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4 Scales to Master

Many of my students want to know how to play lead guitar or at least integrate single note playing into their music. Who wouldn’t?
If you like American music then there are 4 scales to master.
The major scale (7 note) and major pentatonic scale (5 note).
The minor scale (7 note) and minor pentatonic scale (5 note).
Not necessarily in that order.
Then add the passing tone (blue note) to each pentatonic scale.
In the major pentatonic scale it’s the #2 and in the minor pentatonic it’s the #4.

Joe Walsh

JOE WALSH                                                                   Daryl’s House 2012
Taken from a conversation Joe had with Daryl Hall. What do you think?

James Taylor

One guitarist acoustic players want to play like is James Taylor and who could blame them. I’ve learned and taught many of his songs but if you’re going to learn one song by him learn Carolina On My Mind. It’s a great workout and it’s filled with most of his guitar tricks. This link is from his site and has a bird’s eye view of both hands. He has some unorthodox fingerings for some of his chords and I use his fingerings in a couple of places because it plays better. My advice is to master one section at a time and learn to play them together as you go. Be patient, he didn't learn to play it overnight either.   lists@JamesTaylor.com    


Vibrato is rarely discussed but is very important. It is to music what icing is to the cake. Vibrato is a steady change in pitch. It expresses emotion like nothing else. There are 2 ways it’s done on a stringed instrument.  
  1. – Think of the way a violinist or cellist moves their hand back and forth on the neck while playing a note.  On the guitar this is the most subtle type of vibrato. The idea is to keep the finger firmly pressing down on the note/string while moving the fretting hand back and forth or left to right.

The Black Keys

Love the Black Keys. I read an interview with Dan Auerbach (Black Keys) and Billy Gibbons (the guy with the beard). When talking about the old blues players and what I would call roots music Dan said "I want to say it's simple, but it's deceptive because there is so much soul involved. It's not simple, but minimal". Well said.

Marcus Miller

Here's another view from the great bassist Marcus Miller. He said about one of the players in his current band, "he has the whole thing; tone, technique and passion, most musicians are missing something." I interpret the word "passion" as inspiration because passion doesn't always translate into something inspired but inspiration is always passionate.When something is inspired people connect to it. That's why something as easy as playing the blues can be very difficult. No matter how much you know, if blues is not inspired it falls flat and it can leave you standing naked!

Wayne Krantz

 I read an interview with the guitarist Wayne Krantz recently, and he said there are 4 essential elements of music;  Melody, Harmony, Rhythm, and Sound (or Tone). Nothing new about that, but he went on to say that every musician has an ability or particular strength in one of these areas. It doesn't mean they don't have abilities in the other 3, but rather they create or get their inspiration through one. I thought of many of the musicians I've worked with and listened to and I tend to agree with his view.
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