just thinking about the possibilities!

I found this video which has some pretty good information about how to adjust you truss rod.  Be careful!  Broken truss rods are a very common occurance.  I’ve never broken one myself but seem to run into them all the time when friends ask me to take a look at their setups.  A misconception is that ratcheting on you truss rod can improve you action.  The truth is that you need to make minor adjustments and then check in an iterative manner.  If you crank too hard, it WILL break!

Tune the guitar up normally. Play the 12th fret harmonic, and compare it to the 12th fret note. If the Fretted note is Flat, move the saddle Forwards(towards the neck), and vice versa.
If you have a 6 saddle bridge like the one shown to the left, you’ll be able to adjust each saddle position independantly. If you have a single saddle, like most acoustic guitars, adjusting the saddle will affect more than one string so small adjustments need to be made and then rechecked after you work on the next string. Note that it’s probably a good idea to loosen you strings a bit before you attemp to move the saddle. This will help to prevent messing up the screw heads. 

You should consider setting the intonation when you change the gauge of strings you use.  The thickness difference can play a role in changing the intonation. 

You really should check your guitar manufactures web site for any information they have about setting the intonation.  Fender has pretty detailed instructions but is a little overwhelming.  Others are the same way, but you should check them out anyway just to make sure you’re not missing anything.  My experience, however, is that if you follow the steps aboove, you’ll be happy with the results.

The ability to play a spontaneous, improvised guitar solo is a truly impressive skill. Whilst anyone can pick up a guitar and play a song using three chords, playing a guitar solo, on the other hand, requires a lot of hard work and practice. I have therefore decided to write a short article on guitar playing to share with you 4 tips which have certainly improved my guitar soloing and improvisation skills over the years.

Tip #1 – Learn More Licks
In order to play a good guitar solo you need to have a good vocabulary of guitar licks. Most beginners don’t realize that only 30% of what good guitar players play during an improvised guitar solo is improvised – the other 70% are actually licks which they have pre-learnt and internalized. Too often, we run into the problem of playing the same licks over and over again when we solo – which is boring! Having a good number of licks stored in memory will make you a more versatile guitarist. Guitar licks can be learnt from a variety of books, websites or by listening to your favorite guitarist and figuring out their licks. The resources are there, so there’s no excuse not to learn your guitar licks!

Tip #2 – Practise Smart, Not Hard
A lot of guitarists either practice too little or practice too much. Whilst being lazy and only picking up the guitar twice a week is obviously not going to get you very far, playing your guitar for up to 8 hours a day can be bad for you. I have a friend who developed carpal tunnel syndrome because of playing the guitar too much. Having a sensible practicing schedule, and sticking to it, is the key to success. In my opinion, it’s better to learn a little everyday then to cram everything in one day. For example, why not promise yourself that you will learn one new guitar lick a day? Seems like nothing, but that’s seven guitar licks in a week, and 365 guitar licks in a year!

Tip #3 – Practise over Backing Tracks
OK, so you’ve learnt your licks. The only way you are going to learn how to apply these learnt licks in a guitar solo is to play them over a backing track and practise joining the licks together. There are numerous free backing tracks available over the internet which you could use to practise soloing over. Backing tracks for the 12 bar blues are the most readily available, which is great because the blues is the best place to start when learning to guitar solo. Alternatively, if you want more exotic chord changes, it may be a good idea to buy some professionally-made backing tracks or even create your own backing tracks. Software such as Band-In-A-Box allows you to input a chord progression of your choice and it literally creates a backing track for you.

Tip #4 – Be Self-Critical
The only you are going to improve, especially when it comes to guitar soloing, is to be critical to yourself. Unfortunately, when we are playing the guitar, how we think we sound is often quite different from how we actually sound. Recording yourself play and then listen back, is a great way of self-evaluation. Often times, you might even be shocked at how bad your playing sounds but don’t despair – continual practice using the tips outlined above will polish things out. It may even be beneficial to get a friend or bandmate to listen to your playing and get them to critique on you. You might find that you’re not very good at taking criticism – but it’s the best way for you to grow as a guitar player.

About the Author

Lex Robben is a guitar enthusiast who is on a path of musical enlightenment. For more FREE guitar tips, licks and lessons, visit The Shadow Guitarist Blog.

In our continuing series of stomp pedal demonstration videos, here’s the Danelectro Cool Cat Tremolo video. Get it HERE

Check out this Danelectro Vibe pedal demonstration video.  Nice sound with this thing.  Get yours HERE.

Here’s a quick look at the Danelectro ’67 series.  You got to love the retro look of these guitars.  Lot’s of color options too.

I was searching the web for some scale information and I stumbled upon this cool web site – Scalerator.  It’s a site that allows you to name the key and the scale you want to generate.  The cool thing is that not only does it give you the notes, but it give you graphic of the guitar neck and locates the notes along with the root note for you.  Here’s an example of a generated scale.  It’s the E Dorian.

You can slide the little window (green box) to show what ever position you’d like to notes generated for.  Oh, and for you tab people, it also generates the tab for the scale!  How cool is that?

So check this little tool out when you get a chance.  I’m sure I’ll be back over and over again.

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