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Category: Articles

Things guitar players do not need to buy

In this article, we are going to look at some of the products available in the guitar accessory market place you DO NOT need to buy.

Finger Expansion Sleeve

This should not exist. It’s a piece of plastic that is claiming to be able to help you increase the space between your fingers and reach more of those tricky chord positions. 

In my opinion, its a waste of money and plastic and should not exist. Playing the guitar, enjoying playing the guitar and repetitively attempting tricky chords, licks and phrases will make your fingers and hands adapt. You do not need a piece of plastic. This device that essentially promotes itself as being a short cut, is unlikely to work or make you any better at guitar. Even if it does stretch your fingers you’ve still wasted valuable practice time.

This looks more like a torture device for your fingers.

Chord device thing.

This shouldn’t exist either. If you own one of these you need to question why you started learning the guitar. Another device to provide a short cut to learning fundamental chords and making playing guitar easier. Sounds great, but it’s not. It masks the fretboard from view, restricts the player to a set of positions and teaches you nothing but how not to play the guitar. Learning the guitar takes time and dedication and these devices do not help.

Finger protectors

No. Just No. These are not helpful. You may find it difficult and uncomfortable to play the guitar at first but with time this will get better. You do not need little rubber covers for your fingers. 

On the other hand, if you have a cut across your finger this might genuinely help. 

In addition, if you are considering these cause your strings feel rough or rusty then buy a new set of strings instead.

Guitar Fretboard labels

Ok, so these look like they might be useful. But I don’t believe they are. If you are starting for the first time these might help you navigate the fretboard, but you should only consider placing the thick E string and consider using some theory to work out the rest. The longest process of learning the notes is typically the most effective. 

On some guitars, these stickers will just eventually leave a sticky mess or marks on your fretboard. Making your guitar look ugly.

Conclusion

So that’s it! My opinion of some of the worst guitar accessories I have seen so far. Most of them appearing in my social media feeds from Wish. 

I don’t believe any of the above will help you learn the guitar any better or quicker. Learning guitar is fun and rewarding but does take time and patience. You will progress much better if you do not waste your time or money or short cuts.

I will add more accessories to this post as I discover them.

Disclaimer: This is my opinion only. If you do not agree, thats fine.

Pentatonic Scales Lesson

We have been busy this week making more content to share with our students and followers.

This week we are providing a set of scale diagrams to help you learn your pentatonic scales. We have compiled these in the form of an E-Book to download absolutely FREE!

All we are asking from you is to join our mailing list. We do not share or sell your details and we only email occasional things that might be of interest. Including FREE lesson content. What’s not to love!

Complete the form below and the pentatonic scale book will be sent to your inbox automatically.

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We are always keen to know your thoughts and how you are progressing learning the guitar. Get in contact with us if you want a one to one lesson or have any feedback to help us improve.

Is there a formula for a hit song?

In this article, we are going to look at some of the common elements found in some of the chart music hits.

You could use these elements to inspire your own songwriting or provide you with a basis to start writing your own song. Or even to wonder if there is a formula for a hit song.

Statistics and Music

The arrival of streaming services like Spotify has allowed the music of the world to come together into one platform and allow us to consume as much music as we like with a click of a button. But it has also provided a potential to analyse and produce data based on the songs created and hosted on the platform. Back in 2015/16, Spotify posted a few blog articles with data based on the music hosted on its platform. Unfortunately in 2020, I can no longer locate the blog, but luckily, I kept some of the graphs.

Below is a pie chart with a list of keys of all the music contained on Spotify. You will see that a decent proportion of music is written in only a few keys. 

So if looking to write a hit song, would you consider only composing in C or G major?

Another graph found from the same set of blog articles showed the data in popular music genres in the USA.

Obviously trends change and back in 2015/16 the Latin Pop, Emo Metal and Punk may have been really popular. But if your main ambition was to compose a hit song of the times, this type of data could make you think whether to compose in one genre or another and research elements of the style of that genre.

Chord Inspiration

The Four Chord Song by Axis of Awesome has provided us with food for thought when it comes to songwriting. So many songs have similar chord progressions in common. It could be argued that this does make up the formula for our hit song or again provide us for a basis to start composing for the first time.

Millennial Whoop

Another common aspect of popular music is cleverly demonstrated in the video below. Although titled “Millennial Whoop” the concept spans a wide range of music and long time period. 

Is this another concept we should consider a frequent feature to include in “Hit” songwriting?

Conclusion

Personally I do not believe there is a formula for a hit song. The zeitgeist will always influence what we listen to and what is popular. But there are clearly some elements that are common and by having an analytical ear when listening to music will definitely expand your horizons and hopefully provide inspiration for your own compositions. 

I don’t believe that any songwriter should write a song for the sole purpose of creating the next big hit. You should always write songs that show your creativity and if you are looking for global recognition, hopefully, that will follow later.

Hammer Ons and Pull Offs – Thunderstruck

In this lesson we are going to be looking at the techniques required to play the main theme of Thunderstruck by ACDC.

This track has a great riff that uses a lot of pull offs. In the excerpt below you will see the TAB has a lot of “P” and “H” instructions. P standing for Pull off and H standing for Hammer on. For this melody you are applying you fretting hand fingers aggressively down (Hammering) to play the notes and pulling off (Slight pull down, rolling off the note again with the fretting hand) with the same finger to play the open strings.

Give this iconic tack a go! start slow and build up speed and when confident try it out to the track.

You can download a transcription of the lead guitar part here below.

G Major Scale Exercise

Technique Tuesday!

This weeks technique is actually a scale exercise to help you develop your dexterity. When practicing scales, try applying a similar method shown in todays exercise.

All you have to do is play ascending 4 notes from each note of the scale. So you play the first four notes from the first note, then go back to the second note and play four notes and then return to the third note and play 4 notes etc.

Slightly confusing! but hopefully you will get the gist of it in this weeks example. Try this exercise at any tempo you want and then gradually increase the speed. Where possible, assign 1 finger per fret. Good luck!

Tech and Apps for Musicians – Dolby On

Like most Guitarists we love technology. Pedals, Amps, Recording Tech, Apps, everything!

So in this short series of posts we are going to look at some of the newest apps on the market as well as technology available for the creative musicians out there. Most of the tech we feature will not just be for Guitarists. But we are a guitar website so…. you know.

This week we downloaded an app for IOS and Android called Dolby On. Which is simply an app for capturing and sharing high quality video. But with the added benefit of enhanced sound quality. Dolby are world renowned for their innovations and expertise in the field of audio and having their expertise included in a free downloadable app is quite exciting.

The app itself seems to use a combination of noise filtering, EQ curves and stereo widening to make the audio you capture with your video sounds top notch!

This is particularly useful if you are capturing a live performance or recording your own performances or creative pursuits.

We are not 100% on how the app actually works but we think its pretty cool and should definitely be downloaded by any creative video maker.

Check out the promo video below and of course download it for yourself.

Self-isolating? Learn Guitar Remotely!

Times are extremely challenging at the moment and we find ourselves hiding out and being faced with ongoing uncertainty.

As a small business we have also been faced with some challenges in response to covid-19 and will continue to do so.

But! in the spirit of adapting and overcoming hardship, we are now trialing remote lessons. Like skype, only without the skype software.

We are now trialing online lessons, delivered remotely by our tutors for anyone who wishes to distance themselves during these difficult times and still have a guitar lesson.

This could help relieve some of the working from home boredom and cabin fever from prolonged isolation.

If you’re interested in giving our online lesson service a go then get in touch for more info and to make a booking.

Stay safe out there!

Guitar Academy

How to tune your Guitar

Always play in Tune.

Before you play your Guitar you have to put it in tune. This can be tuned manually by ear (hardest) or by using a Guitar tuner device (easier).

There are many things that will put your Guitar out of tune. Such as: Playing it, Changes in temperature and putting it in and out of cases or knocking it against something by accident.

Digital guitar tuners are a worth while investment. So get hold of one and watch the below tutorial on how to use one.

Learn to Play Day 2019

This March the 24th 2019 We will be taking part in national learn to play day!

Come and take part in one of our Guitar lesson taster sessions completely free!

If you do not have a guitar you do not need to worry, we can provide one for your to use in lesson.

The event will take place between 10am and 2pm on Sunday. Booking is required at this link: https://guitaracademyl2pd.simplybook.it

All customers get a free 50% Off voucher for their next lesson. If you sign up to lessons on the day you also get a free tuner!