Saturday, November 17, 2007

Guitar Resources: Technique

Once you have your gear and theory basics, your technique can really take off. Technique for me is the guitar riffs and guitar licks that make up your toolbox. Building speed, accuracy, and improvisation skills are also part of the toolbox.

On my third lesson, my instructor announced it was time to work on improvisation and pulled out a “Let’s Jam!” CD by Peter Vogl. This CD contains a variety of instrumental backing tracks in rock, blues, and jazz styles. My initial reaction was that magic would occur years from now before I contemplated improvisation. Instead, he said don’t worry about that, and had me start playing the E Minor Pentatonic scales I had been learning on top of track 7; E Blues. The magic was here! I had not developed any licks by then but each note seemed to fit magically against the E Blues chord progression. I would highly recommend this CD. When I am working on adding some techniques to my toolbox, playing against these backing tracks is a great way to refine them.

“How to Play Hard Rock & Heavy Metal Guitar, The Ultimate DVD Guide” from Guitar World with Andy Aledort as the instructor has been another valuable reference. This guide is really a prepackaged toolbox. Andy takes you through techniques from classic rock to the techniques of the 21st Century. If you like this one, “How to Play The Jimi Hendrix Experience’s Axis Bold as Love, The Complete Guitar DVD” is another reference by Andy Aledort from Guitar world that you will enjoy.

In the DVD “Total Electric Guitar” Eric Johnson takes you through a wide range of rhythm and lead techniques as well as the techniques of some of his influences such as Jimi Hendrix, Chet Atkins, and Jerry Reed. Again, the reference provides tablature accompanied by video of the instructor demonstrating the techniques.

Another category of references I use is the “Signature Licks” guitar tab books published by Hal Leonard Corporation. These feature transcriptions of your favorite artists along with a CD that you can use as a backing track to play along. You get a description of each track including history and theory aspects of the track. Typically, the CD features regular tempo as well as slowed dow versions of each element of the song.

With the building blocks of gear, theory, and technique basics, you are ready to rock! In the next post I will outline the guitar lore that has really helped keep guitar playing an engaging hobby for me.