One of the most common questions I receive from beginner guitar players is “how do I get better at singing and playing the guitar at the same time?” Here is the response I had for one of my youtube students this morning:
I would be happy to do a video lesson on that subject, however I will tell you that it takes fifteen hundred repetitions before a technique is muscle memory. Before you can really sing with confidence, you’ve got to have the progression, chord changes, and rhythm solid. Once you have that, practice singing along with the track and determine where the chords are changing in relation to the lyrics, most chord sheets have already done this for you. You can begin by simplifying the strumming pattern to whole-notes (single strums per measure) while singing along, before gradually adding in the additional strums. Keep an eye out for that video and many others, good luck with your practice!
Here in Philadelphia we have the benefit of an active music scene that is dynamic and incredibly diverse. As a local musician and educator, I have had the opportunity to work with a lot of talented people, like miss Chelsea Mitchell, a Philadelphia based singer-songwriter. In this video, Chelsea performs one of her newest compositions entitled “Ain’t Got No Blues”. Thanks Cheslea for this wonderful song and the experience of recording you.
If there was ever a tune that has stood the test of time, it is truly “Georgia on my Mind”! This 1930′s classic by Hoagy Carmichael and Stuart Gorell was made famous by Ray Charles, before becoming the official state song of Georgia. This tutorial is intended for guitarist looking to expand their knowledge of chords, perhaps breaking into advanced bar chords for the first time. Because this tune carries several chord changes, take your time mastering each one individually before drilling the transitions. This lesson also features techniques that more advanced players may enjoy including chord alternatives, walking basslines and jazzy leads. Feel free to post any questions you may have. Thanks so much, and good luck!
The best guitar soloist are those that understand the connections between chords and the melodies they are creating. They premeditate the transitions within the progression, welcoming each new chord with thoughtful and sensitive phrasing. In the video below, I demonstrate how just a single phrase or “Lick” can be adjusted to accommodate each chord in a basic blues progression. The skills shown in this tutorial will shed light on how you can follow a chord progression by resting on the root note of each chord with in your progression, lets get started!
With the summertime hustle and bustle finally beginning to slow down, I have decided to relaunch my “lick of the day” video series! For my intermediate-advanced guitar students, give this major blues lick a try; It utilizes the very dynamic element that is hybrid picking, while mixing notes from the Blues, and Major Scales. Lets get started!
To all my beginner students,
popping a string is no big deal, check out this brief tutorial on how to quickly replace an acoustic guitar string! Its normal to be apprehensive before maintaining your instrument, fortunately up-keeping your guitar is very simple with little know-how. I will be posting a series of maintenance lessons all through the month of August, stay tuned!
For Acoustic and Electric Guitar Lessons in Philadelphia visit http://swiftlessons.com or call 609.675.8799 to book your FREE private intro guitar lesson!
Buying your first guitar is a huge step in the process of becoming a full fledged guitarist. By purchasing your own instrument you are making a statement to yourself that you are committed to learning and practicing! Before you begin the exciting process of shopping around, Its best to consider the following advice:
Assess your price range. With Guitars you get what you pay for, however it is very common to see a lack-luster instrument selling for $125, while a model of far better quality is selling for $175! That small price jump can make the difference between a piece of junk and an instrument that you can enjoy playing for many years to come! Be sure to investigate all available options in this order: Local mom and pop shop, Guitar Center/Sam Ash, Craigslist, Ebay & Amazon to compare instruments, reviews and their prices.
Condition is everything! Over my last 10 years of teaching I have seen too many aspiring players get cheated into buying damaged goods! Lets break down what to check for when examining a guitars condition; 1) “action” or the distance between the strings and the fret board, 2) “warping”, abnormal sinking and bubbling of the body, 3) “splitting” which defines visible cracking of the finish or in more extreme cases the wood itself 4) “construction”, the overall quality of the instrument including the wood its made from and how its assembled 5) “Sound/Playability”, it is always best to sit down with an instrument that you are interested in purchasing. Try playing a few chords and exercises, ask yourself how comfortable you feel playing and holding the instrument, while making sure each of the frets, on all six strings are sounding properly. Because you want to go into the buying process with some knowledge of how the guitar is played, you may want to take a few lessons with a qualified guitar instructor, one that offers a weekly rental option.
Now that you know what to look for, its time to go shopping! The most common brands of affordable acoustic and electric guitars include Fender, Yamaha, Ibanez and Epiphone. For higher-end options, look toward your Martins, Guilds and Taylors for quality acoustics, Gibson and Fenders for top-notch electric guitars. Remember, buying your first guitar should be a fun and exciting experience. Rely on the expertise of your instructor or consult with your musically inclined friends. Thanks so much for reading, and good luck!
My newest instructional video; how to play Mellow Yellow by Donovan on the Ukulele! A great tune for beginners and advanced players alike, this an excellent song choice especially for younger students! The Ukulele is a tremendous supplement for the guitar, I strongly suggest that all my guitar students pick up a uke, as it will provide a portable travel companion, especially on those summer day trips to the beach. Best of all, everything you have learned on your six string guitar can easily be transferred over to the uke! For guitar and ukulele lessons in Philadelphia, visit http://swiftlessons.com!
We did it! Congrats to my amazing group of beginner guitar students, who in just six short weeks have put themselves on the fast track to becoming real guitarist! One of our big projects throughout the course was mastering Stand By Me; its 188.8.131.52 chord progression and “R&B” strumming pattern make it a tremendous beginner guitar tune, a useful prerequisite for future learning! A level 2 class is in the works, and i’ll have the enrollment link up in just a few days! In the meantime, keep practicing and jamming with videos like the one below! Thanks so much, and happy pickin! -Rob
Thanks to all my intro to guitar class students for another great week of progress! This week we are working on our Pentatonic Scale (See video), and the chord changes to Brown Eyed Girl, for which I will post a video. In addition, we are taking some time to memorize the musical alphabet, a prerequisite for our future learning, lets get started:
A, Bb, B, C, C#, D, Eb, E, F, F#,G, G#, A
Remember, you can only have two of the same letter, flats always come before “naturals” (any note without a flat or sharp), and notes A and D are loners! Best of luck and happy picking! -Rob