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

Great Jazz Licks over the I-iv-ii-V and ii-V-I

After learning how arpeggios are used to improvise and exploring the foundations of improvisation, it’s important to learn from the great improvisers and how they applied the theory so that we can reproduce these techniques in a musical and more authentic way.  One of the best ways to start internalizing the jazz language is to transcribe these great musicians. By transcribing we develop not only our ear, but it also allows us to train our muscle memory to feel swing, accents, and particular passages that are very common in, and are a crucial part of jazz music from a range … Read more

Guitar Effect Pedals – Distortion Pedals

Distortion pedals often can have an identity crisis of some sort; many of them can double as a fuzz or overdrive pedal, and some can even be tweaked to fill in all three roles of overdrive, distortion, and fuzz. Although many of us may prefer to own a pedal that’s a little more versatile, more often than not, a pure distortion pedal will sound and function better than a pedal that’s made to fill multiple roles. When it comes to guitar effects pedals, the saying “Jack of all trades; master of none” often holds true. That’s the reason why you … Read more

7th Chords, Their Arpeggios, and Why We Use Them

Chords are something we deal with everyday in music. Written down on a page, they can be as simple as just ‘A,’ or a completely terrifying ‘Amaj7#11b9’! By discussing the 7th chord, we start our journey into understanding the nature of extended chords, what they imply, and why they are not as terrifying as we may have thought. Delving further into chords gives us a much broader understanding of harmony in not just jazz, but all areas of music. So, whether you are playing classical, rock, jazz or even musical theatre, you will be able to apply this knowledge of … Read more