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by jim — Categories: General MusicLeave a comment

You’ll find over one hundred FREE guitar lessons and articles here, all designed to help the beginner and intermediate guitar player play at a more professional level.

The lessons contain highly practical concepts and essential guitar techniques that have been “real world” tested – onstage – for over 25 years. Plus, they are educationally sound, having been developed with real, live students for the last decade.

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September 5, 2014

The 3 Biggest Mental Battles Every Guitar Player Faces

Today’s post is directly inspired by another post that has nothing – and everything – to do with guitar.

As a matter of fact, I shamelessly ripped off the title and substituted “guitar player” for “blogger”.

It was just too perfect.

The post in question is written by Michael Hyatt, a top blogger in the field of leadership. His latest post hit my inbox just one day after a conversation with an adult student who was having a tough time.

As I was reading his article, I kept substituting the mental battles we face as guitar players for Michael’s blogging experience. In my head, I was agreeing, “Yes, yes…and YES again!” Continue reading “The 3 Biggest Mental Battles Every Guitar Player Faces” »

August 19, 2014

The Root Note is King

The most important note in any scale is always the root note.

Unfortunately, many guitar students have to think much too hard about the location of the root note. This is especially true when rockin’ a guitar solo.

The root note – also known as the “1″ or the tonic – is the “home base” sound of a scale, that scale’s main chord, and often the entire song. So it’s critical that you know how to find that note to keep things sounding strong and focused.

What’s the result of NOT knowing and using your “home base” root notes?

Unfocused, meandering and amateurish solos. The kind of stuff that sounds like you’re firmly entrenched in the “noodle zone”.

Don’t be that guy (or girl). Always remember that the root note is king. Continue reading “The Root Note is King” »

August 11, 2014

Money Guitar Tip #9: “The Next Thing”

Strumming and changing chords is at the heart of all guitar playing.  And experienced players make it look so easy. 

But executing a clean chord change – in rhythm – is one of the most difficult things for beginner guitarists to do.

After all, there are multiple “moving parts” in every chord change. Fingers move in various combinations with different strings and different placements to figure out. The thumb changes its position. The wrist relaxes or bends.

It’s easy to see why a rookie guitar player would struggle with this: there’s an awful lot to process! 

And we’re only talking about the left hand. :)

While I employ a few different strategies for helping my beginners through the technical difficulties of playing chords, one of the simplest methods to deal with chord changes is more a matter of attitude than technical ability. Continue reading “Money Guitar Tip #9: “The Next Thing”” »

July 15, 2014

Money Guitar Tip #8: “Flicking Water”

One of my favorite verbal cues for strumming the guitar is based on a simple task that we perform every day: we wash our hands.

And what do we do automatically after washing our hands?

We flick the excess water off.

That, my friends, is perfect strumming technique.

“Flicking water” is a highly effective cue that will help you stay loose and relaxed while getting your strum on.

How great – and easy – is that? Continue reading “Money Guitar Tip #8: “Flicking Water”” »

June 24, 2014

The Golden Rules of Bending Strings

Bending strings is one of the most unique and awesome things about playing guitar.

Other instrumentalists may try, but guitar players are legit note-benders. We can bend a note a little or a lot or anywhere in between!

However, with great musical power comes great responsibility, so we six-stringers are responsible for making our bends as excellent as possible.

The only problem is, bending strings is hard work. And many players simply never learn the guitar technique to get ‘er done the right way.

If you’ve been frustrated with bends that are weak, shaky and out of tune, then this lesson is just what the guitar doctor ordered!

Armed with three main technique principles – I call ‘em The Golden Rules of Bending – you can be confident that your bends will be strong, controlled and accurate. Continue reading “The Golden Rules of Bending Strings” »

June 4, 2014

Applying the Two Pentatonic Paths

In the last installment, we covered a topic that I call “Two Paths”. It’s a relatively simple, yet profound, idea for playing pentatonic scales.

In a nutshell, we learn to navigate each octave of a pentatonic scale along two separate paths. This gives us more flexibility in our approach and opens up our fretboard vision.

Today’s lesson features some practical exercises for developing your Two Paths skills. These exercises should not only help you to develop more vocabulary for your lead guitar improv, but they should also help you to understand why some of your favorite solos are played the way they are. Continue reading “Applying the Two Pentatonic Paths” »

Jim Bowley is a professional guitarist, teacher and blogger. A native of Baltimore, he has over 30 years of playing experience and an advanced degree in Music Education from Towson University. Jim lives in Bel Air, MD where he maintains a thriving private lesson studio and performs with his band, Remains of Radio.

© 2012 Jim Bowley All rights reserved.
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