Category Archives: The Players Room

Applying Techniques: Tapping

Guitar-Tapping

In this article we will practice the technique known as Tapping, which was popularised in the 70s and 80s thanks to one Eddie Van Halen. The tapping technique can be used in lots of different ways. Today we’ll study how to apply … Continue reading

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Five Fun Floyd Rose Tricks

Buddy Blaze Sevenator

If you’re not a fan of the Floyd, you might want to look away. Because this post is about how to make a whole bunch of freaky alien horse noises with your Floyd Rose. Continue reading

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This Sounds Odd: Understanding 9th Chords

seymourhendrix

Contrary to where modern guitar has gone, it started life as a rhythm instrument, bashing out chords on a large archtop (or larchtop*) in the back of the band. Yes, it is hard to believe that at one time, the idea of sweep picking lydian-dominant arps at 200 bpm was unheard of, and the idea of having a great chord vocabulary (and being able to improvise with those chords) was essential to be considered a great guitarist that could work steadily and support all of those spotlight-stealing brass players. These days, being an amazing rhythm player is downplayed in favor of other aspects of guitar playing, but understanding some small things about chords will only let our solos stand out more, and give us more interesting things to play over. If you haven’t read it yet, I would also suggest reading my article about 7th chords, as this article will build on those concepts. Continue reading

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Putting It All Together: The Mode Wrap Up

taco

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

meme

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

skeleton-playing-guitar-300x250

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

bullfight

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?

runaway

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

dog-guitar

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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