Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Review about the guitar neck and frets

The guitar neck and frets can be a critical thing for certain guitarist as it will impact the playing capability. If you see for certain guitarist like Yngwie J Malmsteen, Steve Vai, Joe Satriani, Michael angelo, John Petrucci, Kirk Hammet, eric Johnson or many others, they have their favourite choice.

Maybe for some reason the guitar beginners will think that the guitar neck and frets just a common thing and typical from one to another guitar. They might be right. But actually some neck and frets has their own criteria.

Let see about the neck first. Sometimes you will out that the size of the neck is different, some might big and some might quite small, even the radius as well, you will find that the thickness of the neck is different from one to another. This will impact on how you grip the chords and also on h ow you press the note during solo. Of course, you can do some experiment, try get a Fender Stratocaster '60s and compare it to an Ibanez RG, its different.

Then, the wood, the most identical differences is the color. Some are maple which is bright or Rosewood, the dark color. Some manufaturer and the guitarist agree that different wood gives different tone.

Standard frets count is 21, 22 and 24 frets. Even i have seen some new brand extended the count more than that. So you can exploite and manipulate the notes that you want to play, It doesnt mean the more the better. But how the way you do thing, some people good just with 21 frets.

The size of the frets also, we have jumbo frets, which is consider big. guitarist choose this for heavy metal and rock. Then the vintage fret that normally quite small for blues or country.

So, by understanding this, I believe guitarist will understand what kind of neck and frets they really need. Good tips for you when do shopping, you can straight away ask the salesman, "I want maple neck with, medium radius, with 22 frets on it!"

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Understand your guitar selector switch.

Most guitar especially for those which have more than 1 pickup have selector switch. Attached on the body and normally below the 1st E string on the body of a stratocaster guitar. And on the top shoulder for Les Paul. Its a basic things to understand the switches on which pickups its toggling. First, you need to understand what is the switch for???

The selector switch is meant for you to select you desire pickup to be play. Some people misunderstand it as to select a desired sound, which is not exactly the correct terms.

Normally there are 2 types of selctor switch.
1. The 3 way switches
2. The 5 ways switches.

THe 3 way switches is normally placed on the guitar with 2 pick up. For easy reference the Gibson Lespaul, that has 2 humbucker or soapbar type pickups. 1 near the bridge and one near to the neck. As it has 3 way switches it has 3 types of selection. 1st toggle normally for the bridge pickup, 2nd toggle is for the neck and bridge pickup. the 3rd toggle is for the neck pickup

The 5 way switches is normally attached to the guitar with 3 pickups on board. Like the Fender stratocaster. Even, ibanez Jem or RG has this kind of switches. It doesn't matter the pickups should be single coil or humbucker. The 5 way switches giving us the option to choose the pickups: like these:
Toggle 1. Bridge pickup
Toggle 2. Bridge and middle pickup
Toggle 3. Middle pick up
Toggle 4. MIddle and neck pickup
Toggle 5. Neck pickup

If you have either this 2 types of the switches and not working what it suppose to be you should consult with the technician.

So. Why we need to understand? Coz by understanding it we can toggle the switch to pickups that produce the correct tone and sounds we want. Each toggle, giving a different character, tone and sound from the respective pickup on the guitar.

Simple mistake that the beginners do is not selecting the right pickup on the right time. For example Normally they put the switch for the bridge pickup for soloing or do the powerchords. But then, to do some plucking, clean strumming or ryhthm, they still using the bridge pickup. So the sound is so dry, They should change it to toggle number 2(or for 5 way switch, toggle number 2 or 4)

I believe you should try to explore your guitar switch now. And try to use it in different situation. Like during solo, harmonic, playing blues, some plucking, arpeggios, different genre.

To tell you the truth, in the first few years i started playing, after i learned the use of the switch, I was approach by a man that also a guitarist and asked, "YOur guitar sounds good, I believe it so expensive". Well, I bought the guitar only for $150 dollars, But, I toggled the switch to the right pickup on the right time, makes my guitar sounds like an expensive guitar.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Solo technic: Vibrato

In such way vibrato, is giving a better sound of our guitar solo. Making our playing so charecteristic and dynamic. It sounds so alive and being since the classical era to rock and heavy metal. Its critical to do the correct technic of doing it, sometimes, by overdoing it will make you playing sound offpitch.

Generally for me I use 3 kinds of vibrato. Depends on which situation is the best. I call it:
1. Conventional vibrato
2. Classical Vibrato
3. Tremolo Vibrato.

The conventional vibrato is widely use by the electric guitarist, no matter what are the genres their playing, in rock, metal, pop, fusion, jazz, even blues and alternatives. The technic it to press on tight over the note and make the bends movement repeatedly. ANd make sure everytimes you bend the string it will return back to its normal position or else it will be offpitch. The keyword her is bending it up and down. Of course continously

The classical vibrato, normally played on the classical guitar. But I saw BB King is always does it. Meaning to say it can be done using the electric guitar. It sounds nice and totally awesome. For me it give more attitude. The technics is to hold the note tight and make the movement back and forward repeatedly. The keyword is back and forward movement.

While the Tremolo vibrato is COOL!!! But to do this your guitar must have tremolo on the bridge. Make sure it is properly attached. The technics is just slightly wham the tremolo up and down continously. If you are the rock guitar player you will be looking and sound like PRO. Just be careful, make sure the tremolo back to its original tension before doing another wham. Even, you can explore and do some experiment to make a nice vibrato with your tremolo. I ll tell you later on this.

My advise is listen to what you play. Make it a good sound. Because listening the good sound is what the music is all about.

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Monday, November 26, 2007

Minor Scale: The Melodic minor.

The melodic minor scale usually being and use for the genre like jazz and funk. Its really cool if we can apply it and making very beautiful sound.

THe melodic minor also has seven notes if we compare it to the natural and harmonic minor. The different between the Natural and Melodic minor scale is the 6th and 7th note is raised by half tone. Lets take the G minor melodic scale for example.

1st note: G
2nd Note: A
3rd Note: Bflat
4th Note: C
5th Note: D
6th Note: E(In natural minor scale it is Dsharp)
7th note: Fsharp(In natural minor scale is F)

THis will make the tabulation like this:
E - - - - - - - - - - - -- - -
B - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
G - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
D - - - - - - - - - 2-4-5- -
A - - - - -3-5-6- - - - - -
E -3-5-6- - - - - - - - - -

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Sunday, November 25, 2007

Minor Scale: The Harmonic Minor

The harmonic minor scale almost similar to the Natutal minor scale except for one thing the seventh note is raised for a half tone. This makes the harmonic minor scale has its unique sound character some sort like classical, or there people say that it sound like a little bit like indian or arabic music scale. Now its used in most music genre like rock even, Yngwie J Malmsteen and other big name using it.

Lets take an example from a scale, Bminor for an example: remember! The 7th note of the minor natural scale is raised to halftone. it will become:

1st note: B
2nd note: C#
3rd note: D
4th Note: E
5th Note: F#
6th Note: G
7th Note: Bflat(Original in Natural minor is note A=>raised halftone=Bflat)

I give you another example on another key. The F# harmonic minor scale on the diagram will be more presentable.

Try to familiarise this scale until u get use to it.

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Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Minor Scale: Introduction.


Actually there 3 types of minor scale, namely:
1. natural minor
2. Harmonic minor; and
3. Melodic.

As a good guitarist we need to know three of them. Because the more song we want to play the more scales we need to know. Better we start to learn the Natural minor. May be you read my previous post that each scale has 7 notes. same goes to this Natural minor scale has 7 notes.

The question begins. What are the notes we need to use. Let see the pattern of natural minor:
1. W - H - W - W - H - W - W; or
2. 2 - 1 - 2 - 2 - 1 - 2 - 2;
3. T - S - T - T - S - T - T

Let us take a note to start constructing the scale using the above mentioned pattern. The note B might be a good example: it will be: B - C# - D - E - F# - G - A. Or what we can say:

B is the 1st note
C# is the 2nd note
D is the 3rd note
E is the 4th note
F# is the 5th note
G is the 6th note.
A is the 7th note.

Maybe you can study the pattern and construct the natural minor scale starts from the other note. We learnt the B natural minor scale. Just and idea given try to construct the C natural minor, then raise it a half tone to C# natural minor, then raise it another half tone.. and so on. you will get it, familiarise it.

But dont forget to do it using the alternate picking.

Thank you

Monday, November 19, 2007

Major Scale: A lil Step Ahead


I still want to write more about the major scale. Hence, today I am very happy coz my friend namely Ponco Satrio. A very good guitarist originally from Indonesia willing to share his video regarding the E major scale classical style.

Look how firm his picking and fingering. Maybe some of you feel this video quite fast. Then you should try to play it slowly.

Anyway. Thanks to my friend Ponch(Ponco Satrio)