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Blasting With The Blasters

Saw The Blasters last night at Hopmonk in Novato and they blew the roof off. They’ve been playing for about 40 years now and still have most of their original lineup. The rhythm section is preposterous. One of the best rock and roll drum (Bill Bateman) and bass (John Bazz) teams you’ll ever find. There’s … Continue reading "Blasting With The Blasters" ...

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How to Use Sweep Picking in Jazz

Sweep picking is a popular guitar technique in metal, allowing players to articulate licks with tremendous speed. [youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=95U1miLkvuE&w=560&h=315]Sweep picking is a popular guitar technique in metal, allowing players to articulate licks with tremendous speed.But the application also has its uses in jazz guitar, where it mainly serves as an embellishment to link notes ...

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Investigating the Hirajoshi Scale

All rock guitar players play repetitive sequences in their solos, and I have found it very useful to utilize a systematic approach. Last month, I introduced a few approaches based on the standard minor pentatonic scale, spelled 1 b3 4 5 b7.This month, I’d like to expand our look at minor pentatonic phrases to a more unusual minor pentatonic scale, what’s called the Hirajoshi scale. The Hirajoshi scale is of ...

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Using Out-of-the-Box Scale Fingerings to Master the Fretboard

Two of the most common questions I hear from students are, “How do I break out of box patterns?” and “How can I learn the notes on the neck without just memorizing each fret?” Two of the most common questions I hear from students are, “How do I break out of box patterns?” and “How can I learn the notes on the neck without just memorizing each fret?” Over the years, and after working with hundreds of student ...

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How to Construct Classic Eighties-Style Metal Guitar Parts

Back in the Eighties, during the heyday of metal, bands like Van Halen, Judas Priest and the Scorpions were releasing incredible, killer albums packed with amazing guitar playing. Today, I feel that the majority of metal is more focused on rhythmic parts with less harmonic movement than what I think of as the approach representative of Eighties-style metal. Back in the Eighties, during the heyday of metal, ...

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How to Hear Music in Context

Ear training is one of my favorite topics to work on with my students, and many of the best guitar players of all time learned to play through listening. I once heard a guitarist say “if you can hear what’s happening, that unlocks the mystery of music.” Here is a lesson that explores how to listen to music in context, complete with two exercises to get you started. The exercises in this lesson are the first ...

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Secrets of Shred: Eddie Van Halen-Style Speed-Picking Technique

In this lesson, I’ll be showing you a relatively unknown picking technique used by my favorite guitarist, Eddie Van Halen. It can be heard in countless Van Halen songs, including "I’m the One," "Spanish Fly" and "Jump." This technique is based on a combination of hammer-on notes and alternate-picked notes. Eddie likes to take a fingering pattern and hammer on the notes on one string, then alternate pick the ...

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Secrets of Shred with Sammy Boller: Speed Pentatonic Scales

This example demonstrates how to play the B minor pentatonic scale on the E and A strings using two notes on the E string and three notes on the A string. I typically play this using hammer-ons and pull-offs, but it is good to work up to speed with alternate picking as well. The rest of the lesson is based on this pattern, so be sure to get comfortable with this fingering before moving on. In this lesson, I ...

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How to Play Stevie Ray Vaughan’s “Pride and Joy” Sliding Chords

A guitar solo is the highlight of any Stevie Ray Vaughan song, and the solos he performed in his 1983 hit “Pride and Joy” are among his finest. A guitar solo is the highlight of any Stevie Ray Vaughan song, and the solos he performed in his 1983 hit “Pride and Joy” are among his finest.One of the best moments comes when he plays a series of sliding chords that move up the neck. In this video, Anthony Stauff ...

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Creative Approaches to Rhythm Guitar

As much as guitarists love to solo, the reality is that, for most of us, the majority of time spent in a band setting is applied to playing rhythm guitar. As much as guitarists love to solo, the reality is that, for most of us, the majority of time spent in a band setting is applied to playing rhythm guitar. While most serious guitarists have devised plenty of effective ways to practice and hone their soloi ...

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