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Category: Online lessons

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.

AmpliTube

In this weeks blog post we are going to look at AmpliTube from software and hardware company IK Multimedia.

AmpliTube is a piece of software that emulates the sound of amps, pedals, speaker cabinets and how they sound with different mic configurations. This powerful program is a great addition to any recording guitarist looking to get a really good guitar tone without having to actually mic up an amp.

As a recording guitarist AmpliTube is great for trying out different guitar tones on your recorded electric guitar parts. It also allows you the scope to adjust and change the tone in post production. So if you change your mind about the tone you applied to your recording guitar, you can change it.

AmpliTube works as a plugin on all major digital audio workstations (DAW) such as: Protools, Logic, Cubase.

It has many cool features that allow you to craft your tone and access simulations of amps that you could only dream of owning. The software interface is also familiar as it emulates the look and controls of popular amps and pedals.

The full version is quite expensive at around £150. But you can also get a lite version for free that offers the ability to build on your software amp collection. Similar to in app purchases.

Either way we think its great and a great addition for any recording guitarist. Check out the links below for free and full version information.

On a final note, we think the software is very good but we found the installation and license manager to be difficult to use. Sometimes we experienced licensing issues getting the programs to work and when downloading some free apps from IK. There was lots of additional plugins that were download but not authorised. This made the boot time of DAW programs slow and also over crowded the plugin menus with software that were only in demo mode.

Learn more about AmpliTude here: https://www.ikmultimedia.com/products/amplitube4

Download a FREE official version from their site here: https://www.ikmultimedia.com/products/amplitubecs/?pkey=amplitube-custom-shop

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!

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