Blind-Instrument-TestWhat would you consider to be the Holy Grail of guitars? A ’59 Les Paul? A ’65 Stratocaster? These and other vintage instruments are often sold at auction for a price that rivals expensive cars and homes! And if you ever got to play one of these, I bet you’d think they sound incredible…

But what if you were to perform a blind test? Literally. Compare several instruments back to back on a live stage with very little light so that you can’t see enough of the instrument to identify it (other than the body shape). Could you identify the vintage instruments, and if so, would they be the clear winner in tone?

This test actually took place among professional violinists comparing modern instruments with classics such as those made by Stradivarius. Did the Strads win? Read about it here.

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Slash’s opening lick from Sweet Child O’ Mine helped turn the song into a major hit for Guns N’ Roses. In this video lesson, Matthias Young will take you step by step through playing that iconic intro lick. The guitar tab is on-screen and easy to read so you can keep up with the instruction. Matthias is playing the lick in standard tuning, but it was originally recorded a half step down. If you want to play along with the record, you can learn how to tune down a half-step with our free lesson.

In addition to Sweet Child O’ Mine’s status in rock history, this lick doubles as a great exercise for working on alternate picking. Practice the lick until you are picking and fretting each note clearly.

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Most every guitarist thinks they should be practicing more often. But sometimes life gets in the way and it’s hard to juggle which chores, hobbies, etc. that you should be focusing on. Luckily, Odd Quartet created this handy flow chart to help you figure out if you should be practicing your guitar right now.

guitar-practice-chart

You can see more music related humor as part of the Odd Quartet web comic.

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Fender New York Mets and New York Yankees GuitarFender has released a new series of Stratocasters with Major League Baseball logos in partnership with MLB. Justin Norvell, Fender marketing vice president said, “Through this relationship, we’re excited to ‘team up’ to provide one-of-a-kind collectibles for musicians and baseball fans alike.”

As I understand it, items become collectible over the years when they were NOT initially sold as a collectible. I can understand owning a vintage instrument or an autographed one and displaying it on a wall, but buying a brand-new guitar that is destined for the game room in the basement isn’t what I’m going to spend my money on.

To look at these 6-string baseball bats, check out the article in Guitar World.

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Guitar World’s Acoustic Nation has a new lesson by Justin Horenstein on a simple trick to create more interesting guitar strum patterns. By muting the strings with your left hand during the course of a normal strum pattern, you can create a percussive sound. Justin refers to this technique as a rake, but you make also hear it called muted strumming.

You can practice this by simply alternating between playing a chord and then muting the strings and strumming down again. So for example, play a basic C chord with a down stroke, then relax your left hand to mute the strings and strum down again. You can practice this over and over again until it becomes natural. Then try taking the strum pattern from a song you like and work a muted strum into one of the down strokes. As you get more comfortable, you can start adding more muted strums throughout patterns to create a funky percussive sound. For more on this concept, check out our Creating Strum Patterns lesson package.

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