Guitar Solo Transcription: Gone With the Wind by Wes Montgomery

This latest transcription is a solo I have always loved.  Wes Montgomery’s feel on every 8th note line is effortless, and the tempo suits him so well. He has access to so many subdivisions that groove on a medium swing like this: 8th notes, triplets, double-time. For those who are interested-my particular recording of the head and first chorus of this has some makeshift drums-played on my trousers-supposed to emulate the brushes on a snare drum. I included the head as well as the first chorus of solo in this transcription because I think it’s worth noting how much embellishment … Read more

The Guitar Jedi Workout for Speed and Accuracy

At a glance… 1. Metronome 2. About speed 3. Chromatic exercise 4. Scales 5. Finger gym 6. The spider Most guitarists wish they have more speed and accuracy, and with good reason too. Although it’s not necessary to play extremely fast for effective expression of musical ideas (Eric Clapton and B.B. King for example don’t play at ridiculous speeds), it definitely is a good tool to have! In this article, we will explore a couple of exercises and ideas to help build speed and accuracy. Metronome Unless stated otherwise, all of the following exercises require the use of a metronome. … Read more

Meet the Teachers: Ze Wen Seah, our Guitar Teacher

Born and raised in Singapore, Ze’s parents made him play several different instruments before he settled on the guitar at the age of 15. While at first just playing top 40 pop songs around popular venues, Ze fell in love with the music of John Mayer and dove deeper into the genres of blues, soul, funk, and R&B. Ze looks to legends of guitar like Jimi Hendrix, B.B. King, Stevie Ray Vaughan, and John Coltrane as inspirations. After being introduced to the improvisational form of blues guitar, he took a break from performing to learn the skills needed to improvise … Read more

Guitar Maintenance for Beginners

At a glance… 1. Professional setup 2. Temperature and humidity 3. String maintenance 4. Cleaning and maintenance while changing strings 5. Long term storage Guitar maintenance is often overlooked because most guitarists would rather spend time practicing than doing maintenance on their guitars. However, there are benefits of keeping your instrument in tip-top shape. For example, it keeps the setup of your guitar consistent so you won’t have to keep adjusting the string action and intonation. It also retains the resale value of your instrument. Neglecting your guitar’s condition can result in overly rusty strings, a bloated body, a warped … Read more

How To Choose Your First Guitar

At a glance… 1. Price 2. Style 3. Availability for trying out 4. Inspecting the instrument 5. Warranty Buying your first guitar can be a confusing process as there are several different kinds of guitars, many different brands, and a large number of designs. The array of choices can make you hold off on your purchase and lose interest in the hobby before you’ve begun. To help you make a confident and informed decision, this article discusses five things to consider: price, style of music, availability for testing, condition of the instrument, and warranty. Price You will first have to … Read more

Electric, Classical, and Acoustic Guitars: What Are The Differences?

At a glance… 1. Strings 2. Sound production 3. Genres 4. Shape and size 5. Feel and suitability 6. Price One of the first questions I get from people who are looking to pick up the guitar is, “what is the difference between a classical, acoustic, and electric guitar? And which one should I choose for my first guitar?” It really all comes down to what you would like to accomplish with the instrument and your personal preference for genre of music, sound, feel of the instrument, and of course, price. No arbitrary rule states that, for example, all beginners … Read more

Guitar Guide For Beginners: Guitar Terminology

Throughout the course of your guitar journey, there will be essential guitar and musical terms that help facilitate effective communication, especially if you’re planning on playing with a band. This article introduces some of the most important terms. Guitar Acoustic Guitar – A steel-string instrument that has either six or twelve strings. An acoustic guitar produces sound acoustically without the help of electronics or amplifiers. Acoustic-Electric Guitar – Sometimes called a semi-acoustic, an acoustic-electric guitar is fitted with electronic pickups in its body so that it can be electronically amplified with an amp. The acoustic-electric guitar is useful for playing … Read more

Easy Guitar Songs and Tips for Beginners

At a glance… 1. Factors determining difficulty 2. Number of chords 3. Guitar friendly keys 4. Anchor fingers 5. Barre chords 6. Strumming patterns 7. Simplifying chords 8. Tempo 9. Patience 10. List of easy songs One of the fastest ways to get beginners to give up on playing the guitar is to have them learn songs beyond their skill level, which can be incredibly frustrating, demoralizing, and even physically painful. Have you ever encountered a song that has one too many barre chords, or maybe one with chords with strange symbols like G#7b5#9? Songs like these typically turn off … Read more

How To Use a Capo for Guitarists

A capo is a tool that clamps down on all the strings at a certain fret, which effectively moves the guitar’s nut up to that fret. It can also act as your index finger when you play barre chords. It is a great tool that many guitarists use to make songs easier to play or sound different. With planning, you can use the capo to minimize the number of barre chords needed (not that you should avoid them though!). Without a capo, songs with complex voicings are almost unplayable. A couple of examples include “Here Comes the Sun” by The … Read more

Guitar Barre Chords Made Easy For Beginners

Barre chords are one of the trickiest techniques for beginning guitarists to master, but being able to play them is necessary for any rhythm guitarist. Mastering barre chords will allow you to play any major or minor chord, eventually making it possible for you to sight-read chord charts. So, how do we master barre chords? If you follow the techniques presented here, with a little patience and a lot of practice, you’ll be able to master your barre chords in no time! First up is the definition of what barre chords are so you can understand what it is you … Read more