Archive and Resources for GuitaroJam Members

Newsletter Home:  2006 | 2005


17th April, 2006


  • Health:  Musicians and Weight Training
  • Fun Stuff:  Guitar Hero Review (PS2)
  • Artist:  Sanjo and Chandrani - Two Artistes. One Guitar. Endless Music
  • Guitar Care:  How To Restring An Electric Guitar
  • Learning:  How To Turn A Rap Song Into A Country Song
  • Lesson:  Guitar Lesson - Mode Mysteries
  • Gear:  Super Guitars - Made In America
  • Songwriting:  Creating The Perfect Structure For Your Song
  • Marketing:   Four Tactics To Pack Fans Into Your Email List
  • Recommendation: Guitar Alliance - Online Training Program
  • New Product: Learn 2 Play Guitar Six Pack PLUS Master Resell Rights.


    Musicians and Weight Training

    By Dr. Timothy Jameson

    Copyright © 1998-2004 Timothy Jameson. All Rights Reserved.

    I recently received e-mail from a guitarist asking about the safety of weight training. He was told by many of his instructors and friends that weight training, especially wrist curls, would lead to carpal tunnel syndrome. This particular person loved his three time per week exercise routine and was really hesitant about stopping, but at the same time did not want to risk injury to his hands nor face giving up playing guitar because of injuries.

    This e-mail brought up some very interesting questions about exercising and playing music. This column will help focus on some common misconceptions and explain the facts about the importance of exercise routines and injury prevention. First off, musicians are no different than any other human being when it comes to exercise programs. In fact, if there’s any group of people who need to learn more about exercise, it is the musician population. The task of learning musical pieces hour after hour takes a toll on the musculoskeletal system. Exercise is critical to restore vitality and blood flow to the overworked muscles and organs.

    If performed correctly, exercise becomes a vital component to the musician’s wellness program. The key here is performing weight training “correctly.” Improper training techniques can wind up in injuries that can hinder performances and gigs. I recommend that if a musician is considering a weight training and/or aerobic training program that they consult with a personal trainer first to develop a program tailored for their particular needs.

    Exercise Basics

    To obtain the best results from exercise routines, you must first make a commitment to at least three days per week of exercise. Anything less than this will give you less than optimum results. On the other hand, during the initial three to six months I would recommend no more than 4 days per week of exercise for someone who is deconditioned, overweight, or has not exercised in a year or more. The body needs a rest day in between routines to heal itself.

    A musician should begin an exercise program that involves both weight training and aerobic training. Weight training comes in many forms; dumbbells, free-weights, nautilus, cybex, universal, etc. For beginners, I often recommend the weight machines like universal and nautilus since they are easier to learn and maneuver. Aerobic exercise comes in many forms as well. When most people think of aerobic exercise, they envision men and women jumping and dancing around an aerobics room.

    This is only one form of aerobic exercise. Aerobic exercise means to maintain your heart rate at an elevated level for at least 20 minutes so the body enters into the aerobic energy cycle which reduces body fat and strengthens the heart. This can be done in a number of ways, such as via a bicycle, treadmill, stair machine, swimming, “step” classes, and traditional aerobics classes. Some sports activities also bring your body into the aerobic range. These including jogging, tennis, racquetball, squash, and cross-country skiing to name a few.

    While weight training, musicians should concentrate on high repetition, low to medium weight exercises. Each set of exercises should consist of 15 repetitions. If you feel that you cannot attain 15 “reps” then you are working with too much weight. Different musicians will need different exercise regimens due to specific needs. Drummers need a great deal of arm and leg strength, while cello players need overall upper body strength. So your routine should be tailored to the type of instrument you play.

    I often recommend an overall exercise program that develops the major muscle groups of the hands, forearms, arms, chest, back, legs, calves, and abdominals. For example, I recently gave this exercise program to a saxophonist. For forearm strength, I prescribed wrist extension and flexion exercises. To develop arm strength to hold the instrument I recommended bicep and triceps exercises. For shoulder strength, I recommended shoulder “flys” to develop the deltoids. For chest strength, he began “benching” exercises on the universal equipment and to balance the pectoralis development, “seated rows” were implemented to strengthen the upper back muscles. “Latissimus pulldowns” were recommended for back support as were four different abdominal muscle exercises. Leg press and squat exercises were recommended to develop lower body strength.

    Many of these terms may sound like a foreign language to you, but don’t worry: they will be learned quickly once you become aware of the equipment and become knowledgeable about some muscle names.

    Revisiting Our Guitarist

    Getting back to the guitarist who e-mailed me about the exercise program. I told him that there is nothing wrong with exercise programs as long as the exercises are performed correctly. I mentioned that he should avoid hyperflexing his wrist while performing the wrist curls. Too much strain on the wrist flexors can cause inflammation. But if wrist curls are performed correctly, they are great at developing the forearm muscles, which are very important for overall hand strength and finger strength. Very importantly though, is that he has to balance the wrist curls with exercises that will strengthen the opposing muscle groups, such as the finger extensors and wrist extensors.

    Balance is very important in weight training. I advised him to disregard his friends’ advise regarding avoiding exercise. The body needs exercise to increase its function and health. It sounds like his instructors and friends needed some guidance in this aspect. Hopefully they will read this article and begin learning more about the importance of exercise for the musician.

    The “Musician Athlete”

    Did you realize that as a musician you are a professional athlete? Consider how much muscle activity goes into practicing and performing your music. How many hours per day do you use your arms and hands to play music? You must train your body to achieve this high level of activity just as if you were training for the Olympic Games. If you are serious about your profession, then become serious about your body. You can only play as well as your body is able. Many musicians develop painful repetitive strain injuries simply because their bodies were not conditioned enough to put in the many hours of strenuous muscular activity. Begin your exercise program today. You will not only see a change in your health, but also your attitude, your vitality, your happiness, and your music playing.

    About The Author: Dr. Timothy Jameson has been in private chiropractic practice for 15 years and has spent the last six years focusing on the care of the musician population. He is the author of “The Musicians Guide to Health and Wellness, which is available for download at

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    Guitar Hero Review (PS2)

    By Henning Hoffmann

    Guitar Hero is a fun music based game for the PS2. The developer of Guitar Hero, Harmonix, had previously created Amplitude and before that Frequency. All three of these games are music based games where you have to strum or button your way through a song. Frequency was the first, and in my opinion (and that of my friends) better than the sequel Amplitude. While Amplitude had a much better shared multiplayer view, the songs weren't as good and the sense of actually playing the music was much decreased in Amplitude. So when the guys come over to play games at my place, we usually plop in Frequency and not Amplitude.


    Guitar Hero carries on the tradition, and I think is an improvement over Amplitude. It actually includes a guitar controller, which is a half-size plastic guitar with five coloured buttons on the neck. You "strum" a two inch long lever, and the guitar even includes a bendy bar. But you don't have to use this peripheral if you don't want to. Using the controller feels very much like Frequency or Amplitude, except that you sometimes have to hold down the notes over time, which wasn't a feature in the previous games.

    But the guitar peripheral makes it so much more fun, you'll want to use it. The joystick ability really only comes in handy when you play in two-player mode against a friend and can't afford to buy a second guitar.

    But how do you actually play a song? Easy to learn, difficult to master. The coloured buttons on the neck correspond to coloured dots on the moving score of the song. The score actually approaches you, and as coloured dots approach and cross a line right in front of you, you have to have the correct coloured button held down as you strum the guitar. Then the note will change to a different one, so you have to change your fingering before your next strum. It is easier than it sounds. Check the IGN website for Guitar Hero videos.

    How is it? Fun fun FUN! This is one great game with great songs, and great multiplayer action. I've only played it multiplayer with a controller, but getting a second guitar in there would be even more of a blast. I had my friends over to play this game and they all raved about it. If you like listening to music and have a PS2, then you owe it to yourself to at least try this game.

    Problems? Yes, a few. My biggest complaint (though not that big in absolute terms - this is a great game) is that the mapping of music tracks to game tracks isn't as fun as many of the tracks in Frequency and Amplitude were. In those game you'd really get into a groove and really enjoy how the tracks were arranged by the developers. Guitar Hero doesn't have quite the same creativity when it came to laying down the tracks. As well, the game ramps up in difficulty way too fast. The hardest setting is clearly impossible for everyone without a genetically enhanced metabolism. (This was also a problem with Frequency and Amplitude.)

    But don't let those things distract you from what is otherwise a very fun game. And if you don't want to splurge on the full price right away, you might want to try Frequency. It's an older game so is now in many bargain bins. It's a true gem, and you can try out this style of gameplay for less than $10.

    Henning Hoffmann is the publisher of, a great resource for PlayStation 3 news and opinion.

    Article Source:

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    Sanjo and Chandrani - Two Artistes.  One Guitar.  Endless Music.

    by Kulpreet Saini

    Interviewing musicians is always great fun. You get to attend a 'private concert' where you are the only member in the audience. The artistes talk to you and you alone instead of addressing a large impersonal crowd. And the best part is that you can ask all the questions you want.

    All this changes dramatically when the artistes are exceptionally talented. Then you just sit there and listen... spellbound. No questions. No yakking. That's exactly what happened when I interviewed a New Delhi-based music composer-songwriter duo, Sanjo and Chandrani. Their music was so brilliant, that many of my questions remained on my writing pad - I didn't even get a chance to ask them. But hey, who's complaining!

    Let me give you an idea of what I mean when I say "exceptionally talented", beginning with Sanjo. He is truly a multifaceted, extremely versatile musician. His command of musical instruments is mind-boggling. He plays the six-string acoustic guitar, the twelve-string acoustic guitar, electric guitar, bass, mandolin, keyboards, flutes, harmonica, drums, tabla and a wide variety of percussion instruments. In his debut album, Barson Huey, he has composed and arranged all the songs, sung them, providing backing vocals as well, and played every accompanying musical instrument.

    Sanjo's partner, Chandrani is an equally talented artiste. A trained classical singer, Chandrani has written most of the songs on Barson Huey. She has also provided the lead female vocals and backing vocals for many of the songs. Her vocal range is impressive and one of the songs, Hum Logon Ka Saath, has her harmonising across three octaves, hitting unbelievably high notes.

    Before Sanjo and Chandrani begin their 'private concert' for me, I ask a few basic questions. And that's the end of the interview, really. Once the music begins, one is too overawed to ask any further questions. "No further questions, your Honour".

    Before turning up for the interview, I had visited the artistes' website: It said nothing about the artistes' early years. Hence, the first question I pose is fairly predictable: how did they meet? How did this project begin? As Sanjo starts answering the question, I realise I've got a great story brewing. I scribble notes frantically. Here's how it happened. Sanjo was on vacation at Mussoorie, a popular hill station near Delhi, with his colleagues. Chandrani was part of the gang, having tagged along at the last moment on pure impulse. Sanjo naturally carried his guitar (his friends wouldn't allow him to join them without it). Chandrani joined in for the jamming sessions that took place during the evening. Sanjo couldn't help but notice that Chandrani had a great singing voice. At that time, he was toying with the idea of doing an album, and he asked Chandrani if she would pitch in. She agreed - again, on impulse. Fate pulled the strings, and the project began.

    I am always intrigued by songwriters. Being a writer myself, I have tried several times to pen songs, and have failed miserably. So I always try to get under the skin of a songwriter. I ask Chandrani to tell me about the song that she looks upon as her personal favourite. Is it Barson Huey? The answer is 'No'. "It is difficult to choose just one, as all the songs are very close to my heart", she replies. "However, Palkon Pe Tha will get a few extra points from me as I feel it is lyrically rich. Also, in terms of composition, Sanjo has beautifully captured the emotion the song intends to communicate."

    I look at Sanjo. Do they share the same favourite? Not so. His favourite is Barson Huey, the reggae-based title tracks that most fans are avidly talking about. "When I first read the lyrics, I felt a Wow factor", he says, "and after I had finished composing the song, the Wow factor was still there. I rate it as one of my best compositions, and the lyrics really do something to me."

    One highly noticeable characteristic of the songs composed by Sanjo is that they all have rich, varied and complex instrumentation. This stems from Sanjo's ability to play so many different instruments and work them into his arrangements in a seamless manner. Almost all the fans have been talking about the depth and richness of the music, especially since the sound is entirely acoustic and natural, differentiating it from the morass of synthesizer and computer-based music flooding the market nowadays.

    My past experience has shown me that artistes who work in such close proximity invariably have interpersonal problems. I get the feeling that working with a meticulous perfectionist like Sanjo is bound to be difficult. So I ask Chandrani what she considers to be the toughest part while working with Sanjo. Apparently, the creative clashes don't occur over writing and composing. It is far more basic than all that. "Sanjo and I sing on completely different scales", Chandrani explains, "this makes it very difficult to ensure proper coordination and at the same time, keep the emotion and mood of the song intact. Now, if I stick to the scale I am comfortable with, Sanjo has problems - and vice versa. It's tough."

    Fans will, in all probability, not agree with Chandrani on this one. There is a much talked about duet titled Sapno Ka Ek Shahar on the album. It stands out because of the quality of the vocals, the musical arrangements and the sheer intensity of the guitar interludes. One can spot no strain in the voices of the artistes anywhere in the entire song.

    I ask both Sanjo and Chandrani what their music means to each of them. Is it a hobby? Is it a move towards a new, different profession? Or is it just a fun pastime. Chandrani answers first: "It's how I connect with myself", she replies, "music and writing help me to unwind."

    "Tough question", replies Sanjo looking thoughtful, "music is so many things to me. It's a passion, it is a stress management tool, and most importantly, it is a channel for enhancing my creativity. Every creative professional needs to explore other avenues to avoid creative fatigue. Some paint, others write... I compose and play and sing. Music lies at the core of my existence. I cannot live without it."

    It is with some excitement that I ask them about their future plans. It is always thrilling to get a sneak preview of what artistes are going to be up to next. A highly popular music blog on has already announced that the material for Sanjo and Chandrani's next album is ready and they are about to start recording the songs. Both artistes confirm this news. By now, I am bursting with curiosity, so I ask them to tell me a bit about the new album. Unlike most other artistes, they are quite willing to talk about it.

    Chandrani, who is evidently the more outspoken of the two, answers first: "We have tried to be more experimental in the second album", she says, "just like the first album, every song flows from a concept and tries to communicate an idea, a message... something one can relate to. Something one identifies with, as if it has happened to you. I feel if a listener is able to relate to a piece of creativity and is able to identify with it, the song has done its job well. All the songs in the second album attempt to do exactly that."

    Sanjo adds: "Also, we have turned a little choosy in terms of the styles of the compositions. Our first album had a few songs in the pop genre which I feel is a crowded, cluttered space. Our producer felt these songs would give us an advantage from a purely commercial point of view. In the second album, we have steered clear of this, focussing largely on what we do best - create melodies that are pleasing to the ear, emphasising the acoustic feel that characterises our music, and building on the guitar-based sound that is the essence of our songs. And let me share something else with you: the album springs a major surprise - you will see Chandrani debuting as a composer!"

    I look at Chandrani. She simply smiles. I pump her for more information in this regard, but she tells me to wait and see.

    And then... it's time for the private concert to begin. Sanjo picks his guitar up, Chandrani clears her throat, and they begin without any fuss. Starting with the title track, I am treated to a completely unplugged concert featuring acoustic versions of all the songs on the album. And when Chandrani sings Palkon Pe Tha, I realise why it is her personal favourite.

    By the time I leave after the interview, this song is constantly going around inside my head. Something inside me tells me that it will stay in my head for days to come. And I'm not complaining...

    About The Author: Kulpreet is a freelance writer. She settled in New Delhi after a brief stint in journalism in Canada and USA. She is married to an IT professional and has a three year-old daughter


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    How To Restring An Electric Guitar

    By Tony Schuck

    For a newbie, this may seem a little intimidating. But with the right tools, a little knowledge and some practice, you'll be able to restring an electric guitar like a professional guitar tech. When I was gigging regularly, I would restring my guitar every week. My body chemistry is acidic and the sweat and oils from my hands would tend to dull the brightness of the strings as well as make them feel "dirty". For me, the bright sound and smooth feel of a new set of strings would inspire my playing. It became a ritual for me the night before the weekend's gigs started. I would sit in front of the TV and restring my electric guitar; my acoustic was much less frequent.

    OK, so you've decided you don't want to pay the guys at the music store and you want to know how to restring an electric guitar yourself. Here is the list of tools and supplies you will need:

    · A new set of strings (naturally!) · A string winder (not required but very handy) · A pair of wire cutters · A guitar tuner (again, not required but helpful)

    You will need to set aside about an hour of time to do this correctly, but like I stated earlier, with practice you will know how to restring your electric guitar in about 20-30 minutes.

    First thing to remember, do NOT remove all six strings at the same time. The guitar neck is designed to withstand the tension of the strings and if all of the tension is removed for any significant amount of time you could damage your guitar.


    Also, there are some guitars that are literally held together by the string tension. I remember reading a story about a guy who had recently gotten hired as a guitar tech for the Ramones. Wanting to make a good impression on Johnny Ramone he decided to restring his guitar for him right before the show. He removed all six strings and Johnny's Mosrite guitar literally fell apart in his hands. The string tension held the whole guitar together! What's worse, the bridge of the guitar bounced across the floor and fell down the air conditioning duct.

    If I remember the story correctly, they spent quite some time using a coat hanger and chewing gum trying to rescue the bridge from the duct. He retrieved it and managed to keep his job, living to restring the guitar another day. But not all six strings at once!

    But I digress. Some people work in pairs of strings at a time, I prefer to work on individual strings. You will quickly decide what works best for you. Use this article as a guideline to get you up to speed quickly.

    OK, let's get down to it. I always start with the high E string (personal preference); it helps keep me organized.

    If your guitar has a locking nut tremolo (whammy bar) system you will have to unlock it. It works best if you remove the clamps completely and work with just the nut until the restringing process is done and the strings are stretched and tuned. Then replace the locking clamps and fine tune using the tuners on the tremolo bridge.

    · Use your string winder and loosen the string until there is enough slack that you can unwind the string from the tuning post by hand. · Use your wire cutters to cut off the curled end of the string and discard. Do this to minimize the chance of scratching the finish of your guitar. Push/pull the string back through the bridge slowly making sure it does not drag across the body. You don't want restringing your guitar to result in refinishing your guitar!

    · Next, unwrap the appropriate new string. Insert it through the bridge of the guitar, over the saddle, up the neck, over the nut and into the hole in the tuning post. Again make sure the trailing end of the string doesn't drag across the guitar body.

    · Start turning the tuner by hand making sure the string wraps over the top of the tuning post. Ideally you want to have 3-4 wraps of the string around the tuner, but this in nothing to stress over.

    · Turn the tuner until the slack is out and the string is properly seated in the nut and over the bridge saddle.

    · Next clip the excess string off close to the tuner and use your string winder to bring the string up to pitch.

    · Use your digital tuner and tune to pitch.

    · Next, grab the string with your picking hand halfway between the bridge and the nut and lightly tug the string away from the fretboard. Do not pull real hard, just hard enough to pull the stretch out of the string and tighten it around the tuner post.

    · Tune to pitch and repeat the stretching process until the string stays in tune.

    Now repeat the entire process for the remaining five strings. Know that the pitch of the new strings may fluctuate as you work on the remaining strings. This is especially true with a Floyd Rose or similar type floating bridge. When you have replaced and stretched the last string make sure all six strings are still in tune. If you have a locking tremolo system, replace the clamps for the locking nut, tighten, and use the bridge fine tuners to get the proper pitch.

    The final step is the best one; sit back, crank up your amp and enjoy. Make sure you play something with lots of note bending in it and make sure the stretch is all played.

    Take satisfaction in knowing that you now know how to restring an electric guitar.

    About The Author: A life long guitar player, I now spend my time teaching guitar and researching the best guitar resources on the web. Check how to play guitar for more tips.



    How To Turn A Rap Song Into A Country Song

    By K. Mercury

    Many guitarists just starting out find the idea of music theory to be boring, and hence don't invest much time in studying it. While words like "pentatonic scales" and "transposed keys" may not conjure up exciting imagery, the truth is undeniable: even the basics of music theory can prove to be endlessly useful, and can help guitarists improve their compositional and performance capabilities. In this article, we'll take a look at how music theory can be used to transform any rap song into a country song. Now that, my friends, is pretty exciting stuff.

    How it Works

    Once you have a basic understanding of music theory, learning how to transform a rap song into a country song is a fairly straightforward process. In case you need to learn or review music theory, the links in the steps below point to articles that can help explain the concepts intuitively.

    1. Identify your target rap song. As you might expect, if you want to transform a rap song into a country song, you first need to identify what rap song you want to transform. Try to pick one that you genuinely enjoy; your country song will end up much better that way.

    2. Pick a seventh chord to serve as your root chord. The root chord is the starting point of your chord progression; it's sort of the anchor that that the other chords in your song can be based around. Seventh chords have a country twang to them, so they are perfect for this exercise.

    3. Once you've got your root chord, identify your fourth (IV) and fifth (V) chords. All the chords should be seventh chords; for instance, if I chose A7 as my root, D7 and E7 would be the fourth and fifth, respectively. If you're not sure what all this root/fourth/fifth chord business is, check out this article on intervals as well and this introductory lesson on music theory.

    4. The root-fourth-fifth (I-IV-V) chord progression will be the foundation of your song. You can play it for both the chorus and the verse. The trick is to switch up the rhythm and picking style so that the song sounds unique.

    5. Add vocals. This is the fun part! Rap the lyrics or sing along to the seventh chords -- experiment with what you think will work.

    And that's it! Congratulations -- you've transformed a rap song into a country song.

    The Big Secret to Making This Work

    Remember, the key to making this sound original and fun is to have a unique vocal delivery layered over a unique rhythm structure and a simple I-IV-V chord change.

    Kid Mercury is a VIP member of the New York Singer/Songwriter Sessions. He is the founder and director of ActoGuitar, an online learning community for learning to play guitar.

    Have a question on this article? Want some audio samples that PROVE that this formula works? Check out the complete article, where you can ask a question as well.

    Article Source:

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    Guitar Lesson - Mode Mysteries

    By Mike Beatham

     It's true that most guitarists ignore the theory side of things, and it's no surprise - the majority of sites and books out there don't exactly make it look..."fun".

    OK, so it can never really be fun, but for those guitarists who actually care about progressing, it's essential to know theory. A good place to start is by learning the 7 modes on your guitar. This lesson article will introduce them. You can then use the free resource that follows if you wish.

    The best way to think of modes are as scales. These scales, like the pentatonic or major scale can be mapped out on the fretboard. Think of the modes as "flavours" of the major and natural minor scales.

    The 7 modes are, in order:

    1. Ionian - this is just the "major scale", but it's also the first and most important mode in western music.

    2. Dorian - a flavour of the natural minor scale

    3. Phrygian - a flavour of the natural minor scale with a Spanish flamenco feel

    4. Lydian - a flavour of the major/Ionian scale

    5. Mixolydian - a flavour of the major/Ionian scale built around dominant 7th chords.

    6. Aeolian - the natural minor scale the other minor modes are based around

    7. Locrian - the odd one out. Diminished scale.

    Now, the reason we have a particular order for these modes/scales is because when you put them together in that sequence using the intervals of the major/Ionian scale, you get one big scale. Let me explain...

    Say you wanted to solo over the E major chord. You could just select the first mode, Ionian, because it's a major mode. You need to find the root note of the E major chord (E) and start whatever mode you want to solo over it from that root note (of course, you don't have to START the solo on the root note, just make sure you start on a note that's within that scale - the SCALE starts on the root note).

    Because we've chosen Ionian, the intervals of that scale are as follows...

    1 W 2 W 3 H 4 W 5 W 6 W 7 H 1

    W= Whole step (2 fret interval) H= Half step (1 fret interval)

    What's interesting is you can use the note intervals of WHATEVER mode you're playing and use each note as a starting point for the next mode in sequence - e.g....

    If you were playing Dorian over a minor chord, the next mode is Phrygian - because it's the next mode, it starts on the 2nd note of Dorian!

    If you were playing Lydian over a major chord, the next mode is Mixolydian, so because it's the next mode, it starts on the 2nd note of Lydian.

    So What Does This Mean?!

    It means once you know which "flavour"/mode you want to solo over a chord, you can follow the sequence of intervals in that mode and suddenly, all the other modes in sequence at those intervals become part of that same flavour and scale!


    - Play "A Dorian" over the A minor chord
    - The 2nd note in A Dorian is a whole step higher, so it's B
    - The mode after Dorian is Phrygian
    - Therefore, you can play B Phrygian over A minor and it will sound like Dorian!!!

    This is the relationship between the modes and their intervals that many guitarists fail to see, they just learn the boxed mode shapes and don't realise how they all tie in together.


    It's all about the intervals...

    - Learn the intervals of each mode (e.g. we looked at 1st mode Ionian's intervals above)
    - Learn the order of modes, so you'll know which mode applies to each note in each mode (this does take some time)

    e.g. picking a random one out the air... What mode starts (has its root note on) on the 4th note of Phrygian?...

    - Phrygian is the 3rd mode
    - the 2nd note of Phrygian is the root of the next mode, Lydian
    - follow the order of modes to the 4th note...

    The answer is: Aeolian

    I know, I know, it's kind of obvious why a lot of guitarists just cannot be bothered, but I promise you, learning the modes is so so beneficial because not only will you learn to add "flavour" to the same old major/minor lead guitar, but knowing this also leads onto being able to write songs at the snap of your fingers and have a visual map of each mode scale all up the fretboard - no more box playing!

    So do invest some time into learning the modes and how they work. You'll only understand how important they are once you learn them! It's weird that way!

    About The Author: Mike Beatham runs a free easy to follow guitar lessons site. For clear mode diagrams and audio plus other guitar theory lessons, visit

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    Super Guitars - Made In America

    By Al Wielder

    The evolution of the guitar in its present form is forever tied to American ingenuity and precision. The development of the modern steel string acoustic guitar and the electric guitar is an American tale. This article will discuss interesting facts about the development of modern acoustic and electric guitars.

    The logical place to begin our discussion is with the development of the modern steel string acoustic guitar. The modern steel string guitar is certainly an American invention. The instrument was developed and refined in the USA. From the mid to late nineteenth century until the early twentieth century, many immigrants of European descent made their way to the United States. Among these immigrants were extremely skilled musical instrument makers, also known as luthiers. These skilled craftsmen would play a pivotal role in the development of the modern steel string acoustic guitar.

    As the acoustic guitar evolved, two different types of guitars would dominate the development of the instrument. The first type of steel string guitar to be developed would come to be known as the "flat-top" guitar. The "flat-top" guitar was a descendant of European classical guitars. The name is derived from the shape of the guitar soundboard. The soundboard is also called the "top".

    The second type of steel string acoustic guitar would come to be known as the "arch-top" or "f-hole" guitar. The "arch-top" guitar has a contoured soundboard and back. The soundboard and the back are carved from a single piece of wood. The design and construction of the "arch-top" guitar are descendants of European violin construction techniques.

    The two pioneers in American steel string acoustic guitar construction are Gibson and Martin. These companies still exist today and they produce some of the finest American acoustic guitars available. The Gibson "arch-top" guitars are a favorite of many musicians. The Martin company is famous for their "flat-top" Dreadnought guitars. The Martin "flat-top" guitar of choice is the Martin HD-28 or the Martin D-45.

    The role of America in modern guitar development defined the evolution of the electric guitar. The electric guitar is an amazing device. It creates excitement and sound unlike any instrument on earth. The electric guitar is a combination of craftsmanship, engineering, physics and electrical power. At the flip of a switch, electric guitars have the ability to create smooth gentle sounds or chaotic hysteria.


    In the United States there are many quality electric guitar manufacturers. It would be impossible to mention each one in this brief article about America's role in the development of the electric guitar. I would like to mention the two American guitar manufacturers that are commonly associated with the modern electric guitar. These two manufacturers are Fender and Gibson.

    The Fender guitar company was started by Leo Fender in the late 1940's. Leo's purpose was to create an innovative solid body electric guitar. It has been reported that Leo was most concerned with the utilitarian aspect of the guitar rather than its appearance. Leo wanted to build a clean sounding guitar that minimized the feedback problems associated with previous solid body steel guitars.

    In 1948, Leo Fender introduced a guitar that was destined to make music history. He called the guitar the Fender Broadcaster. The guitar was made of ash or alder and had a detachable maple neck. The detachable neck was just one of the innovative features associated with the Broadcaster.

    The headstock design placed the tuning machines on one side and at an angle. This design was another clever innovation that accented the Broadcaster. The Broadcaster was later re-named the Telecaster. This stellar guitar is still in production today and is sought out by many guitarists around the world.

    In 1954 Leo Fender introduced the Stratocaster. This guitar is widely recognized as a design standard for solid-body electric guitars. This standard remains to the present day. The Stratocaster has been immortalized by guitar greats such as Jimi Hendrix, Stevie Ray Vaughan and Eric Clapton.

    It is also very important to mention Gibson guitars when considering the role of America in modern guitar development. Gibson electric guitars encompass many styles and models. However, none are more important than the Les Paul. The Les Paul was introduced in 1952. The first Les Paul was equipped with two high-impedance single-coil pickups with cream colored cover plates. It included a three-way pick-up selector switch with separate volume and tone controls. The Les Paul "Standard" that was introduced in 1952 could not have been more aptly named. The Les Paul Standard is a yardstick by which many musicians measure other fine guitars.

    The Les Paul guitars that were created from 1957 to 1960 are regarded as some of the finest solid body electric guitars ever made. As a result, they are some of the most coveted guitars in the world.

    Most serious electric guitar players will tell you they have owned or will own a Fender or a Gibson electric guitar. These fine guitars are a benchmark and a plateau for other guitars to emulate. Chances are, if you are a guitar player, you own a piece of this American heritage.

    The modern guitar era is far from over. It will be very exciting to see the future development of acoustic and electric guitars. One thing you can be sure of, America will be there and it is likely that Martin, Gibson and Fender will play a direct role in the creation of the next generation of "Super Guitars".

    About the Author:
    Al Wielder is a host and instructor at Riff TV. Contact Al Wielder at Riff, your source for guitar tab, guitar lessons and free video guitar training.

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    Creating The Perfect Structure For Your Song

    by Ian Waugh

    You know what they say about rules? Actually they say lots of things about rules but here's two - rules were made to be broken, and you have to know what the rules are before you can break them. While Judge Dredd may not agree with the first, the second is certainly true and nevermore so than in writing a song.

    The song structure may not be the first thing you think about when you start writing. You probably work on the verse or chorus, or maybe you have a good riff that you want to expand into a song. So you get that down and then you start to think about the other parts - the intro, how many verses, middle eight, do you want an instrumental, the ending...

    Some song genres have a fairly rigid format, others are more flexible, and you need to know where you can bend the rules and why you may not want to do so in order to make your song stand out from the others. Let's look at the sections you'll find in most songs and the part they play in song construction.

    Song parts

    Intro. Yes, this leads you into the song. It may be two, four or eight bars long or longer. Some songs don't have any intro at all. A pop song intro will often be reminiscent of the chorus or the hook. In a club song, it's often a good idea to have eight bars of rhythm to help the DJ to mix match your song. They say that music publishers typically only listen to the first 20 seconds of a song before deciding whether to reject it so if you're sending material to a publisher, keep the intro short and get into the song as quickly as possible. Save the 5 minute intros for the CD version.

    Verse. This is the preamble to the chorus. It sets the scene, certainly lyrically, and as the verses progress they often tell a story or recount episodes from a situation although that's by no means essential. They are typically eight or sixteen bars long and melodically not usually as strong as the chorus although, again, that's by no means essential. However, it often seems as if the songwriter ran out of ideas when writing the verse. One of the strengths of The Beatles' songs is that verses and choruses are equally strong and most people could hum or sing their way through most Beatles hits. Not so with many songs where the verses are little more than fillers to get you to the chorus.

    Chorus. This the bit everyone remembers, whistles and sings along to. It should be the strongest part of the song and generally is or contains the hook. It's usually eight or sixteen bars long.

    Middle eight. As a song progresses, there's a danger of boredom setting for the listener. The middle eight offers them a break and typically comes after a couple of verses and choruses. Some people think of it as an alternative verse and that's one way to look at it. It often modulates to a different key or introduces a new chord progression and it usually doesn't include the song title. However, all too often it's simply an excuse for waffling on for a few bars. Although it's called the middle eight it could be four or sixteen bars long.

    Bridge. Many people use the terms 'middle eight' and 'bridge' synonymously and so popular is this usage that it would be churlish to disagree. However, among those who prefer to note the difference, a bridge is a short section used to bridge the gap between verse and chorus. It may only be two or four bars long and it's often used when the verse and chorus are so different from each other that a 'joining' phrase helps bring them together.

    Instrumental. This is part of the song without any vocals. Yeah, okay. It's often an instrumental version of the verse or chorus, it may be an improvised variation on one of these, or it may be an entirely different tune and set of chords altogether. Sometimes it fits into a song where a vocal middle eight would otherwise go.

    Breakdown/Break. This term has been high jacked from songs from the early 1900s when it was common to either to reduce the instrumentation or stop it altogether while a tap dancer would strut his stuff. The term 'break' is still sometimes used to indicate an instrumental section. 'Breakdown' is now most commonly used in dance music for the section where the percussion breaks down or is reduced, and it may be the dance equivalent of the middle eight.

    Outro/Ending. Once upon a time, songs had definite endings but the mid 1950s heralded in the era of the fade-out and songwriters thought they would never have to write an ending again. However, fade-outs became such clichés to the extent that fade out meant cop out so songwriters started writing endings again. With that in mind, you can do as you wish, and considering that the endings of most songs get talked over or cut short by radio DJs and mixed over by club DJs, you have only your artistic integrity and your CD listeners to answer to. Some songs work extremely well with fade outs but listen to songs in your chosen genre to see how other writers approach endings. But whatever you do, avoid like the plague the three time tag ending.

    Hook. The hook is not a song part as such; rather it's the term used to describe the part of the song that people remember and sing. It's what they buy the record for. It's usually the chorus although it need not be the entire chorus, but simply a two- or four-bar phrase. It could be an instrumental riff as in Whiter Shade of Pale or Smoke on the Water, or a processed vocal as in Cher's Believe.

    All together now

    Having described the parts of a song, let's see how they are commonly arranged. The most popular arrangement by far is simply verse-chorus and repeat. Here are two variations on the theme:

    Intro Verse 1 Chorus Verse 2 Chorus Chorus Outro

    Intro Verse 1 Verse 2 Chorus Verse 3 Middle eight Chorus Chorus Outro

    You get the picture. However, these are conventions rather than rules so you can adapt, change or ignore them as you see fit. But they have developed for a reason and that is simply to make the song as immediately appealing to the listener as possible.

    Listen to some of the Stock, Aitken and Waterman hits of the 80s (it's not compulsory if you really can't bear to) and you'll see that most follow the simplest format, guaranteed to brainwash the listener with as many repeats of the hook as possible. They tend to be:

    Intro (similar to the chorus) Verse 1 Chorus Verse 2 Middle eight Chorus Chorus Outro

    Notice that the hook's there straight away in the intro, there's only one verse before the chorus so you get to it quicker, and the chorus tends to repeat at the end, just to imprint the hook firmly in your mind.

    There are obvious exceptions to these formats. Ambient, trance, chill-out music and the like, are obvious candidates. With these you can start at the beginning and work through to the end creating an evolving music form without any clear verse/chorus structure. Genres such as trance tend to build to a series of crescendos several times throughout the song. However, even these types of song often have a hook or two on which listeners can hang their hat.

    Build ups and downs

    Bearing in mind that the purpose of a song is to keep the listeners listening and not allow them to get bored, you need variety within the song. Simply strumming a guitar and singing verse/chorus/verse/chorus won't cut the mustard unless you're in a folk club. The usual method is to start with a simple arrangement and add to it as the song progresses.

    So, the first verse might consist of light drums, bass and rhythm guitar. As you move into the second verse you could add strings or a synth pad. A drum fill takes you into the chorus which would include busier drums, maybe some additional percussion, a fuller string arrangement and perhaps a lead line. When you dip back to the verse, you revert to the simpler arrangement.

    The middle eight is usually a lighter arrangement than the chorus and gives you the opportunity to use different instrumentation if you want to. When you hit the second chorus, add backing vocals and a lead riff. The final chorus is the culmination the song and you can add more backing vocals, more percussion and additional lead lines.

    Listen to songs in the style you are writing and analyse their formats to see how far other exponents have stuck to or departed from the traditional formats. when you're familiar with the rules or conventions that they use, then you can experiment by breaking them.

    There's lots more about making music plus a free book to download at

    About the author: Ian Waugh is one of the UK's leading hi tech music writers and creator of He has written several books and albums. He is author of the "Quick Guide to..." series which includes the Quick Guide to Dance Music, Digital Audio Recording, MP3 and Digital Music, and Analogue Synthesis

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    Four Tactics to Pack Fans Into Your E-mail List

    By Sean Farrington

    Have you been dreaming of a huge email list? The kind of list that with one click of the “send” button hordes of fans mobilize to come to see your shows, or play your new track at If not, then shame on you.

    A well maintained and growing email list is a mighty tool. Why? Because it provides a quick and easy way to keep in front of your adoring fans, and it is absolutely FREE.

    The sad thing is most artists drop the ball on building this marketing powerhouse. So, in an effort to stop this atrocity, I decided to give you four simple and effective tactics to build that list.

     1.     Migidy Mic Check…

     Your standing on stage, maybe the beach balls are floating atop the crowd, or the mosh pit has attracted the state police, or maybe the fans are singing so loud you can’t hear your stage monitors. Whatever your situation, the fact of the matter is that you have human beings sitting right in front of you, hanging off of your every word, wanting to become your fans.

    Do you realize the power of this moment? Right now your audience is focused on one thing – you. And as hard as it may be to believe, at this very moment, more than anything else, they want more of you. How do you give them what they want? Speak up and offer to get connected.

    Tell your audience in your own genuine words that your email list is the way you stay connected to your fans. It is how you pass on latest news and how you notify of your upcoming gigs.

    Simple and effective. Do not let one gig pass without asking your fans to get connected.

    2.     Give it away now…

    Ok, you know the value of seizing the moment while you’re at the microphone, now lets make signing up a little more enticing.

    Do you like free stuff? Who doesn’t? We are suckers for trinkets and giveaways. Now just imagine if you were to offer your fans an opportunity to get something more valuable than a mere trinket. What if you offered them the opportunity to win one of your T-shirts or autographed CDs, or [wait for it…] Both! Oh my, the pandemonium, the crowd goes nuts.

    How would this work? Simply hold a contest where the entry form is a piece of paper that asks for your fan’s first name and email address. It’s that simple. You exchange the chance to win one CD (your cost under $2) and a T-shirt (your cost around $5) in exchange for the email address of the members of your audience.  If the cost of giving away a few pieces of much merch bothers you, just think of the value of only one new fan dragging a friend to your next show, shelling out two covers charges, selling a t-shirt to the friend and both of them telling others at work about their experience… Lets move on.

    3.  Something Of Value

    Ask yourself what the real objective of the contest mentioned above is? Let me tell you plainly, the objective is to mutually exchange something of value. You offer something of value to your fans in exchange for something of value to you. A surprisingly high value item to your fans is a simple old-fashioned newsletter. You know, the thing with silly facts and stories about you? Offer this gem in exchange for something of value to you - your fan’s email address. This is an easy sell because you need their email address to send the newsletter right? It is a natural win-win situation so use it.

    4.   Point of Sale

    Now were at the end of the show and people are flocking to your merch table. Your latest self-titled CD is flying off the shelf. Your fans are even picking up that illegible sticker that was designed by your crazy cousin Fred. Are you going to just let them walk away without offering them the chance to stay connected to the band that they just layed down their hard earned cash to buy a recording of?

    You have a perfect opportunity while you are counting out their change to “ask them” to sign your concert connection and stay connected to the band. What’s the worse they can do, say no?

    There you go four tactics you can use tonight to pack fans into your mighty email list. That should get you going. Remember it is the simple and effective tactics performed flawlessly over and over that make you successful. Don’t miss a beat and watch that email list grow

    Copyright 2006 - For additional information regarding Sean Farrington, band coaching, money, music, business or just to learn how to turn your passion for music into profit, please visit

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    Guitar Alliance


    Guitar Alliance
    Guitar is a comprehensive members only training program in the best and most effective popular techniques, styles, fundamentals and progressive topics for the guitar.  Whether you're interested in blues, rock or pop, you will find some of the most useful information on the Web at Guitar Alliance. 

    Kenny Mann has created a great site which suits both learners and the more advanced guitarist. It delves into the depths of theory, chords and scales and is jam packed with info!  Also included are some videos as well as a chat room.  Lots of free information also available on this website, so click here to check it out now.     Read Review

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    Learn 2 Play Guitar

    Make Cool Music And Hot Profits With This  Brand New Exclusive eBook Package!


    Here's something a bit different!  Not only will you receive six fantastic ebooks that will help you learn how to play the acoustic guitar, tune your instrument, read sheet music, and play some super rock tabs, you'll also receive Master Resell Rights to this entire package with your purchase!  In other words, you can learn to play guitar and make some money at the same time.

    The guitar course was created by Stefan Schyga, who has a Masters  Degree in Music Education, and is a highly respected guitar teacher whose passion for teaching others, especially guitar, sparked him to create Learn 2 Play Guitar. The course focuses on learning the acoustic guitar, with an emphasis on two of the most important elements you'll need to succeed - theory and rythym.

    The Master Resell rights comes complete with a Sales kit, including web pages, images and marketing tips and techniques.  Everything you'll need to jump-start earning some extra income while you learn the guitar. 

    Click here to find out more - you'll be glad you did!

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