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JamBlog - learning

Only the most valuable and fun content for forward thinking musicians

Take your Slide Guitar Playing from Frustrating to Fun!

We’re serving up some simple techniques to improve your slide guitar playing, and take your technique to the next level.

Finding Classic Country Tone on any Guitar or Amp

The first word that gets associated with country guitar tone is twang, a word that evokes both plunky banjos and wailing steel guitars, and usually means bright, clear, and punchy. Gear wise, this means single coil pickups and clean guitar amps.

Baby’s Got the Bends: 4 Techniques to Make Your Guitar Wail

What is it about bending that is so intoxicating to the listener? It’s hard to say, but my sense is that bending is what makes the guitar “sing”. As humans, we have a deep and natural connection to the human voice, our primary method of communication, which is why singing evokes an emotional response from the listener. Bending strings sounds like singing, emotional singing sounds like wailing, so turn up the guitar amp - we're gonna make your fretboard cry.

The 5 Types of Guitar Effects - and where your favourite pedals fit in

Most guitar effects have names that describe the sound they make (like Fuzz or Wah-wah) while others have names that describe the process of making the sound (like Phaser or Overdrive), but here we’ll try to take a scientific approach, asking “what are the properties of the sound and what are the ways they can be altered”? Or better yet, “what the heck does this pedal do?”

The Pursuit of The Mute

Are you having trouble with unwanted notes ringing in your chords? Have you ever wondered how your favourite guitar heroes bang away on riffs so effortlessly without hitting the wrong strings? Are you hoping to add a little extra weight to your playing? The answer is muting!

Let’s Dive Into DAWs: Are You Ready to Amp Up Your Recording Game?

If you’re curious about recording, and you’ve taken it upon yourself to do some inquisitive google searching on the subject, you’ve probably come across the term “DAW” a number of times already. Maybe you’re asking the question that all of us have asked at one time or another - what is a DAW!?

Break Out of the Box With These Pentatonic Patterns

A scale pattern in a closed position (no open strings) that sticks to roughly the same grouping of frets is called a box patternWhile this is a perfectly valid and reasonable approach, let’s be honest - who wants to be put in a box anyway?! As you progress on your journey to soloing greatness, perhaps the most beneficial scale pattern to learn is called the Diagonal Pentatonic Scale. Don’t worry - it’s less difficult than it sounds.

Muscle Memory: an athletic approach to the tactics of practice

Sometimes, music is like sports. Music can be played alone, or in a group. Music is collaborative: your bandmates are your teammates, and the more you’ve practiced, the tighter your performance will be. You can approach music tactically, theoretically, or just play to have some fun and pass the time. But the main similarity, at least to me, is that music is physical, and if you learn to use your muscles in just the right way, the repetitive motion can become second nature. This is often referred to as muscle memory. Developing this type of skill can be tricky, and it’s not always clear where to begin, so let’s dive in!

Nashville Numbers (and why the capo is your friend)

I’ve found that by capo-ing into a place where I can play familiar chord formations it’s been easier to learn songs on the fly. But I’d be remiss if I didn’t give the bulk of the credit to a handy tool that’s helped simplify communication between musicians: the Nashville Number System.

Mind Over Matter: Changing Your Mindset to Improve Your Practice Habits

Do your pals introduce you as “this is my buddy who plays guitar”? Do your in-laws buy you weird guitar-themed gifts for every holiday (“I thought of you when I saw this mug ‘cause it has a guitar on it”)? If so, you may be on your way to musical excellence with what is called the Self Determination Theory.

Alternate Tunings (and Why You Should Try Some)

Chances are you’ve spent a good deal of time learning to play in standard tuning, you know your way around the fretboard and maybe you can confidently take a solo... so why abandon all that knowledge and start from scratch learning new chord shapes and scale positions?

Good Reasons to Buy Used Guitars

Buying new has the advantage of picking the exact model you want, and knowing it will be backed by some level of warranty. Buying used can feel a little more daunting, but here are some reasons to take the plunge into the used market...