Guitar talk

Guitar lessons and sources.

How to play Say A Little Longer by Bob Wills

How to play Stay A Little Longer by Bob Wills and The Texas Playboys

Fridays’s Freebies #7: Chords 3, Hotel California, Joel White, and The Fretboard

Guitar Chords level 3

There are 7 basic chords in each key. Each chord is given a number name usually designated by Roman numerals. For example , in the key of C, C is the I chord, Dm is the ii, Em is the iii, F is IV, G is V, Am is vi, and B dim is vii. Majors use upper case and minors or dim use lower case Roman numerals.

The exercises in this playlist are in the keys of C, G, D, and A. These keys are more guitar friendly because they require only a few partial barre chords. The remaining 8 keys require full barre chords and are discussed in upcoming lessons. When discussing keys, there are 2 things they all have in common: 1) All 12 keys are in alphabetical order. 2) The I, IV, and V chords are major. The ii, iii, and vi chords are minor, and the vii chords are diminished. This is true for all 12 keys. What they do not have in common is the amount of sharps (#) and flats (b). The videos below provide diagrams for the chords and accompaniment tracks.

 

Hotel California on the Puerto Rican cuatro

The classic song by The Eagles seems to have universal appeal. The rhythm track for the intro and verse was done on a 12 string with a capo on the 7th fret. The cuatro sounds great on songs that use a 12 string.

 

Joel White, guitarist for The One O’clock Lab Band at The University of North Texas

Joel, and his dad Eric, dropped in to visit during the Christmas holiday. If you have not heard of The One O’clock Lab Band, it is the number one band at UNT and is considered one of the best in the nation.  I recorded Joel playing the Peanuts classic Christmas song. I recorded it on my phone and we only did one take! Joel will be traveling to New York City in January to perform at the Lincoln Center. The concert, featuring the top 10 college jazz bands, will be hosted by the legendary Winton Marsalis. Joel will be graduating in May. My how time flies!

 

Learn the Neck

Understanding and memorizing the notes on the entire fretboard is essential for mastering the guitar. This playlist has 4 videos with 4 methods for knowing the fretboard.

 

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Friday’s Freebies #6: Suzy Q, Both Sides Now, Cuatro Scales, and Ask Asher

How to play the intro to Suzy Q

Suzy Q is a song by musician Dale Hawkins recorded late in the rockabilly era in 1957. He wrote it with bandmate Robert Chaisson, but when released, Stan Lewis, the owner of Jewel/Paula Records and whose daughter Susan was the inspiration for the song, and Eleanor Broadwater, the wife of Nashville DJ, Gene Nobles, were credited as co-writers to give them shares of the royalties.

Hawkins cut Susie Q in a radio station in Shreveport Louisiana. Susie Q captured the spirit of Louisiana and featured guitar work by James Burton, who also worked with Ricky Nelson and later with Elvis Presley, among others.

Creedence Clearwater Revival released a version on their debut album in 1968. The band’s only Top 40 hit not written by John Fogerty, it peaked at number 11. This song was one of their first big hits. The album version clocks in at 8:37. The single is split into parts one and two on its A and B sides, respectively. The jam session during the coda is omitted in part one. Instead, it fades out with the guitar solo right before the coda, which fades in with part two on the B-side.

Fogerty told Rolling Stone magazine in 1993 that he recorded Suzie Q to get the song played on KMPX, a funky progressive-rock radio station in San Francisco, which is why it was extended to eight minutes.

 

How to play Both Sides Now

Both Sides Now is one of the best-known songs of Canadian singer-songwriter Joni Mitchell.  First recorded by Judy Collins, it appeared on the U.S. singles chart during the fall of 1968. The next year it was included on Mitchell’s album Clouds (which was named after a lyric from the song). It has since been recorded by dozens of artists, including Frank Sinatra, Willie Nelson, Herbie Hancock, Neil Diamond and many others. Mitchell herself re-recorded the song, with an orchestral arrangement, on her 2000 album Both Sides Now.

In 2004, Rolling Stone ranked Both Sides Now at #171 on its list of The 500 Greatest Songs Of All Time.

 

My solo arrangement of Both Sides Now is in Spanish tuning (also known as open G tuning). For best results learning the song use the tab and watch and listen to the video at slow speed. You can slow You Tube videos down in the settings in the top, right corner of the screen (three dots usually). The notation duration (stems, flags, etc.) aren’t totally accurate because the syncopation is too tedious to write out and I know most people will use the tab anyway.

 

 

How to play the C major scale on the Puerto Rican Cuatro

The major scale is the most essential scale in the western hemisphere. The video and web page below explains various ways to play the scale.

 

The C Major Scale on the Cuatro

 

Ask Asher #5: Tips for buying your first guitar

 

 

Guitar Talk:

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Friday’s Freebies #5

We still have four weeks until Christmas with enough time to learn a song.  Learning a Christmas song to share with your family would be a wonderful gift.

 

A Christmas song for beginning guitar students:

What Child Is This?

What Child Is This? is a Christmas carol whose lyrics were written by William Chatterton Dix, in 1865. At the time of composing the carol, Dix worked as an insurance company manager and had been struck by a severe illness. While recovering, he underwent a spiritual renewal that led him to write several hymns, including lyrics to this carol that was subsequently set to the tune of Greensleeves, a traditional English folk song. Although it was written in Great Britain, the carol is more popular in the United States than in its country of origin today.

What Child Is This? slow tempo
What Child Is This? normal tempo

 

A Christmas song for intermediate guitar students:

Silent Night

There’s a wonderful story about the carol Silent Night. Supposedly, the song was first performed on Christmas Eve in 1818, just a few hours after it had been written. The Austrian priest, Joseph Mohr, was in desperate need of music for the midnight mass because his church’s organ was broken. So, he penned these lyrics and brought them to the organist Franz Gruber, who composed a simple melody for a guitar accompaniment. But as nice is this tale sounds, it is not entirely true.

Joseph Mohr actually wrote the lyrics to “Silent Night” several years before, in 1816. Regardless of its origin, the carol has proved to be immensely popular. It was first translated into English by hymnodist Emily Elliot in 1858, and again by John Freeman Young in 1859. Since that first performance, the lyrics have been translated into over 100 languages, and merrily sung by carolers all over the world.

 

Spanish Tuning

What does Robert Johnson, Mississippi John Hurt, Joni Mitchell, Jimmy Page, Keith Richards, Leo Kottke, Michael Hedges, The Black Crowes, The Moody Blues,  and most of the acoustic blues players from the Mississippi delta have in common? Spanish tuning! Spanish tuning is usually, but not limited to, open A or open G. If you are familiar with the A chord then you will know the sound. Basically. you tune the guitar to sound like an A chord played open. Therefore, the open notes are EAEAC#E low to high. Open G is the same intervals a whole tone lower. Therefore, the notes are DGDGBD low to high. I prefer G because there is less string tension. The advantage of open tuning is the open strings are used extensively to our advantage and barre chords are much easier. In this lesson we have Silent Night using Spanish tuning in the key of G. I hope you enjoy!

 

 


 

A Christmas song for Puerto Rican cuatro students:

Feliz Navidad

Feliz Navidad is a Christmas song written in 1970 by the Puerto Rican singer and songwriter Jose Feliciano. With its simple Spanish chorus (the traditional Christmas/New Year greeting, “Feliz Navidad, próspero año y felicidad” meaning “Merry Christmas, a prosperous year and happiness”) and equally simple English verse “I wanna wish you a Merry Christmas from the bottom of my heart”, it has become a classic Christmas pop song.

 

 

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Friday’s Freebies #4

Hello music lovers,

This week we have three freebies: 1) Guitar Chords Level 3: The Key of C,  2) Rocky Top on the Ukulele, and 3) Introducing Asher to the Cuatro. The lessons contain videos, tab, and/or chord diagrams. Comments and questions are always welcomed and strongly encourage

 

Chords Level 3: The Key of C

There are seven basic chords in the key of C. In this video we learn how to play the chords in the key of C with an accompanying backing track.

 

Rocky Top on the Ukulele

The ukulele has enjoyed a renaissance in recent years. Check out Brian’s version of Rocky Top.

 

Asher is introduced to the Puerto Rican Cuatro

 

Pioneer Day Tomorrow!

Asher, Simeon, and Brian will be performing at Jesse Jone Park Pioneer Day.

3-4 tomorrow, Saturday, November 9. We would love to see you there!

20634 Kenswick Dr, Humble, TX 77338

 

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Fridays Freebies #3

Hello music lovers,

This week we have four freebies: 1) Guitar chords Level 2: The Key of G,  2) The swing classic, After You’ve Gone, 3) Silent Night on the Puerto Rican cuatro, and 4) Ask Asher, live stream #2. The lessons contain videos, tab, and/or chord diagrams. Comments and questions are always welcomed and strongly encouraged!

Chords Level 2: The Key of G

In our previous lesson I discussed chords: level 1.  We simply learned the 3 most common chords in each of the 7 guitar friendly keys. In level 2 we will learn to enrich the same chords using notes from the major scale (diatonic notes) that are not in the basic chords. By adding these notes we will construct the add9, sus4, 6, Maj 7, and the dominant 9 chords.

Here it is:
Chords Level 2: The Key of G

 

After You’ve Gone

After You’ve Gone may be as old as jazz itself. It was written by composer, Turner Layton, in the 1918. Every jazz legend has performed or recorded this song from the Great American Song Book. Django Reinhardt, Al Jolson, Gene Krupa, Bessie Smith, Louis Armstrong, and many more have made this song part of their repertoire. Originally it was a slower song but it can be played at any tempo. Compare the Fiona Apple with John Pizzarelli’s version in the videos below and you’ll see what I mean. Joscho Stephan is a gypsy jazz guitarist from the school of Django. If you are not familiar with gypsy jazz, watching Joscho is a great place to start. The chords are provided below the videos.

Here it is:
After You’ve Gone

 

Silent Night on the Puerto Rican Cuatro

here it is!

Silent Night

 

Ask Asher

Asher Rives is my twelve year old student and co-host of our live streams. In our second stream we discuss guitars and compare contemporary music to music from the golden age of radio. Is music from my generation better than contemporary music? See what Asher has to say.

If you have any questions, comments, or suggestions for future streams feel free to email me.

here it is:
Ask Asher: Live Stream #2

 

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Ask Asher (live stream #2)

Asher Rives is my twelve year old student and co-host of our live streams. In our second stream we discuss guitars and compare  contemporary music to music from the golden age of radio. Is music from my generation better than contemporary music? See what Asher has to say.

If you have any questions, comments, or suggestions for future streams feel free to email me.

CC

Contact Brian and Asher

 

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Essential swing for guitarists #3: After You’ve Gone

After You’ve Gone may be as old as jazz itself. It was written by composer, Turner Layton, in the 1918. Every jazz legend has performed or recorded this song from the Great American Song Book. Django Reinhardt, Al Jolson, Gene Krupa, Bessie Smith, Louis Armstrong, and many more have made this song part of their repertoire. Originally it was a slower song but it can be played at any tempo. Compare the Fiona Apple with John Pizzarelli’s version in the videos below and you’ll see what I mean. Joscho Stephan is a gypsy jazz guitarist from the school of Django. If you are not familiar with gypsy jazz watching Joscho is a great place to start. The chords are provided below the videos.

 

 

After You’ve Gone Chords

 

 

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Malaguenia

 

The notation, chords, and tab:

Malaguenia tab and notation

 

A computer generated audio of the tab and notation:

 

 

 

 

Friday’s Freebie’s #2

Hello music lovers,

This week we have four freebies: How to memorize chords level 1 for beginning guitarists, How to play Sweet Georgia Brown and an analysis of Honey Suckle Rose for intermediate to advanced guitarists. We also have minor scales for cuatro. All the lessons contain videos, tab, and/or chord diagrams. Comments and questions are always welcome.

 

Memorizing Chords level 1

Guitar chords level 1 consist of the 7 friendly keys. They are friendly because no barre chords are involved. Memorizing a lot of chords can seem like a daunting task but when you understand the number system the task becomes much easier. The chords in level 1 are what we call the I IV V (Roman numerals) chord progression.

Here it is:
The I, IV, V chord progression.

 

Sweet Georgia Brown

Sweet Georgia Brown may be the first swing song I learned. My earliest recollection of it is watching the Harlem Globe Trotters on TV when I was a kid. It was their theme song. Anyone raised in the 60s remembers the whistling version of Sweet Georgia Brown. In the following video you will see my ace student, Asher Rives,  performing the classic. I also have versions by the legendary Django Reinhardt, Louis Armstrong, and more. The chords, tab, and melody are also provided.

Here it is:
Sweet Georgia Brown

 

Analysis of Honey Suckle Rose

Last week I showed you Honey Suckle Rose. Let’s discuss why and how the chords work.

Here it is:
Analysis of Honey Suckle Rose

 

Minor Scales for Cuatro

In these videos we will learn the pure minor scale and the harmonic minor scales in the key of Dm and how to use them over the Andalusian cadence. The chord progression is know as the Andalusian cadence.

here it is:
part 1
part 2

 

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In case you missed last weeks!
Friday’s Freebies #1

 

 

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