It’s unlikely that you can afford to a hire a legend to teach you personal guitar lessons. But most younger teachers are also aspiring musicians that are waiting for the big break. In the late 1970′s, Janet Robin had the good fortune of taking lessons from Randy Rhoads before he reached fame as a member of Quiet Riot and Ozzy Osbourne’s band.
I was nine when I started studying with Randy and continued till fifteen when he got the gig with Ozzy Osbourne. I was not only his only female guitar student – he may have had another female student but she didn’t stay on very long – but also the youngest. Lessons were 1/2 hour and were about $8. Crazy huh? We started on blues scales (the basics), progressions, and then he would solo. When I got better, he would play the rhythm and I would solo. It was great because I could really feel what it was like to play “lead” guitar. Randy was very inspiring and a dedicated teacher. He would play riffs like no other and I would sometimes bring some of my school friends to the lessons just to watch him!
You can read the full article at Guitarkadia
Before the era of YouTube, if you wanted to find out how a certain guitar effects pedal sounded, you had to go to your local music store and try it out. And if you had never even heard that type of effect used in a recording or live, then you wouldn’t have any preconceived notions as to how the effect should be used. You could explore with a completely open mind.
With YouTube and the plethora of online guitar forums, it seems there are many “experts” out there ready to give their opinion on how an effect sounds, or how it is best used. And while some of this knowledge is great, perhaps too much knowledge without your own experience isn’t.
“Imagine when Jimi Hendrix tried out Roger Mayer’s Octavia, or Jimmy Page tried the Tone Bender, or Keith tried the Maestro Fuzz-Tone. How would they have approached these sonic tools?”
Ben Fulton talks about how guitar effects used to be approached in a Premier Guitar article, and reminds us to keep an open mind when trying out new ones.
As a beginning guitarist starting to learn songs, you’re going to encounter a wide variety of tab styles and chord diagrams. In this video, How to Read Chord Diagrams, Peter Vogl will show you the most common chord chart markings. Instead of just seeing a bunch of x’s, circles with numbers, and other marks on a grid, you’ll actually learn what it’s telling your fingers to do. On some tab sites you may encounter more crude renderings, but this should get you headed in the right direction.
All guitars and especially acoustic guitars are inexact instruments. The setup and tuning of a guitar can change over time or just because of how and where you are playing on the neck. Using a standard A440 guitar tuner is a great place to start. But the tendencies in your own guitar may lead you to use what’s called a tempered tuning. You can slightly alter the tuning on different strings to allow for imperfections in the guitar. Digital tuners like the free Pano tuner or iOS and Android allow you to see a more precise reading called a Cent which is 1/100th of a 1/2 step.
James Taylor has recorded a free video lesson on the subject which he calls fine tuning. He uses a tempered tuning to compensate for his frequent use of a capo, a tendency for the bass strings to ring sharp when played loudly, and general issues with the B String. James tunes his guitar a little flat, tuning down slightly a few cents on each string. E -3, B -6, G -4, D -8, A -10, E -12.
But this is just a starting guide because each guitar is different. You should experiment and see what works for your guitar and even that may change with the age of your strings. You may also find that some new guitars already have a compensated saddle to try and remedy the common issues with the 2nd/B string. It can be helpful to tune using fretted notes or harmonics instead of open strings. Try tuning each string at the first fret and the 2nd string at the 3rd fret and see if you like the results better.
Over time you will notice specific trouble spots your guitar may have tuning. By paying attention, listening, and dialing in specific cent altered tunings, you can correct a lot of problems.
Hat tip to Stratoblogster for both the app recommendation and James Taylor video.
Many guitarists will list Eddie Van Halen as a huge influence in their musical development. Interestingly enough, before Eddie played guitar, he was trained as a classical pianist. With the release of the 1984 album 30 years ago, he put his keyboard chops all over the album, with two huge songs being “Jump” and “I’ll Wait.” And what’s even cooler, this was recorded in a home studio!
So kids, don’t scoff at those piano lessons your parents make you take. You just might be the next Eddie Van Halen.
You can read more about Van Halen and their 1984 album at Guitar World.
You can also check out our Van Halen Style Lessons