Hillwood Music - All Things Guitar
Tod's blog

Is it o.k. to look at my hands when I play?

   Is it o.k. to look at my hands when I play? This is question that comes up with newer students. My quick answer is "never at the picking hand and occasionally at the fretting hand". In the beginning a student will do more looking as they are getting used to playing the guitar but you want to learn to find the strings and frets without looking as soon as possible. When? That's a fine line sometimes. The more students develop the habit of looking the harder it is to break.

The Best Way To Practice

The best way to practice is a little each day, even 10 or 15 minutes! The key to success is not how long you practice but how often. A little each day is better than an hour on Monday and not picking it up till the end of the week. Keep it fun, keep it musical. I've had students tell me they were going to practice hours a day and I tell them to start with 15 minutes a day and gradually work up to more time if life allows. Make easy, attainable goals otherwise you're going to get frustrated.

Soloing Ideas

Soloing ideas.
Ideas often come from concepts i.e. play this scale over that chord or play alternate chord changes when soloing.
and combining scales, arpeggios, chromatics.
It's not just pulling things out of the air but finding ideas in these concepts.
That's where many ideas originate from with many players.

Music imitates language in this way. We learn a new vocabulary word and see an example of it being used.
Over time we incorporate that new word into our conversation.
Soloing is very much like building a vocabulary of musical ideas to play from.

Tons of tone in tubes

I have nothing against non tube amps but the truth is all amps whether digital, solid state or software based are all trying to accomplish one thing: trying to sound like one tube amp or another or, all of them!  New technology brings new sounds which is important but it has also helped define what it was players loved about those old amps. At the heart of the tone in those great amps are the tubes. This article explains clearly and simply the popular tubes and they're tonal differences.

Brad Paisley

Jazz is really important to country guitar. Country is jazz on the back pickup.When you switch your Tele from the neck pickup to the bridge pickup and play the same lick, it's instantly twang.

Amy Adams on Playing Guitar!

When I look at my 20s, or when I look at any period in my life, I think about how much time I've wasted trying to find the right man. It's like, if I could go back and do it again, I would have taken guitar lessons. I would have put my energy into something that paid off in the end, instead of trying to improve myself for men. Oh, the time and the energy, trying to impress somebody who was actually a big jerk, you know!

Pick Up Adjustments


I was scared to make any adjustments on my instruments when I started out. I got tired of paying for neck adjustments and made the decision to figure it out and I'm so glad I did. I want my students to know how to change strings, adjust the neck and do overall simple maintenance on their instruments. It will allow you to have the instrument sounding it's best and have you playing your best. No more waiting for you guitar to be ready at the shop.

Music: A Therapeutic Release

Music is the best outlet for releasing emotions and dealing with your inner turmoil. It is also a way to bring life to the child and artist inside of you. Each person will have different talents and interests that determine the form of art that is best for them. One thing that ties us all together regardless of age, gender, or culture, is music. 

Maybe you cannot teach old dogs new tricks, but that does not always apply to humans. You can pick up music at any age because the talent lives within your heart.

How to change guitar pickups.


Adjusting your neck.

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Is it o.k. to look at my hands when I play?
The Best Way To Practice
Soloing Ideas
Tons of tone in tubes
Brad Paisley


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