Monday, October 09, 2006

Guitar Lessons on New Myspace Site

Guitar Lessons Rock is our sweet new MySpace page...

We've just set-up an awesome new page on MySpace for Pro Guitar Lessons - there's some cool new playalong tracks to listen to, some tab, and plenty more to come so jump on and make friends with us!

Pete checks in regularly from his current Australian tour with Mammal too, so you can ask any Pete Murray, Mammal or general guitar questions. Check it out, and show us some MySpace love!

Guitar Lessons Rock! @ MySpace.com

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Learn Guitar with Rhythm Jam Tracks

LEARN GUITAR WITH YOUR FIRST RHYTHM JAM SESSION

In this section of Pro Guitar Tips, you get to jam along with Pete and a rocking band! Recorded live to help you learn guitar quickly, I’ve provided four different style play-along tracks, and they rock. Play-along tracks are the best way to practice as you test your skills in a real life situation. In this series of play-along songs you become the rhythm guitarist in the band. Pete will play the rhythm for the first rotation of the song, and then drop out. You should play along with Pete, then take the reigns for yourself. The songs will be repeated three times so you get to really lock in and jam.

When learning guitar for a new song, take it very slowly, work out each bar, and then join them together. If you’re having trouble with a section, stop and go over that part until you get it right. There’s not much point in repeating mistakes, because you’ll be training your brain, ears and fingers to play the mistake and not the correct part.

Here’s the four different style play-along songs for you to learn and jam with.

1 - Acoustic singer/songwriter play-along: In the playing style of Bob Dylan.

2 - Acoustic roots play-along: In the playing style of Jack Johnson.

3 - Heavy Rock play-along: In the playing style of Metallica.

4 - New Wave Punk play-along: In the style of Good Charlotte.

Download each MP3 - I recommend that you burn them to CD to make practicing simple and straightforward. Have heaps of fun with the play-along tracks, and enjoy mastering your rhythm skills.

What are your next steps?

  • Listen to a lot of music
  • Learn the rhythm parts to all your favorite songs
  • Have a go at writing your own songs
  • Move onto the next section of Pro Guitar Tips, and learn lead guitar

ACOUSTIC SONGWRITER STYLE PLAY-ALONG

In the playing style of mellow Jimi Hendrix, Bob Dylan, Oasis, Green Day etc.

This play-along is fairly simple and uses mostly open chords. Be careful with the Bm7 in the 4 th bar though, as it’s a barre chord shape.



ACOUSTIC ROOTS PLAY-ALONG


This play-along is in the style of Jack Johnson, Ben Harper, Pete Murray etc. Listen to Pete's rhythm playing, and try to copy the style and strumming pattern. Then have a go on your own. I suggest using bar chords for this example.



HEAVY ROCK PLAY-ALONG

This play-along is in the playing style of hard rock and metal bands like Metallica
etc.

The song is riff based (which is why I haven’t written out the chords) and uses single notes mixed with power chords. The slashes you see on the chart are slides. Have a listen and copy Pete's playing style.

The form of this song is written out using the alphabet letters A, B, and C - these letters are not chords. This is a common way of naming different sections. You play A twice, then B twice and then C once (C functions like a turnaround). Repeat the whole thing three times.

NEW WAVE PUNK PLAYALONG

This play-along is in the style of bands like Good Charlotte, Blink 182, etc

I’ve broken the song into three parts. Verse, pre-chorus and chorus. Each part is played twice and then the whole thing is repeated three times. I’ve left the rhythm out in the chorus, just listen and copy Pete's playing.

Once you've downloaded these tunes and played through, check out the Pro Guitar Tips course for the next lessons to help you learn guitar fast...

Hope you've had fun with these guitar songs - remember if you want to Learn Guitar check out Pro Guitar Tips

Sunday, April 16, 2006

Pro Guitar Lessons

There's a damn good reason that this blog is called Pro Guitar Lessons, and that's because of just how average most of the so-called guitar lesson sites are on the web.

Seriously, I've bought them, gone through them from start to finish, and spent plenty of time shaking my head!

Have you seen the crap they get people to spend their cash on? Have you been duped by a dodgy "this will show you how to play in 30 seconds" site? Only to get low res images of some guy in a badly lit room fumbling through a few old tunes, some fairly useless tips, and - if you're lucky - crackly, low quality audio files. There is nothing "Pro" about those kind of guitar lessons!

To actually learn guitar, you need a whole lot more than that, which is why I've invested in developing a course created by a professional guitarist - ie that makes a living from playing guitar in a band (number 1 albums, sold out massive shows/festivals, world tours etc) NOT just giving lessons, has a music college degree, has a teaching qualification, and a real passion for helping people learn guitar with the songs they want to play, rather than forcing anyone into purely old standard tunes or scales and more scales...

I would regard those elements as being the absolute essentials BEFORE anyone starts a guitar website. Sadly, from all the useless crap that is out there, the actual pre-requisite is having a guitar and an internet connection. Makes me *&%#ing angry, but if people want to buy that sort of rubbish, good luck to them...

Have you been duped by some "internet expert guitarist"? I know there's a few of you out there!

Anyway, hope you're getting some practice in over Easter... check out some real Pro Guitar Lessons if you've got some spare time.

Rock on!

Sunday, April 02, 2006

A Brief Intro to Music Theory for Guitar

What are all those notes about, anyway?

Ok, so I'll hand over to Pete who has put together a quick spiel to introduce the very basics of music theory...

"In my life as a professional musician I’ve had many opportunities open up to me thanks to my understanding of music theory. Even though I get paid to get on stage and play rock guitar tunes, I’ve always been appreciative to my parents for putting me through guitar lessons that helped to provide me with the background knowledge to get to the top of the music industry. Hopefully I can help lay down a solid foundation for you to build a lifetime of musical mastery and enjoyment. I know theory doesn’t sound like the most exciting topic, and you may be sitting there thinking you can skip this stuff and jump right in. But hang in there – I’ll make this quick and easy, get some important basic music theory concepts under your belt, and let you get into the fun stuff as soon as possible. The more music knowledge you gain, the easier it will be to rock out on the guitar. A greater musical understanding also helps you learn faster, as you’ll pick up on your own mistakes.

In some of the Pro Guitar Lessons I have provided advanced tips and theory information in special breakout sections, which allows you to choose your study path depending on what you want to focus on - for example, you can select from rock guitar lessons, some guitar theory, or guitar tips on tablature - there's a stack of options.

Here's some of the music theory basics...

MUSICAL ALPHABET

The musical alphabet ranges from A through to G.

A B C D E F G

Each of these letters corresponds to a note.

Every note has what is called a ‘sharp’ (#), except B and E:

A A# B C C# D D# E F F# G G#

These are the 12 notes that are used in Western music. If you start on the A string and play a note on each and every fret up to the 12 th fret, you’re playing what is known as a ‘Chromatic Scale’. To make a note sharp, simply move your finger one fret right towards the body of the guitar. Every sharp note has a ‘flat’ (b) name. They are the same notes but named differently due to the different keys in music. To make a note flat, move it one fret left away from the body of the guitar."

Stay tuned for more basic music theory from Pete, or check out Pro Guitar Tips to get the complete 200 lesson course, packed with audio samples, tablature and easy to read images and diagrams.

Monday, March 27, 2006

SXSW

Well we've just touched back down in Australia from our trip to SXSW via LA and NY. It's an amazing festival, my second time there but still mind blowing with the intensity of activity that swamps Austin for the week!

For anyone that likes music, it's incredible to have 1400 bands - ranging from artists with 20 year, million-selling careers, to the newest indie sensations, crammed into all these groovy little Austin venues. Highlights for me included seeing Helmet in a club show kind of thing, Aussie act End of Fashion doing excellent pop rock, The Datsuns blitzing at Emo's, Flogging Molly creating a minor riot with Irish jig stomp punk, and hearing Neil Young re-count a few tales.

Plenty of cool music gear at the trade show too, have a look at .... if you're a songwriter, have a look at Masterwriter.... if you're a guitarist, head over to Pro Guitar Tips, and for those wanting to promote their bands, there seems to be another online tool popping up every week - but the best of them seem to be www.myspace.com - check it out, and PureVolume and Sonicbids too.

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Pro Guitar Practice Tips

PETE’S PRO PRACTICE TIPS

Pete often challenges people with how regularly they play guitar. It’s amazing how regular playing will help you improve out of sight. Every time you pick up the guitar whether to practice or just make some noise you'll be improving. You can play guitar everywhere: on the couch, in front of the TV, in your bedroom, outside in the sunshine, and rocking out to your favorite tunes on the stereo. Make your guitar part of the furniture, just pick it up anytime and you’ll hear the
rewards.

1/ Allow a minimum of half an hour per day to practice the guitar. You may wish to start with two fifteen minute sessions a day spread a few hours apart so your hand and fingers don’t get too sore. Now if you’re making excuses like “I don’t have the time to do this kind of practice”, I’m sorry, but put your guitar on eBay because you're kidding yourself. Half an hour is just trading one TV show, it’s not that long, or too much to ask, and the rewards are amazing. You may wish to start a routine so that you practice consistently at the same time each day. It won't be long before you won’t even think about it as “practice” and you’ll enjoy playing guitar for hours each day.

2/ Practice various things on the guitar and spread your time between learning new concepts, playing songs, and being creative. If you spend the whole time on one idea, you may get bored or your hand will get sore. Mix up your practice between playing chords and single notes, too, to keep your mind alert and learning, and your hands fresh.

3/ If your mind starts wandering or your hands get sore, don’t keep pushing, just take a short break. Go and do something completely different, like getting some fresh air by taking a run or walk. It will clear your head and fire you up to get back into the practice. Oh, and just so you know, everybody’s hands get sore when they start to play guitar. Trust me, it will not take long to pass, and you’ll be able to play for hours.

PRO TIP
Try not to push too hard on the strings and release the tension in your hand. Nearly all beginners try too hard, and over-use their hand and arm muscles. Relax, and concentrate on breathing normally. DO NOT HOLD YOUR BREATH! This is a common trap and will make you tire very quickly.

4/ I remember what it’s like when you start to learn the guitar - information overload! Remember, it’s about you, and it’s meant to be fun. Take your time! Push yourself and always be trying to learn new things, but don’t let learning bring you down. You have your whole life ahead of you to learn. So relax and enjoy!

PRO TIP
It’s very important to revise what you have learned. Becoming a good guitarist really comes down to repetition. The first chord I ever learned was the open G major chord. It’s super easy, yet I still play it every day! The chord is so ingrained in my head and hands that my brain no longer thinks about it, my hand just plays it. Pete mentioned that the first song he ever wrote was simply the G chord moving to a C chord. By playing and writing songs, you can help a chord that seems weird and strange at first become a second nature.

5/ Have fun - that's the most important part! Rock on!

Monday, January 16, 2006

How to Re-string Your Guitar Like a Pro - Part 3

CLASSICAL/NYLON STRING GUITARS
To replace the strings on a classical guitar is a slightly more complicated technique. I will provide a detailed description though you may wish to get some more guidance in person if you’re unsure. Pro Guitar Tips includes step by step images to help out.

RE-STRINGING A CLASSICAL GUITAR
Remove the old strings on the guitar. If you remove all the strings at once make sure the bridge doesn’t fall out. To avoid this you may wish to change one string at a time. If you’re only replacing one string, then remove the broken parts of the string. Take the opportunity to give your guitar a clean using a soft cotton cloth. A lot of dirt and oil from your fingers can build up on the guitar fingerboard so give it a good clean.

Start by connecting the string to the bridge of the guitar. Thread the string through the hole so that about 2 inches of string are out the other side of the bridge. I like to use the figure 8 method as the strings stay in better tune.

Take hold of the short end and loop it back around the rest of the string.

Now loop it over and under itself twice to form a figure 8 pattern.

Pull the long end of the string so that the figure 8 pattern locks into place.

The last section of the figure 8 pattern should be over the edge of the bridge with the left over string out of the way, and the string locked in place. Now repeat this for the rest of the strings.
The three bass strings usually have a thin section on one end that is used to thread through the bridge. Make sure that you use this section of the string and not the other end.

Ok you’re now ready to connect your strings to the tuning pegs.

Firstly, thread the string through the correct tuning peg hole, so that about 4 inches of string is through the hole.

Now pull the left over string around itself so that it will lock into place when you start to tighten the string. Tighten the string using your index finger to guide it for a nice neat wrap. Guide the string towards the centre of the headstock so that a nice straight line is formed through the nut. Tune the string!

Repeat the process for all the other strings. Once you’ve connected all the strings, use a tuning method to tune up. Then give the strings a really good stretch and re-tune. Nylon strings take a lot longer to settle than steel strings, and you’ll need to re-tune the guitar several times until the strings set.

Finally, use your pliers to cut off any left over ends of the strings so that you’ve got a clean neat looking guitar. Make sure you leave a few mm just in case the strings slip.

Enjoy the clarity of your newly strung guitar!