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Learning Barre Chords
[ 2 ] posted by admin on Fri, Jan 31 @ 12:30 PM
chrislake writes "Whenever I’m teaching guitar to beginners, one of the first real stumbling blocks for most students seems to come when they first encounter barre chords. After learning the basic open chords and practicing changing fluently between them, as well as, perhaps, learning a few simple riffs or single note picking exercises, along come barre chords. Most students will have been making good progress up to this point and then ‘Bam!’ – For some it can be like hitting a brick wall. Unfortunately, for many students, this is enough to either stop them from progressing further, or even cause them to quit playing all together.



Barre chords pose a technical challenge for the beginner for a number of reasons: lack of adequate finger strength, the requirement of precise finger placement, and a necessary understanding of the fretboard which may not have been developed yet, are the main ones. Some of the most common questions I get asked by beginners regarding barre chords are ‘Do I really need to learn them? Are they really necessary?’ and ‘Is it worth putting in the effort?’. Well, whist of course there is some effort required in learning how to use barre chords correctly, being able to play and understand them opens up a HUGE array of new playing possibilities in a relatively short space of time, so the answer to all those questions is a definite ‘YES! You really do need to learn them!’ and in this article I’m going to explain why, and show you that they needn’t be the headache that so many beginners find them. They just require a bit of perseverance.



So what exactly are barre chords? Well, they’re really not too difficult to understand. Basically they are just moveable chord shapes that can be easily transposed over the whole neck, enabling you to play many different chords with just one chord shape. The reason you can do this is because, unlike with open chords, barre chords do not contain any open strings – as you move the chord around the neck all of the notes move in relation to each other. With an open chord you use your fingers to fret certain notes, while other notes are played on the open strings. If we take E major as an example, your first finger plays a G# (first fret, G string), your second finger plays a B (2nd fret, A string), and your third finger plays an E (2nd fret, D string). The other notes in the chords (low E, B, and high E) are played by the open strings.



If you were to move this chord shape around the neck, by keeping the three fretting fingers in the same shape but changing positions to, say, the 5th fret, the 7th fret, or the 8th fret, the three open strings will continue to play the same open notes (E,B,E) so you will no longer be playing a major chord (although you can get some very nice sounding chords indeed by experimenting with this idea – I suggest you give it a try). The whole point of barre chords is that if you play a major chord, for example, and move it around the neck, you will always be playing a major chord, just built on a different root note, whether G, B, Db, F#, or whatever, the same shape will always be the same type of chord: major, minor 7th, dominant 7th#5, etc.



In order to achieve this you have to move ALL of the notes in the chord together, even the ones produced by the open strings. How do you move the notes of the open strings? By using your first finger to ‘bar’ them, effectively moving the nut by replacing it with your finger. Just like using a capo, but your finger is barring the strings instead.



So why should you bother to learn barre chords? What use are they? Well, firstly, if you stick with only open chords you’ll find that you are limited in where you can play chords. Most of the standard open chord shapes are way down on the first three frets, so if you are playing something higher up the neck and then want to play a chord it’s a bit of a jump to get back down to them. Also, some of the shapes are really quite fiddly to play – C minor or G minor for instance – and, due to their low register and close intervals, they can often sound rather dull and muddy.



Barre chords enable you to take a few simple chord shapes and move them all over the neck to create virtually any chord. Whereas with open chords you need to learn one chord shape for A, one chord shape for C, and another for D, with barre chords you can learn one major chord shape and, just by moving it around, you can play EVERY major chord. Of course there are different shapes for minor chords, and 7th chords and so on, but they’re only slightly different, and once you know the shape, you can play it in all 12 keys. And there is more than one chord shape for each type of chord, based on the five open chord shapes, which means no matter where you are on the neck, from the 1st fret to the 24th, you should always be able to find a voicing for ANY chord, whether C minor or Eb major, F#min6 or Dmaj7sus4, within one or two frets of where you are playing. I hope you can see the enormous possibilities that understanding this can open up for you.



As I mentioned above, there are five shapes for each chord type (major, minor, 7th, etc.) and these are based on the open chord shapes: C,A,G,E, and D. Some of these shapes are more practical than others however. The E and A shapes are the most common, and are relatively easy to play, in major, minor, and 7th variants. Many guitarists get by just fine knowing only these two shapes and, while it’s true that these will cover most of what you’ll ever need to play, I’d definitely recommend making the extra effort to learn the others. After E and A, the next two most common are the C and D shapes (although the C minor shape is very tricky, and the D shape, both major and minor, can also be a bit fiddly). Then there is the G shape which is very rarely used, and difficult to play although, again, it’s worth knowing if only as a reference, and it can be used for some nice chordal embellishments. As you can see there are really not that many shapes to learn – the E and A shapes (major and minor) will cover most things, so that 4 shapes. The C and D major shapes are definitely worth learning, as is the D minor shape, so that’s 7 shapes. Even if you include the really difficult ones, that only takes it up to 10 chord shapes. Just by learning these 10 shapes you can play EVERY major and minor chord, ANYWHERE on the fretboard. Pretty amazing right?? Add in the variants for 7ths, 6ths, and other extension (which are easy once you understand how they are constructed) and all of a sudden you’ve got a HUGE variety of chords at your disposal. Well worth the effort.



So how do you go about actually learning these barre chords? Well first you need to be familiar with the open chord shapes they are based on, or at least the most common ones mentioned above – that is C,A, E, and D major, and A and E minor. And maybe D minor too.



Now, because you’re going to be using your first finger as a bar, you’ll probably have to adjust your fingering to suit. Let’s take a look at an actual example to explain this.



Let’s take the open E major chord. Most people would play this by fretting the G string on the first fret with the first finger, the A string on the second fret with your second finger, and the D string on also on the second fret with your third finger, while leaving the low E, B, and high E strings open, and strumming all six strings. In order to start moving this chord shape around the neck we need to free up the first finger to use as a bar. To do this simply switch each fretted note to the next available finger – so the G string is now fretted at the first fret with the second finger, the A string at the second fret with your third finger, and the D string at the second fret with your fourth finger. The first finger is now free to bar the open strings.



Now we’re ready to start moving around the fretboard. Let’s start by moving up just one fret. Slide the three fretting fingers up to the next fret. Now you need to move the open strings up one fret as well. You do this by placing the first finger across all six strings. You should be pressing down firmly with the fleshy part of the finger, close to the fret, applying even pressure across all the strings. This will no doubt feel quite uncomfortable at first as you need to build up enough strength in your hand, as well as toughen up the skin on your finger itself. This will come with practice. Once you have the bar in position try playing the chord to hear how it sounds. This is now an F major chord. If you move it up another fret it becomes F# major. One more and it’s G major. You can now move it to any fret and it will be the major chord built on the root note which, for this shape, is the note on the low E string, fretted by the barring first finger. Now you can do the same for all the other barre chord shapes.



When learning barre chords for the first time there are two common problems that may arise. The first is that the ‘open’ (barred) notes are not sounding correctly. This is caused by not applying enough pressure with the barring finger. This is really just a strength issue – you just need to keep practicing until you build up the required strength and endurance. It will take a bit of time. Try doing lots of different finger exercises and practice other things as well as just barre chords. This will help you to gain strength in your hand and you’ll find, over time, that it becomes easier to keep applying the required pressure on the strings making each note sound clearly, without causing any discomfort to your hand.



The other common problem people have is accidentally muting strings, causing those notes to sound dead, or not to ring out at all. This problem is not unique to barre chords, it can happen with other chords too, but something about having to keep the first finger straight while applying even pressure across all six strings seems to make it an issue more common to barre chords than most other chord types. This is just a finger positioning issue. You need to have a really good look at your fingers when playing and make sure they aren’t touching any strings they shouldn’t be. Only the tips of the fingers should be making contact with the strings in most cases (obviously not in the case of the barring finger), so keep them curled up away from the fretboard and away from the other strings. Remember to keep your hand as relaxed as possible when playing barre chords.



You’ll almost certainly find that the hardest place to play barre chords is down near the nut; the F major chord we looked at earlier is one most people have trouble with at first. This is partly because there is less ‘play’ on the strings here, so more pressure is required, and also the frets are wider apart, so your fingers need to stretch more. As you move up the neck you’ll find that they get much more comfortable to play, until you get past the 12th fret where it starts to get a bit cramped. Of course you should practice playing barre chords in all registers in order to become proficient.



So, having read through this article, I hope you can now appreciate the fact that barre chords are an essential part of any guitarist’s tool kit. Once you have them under your belt you’ll never look back, and you’ll find yourself using them all the time, and wondering how you ever managed without them. Like most things on the guitar mastering them is really just a case of practice, practice, practice. Stick with it and the effort will pay off and you’ll have a whole new world of guitar playing possibilities open up for you.







This article was written by Chris Lake, a professional guitarist and guitar teacher of over 25 years. If you would like more help with all aspects of learning the guitar may I suggest you head over to Chris's website where you can get a free copy of his latest eBook about playing the guitar - The-Guitar-Guide.com



"
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    How To Play Guitar By Ear
    [ 2 ] posted by admin on Tue, May 12 @ 04:58 PM
    jonrhodesuk writes "Playing by ear is arguably the most joyful and expressive ways of playing the guitar. In its purest form a person can play anything they hear in their head instantly on the guitar. Whilst very few if any guitarists can actually play absolutely anything on the guitar immediately, there are some extremely skilled guitarists that come close. With consistent and appropriate practice, you can definitely expand your abilities to play by ear, moving closer and closer towards the goal of playing purely by ear. I can’t do the practice for you, but I can show you some very useful methods to help you learn to tune in and play by ear.



    Playing by ear is very useful for a musician for several reasons. If you wish to learn a piece of music, then with this ability you can do so very quickly. A person who can play by ear can simply listen to the piece several times, and then play it – easy! If you wish to write your own music, then you can play whatever sounds are in your mind, rather than fumbling around the fretboard trusting to luck. If you are playing live, then you are far less likely to forget the next note or chord because you can hear in your head what you are supposed to play next, and simply play it as you hear it. A person who has the ability to play by ear can also improvise much easier, and can spontaneously jam with other musicians, since they are far better positioned to think on their feet.



    These abilities are the hallmark of great guitarists. Not how many exotic scales or chords you know, but how you can play with your soul. Playing by ear definitely unlocks your soul and allows it to wander into your playing, making it special and unique – just like you! You can relax and allow your powerful and creative subconscious mind to take over the playing, rather than play consciously and robotically. How can you open up your soul if you don’t know what sounds you are going to make until after you have made them?



    Some people can play good solid improvised pieces without this ability. However if they don’t know what sounds they are going to make until after they have made them, then they are relying on technical knowledge such as chords and scales, and some luck. There is little opportunity for opening up the soul this way.



    Here are some valuable tips to help you develop your skills in playing by ear.





    1) Always make sure your guitar is tuned in concert pitch.

    It is very important that your guitar is accurately tuned at all times. If it is not, then your mind can become confused when the sounds it produces are different each time you play it. When you hit a low E on the 5th fret, it should always ring a true A – unless you are experimenting with alternative tunings.



    2) Practice playing very simple tunes that you know the sound, but don’t know how to play. Simple nursery songs like ‘Twinkle Twinkle Little Star’ are a great way to start. Take your time and relax, and work out how to play these simple songs without relying on musical notation or TAB. It will be slow at first, but keep persevering. As time goes by you will be able to gradually increase the complexity of these songs, and find them quicker and easier to work out.



    3) Try and re-learn old songs you have forgotten without consulting the sheet music or TAB. This is great for developing your abilities to play by ear, as it forces your mind to work and fill in the gaps of your knowledge of the song.



    4) When practicing scales or guitar melodies, sing or hum the note you are playing. Start simply and build up. After some practice you will be able to hum every note that you play at the same time you play it. This exercise seriously helps bridge the mind guitar connection.



    5) Really listen to yourself when playing. This may seem obvious but it is not always. It took me many years of playing before I got into the habit of really listening to myself playing. I was too busy concentrating on what I was playing to really listen. You need to relax, let go, and listen to yourself. Your ears are the most important part of your playing. Jimi Hendrix once commented in an interview that he plays guitar ‘with my ears’. What he meant by this was that he had the ability to play guitar by ear, and he really listened to his own playing in order to express himself.





    If you follow these pieces of advice every day, then you will quickly notice an improvement in your abilities to play by ear. To play fully by ear may take years of practice like this, but you can move some way close to this in a relatively short period of time. As your abilities to play by ear improve, you will find your enjoyment and all round guitar abilities improve.



    The best way to practice this is definitely little and often. If you practice these exercises for even 10-15 minutes, several times per day, you will see vast improvements in your playing in just a few weeks. Your confidence on the guitar will soar when you realise you are no longer faking it - you intimately know the guitar and you know what you are doing. Your playing will rapidly grow to new heights, and your passion and enjoyment will grow exponentially.



    So put in that work and share in the joy of being able to play guitar by ear. Just a few minutes every day will help you make significant leaps. It’s a wonderful world to live in, and you will be so grateful that you tuned in.





    Jon Rhodes is both a clinical hypnotherapist and professional musician. He has helped many people advance their guitar playing abilities with his unique talents in the fields of both music and hypnotherapy. If you would like to improve your guitar playing and bring out the soul in your music, then click here for his guitar hypnosis programme.

    "
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      Making a Living as a Guitar Music Transcriber/Arranger
      [ 2 ] posted by admin on Thu, Nov 01 @ 11:15 AM
      Anonymous writes "

      Making a Living as a Guitar Music Transcriber/Arranger
      By Dale Turner (Originally written/published in 1994; slightly revised in 2004)



      Since I began playing guitar, I've always enjoyed figuring out tunes and solos of various artists. This is something any musician does, especially if they're interested in popular music (rock, blues, jazz, country, etc.), as a means of increasing their repertoire and their musical vocabulary. As a musician continues to develop, he/she may find that they can play their instrument with greater dexterity, better tone, stylistic appropriateness (taste), and spontaneity. Through time, a musician's aural skills also develop. A good ear combined with a solid musical education can not only enhance your ability to perform effectively in a variety of musical situations, but also open up a few possibilities for employment in other non-performance-oriented musical fields—like professional transcribing and arranging!



      If that sounds interesting to you, read on! This article will enlighten you to the tricks, tools, and traumas of the transcribing trade, as well as provide a realistic battle plan—if you're interested in seeking work as a transcriber/arranger—for preparing materials to approach a major publishing company.



      What's Expected of a Transcriber?



      Every publishing company that prints note-for-note guitar anthologies of popular music includes all lead and background vocal parts, guitars (in standard notation and tablature), and sometimes other instruments (mandolin, banjo, piano, bass, or saxophone—arranged for guitar) in their publications. The vocals are an extremely significant element in a transcription in that they often dictate the tune's arrangement. For instance, if the first verse of a tune is 16 bars long and the second verse is only 12, chances are you're going to need to write out both verses in their entirety without being able to use any arranging devices like repeat signs or D.S. al Coda. The song's lyrics also need to be written out below the transcribed vocal melody, written in direct accordance to the way they are syllabically hy-phen-at-ed in a dictionary. This means you will need to look up some words! (Also, all capitalized letters need to be underlined in red pencil!) The lyrics to each song are usually included in the sleeve of the compact disc and are occasionally labeled with section headings like 1st Verse, Pre-chorus, Chorus, Interlude, Guitar Solo, Bridge, etc., which you may find valuable in determining the song's form (the order of a song's sections, once arranged, referred to as a song's road map). Early on in a transcriber's career, this stage can be one of the most frustrating—trying to organize a tune on paper in a "user-friendly" manner (i.e., easy to learn) while keeping the page count to a minimum to save the publishing company in printing/transcribing costs (transcriber/arrangers are paid by the printed page) can eat up a lot of hours! Like anything else, with practice, this process becomes far less tedious. Once you have a good sense of how you want to arrange the song, the next stage is usually to figure out all the guitar parts, using text-based shorcuts to recall figures—like Rhy. Fig. 1, Riff A, etc.—whenever possible.



      Transcribing Tools, Tips, and Tricks



      Some aspects of transcribing guitar parts are more difficult than others, and vary depending on the artist. The tuning of the instrument (dropped-D, tuned down 1/2-step, open-G tuning, etc.) and/or presence of capos must be assessed at the outset. (In either case, listen for open strings that pop up, either on purpose or by accident—like after sliding out of a note—to establish tuning. Harmonics may also tip you off.) Do yourself a huge favor and subscribe to every guitar magazine under the sun so you can read interviews of current artists to see if they reveal any of their trade secrets. When a new album comes out it's quite common that the interviewer will mention a specific tune and want to discuss any peculiarities (strange tunings, mechanical/noise-making devices used, harmonizing effects, etc.) that may exist in that particular recorded performance. The ability to hear deep into the mix of a tune is another skill that needs to be cultivated, since it will help you determine how many different guitar parts exist on the recording to begin with. Here are a few tricks to try:



      1. If your stereo has an 1/8-inch phone jack and you are using headphones (always use headphones!), try pulling the jack out slightly. On some stereo systems this will actually remove the vocals, enabling you to hear guitar parts more clearly.


      2. Invest in a stereo system that has a karaoke feature. This system (I use AIWA) has a vocal fader that removes vocals almost completely, while boosting other frequencies giving, among other things, distorted rhythm guitar parts a little more clarity and definition. I've personally encountered a few instances where the initial notes played on a guitar with extremely heavy digital echo (during a solo) were difficult to hear. The delay was on another track and disappeared from the mix just as the vocal did when I used this same feature.


      3. Those of you who own a four-track cassette recorder that records at double speed can record an excerpt of a blazing solo and have it play back at half speed. This drops the pitch an octave but allows you to hear more subtleties in phrasing that can help immensely when it comes to trying to discern the exact location of a particular lick. (Make sure you check your rhythms at regular speed though, so you don't overly notate vibrato rhythms as pitch bends, among other things.)


      4. The Eventide Harmonizer has a sampling/real-time compression feature that enables you to record (sample) then play back music at a slower tempo (by time-stretching the audio file) while maintaining the instrument's original pitch. (NOTE: This article was written well before the widespread availability of digital recording technology. Nowadays, it's easy to sample a section of a fast solo and time stretch the waveform on a personal computer, slowing the lick down while retaining its original pitch.)


      Extreme methods like the above are often necessary to help speed up the transcribing process, given the publishing company's strict deadlines for each assignment. (Also, realize that the more familiarity you have with a particular style, the more you can use "guitar logic" to your advantage—chord forms, arpeggiation patterns,doublestop moves, etc. to at least put you on the path towards figuring out stuff that's difficult to hear.)



      Tailor-Making Your TABs to a Specific Publishing Company



      Every publishing company has their own copyrighted notational style. This means that Hal Leonard, Warner Brothers, CPP/Belwin, Cherry Lane, Amsco, and others all have slightly different ways of notating pitch bends, vibrato bar usage, hammer-ons and pull-offs, fingertapping, harmonics, etc. Keeping this in mind, if you're serious about trying to get a career as a transcriber off the ground, I offer the following recommendations:



      1. Choose one company to submit a sample of your work to.


      2. Go out and buy one of their album folios (transcription book of an entire album) of a band that plays tunes with a lot of metrical shifts, involved background vocals, multi-tracked guitar parts and intense guitar solos. The newer the book the better because every year or so it seems that a company comes up with a more specific way of notating certain things. (An example would be the addition of microtonal bends indicated in standard notation with alterations to standard flat or sharp signs in recent Hal Leonard publications.)


      3. Pick a current song containing many of the stylistic elements previously mentioned—one that, to your knowledge, has yet to be transcribed in a magazine or book. Use that company's transcription book to model every aspect of your work after. That means everything from placement of tempo markings, chord symbols, and figure recalls, to section headings, slurs in tablature, etc. REALITY CHECK: When an editor receives a manuscript, he/she expects that it will be accurate, legible, intelligently arranged, and in accordance to their company's notational style so it can to be sent straight to the engraver. (NOTE: The "engraver" is the person who manually inputs notes and TAB from your handwritten manuscript into a notational program like Finale, Sibelius, etc.) It's important to put your best foot forward!


      4. Next, find the name of the company's Music Editor and the company address (usually listed on the first page of their TAB books). Send that person your transcription, as well as a personal biography (highlighting your music education and versatility as a player) and business card in a large #7 envelope (so big that it can't fit easily in the person's mailbox so they have to deal with it). Then toss him/her a call the following week.


      Getting Work



      If your work is impressive, at the very least, it's possible your name will be forwarded to another working transcriber in your area who may be looking for an apprentice to incorporate into his/her transcribing team. (California, Wisconsin, Florida, and New York are considered "hotbeds" for this.) This is a "win-win" situation for both parties because a small transcribing team allows the established transcriber to accept even more work. (You will be credited in the book as well, but expect them to take a small cut of your pay because it is they who are getting the work, editing yours, and guaranteeing that it's all up to par.) Better yet, the publishing company you submitted your work to may invite you to audition by having you TAB out a song for one of their current folios in the process of being transcribed. This means better pay, but possibly less steady work. (The company will also likely send you a Style Manual at this point—a book containing almost all of that company's specfic notation preferences, featuring numerous "real life" musical examples.)



      In short, the work is out there. It's up to you to go out and get it. (Disciplined and detail-oriented need only apply!) Good luck :)



      About the Author:


      In addition to being a performing/recording musician, Dale Turner is also West Coast Editor of Guitar One magazine, an instructor at Hollywood's Musician's Institute, and has authored numerous guitar publications for Hal Leonard, Cherry Lane, and Warner Brothers. His latest CD, INTERPRETATIONS - Solo Arrangements for Guitar and Voice (available online through CDBaby.com, TowerRecords.com, and Amazon.com), has just been released on the INTIMATE AUDIO label.



      © 2004 Dale Turner ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

      "
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      What is guitar tablature?
      [ 3 ] posted by Admin on Tue, May 04 @ 06:30 PM
      The ability to read music (standard notation) may be a desired skill, but it is not a prerequisite for playing the guitar well. Contemporary guitarists are fortunate to have an abundance of interesting material presented in a special notation system called "tablature."

      Tablature is a centuries-old system of conveying musical information for stringed instruments with frets. It is a form of musical shorthand that graphically clarifies the exact position of each note on the fingerboard. Whereas standard notation uses a music staff with 5 lines and 4 spaces, in guitar tab, the 6 (staff) lines represent the strings and the numbers on them indicate the frets.

      "Tab" effectively translates standard notation into guitar-specific language.

      Read More Here
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        Whats the difference between fingerstyle and flatpicking?
        [ 2 ] posted by Admin on Tue, May 04 @ 06:26 PM
        The pick-hand technique involves the thumb (T), index (1), middle (2) and ring (3) fingers working independently, allowing polyphonic pursuits. The main and obvious advantage that finger-style has over playing with a "flat-pick," is the ability of each finger to "control" a string. This finger-style method enables a player to produce melody, harmony and (rhythmic) bass line simultaneously, on any string set. You can easily play arpeggios (used in all styles of music) with numerous finger and thumb combinations, that can provide an endless source of melodic and rhythmic variations. Finger-style playing opens a world of musical possibilities that the flat-pick simply can’t deliver. (conversely, flat-picking has its advantages) Despite their differences in technique, a large percentage of ALL guitar repertoire is in the keys of G, C, D, A, E, (F), and their related minor keys. This is because these "idiomatic" keys are related to the open strings. The open-string chord, with its resonating sound, is the heart and soul of blues, folk, rock, and C&W, as well as flamenco and classical guitar music.

        Read More Here
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        How do I play a chord on bass guitar?
        [ 1 ] posted by Admin on Tue, May 04 @ 06:19 PM
        Heres an example that should help:
        Lets take the simple C Chord on which you play the root or C note (3rd fret, A String). The all important lower 5th or G note is right next to the C on the E String while the upper 5th is only 2 frets up on the D String. The octave C is right next to that on the G String.

        This is true for all chords up the fretboard. The upper 5th is 2 up, one string over, the octave is 2 up, two strings over, and the lower 5th is same fret one string lower.

        To see how it looks go here:

        Read More


        Cheers!
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        Steps to take when buying a guitar
        [ 5 ] posted by Admin on Tue, May 04 @ 06:14 PM
        Before you start tearing your instrument apart, or if you’re thinking of buying a particular guitar, there are some steps you may want to take to determine whether guitar repair or setup is even necessary. Your approach may be different depending on the guitar makers and the woods and parts they use. Whether you’re evaluating for electric or acoustic guitar repair, following are some pointers to help guide you and evaluate a new or used guitar:



        Click Here
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          Information on chords
          [ 4 ] posted by Admin on Tue, Apr 20 @ 07:53 PM
          Thanks for visiting Guitar Player Resources. If you're looking for a lot of great info on chords, try http://www.guitar-player-resources.com/guitar-chords.html

          If you have some interesting voicings or other chord related info, feel free to share it here.

          Have fun!
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            How do I form a minor chord?
            [ 4 ] posted by Admin on Tue, Apr 20 @ 07:41 PM
            The basic theory (yuck - don't like that word) behind the form of a minor chord is, for example, let's take E major. E major contains the notes E (root), Ab (3rd) and B (5th). To form a minor chord you flat the 3rd, so in this case you flat the Ab. Now it becomes G (open) simply by lifting your finger off of the fret board. That is if you're in the first (open) position.

            Have fun!
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