Thursday, December 23, 2010

My Christmas Wish 2010

Did you know...

...there are all kinds of scientists, scholars and researchers who believe that the Bible is really true?

...you can make a real scientific case for creation and against evolution?

...circumstantial and historical evidence supports the life, death and resurrection of Jesus?

...the message of the Bible is the most important thing in life?

Don't believe me? I wouldn't expect you to. But if what I'm saying is really true, then you ought to be able to look it up and *see it for yourself* without taking someone's word or believing by blind faith.

My Christmas wish this year is that you would do something to learn more about this topic and develop a better understanding of why the Bible is the most influential book ever written and why the legacy and impact of Jesus is greater than that of any person or event in all of history.

3 different ways to get started...

READ:


I Don't Have Enough Faith to Be an Atheist
Don't let the title of this one fool you. It's not just for atheists. I recommend this book to anyone, including Christians, who want to understand all the different types of evidence from different fields of knowledge that support the biblical worldview. I found this book to be captivating and one of the most important reads of my life. It totally changed how I viewed the Bible.


LISTEN:


Did Jesus really exist? Is there any historical evidence of Jesus Christ?
GotQuestions.org explains that there is overwhelming evidence for the existence of Jesus Christ, both in secular and biblical history. And this article is spoken and recorded so that you don't have to read. Look for the *MP3 Audio* button toward the top right of the article to listen. Once you're finished you can peruse through the 1,000s of other questions and answers. I recommend you start with their list of "Crucial Questions". Also, see their free audio podcast at iTunes. With resources like this you no longer have to be confused or wonder about what the Bible really says or means.

WATCH:



Origin of the Species: Was Darwin Right?
We now know that while Darwin was right about some things, he was wrong about others. Survival of the fittest, natural selection, mutations, and decent with common ancestry are all observable and well documented. But these processes cannot account for the origin of life or change one type of organism into a completely new type of organism. The fact is, bacteria remain bacteria, fruit flies remain fruit flies, and so on.



Lucy—She’s No Lady!
Textbooks and museums often portray Australopithecus afarensis (a.k.a. "Lucy") as having human hips, hands and feet. But did you know that the actual findings did not include these human features? Lucy had ape hips, hands and feet. Why the deception? Because there are no real ape-men to support the theory of evolution so evolutionists have to fabricate examples in order to build their case! And the worst part is that we all accept these bogus depictions without questioning them.


I'm a Christian. I don't identify myself with any specific denomination or practice - I just believe that the Bible is true and divinely inspired. Why? Because I *looked it up* and verified it. In fact, I was STUNNED at what I discovered! It changed my life (for the better).

Have you ever thought that "one of these days" you'll get around to learning more about this stuff? Well, now is the perfect time. Don't put it off any longer. Make this Christmas one to remember forever!

That's my Christmas wish this year.


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Merry Axe-Mas and Happy New Gear!
Mr. Desi Serna

Website: http://Guitar-Music-Theory.com
Facebook: http://facebook.com/guitarmusictheory
Twitter: http://twitter.com/MrGuitarTheory
YouTube: http://youtube.com/GuitarMusicTheoryTab
Podcast: http://bit.ly/ac4cDk

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Ear Training and Guitar Finger Exercises

"What do you think about ear training? Been doing some exercises on a site called good-ear and seem to be improving. Is this a skill that can be developed? How important is it to advance as a musician?"


Any time you listen to music or play guitar your ear benefits. As for exercises that specifically try to train the ear, I'm not sure what I think about them. I've never used them and I think the same is true for all the famous guitar players we know and love.

I think in order to develop as a player you need to spend time... PLAYING! I’ve seen finger exercise devices that are marketed to guitarists and intended to help develop finger strength and dexterity. They certainly do stimulate your finger muscles, but they won't help develop guitar playing because that's something that can only be accomplished with a guitar in hand.




If other types of finger activities could make you a better guitarist, then people who sit down and type for 8 hours a day ought to be able to pick up a guitar and play circles around us. Or the same with people who play Guitar Hero all the time. But we all know that these activities don't replaced actual guitar playing. I think the same is probably true for ear training.

With this said, ear training can be fun and there's no reason to deny yourself the enjoyment. It may help improve you in some ways. And as long as you're getting enough guitar practice time in, spending some time on ear training can't hurt.

Someone recommended the website http://trainer.thetamusic.com to me. Try it out and let me know what you think. I'd like feedback.


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Play Until Yer Fingers Bleed!
Mr. Desi Serna

Website: http://Guitar-Music-Theory.com
Facebook: http://facebook.com/guitarmusictheory
Twitter: http://twitter.com/MrGuitarTheory
YouTube: http://youtube.com/GuitarMusicTheoryTab
Podcast: http://bit.ly/ac4cDk

Monday, December 6, 2010

Fretboard Theory EPUB for Nook, iPad

My best-selling guitar theory book, Fretboard Theory, is now available in the popular EPUB format for the Nook, iPad and other portable reading devices.



Search Fretboard Theory at Apple iBooks or buy at Barnes and Noble: http://bit.ly/i7C6yd

And don't forget Amazon Kindle: http://www.amazon.com/Fretboard-Theory-ebook/dp/B004ASNACS

PLEASE NOTE:
These new formats are only available at Amazon, Barnes and Noble and Apple iBooks. I cannot offer any discounts or special pricing at these online retailers.


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Play Until Yer Fingers Bleed!
Mr. Desi Serna

Website: http://Guitar-Music-Theory.com
Facebook: http://facebook.com/guitarmusictheory
Twitter: http://twitter.com/MrGuitarTheory
YouTube: http://youtube.com/GuitarMusicTheoryTab
Podcast: http://bit.ly/ac4cDk

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Guitar Solo Contest

I entered a guitar solo contest! You can see and hear my entry at the link below. Enjoy!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=miU_9kFobAE


The song is called "Reaching For You" by Christian music artist Lincoln Brewster (who is a phenomenal guitarist). I composed and played my own lead guitar solo over Lincoln's track for this contest.

You can search for and view other entries on YouTube too. Many of them are quite good.


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Play Until Yer Fingers Bleed!
Mr. Desi Serna

Website: http://Guitar-Music-Theory.com
Facebook: http://facebook.com/guitarmusictheory
Twitter: http://twitter.com/MrGuitarTheory
YouTube: http://youtube.com/GuitarMusicTheoryTab
Podcast: http://bit.ly/ac4cDk

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Fretboard Theory Amazon Kindle

Fretboard Theory is now available for the Amazon Kindle!

http://www.amazon.com/Fretboard-Theory-ebook/dp/B004ASNACS

You can now download my best-selling guitar theory book from Amazon.com and view it on your Amazon Kindle portable reading device. Within minutes you can start learning about scales, chords, progressions, modes and more. The ebook is a complete guitar theory course with tons of references to popular songs.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

New Guitar Facebook Page

Hey blog followers!

I have a new Facebook page devoted entirely to guitar lessons and music news. Visit the link below, click on "Like" and stay tuned!

http://www.facebook.com/guitarmusictheory


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Play Until Yer Fingers Bleed!
Mr. Desi Serna

Website: http://Guitar-Music-Theory.com
Facebook: http://facebook.com/guitarmusictheory
Twitter: http://twitter.com/MrGuitarTheory
YouTube: http://youtube.com/GuitarMusicTheoryTab
Podcast: http://bit.ly/ac4cDk

Barre Chords Are a B*tch!

“I’ve been trying to play bar cords for about 2 years But I have arthritis in my hands and I cant straighten my index finger so all the strings don’t get pushed down. Do you know of anything I can do about this? I was thinking about taping something to my finger to make it straight but I don’t know what that would be. I’m 70 years old and I would like to be able to play bar cords. Thanks. I bought a lot of your stuff, I think is very good If I could only do it.”

GUITAR BARRE CHORDS
There are a few things you can do to help with playing guitar barre chords.

PARTIAL CHORD SHAPES
The first thing is to work with partial shapes. Experiment with just fretting and playing pieces of the chord instead of the whole thing. For example, with barre chords along string 6 you could just finger strings 6, 5 and 4 and play power chords. Or you could just finger strings 5, 4 and 3 (this would be a fifth, root and third which makes a full chord). Be sure to only strum the strings you’re fretting on.

"F" CHORD
Another partial example is the common “F” chord played in the first position. It’s actually just part of a full barre chord with strings 5 and 6 omitted. You can move this shape around the neck and use it in place of full barre chords (just be sure to only strum the strings you’re fretting on). Jimi Hendrix was famous for using this partial shape and then wrapping his thumb around the neck to fret the root on string 6. For many players, including me, this fingering is not so hard and quite comfortable.

"A FORM" BARRE CHORD
With an "A form" barre chord you don't really need to barre. You can just grab the root on string 5 with your index finger and then flatten your ring finger out for the rest. Just be sure to avoid strumming the first string.

Here are a handful of pictures that demonstrate some fingering possibilities.




CHANGE UP
I have found that there is no perfect barre chord fingering. I end up using them all depending on what kind of sound I want and what makes my hand comfortable. If I have to play barre chords through an entire song with little or no breaks, then I change up my fingerings just to prevent my hand from cramping.

PLAY THROUGH SONGS
Be patient, start with simplified shapes, and give yourself time to get comfortable with something before you try to take on more. For example, in lesson I used to make students play through every song they knew just using the “F” shape and moving it around the neck. Sometimes it would take weeks for them to play through everything. By then they were pretty good at it and were ready to move on and try more.

Partial chord shapes for common barre chords plus the entire CAGED chord system with arpeggio patterns is taught in my book Fretboard Theory Chapter 3 and also my DVD entitled CAGED Template Chord System. Click the links and sign up for free previews.


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Play Until Yer Fingers Bleed!
Mr. Desi Serna

Website: http://Guitar-Music-Theory.com
Facebook: http://facebook.com/guitarmusictheory
Twitter: http://twitter.com/MrGuitarTheory
YouTube: http://youtube.com/GuitarMusicTheoryTab
Podcast: http://bit.ly/ac4cDk

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Guitar Tab and Learning Songs

This is just a reminder that my books and DVDs will NOT teach you how to play songs, but rather the *theory* behind songs.

With that said, I give away free guitar tab that corresponds to my free videos on YouTube.

TAB
http://guitar-music-theory.com/tab-mp3.html

YOUTUBE
http://www.youtube.com/user/GuitarMusicTheoryTab

These tabs make a great study companion to the materials I sell because I reference these songs throughout the course.

WHAT MAKES UP A SONG?
If you want to become a better guitar player and a good musician, then it's important to not just memorize songs but also understand what makes up a song and why.

GUITAR THEORY
Developing a good working knowledge of guitar theory, including what scales to use, why chords go together and how to properly visualize the fretboard, can dramatically improve your ability to learn and remember songs, use things you already know, improvise and compose your own music.

And knowing the *inside secrets* makes music more interesting and enjoyable too!

GET THE THEORY NOW!
http://bit.ly/aJoij7


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Play Until Yer Fingers Bleed!
Mr. Desi Serna

Website: http://Guitar-Music-Theory.com
Facebook: http://facebook.com/guitarmusictheory
Twitter: http://twitter.com/MrGuitarTheory
YouTube: http://youtube.com/GuitarMusicTheoryTab
Podcast: http://bit.ly/ac4cDk

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Finally a guitar teacher with a method that makes sense!

Veteran guitar player of 26 years just couldn't seem to find anyone or anything that could teach guitar theory to him in plain & simple terms. Read his story.


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Play Until Yer Fingers Bleed!
Mr. Desi Serna

Website: http://Guitar-Music-Theory.com
Facebook: http://facebook.com/guitarmusictheory
Twitter: http://twitter.com/MrGuitarTheory
YouTube: http://youtube.com/GuitarMusicTheoryTab
Podcast: http://bit.ly/ac4cDk

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Phish Possum Trey Anastasio Guitar Solo

In the song "Possum" by the jam band Phish you can hear lead guitarist Trey Anastasio play over a 12 bar blues type progression using a mixture of scales and keys. Jump to around 3:31 for an idea.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TCzS1jCa9uY


I explain the theory behind blues guitar scales and demonstrate how to apply and combine major and minor pentatonic scale patterns, major scale patterns and mixolydian mode in my free guitar theory podcast episode 10.

Blues Guitar Theory
http://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/guitar-music-theory-lessons/id258401691

The Phish video is definitely following what I lay out in the blues podcast. Each chord is treated like its own key. Multiple scales an tonalities are combined to create the overall blues, country and jazz sound.

Combining scales and keys like this results in A LOT of note choices. This in turn means that there are A LOT of licks and phrases that can be played. Trey may be too far ahead of most of you. If you want to work toward soloing at this level, then be sure to master simpler styles first. Staying in one key is a good start!



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Play Until Yer Fingers Bleed!
Mr. Desi Serna

Website: http://Guitar-Music-Theory.com
Facebook: http://facebook.com/guitarmusictheory
Twitter: http://twitter.com/MrGuitarTheory
YouTube: http://youtube.com/GuitarMusicTheoryTab
Podcast: http://bit.ly/ac4cDk

Friday, October 22, 2010

Minor Scale Modes for Guitar

Minor scale modes are based on the same scale & chord progression patterns that guitarists use for major scale modes. http://bit.ly/ceINDY

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

At What Point Does a Guitar Player Know it All?

Mr. Desi Serna,

My name is Miguel Sanchez and I am a Junior student at Marquette University High School in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. I am currently in the process of writing a paper for my English class and my topic or main focus was to look at different views on Guitar playing and what or where is the point in a guitar players career in which all can be known. To rephrase it a bit better, how can someone truly know or distinguish the end of a guitar, all that is possible to be learned. I gratefully will thank you for your insight and thoughts on this matter.

Thanks,
Miguel S.


Thanks for the email Miguel. Wow, what a profound question. There doesn't appear to be an end to the guitar, or at least no one has reached it that I'm aware of. Styles and techniques continue to be improved upon. The creative process continues to yield new ideas. The amount of subtle differences between the skills and artistry of different guitarists is as varied as the differences in the physical features and personalities of people in general. Since the uniqueness of individuals hasn't reached a limit yet, I don't suspect the end of guitar playing is close to being reached either (if it can even be reached at all).

There are some spiritual implications to this topic that I find interesting. Consider that music is not something we make possible, but rather it's something that is already possible and we simply discover it. Mankind's knowledge and skills, along with sound and the ways in which sound can be manipulated are ultimately made possible by a creator. In fact, the Bible says, "For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse (Romans 1:20)." There's a reason why music exists and works the way it does.



So how much is there to learn about guitar playing? Well, the creator of guitar playing says of himself, "As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts (Isaiah 55:9)." Considering the infinite source, I'd say the possibilities are endless! And as a believer in Christ, I'll have all of eternity to discover new things about guitar.

Play Until Yer Fingers Bleed!
Mr. Desi Serna

Website: http://Guitar-Music-Theory.com
Facebook: http://facebook.com/guitarmusictheory
Twitter: http://twitter.com/MrGuitarTheory
YouTube: http://youtube.com/GuitarMusicTheoryTab
Podcast: http://bit.ly/ac4cDk

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Questions About New Downloads

These are answers to some questions about my new DVD digital downloads.

Q: Can I buy and download an individual program or do you only offer the package deal?
A: Yes, you can download individual DVDs for only $18.95 each. Scroll down toward the middle of the order page.

Q: Do you offer free access or further discounts to customers who already own your DVDs?
A: Yes. I can discount them further for you (sorry no free access). Please email me and be sure to use or include the email address you originally ordered the DVDs with so I can confirm your purchase. I’ll follow up with the existing customer discount details.

Q: If I already bought and downloaded a .mov file can I be given access to the other formats?
A: Yes. Email me if you would like to exchange for a different format.

Q: I already own your videos. Why are you trying to sell them to me again?
A: I broadcasted this announcement to my entire mailing list. And I’ll be sending out a few more messages about it. Please disregard if you already own the videos.

Q: Do you have any new programs for sale?
A: No. But now that I’ve finished making my DVDs available as digital downloads I intended to create some new materials that will pick up where Fretboard Theory and my DVDs leave off. Stay tuned!

More questions or comments? Feel free to email me.

ORDER NOW


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Play Until Yer Fingers Bleed!
Mr. Desi Serna
Website: http://Guitar-Music-Theory.com
YouTube: http://youtube.com/GuitarMusicTheoryTab
Twitter: http://twitter.com/MrGuitarTheory
Facebook: http://facebook.com/desi.serna
Myspace: http://www.myspace.com/guitarmusictheory
Podcast: Search Desi Serna at iTunes

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Is it better to start of acoustic or electric guitar?

“Should I start on acoustic or electric guitar?"


This is the number one question I get asked by newcomers. First let me explain to you the difference between an acoustic and electric guitar.

The Difference Between Acoustic and Electric Guitars
The bodies of acoustic guitars are hollow boxes that serve to amplify the sound of the strings when they vibrate. Electric guitars are usually made of a solid piece of wood and the sound of the strings is picked up by electro-magnetic pickups. This signal is then sent to an amplifier.

Acoustic guitars can be played and enjoyed without any additional amplification. Electric guitars need to be plugged into an amplifier to truly hear their sound. Both acoustic and electric guitars include six strings, are tuned the same, and are basically, at least in the beginning stages, played the same. What you learn on one type of instrument will carry over to the other.

Steel-String and Nylon-String Acoustic Guitars
Acoustic guitars include steel-string and nylon-string varieties. The steel-string, or "folk guitar," is the standard type and is used the most in popular music. Song examples are "Yesterday" by The Beatles, "Stairway to Heaven" by Led Zeppelin, "Me and Bobby McGee" by Janis Joplin, and literally a million other tunes.



Nylon-string guitars, which produce a softer sound, are primarily used in classical and flamenco music but they sometimes appear in more mainstream music as well. Song examples include "Tears in Heaven" by Eric Clapton and "Have You Ever Really Loved a Woman?" by Bryan Adams. Country music icon Willie Nelson, part rebel and part oddball, has strangely made a nylon-string guitar his instrument of choice which is uncommon in his genre.

Either type of acoustic guitar is suitable for beginners. You may want to stick with a steel-string since it's the most common. They will produce the sound you hear in most popular acoustic songs. There are a few benefits of the classical variety. Nylon strings are a little softer on the fingertips. Also, the strings are spaced slightly farther apart, which can give more room to chubby fingers.

Acoustic Guitar Prices
A good starter acoustic guitar will cost between $100-$200 by itself. For a bit more, you can get a pack that includes a gig bag (soft case), strap, electronic tuner, extra strings and picks. Acoustic guitars don't come in nearly as many shapes as electric guitars because their shape has an effect on how they sound. In general, you'll find this to be true about acoustic guitars: the bigger the body, the bigger the sound.

Electric Guitars
Electric guitars are as common in popular music as steel-string acoustics and even more common in rock styles (especially guitar solos). The electric guitar signal is frequently routed through devices that add special effects to the sound. These effects include reverb, distortion and echo. Electric guitar song examples include "Johnny B. Goode" by Chuck Berry, "Purple Haze" by Jimi Hendrix, the never-ending solo to "Free Bird" by Lynyrd Skynyrd, and literally a million other tunes.

Electric guitars come in a wide variety of shapes, colors and pickup configurations but they are all played the same. There are no specific types or features that a beginner requires. It's all up to what you think looks nice, feels nice and fits your budget. Later, after your ear has had time to develop and can discern between all the different tonal characteristics, you may find that you prefer some models to others. Until then, don't worry about it. Just get a guitar and learn how to play!



Electric Guitar Amplifiers
Electric guitars don't make much sound on their own and need to be plugged into an amplifier to truly hear them. Be sure to factor the price of this additional item when you calculate the cost of buying an electric. Nothing fancy is required. A suitable starter amp can be bought for under $100.

Electric Guitar Prices
Electric guitar prices are similar to acoustic guitar prices ($100-$200) but with the additional expense of an amplifier. Most manufactures offer a package deal that includes a gig bag (soft case), strap, electronic tuner, extra strings, picks, plus an amplifier, cable and headphones. You can get all this for under $300 and it’s perfect for a beginning guitarist.

Which to Choose, Acoustic or Electric?
Any guitar will do, whether it is steel-string, nylon-string or electric, as long as it's a decent instrument in good working condition. I recommend that students use what they're most interested in playing.

In regard to which kind of guitar will better help a new player to develop, perhaps the biggest myth is that a student should begin studying on an acoustic and graduate to an electric. I completely disagree with this concept. In fact, one could make a good case against starting out on an acoustic. This is because acoustic guitars have thicker strings and higher action, which make them a little tougher to play. They put more stress on the fingertips and it takes slightly more skill to get a good sound. An electric on the other hand, has lighter strings, lower action and it's easier to access the entire neck. More importantly, most students want an electric guitar and are more likely to be enthusiastic about practicing with one. This whole argument aside, it really doesn't matter what you start on. Just start!

Beware of Junk
The figures I mentioned above are generally where the price of decent instruments start. While it's possible to find a suitable guitar even cheaper, it's also possible to waste your money (and time) on a guitar that's too cheap to be played. Some guitars are borderline toys. They are made to look like legitimate instruments, but they are unable to be tuned and nearly impossible to actually use. Beware of guitars sold in department stores or catalogs that aren't specifically guitar related. Also, most hand-me-down, garage sale, and flea market guitars are passed on for a reason: They're junk! You'll have a very hard time trying to play an inadequate instrument (if you're able to play it at all).

For hours of free beginner guitar lessons watch the videos posted at the Easy Beginner Guitar Songs website.


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Play Until Yer Fingers Bleed!
Mr. Desi Serna
Website: http://Guitar-Music-Theory.com
YouTube: http://youtube.com/GuitarMusicTheoryTab
Twitter: http://twitter.com/MrGuitarTheory
Facebook: http://facebook.com/desi.serna
Myspace: http://www.myspace.com/guitarmusictheory
Podcast: Search Desi Serna at iTunes

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Guitar Scale Fingerings

“Is there a correct guitar scale fingering for the pentatonic patterns?”


Pentatonic Scale Fingerings
There are a few different ways you can finger pentatonic scale patterns. There is no perfect fingering and you’ll surely end up utilizing more than one depending on what you’re trying to play. As a general rule don’t use your index and middle fingers alone. This approach isn’t efficient and will make you look and sound like a hack.

Many guitarists learn the patterns best by using all four fingers. The notes of each pattern are spread across four frets. The exception to this rule is pattern three which is spread across five frets. Using four fingers allows you to use one finger per fret and makes it easier to visualize the patterns. You may prefer to use only your index and ring fingers. This approach helps many guitarists generate more power and control without getting adjacent fingers tangled up.

"Proper" Fingerings
Often you’ll hear opinions about how guitarists should and should not finger certain things. Some allege that there is a “proper” fingering for everything. You might find yourself falling into this line of thinking too. For example, you would think that it's more "correct" to use the pinky, or at least it's a bad habit to avoid it. But many players, including Stevie Ray Vaughan, Eddie Van Halen, and Eric Johnson do most of their scale/solo work with three fingers. I tend to favor three fingers too (although I use my pinky in my instructional guitar videos because I think it makes it easier for the viewer to see where I'm fretting). So obviously the theory of “proper scale fingerings” doesn’t hold up in practice.

With all this said, you have to find the fingerings that work for you. If you play and sound good, then you’re doing it right!


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Play Until Yer Fingers Bleed!
Mr. Desi Serna
Website: http://Guitar-Music-Theory.com
YouTube: http://youtube.com/GuitarMusicTheoryTab
Twitter: http://twitter.com/MrGuitarTheory
Facebook: http://facebook.com/desi.serna
Myspace: http://www.myspace.com/guitarmusictheory
Podcast: Search Desi Serna at iTunes

Friday, August 20, 2010

What’s the best age to start guitar lessons?

Guitar Lessons for Kids
Instruments are not toys and there's a necessary level of maturity required in learning how to play. My teaching experience has shown that the students who do best are teens and adults. Children struggle with a few things; their hands are small and not as coordinated as older students, and their interest in playing guitar tends to stem more from their fascination of the instrument and its players rather than a serious interest in physically practicing and playing.

Adult Guitar Lessons
Adults learn better and faster than teenagers, but tend to be more easily discouraged. Their mind set appears to be based on the idea that learning something new is for the young, not the old. As a result, adults sometimes feel out of place. Adults are also more self-aware with better-developed ears, which makes it harder for them to tolerate the sometimes unpleasant-sounding learning process. Less mature students don't know any better and think that they sound great from the beginning. Bottom line: Those who play a lot and stick with it do the best. Be patient and give yourself time to work everything out.

Get answers to more beginner guitar questions by visiting the Easy Beginner Guitar Songs website.


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Play Until Yer Fingers Bleed!
Mr. Desi Serna
Website: http://Guitar-Music-Theory.com
YouTube: http://youtube.com/GuitarMusicTheoryTab
Twitter: http://twitter.com/MrGuitarTheory
Facebook: http://facebook.com/desi.serna
Myspace: http://www.myspace.com/guitarmusictheory
Podcast: Search Desi Serna at iTunes

Friday, June 11, 2010

Learning How to Use Guitar Modes Lesson DVD Testimonial

This is what a recent customer had to say about my DVD, Guitar Modes - The Modal Scales of Popular Music.

"All I can say is WOW! I'm a singer songwriter & musician who's been playing guitar and keyboards for over ten years, but have never been able to get a handle on how to use modes in any sort of constructive way. Even though I'm classically trained in keyboard and knew the theory I was still confused about how to make it all work. Your tutorial not only dispelled the myths and dismantled some bad teaching I had received, but it also explained the core of what modes are about in an easy to understand practical and straigthforward manner which I was able to apply immediately to material I'd been working on.

I have a long way to go to fully explore and understand the depth of knowledge put forward in your tutorial, but it's like someone has opened a door to a musical garden of eden and laid out in front of me a veritable cornucopia of creative possibilities.

I now see that modes are (almost) like another form of modulation within a key itself, and this is the missing link I was looking for. I always knew when I listened to songs like Tom Petty's Here Comes My Girl that something was not normal about the verse, and that there was something I was missing (because you just don't get that sound from any traditional major or minor scale). I though it was modulation to a key I could not figure out, but of course now I know it was modal

Now I know...yes, now I know, everything is Modes...everything!

Your video will prove indispensable to anyone involved in the creation of music, for me personally it's been the final
piece of the puzzle."


Many many thanks,

Clint O.

Learn more about guitar modes and sign up to receive a free DVD preview.


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Play Until Yer Fingers Bleed!
Mr. Desi Serna
Website: http://Guitar-Music-Theory.com
YouTube: http://youtube.com/GuitarMusicTheoryTab
Twitter: http://twitter.com/MrGuitarTheory
Facebook: http://facebook.com/desi.serna
Myspace: http://www.myspace.com/guitarmusictheory
Podcast: Search Desi Serna at iTunes

Friday, May 28, 2010

Electric Guitar and Amp Set Up

My guitar theory video lessons feature a Paul Reed Smith CE24 electric guitar played through a Line 6 Pod Pro. I use the Pod's left/mono XLR out in Live mode. It goes into a Mackie mixer and then I take a line out into the camera.The Pod Pro sounds much better than the regular Pod. I think it's the XLR output that makes all the difference. It's not a real amp, but an amp modeler. I agree with the purists that the tone from real amps is better, but amps are impractical in some settings. The Line 6 products are very easy to use and sound good enough to me.



A favorite trick of mine is to create a patch with the drive and channel volume all the way up, and then turn the volume on the guitar down to about 3 or 4. You can get some great blues tone this way particularly on the Line 6 BLACK PANEL amp model. If you crank up the reverb and add a little delay, it can sound like you got a cabinet cranked up in the next room.



By the way, turning the volume on the guitar down works well on my PRS because rolling off the volume doesn't also take away the high end. If your guitar sound becomes muddy when you do this, then look into installing a volume pot mod. It only costs a few dollars.




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Play Until Yer Fingers Bleed!
Mr. Desi Serna
Website: http://Guitar-Music-Theory.com
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Podcast: Search Desi Serna at iTunes

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

What key is Rock and Roll, Hoochie Koo in?



Rock and Roll, Hoochie Koo is based on the A minor pentatonic scale and A minor scale (natural minor or Aeolian mode).

The intro uses the chords F5 G5 A5 and then a C5. This chord movement is very common and stems from a 4 5 6 chord progression in the A natural minor scale (Aeolian mode, C major scale). But only power chords are played (if you listen closely you can hear that a 6th interval is added to the F5 and G5 giving it a blues shuffle style). Instead of using the full minor scale over these changes the guitars mainly stick to A minor pentatonic (as heard in the riff at the end of the chord figure).

The E7 (0:28 in the video) is technically a key change, but you could treat it like a blues 5 chord and continue playing A minor pentatonic over it. You could think of it as the 5 chord in the key of A major and play A major scale patterns over it. You could treat it as a blues key change and play a mixture of E major and E minor pentatonic scales over it. Or it could possibly be thought of as a 5 (V7) chord in A harmonic minor (but this might sound a bit too exotic for this bluesy rock song). Or you could not play over it at all, as is the case in the song.

The verse (0:51 in the video) uses the chords A5 C5 D5. Again, these power chords still stem from the A natural minor scale (Aeolian mode, C major scale). All of these notes are also found in the A minor pentatonic. The guitar riff that occurs after each line of the verse is the A minor pentatonic with a chromatic passing tone added (blues scale). See guitar tab below.

Verse Riff: A Minor Pentatonic "Blues" Scale Patterns 3 & 4
E----------------------|------------------|
B----------------------|------------------|
G------14--14-12-------|----------12b(14)-|
D----------------14-13-|-12-10------------|
A--12------------------|------------------|
E----------------------|------------------|


So you can see that Rock and Roll, Hoochie Koo is based on minor chord progressions and pentatonic scale patterns. This is very common in blues and blues-based rock songs.


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Play Until Yer Fingers Bleed!
Mr. Desi Serna
Website: http://Guitar-Music-Theory.com
YouTube: http://youtube.com/GuitarMusicTheoryTab
Twitter: http://twitter.com/MrGuitarTheory
Facebook: http://facebook.com/desi.serna
Myspace: http://www.myspace.com/guitarmusictheory
Podcast: Search Desi Serna at iTunes

Monday, May 3, 2010

How to Play Guitar with Small Hands and Short Fingers

"Any tips for guitar players with small fingers/hands?"


With guitar playing, there are advantages and disadvantages with all hand sizes. If you have small hands or short fingers, then my advice is to not try to play like you have big hands or long fingers.

I met Brent Mason, one of Nashville's top session guitarists and an amazing player, and was surprised at how small his hands were (he's a little guy). He can do things that I can't do as well with my long fingers (like fret some chord shapes and play rapidly in tight spaces). He plays to his strength and I have to play to mine.

I usually feel more comfortable playing scale patterns that are spread out, like three-notes-per-string patterns. A guitarist with smaller hands probably does better to use scale patterns that fit into smaller positions.

Find what you can do well and... do it well! You may need to play some things differently than the recordings or skip them altogether, but this shouldn't hold you back. It certainly isn't holding Brent Mason back (see video linked to below).

Brent Mason Has Small Hands
http://www.youtube.com



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Play Until Yer Fingers Bleed!
Mr. Desi Serna
Website: http://Guitar-Music-Theory.com
YouTube: http://youtube.com/GuitarMusicTheoryTab
Twitter: http://twitter.com/MrGuitarTheory
Facebook: http://facebook.com/desi.serna
Myspace: http://www.myspace.com/guitarmusictheory
Podcast: Search Desi Serna at iTunes/watch?v=m2UF0teCjTI

Monday, April 26, 2010

Minor Modes

"Just finished watching your video on Modes. I really enjoyed it and found it very useful. Will you be expanding more on the other modes (minor modes)? It would be interesting dive deeper in."


The minor modes are Dorian, Phrygian and Aeolian. Do you mean the harmonic and melodic minor scale modes? If yes, I don't plan on covering them because with very few exceptions they just don't occur in popular music. They still can be interesting to explore but be careful not to get ahead of yourself. There is so much fundamental guitar theory that you need to know before delving into more advanced topics.

Harmonic Minor Scale Guitar
When you're ready I recommend checking out the following books from Dock Mock on harmonic and melodic minor scales for guitar.







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Play Until Yer Fingers Bleed!
Mr. Desi Serna
Website: http://Guitar-Music-Theory.com
YouTube: http://youtube.com/GuitarMusicTheoryTab
Twitter: http://twitter.com/MrGuitarTheory
Facebook: http://facebook.com/desi.serna
Myspace: http://www.myspace.com/guitarmusictheory
Podcast: Search Desi Serna at iTunes

Problems with Guitar Modes

"I've spent some time going over your podcasts (which are awesome btw), but I'm having some problem with the one you did on modes. It seems everywhere I look, they talk about using different scales ect. I know you said to ignore this, but what is the difference between what you teach and what these people are saying. Are you supposed to play different scales over the chords when you are going for an effect in a mode?"


Good question. The problem with most guitar modes instruction is that the instructors either assume you already understand the fundamental modal concept, or the instructors themselves don't understand it. As a result they end up teaching ideas that are offshoots of the modal concept and based on their own personal philosophy. I highly recommend you get my DVD Guitar Modes - The Modal Scales of Popular Music as it lays everything out as clearly as can be. Once you master the fundamental concept you may be able to wrap your mind around the other personal perspectives that are taught.


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Play Until Yer Fingers Bleed!
Mr. Desi Serna
Website: http://Guitar-Music-Theory.com
YouTube: http://youtube.com/GuitarMusicTheoryTab
Twitter: http://twitter.com/MrGuitarTheory
Facebook: http://facebook.com/desi.serna
Myspace: http://www.myspace.com/guitarmusictheory
Podcast: Search Desi Serna at iTunes

Friday, April 23, 2010

How do you start and stop on time with a guitar loop pedal?

"What is the trick to getting a perfect loop? It seems that when I play it is not obvious when to push the stop button."


One of these days I need to get around to making a video about looping. Until then all I can tell you is that you have to hit the pedal the second time at the exact same point you began. So for example, if you start at beat one of a measure, hit the pedal precisely on that beat both the first and second times. Also, play through after you hit the pedal the second time as if you were going to keep going. Otherwise you might slow down or stop at the end of the loop in a manner that makes the transition back to the beginning noticeable. You want it to sound seamless.

I use a Boss RC20 Loop Station in my guitar theory DVDs.


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Play Until Yer Fingers Bleed!
Mr. Desi Serna
Website: http://Guitar-Music-Theory.com
YouTube: http://youtube.com/GuitarMusicTheoryTab
Twitter: http://twitter.com/MrGuitarTheory
Facebook: http://facebook.com/desi.serna
Myspace: http://www.myspace.com/guitarmusictheory
Podcast: Search Desi Serna at iTunes

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Guitar Picking Technique

"One thing that keeps frustrating me is continually hitting the wrong string with the pick! Any thoughts you have on being able to hit the right string with the pick every time?"


You need to rest your hand on the guitar body and keep the pick close to the strings. This will give you more control over the pick and allow you to use your hand to mute strings. For example, as you pick the first string (high E) your hand can actually rest on the other strings keeping them quiet. This is especially important when playing with distortion and at loud levels. Other than that, don't bite off more than you can chew. Work on mastering simple guitar parts before you try to jump back and forth across all the strings quickly. Picking accuracy will develop in time.

I demonstrate right hand placement and technique in my DVD, Getting Started with the Pentatonic Scale.


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Play Until Yer Fingers Bleed!
Mr. Desi Serna
Website: http://Guitar-Music-Theory.com
YouTube: http://youtube.com/GuitarMusicTheoryTab
Twitter: http://twitter.com/MrGuitarTheory
Facebook: http://facebook.com/desi.serna
Myspace: http://www.myspace.com/guitarmusictheory
Podcast: Search Desi Serna at iTunes

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Why is a 7 chord not built with a major seven interval?

This is a great music theory question, and one that creates a lot of confusion among guitar players and musicians in general. The confusion lies in the fact that there are two types of seven chords built on a major triad. A major seven and a dominant seven. A major seven includes the interval which is a half step below the root. This occurs on a 1 chord and a 4 chord. A dominant seven includes the interval which is a whole step below the root. This occurs on the 5 chord. Major seven chords are always referred to as "major sevens." But, and this is where it gets weird, dominant seven chords are simply called "seven." I mention this in Fretboard Theory Chapter 10 on page 130. See the headline "Dominant Seven (V)."

Greatest Phenomenon

Like it or not, he's the greatest phenomenon that has ever crossed the horizon of this world.


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2z15FlTONVo

"This is what is written: The Christ will suffer and rise from the dead on the third day, and repentance and forgiveness of sins will be preached in his name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. You are witnesses of these things." Luke 24:46-48

I Don't Have Enough Faith to Be an Atheist

Origin of Species: Was Darwin Right?


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Play Until Yer Fingers Bleed!
Mr. Desi Serna
Website: http://Guitar-Music-Theory.com
YouTube: http://youtube.com/GuitarMusicTheoryTab
Twitter: http://twitter.com/MrGuitarTheory
Facebook: http://facebook.com/desi.serna
Myspace: http://www.myspace.com/guitarmusictheory
Podcast: Search Desi Serna at iTunes

Monday, March 15, 2010

Guitar Thumb Position Wrapped Around the Neck


Much has been said about the correct position of the left hand thumb on the guitar neck. Some schools of thought teach that the thumb should be placed behind and in the middle of the neck always. But many guitar players can be seen wrapping their thumbs around the neck and sometimes even using the thumb to fret notes on the fingerboard. So which is correct?


Correct guitar thumb placement is determined by each individual player plus the technique they're using and the part they're trying to play. For example, the preferred thumb position on guitar for most barre chords is behind the neck. This gets the wrist away from the neck and allows the fingers to reach across the fretboard. This also works well for playing chord shapes and scale patterns that require the fingers to stretch wide horizontally.




But for bending strings the thumb is usually always wrapped around the guitar neck. This puts the hand in a better position to squeeze the muscles necessary for pushing or pulling the strings. Also, the wrapped thumb can help mute unwanted noise from the other strings.



Sometimes the thumb is actually used to fret notes. Jimi Hendrix was famous for fretting bass notes along the sixth string with his thumb and then using his remaining fingers to play chord fragments, riffs and solos. Many fingerstyle guitar players also use their thumbs to play bass notes ala Merle Travis and Chet Atkins. Some chord shapes are simply not possible without the use of the left-hand thumb.



There has been a long tradition in some music circles to teach that the use of the left hand thumb is incorrect. This is especially true in classical and jazz. But this myth has been demonstrate to be false by everyone from Eric Clapton to Les Paul, and Stevie Ray Vaughan to John Mayer. In fact, almost every pop, rock, blues, folk and country guitar player wraps their thumb from time to time.



You can even seen pictures of Andres Segovia with his thumb poking up behind the guitar neck.



And upright bass players bring their thumb around the neck the other way and use it to fret when reaching for high notes.



Using the left hand thumb is necessary for some types of guitar techniques and feels quite comfortable to many players. Technically, there is no correct way to play. Just be sure that whatever you do feels right and sounds good.


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Play Until Yer Fingers Bleed!
Mr. Desi Serna
Website: http://Guitar-Music-Theory.com
YouTube: http://youtube.com/GuitarMusicTheoryTab
Twitter: http://twitter.com/MrGuitarTheory
Facebook: http://facebook.com/desi.serna
Myspace: http://www.myspace.com/guitarmusictheory
Podcast: Search Desi Serna at iTunes

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Kiss Me Guitar Chords

The song Kiss Me by Sixpence None The Richer was featured last night on American Idol. I used to play this song years ago when I performed as an acoustic guitar duo with a female singer named Michelle Enix. I happen to have a live recording and pic from those days that I posted below.




Guitar Chords
The chords to this song make for a good guitar lesson on using chord extensions. Both dominant and major seven chords are used. I don't know if my version matches the original recording or not, but I play it with a capo at the first fret starting on an open D chord. All the chords are available in guitar tab below.

Kiss Me Guitar Tabs

Verse (CAPO II)
D Dmaj7 D7 Dmaj7 (repeating and finishing the verse on G)

E----2----2----2----2----|----2----2----2----3--------|
B----3----2----1----2----|----3----2----1----3--------|
G----2----2----2----2----|----2----2----2----0--------|
D----0----0----0----0----|----0----0----0----0--------|
A------------------------|-------------------2--------|
E------------------------|-------------------3--------|

Chorus (CAPO II)
Em A D Bm, Em A D D7, Em A D A/C# Bm A G Gmaj7 A Asus4 A

E----0----0----2----2----0----0----2------------------|
B----0----2----3----3----0----2----3----3-------------|
G----0----2----2----4----0----2----2----5-------------|
D----2----2----0----4----2----2----0----4-------------|
A----2----0---------2----2----0---------5-------------|
E----0-------------------0----------------------------|

E----0----0----2---------2----0----3--2---------------|
B----0----2----3----2----3----2----3--3----2--3--2----|
G----0----2----2----2----4----2----0--0----2--2--2----|
D----2----2----0----2----4----2----0--0----2--2--2----|
A----2----0---------4----2----0----2--x----0--0--0----|
E----0-----------------------------3--3---------------|


Guitar Theory
To learn more about chord extensions see Fretboard Theory Chapter 10.


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Play Until Yer Fingers Bleed!
Mr. Desi Serna
Website: http://Guitar-Music-Theory.com
YouTube: http://youtube.com/GuitarMusicTheoryTab
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Podcast: Search Desi Serna at iTunes

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Part 3 Amie Guitar Lesson

In case you missed it there are 3 parts to my Amie Guitar Lesson video. I don't have guitar tab for this song, but I slow everything down and explain all the licks and phrases. This lead guitar solo is suitable for intermediate and advanced level players only.

If you're just getting started with guitar scales and soloing I recommend that you be careful not to get ahead of yourself. Instead, check out the free preview to my DVD Getting Started with the Pentatonic Scale.


Part 3 Amie Guitar Lesson at YouTube

By the way, my dentist recorded this for himself during a private lesson (we used to barter for services back when I still taught). If you're in need of good dental work visit Dr. Kozy's website at: Cosmetic Dentist Toledo


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Play Until Yer Fingers Bleed!
Mr. Desi Serna
Website: http://Guitar-Music-Theory.com
YouTube: http://youtube.com/GuitarMusicTheoryTab
Twitter: http://twitter.com/MrGuitarTheory
Facebook: http://facebook.com/desi.serna
Myspace: http://www.myspace.com/guitarmusictheory
Podcast: Search Desi Serna at iTunes