A Guitar Player’s New Year’s Resolutions for 2012

It’s that time of year again when people often look at setting a couple overly ambitious New Year’s Resolutions that they know they won’t keep. Instead of setting a massive goal that will never happen, let’s look at a couple very simple goals you can set for yourself to improve your guitar playing in 2012.

Resolution 1: Practice 10 minutes everyday

If you don’t already practice every day, then set a goal to make it happen. Practicing every day, even if it’s only for 10 minutes, will have a dramatic effect on your progress. It really isn’t hard to find 10 minutes out of every day to fit in some practice. Maybe as soon as you wake up you can pick up the guitar or right before dinner you can squeeze in some practice. Instead of coming up with excuses why you can’t do this, find out a way to practice 10 minutes a day.

 

Resolution 2: Learn a new chord every week

How many open chords do you know right now? Test yourself to find out. Without looking at any reference material try to play as many open chords as you can and keep count. How many can you play from memory? 10? 20? 50? This resolution is simple: memorize a new chord every week. If you think you can learn two chords a week then go for it, but set the minimum at one chord a week. Then by the end of 2012 you should at least know 52 brand new chords. You will be surprised how much this can affect your abilities on guitar. Learning new songs can be a breeze if you already know all the chords.

There are plenty of lessons and methods for you to learn the chords in the lessons section so there’s no reason why you can’t achieve this goal. If you don’t know what chords to learn, check out the 50 Essential Chords Pack as it contains 50 basic chords to start you off. This resolution is a breeze with the pack of cards as you can carry a card around with you for the week until you memorize it.

 

Resolution 3: Learn to practice with a metronome

Out of all the exercises and methods you can use, this will have the greatest affect on your playing ability. You can buy a physical metronome, download a software version or use the tracks on this website in the Backing Tracks section. If you don’t regularly use a metronome now to practice then this resolution is critical. A metronome can develop your sense of timing and improve your rhythm abilities. There’s a lesson here that covers the basics of practicing a metronome so check it out for more information on how to use one.

You can link this resolution to resolution 1 by setting a goal to practice with a metronome for five minutes every day. A small and simple goal like this is so easy you can’t help but succeed.

 

Resolution 4: Learn to write your own music

This resolution is a bit tougher than the other three but it’s a goal worth setting. Being able to write your own music is a fantastic skill. When you break the skill down it can be quite simple. For a simple song form like an acoustic ballad, you can break the skills down to three parts:

  • Write a chord progression
  • Write a melody
  • Write the lyrics

When you break a big ambitious goal down into the individual skills involved, it makes the whole job easier. Now you can focus on the three individual skills and will have a clear idea on what needs to be done. There are plenty of lessons available that will teach you these three skills. Check out our lesson section as it contains a couple lessons on chord progressions for songwriting.

With this resolution it’s a good idea to start out simple then look at more complicated forms later on. Set a goal to write an extremely basic acoustic ballad. Then once you write a couple of them you can move on to more interesting or complex styles of music.

 

Summary

None of these goals are outside of anybody’s reach. It doesn’t matter if you have just started to learn guitar, you can achieve these four goals. If you want to improve as a guitar player then these four resolutions are crucial. These resolutions are really very simple to start. When you take small steps in your progress you are more likely to succeed then the person who sets big ambitious goals. So even if you focus on the first resolution to practice 10 minutes every day, you will definitely see a jump in your progress. Make a promise to yourself to push your progress over the next year and you will be surprised how far you will go by the end of 2012.

Guitar sites worth checking out: liveteachguitar.com

This guitar related site is different to the other links we have posted here in the past. Live and Teach Guitar is a site for guitar tutors and provides registered members with lesson materials ready to print and give to their students. The site also includes step by step guides to help you run every aspect of teaching from setting up a website to promote your lessons to setting your rates and managing your timetable.

The reason we have decided to include a link to the site here is that many of you may or may not have considered teaching guitar. The truth is anybody can teach guitar and you don’t need to be an expert to get started. Apart from the obvious benefit of teaching guitar, earning money, you will find that by explaining and demonstrating techniques to students, you will become a better player.

So if you want to give teaching a go, a site like www.liveteachguitar.com is a handy companion. One of the writers here is a registered member and recommends the site for anybody thinking about teaching.

Christmas gift ideas for guitarists

Its that time of year again and people will be hunting around for gift ideas. If you’re looking for a gift for a guitarist or somebody wanting to learn guitar, here’s a few ideas to help you out. Or maybe you play guitar and want to treat yourself to something new (why not?).

Guitarists love extra gear and guitar related gadgets so any of these gifts would be a sure win.

Custom Guitar Straps

This is a great idea as it’s a relatively cheap option. The site listed below has some great designs but the real winner is the ability to custom design your own strap. Instead of buying a strap and unsure whether the person will like the style or not, you could buy a gift certificate so they can design their own strap. No doubt any guitarist would love this.

http://www.strapgraphics.com/custom-guitar-straps

 

Miniture Replica Guitars

This is a simple gift and most guitarists will like to have a miniature guitar on display somewhere. It’s relatively easy to pick the right guitar to buy as you can easily find out the type of guitars used by the person’s guitar idols and find that.

If you have a small budget this may be an easy option.

http://www.miniguitarusa.com/

Online Guitar Lesson With Dave Weiner

If you don’t know who Dave Weiner is, he’s most famously known as being part of Steve Vai’s band. He’s an exceptional guitarist who knows his stuff. He is also famous for running Riff of the Week which are weekly lessons on YouTube.

Dave gives webcam lessons which is a rare opportunity to get advice from one of the best.

This may be a more expensive option compared to the other ideas so far but will no doubt be worth it. This would be a fantastic gift idea if the guitarist you are buying for is a Steve Vai fan.

http://www.daveweiner.com/lessons/

Guitar Flash Cards

We know this is a great gift idea because last year we received a lot of positive feedback from customers who told us that the cards really made a big difference to their friend/family member’s progress.

This is a good option for a beginner guitarist or even somebody who wants to learn guitar but hasn’t started yet. Having a pack of cards with the most basic open chords can be enough to motivate somebody to learn guitar.

This is an easy gift idea and beginners will definitely find it valuable.

http://www.tempomusicards.com/products/50-easy-open-chords/

Click here to purchase this package

AmpliTube iRig (Plug your guitar into your iPhone/iPad/iPod)

If the person you are buying for has an iPhone/iPad/iPod touch, then this little device will allow them to plug an electric guitar into it. This is great for somebody wanting to practice quietly using headphones or someone who doesn’t have a guitar amp. Either way it’s a simple device and can be a lot of fun to use.

http://www.ikmultimedia.com/irig/features/

There are so many other ideas out there if none of these appeal to you so have a search around and you will be bound to find something useful.

New lesson: Seven different ways you can play chord progressions

If you’re learning basic chords and how to put together chord progressions, this new lesson will help piece all the different lesson ideas together. How you play chord progressions is often overlooked by guitarists. Many stick to the standard method of strumming which really is the ‘default’ option. This new lesson gives you seven different ways you can play chord progressions which is more than enough to give you fresh ideas for countless songs. The whole idea is to help you learn to find new ways of playing chords and avoid the default (and boring) methods.

Check out the lesson here: Seven different ways you can play chord progressions

The lesson provides examples for each method so you can start applying them straight away. Also included are links to other lessons in case you need to brush up on some technique.

Guitar blogs worth checking out: Truefire

When learning guitar, it’s always a good idea to learn from a range of different sources. Every teacher/writer will explain things in different ways which means if you don’t understand a certain concept, it’s likely a different teacher or writer will be able to explain it in a way that makes sense to you

Unfortunately, because there are so many poor quality sites on the Internet, it can be hard to know which sites are worth spending some time on to learn new things. So if we come across a high quality site we think you should know about, we will make sure to tell you about it! So the latest guitar blog we have come across worth your time is TrueFire’s Guitar Blog.

There are a lot of low quality guitar sites that provide lessons and resources that really aren’t worth your time. TrueFire isn’t one of those sites. While many guitar blogs spend most of the time talking about new guitars and random guitar news, TrueFire’s Guitar Blog focuses on learning material. If you want to learn blues specifically, then this site is definitely going to help you out.

TrueFire’s Guitar Blog is worth checking out if you’re learning guitar. Put it this way – are you going to improve as a guitarist by reading random guitar related news, or by adding new licks to your repertoire? Exactly. We’re impressed with the site and it definitely gets our tick of approval.

Using flash cards to master guitar chords

INTRODUCTION

There are so many different ways you can learn guitar that most people don’t know about. So many think the old way of learning with a guitar book is the best and only way to learn. It isn’t. Everybody learns differently so learning from a book is very limiting. It doesn’t allow you to learn the way that suits you best. In this article we will look at why flash cards can be so effective and how you can use them to become an expert at basic open chords.

WHY FLASH CARDS WORK

You probably know of flash cards as those basic cards with a word on one side and a picture on the other used for children to learn basic words. Everybody knows they are effective in teaching children the basics but many don’t realize they are effective in other uses. Whether learning a foreign language, preparing for exams or even learning guitar chords, flash cards have been proven to be very effective learning tools.

Flash cards are so effective because you use them differently than you would use a book. People are used to picking up a book and reading it from cover to cover. Once they read it through the first time, it’s unlikely they’ll go back to the start. With flash cards you can use them in so many different ways. You can play memory games, study one at a time, flick through them trying to memorize the details, really whatever you want to do with them. Because of this flexibility, flash cards end up being more effective than a book despite having less information.

HOW TO BECOME AN EXPERT AT CHORDS

Think about what it means to be an expert at chords. An expert can:

  1. Instantly recall chords
  2. Change back and forth between chords effortlessly
  3. Understand everything about the chords.

 

Now that we know what it takes to become an expert at chords we can look at how to get there.

1. Instant recall

If we want to practice the first goal – instant recall, we can take some flash cards and play memory games. This is something a book won’t teach you. Memory games with flash cards are easy and can be fun which makes it even easier to learn. You don’t even need to have a guitar with you to become an expert at the first goal; you can play memory games with flash cards anywhere and anytime.

2. Changing between chords

To become an expert at the second goal – changing back and forth between the chords you simply need to practice every combination of chord changes. With flash cards this is easy. You simply pick out two cards and practice changing between them until it feels easy. Then you simply change one of those cards. You continue changing card combinations and eventually you will feel comfortable playing any chord change. It’s so simple yet so effective.

3. Chord understanding

To become an expert at the third goal – know everything about the chords, you need to understand a bit about music theory and the chord names. This may sound harder, but it doesn’t have to be.

You start off by memorizing the chord names. That’s pretty easy to do. You will probably do that with the memory games mentioned earlier. Once you know the chord names you can start to learn what they mean. What makes a major chord? What does sus2 mean? What’s the difference between E9 and Eadd9? The good thing is that once you know what each type of chord means then your songwriting, playing and understanding of music will improve. Flash cards will give you a starting point to understanding chords as you can look at the notes that make up the chords and see the patterns between the cards.

RESOURCES

This site has a few different resources to help you achieve the three goals described above. Think which goal would help you out the most then check out the related resources to get started.

Flash Cards – Available here

Instant recall resources:

Changing between chords resources:

Understanding chords resources:

 

SUMMARY

You should be able to see that everything written above is fairly simple to do. There’s no magic formula or secret to becoming an expert, it’s simply practice with the right tools. Practicing with flash cards is a great way to speed up the learning process. You can become an expert at chords with a book, it just takes longer and can be a bit harder to stay motivated. Once you become an expert at chords, you will be amazed at how many doors open up in your playing and songwriting. It’s definitely worth the effort. The resources listed above will walk you through step-by-step and break down all the concepts with simple explanations and examples. You can read more on the flash cards pack available on this site here.

Guitar Chord Exercise 1

New guitar lesson: Finger exercises to help you play chords

If you are starting to learn guitar chords, this new lesson will help you loosen up your fingers and stretch them out which will make the chords a lot easier to learn.

This lesson – Simple exercises for beginners: Stretch Part Two – will give you two very simple exercises you can use as a warm up whenever you try to learn some new chords. You can also check out Stretch Part One for some similar exercises that will get you used to using the correct hand position as well as stretch your fingers out.

Give the exercises a good workout but remember to stop if you feel any pain and come back to the exercises later on.

Click here to purchase this package

Special Offer on Guitar Flash Cards & eBook Bundle

Thanks to popular demand on the Flash Cards Pack & 30 Day Guide Bundle, we have reduced the price from $15.99 (+$2.50 postage) to $12.99 with FREE SHIPPING WORLDWIDE. That’s a saving of $5.50 per pack.

The brand new 30 Day Guide was released to celebrate Tempo Music Cards’ first birthday and it contains a stack of resources to help you get the most out of the flash cards. The Guide contains:

  • 9 detailed lessons on how to get the most out of the cards
  • 16 exercises specifically designed and chosen to help you with the cards
  • A 30 Day Practice Plan you can use to learn all 50 chords within 30 days
  • Printouts to help you in future development

Read more on the 50 Essential Chords Pack here then stop by the online store to get your hands on a pack before the free shipping offer ends.

Click here to purchase this package

http://www.tempomusicards.com/products-page/

Guitar Flash Cards with free shipping worldwide

Brand new eBook available with our guitar flash cards

To celebrate Tempo Music Cards’ first birthday, we have put together a comprehensive eBook that is now included with every purchase of our 50 Essential Chords Pack.

This brand new eBook contains over 80 pages filled with:

  • 9 in-depth lessons
  • 16 specifically designed exercises for the flash cards
  • A 30 Day Practice Plan to walk you through effective practice sessions
  • Print-outs you can use to write your own music

For the next two weeks, any purchases of the new Flash Cards package will receive a discount of FREE SHIPPING worldwide. So if you have been thinking about learning guitar or have just started, this is the perfect time to get yourself a pack of Flash Cards to help you out with the brand new 30 Day Guide eBook.

Check out the 50 Essential Chords Flash Cards Pack with the brand new 30 Day Guide eBook here at our online store.

NOTE: This special offer for free shipping will only be valid until the 10th of August. So stop by the store here to place your order.

Guitar Flash Cards with free shipping worldwide

Lesson at ultimate-guitar.com How to come up with your own exercises

This lesson over at ultimate-guitar.com explains why it is important that you learn to come up with your exercises to help you learn techniques or improve your skills. There will be a time when you can’t find any relevant exercises for a technique you want to develop. This lesson spells out step by step what you need to do to come up with effective exercises.

An analysis of an exercise is included to show you how you can do the same and what really makes an exercise effective.

Access the lesson here.

Although all guitarists should learn how to come up with effective exercises, this lesson is suited for intermediate to advanced players.