Classic Female Blues and Race Records

At the end of our previous article of this Blues series, we saw the beginning of the adoption of the term “blues” within the sheet music industry. The increased use of the term and popularity of songs such as “I Got The Blues” and “Dallas Blues” led to a rise in the popularity of the genre. Along with the increased use of the term “blues” in song titles, classic black female blues singers were also gaining fame which prompted the then budding recording industry to introduce a category of records known as “race records.” These race records were blues, R&B, … Read more

The Birth of the Blues

Without a doubt, modern music has come a long way since the first musical recordings made in the late 19th century, but certain forms of music from that time period still greatly influence modern compositions. One genre that has influenced nearly every genre of Western music since the 19th century is simply known as “the blues.” The blues has become an integral part of jazz, R&B, rock, soul, country music, and of course, modern day pop music. It is widely regarded as the foundation for nearly all American popular music that came after 1900.  The fact that the blues has … Read more

10 Tips for Guitar Players with Small Hands

Large hands with long fingers are common physical traits found amongst some of the best guitar players. Just do a quick Google search and look at the hands of Paul Gilbert, Buckethead, John Mayer, Guthri Govan, Eric Clapton, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Jimi Hendrix, and Wes Montgomery. Having bigger hands definitely gives you an advantage when it comes to playing complex chord voicings, reaching for large interval jumps, and playing fast licks.  However, many guitar legends like Angus Young and Prince didn’t have massive digits, and just look at how they’ve transformed how we play the guitar forever. You can also … Read more

I’m Yours by Jason Mraz – Learning to Arrange for Solo Guitar

So far we have learned how each note of the C major scale feels and sounds when it is played over each chord in the progression. As you become more comfortable with these notes, you will be able to learn arrangements much more efficiently, as all the shapes will feel somewhat familiar.  In “I’m Yours,” an incredibly popular song from Jason Mraz’s 2008 album We Sing, We Dance, We Steal Things, the chord structure is our simple I V ii IV. The original is a half step lower, in the key of B major. It’s always best to start any … Read more

Can You Feel the Love Tonight Solo Guitar Arrangement

The Elton John classic, “Can you feel the love tonight,” is most famous for its feature in Disney’s The Lion King and is a massive part of many people’s childhood, so it would be amazing to be able to pull out this song on the guitar. The song’s chorus is based around our I-V-vi-IV progression but with some variations and inversions that we learned about in “No Woman No Cry.” Elton John’s compositional skills are highly regarded in the world of pop music; his use of inversions, motives, and non-diatonic chords makes for some very interesting songwriting. One notable thing … Read more

Guitar Effect Pedals – Auto Wah Pedals

The Auto Wah effect is like the lazy younger brother of the standard Wah Wah. First of all, Auto Wah pedals come in much smaller casings than a Wah Wah pedal, and second, Auto Wahs don’t require any additional control with your foot, hence the name: Auto Wah.  If you’re not quite sure what a Wah Wah pedal does yet, feel free to check out our article on the most popular Wah Wah pedals currently in the market!  While the standard Wah Wah pedals’ envelope sweep is controlled with the position of the foot pedal, the Auto Wah reacts dynamically … Read more

Guitar Effect Pedals – Tuner Pedals

In our series of articles for guitar pedals, we’ve looked at effects like Overdrive, Distortion, Delay, Fuzz, and many other fun effects. However, we’ve neglected to look at possibly the most important pedal on a guitarist’s pedal board–a tuner. Everything about your tone including your effects, amp, and pickups, will be negatively affected by an out-of-tune guitar. Someone with an awesome dirty tone (like Larry Carlton) will still sound bad regardless of playing skills if their strings are out of tune. So really, a great tone begins with having a guitar that is in tune. Guitar tuners usually come in … Read more

No Woman No Cry Solo Guitar Arrangement

“No woman no cry,” one of Bob Marley’s most famous songs, was released in 1975 as a Live single. It is proof that simplicity can be effective, as its repetitive, diatonic nature proves very catchy. Harmonically straight-forward, the song is a loop of diatonic chords, allowing the beautiful melody and carefully-crafted lyrics to be the focus. The idea of this arrangement is to harness the use of our fingers on the picking hand and to avoid any dents in your nail, which might catch onto the string. Simple chords allow us to easily arrange the song for solo guitar. Our … Read more

Guitar Effect Pedals – Looper Pedals

Looper pedals are some of the best tools or effects pedals available for guitarists as they can play many different roles. The most obvious use is to record and loop musical ideas. You can then record as many overdubs as you want over that original loop, resulting in complex and lush musical soundscapes. Using a looper pedal in this manner has helped many songwriters hash out their musical ideas before committing them to tape. Another way you can use a looper pedal is as a practice tool. While it’s always great to be able to play with other musicians, sometimes … Read more

With or Without You Solo Guitar Arrangement

In the first two lessons, we have covered the basis of C major in the first position. All the songs we will learn in the course will stay in this position. To practice what we have learned, With or without you is a great song to start with, as it uses only four chords and has a simple melody using the C major scale. Before we practice any of the songs, make sure to warm up by playing the exercise in the last lesson, in which we play the scale over each chord. With or Without You uses the progression … Read more