Monday, January 18, 2010

Left-Handed Guitarist Getting Started

Hi Barrett,

Just turning 50 and I figured it's time to learn how to play the electric guitar :-) I recently bought a left-handed Les Paul Studio and I'm interested in your course material, but I assume your books are written for right-handed guitarists and don't know how difficult it would be for a left-handed guitarist to use them. Any insight/suggestions? Thanks!


Hi Ron,
Yes. For a horizontal neck diagram turn the book upside down on the music stand and it will show a mirror image of your fingering position. String and fret numbers will be the same. Plant your fingers, then turn the book over and see how it relates to what you're fingering.

Right-handed guys have to do some mental work to figure out the diagrams too. For them, the diagram is always upside down and they have to mentally crane their necks over to look upside down at the fretboard.

For a vertical neck diagram, you can tilt the book onto its right side and it will again be a mirror image of your fingering. Sit in front of a mirror with the guitar to see what I mean.

The Guitar Fretboard Workbook explains all about string and fret numbers right on the first page so you start out reading standard diagrams correctly. They are shown the way they appear in 99% of other guitar books.

If you're just starting out I recommend getting the Guitar Fretboard Workbook along with a beginner's method book like the Hal Leonard Guitar Method, and a book of fun songs to learn like the Beatles Complete Chord Song Book (ISBN-10: 0634022296). Concentrate on their early songs with only a few chords in them, like Love Me Do, PS I Love You, etc.

I also highly recommend you take at least one or two lessons in person from a reputable instructor who knows a little about both classical and electric technique. They are slightly different. Tape-record everything he says about technique and follow it so you don't develop bad habits that you will have to unlearn later.

Then be patient and practice in short bursts only at first. At age 9 it took me a year to be able to play an F chord as it appears on page 47 of Hal Leonard Book 1. I was considered a quick learner.

Above all, try to make it fun. Let me know when you hit that F.


Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Rhythmic Lead Guitar Book/CD (Jan 2010)

Rhythmic Lead Guitar: Solo Phrasing, Groove and Timing (2010) Book/CD pack that takes you step by step from beginner to master of the rhythmic aspect of soloing and riff creation. Learn to count beat divisions and subdivisions at every level to contribute the right feel to songs in any style.

You'll apply exact timing to bends, slides, legato articulations and grace notes to get your soloing under your complete rhythmic control. No prior music reading knowledge is required, but you will learn a bit about correct rhythmic notation as you go. Over 150 examples are tabbed and notated, and demonstrated at slow tempos on the CD.

Chapters 12-19 cover motific development; setting up audience expectations with form signaling; odd meters; creating syncopation with displacements, additive rhythms, pedal tones, polyrhythms, and metric modulation.

This Book/CD combo is now available exclusively at Barrett's marketplace.


Monday, January 11, 2010

Pattern Numbers on the Guitar Fretboard

Hey Barrett,

I've been playing guitar for 10 years now, but I am going through your Guitar Fretboard Workbook to be able to visualize the fretboard better. So far, knowing the root shapes is definitely coming in handy. However, I have come across something that doesn't quite make sense to me. When I get to the Natural Minor Scale section of the book, exercise #13 doesn't quite make sense to me. For example, #3 is E Minor Pattern 1. I understand the scale formula and I also realize that the Natural Minor corresponds to the 6th degree (aeolian) of diatonic harmony. Now, I can see how you would conclude that #3 deals with "root" shape 1, but it doesn't make sense to me that you would call it "pattern" 1. That particular scale shape seems like it corresponds with "pattern" 5 in terms of playing all the notes of the scale. Hopefully you understand what I am trying to say and can clear things up for me. I really am enjoying your book, but for some reason exercise #13 doesn't quite make sense in terms of what pattern you would call each scale. I would greatly appreciate your help. Thanks much, take care.


Hi Anthony,

I think I understand what you're suggesting. You're saying it would make more sense if a scale fingering were to retain the same pattern number no matter which of its notes is used as the root.

For example you want to refer to E minor scale Pattern 1 as Pattern 5, because it is the same fingering as G major scale Pattern 5, and just remember that the roots are different.

(The relative minor concept is drilled on Exercise 14, right after where you are.)

That approach might seem easier at first, but it is harmful to musicality later. Unfortunately I may not be able to explain why it is disadvantageous until you've looked at later chapters. But I'll make a short good-faith attempt.

When you work with chords, arpeggios, intervals, and modes, you'll see that the root shape determines the pattern number in every case, and all the other notes of these things are measured in comparison to a major scale from the same root---not from a different root. Do it this way until you have these basic shapes clearly planted in your mind. The method you're proposing as your primary thought process will help you later in certain circumstances, for harmonic substition and mode location.

So, we are going to say that because it has root shape 1, the E minor scale in 4th position is a Pattern 1 minor scale, even though the Pattern 5 G major scale uses the same notes and the same fingering, and in spite of the hardship of recognizing the b3, b6, and b7 in the "new" scale.

Any note except the root can be altered against the natural-degree markers on the yardstick of the major scale. For example, you can have a scale that is the same as C major except its 7th is flatted: C Mixolydian. Its Pattern 2 fingering is at fret 2, like C major. We call it Pattern 2 of C Mixolydian (again, even though it is equivalent in fingering to F major Pattern 5).

When you play the C7 chord that goes with this scale, it'll help you understand that we don't necessarily want to be thinking about F major.



This chord does go to F major quite easily, but it could also be used in other situations that have nothing to do with F at all. Therefore we want to measure it in comparison with a major scale from its own roots: Pattern 2 in this spot on the fingerboard. The scale is C Mixolydian. Start with the 2nd finger.

C Mixolydian


This explanation may or may not make sense to you at your current position on the learning ladder. If not, I'm going to have to ask that you temporarily trust that the book's system contains the most-reduced and simplest methodology and reserve any suggested changes until after you've gotten through Chapter 21. Please contact me when you reach page 67!


Wednesday, January 6, 2010

An 8-bar blues solo

Hello guitar lovers!

I'm trying to keep up more posts on my blog. This week I've got a little 8-bar blues solo for you.

Here's the sound file:

And here's the transcription:

Till next time!

Barrett Tagliarino

Barrett Tagliarino