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There are certain songs that every guitar player should try to learn. Either they are commonly requested or they have cool guitar parts that will expand your playing skills. I am going to list songs in several styles of music and explain why I think they should be add to your “play list.” While most are electric guitar songs, there are some acoustic songs also. Obviously, this type of list won’t ever be comprehensive, and no doubt, many will disagree with my choices — and find many ommissions.
photo from Istockphoto Wouldn’t it be great if you could figure out the chords, the melody and the rhythm of a song on your own because of the lack of sheet music or just because you needed or wanted it right away? Of course that would be awesome! Well, it’s happening… Right here, right now!
Photo by Jsome1 Playing 3 notes per string exercises is something I do on a regular basis. I use them to warm up, to become a faster guitar player and to spice up my improvisation. 3 notes per string licks and scales are generally used for speed picking. Whenever you hear a guitar player playing these really fast terrifying licks, it’s probably a 3 notes per string lick. Paul Gilbert of Mr.Big is one of many great experts in this field.
Besides writing and playing songs I just love improvising. When I practice improvising I always first pour myself a cup of green tea, I put on some folk music (e.g. Ray La Montagne, Damien Rice, Stephen Fretwell, Glen Hansard, Sheryl Crow, etc.) on Last.fm or Spotify.com and then I start to improvise over these songs.
In order to learn how to solo and improvise in blues and rock you must know the 5 pentatonic scale shapes. A lot of blues players tend to get stuck in the first pentatonic scale shape, but to be truly free and improvise across the entire fretboard you need to know all the shapes. And it’s not just about that. Every shape gives it’s own sound and feeling to a guitar lick. This is where the magic happens. This is where the coolness and the beauty comes through all these different shapes.
Photo by John W. Tuggle If I have to name two things that took my guitar playing to the next level I would say music theory and memorizing the fingerboard. It made me understand the big picture. Combining music theory (understanding scales, modes, chord structure, improvising over chord progressions, etc, etc.) and knowing all the notes on the fingerboard will open up a whole new world.
Photo by Steve Garry A good blues turnaround is the icing on the cake of every blues progression. I always beg, borrow, steal and create my own nice sweet sounding turnarounds to add that extra magic when I’m playing a blues song. It’s one of the things that makes the blues sound so cool. Blues turnarounds are played at the end of a section of a blues progression which then leads to the next section or the end of the song. To get a good impression of how turnarounds are played listen to blues guitar players like B.B King, Albert King, Stevie Ray Vaughan and Eric Clapton and study theirs.
Dear Friend, If you follow this simple plan, you'll immediately and dramatically improve your playing, guaranteed. But first, let me give you a real- life example... How long do you think that Brett Favre (Super Bowl winning QB of the Green Bay Packers) would have lasted if he said something like...