(4 replies, posted in About Chordie)

How do I delete a song book?  I want to dump the default songbook, but I can't figure out how.



(12 replies, posted in Acoustic)

<table border="0" align="center" width="90%" cellpadding="3" cellspacing="1"><tr><td class="SmallText"><b>Jace wrote on Fri, 06 October 2006 20&#58;53</b></td></tr><tr><td class="quote">
I tried taking lessons at three different times in my life and stopped for various reasons, but it was really clear that I just can't seem to learn to read music. I will try to learn theory and see if I can gain a better understanding.

Don't get all wrapped up trying to learn to read standard notation.  It's not necessary to understanding theory, although it does help a little, in that it's a good tool to help you visualize things when it comes to chord formation.   For most modern music,  it's overkill.

Instead of standard notation,  as far as scales are concerned, just use the note's place in the scale.

I   II    III   IV     V    VI   VII     Where I is the root,  II is the second note, etc.   This will make a little more sense once you understand what the various scales are and how they are derived.

The important thing to remember (and by that, I mean *memorize*) is the interval between the notes of the scale.   Between I and II is a whole step.   Between II  and III is a whole step.  Between III  and IV is a half step, etc...   That is easy to translate to the fretboard because each fret is a half step from the one above it.   You can see that by walking down a single string as I discussed above.

A lot of people get really intimidated by all the possible scales.   There are 12 notes in the chromatic scale, and each one of them can be the root for a major scale, a variety of minor scales, and a bunch of other types of scales as well (pentatonics, etc).  That sounds like a whole lot, but it really isn't if you understand that you don't need to memorize each scale on it's own (leave that for horn players <img src="images/smiley_icons/icon_smile.gif" border=0 alt="Smile"> ), just the interval patern for it.   If you can memorize the interval patern for a natural minor scale, you can play all of the natural minors, because it's the same no matter where you start, and it translates to the fretboard really easily.

So get used to thinking of scales and chords in terms of I  II  III, etc, and the intervals between them.   Then you can learn things like

A major chord is the  I  III   and  V of it's associated major scale.    C major is C, E and G.   I   III   V.

A huge amount of modern music is derived from the I   IV  and V chords for the key it is in.    Someone else mentioned learning to play  a "12 bar blues."   Great idea.    That's a 12 bar I    IV    V pattern.      If you were playing in C,  you would play   C  F and G (I   IV   V).    If you were in E  you would play  E   A  and B  (I   IV   V),   etc.    And so on.   

I'm certain that one of the books you own has the "Circle of 5ths" in it.  In reality, that is a "Circle of intervals,"  and is a powerfull tool for understanding this stuff.   I'd like to get it inlayed into all my guitars, and have gone so far as to consider a tattoo of it on my arm.    <img src="images/smiley_icons/icon_biggrin.gif" border=0 alt="Very Happy">

Playing scales will help improve your technique.   *Understanding* them will help improve your musicianship.

I think this forum aught to have a "Theory" section to discuss this kind of stuff.

Good luck.   And practice a lot.


(5 replies, posted in Song requests)

Any reference to this song, either by the Louvin Brothers or the cover by Open Road would be much appreciated.


(12 replies, posted in Acoustic)

<table border="0" align="center" width="90%" cellpadding="3" cellspacing="1"><tr><td class="SmallText"><b>Jace wrote on Fri, 06 October 2006 00&#58;22</b></td></tr><tr><td class="quote">
Thanks Ken. I found a site that showed 3 scales it said I should learn. I printed off the first one. All it says is Major Scale but I don't know what letter it is (a c g etc.)so I'm a might confused. But I'll take your advice and work on one song and scale at a time.


Theory is hard to get, but once you get it, it will make your playing a ton easier.

Here's the deal with major scales, and how they relate to the fretboard.   

You should already know that each fret will raise or lower the tone a "half-tone (or step)."   If you skip a fret, you play a whole tone.   Play an open E, then fret the 1st fret on the E string, and you're playing F (a half tone up from E), one more fret is F# (a whole tone up from E), one more, G, etc.

A major scale is made up of the following steps.   "Root" is the first note of the scale, and indicates which scale it is.  If you start on the A (5th) string, you're playing A major, etc.

root, whole step, whole step, half step, whole step, whole step, whole step, half step

So sit down with your guitar, and fret the following on any sting.

Open, 2, 4, 5, 7, 9, 11, 12

Congratulations, you've just played a major scale.  Notice that from root, it's whole, whole, half, etc...

The key relationship you want to make is between the steps, and where you fret.   Try this (it's easier if your guitar has a cutaway).  Pick any note on the fretboard as root, and then play the whole, whole, half, whole patern from there.  Try it from C (third fret on the A string).  C  Major scale, just like that.

So now you have one pattern for playing a major scale.  But there are other patterns, too, which is what you are probably looking at.  It doesn't give you a key because it will be the same pattern no matter what key you are playing in.    Because it's the same pattern no matter what scale it is, you can play that pattern from (almost) anywhere, and it will be a major scale.   You can play scales and not even know what key they are in, just by using that scale pattern.

So why are scales important?  Because every song is in some key, and if you can play in that key, you can figure out the song.  Scales are the root of chords as well.  A major chord is the root, third, and fifth note of it's associated major scale.  All of the modes you have heard about are based on major scales.   

Theory will make you a better player.  It's one thing to figure out which notes should be played, but understanding *why* you play those notes, and not others is a huge step.

Good luck, and practice a lot.


(5 replies, posted in Electric)

Break your practice routines into three distinct parts.  Early on, focus on part one.  As you get better at each step, you can spend more time on the later steps.

One part should focus solely on building strength and dexterity.  Play scales and chord progressions until your hands cramp.  Rest a few minutes, and then play until your hands cramp again.  Repeat.

Part two should focus on learning the fretboard and music theory.  Find all the Cs on the board.  Play the major scales, and their relative minors.  Work all the various chord types for a given key (major, minor, M7, etc...) learn the circle of 5ths.  That kind of stuff will make playing songs a million times easier once your hands are in good shape.

Part three (and you may want to wait a while) is to play some songs.  Find a couple you like, and practice the crap out of them.

Do this every day.

<table border="0" align="center" width="90%" cellpadding="3" cellspacing="1"><tr><td class="SmallText"><b>upyerkilt wrote on Tue, 03 October 2006 13&#58;06</b></td></tr><tr><td class="quote">
jerome yer right.

A band should be based on it's live performances ( it was you that said that  wasnt it?, never mind, great sentance anyway whoever it was)


It wasn't me that said that, but it's certainly something I've said before, and believe.  Great bands play great shows.

Some bands are simply better live.  ZZ Top and Jane's Addiction both come to mind as bands who's live shows completely blow their studio stuff away.

Some bands simply suck live, and that takes away a whole lot from their studio stuff.  It tells me that the studio sound is a result of great sound engineering, rather than great musicianship.  Depeche Mode and Mars Volta are some of the worst live shows I've ever seen, and while I never really liked DM, I did like Volta.

What makes a great band, to me, is great musicians.  That's why Zepplin and Floyd and Rush are still great, and always will be.  Jimmy Page, David Gilmore, and Lee/Peart are all great musicians and songwriters.  Any band they play in could be great.

<table border="0" align="center" width="90%" cellpadding="3" cellspacing="1"><tr><td class="SmallText"><b>upyerkilt wrote on Sat, 30 September 2006 10&#58;30</b></td></tr><tr><td class="quote">

I have no idea who any of those bands are you mentioned apart from poison, a band I used to love but "one of the greatest" ????? nah, no way, they may have sold venues out but not stadiums, they may have been good musicians but not fantastic.

Although Michael Jacko, even though I dont like his stuff apart from the earth song ( at a push) he would have to be in the greatest as fans and album sales and sell out concerts for years upon years.


That's kind of my point.  If you don't know who Shawn Lane is, or Bella Fleck, you should look them up.   Both are phenomenally tallented players that had they taken up a more "popular" style would regularly be ranked amongst the greates of all time.  Lane is dead now, so his legacy will have to be carried on through his fan base, but Fleck and the Flecktones are still playing, and you should get out and see them if you can.  Check your small venue listings.

Lane, I think, is worth special note, as he was a child prodigy, and played with Black Oak Arkansas when he was like 14 years old.  Then he became a legendary blues player in the Memphis area, and finally carried himself off to Inda to study carnatic music with his contemporaries over there.

An example of his melodic and technical genious.  <a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MoqRENuuLrs" target="_blank">http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MoqRENuuLrs</a>

Point being, he could have quite easily played contemporary rock, become a shred monkey and made a gazillion as a rock star.  But he didn't.  He followed his interests, and played what he wanted to, and the result is truly great, even though I'm probably the only person in a 10 block radius that's heard of him.

So compare that to Jackson.  "Thriller" was, at one point, the highest selling album of all time.  The album it knocked off for the #1 spot?  The sound track to "Saturday Night Fever."   I've see Poision, and they filled the stadium in the mid 80s.

So what I'm saying is that "greatness" has little to do with "popularity."  The popular tide sometimes brings up a bit of sewage now and again.

<table border="0" align="center" width="90%" cellpadding="3" cellspacing="1"><tr><td class="SmallText"><b>upyerkilt wrote on Wed, 29 March 2006 13&#58;08</b></td></tr><tr><td class="quote">
I see with this thread people are just typing in their favourite band and not really thinking of success that bands have had or still having, i.e. SLIPKNOT??? come on, do they sell out thousands upon thousands worldwide??? no, I dont think so, so they cannot be included as well as a few more mentioned here, might be good or great bands but not the best of all time.


Nah.  Greatness has absolutley nothing to do with how many albums you sell or how many people you can pack into a stadium.

True greats like Bella Fleck and Shawn Lane stand heads and shoulders above populars like Michael Jackson and Poison, groups who regularly sold out at one time.

Greatest band ever?  Marine Corps Drum and Bugle Corps, followed up by the Flecktones.  <img src="images/smiley_icons/icon_smile.gif" border=0 alt="Smile">


(21 replies, posted in Acoustic)

It's an inherent problem with tablature.  There is no rhythm, so you're stuck having to figure out what is played where.

If you want to see all of the music, you need to learn to read standard notation.


(11 replies, posted in Electric)

<table border="0" align="center" width="90%" cellpadding="3" cellspacing="1"><tr><td class="SmallText"><b>spaminator wrote on Wed, 27 September 2006 13&#58;11</b></td></tr><tr><td class="quote">
<table border="0" align="center" width="90%" cellpadding="3" cellspacing="1"><tr><td class="SmallText"><b>millenimum wrote on Sat, 23 September 2006 20&#58;07</b></td></tr><tr><td class="quote">
So how does that help?? pentatonic means five sides.  It is five notes out of a major scale.. if you like I could give the patterns...

yeh but which one do you want



(insert exotic scale name here)

the notes you use are different for each

The patterns you use to play them are remarkably similar, though.  There are only 5 minor pentatonic patterns, and you can play them from anywhere on the fret board.   You can play pentatonic scales without even knowing which key you are playing in.   Pick a note on the fretboard, and play one of the five patterns.   Viola!   You're shredding.

The question, really, is "When do I play a particular scale pattern?"  And that's where a good understanding of music theory makes you a better player.  It broadens your options about what to play, and when to play it.


(5 replies, posted in Acoustic)

After enough practice you'll be able to tell the chord from the tab.  You'll look at a particular tab and say "Oh, thats 'E'."


(32 replies, posted in Acoustic)

<table border="0" align="center" width="90%" cellpadding="3" cellspacing="1"><tr><td class="SmallText"><b>dada wrote on Mon, 04 September 2006 17&#58;01</b></td></tr><tr><td class="quote">
Hey folks..sorry about popping off earlier, but these type of posts just irk me.

    I'm on this site at least once a day ,usually more, and it's these "floater" post I'm talking about. These people who stumble across the web site, see some random post and feel the need to enlighten everyone. So they bestow their knowledge on us like some Red Cross food drop.

    We all could learn music theory, scales, etc..without even toching a guitar. They do it in Elementary music classes all the time. What I and 1000's of others have a problem with is the actual physical action of finger placement and movement. So ANY excercise that helps me, I'll try.

again, to the regulars...sorry  and to all the Eddie Vanhalens out there...thanks

It seems to me everyone is in an uproar over some really great advice.   

The problem you have is your ability to manipulate the fretboard in a predictable way.  Music theory, combined with technique gained through practice, is what allows you to do that.

Learn theory.  Put it to use, and you will be a much better player in the end.


(11 replies, posted in Acoustic)

When you first start, your hands will feel like they are made of concrete, and your fingers will disobey every order your brain gives them.   The only way out of that is practice.  Lots of practice.  Right now you probably have it in your mind to sit and play some songs.   Instead, practice with the goal of increasing your hand's strength and agility.  Treat yourself like a body builder right now, instead of a musician.   Play scales.  Lots of them.   Play simple chord progressions over and over and over.

There is a little song my daughter taught me, and when I am practicing with conditioning in mind, it's the only one I allow myself to sing, as you can play it to anything.

"Practicing is just the same thing over and over and over and over...."   Practice every day, if only for a few minutes.

It will take a few months before your hands are in any kind of condition to play even remotely well.

Good luck!