Guitar Lesson: Learn an Entire Guitar Solo Part 1

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Join Chris Liepe to learn the first lick of an entirely new guitar solo. This solo has a rock feel and is played over an 8 barre chord progression. Chris not only teaches how to play the first portion of the lick in this lesson, but also discusses his thoughts on writing a solo and talks about the importance of playing rhythmically. Enjoy!

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Notation


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Learn Basic Music Theory

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JamPlay.com, the world’s best source for online guitar lessons, is proud to present a free lesson from Freebo. Freebo is an internationally recognized bass player, guitarist and songwriter who has played with acts such as Bonnie Raitt, Neil Young, CSN, Ringo Star and dozens of others. He has also published four critically acclaimed albums of his own. In this Free guitar lesson Freebo guides us through the basics of music theory. He will talk about the notes that make up a chord, and explain what the I-IV-V chord progression is and how it is used. Knowing and understanding this chord progression will allow you to play thousands of songs. This is required knowledge for any serious musician, and Freebo explains it in a down to earth and understandable way. Check it out and join JamPlay today.


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Guitar Lesson: Reggae - Melodic Ideas

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Learn from Stuart Ziff, venerable guitar teacher from the Musician’s Institute in Los Angeles, as he delves into the world of Reggae guitar. Learn about melodic ideas that can be used with the genre. Stuart will also demonstrate how to play some guitar lines that layer nicely with the rest of the band.


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Learning to Play Guitar: Where do I start?

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As a staff member of JamPlay I run into an often asked question. Where do I start when learning guitar? Or for guitarists that have been playing awhile , “where do I go from here?” It’s a fundamental paradox of not being satisfied with your current skill or knowledge, but not knowing how to obtain that satisfaction.

I often find myself in the same place with hobbies or activities I’m involved in. I’m somewhat embarrassed, but not afraid to admit that I’ve failed at many things before I realized what exactly the problem was. Planning and tenacity.

Before you can do anything or go anywhere, you’ve got to have a destination. Unless of course you’re destination is nowhere, but that’s another blog post. This is where planning comes in.

I’ve found that many individuals, myself included, lack serious planning skills. It’s easy to conceptualize sitting around a campfire, strumming away the most recent country music hit and your friends singing along. We’ve all got that dream or a variation on it. It’s getting there that the problem lies. Let me give you some advice that will help you answer that question of “where to start?”

Planning

I can not understate enough the importance of planning. More than that, the planning has to be honest and attainable. You can’t hope to become the next Tommy Emmanuel if you’re unwilling to learn fingerstyle guitar. You can’t become the next Bob Dylan if you’re unwilling to strum a few chords. By being honest with yourself with what you want from your playing, you can effectively figure out what that destination is. Not everybody wants to be the next Tommy Emmanuel just as not everyone is satisfied with strumming a few chords. I suggest sitting down and actually listening to what you yourself desire as a guitarist. If what makes you a happy guitarist is strumming simple songs, that’s what you should work for. If you want to shred metal and write prolific solos, you should work in that direction.

Both are attainable, but require different paths to get there. This of course will be true for any skill level of player. Whether you’ve never touched a guitar, or you’ve been playing for 30 years. Before you can reach your goal, you’ve got to know what that goal is.

For example, let’s take somebody that wants to just strum some simple songs. Your first order of business is creating that foundation for playing. That means learning the most basic parts of the instrument. Most of the songs you’ll want to play will have open position chords, so you’ll want to learn and drill those skills. Once you’ve mastered your open position chords, you can start incorporating that knowledge into playing the songs you want. Eventually you may find a song you really want to play that doesn’t fit into that mold. Maybe it’s a bit more complex and uses barre chords that are tonally different than what you’re working with. At that point your path may diverge into learning basic arranging techniques, or maybe you start learning barre chords. As your goals change, so must your planning. You may need to stop working on a song in order to acquire the new skills that you need to complete it.

As you can see, it’s easy to know where to go if you’re stuck. All you have to do is look at your goals and make a plan. Proper goal setting should include short term, mid term and long term goals for your playing. If you ever get stuck, refer back to the goal you’re working on. It will guide you in the direction you need to take.

Tenacity

Stumbling on problems is a fact of life. It’s easy to do and everybody does at some point. It’s human nature to get discouraged and it’s always much easier to lay down the instrument and walk away. But what then? Your goals are still there being unmet and staring at you every time you see your guitar sitting in the corner. Eventually it’s a nagging thought that can distract you from other activities or go as far as causing insomnia.

This is where tenacity comes into play. Without it, all the planning in the world will not help you obtain your goals and reach your destination. Those who succeed have the ability to rise above the adversities that they face and carry on. It’s impossible to truly fail at something unless you quit.

The first part of this is recognizing that you will face some hurdles. This is inevitable. It may be a certain chord change, or maybe a certain rhythmic pattern. Maybe you’re having trouble with a sweep pick you’re trying to utilize. Whatever the hurdle is, understanding that you will face them makes their existence less daunting. Having tenacity means that instead of walking away, you face the problem head on.

At this point you’ll want to refer back to your planning and goals. You may need to add or otherwise modify parts of that plan.

Lets say for example that a song you’re learning has a complex rhythmic section that you’re having trouble counting properly. As a result you end up several bar off from where you should be. Nothing you’re trying seems to help and you’re at the point of frustration. Instead of quitting, go back and review your short term goal. In this case, it’s to complete the song you’re learning. That’s all fine and dandy, but you’re having trouble with a rhythm section, making that goal look impossible to reach.

Instead of viewing it in that term, lets set a new short term goal. Mastering the troubling rhythm section. Repetition and practice works certainly, but what if you’re missing a piece to puzzle? That’s where adding that goal helps you out. You can now effectively take a look at the tools you need to complete the new goal. In this case, rhythm knowledge. So you start incorporating rhythm techniques into your practice. Maybe the section is a compound meter played over the bar with a corresponding straight meter drum pattern. Knowing this, you put down the song for a bit and start studying compound meter. Then you begin to practice your rhythm counting over a straight drum track or metronome. The next thing you know, you’ve got a handle on the part of the song that was causing you trouble and you’re back on track with your next goal of completing that song.

Instead of putting the instrument down, you approached the problem from a different angle and walked away victorious.

In closing, I’ll leave you with this small tidbit. If ever you find yourself asking “where do I start?” or “where do I go from here?” know that the reason you’re asking this is because you don’t know what you want next. Once you know what you want, “where to start” is just a bit of planning and tenacity away.

 

By Jason Mounce


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Partial Chords - Make Music as a Beginner Guitarist

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Join musician Chris Liepe to explore the quickest and easiest way to start making music as a beginner guitarist. Chris demonstrates partial chords, which are also known by some as “baby chords.” These are simplified chords which are easier to play, especially for those who are just starting or may have some sort of physical disability involving their hands or arms. These chords can be played using only one or two fingers, and are perfect for strumming along to beginner songs. Check it out and join JamPlay today.

Partial Chords – The Quickest Way to Play Music a Beginner

The process of learning guitar is long, and one that many would consider to be grueling. An act imagined to be pure enjoyment turns into a tedious merry-go-round of learning chord shapes, scale positions and practicing endless finger exercises. The guitar takes years to master; a cruel statement who’s prophecy cannot be denied. Fortunately, as with most things in life, there is an easier way, an invaluable shortcut that can have you strumming basic songs almost as quickly as a guitar can be tuned. Allow us to enter the hallowed halls of the partial chord.

What is a Partial Chord?

A partial chord is simply that, an abbreviated version of a full chord, in the case of this lesson a major open chord. At the risk of being lynched by an angry mob of shirtless men armed with spiked clubs, a bit of theory must be introduced to properly understand how this is done. If this soars over your head like an eagle gliding on an updraft, don’t worry, for now you will be fine simply memorizing and playing the shapes.

G Major Open Chord All major chords are made up of three notes, the 1st, 3rd and 5th notes of a scale. For instance, the G major chord is made up of the notes G, B and D. Strip away any of those notes and the chord is no longer G major.  This knowledge makes a partial chord seem impossible, for surely removing any part of a chord changes it to something else. In the case of the G major open chord all six strings are played and given that the chord only contains three notes, it therefore stands obvious that certain notes are used more than once. We can remove these duplicate notes to make the chord fingering easier and still be playing a proper G major. In this chord the G note is used twice, the B note is used twice, and the D note is used once. That lets us remove the G and B notes found on the 6th (low e) and 5th (a) strings, as seen on the chord chart to the left. That means a G major chord could be played by fretting only the 1st (high e) string on the 3rd fret, and strumming from the 4th string down. This leaves the D as the root note, so if this sounds strange to your ear, feel free to start strumming on the 3rd string instead, which is a G note. This means you will only be strumming a G and B note, but it will still sound proper in a chord progression. One of the most widely used chords in the world of guitar played by fingering only one note, now that’s a good start to a guitar playing career.

The players who want to get started with the partial chords immediately may have no interest in learning the full chord shapes or the theory behind them, which is fine. The information is simply being presented so that in the future, when the time comes, it will be a painless process to progress to the full chords.

The C Major Partial Chord

Like all other major chords, the C major contains three notes, the C, E and G. The only duplicate notes seen in this chord are the C and E. The 6th string (low e) is muted and will not be taken into consideration. When looking at the chord chart, it becomes evident that the 5th (a) string  and the 4th (d) string contain these two unnecessary notes. By not fretting nor strumming the 5th and 4th strings we create the baby C. This entails the first finger on the 2nd (b) string, first fret as the only fretted note, and the 3rd (g) string and 1st (high e) string played open. This once again grants us access to a ubiquitous chord by using one finger.

Be careful to strum only the required strings. It is an error to strum the 6th (low e), 5th (a) or 4th (d) strings.

It’s Strum Time

With two major chords under your belt it is time to practice switching between them. It is recommended that the first finger be used for the partial C chord, and the third finger used for the partial G chord. This allows the fingers to be kept in proper position, one finger per fret, and is also the most ergonomic way of playing. Start off by playing your third finger on the 3rd fret of the 1st (high e) string. Now strum from either the 4th (d) string or 3rd (g) string down. They are both acceptable so choose whichever rings truest in your heart. Strum evenly and rhythmically four times and then switch to the partial C chord by placing your first finger on the 1st fret of the 2nd (b) string. Strum from the 3rd (g) string downwards four times and then switch back to the G. Keep this up until the transition is smooth and your rhythm feels steady and even. It is highly recommended to practice this exercise with a drum machine or metronome, starting at a low tempo and steadily increasing over time.

The F Major Partial Chord

If ever any chord was in need of a partial version, it is the F major. When contemplating the worldwide history of guitar, one must wonder how many players succumbed to this vile monstrosity and gave the instrument up. This chord is one of the first which requires one finger to barre multiple notes. In the case of the full F major, the first finger must barre the 2nd (b) string and 1st (high e) string on the 1st fret, the 2nd finger on the 3rd (g) string 2nd fret and the third finger on the 4th (d) string 3rd fret. This can create quite an uncomfortable stretch for new players or those who are lacking strength in the hand and wrist.

The partial version of this chord is nearly identical, only one finger changes in fact, but that small modification reduces stretch and tension on the hand enough to transform it from impossible to reasonably easy. This chord contains the F, A and C notes with the F being the only duplicate note. To remove the secondary F lift the third finger from the 4th (d) string 3rd fret. The remaining chord requires only two fingers to fret and is strummed from the 3rd (g) string down. Take a few moments and practice strumming this chord while taking special care to only play the three specified strings.

(NOTE: Want to MASTER barre chords once and for all? Get JamPlay’s Barre Chord Cheat Sheet here for free!)

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Practice, Practice, Practice

These three chords, even in their partial forms, are enough to play thousands of songs across all genres. The age old adage says that to make music you only need three chords and the truth. You have now successfully learned three chords and the truth is buried deep within everyone. You have taken your first step in becoming a musician. Take these three chords and practice them until it becomes second nature, instantly accessible information stored deep in your subconscious and muscle memory. Practice playing these chords quickly, slowly and in as many different patterns as you can imagine. When that becomes too easy, start playing the full version of the chords, and after that start learning new chords. The guitarist’s journey is never over, and the key to each new milestone is practice, and lots of it.


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Learn Bass Guitar the Easy Way

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We just wanted to remind everyone that JamPlay now teaches bass guitar. We currently have hundreds of lessons and are adding more every week! Take lessons from legendary bass players such as Billy Sheehan, David Ellefson of Megadeth, Bryan Beller, Evan Brewer, Steve McKinley, Freebo, Robbie Merrill and John DeServio.

These lessons come from college professors, professional touring musicians and legendary session players. This truly is the best way to learn bass.

What are you waiting for? Get started with JamPlay Bass Lessons today!


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JamPlay Christmas Sale - Lowest Price Ever

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It’s Christmas time! JamPlay would like to wish everyone a happy holiday season and extend a special offer. We are now offering our yearly membership for just $99.95 per year. That’s just 27 cents a day for access to live teachers and thousands of lessons from some of the best teachers in the world. Click here to get started.


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JamPlay & Lick of the Day Team Up - Win an iPad and 4 Guitars!

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Today we are proud to announce the launch of 12 JamPlay lesson packs in the “Lick of the Day” iPad app. Lick of the Day is brought to you by the same people who created such masterful apps as Tab Toolkit and Guitar Toolkit. We will also be providing regular updates, to the tune of two per month, so keep your eye on the app.

As a celebration, we are giving away a ton of cool stuff, including an iPad air and four guitars! Enter the contest by clicking here. And if you have an iPhone or iPad, don’t forget to download Lick of the Day today!

The initial launch content includes packs on classic blues, fingerstyle, bluegrass, country, jazz, melodic rock, progressive rock, the style of U2 and legato playing.

JamPlay & Lick of the Day Team Up


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Learn Travis Picking with Don Ross

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Don Ross is one of the world’s finest fingerpickers. Today we are proud to welcome him to JamPlay, and would like to present one of his amazing lessons, free of charge.


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Playing Power Chords and Palm Muting

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In this edition with Strummin’ with Steve we take a look at how palm muting and power chords can be combined for an in-your-face sound. Steve covers the power chords, demonstrates palm muting and gives his tips on using the technique. This lesson is brought to you by JamPlay.com.

Be sure to check out our full YouTube channel for tons of videos.


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