Peter Vogl’s Prescription for Tired Guitar Scales

Have you been playing the same scales for years, giving you the same old sound? What if you could play those scales in an entirely new way and create a completely different effect?  If you haven’t tried cross-string scales or what I also have heard called legato scales, you should  give them a try.

Some History

When I was studying classical guitar in college one of the graduate students performed the same piece I was currently playing but  he had a very different sound to it than I did.  I asked him afterward what it was he was doing and he described a technique I now refer to as  cross-string scales.  All of his scaler lines cascaded with notes ringing together and I loved the sound of it.  He told me he was just imitating the way harpsichords sounded when playing the same lines; after all he was playing a harpsichord piece transcribed for guitar.

Much Later in my career I decided to study country guitar, or more specifically a style referred to as  chick’n pick’n. This style of guitar playing would occasionally use the same technique, albeit in a totally different genre, but creating a similar effect.  Again I found this sound unique and interesting.  It was a breath of fresh air to me.

You can also find jazz players that have used this technique.  Chet Atkins is a classic example.  Very recently, one of my fellow Atlantans and a  jazz guitar player told me he had watched one of my videos on cross string scales and they were a new revelation to him.  He was finding great ways to incorporate them into his playing.

What Are Cross String Scales?

So let”s get to the meat of what cross string scales are.  Because cross string scales tend to work better starting on a higher note and descending, we’ll look at them that way for now.  Instead of playing your typical scale in a standard fingering, such as this G major scale:

 g major scale

A G Major cross string scale is fingered using open strings  like this:

G Major Cross String scale

 

 The trick here is not just to get used to the new fingering but to let the strings ring together as much as possible.  When you are playing across the strings let the previous strings  ring.  Pay particular attention to when you are placing a new finger down.  Make sure you are not touching or muting any other strings, especially the open strings.  It may prove difficult at first to not unintentionally mute notes with your finger.  It shouldn’t sound like this: [Read more…]

Eddie Van Halen Interview | Yngwie’s Picking Technique

Van-HalenEddie Van Halen recently spoke at the Smithsonian for their “What It Means To Be American (#WIMTBA) series. Aside from this being a very in-depth interview, he also demonstrates some of his trademark techniques for the audience. If you’re a Van Halen fan, this is not to be missed. You can watch or listen to the whole interview at Guitar World.

Finger String Awareness: Improve your finger control, independence, and accuracy. This is a 10 minute guitar exercise routine that will help your fingers find where they are going better.

Fighting the never-ending battle in the pursuit of tone? Then check out the new Bourns potentiometers—these are designed for guitarists with active electronics in mind, and boast a “Double-Pole Double-Throw (DPDT) latching–push switch.” If you need constant changes in tone when playing live, this might be the key.

Guitar Center continues to have financial troubles. Investors have pulled out $11 million and high-ranking employees are losing their jobs. What does this mean for the music retail industry?

Picking Speed & Accuracy Lesson: Troy Grady’s Cracking the Code series features some of the most unique guitar videos out there. In the current installment, Troy tackles the rotational picking technique of Yngwie J. Malmsteen.  He uses a combination of precise forearm, elbow, and finger mechanics in his picking technique to achieve his legendary speed and efficiency.

Setting Up a Practice Area for Guitar

practice-station
Creating a Guitar Practice Station will accomplish two main goals. First, you’ll be able to key in on exactly what you need to be working on. It may be a specific piece of music or a technique. But if you have that information in front of you and are not looking at the tv, you have a better chance at success.

The second goal of a a practice station is to get you in a proper and comfortable playing position. Get a chair that’s conducive to playing guitar and add foot pedals as necessary. Also, having a guitar stand nearby will allow you to take short breaks when your hands or mind become overwhelmed. Clear your head, re-energize, and then get back to work.

Regular focused practice is the best way to actually improve at guitar. Watch our quick video for more tips on setting up your practice room.

Beginner Strumming Exercises by Peter Vogl

Beginning guitarists often struggle with playing different strum patterns and keeping them in time. In our new practice session, Peter Vogl will show you some rhythm changing drills for strumming that will help you improve. These drills will move between different sub-divisions of the beat (quarter notes, eighths, sixteenths, triplets). These are the same type of changes in rhythm that you will encounter as you start learning more exotic strum patterns. Practice along with the video until you get the hang of things and then speed things up with the follow-up session.

Learn Famous Guitar Licks by Clapton, the Eagles, and more

Jody Worrell’s new premium lesson, Famous Licks, will teach you how to play some of the most important rock guitar licks of all time. You will learn the main line from Eric Clapton’s Layla and Sunshine of Your Love. We’ll also work on the Eagles’ Life in the Fast Lane and Already Gone. We’ll then round things out with Aerosmith’s Walk this Way and Pink Floyd’s Money.

Jody will teach you how to play each lick in detail and then touch on some tone ideas to help you recreate the sound. You can work on these licks as part of your independent practice or show them off to friends.

famous-licks