Tag Archives: teacher

Guitar Scales. The 1-4-2 Chords

Cool Jazz Guitar Soloing techniques. Advanced  Jazz Improvisation.

This is an introduction to my jazz improvisation course. This course will soon be available online, but at present, you are welcomed to learn in person, at my Creative Guitar School in Melbourne .

In my Jazz Guitar courses, you will learn how to develop melody and harmony of a given song, to the limit of your creative abilities.

You will learn to choose what sounds good or bad, and there fore, maintain  the flow of your creative dialogue.  This is an extremely rewarding  experience.

I love to improvise, to flow, and create constant variations of a motif a song of any musical idea. It feels great. 

It did not feel good

At first, in the 80s, when I started playing professionally,   I was not  comfortable improvising, since  even though I was playing the correct notes, I did not like what I was doing.  It did not feel good. 

I knew I needed more information on how to choose, how to be aware of what sounds good or bad. I needed more options to express those feelings, I had an urge to scream out. 

Berklee College of Music

So, I went to Berklee College of Music, Boston, U.S.A  for 3 years, and I was bombarded with practical good and evil. I loved it.

While at Berklee, I came across Jon Damian,  who taught one of my  favourite guitar players, ( Bill Frisell ). I soon discovered an amazing pathway, to harmonic and melodic variation, to cover, for the rest of my life, all my creative and artists needs.

Guitar Scales: The 1-4-2 Combination

Did you know there are 24 ways of creating chords on the go and you can combine them,  play them any way you wish as long as it sounds good for you.

Listen to the guitar scales

In the intro of the video on this page, I used a combination of sounds based upon the 142 pattern of a scale but, applied only  to one chord. There fore, imagine the colours that can pop up, in a song with many chords and with all guitar scales.

Check out the video to hear this combination of a G scale. 

  • one string
  • in one position

But, more magic occurs when you apply the 1-4-2 sound to a more complex harmonic structure.

Since this combination creates a lot of tension, we can then use it, when we need tension on a note, or area of a chord in relation to the guitar scale.

The 142 sound in a more complex harmonic setting 


Guitar Scales  all the things you are

This is the melody of the Standard: All the things you are. 

The red lines are the places I have decided to play with more tension, than what the chord will give me.  If I play without the red feeling I produce a  static sound, boring.

See video

When I play, and apply the 1-4-2 pattern to the red section, I get more movement, more excitement and it just feel great.    

See video

You can apply this sound also to a solo.

See video

So come along and let´s explore together more of these sounds . Send me an email, get in touch. Book Your Course now .

5 questions Beginner guitar

How to find the notes on the guitar fretboard?

Musical notes represent sounds of definite pitch. When we perform, we are constantly searching for sounds and notes, there fore, we need to learn how to find them on the guitar fretboard.

How to find notes on the guitar fretboard

We generally will not remember, with precision, where they are, by solely memorising, visually the position, or by using any form of logic. You will remember where to find a sound, better said a combination of notes, as no note comes alone, by identifying the sound previous to its location on the guitar fretboard.

Once you are able to sing what you want to play, you will be ready to find the sound on the guitar. All groups of sounds, phrases, melodies, passages, are generally in a specific tonal centre . This means, that the note you are looking for, will be one, of more or less, seven notes to choose from.

Why sing before you play?

At the Creative Guitar School, I will teach you where to find the notes by learning the scale patterns, but above all, how to find the desired note effectively, by recognising its pitch, and singing it before you play it on the guitar fretboard.

Further more, the pitch on the guitar fretboard can increase in different directions. If you first understand that the sound you are looking for, is going up or down in pitch, then you will not be confused, by which direction you take on the guitar, to find this increase of pitch.

In our first lesson, of all beginners guitar courses, we learn all the notes of the C scale, on all strings. We learn them quickly, by singing and naming them in tempo. We quickly identify the distance between notes, and understand the concept of semi tones and tones.

I strongly urge all students, to repeat this exercise daily, in tempo, to get quickly acquainted with the sound, and as a consequence the notes on the guitar fretboard.

When you practice guitar, please keep in mind that all exercises must be repeated daily, to ensure you can properly memorise the task. However, repetition can sometimes be tiring. Do not worry, I am there for you, to give you new weekly challenges, and to modify any exercise, so you may maintain your constant interest in your daily practice routine .

Why do we learn chords on the guitar?

Not all musical instruments can play chords, however, it is presumed that beginner students, first must learn to play chords on the guitar.

A chord is only part of the tools we can use, to create the accompaniment for a song. A song has tempo, groove, melody, background lines, bass lines, harmony and sections. We need to learn all the basic tools, required to play a song from the beginning to the end. A song is really a melody, the vocal line, and all the rest are tools, to help that vocal line come alive.

Chords can be used to define the groove of a song. A drummer definer the groove with sounds that are not specific lyrical pitches, a bass defines the groove by playing melodic lines in the low register, that define the chords.

As a guitarist, when you play a chord, you define the groove of the song, with more than one note at a time, and since the difference in between chords, create changes in intensity, we get a sort of flow, a forward motion in our playing.

However, we also need to learn to play melodies, the vocal line, which is what the song is about. At the Creative Guitar School, you will learn how to play chords, create your own rhythms and especially, learn how to play the melody of the song, and create variations, to keep the flow going.

The melody, the vocal part with no lyrics, is the essence of a song. You need to master how to play melodies immediately, to avoid frustration, and to avoid getting stuck, in what to do on the guitar.

How to create strumming patterns?

At the Creative Guitar School, l I teach you how to develop your own strumming patterns. For such, you only need to know the ingredients of the patterns which are: the subdivisions of the beat , accents, how to identify a groove and reproduce it.

You will be surprised on how quick you are able to create your own powerful grooves and strumming patterns. This is must for all your musical productions.

However, you need constant practice in your daily routine to achieve the musical goal with satisfaction. You must strive to always play in tempo, as such will reduce the time you will take to learn. It helps focus and reduces unnecessary, never ending repetitions. The more you play in tempo, the quicker you will learn .

When should I start concentrating on technique?

In the initial stages of your learning, you must be able to identify melodic values, rhythmic patterns, understand song structure, maintain a tempo, ect.

Once you are efficient in the basic musical knowledge, then you will be ready to develop speed, accuracy and  guitar technique to help you further your expression.

Technique, may come naturally, by completing the exercises and learning of all songs. However, as a teacher, I will quickly identify your learning obstacles, which we all have, and I will give exercises to overcome specific technical difficulties.

In order to improve your technique, you must practice at the slowest speed possible, anticipating position change and sound. You must try to avoid, to place your finger in any position, if your are not sure of the sound you are looking for. Please, have first, the sound you want to reproduce, in your mind, sing it, and then place your finger where you believe that sound is. If you do not have the sound in your head, you will not remember where to find it again.

This obstacle may be overcome by reading, but reading may block our capability of hearing the sound. When we read, we follow placement and tempo instructions, and in the early stages of our guitra learning, we will not hear the sound until we have played it. The process of learning can be daunting and very frustrating.

I already know my scales, what is next?

Scales are groups of 7notes that identify a tonal centre, the resting point of a song. The scale is a tool we use to make melodies, to create bass lines, to improvise, to create variations of chords, to create fill . In other words learn the scale and start playing . The scale will give the location knowledge, where the sounds are, that you are looking for on the guitar.

You will need to learn how to create melodies, bass lines, melodic harmonic groove. At the Creative Guitar School I will teach you how to have never ending fun, with this beautiful instrument in all styles of music, either if it is jazz, rock, blues, funk, flamenco .

Please remember that all students at all levels regularly must compose and record their song at my Recording Studio.

I would like to invite you all to my upcoming concerts in Melbourne and beyond.

 Guitar Learning Solutions

 Guitar Learning Solutions

Do you fit in this profile ?

Are you looking for solutions to any of the following guitar learning problems to play the guitar?

  • So you know how to play some chords, you have learnt some phrases and licks from the internet, you have been playing for years, but still cannot make sense of where to go next.
  • You have a song you love to play, and feel you want to say more with it, but you do not know how.
  • You know a chord is not quite right, in the song, but do not know what other options you have to make it sound right.
  • You have reached the stage that your C, D, Dm, G, and F chords do not do the trick anymore .
  • You have read a lot of guitar theory books,  but still cannot make sense of it.
  • You would love to play with others, but your require skills on how to do it.
  • You ponder on how other guitarists can make a C chord sound so good.
  • You can play on your own, but cannot follow a song for its entire length on you tube.
  • You can figure out, more or less a lick, but cannot figure out how to create your own.
  • You hear some melodies in your head and would like to know how to turn those melodies into a song.
  • You  play in a band and you want to do more than just cover a song. You want to do play your own solo, grooves, riffs and make the song flow with your own emotion.
  • You would like to play on your own, a pop song and play the lyrical line at the same time . How do you play chords and melody at the same time ?
  • You need to sound more bluesy but cannot figure out how.

These are some of the guitar learning problems my intermediate guitar students have. The guitar, at the early stages is fairly easy to learn, since we generally only learn some chords. But all intermediate students face some of the above concerns, when they want more out of their playing.

The guitar learning problems we face, can be a result of internet learning from other guitarists who may also be in the same loop.

What are your guitar learning problems

The solution

The solution, to all the above is, to understand that when we play a song, we must know the melody, the structure and the chords. We must have all the necessary tools to achieve intense emotion both in our interpretation of the melody, or the accompaniment. And last, but not least, only if we have the melody present at all times in our head, we will be able to develop the structure efficiently.

If you can sing it, you can play it 

The less we think about what we are playing,  the more we will be able to perform. The more we are able to hear what is coming next, the more we will be able to enjoy it. No matter how many chords, scales, arpeggios, melody, licks we know, if we are not able to hear the underlining fabrics of the song, we will not be able to play efficiently.

All that you know must fall in sync with a chordal sequence, which in turn generally is  the consequence of a melody.

We will not remember a song by only memorising the chords. We must be able to hear the melody of the song. In order to hear we must be able to sing. In our early stages, it is not necessary to sing in tune, but  we must somehow have the concept in our head, if the sound is going up or down.  The sooner we can, more or less, sing what we want to play, the sooner we will play with ease. No matter how much technique we persist on, if we are not able to hear what we wish to do, we will end up with possible anxiety, muscle cramps, boredom and intense frustration.

You must sync to a tempo

We hear and we remember because the music falls in relation to a time frame. All we play, on our guitar, has to fall in sync with a tempo, with-a  time clock.  We  really do not have to think to much about what we want to do. Thus, the more we concentrate on the tempo, the easier it will become.

Memory and emotional awareness

We will be able le to memorise music, if we are able to understand consciously and classify the emotional intensity of the passage. We generally do not remember chords but  remember the feeling they produce. For example, if you feel a chord with a lot of tension, it will be probably be a dominant.

Also, we all must be aware that chords do not create static emotional categories. When we play a chord, we must create a change in its intensity if not, i will sound boring.

Music make sense when it flows. In the same manner, in nature, water flows because of a difference in pressure, electricity flows between opposite polarities, winds are created by changes of pressure.  Likewie, music comes alive, only we hear and portray these variations in pressure, in emotion or intensity.

All my intermediate and advance guitar lessons and courses, will get the guitar students on the right track,  to pursue their goals.

Styles

In all the above, you will notice that I have not mentioned the concept of style. A style like jazz guitar, blues guitar, flamenco guitar  is just a manner of how we organise the musical vocabulary together.  All of the previous concepts are the same for all styles. Music is like a language . All languages express, communicate and serve the same purpose. What changes between different languages, is how the alphabet is put together and how we use it.

All musical styes share the same concepts of tempo, structure melody, chords and intensity. A style will become easy to learn, once we have all the previous issues resolved, as we then only have to identify the particularity of the style .

Blues, for example, is a structure where we generally try to make major chords sound minor. The more minor we make them sound, the more blues we get. And the more we move away harmonically from the resting point of the song, the more we will need to play more blues sound, so as to maintain the style

In all guitar lessons and courses I develop the fundamentals of learning to help identify the characteristic of each style.

Please refer to the following link to view my music production services  and  music production educational blog.

Writing on the Guitar-Songwriter Exclusive

WRITING ON THE GUITAR – SONGWRITER EXCLUSIVE

I am currently finalising my new online course for songwriters and guitarists who need more emotion from their songs and music productions, and uniqueness in their melodic and harmonic choices.  Especially, for those who wish to deliver the most powerful live performance of their song  and  record it with others.

What do you need to know to get the most out of a song  ?

Module 1 Harmony

  • What chords do I have to work with the song I have in my head ?
  • What other chords can I use for variety ?
  • What chords can I choose to create more excitement?
  • Is my voice shining ? Do I need to transpose?

    Songwriter

Module 2 Structure

  • How can I choose a flowing structure ?
  • How to add a surprise to the structure?

Module3 Groove

  • What is the groove of my song ?
  • How to make even it more groovy, especially in the most exciting parts?

Module 4 Intensity

  • What and where is the climax of the song ?
  • What rhythmic, melodic, harmonic tools do I have  to create intensity and feel that uplifting energy surge ?

Module 5 Variety in the melody 

  • How can I make my melody more interesting ?
  • How can it stand out more ?
  • Does my melody reflect the emotional content of the words ?
  • What tools do I have to achieve the desired emotion?

Module 6 Variety in the accompaniment

  • Do I hear backing vocals?
  • Can they help my melody stand out ?
  • What type of vocals lines do I have to choose from ?
  • Do I hear background lines? How can I translate them to the guitar?

Module 7 Enhancing bass lines 

Can I make the bass line more interesting and therefore make the harmony even more powerful? And the melody more emotional ?

Module 8

Decide how the song is be played by others to enhance the final product. Think and define the roles of each section and how you would like them to play, to accompany your desired emotional goal.

  • What is the outline of bass I need to define the chords and the groove of the song  in each section? And the climax ?
  • What is the rhythm I need, to  define the groove and pulse in each section, and the climax?
  • How should the accompaniment be played in each section ?
  • What is the background line of the accompaniment in each section and the climax ?

This course is to take your music to the next level and make it sound totally professional.