Author Archives: James Stratton
The Easiest Way to Learn Guitar
Did you ever think of the reason why beautiful songs and guitar riffs are often connected?
It’s simple: the guitar is a musical instrument available to everyone and you can simply learn to play it, no matter what your age is. Yes, like everything else, guitar requires motivation and dedication, but following a few tips, it won’t be long before you start playing your first song.
How to get started? Here is a list of 8 simple suggestions to learn guitar quickly and easily:
1) Choose the right guitar
Once you decided which kind of guitar you’re most interested in (acoustic, electric…), you have to choose the right model. First of all, consider the quality of the instrument: a good guitar is fully adjusted for intonation, playability, and accuracy in tuning.
Also, check for a guitar of your size: a too bigger one, for example, is not suitable for children. Last but not least, consider the price: if you’re buying your first guitar it’s more convenient for you to seek a good value for money.
2) Choose the fastest learning guitar course
There are so many guitar courses out there, but they’re not the same. Choose one not too set on theory, but practise a lot. In this way, you will acquire quickly nimbleness.
3) Learn simple chords
Chords are the basics of guitar and essentially they’re two or more notes played simultaneously in harmony. It takes only a few to start playing. You can be able to play a lot of famous songs just by learning a C major or an A major chord.
4) Proper fingers drills build muscle memory and speed learning
As said above, practice is the key to learn fast. Once you’ve learned the theory, you should drill your fingers to stay in the correct position and pick the strings properly. In this way, your movements will become more and more automatic, and you should also concentrate on style.
5) Challenge yourself with new stuff
Learning is a never-ending process: there’s always something new to know. Once you feel self-confident with the basics, experiment with playing techniques and new songs. You will always feel motivated to improve your skills and never get bored!
6) Play your music backward
This point seems odd, but it is very useful. You indeed have to gain fluency when you pick strings, but it is also true that learning requires concentration. Playing music backward will help you to focus on notes and be ready for any variation on the sheet music.
7) Make practice easy
Practise a lot but have fun too! Motivation fails if you don’t reward yourself for your progress. Have constant but short practice sessions: in this way learning guitar won’t be hard!
8) Have fun by playing actual songs
This will help you to set a concrete goal and make you feel like a real guitarist and not just a student.
Do you see how it is easy to learn guitar? At London Guitar Academy we are ready to help you become a good musician, contact us for more information!
How to play guitar and sing at the same time? A guide for beginners
Multi-tasking is not for everyone but what is certain is that a good musician is often a singer too. If you’re learning to play guitar, one of your main goals is surely to be able to play and sing your favourite songs in front of your friends.
Are you wondering how to do this? Playing guitar and singing at the same time can be difficult at the beginning because you have to split your concentration in two: half goes for playing and the other half for the melody of the vocal part.
But, don’t be scared! At Guitar Lessons London we are ready to reveal all the secrets to become a complete musician and vocalist, starting right from the beginner level. All you have to do is to follow our guide designed step by step.
Are you ready? Let’s go!
1) Choose the right song to start on
It might seem obvious, but the first thing to do is to choose a simple song to learn. We know that you’re dreaming of presenting a fantastic guitar solo while you’re enchanting the audience.
Anyway, stay grounded for the moment and choose a song you like with simple chords and melodies. Don’t forget to listen to it a lot of times: you have to memorise every single passage of the music, so it will be easier to play and sing it.
There are so many songs you can choose from and most of them are super famous:
- Blowin’ in the Wind by Bob Dylan
- Creep by Radiohead
- Perfect by Ed Sheeran
Just take your pick!
2) Get the guitar part and learn the chords
The second thing you have to do is to learn well the music part. While you’re listening to the song, try to absorb the chords correctly. Practice a lot, repeating the whole song from top to bottom. If it helps you, play along with the original track in the background.
Your goal is to be able to play even if when your mind is concentrated on something else. Try to play the song while you’re watching your favourite program on tv!
3) Hum before you sing
Let’s move on to the vocal part. Try to play the song and just hum. This will allow you to learn the sung, without having to focus on lyrics yet.
This is a very useful exercise, try it for yourself!
When it comes to learning anything, they say that practice makes perfect, and learning how to play the guitar is no different. Getting guitar lessons from a professional tutor is a great way to learn, but to ensure that you’re soaking all those lessons up developing an effective practicing schedule is vital.
There are a variety of different factors that you need to consider when you’re developing an effective practice schedule. Sure, just playing or messing around with songs is one way to practice, but to get the most out of your time thought out guitar practice schedule is the ultimate tool to help you learn how to play the guitar.
Guitar Practice – Tips on Creating an Effective Guitar Practice Schedule
- How long will you practice? – The first step is committing to how long you’ll have to practice playing the guitar each day, week, or month. If you’re serious about learning to play the guitar, then one hour per day is a great place to start.
- Divide your practice time – To get the most out of your practice time, start by dividing your practice time into smaller pieces. Many experts recommend focusing on exercises, scales, chords, theory, songwriting, and improvisation. You can choose which areas to focus on as you get more advanced.
- Customise your sections to suit your skills – If you only just started, then it doesn’t make much sense to spending hours on songwriting. Start with the basics such as scales, chords, double stops, etc., and once you get more advanced, you can start to incorporate the other sections into your practice sessions.
When you first start, it’s always hard to commit to set amounts of practice time. If you find that you can’t manage the goals you’ve set yourself, then reevaluate and reassess. Find a level of practice that suits you and then stick with it!
If you need help learning to play the guitar, then we would love to help! Don’t hesitate to contact us to discuss your needs.
The Advantages of Taking Online Guitar Lessons
Would you like to learn guitar, but you can’t attend a music studio?
No problem! Nowadays, the internet is a complete source of guitar lessons for guitarists of all levels. You just have to sit comfortably with your guitar and turn on your pc or mobile device.
The nice thing is that lessons can be taken in a lot of different ways. You can learn via FaceTime, Skype or online video resources. Easy, right?
Let’s see the main advantages of online guitar learning:
Youtube is surely the biggest source of guitar tuition videos, but other sites could be a good option too. On the internet you can find lessons of all types:
- Short videos about how to manage your first chords
- Guides about essential guitar techniques
- Lessons divided by music genre
You can watch videos whenever you want (even at nighttime, after a long working day), add them to bookmarks, and rewatch them as many times as you want.
Videos are easy to follow and are perfect for a beginner student who wants to learn guitar basics. Many Youtube channels even offer a complete course with lessons designed step by step and put in order of difficulty level.
Videos are good if you’re attending a music studio too: in between lessons, watching videos can be a great source to keep on practising.
Live online lessons
If you prefer to have one-to-one lessons but your job/school routine doesn’t allow you to have regular in-person ones, live online lessons are the right choice for you.
FaceTime and Skype are both good for this purpose, you just need to equip yourself with a broadband Internet connection, a webcam ( just for Skype) or a mobile device.
The two services allow you to chat live with your teacher, so you can explain to him/her your eventual difficulties and improve your music skills. Moreover, teachers can easily correct your mistakes and bad habits, just as you were doing an in-person lesson.
They can also send you useful files for your practice and share their screen with you, so you can see exactly how to put your hands or manage correctly guitar techniques.
It’s totally up to you to choose between the two services. FaceTime has the big advantage that it comes pre-configured on all Mac devices, while Skype needs to be installed. However, the latter has two further advantages:
- You can use it on your TV (taking lessons in your sitting room is way more comfortable!)
- You can open files and links directly in the app, so your lesson flows more easily (it’s a little detail, but it’s a plus!).
Take a look at our online lessons!
Obviously, we are looking for you to visit our music studio, but if you live too far you can always start watching our online guitar tutorials on LondonGuitarAcademy.com. Our online lessons are very easy to follow and song-based.
Would you like to learn to play famous songs such as “Seven Nation Army” or “Knockin’on Heavens Door”? Come and visit our site!
Beauty of the Electric Guitar
The electric guitar was first invented in 1932 to allow jazz guitarists to play single note guitar solos in a big band ensemble. Shortly thereafter, blues guitarists took to the electric guitar as well eventually leading to its rise in pop music throughout the 1950s and 1960s. This trend continued for decades after with the electric guitar still being one of the most popular instruments today.
Types of Electric Guitars
Electric guitar bodies generally come in five different types. These types of electric guitars include:
- Solid Body
- Chambered Body
- Semi-Hollow Body
- Full-Hollow Body
Solid body electric guitars are the most popular type. This type of electric guitar was commonly used by Jimi Hendrix, Stevie Ray Vaughn, Eric Clapton, and most other famous electric guitarists of the 60’s, 70’s, and 80’s. They reduce unwanted feedback due to the extremely low noise the guitar itself makes. This allows the guitarist to create feedback and distortion only when they want it to create the sounds they desire. The most common way to create distortion and feedback is through overdriving the amplifier either through the signal sent from the guitar or applying heavier amplification.
Chambered body electric guitars look the exact same as solid body electric guitars except they have chambers drilled out inside the guitar itself. This achieves two purposes. It reduces the weight of the overall guitar which can really help relieve some of the strain of performances and also adds a small semi-acoustic tone to the guitar. This acoustic tone is still extremely small compared to the other three types of guitars.
Semi-hollow body guitars look similar to full-hollow body guitars except they have a solid wood block through the center of the body. This helps reduce vibrations and feedback caused by the guitar itself while still allowing for a semi-acoustic tone. They have one or more sound holes on the side of the body to allow the acoustics of the guitar to ring out. These types of guitars are most commonly associated with B.B. King and his famous guitar Lucille.
Full-hollow body guitars, or archtop guitars, are typically used for playing jazz music. They’re typically slightly larger than semi-hollow body guitars but carry a similar overall appearance. These guitars produce a warm tone commonly used in jazz music, although they also picked up in popularity among country musicians as well.
Acoustic-electric guitars simply add pickups to a standard acoustic guitar. This allows a performer to use an acoustic guitar on stage with the volume they require. While using a mic to record and amplify the sound of an acoustic guitar generally provides a more accurate tone, pickups reduce unwanted interruptions in a concert setting.
Each type of electric guitar has its own distinct purpose, sound, and look. This is why so many guitar enthusiasts collect a variety of different guitars to achieve the exact sound they want. It also simply looks great to have a range of different guitars hanging from the walls as each type of guitar has a beautiful appearance.
Why we Love Music So Much : Great Songs and Songwriters
Have you noticed that music is like a magic potion? If you were a teenager in the 80s or 90s, you surely know how it was to turn on the radio, waiting for your favorite song to record it on a tape.
If you are younger, you’re lucky to have all the songs you like available in just a few clicks on Spotify. Anyway, you know what passion for music is.
There are a lot of great songs in music history and some of them are still known nowadays. Have you have ever wondered why “We are the champions” by Queen is still played in every single competition?
Great songs are not just… songs. They’re something to remember. They’re legend!
A song for each decade
Here is a list of famous songs which marked the history, divided according to the decade they were released in:
70s: “Starman” by David Bowie, “Hotel California” by the Eagles, “Another brick in the wall” by Pink Floyd-
80s: “Every Breath you take” by The Police, “Livin’ on a Prayer” by Bon Jovi”, “Call Me” by Blondie.
90s: “You get what you give” by New Radicals, “Torn” by Natalie Imbruglia, “”Wanderwall” by Oasis.
2000s: “Boulevard of Broken Dreams” by Greenday, “Get the Party Started” by Pink, “Viva la Vida” by Coldplay.
These are all beautiful songs and the nice thing is that everyone can have its own legendary musical piece, because songs can be connected with any moment of life.
There’s always a great writer behind a great song
Famous songs wouldn’t be what they are if they had not been created by great songwriters. The ability of putting words and music together is something unique and this is the reason why songs last forever on your mind.
Among all the great songwriters we can obviously mention John Lennon and Bob Dylan, but not only. Even more recent artists such as Eminem or Billie Joe Armstrong wrote memorable tracks.
But why do we love music so much? Here are 3 simple reasons:
1) Music brings back memories
Do you remember that time…? Music is a perfect time machine that takes us to the most beautiful moments of our past.
Your first kiss, a trip you made, a particular day… It takes just a song to bring those moments back to you.
2) Music is a fantastic soundtrack of our lives
Great songs not only involve your past but also your present. Listening to music throughout the day makes our time run fast when we’re doing something boring and makes pleasant activities even more enjoyable.
3) Music fights stress
Last but no least, listening to music is a good idea when you’re feeling nervous or anxious, because it relaxes and gives us the right energy to face life troubles.
Having said that, listening to music is good but making it is even better! So, why don’t you come to visit us at our studio?
Electric Guitar Techniques to Enhance your musicality
Do you feel like a rocker? Are you dreaming to perform on a big stage wearing your leather jacket?
Electric guitar is the perfect music instrument for you! Just think about it: electric guitar allows you to have the same sense of freedom of a classic guitar but with a cooler sound.
That doesn’t obviously mean that the two instruments are the same thing. Even if you already know how to play classic guitar, the electric one might seem strange to you at the beginning, because of the way you execute the notes.
Don’t worry! Here at Guitar Lessons London we are ready to teach you all the essential techniques to become a good guitarist with your electric guitar and make the notes really stand out with this instrument.
Are you ready to play rock and heavy metal? Let’s go!
1) Palm Muting
Perhaps you don’t know, but an electric guitar allows you to obtain different kind of sound according to the way you put your hands. For a chunky sound you can do palm muting.
This technique is very easy to do: you just have to rest the side of your picking hand on the guitar bridge. Remember: ON the bridge, not behind or in front of it. Otherwise, you won’t obtain the right sound!
2) Minor Pentatonic Scale
One of the most common techniques which is frequently used in rock and blues is the pentatonic scale. This is a simple scale played with only five notes (“penta” in Greek means “five”).
The scale is repeated across various octaves and can be also played in a descending way, from the highest note to the lowest one. In order to make things easier, you can start with a A Minor Pentatonic Scale, but you can choose to play it in any key you prefer.
Do you know what a “legato” is? Practically is when you play two notes tied together. Hammer-on is a particular kind of legato. You have to play two notes on the same string but, while the first one is picked, the second one is struck on the fretboard.
The result is that your performance gains in speed and colour. Her are some examples of famous songs you can practice hammer-ons with:
- Thunderstruck by Ac/Dc
- Beat it by Michael Jackson
- Come Together by The Beatles
- All I wanna do by Sheryl Crow
Speaking again about the different types of hammer-ons, a particular one is called tapping. The peculiarity of this technique is that you don’t perform it with the left hand as a normal hammer-on, but with the right one.
It might seem difficult to you, but we assure you it’s not at all! Our tip is to start with a single string: do a hammer-on with your fretting hand, and then, do it again on the same string with your picking hand.
As you can see, playing electric guitar can be so exciting! And these are only a few techniques you can learn; there’s a whole world behind this instrument!
Would you like to learn more? Contact our studio in London to rock with us!
5 tips to write great songs
Playing guitar can give a lot of satisfaction, one of which is the beauty of singing your own songs. You certainly have a favourite music genre or artist; why don’t you get some inspiration from them and try to write a song with your guitar?
If you’re thinking “I’ve never done such a thing, where do I start?”, don’t worry. We are here to give you 5 useful tips to become a great songwriter. Are you ready?
Well, take out a pen and paper and start to draft a melody and a lyrics!
1) Analyse the structure of the songs you like
What do you like of the songs you love? When writing a song, you can consider the particular structure of the chords. For example, there can be a modulation in key from A major to C major.
Or also, you can reproduce the common scheme of pop songs with the movement of verses and chorus and a final bridge. Give the song a preliminary structure in order to have a guideline for the next steps.
2) What is your song about?
Songs usually tell a story o express a state of mind. Think of what your song could be about. Is it something that happened to you? Or do you just want to describe the beautiful landscape outside your window?
Use your imagination and tell your story with your own word. Then, try to put them in music. The melody usually reflects the mood of the song but there’s no limit to fantasy, so be creative!
3) Choose a key
The first thing you should do when writing the music is to choose a key. It could be the one prefer or the one you’re the most comfortable with.
Listen how the song sounds like and maybe have a friend listen do it. Do you like it? Or does it need more? If so, experiment and play it in a different key or with a faster/lower rhythm. You could never imagine how a song can improve by changing simple details!
4) Remember to take notes
No rush: every song is different, some take an hour to be completed, some need more time! The most important thing is not to feel frustrated when you don’t have good ideas.
Try instead to be prepared for inspiration: the best guitar riff could come to your mind in every moment! Always keep a notebook with you and don’t forget to recorder and save on your computer every idea which seems good to you.
5) Keep playing and singing your song
Remember that a great song always gives emotion. The more you play and sing it, the more your song will reveal something new. You could discover new meanings you didn’t think of. Also, you could find new ideas to improve the song and make it memorable!
Let yourself be carried away by the magic of guitar and see how beautiful is to write your own songs with this instrument.
Here at Guitar Lessons London we’re looking forward to listen to your songs!
Contact us and come to visit our studio in London!
6 Ways to Stay Motivated When Practising Guitar
Have you had your first guitar lesson? Does everything seem new to you? Well, it’s perfectly normal!
Learning to play guitar can be difficult at the beginning. I mean, managing chords, putting your hand in the correct position, reading music… Doing all this at once could be a hard work, especially if you’re a complete beginner.
And if life’s commitments such as job and school occur too, you could be tempted to give up.
Don’t worry and don’t feel discouraged: here are 6 simple ways to stay motivated when practising guitar. Following these tips you will soon become an excellent guitarist ready to perform on stage.
How to Become an Outstanding Guitarist
1) Set doable goals
Why did you decide to have guitar lessons? Are you studying to reach a degree? Or you do just for fun? Whichever is your reason, do not pretend to overdo. Set one goal at a time according to your needs, time and skills and try to stick to that.
It could be learning a chord until it goes perfectly, or focusing on guitar riffs half an hour a day. Small goals don’t take much time but allow you to feel a sense of accomplishment and a desire to learn more.
2) Reward yourself for each progress
It’s nice to see how good you’re getting at playing. So, why don’t you treat yourself to a small gift to keep your motivation? Let’s see some ideas:
- A live concert of your favorite rock band
- A trip to the local street market looking for old LPs
- A new guitar case to replace the old, consumed one
3) Share your passion
Sometimes people make a bad use of social networks. However, if there’s one thing that new technologies have brought, is the fact of allowing people far from each other to talk about their passion.
You can join a FB group, start to write a blog about guitar… You will certainly meet new online friends with your same love for music and exchange tips with them.
4) Listen as much music as you can
Practising everyday is important but too many exercises can be boring sometimes and seem an end to themselves.
When you feel that your motivation is going off, listen to music. Go through the different music genres and see how many songs you would be able to play… if only you did one more exercise!
5) Just ask!!
If you don’t feel good enough despite you efforts, you may have the tendency to shut down for frustration.
This is a big mistake! Your guitar teacher is there to help you, son don’t hesitate to ask him/her what you can do to improve. Ovecoming your difficulties will make you little by little a great musician.
6) Remember your love for guitar
You wouldn’t have picked up a guitar if you hadn’t a real passion for this music instrument. So, keep this in mind everytime you would rather watch boring documentaries on TV than pressing your fingers on those strings again.
Are you still demotivated? We’re sure you’re not!
So, contact us and come practising guitar at our studio in London!
The Amazing Benefits of Guitar Lessons
So, you’ve just decided to take guitar lessons…
Great choice! Guitar not only is a beautiful musical instrument, but it can also bring a lot of benefits to your life. And no, I’m not talking about the fact that just holding a guitar in your hands can make you the king/the queen of the party. There is much more behind six strings and a plectrum!
Are you ready to find out in how many ways guitar lessons can bring benefits to your body and mind? Just read below!
1) Fight the stress
Have you noticed that when you’re playing all the problems disappear? Life can be stressful sometimes but what matters is to find a way to blow off some steam. Guitar lessons are perfect for this purpose: they stimulate you creativity and allow you to stay focused on a fun activity.
Also, music is so relaxing and literally transports you to another dimension. The result is that you will put your troubles aside for a while and regain your peace of mind.
2) Become smarter
Speaking of creativity, guitar lessons are a perfect way to train the right part of your brain, which deals with music, sing, dance and all the artistic activities. Moreover, this side is responsible of multitasking, which is the ability of doing a lot of things at once.
And what better way to develop this skill than learning chords, reading music and singing at the same time? Being a multitasking person is good in several situations, whether you are a committed student, a manager with a very busy work schedule, or a mum who juggles with cooking, housekeeping and looking after her children.
3) Boost your confidence
Playing guitar could be just a hobby, but is really gratifying.
- Mastering chords and scales
- Putting them together to play an entire song
- Achieving new goals with music
Learning all this is a super booster for your confidence which can improve both your professional an personal life and give you a sense of fulfillment. And the more you succeed, the easier it becomes to overcome shyness and to interact with people.
And now, we can finally go back to the first reason why you decided to take guitar lessons… yes, it’s because you can become the king or the queen of the party!
Joking apart, if you choose to have group lessons, you can make new friends and share with them the same passion. This is a good thing for shy people No problem if your level isn’t the same: you can learn from the others and vice versa. Also, you can encourage yourself each other to improve your music skills.
Learning to play guitar is very easy if you do it when you’re having fun. Guitar lessons allow to build a team with your group and decide to meet outside the studio too. Or you can also start an award-winning rock band, who knows!
Did you see how many positive effects guitar lessons can bring?
London Guitar School is waiting for you, contact us to book your first guitar lesson!