Acoustic guitar – proper Techniques and Repertoire
Are you a fan of acoustic guitar? Perhaps this is the most universally loved musical instrument and the first you think of when it comes to parties or bonfires on the beach. With just six strings, a wooden sound box and a fretboard put in your hands an entire repertoire of beautiful songs to play and sing with your friends. Acoustic Guitar Techniques and Repertoire.
Here at Guitar Lessons London you can learn how to properly play classical guitar and discover the best techniques to improve your music skills. Our teacher James will be happy to reveal you all the secrets behind this fantastic musical instrument and help you become a good musician.
Like anything else, playing guitar requires dedication and perseverance. Anyway, our lessons are perfectly conceived to make you learn while having fun, so don’t worry of being judged!
Are you curious to know everything about acoustic guitar?Here are a few examples of the playing techniquesyou can learn at Guitar Lessons London:
Acoustic Guitar Techniques
1) Don’t grasp the guitar handle!
If you are a complete beginner, you will discover soon that pressing guitar strings can make your fingers hurt a little. To avoid this you will probably have the tendency to hold the guitar handle with all the hand, putting your thumb around it to be more comfortable.
Well, sorry for your fingers but… this is not the correct position! Our teacher will explain you that the correct position of the hand is with your thumb behind tha handle, so you can press the strings only with your fingertips. Yes, it hurts at the beginning, but it’s totally worth it!
2) Fingerstyle melodies, arpeggios…
As you progress with your lessons, you will learn that there are a lot of different ways of playing guitar and each one produces a different sound effect.
James will show you how to do properly fingerstyle by pinching strings without a plectrum. Also, he will explain you the meaning of terms that may sound to you weird at the beginning, such as “triads”, “arpeggio”…
3) Last but not least, be patient!
It is comprehensible that you look forward to play your favourite song and that some basic chords may seem boring, but don’t hurry: progress will come quickly and you’ll be able to perform in front of your friends and show everyone what you’ve learned.
Classical guitar repertoire
Speaking about songs, which are the best pieces to play? Well, classical guitar repertoire is so large that you’re spoilt for choice! It covers a lot of music genresand ranges from rock music, folk, oldies and much more.
Just to mention some titles:
- Hotel California (Eagles)
- Sound of Silence (Simon & Garfunkel)
- Blowin’ in the Wind (Bob Dylan)
- Smells like Teen Spirit (Nirvana)
- American Pie (Don McLean)
Whathever music genre you like, you can certainly find something beautiful to play for your own pleasure and the one of those who are listening to you.
4 Reasons why you should take guitar Lessons in London
Have you ever learned to play guitar? Well, you definitely should!
Playing guitar is not only a beautiful hobby for all ages but also a fantastic way to express your musical talent through both technique and creativity.
Guitar Lessons London is the perfect place to take guitar lessonsand improve your music skills. Our experienced teacher James will be happy to teach you to play guitar, showing you the right techniques and helping you to find your own style.
Whether you want to practice with the basic chords or to play a soulful guitar solo, here you can find what you’re looking for. Our courses are aimed to both children and adults and cover all levels, from complete beginner to advanced.
Moreover, here you can choose your favourite style. Are you a fan of classical guitar? Or you prefer the energetic sound of the electric? Whatever is the style of your choice, at Guitar Lessons London you can find the best guitar tuition of the city.
Would you like to know more? Here are 4 simple reasons why our courses are so professional and well structured:
1) Our flexibility and accessibility
Our school is based in London, but we are able toteach you wherever you like, so you can take your lesson at your preferred music studio or simply in the comfort of your home. So, if you have difficult to reach our studio, there is absolutely no problem, we can reach you!
Also, you have the possibility to take one-to-one lessons or group classes, according to your needs. You just need to contact usand we can advise you the most appropriate course for your level and necessities. And if you don’t own a guitar, no problem, you can use one of ours to start your lessons.
2) Your continuous improvement
Don’t worry if you’re a complete beginner, you won’t stay that way for a long time. At Guitar Lessons London you can learn everything about playing guitar, from the correct position of the hands on the strings to strumming patterns.
Your progress will be visible and continuous and you wil become a good guitarist very quickly. Practicing with our teacher will help you to achieve your goals, whether you want to get a degree or just to play for fun.
3) Speaking about fun…
…would you like to make new friends and share with them your common passion? Guitar Lessons London is the right place! Here you have the opportunity to meet people who love playing guitar like you and have fun together.
Also,Todd is such a talented and patient teacher and creates during his lessons a relaxed and encouraging atmosphere. No worry of not being good at: whether you decide to take private lessons or group classses, you can develop your music skills and become a strong and confident musician.
4) Simply because playing guitar is a magic musical instrument!
Just think about it: when someone’s playing a guitar, a little crowd of people always gathers around. Guitar sound is unmistakable and makes you immediately want to sing together.
Taking guitar lessons in London allows you to play and sing your favourite songs for your friends and family or even to perform on a stage in front of a real audience. Maybe you’ll become a famous rockstar, who knows!
Shoreditch Guitar lessons
Learn To Play Guitar With reliable, trusted, Lessons From London’s Top Guitar School. Get started today with your first lesson. Get the great results you want from your guitar lessons in Shoreditch whether you’re just starting out, or have been playing for years. Our tuition is affordable, step by step, personally structured, guitar lessons for adults, teens & kids from beginner, intermediate, to advanced. Begin by learning the songs YOU want to play with friendly, professional musicians.
Guitar Lessons & Classes in Shoreditch
Guitar Hub Electric Guitar Lessons
Guitar Hub’s guitar instructors all have the same goal in mind and that is to provide the highest quality education in a fun, energetic and welcoming environment. Our focus will be on playing a song by the end of each set of lessons.
We offer lessons in either classical acoustic, modern acoustic and electric guitar. Learn guitar in beginner, intermediate, and advanced group lessons for all ages. Customise your lessons to focus on playing, jamming and improvising with others while still receiving personal instruction
Guitar Lessons London offers 1 hour, 45 and 30 minute lessons. Play your favourite songs and develop your own songwriting. Our instructors offer a diverse understanding of technique, musical expression, range of dynamics and interpretation. Learn where all the notes, chords, scales, and arpeggios are on the fretboard. Whether you are an absolute beginner or already know a lot about music theory our guitar lessons are individually tailored to cover everything from the most basic scales to the most advanced melodic, harmonic, and rhythmical understanding.
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.
Do I have to learn musical theory to play guitar?
“Do I have to learn musical theory to play guitar?”
As a guitar tutor, this is a question I get asked on a regular basis and to my dismay, not one that has a straight forward answer. Depending on who you ask, you might be told its imperative and there is no other way to learn. Others will tell you it’s not necessary at all but ultimately it depends on you, your musical aspirations and what you want to get out of playing the guitar.
I encounter a lot of people who have already decided that learning musical theory isn’t for them and their primary goal is to be able to play some songs that they like. The guitar is an excellent instrument to do this on because it allows you to learn ‘shapes’. A method of memorising where to put your fingers for different chords, scales, arpeggios etc. as opposed to learning what notes your playing. Even by learning as few as four different chord shapes you can already start to play hundreds of different songs, without having to learn the theoretical side of key signatures, chord construction and scales.
In my opinion, this is a really fast and rewarding way to learn guitar. When you first start taking guitar lessons, there can be a lot to take in and remember. It can be overwhelming to get to grips with physically playing the guitar as well as concentrating on the theory at the same time. I think this can deter a lot of beginner students and can overcomplicate your initial encounter with a guitar. The fastest way to improve your guitar playing is to be inspired and motivated. We achieve that by learning things we are passionate about. So the ability to play the songs you love quickly, will make you want to learn more. Once you are feeling more confident with your playing and your ready to kick things up a gear, this is when the theory comes in!
Musical theory is the universal language of musicians. Its a way of communicating with other musicians, through a definitive way of describing the music. Its the difference between ‘this chord sounds jazzy’ and ‘this chord is a C7#9’. When you get to the stage you’re wanting to play with other people, maybe write some music or just gain a deeper understanding of what it is you’re doing, this is the perfect time to fill in the blanks. You already have a base knowledge of how to play the guitar, now you can apply the theory to it. Its much easier to learn how a C major chord is made up, when you already know how to play it, what it looks like and what it sounds like.
This is how I was introduced to musical theory. I self taught myself for a few years until I knew it was time to take things to the next stage and started taking guitar lessons. For me personally, learning musical theory was a really exciting time. It was filled with ‘light bulb’ moments and I was constantly having epiphanies as I learnt how everything was interconnected. The more I found out, the more I wanted to know. It gave me a new found confidence in my playing and allowed me to play more intentionally. Knowing new scales and how they were connected to chords gave me new ways to write more interesting music. I felt like my overall understanding of music was slowly falling into place. It was a very rewarding experience that gave me confidence to join my first band and start playing in public. For lack of a better word, I felt a bit more legit.
I’ve also met a lot of guitarists who feel like they have left it too late to learn musical theory and I can get why they might feel that way. If you’ve been playing for years and not touched on any theory, it can seem like a daunting task, almost like starting from scratch. However, I guarantee you it will rejuvenate your playing! You probably know way more than you think, you might just not have names for things for the things you know or how to use them to their fullest. With a few basic theory lessons you can really start to see playing the guitar with a whole new perspective. You don’t have to learn the notes of the Phrygian dominant scale, but learning key signatures and how chords and scales are constructed will prove incredibly useful.
There are some useful and simple things that you can do yourself, if you feel like its time to know some theory. Start by learning the notes of the strings and notes of the fretboard (you can find a fretboard diagram on the internet), learn the notes of the chromatic scale, find out the difference between a tone and a semi-tone, get yourself a beginners music theory book and start reading. If your having guitar lessons or thinking of taking some, all these things will prepare you, which will give you the best chance of success. It’s also important to find out the best way you learn. Some people find it easier to learn with the guitar in their hands and hear what they are doing, others like to see the theory written down and be taught in a more visual way. By communicating with whoever is teaching you, find the method that is going to help you make the most progress.
There have been hundreds of famous and successful musicians over the years that haven’t had the slightest clue about musical theory and that hasn’t held them back. At its essence playing the guitar should be about creative expression. As long as the music is what you intended to create, it doesn’t really matter how you get there. Music theory is just a tool that can make you more knowledgeable and give you more musical insight. As a result it will enhance the music that you create!
By Adam Ward
4 reasons why playing the Acoustic guitar, also improves your Electric playing!
I’ve been playing guitar for 12 years now! Unlike many beginner guitarists I started learning Electric guitar first, it was a couple of years later before I owned my first Acoustic. Like any 13 year-old who’d just got a new guitar, I was immediately obsessed with it and couldn’t put it down. As a result, I neglected my Electric guitar for a bit whilst I happily strummed along to the likes of Oasis and crew. As you do.
When I eventually got tired of going through open chords and picked up my Electric again, I noticed something… my Electric playing had massively improved. I realised that playing the Acoustic had given some major benefits to my skills on the Electric.12 years on, I still practice and perform on them both and in this article I’m going to explain some of the reasons I think the Acoustic has vastly improved my Electric playing and my musicianship in general.
All you have to do is look at an Acoustic and an Electric guitar next to each other to notice that the Acoustic is just physically bigger. It has a wide hollowed body, thicker neck and usually thicker strings. So it is no surprise it takes a bit more physicality to play it. Sometimes we have to press down on the frets harder to get that warm tone, other times we have to play endless bar chords until our forearm burns. However, this is a productive pain and will stand you in good stead.
Developing stamina is one of the toughest challenges a lot of guitarists face, especially if you don’t get time to play as often as you’d like. Think of playing the Electric guitar as working out and the acoustic guitar as working out with a weighted vest on. It might hurt at the time, but the harder you workout the quicker you’ll get into shape. In my experience, after practicing on my Acoustic then going back to the Electric, my fingers are far more nimble and I can play for way longer on both. I also find playing my Acoustic for 10 minutes or so before starting on the Electric is a great way to warm up!
Playing Acoustic guitar has without a doubt, improved my rhythm playing and ability to keep tempo. Unlike the Electric guitar where you can find yourself playing lots of lead guitar lines and solos, the Acoustic guitar is more widely used as an accompaniment. So as nice as feeling your way through a melodic, tasteful solo on the acoustic can be, a lot of the time you will be providing rhythm guitar… and this should excite you!
One of the things I’ve enjoyed most about playing my Acoustic is discovering more ways to create interesting and intricate rhythms in my playing. If you’re like me, you’ll have those moments where you see someone do something amazing and become instantly inspired. One of those moments for me was seeing Andy McKee play his finger-style song Drifting (if you haven’t already, check it out) and being blown away by the way he created so much percussion and groove from his acoustic guitar. I instantly ran to my guitar and started working on my finger picking, trying to perfect the percussive thumb slap and integrate it into my patterns. The heavier gauge strings and hollowed body of the acoustic really helped me lock into the groove.
After some time I moved these techniques over to my Electric. This is where things got interesting. I found that using my newly perfected, percussive thumb slap through a nice warm overdrive gave an amazing feel for lots of playing styles like Blues, Jazz, Soul, RnB and Hip-hop. Also, as my fingerpicking improved, it allowed me to tackle techniques that I had struggled with before, like hybrid picking (using your plectrum and fingers at the same time).
Adjust your musical mindset
I think what attracted me to the Electric guitar is the plethora of sounds you can create from it. There are so many unique pedals, effects and techniques you can use to be creative with your sound, but on the flip side, this is also a reason I love playing the acoustic guitar as well. Its simplicity. Sure, you can run Acoustics through pedals and can have great fun doing so, but at its core, the tone of the acoustic guitar is undeniably unique; like comparing a synthesiser to a grand piano.
So to harness the tone, you have to play with other considerations. While I play my acoustic I find myself being much more aware of how I’m sustaining notes, using extreme dynamics, thinking more melodically in my musical ideas and doing anything I can to maximise the versatility in the sound. I also find due to the acoustic nature of the guitar and the fact you can hear every dead note, scratch and scuff clear as day, it has trained into me a perfection for clarity. Applying all this to my electric playing has been incredibly productive. Instead of increasing the reverb or adding more gain to hide potential scuffs behind the grit, it has made my playing more accurate and most of all, confident. Something as simple (and maybe obvious) as that has really progressed my playing.
Amongst all the other reasons discussed, for me personally, this has had the biggest benefit. Learning the acoustic guitar pointed me in the direction of a lot of new music. Exploring more acoustic dominated genres such as country, folk, classical etc. was not only great fun, but increased my musical knowledge and the understanding of how different styles are written. As a working guitarist, I’ve found it incredibly useful to be what I refer to as a musical chameleon. By learning how to play in different styles and knowing what techniques to use at the right time, It has given me the confidence to blend in to all kinds of genres and as a result, all kinds of opportunities.
So all in all, I credit a lot to my acoustic guitar. It’s taught me things about playing that I don’t think I would have discovered otherwise, at least not as quickly. The other thing to remember is that almost everything is transferable too, in one way or another. Whether it adds rhythmic patterns, melody ideas, chord progressions etc. to your playing, or makes you think of different ways to phrase and approach music, I’m positive you will see the benefits in your playing.
By Adam Ward
Guitar Lessons in London with London Guitar School
Check out Guitar Lessons London : London Guitar Academy Adam and his immaculate guitar playing. Adam is a wonderful musician/teacher who has a unique command of the guitar. His musicality, fluidity & phrasing always shine. He has wonderful delicate balance to his playing and he has fantastic repertoire, and a huge plethior of guitar technique he is ready to share with you. Adam teaches from our Clapham studio and is ready & available to teach YOU!
Adam has been key member of the London Guitar Academy team for the past few years and is a true professional. His friendly, warm personality and eye for detail have made Adam a real favourite with our pupils. You can expect to learn lots of new songs and loads of great rhythms and to be able to finger pick like a guitar great.
One to one Guitar Lessons London
London Guitar School have teachers ready and able teach a huge array of guitar styles including pop, folk, rock, blues, funk, metal, country, flamenco and classical guitar lessons on electric and acoustic guitars. No matter what age or level you are you are always more than welcome @ Guitar Lessons London.
Alternate tuning DADGAD
As a teenager I was so cool that most of the music I listened to was recommended to me by my dad. This was often in the shape of classic British and American singer songwriters such as James Taylor and Steve Earle, and while I have since diversified somewhat, the influence that this sound had on my development and style have been really important to me as a musician. I found there to be something soulful and joyful about this acoustic sound that seemed to have depth in antiquity as well as feeling effortlessly contemporary, even decades after release. I would spend a lot of time carefully listening through particular tracks so I could then attempt to work out the pieces on my guitar, trying wherever I could to replicate certain stylistic riffs and movements. Whilst I usually had little trouble working out faithfully accurate recreations, there were a few guitarists that would more often than not leave me stumped, and totally unable to recapture the mood and tone of their songs. This was made all the more annoying by the fact that I almost invariably had this issue with the guitarists whose style I most admired. They were, at the time, Stephen Stills, John Martyn and Richard Thompson. What I heard when listening to them was to me rich and engaging, and despite being able to find the correct structure and chord sequences, I just could not make my guitar sing in the same way.
Around this time, and during a family get together at the home of an uncle of mine who is an excellent guitarist himself, I did the done thing for a teenager and eventually sloped off for a bit of space away from the people I love. It was then that I found a guitar magazine and came across an article about the alternate tuning DADGAD. I followed the instructions, tuning both the low and high E strings down by a whole tone to D, along with the B string also down a tone to A, then picked through a couple of the riffs that were tabbed out in the piece. Suddenly something clicked, and I found there to be something familiar to me about this sound. Over the next few weeks I spent my practice time discovering more about this tuning, using my ear to find chords and patterns within these new parameters. I found it very exciting to be exploring this new way of playing, as there now seemed to be a new and greater depth and tone to almost everything that I tried. I then had the idea of going back to many of the songs that I had before struggled to learn, as now I was able to try them from a new angle, and with much more success. Suddenly I could emulate the dry twang of a Stills song, or the rhythmic strut and swing of John Martyn’s playing, all while keeping the sound rich and full.
It is almost limitless what you can already achieve on a guitar in standard tuning, but when you discover the use of alternate tunings it is almost like being introduced to several new instruments. The quality and timbre of each string can be manipulated in many ways, to help you to discover a plethora of new voices within your guitar. When I first started experimenting with DADGAD, I initially placed my first finger on the second fret of the 3rd string, and strummed all 6 of the strings, giving me a D5 chord. All I had with this chord was a D in three different octaves, and an A in two octaves, but what enticed me about this sound was a deep hum and buzz in the strings; there was something much more alive about this simple D5 chord. From there I began to explore songs in the key of D, and found that the richness and simplicity of the chord shapes gave me much more freedom to play around with the rest of the fretboard, generally finding more ‘diddly’ bits on the higher strings, while still allowing low tones to ring out and mingle underneath.
Music is so often about exploration and discovery, and I find that many guitarists can lose much of their interest once they feel that they are repeatedly playing the same pieces and running down the same dead ends. While it is very important to be meticulous in practice, and to perfect anything that you begin to work on, musical motivation can often falter with the loss of discovery and excitement. This is where alternate tunings can become invaluable. Changing the voicing and tones available to you is a great chance to start again, and to experiment purely through what you hear as opposed to what you know. Whenever I am faced with a tuning that is entirely new to me, I frequently begin by trying to forget what I know about scales, progressions and intervals, and simply begin by picking out various strings and placing my hands along the fretboard, attempting to follow feelings and voices, and seeing where it leads me. This can be a massively liberating way of learning, as pleasing moods and patterns will begin to emerge through your own, totally independent discovery, and the sound that you create will feel unique and personal.
So next time you find yourself falling out of love with your guitar, look up some new tunings, and find one that sits well in your ear. Take your time then to discover it, and you may find yourself to be captivated by a whole new set of voices, and then to be compelled to spend more time with your guitar, not working through a tab or following a YouTube tutorial, but instead just getting to know it all over again. The use of alternate tunings has since become integral to the development of my style and ability, and I often find myself returning to where it all began with the DADGAD tuning. Even now after all this time, it still has so much for me to discover.
Guitar Lessons in Whetstone
Guitar Lessons Whetstone believes that music is a powerful influence in everyone’s life. Our Mission is to provide our fantastic students with a great musical experience that leads to personal enrichment that will stay with them throughout their entire lifetime. Professionally tailored guitar lessons for your own needs with a structured, modern & friendly oriented approach & method. Learning to play in a supportive creative environment makes learning fun! Our convenient lesson times accommodate even the busiest schedules
North Finchley/Whetstone Guitar Lessons
Whetstone Guitar Tuition
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