The Art of the Barre

Let’s face it: for the beginning guitarist, barre chords are hard. The idea that one finger has to hold down multiple strings when it has a hard enough time trying to hold down one seems like an impossible task.

The Art of the Chart

By Dave Eichenberger Guitarists are a scrappy bunch. We don’t quite fit in with the rest of the instrument world. We tend to follow our own rules, and then change them when we feel like it. Sometimes we will play a solo exactly like it was written, and sometimes we can go off and do…

Theory Basics: Intervals of the Major Scale

To many guitarists, the major scale is something they simply don’t use. However, in Western music (that is, music that originates from the Western Hemisphere), it is the scale that is the basis of all others. If you learn the notes of the major scale, you can find all sorts of scales lurking beneath just…

Supposin’ You’re Transposin’?

Not long ago, music was less about riffs and more about chords from a particular key circling around. Of course every kind of music evolves, and our musical forefathers probably never dreamed of guitarists with Viking names and scalloped fretboards whipping around the harmonic minor scale at light speed.

8 "Easy-To-Play" Songs To Add To Your Guitar Repertoire

In our first segment of “Easy-To-Play” Songs I presented seven songs across several genres to get you on the fast track to campfire and family gathering greatness. You may have even been able to learn a few new tricks to use at your first open mic night, or followed some of the video links to…

The Fractured Sound of the Whole Tone Scale

Scales are strange beasts. History shows us that the practicing of scales consists of playing the same notes in the same order while a ruler-armed teacher barks “Faster! FASTER!” at us all the while assuring ourselves that the study of scales builds character, and one day it will all be worth it

Playing What You DON’T Know

Advancing as a guitar player is never seen as a slow and steady climb. It is more like a series of steps with pretty long spaces in between. While it might seem like you don’t get better for weeks or months at a time, one breakthrough can lead to months of inspiration.

This Sounds Odd: Understanding 9th Chords

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.

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