25 Guitar Tips You Should Know

25_Things25 Things Every Guitarist Should Know: Askold Buk has come up with the 25 things every guitarist should know. We have a portion of the list below, but check out Guitar World  to see the expanded list.

  • Having a great feel is your most important musical asset
  • Play for the song, not for yourself
  • As soon as you learn something cool, apply it immediately to a real-life musical situation
  • Learn as many tunes as possible, from start to finish

Where Does Volume Come From? Peter Vogl has a quick tip that will help you create more volume with your strumming technique. This is a great way to add dynamics to your playing.

New Pickups vs. New Guitar: Are you struggling with the choice of upgrading  your pickups or getting a whole new guitar? Or did you even consider just changing your pickups? Seymour Duncan has a guide to making this decision based on what you’re hoping to achieve with the upgrade.

Optimize Your Guitar for Under $100! On a similar note, Tony Nagy over at Premier Guitar has written an article on 10 Ways to Optimize Your Guitar! Some may seem like common sense, but it never hurts to make sure your guitar is at its best.

Better Barre Chords for Classical Guitar: The size of the neck and strings can pose additional issues when trying to play barre chords on classical. Scott Morris has a lesson that will show you some different tips and ways to use partial and full barres.

Modal Theory, Choosing Tonewoods, and a Warm Up Drill

joe-satrianiModal Theory: Modes and Music Theory—two terms that can make the uneducated cringe, while those in-the-know smirk with their powerful knowledge.

It’s not really that mystifying, especially once you understand how it all works. A “mode” is just a name for a scale. However many notes are in a given scale—that’s how many modes there are. For example, if you take the notes C, D, E, F, G, A, B, (C), you have seven notes that make up this scale. If you start in a different place, and follow the pattern D, E, F, G, A, B, C, (D), then you’re still playing the same notes but a different “mode.”

Head over to Guitar World to learn from the modal master, Joe Satriani, and expand your chops!

TonewoodChoosing Tonewoods: When selecting or building an acoustic guitar, our first focus for wood may be the top, as it’s the soundboard, but the back and sides need not be neglected. There’s several points to consider when selecting tonewoods:

  • Cosmetics
  • Structure
  • Durability

These are three key factors that play a huge role in the craftsmanship of a guitar. You check out the specifics over at Premier Guitar.

Warm Up Drill: We have two new practice sessions that will get you comfortable using different positions of the Am Pentatonic Scale. Lesson 1 will teach you the exercise and Peter will play along with you at two different speeds. In Lesson 2 we’ll try using a triplet rhythm and speeding things up a bit.

Playing Tips, EVH with a GoPro, & the new iRig

Steve_LukatherSteve Lukather Playing Tips: If you’re a fan of Toto, then you already know his name. Even if you don’t, you can still learn some great guitar tips right now. Music Radar was able to interview Lukather and gain some insight into guitar playing by following these tips:

– Push Hard For The Best Performance
– Make Each Note Mean Something
– Learn to Laugh Off Criticism
– Do Your Own Thing
– Practice What You Don’t Know
– Train Your Ears Carefully
– Hit the Back Wall
– Try to Make It All Connect

Read the article by Jamie Dickson for more details and context!

Create a Playlist: Reddit user J_for_Jules also has a playing tip for you.  As you learn new songs, add them to a playlist  in iTunes, Spotify, etc.  Practice with this regularly to work on playing through the whole song and playing in time. It’s also a good way to keep track of your achievements.

ZZ Top Style Solos: We have a discounted four lesson package by Jody Worrell that will teach you the soloing style of Billy Gibbons. Learn how to make the right tone and note choices to create this blues rock sound.

The GoPro View of EVH: In an effort to showcase his new 5150IIIS guitar amp, Eddie Van Halen strapped some GoPro cameras all over himself and his guitar.  The end result is a close up view of his playing technique and gear.


iRig 2: Some of the most innovative products to come into the market recently have been those which allow guitarists to easily plug in and play—No heavy guitar amp required. IK Multimedia’s original iRig had been a huge success, and they’ve just introduced the iRig 2.

This time around they’ve added an adjustable input gain, more compatibility with Android devices, and a 1/4″ amplifier output so that you can use your smartphone or tablet as an effects processor in front of your amp.

In my opinion, software such as this won’t replace amplifiers altogether, but from both a practicing and instructional viewpoint, it really makes mobile playing very user-friendly.

Acoustic Gigging Tips, Lessons, and more!


Gigging Tips for Acoustic Players: How soon before a performance should you change strings? What type of amplifier should be used? What is a DI Box? If you’ve ever asked yourself these questions or are new to performing, head over to Premier Guitar, where Pete Huttlinger has written an article for the gigging acoustic guitar player.

How to Choose the Right Pick: There are a lot options out there when it comes to guitar picks (shape, thickness, material). Peter Vogl has a quick tip for you that will help you figure out which pick suits you best.

Whiskey Before Breakfast: Jesse from Bride & Groom put together a basic chord progression and lead tab for this bluegrass standard. In addition to the video you can also get a Guitar Pro File or PDF of the tab.

G4 Experience: It’s almost time for summer camp, and at this year’s G4 Experience, you can learn from guitar masters Satriani, Abasi, Govan, and Keneally. What better way is there to spend your summer than by taking masterclasses by some of the world’s greatest guitarists? Get full even info at http://g4experience.com . If you don’t have the scratch to learn with Satch, you can still enjoy this excellent interview with the guys.


1943 Fender Guitar: It’s funny when you think about it, but one of the most important guitar manufacturers began its history with an instrument called the “log.” This “guitar” was developed by Leo Fender and its basic design, though crude, would eventually lead the way to what would become one of the most popular electric guitars in history—the Fender Stratocaster. Read what Deke Dickerson has to say about this in Guitar Player.

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…]