Being awesome doesn’t happen by accident.
You’ve got to put forth some effort to get there. As much as we would like to think that we can achieve awesome status just by breathing and standing upright, I’m gonna break the news to you: It usually requires more than that. Much more.
You’ve got to bring certain characteristics and certain strategies to the table if you want to achieve greatness in anything. And this applies to anything you’re trying to accomplish, improve upon, learn, etc. And whether it be music, academics, your career, your favorite hobby, your relationships – why not shoot for awesome in everything you do? After all, we’ve only got one life to live; we might as well make it the best it can be, right?
The Six Points of Awesome are all about attitude and strategies. I’ve pieced together the elements that I believe are required to be great at whatever you choose. For our specific purposes here, we’ll choose…drum roll…guitar!
Just to be clear, I’m not saying that I’ve arrived – I’m still striving for awesome every single day, like many of you. But if you feel like you’ve been going through the motions and you’ve got more to offer, then by all means get busy employing these Six Points.
The reward will be music – great guitar music – to your ears. Continue reading “The Six Points of Awesome” »
Want to increase your musical “awesome factor” by at least 10 points?
Learn to play the ukelele!
If you know how to play guitar, even at a basic level, you can transfer that information and make music on the ukelele much easier than you can on other instruments, such as mandolin, dobro or banjo, which makes the uke a perfect second instrument for guitarists.
Of course, the ukelele is all the rage these last few years, due to its appearance in a handful of popular forums: countless YouTube versions of “Somewhere Over the Rainbow”, American Idol, “Hey Soul Sister” by Train, virtuoso performances by Jake Shimabukuro (check out his phenomenal version of “Bohemian Rhapsody” if you want to see just how far you can take this instrument), etc.
According to the owners of Appalachian Bluegrass, the Baltimore institution where I recently bought my new tiny terror, 500 ukeleles were sold last year! Bottom line: The ukelele is everywhere and it’s much more mainstream than mandolin or banjo ever were (or probably ever will be). So it’s a great time for guitarists to expand their musical horizons and get some uke in their lives!
Note: The correct pronunciation is “oo-ke-le-le”, not “yoo-ke-le-le”, but honestly…it just sounds weird to a non-Hawaiian. Especially when you shorten it to “ook”. Pronounce it how you like – I won’t tell anyone.
Getting started on ukelele is actually pretty easy, but gaining a true understanding is a little trickier. It just requires that we clear up a few basic concepts. Let’s get our uke on, six-stringers! Continue reading “Ukelele for Guitar Players” »
I’m a child of the ’80s.
Although I became a fan of all sorts of music in the ’70s, I became a guitar player in earnest in the early-’80s.
Today’s Unsung Guitar Hero was one of my favorite players as an up-and-coming guitarist, and I spent many hours learning the parts to the hit songs on which he played.
He’s responsible for the signature guitar tracks on TWO of the iconic songs of the 80s – songs that became signatures for TWO different artists – yet he is almost completely unknown to the average music fan.
He is, according to AllMusic, “one of the finest yet underrated guitarists of the early-’80s, arena rock/MTV genre.” However, I’d venture a guess that most guitarists only know him by association – as the husband of one of rock’s greatest female vocalists, Pat Benatar. Continue reading “Unsung Guitar Hero: Neil Giraldo” »
A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away* lived a guitar teacher who had a bright idea. Although bright ideas were not his typical thing, on that day he felt particularly enlightened.
He knew that some of his guitar students wanted to play lead guitar. He knew that they were ready to take the leap.
And from his vast experience, he knew that playing lead guitar was really just a matter of mastering a few basic moves and combining them to form seemingly complex phrases of musical genius.
[Note: Although it would have been fun to keep the "musical genius" myth going, he knew that playing hot licks and spankin' riffs was not the result of genius - after all, he had learned to do it himself. And he was no genius. Just a guy with a dream.]
So he devised a simple plan to get his students rockin’ on the right track. This plan was built on a foundation of movements that appear time and time again in the lead guitar universe. And thus was born…The Ten Basic Lead Guitar Moves. Continue reading “For Lead Guitarists: The Ten Basic Moves” »
Hey, kids! Welcome to a long overdue Free For All Friday, where we throw random stuff at the wall to see what sticks. It’s like a musical food fight! What’s on the menu today, you ask?
Today our selections include:
1 – Guitar Zero, a fascinating new book on the challenges of learning guitar for adults
2 – Conan gets a crack at a Fab guitar collection
3 – Twitter blows up with, “Who is Paul McCartney?”
For those about to rock, we salute you! Continue reading “Free For All Friday, March 2, 2012” »