Guitar Chords: How to Progress from Beginner to Advanced Chord Shapes

One of the most common barriers that beginners face when they first pick up the guitar is the overwhelming number of chords to learn. Many will attempt to learn as many as possible without trying to master or memorize their shapes. Some may even jump into barre chords, which are notoriously difficult for beginners, before developing sufficient finger strength and dexterity. These are all recipes for disappointment and I’ve seen it happen time and time again. The truth is, when learning how to play acoustic rhythm guitar, you want to start with songs that only have three or four open … Read more

The Guitar Effects Pedals Behind John Mayer’s Wide Ranging Sound Palette

Every guitar player has a unique preference in tone, genre, brand of guitar, and even guitar picks. Other than being guitar players, you’d be hard pressed to find many similarities in our setups. However, there is one thing that binds us all together, and that is our love for guitar pedals. Regardless if you’re a bedroom guitarist or a headliner for a major festival, you likely have a decent collection of pedals, and if you don’t, you’re probably working your way towards it. So it comes as no surprise that a guitar player like John Mayer would have a very … Read more

The Guitars and Amplifiers Behind John Mayer’s Legendary Tone

John Mayer is arguably one of the most influential guitarists of our generation. While he has mentioned that he doesn’t believe that he is as impactful or creative as someone like Jimi Hendrix, the comparison between him and Hendrix is often made by fans and even his contemporaries. Don’t get me wrong though, there are actually countless guitarists out there who even Mayer himself would consider technically superior. However, we’re not just talking about technical skills here; we’re looking at a body of work that is easily digestible by the masses, yet has enough complexity to influence many young guitarists … Read more

John Mayer: How a Pop Icon Can Help You Improve Your Guitar Skills

You may know John Mayer for some of his 7 Grammy Award winning (and 19 Grammy nominated) pop and rock music, but did you know that he is one of the most versatile and influential guitarists performing today? In this series of articles, we will explore John Mayer’s music and playing style. One of the best ways to improve your own playing is to find someone to model your style after. Through studying his or her tone, technique, songs, and gear, you will find that your own playing will improve exponentially faster compared to if you were just learning songs … Read more

Guitar Effect Pedals – Clean Boost Pedals

Clean boost pedals don’t usually get as much love as flashier effects like overdrives and delays, but they do find a place on the pedalboards of many professional musicians. They’re perfect for soloing situations where you’d like to retain your overdriven tone, but you’d also like a volume boost (without adding more grit to your overdrive) to cut through the band mix. You can also use it to boost the volume of an already clean signal. As its name implies, clean boost pedals simply add a transparent volume boost; however, there are many clean boost pedals out there that intentionally … Read more

Jazz Standards on Guitar: All of Me

As we learn to play in the various styles and genres of music, it is crucial to become familiar with the repertoire of that genre—and jazz is no different. The term ‘Jazz Standard’ is thrown around a lot between improvising jazz musicians, and we all make it our goal to master as many as possible. The beautiful thing about jazz repertoire is that wherever you are in the world, regardless of language barriers or cultural differences, there are certain jazz standards that other people will know. Right now, the best thing we can do to start our journey into jazz … Read more

Guitar Effect Pedals – Chorus Pedals

Chorus effects pedals create another class of modulation effects that people often confuse with flangers and phasers. Technically, a chorus effect is very similar to a flanger, just with a different sonic objective. While the chorus effect isn’t discussed as often as some of the more popular effects like overdrives or delays, it is actually a really important effect, especially if you play a lot of classic rock. The goal of a chorus effect is to mimic the sound of a choir, hence the name. In a choir of human voices, there will always be slight variations of pitch and … Read more

Guitar Effect Pedals – Wah Pedals

One of the most musically expressive effects available in the guitarist’s toolbox is the Wah pedal. Musical legends across several genres have used this effect with great results for decades. Notable Wah effect users include Jimi Hendrix, Eric Clapton, Jeff Beck, Eric Johnson, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Slash, Steve Vai, John Mayer, George Harrison, and the list goes on and on… The Wah effect may be the second most common pedal (just behind Overdrives) found on the pedalboards of pros all around the world. The reason for this is thanks to the many different things a Wah can be used for. You … Read more

Guitar Effect Pedals – Fuzz Pedals

Fuzz pedals are like the unnoticed middle child in the family of distortion-type effects. Their achievements are often overshadowed by their older sibling, Overdrive, and they don’t require as much attention as Distortion, their misbehaving younger brother. However, Fuzz does have its place in the family due to its very unique sonic characteristic. There is not a Distortion or Overdrive pedal that can get you the same sound as a Fuzz pedal. However, some Fuzz pedals can be tweaked to sound similar to a Distortion or Overdrive pedal, which makes Fuzz pedals highly versatile. If you’re a Blues-Rock guitarist, then … Read more

Guitar Effect Pedals – Phaser Pedals

Phaser pedals allow you to get really unique sounds out of your guitar. If you’ve ever wondered how Van Halen got that slow, sweeping sound in his epic guitar solo in “Eruption,” or if you are chasing that psychedelic vibe from Hendrix’s “Little Wing,” look no further than a decent phaser pedal! A phaser is often used to achieve a Wah sound, or a sound that is similar to a Leslie rotating speaker, but make no mistake, this effect can be used in a multitude of manners (as demonstrated by Jimi Hendrix). Phasers are also often used on other instruments … Read more