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  #21  
Old 08-19-2009, 03:13 PM
McFly McFly is offline
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Default Re: Guitar Tips

A digital pedal board can be a lot of fun - it almost turns your guitar into a synthesizer, and you can get many sounds for a low price. However, sound quality is the tradeoff. You will rarely see a professional guitarist use one of these all-in-one units. Consider finding 2 or 3 analog pedals you can really get some good use out of before buying a digital board. Digital doesn't always mean better in sound reproduction, especially on stage.
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  #22  
Old 08-19-2009, 03:14 PM
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New to the guitar? Be sure you know what kind it is before you put new strings on it. There is nothing that sounds worse than steel strings on a classical guitar that calls for nylon strings.
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  #23  
Old 08-19-2009, 03:16 PM
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Have a chord book handy in your case, especially if you play any jazz. It can really help you to find a good voicing for a new type of chord you haven't played a lot. Faug7b9#11 anyone?
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  #24  
Old 08-19-2009, 03:18 PM
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Tablature is great for guitarists. Once you can read tab, start reading a plain music staff as soon as you can. It will open up a new world of possibilities for you, such as reading a melody in a piano score, solos transcribed for other instruments, etc.
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  #25  
Old 08-19-2009, 03:23 PM
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For some new sounds and a different feel to your playing, try experimenting with different picks. They come in various widths and materials. There are even steel picks for a harsh, metallic sound.
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  #26  
Old 08-20-2009, 01:11 PM
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Be aware that if you play guitar consistently, you will get calluses on your fingertips over time. Most guitarists, however, carry a kind of demented pride in them. I still remember a high school friend showing me how he could stick thumbtacks in the tips of all his fingers without feeling any pain.
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  #27  
Old 08-20-2009, 01:14 PM
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One way to build calluses quicker is to take rubbing alcohol and rub it into your fingertips a few times a day. This helps dry them out and the calluses build more quickly. Just be sure that it doesn't split the skin.
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  #28  
Old 08-20-2009, 01:23 PM
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One technique that many non-classical guitarists forget about is vibrato, or making the pitch pulsate quickly by repeatedly going sharp and then back to the actual pitch over and over very quickly, as a singer's voice does. This can be done in two ways. For a more tight vibrato, rock your finger on the headboard between the guitar body and the headstock as you are holding the note, pulling the string slightly over and over. The other way is to use a tremolo bar.
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  #29  
Old 08-20-2009, 01:27 PM
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Help prevent Carpal Tunnel Syndrome. It has cut the careers of many guitarists short, and interrupted many as well. Make sure that you hold the guitar properly, not gripping the fretboard tightly, wrapping your thumb around the back to play low notes, etc. It is also a good idea to stretch your hands and arm muscles before and after playing.
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  #30  
Old 08-20-2009, 01:31 PM
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Doesn't is sound great when a blues guitarist like B.B. King, Albert King, or Robert Cray bend a note? It's a great technique of used correctly. Just push the string toward the center of the fretboard while holding the note. Generally, play a note that is a half step below the third or fifth of the chord and bend the note up.
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  #31  
Old 08-20-2009, 07:46 PM
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If you play an acoustic or hollow body, take a look inside sometime. See any dust bunnies? Best to vacuum them out - they can hold damaging moisture in the instrument.
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  #32  
Old 08-20-2009, 07:52 PM
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If you buy a used acoustic guitar, do have an experienced guitarist look over it. A guitar's neck will bend forward over time from the tension of the strings. There are ways to fix it, but you want to make sure it is not close to a costly repair called a "neck reset".
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  #33  
Old 08-20-2009, 07:53 PM
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Wash and dry your hands before playing to lengthen the life of your strings.
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  #34  
Old 08-20-2009, 07:55 PM
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Carrying your guitar from place to place? Put it in a case. Period.
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  #35  
Old 08-20-2009, 07:57 PM
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If you play an acoustic, be aware that direct sunlight can soften the glue that holds the guitar together. Be careful not to store it in open sunlight.
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  #36  
Old 08-25-2009, 03:31 PM
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The key of E. It's the old standby for any guitarist - kind of like the key of C for a piano player, or the key of Bb for a tenor sax player. That's just the point - different instruments are acclimated to different keys. So, as tempting as it is, try to veer away from playing in E, A, D, and G. Try to play in keys with flats, too - not just sharps. You'll be a better band member for it.
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  #37  
Old 08-25-2009, 03:34 PM
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Want to be extra versatile for paying gigs? Learn to play from a "fake book". They are simple charts or "lead sheets" with chord symbols and melodies for hundreds of songs in a single book. While they used to be primarily jazz, you can now find rock, country, and blues fake books.
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  #38  
Old 08-25-2009, 03:35 PM
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Electronic tuners are great. Get one. Use it often. But only after you attempt to tune it by ear. This exercise will work wonders for your musicianship and you will see improvement over time.
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  #39  
Old 08-25-2009, 03:37 PM
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Have a small guitar for a child? The tuning may be different - some start on A, for example, instead of the customary E. Check the manual or take it to a shop with a good reputation.
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  #40  
Old 08-25-2009, 03:39 PM
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Guitarists are NOTORIOUS for playing "in the breaks". What I mean by that is playing when everyone else has stopped, both in rehearsal and even ON GIGS!!! What are you thinking?!?!? Please, have some respect for your bandmates (they don't play in the breaks) and the music (it does not call for your annoying doodling) and be SILENT when the music stops or the bandleader cuts the song short in rehearsal! Sorry, I know that was put in a bit of a negative light, but it just "irks" many of us. And, I know - not all guitarists do this.
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