Category Archives: The Players Room

Putting It All Together: The Mode Wrap Up


After many articles I figured it was about time I put this together into one, huh? Continue reading

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Cage Match: Learning Right-Handed or Left-Handed

Cobain's signature Mustang features a JB.

It all starts somewhere. The first trip to the music store is either with the parents, or as an adult because ‘you always wanted to play.’ Most players fit into the above categories, and usually the first thing the salesperson asks is if you are left- or right-handed. They don’t ask new flute players this, and they don’t ask new piano students. They don’t even ask drummers. New guitarists and bassists are supposed to know what feels more ‘natural’ when everything, from holding a guitar or bass, to pressing on those tiny strings feels so unnatural. Continue reading

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Playing in Parallel: The ‘Minor’ Modes


We’ve already looked at the modes of the C major scale, and we’ve also looked at the modes that have that happy, major sound. Now we turn our attention to modes that have a minor third – that is, the third note of the mode itself is 1 1/2 steps from the root. Continue reading

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You’re Never Too Old To Learn


Throughout my performing and teaching life, I’ve had lots of older people coming up to me and telling me that they’ve always wanted to play guitar. This is followed by the usual excuse of wishing they’d started when they were young, or even the very morbid “I don’t have much time left, and it takes years to become a pro.” Well, yeah it does, but learning something like guitar does not always have to be something you start very young. In fact, there is nothing about guitar that specifically states you have to be young to do it. It is true, then, that you are never too old to learn… Continue reading

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Cage Match: Playing It Just Like the CD or…Not


Simply, do you like bands that play everything exactly like the CD or do you like when bands (and their guitarists) take chances and deviate from the recorded version? With songs you might right and record, is there a conscious … Continue reading

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How Loud Is Too Loud?


If you’ve ever been to a Motörhead concert you know what it means to be assaulted with so much sound you feel like you may very well die. And chances are you’ve played a show before where you were asked to turn down so low that it felt like you might as well be playing a retirement home. Finding that sweet spot where everyone is getting really into it without requiring ear plugs or running for the door is the goal of every musician. So how loud is too loud? Continue reading

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Playing in Parallel: The ‘Major’ Modes


If you had checked out any of my previous articles about the modes, you are starting to hear the unique sounds they have. In most of the other articles I went through the modes of the C Major scale. Here, I take a different approach. Keeping C as our ‘root’, I divide the seven modes into major modes and minor modes. In other words, we take each mode, and compare it to the C Major scale. Some modes will sound better over minor chords and some with major chords. Don’t worry though, it isn’t as complicated as it seems. This article will compare the C Major scale with the modes that have an inherently major, or bright & happy sound. Continue reading

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Cage Match: Gig Bags Vs. Hard Cases

Some gig bags can cost as much or more than the guitar.

Cases are a fact of life for any guitarist. Even if you don’t ever intend to pile all of your equipment in the back of the van to get to the next gig, every guitar we spend money on will spend at least part of its life in a case. Just the thought of taking a guitar without a case out of the store, across the parking lot and into the car for the ride home gives me shivers. Choosing a case for your new life partner (or fleeting romance) is sometimes as easy as saying “well, it came with this case, so that is what I use.” Sometimes it is a bigger consideration, which brings me to the subject of this article. The case you choose has more to do with its intended use than anything else. Continue reading

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Preventing Disaster: Carpal Tunnel, Tendonitis And Hearing Loss

Dr Spaceman

Many musicians have had their careers cut short – or life just made more miserable – by being plagued by two of the most common ailments for a long-time musician: Tendonitis and Hearing Loss. In this article we are going to look at these two common ailments, how to prevent them and lessen the impacts of the symptoms. Continue reading

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For What It’s Worth: Valuing Your Work As A Musician


We can get this out of the way right now. Most people who play guitar are not professionals. The musical instrument and accessories industries realized several years ago that in order to be successful you have to market to pros, semi-pros and hobbyists alike. No matter where you put yourself in the Venn diagram of the music business, you probably care about the music you make and the gear you use to make it. You probably spent hours practicing, maybe even getting a band together, and hopefully doing a few gigs. This article isn’t really aimed at the working pros; they have already made the choice to put a value on their musical work. This article is for the current and future hobbyist and semi-pros who are either thinking about entering the world of musical commerce, or have already dipped their toes in the water. Continue reading

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