Bromley-by-Bow Guitar Lessons
Guitar Lessons Bromley by Bow. Our fantastic guitar tutors in East London are ready to help you reach your guitar goals. We offer friendly, one-on-one instruction anywhere in London. Lessons are conducted on a one-to-one basis in a comfortable, friendly and relaxed environment and taught by highly-qualified instructors who can tailor teaching to student ability and desired genre.
We offer lessons in Acoustic, Electric and Bass guitar taught by world-class musicians who provide guitar lessons at our London studio, in students’ homes, and online via Skype. Styles and genres include Rock, Pop, Folk, Country, R&B, Indie, Blues and Jazz. One-hour lessons for students of all ages, including those as young as 7. Lessons cover both open position and barre chords, movable voicings and inversions, chord extensions and alterations, rhythm, scales, techniques, and songs.
Learn From The Best Guitar Teachers In London
Guitar Lessons and Guitar Teachers in Bromley by Bow
Our classes are customer-driven and include a range of musical genres as well as information about music theory, performance, and guitar fundamentals.
- Tuition in acoustic, electric, ukulele and bass guitar
- Beginners of all ages, intermediate or advanced are welcome
- Learn how to play every chord, solo, and lick you can imagine, all in the comfort of your own home
- Full time professional guitar tutor
- Teaching students about music theory, reading, ear training, strumming and picking techniques, songwriting, chords, harmony, and much more
- Professional recording equipment is available for student use
- Professional recording equipment is available for student use
Canning Town Guitar Lessons
Guitar Lessons Canning Town. A modern approach to music lessons with a high-end studio setting with professional-quality equipment. Our Guitar lessons in Canning Town can be the perfect outlet to express your creative and musical side. Become more confident in their playing and has a patient, encouraging, friendly, and supportive demeanour that makes learning to play the guitar fun. Private lessons are based on student-directed goals with a focus on improving musicianship. Students are taught using the LGA method but can also pursue genres of their own choosing. There’s no registration fee, and both 45 and 60-minute lessons are offered. Our East London Tutor Vic has worked with more than 500 guitar students and is a successful recording artist in the smooth pop genre. Lessons are available for students at all skill levels
Guitar Lessons in Canning Town
Guitar Lessons Canning Town E16. We believe Anyone Can Learn, so why not Start Today? Our lessons also include a comprehensive online resource, with members having access to video lessons, tablature, printable notation, recordings, and other materials to help improve guitar-playing skill
- Learn Guitar in Canning Town E16, East London
- Private lessonsfor kids, teens and adults
- Beginner, intermediate and advanced level classes
- Affordable Guitar Lessons for Adults and Kids
- For beginners and advanced players
- Acoustic and Electric Guitar Lessons
- Children’s Guitar Lessons Canning Town E16, East London
Finsbury Park Guitar Lessons
Guitar Lessons Finsbury Park. Our guitar lessons are specially tailored your individual needs as a guitarist making you learn guitar even faster! Our local teacher is an excellent, friendly tutor who love’s sharing his knowledge and making you the very best you can be. As we like to make your learning experience the most fun, complete rewarding experience it can we will ensure you learn both acoustic and electric guitar. It fair to say we Guitar Lessons Finsbury Park will help you excel when learning guitar. We will learn how music works through the songs and genres that you love. Guitar lessons are an excellent way to start a fun new hobby.
Local Guitar Tuition Finsbury Park London
Guitar Lessons & Classes in Finsbury Park
Learn your favourite songs, music theory, improvisation, and songwriting. Our teaching method is the most established and well known in London. We have taught 1000’s of guitar students just like you and we pride ourself in your success. Whether you are an absolute novice at playing the guitar or you already have some experience, you are guaranteed success in with our Guitar Lessons in Finsbury Park. Quickly learn the chords that will enable you to play the guitar styles you love.
Guitar Lessons London, Learn Guitar in London
- All Ages Welcome
- Lessons tailored to the individual
- Play your favourite songs, understanding music theory,
- Excel learning loads of great guitar techniques
- Electric & Acoustic Guitar Lessons
- Pick up a new skills and gain confidence with guitar
- 1-2-1 Tuition or Small Groups
- Each lesson is customised to the student
- All Style Covered
Acoustic Techniques: How to Rock Unplugged
Ah the acoustic guitar: a campfires best friend. Servant to the troubadour, and sufferer of the Wonderwall covers. Its safe to say that acoustic guitar certainly has a lot of negative press going for it. Well not necessarily negative, just not cool. The electric guitar has chunky riffs, picks slides, and wailing solos, you name it, and it’s got it.
That doesn’t mean I’m saying that the electric guitar is the better of the two; I’m just saying that if you were organizing a house party and you needed someone to supply all the booze, I know which one I’d be asking.
But maybe that’s just because the techniques and traits of the electric guitar are much more brash and bold than its unplugged counterpart, and you need a more refined taste to appreciate what the acoustic offers you. Tequila will definitely get you drunk more quickly than red wine, but that doesn’t mean its better right?
Yeah that is right so don’t question it. Anyway enough with the waffling, here’s some acoustic techniques to help you make your Arcala swoon at your next scout meet.
Ok so before you all start making hilarious jokes about how you “never thought to strum a guitar before Dan thanks” I’m going to be talking specifically about the slight sonic differences between a few strumming styles. Because you can manipulate the sound of an acoustic less than an electric you have to think more precisely about how you approach playing it. For example, playing with the nail of your finger versus playing with your thumb.
At first glance you wouldn’t assume there would be a difference, but the percussive nature of your nail brings out a brighter tone than the skin of your thumb. Try switching between the two during a song to help with dynamics. Maybe the brighter timbre of your nail will help lift a chorus up a bit? (It will).
So it wouldn’t be acoustic guitar without finger picking would it? Everyone from Bob Dylan all the way to the big Bieber have had a good ole’ crack at it. Biggest faux pas people make with this is not thinking enough about the patterns they play. The reason finger picking is amazing is because you can shift the dynamics of a song simply by switching the finger picking pattern you’re playing. Don’t just sit there and play The Boxer’s pattern over every song, be better than that. You want inspiration? James Taylor, Nick Drake. If you need more inspiration than that then you’ve not listened well enough.
The Power of Open Strings
So this one sounds more complicated than it is. In short, acoustic guitars can either sound beautiful, or really boring and flat. Most of that is down to technique, and specifically the use of open strings surrounding the chords you’re playing. No one wants to hear just the three notes in a G chord, they want all the over tones and open strings that give the acoustic guitar so much life. Try making sure your when you’re playing your chords that you’re note accidentally muting any open strings that help give the acoustic guitar life when being played solo. Equally however, do make sure you mute notes that don’t belong in the chord. There’s something about a duff note being played in and amongst other notes on a solo acoustic guitar that’s just a little bit more pathetic than usual. So don’t do it.
5 Pedals or Less: How to Sound Like Dave Gilmour
Back at it again, the hunt for tone never ends. Speaking from personal experience, furthering my understanding of tone has simultaneously been one of the most rewarding and frustrating experiences of my life. On the one hand, finally cracking one of my favourite guitar player’s sounds and learning all of their secrets is an exhilarating feeling. But staying up till 3am trying to work out which exact chorus pedal SRV used on David Bowie’s ‘Lets Dance’ only to find out its an extremely rare rack unit that would cost me more money than I’ve ever earned to acquire, blows.
But what can you do? Its not like finding that out has put me off the idea of maybe one day taking out some insane loan to buy one so I can play that solo through it once and go “Well, that wasn’t worth it” so there’s no point getting upset about it. I love tone; you love tone, that’s why we’re here. Forever sharing and reading about our collective theories on how we can get one-step closer to kind of sounding like our heroes, it’s what gets me out of bed on a morning.
The Beginner’s Guide to David Gilmour: Tone, Gear, Effects – Guitar
Sound Like Dave Gilmour
Today, we’re going to be looking at a man who needs no introduction: Dave Gilmour.
What? I said he needed no introduction. If you really need to learn about who he is and what he has contributed to music, then climb out from under that giant rock you’ve been living under and go buy Dark Side of the Moon, Wish You Were Here, and listen to them and realize what you’ve been missing out on your whole life. If that still doesn’t give you enough info about his guitar playing, then go watch the live at Pompeii concert, its on YouTube and has been for ages. I’m here to help you guys but I’m not going to spoon feed
you. Go on, go listen to those albums and come back to me, ill wait.
You’re back? Great, lets get started.
Dan’s Pick No.1: Pro-Co RAT (£79)
David Gilmour, or Dave to his friends, has had a constant development of tone over the four decades he’s been knocking around making classic album after classic album. Every aspect of his tone can change on different albums, even on different tracks of the same album! And none of those aspects are trickier than his drive sound. The average user would assume that you’d buy a fuzz, and that’s fair enough. He his a well-known fuzz user, especially the Big Muff range by EHX. However, this series is supposed to help you sound like him in fewer than five pedals, and I don’t think there is any single fuzz that would cover all of his drive sounds, and we don’t want to waste our options on multiple fuzzes. However, there is a big argument for the Pro-co RAT being the ideal drive for Dave’s sound. You gun this pedal, you get creamy sweet fuzz like leads and sustain, very Comfortably Numb, very Echoes. But then, if you dial it back,
you can get some classic overdrive sounds. Which is often overlooked when trying to sound like Dave. Think about Shine On You Crazy Diamond, that’s not a big drive sound, it’s a classic blues sound that has some bite when you dig in, and fuzz can’t really do that very well. I’m not saying this drive will suit everyone, it polarizes users because it takes some learning to get it sounding nice, and there’s argument that a fuzz (specifically the new EHX triangle mini range) would get you closer to Dave’s classic sound quicker and easier. But personally I think over time you’d get more enjoyment out of the RAT. Its also a great rock pedal in general, so bonus!
Dan’s Pick No.2: MXR Univibe (£130)
Again, modulation was a tricky one to decide on. No one loves modulation pedals more than me, but if you’ve only got five pedals then you kind of have to condense your modulation down into one pedal. Especially considering we’ve not looked at delays, or any of the other space like sound scape options that you need for Dave’s sound. I’ve chosen the Univibe for one reason, and I’ve said this before, I don’t really know what it is. Is it a phaser? Is it chorus? We’ll never know. But Dave used both of those kinds of pedals and
this univibe does a really great job of giving you both sides of the coin, and then a free third side of this weird coin I’ve just made up that does univibe.
Also, lets be honest, everyone who’s trying to sound like Dave is going to want to play the Shine On You Crazy Diamond riff a hundred times over. And this pedal seems to get me the closest whilst still offering other tones for different sides of Dave’s playing. It’s also the best type of modulation pedal for psychedelic soloing, because it adds guitar tone without getting in the way. There are other options for this pedal I’ll admit that, but personally I think you’d be happier with this.
Dan’s Pick No.3/4: TC Electronic Flashback 2 (£98)/ EHX Memory Toy (£84)
When deciding on Dave’s delay, or Davelay as no one calls it. We had to consider a couple of things. You need a delay that offers you classic analogue sounds and can also do cool feedback stuff, but you also need some lush sounding delays with chorus and a digital edge. Sadly, there isn’t a pedal like that in existence to my knowledge. And if there is, neither
you nor I could afford it. However, for a total of £174, which we can all agree is pretty cheap in the modern delay market, you can buy two delays that not only fill those desired needs, but also offer a lot more. With the Memory Toy, it’s just a simple version of the classic memory man at a great price, and will do all the cool feedback stuff you’d ever need. But throw in the Flashback two, and suddenly you’ve got anywhere from super modern digital delay, to classic 2290 chorus-y delay, and even some old school tape sounding ones too! Also stacking delays is a classic Gilmour move, or Gilmove (I’ll stop with these puns now) and there genuinely isn’t a better way to kill three hours than by stacking two different delays and seeing what happens. If you wanna save money here, just get the Flashback. It won’t do analogue sounds as well but it offers more options and functionality, especially with the tone print functions. But if you’re a legend you’ll get both.
Dan’s Pick No.5: Ernie Ball Vp-Jr Volume Pedal (£88)
Volume pedals are a tricky one to sell to someone if they’ve never owned one before. They fall into the category of the not fun but necessary pedals, like buying a power supply. Its essential to your pedal-board, but no one is thrilled when it arrives in the post. Thing is, to create classic Floyd-esque soundscapes, you’re going to need a volume pedal. There’s gonna be some people out there who will say “Hey man, just use your volume pot for swells its exactly the same” and it isn’t. It’s harder, and restricting. Using a volume pedal will not only give your better swells and more control, it also frees up your hands so you can do more as you’re swelling. The Ernie Ball volume pedal series is basically the industry standard these days; you see them on basically every board on every rig rundown, so why go against the grain. I know that’s not a very Pink Floyd approach but hey, welcome to the machine. If you want to improve the quality of your tone you can buy the one up from this one that includes a 250k pot, which improves your signal passing through it, somehow. But for all you bedroom warriors I doubt you’ll need to worry about that.
By Dan Tredgold
Tips to Learn Songs Faster On Guitar
So you’ve been practicing and working hard on your instrument. The hours you’ve invested into mastering your craft are starting to pay off and you’ve decide to take the plunge and learn that song you’ve always dreamt of being able to play. However, you might find that despite your new found skills, you still run in to difficulties. There might be a specific section that trips you up, the structure might be confusing and you’re running out of patience. Don’t dismay though, we’ve all been there and sometimes all you need to do is take a different approach. In this article we’re going to explore some techniques to help you overcome these obstacles and hopefully give you the breakthrough that you need!
I know this might seem obvious, but listening to the song you’re trying to master is key to success. I don’t mean putting it on while doing the dishes or fighting through the crowds whilst commuting, I’m talking about active listening. Active listening is when you are solely focused on what is happening in the song. Before you even sit down at your instrument, find somewhere quiet where you can listen to the music without any external distractions and can really absorb the music. Listen to all the melodies, not just on the instrument that you play but within all aspects of the song. Hear how the instruments communicate with each other, familiarise yourself with the groove, listen to the vocals and lead lines carefully, taking note of how they change from section to section. The idea is to memorise all aspects of the song until you know what happens in each part without having to listen to the actual song. Once you are confident that you know the song like the back of your hand, then it is time to sit with your instrument and start learning. Doing this is going to save a lot of time having to go back and check if you are playing certain parts right because you know exactly what its supposed to sound like. You will be able to use your musical ear more accurately and be familiar with the structure and melodies, thus playing with more confidence.
Break It Down
With some exceptions, most songs are built up of repeating sections or progressions that make up the structure of the music. It might be difficult to hear when listening to the song as a whole, but due to the mathematical nature of how music is created, certain patterns start to emerge that you can use to break down the song and can change your perspective on how difficult a piece is to learn. Let’s take the classic ‘Wonderwall’ by Oasis and dissect the structure.
(Oasis – Wonderwall)
At first glance this might look like a lot of sections to learn and follow, but you might just find that some of these sections are exact repeats of previous ones. For example, all the Verses are made up of the same chords, same goes with the Chorus and the Bridge. You’ll also find that the Intro uses the same chords as the Verses and the Outro uses the same chords as the Chorus. So what we can do is identify different progressions in the song and assign them a letter. If we use A for the progression used in the Intro and Verses, B for the progression used in the Bridge and C for the progression in the Chorus and Outro then the structure of the song starts to look a little bit like this.
A – Intro
A – Verse 1
A – Verse 2
B – Bridge
C – Chorus
A – Verse 3
B – Bridge
C – Chorus
C – Outro
Here we can see that this song is actually only made up of three differing sections, all we have to do is arrange them in the right order. By looking at songs in this way it breaks them down into a more manageable structure and definitely makes things look less daunting. So try and find these patterns and see how they arrange themselves in the songs you want to learn. Learn each section independently then work on stitching them together in the right order. This will create you a basic framework from which to work from and help you on your way to playing the song through from start to finish. Once you have a firm grasp of the different sections, then you can go back and start adding in extra details like chord inversions or extensions that will bring the song to life.
Isolate The Difficult Parts
In my experience, I have found that there is often one section in a song that you find more difficult than the rest. It can be incredibly frustrating every time you get to that bit and your playing falls apart, knocking your confidence for the rest of the song. In these scenarios, I find it best to isolate the difficult sections and practice it in detail. Slow down the tempo and repeat the difficult part until you can play it accurately and confidently at a slower pace. Once you are nailing it every time, slowly increase the tempo until it flows naturally at the original tempo. If you’re feeling dedicated, increase the tempo further than the original song until you can play it faster, then when you come to putting it back into context at the original tempo, you will be able to play the section with more confidence!
I find myself using this point a lot when writing about music in general, but genuinely this is crucial to progressing as a musician. Be patient with yourself and don’t be disheartened if you can’t play things perfectly first time. The saying ‘practice makes perfect’ resonates for a reason, it takes time and repetition to master an instrument. So if you find yourself getting annoyed or disheartened when learning songs, take a step back, have a break or work on something else. Getting annoyed at yourself is totally counter-productive and will only hinder your progress.
I hope these tips help you overcome any obstacles that are preventing you from achieving your musical goals. It’s human nature to try and push yourself hard when learning anything, but pushing yourself too hard can be detrimental to your confidence and your playing. Don’t run before you can walk, break things down into manageable sections and practice in detail. Taking your time to learn things properly is going to save you from beating yourself up if you can’t play it quite right just yet!
Practice tips for guitar
Practise Practise Practise! That’s the advice given to us by countless teachers, parents and other musicians to reach our goals, and it’s correct. But it’s often difficult to know how to divide our time efficiently when we practise and what we need to do to improve and make the most of our time. So I hope this article helps anyone out there that needs some guidance on effective techniques and time management.
Practise tips for the burgeoning Musician
How and what we practise is much more important than the amount of time we dedicate to it. Now I’m not saying that playing for hours and hours a day is meaningless, if you can do it and be efficient with your time then you will obviously see more rapid improvement in your playing, but spending hours a day just noodling will not be as efficient as spending one hour a day onquality practice.
Simple and Powerful Guitar Practice Tips
Whenever possible learn only what is useful to you and has relevance to you now or in the foreseeable future. Can you see yourself using this information in a months time and it will benefit your playing now? If the answer is yes then practise it, if the answer is no, then find a technique, scale, chord or whatever that will be useful to you now and learn that. The more relevant the information is the more your brain will remember it. Know what you are playing and why you want to play it.
How long should I practise for? Great question! The answer is whatever you’re comfortable with. For some this will be hours, for others it’ll be thirty minutes. Dedicating approximately the same amount of time to sit down with your guitar everyday will see you reap the rewards. So forty minutes six days a week is better than four hours on a Monday followed by five days off! Doing the latter will result in your brain forgetting what you did on the Monday and you having to relearn that material again.
Tips to Boost Your Practice Session
Variation is key as it’ll stop boredom creeping in by playing the same thing everyday. Change your routine to keep things fresh. If you studied major seven chords on Monday, why not look at minor seven chords on the Tuesday. You played Blues licks on the Wednesday, try out some Country licks on the Thursday. Remember, find out what works best for you and stick to it and try and dedicate the same amount of time each day to specific areas of your playing.
There’s no hard and fast rules! As long as you’re learning material that you’ll use, is relevant to you and your growth as a guitarist and you’re consistent, then you’re doing the right thing.
Learning is a treasure that will follow it’s owner everywhere – ancient Chinese proverb
Thinking Theory: The BB King Blues Box
All right, we’ve had our fun. We’ve had a good nine weeks of talking pedals, and guitars, and which amp we think helps us sound like that lost B-side Radiohead recording from the early 90’s best. But the powers that be have told me that enough is enough, theory must be taught. We don’t want a generation of all gear and no idea now do we? (It rhymes caus its true)
So what are we going be looking at today? Well I thought I’d go easy on ya and not dive straight into anything too intense so we can shake of those easy gear chat hats and get our much more serious and committed theory hats on. So naturally we’re doing Blues. Why? Because you can apply pretty much any scale at its most basic form to Blues, and its format demands a degree of taste. You aimlessly wail over a Blues people are going to know, and we can’t have that. So we’re going to be taking influence from one of the most simple, yet timeless players: BB King.
Music Theory For Guitar
Lets ignore the fact that BB had a voice that could melt an igloo in conditions that only existed back before we began killing our planet (shots fired) what BB brought to the world of guitar playing was something all guitarists should endorse and implement into their playing; restraint. He had so much restraint and simplicity in his playing that you can pretty much play 85% of his licks in one tiny little box on the pentatonic scale, known as the BB Blues box.
So where is that box Dan I hear you cry? Well calm down I’m about to show you obviously. Take a look:
This, is position three of the major pentatonic scale (or position four of the minor pentatonic) depicted by my dope drawing. Marvel before its beauty. The only problem with this picture is that it just kinda looks like a bunch of notes with no direction or vibe whatsoever. But things are not always as they appear:
Boom. Did that just blow your mind? Suddenly there’s a whole breadth of colour in this scale, both musically and literally. What I’ve done is alter one note of the scale, and then pick out pretty much the only five notes you’ll need to get your BB king on. Lets talk actual theory to make this a bit clearer.
Essentially what you’re doing by highlighting these five notes is picking out the 6th, 1st, 2nd, 4th, and 5th notes of the scale you’re playing in. In the key of C, that would be A, C, D, F, and G. Or Green, Yellow, Blue, Red, Yellow on the chart.
You’re reading that and probably saying ‘That just sounds like random notes of the scale Dan’, but lets consider this over a blues in C (Chords 1, 4, 5, or C, F, G). If you think about it, you’ve basically got your root and fifth of chord 1 (C and G) and of chord 4 (F and C) AND of chord 5 (G and D). You can also consider F to be the 7th of your chord 5, or your A to be the 6th of Chord 1, and so on.
The trick with playing is this blues box, and soloing in general, is picking your moments. Try just playing the 1 and 5 of each chord over the changes of a blues, and you’ll begin to hear that you’re suddenly playing some pretty tasty licks without even really doing anything. Once you’re more confident, start experimenting with other notes. Bend your 2nd up to the 3rd over chord 4 and you’ve got the 3rd of that chord, or the most classic BB sounding lick, 6th to the 1st.
Tasteful soloing is all about finding your own licks, but being aware of the chords you’re playing over. Less is always more in this case. It will take some time to get confident playing with, but remember; BB always took his time! Explore you Blues Guitar playing with Guitar Lessons London
Happy shredding! By Dan Tredgold
When it comes to picking on the guitar, there are a wide variety of techniques at our disposal to achieve the effect we’re looking for. Certain picking techniques suit specific genres and others can be applied pretty much across the board. It can be easy to get caught up learning the actual notes and phrases that we forget how crucial our picking is to playing them. Discovering new picking techniques can really open new doors in terms of what you are capable of playing and will improve the co-ordination between your picking and fret hand. So read on to find out about some of these techniques, how to use them and where you can expect to find them!
Alternate picking is probably the most commonly used of all the techniques, so a good place to start if you’re finding out for the first time. As the name suggests, it requires using the pick to strike the string in an ‘up, down, up, down’ fashion. When you get proficient at alternate picking it can be used to achieve great speed and accuracy. It lends itself to pretty much every style of playing due to its simple and effective nature, but gets notoriety from its ability to produce lightening fast scale runs and shredding solos in metal and rock genres. It’s bread and butter for any budding shred head.
If you know who Jason Becker is, then you will know what sweep picking is. If you don’t, go listen to ‘Altitudes’ and hear it in all its glory. To sweep pick is to strike the strings in a raking motion, playing each one in a fluid movement, like a strum but slightly slower and more controlled. This is usually accompanied by an arpeggio played on the fret hand outlining a chord shape, but releasing each note as it is played resulting in the notes sounding individually and yes… it is as difficult as it sounds. Sweep picking is widely recognised as an advanced technique and is usually mastered by those willing to sit in front of a metronome for hours on end, but once perfected it can sound incredibly impressive and is definitely worth the patience.
Learning how to finger-pick is a must for all guitarists. You simply can’t achieve the effect of playing multiple notes across different registers as easily with a plectrum. Learning to use all your fingers independently to pick the strings can take a while to master as it requires a lot of accuracy and dexterity, but is essential to playing certain styles of music, especially if you’re a fan of folk or country. Many people associate finger-picking with acoustic guitar but it can be highly effective on the electric too. Many famous Jazz guitarists use finger-picking as it works well for vamping chords and being able to separate tones accurately, which would ultimately be more difficult with a plectrum alone.
Hybrid picking is the combination of using a plectrum and the remaining three fingers on your picking hand at the same time. Again, another advanced technique, but when used effectively allows you to play patterns not possible with the pick alone. The general idea is to use the plectrum to play lines within the middle strings while the remaining three fingers can pick notes on the strings above, allowing you to play notes on different strings in quick succession. This is a really popular technique in country and blues styles, think of it as the benefits of finger-picking with the added clout of the pick.
Exactly what it says on the tin. Using exclusively downward strokes in your picking pattern. The downward motion really adds some beef to the resonance of the string and can add a driving momentum to your riffs. Rock and roll features a lot of this technique as it creates a more aggressive sound and often requires more attitude than accuracy. This technique can be made
even more effective when combined with some of the other techniques mentioned in this article as it creates a contrast in the timbre of the guitar.
The word tremolo is one to be familiar with in the guitar world, it pops up in all sorts of places: effects pedals, amps, guitar hardware and of course… picking. In its literal terms, it is defined as a shaking or vibrating sound achieved from repeating the same note or two notes in rapid succession. At its core, it’s a development of alternate picking, just using it on the same string at even but incredibly fast intervals. The result is a tremulous flurry of notes rolling one after the other which can give a really cool effect. Although it is one of the more obscure and less frequently used techniques, you can find it in a surprising amount of genres, from Rock and Metal to Country, Flamenco and even Banjo playing.
Muted Picking (a.k.a Palm Muting)
If you’ve been playing guitar for a little while now you will have more than likely come across palm muting. Even if you’re a beginner you will have definitely heard it somewhere. A well used technique in any guitarists arsenal, palm muting is a techniques that produces a very different sound from the guitar. It is achieved by resting the underside of the picking hand on the strings, thus dampening the resonance of the strings when you pick them. Rest on them too much and you will completely choke the notes, too little and you will probably get a nasty resonance with your notes, but get it just right and you can produce crunchy power chords and funky lead lines. The dampening of the string gives the notes a short sharp quality, which when combined with normally picked notes can add a whole new dimension to your playing and gives you more options when creating lines. Again, this is another cross genre technique and features heavily in Pop Rock, Punk to Funk and Jazz.
The real beauty with these picking techniques comes when you combine them into your playing and use them together. Each technique can create different moods and tones from the guitar so using them carefully can make your playing sound more varied and interesting. So have a practice through each technique and find the ones you really like and could see yourself using regularly. Listen to examples and start including them in your own playing. Picking is paramount to becoming an awesome guitarist. I was once told by an old tutor “a guitarist is only as good as his picking. If your picking sucks, your playing sucks” and I’m inclined to agree.
5 Pedals or Less: How to sound like Sonic Youth
Its funny what being branded a loser in high school has done for some of the most iconic Alt music in the game today, and the same can be said for pretty music all awkwardly cool music in existence too.
You don’t belong, you form a band because you think ‘hey they already hate me anyway so what’s the worst that can happen?’ and then you go on to write music that connects with every other person who felt like they didn’t belong too and become a superstar.
Now I don’t know for sure that the guys in Sonic Youth were branded losers in high school. Nor do I know basically anything about them other than their music. But hey, sometimes you just get a feeling.
What I do know is how to use pedals to sound like them. And fortunately that’s all I’m getting paid to do so I’m just gonna shut up and get on with it.
Before I get into pedals though, I need to mention some pre pedal gear you’ll need to do this right:
- Some kind of Fender amp. Ideally a Princeton, but anything with that classic jangle sound will do.
- A guitar with fender voiced Humbuckers, and if you can make it something Alt-y like a Jazzmaster so you look like a kool dude
Pedal 1: Boss CH-1 Super Chorus (£70)
Starting from the cleans and working up here. Sonic Youth like nearly every Alt band ever really liked using chorus, and why not? It sounds dope and when used properly doesn’t have to be a cheesy 80’s vibe (although I love that vibe so don’t you dare say bad word about it so help me god).
Thing is, in order to get the right chorus sound you need it to be on the budget side of the price point scale, but with enough sculpt-ability to get the right sound. Boom. CH-1. I’ve said it before I don’t wanna say it again, just buy it. Don’t be stupid.
Pedal 2: BOSS 59’ Bassman Pedal (£79-£114)
Ok, so couple things you need to consider when looking at the Sonic Youth drive sound. They tended to crank old amps to get a natural drive sound, then have another guitar with some kind of fuzz on it to get this marriage of old and new style gain. I don’t recommend cranking your fender amp up for gain, because like them, you’ll go deaf. What you can do however is buy pedals that recreate amp style gain like the BOSS 59’.
I chose this one purely because it’s the only one I’ve owned in this style of pedal and it works great. They’re quite hard to buy new these days but there are tons on Ebay. I know that’s a pain for some people but its not that hard to pick one up and all the other pedals coming out that do this type of thing either suck or cost £200 so you do the math.
Pedal 3: EHX Op-Amp Muff (£75)
Finishing off the drive section with, of course, a fuzz. Sonic Youth would sound a whole lot less angst-y without some good ole fuzz. Virtually every Alt band of note used the Op- Amp big muff in the 90’s (Smashing Pumpkins being the most noted) because of its stupidly high gain wall of fuzz sound. This reissue does a near perfect job and its small and £75. Sometimes it’s best to know a good thing when you see it and not mess with it.
Pedal 4: Way Huge Echo-Puss (£140)
Nearly there now. The flip side of Sonic Youth’s massive guitar sounds is their more delicate, almost ambient instrumentals that are scattered across their discography. So in order to do that you’ll need a delay, and ideally an analogue one.
I feel like the Echo-Puss always gets overlooked in the conversation of best analogue delays. To say that it’s a semi clone of the Memory man and the deluxe reissue by EHX costs £190 to its £140 (and sounds better IMO) it baffles me so few know or use it. But anyway I’m getting off the point, it’s a great sounding delay, the modulation on it is peng (trendy kid words) and it’ll do anything from lush delays, to ambient delays, to fuzzy distorted soundscapes. You really can’t go wrong with this one.