TMC-05 Hendrix style Double Stops

Lick 005 Hendrix Style Double Stops

What are Double Stops?

The term ‘double stop’ actually means to play two notes at once. It sounds fancy but pretty simple to play. All you need to do to play a double stop is play two notes at once whether those notes are on adjacent strings or skip a string. Quite often guitarists will play double stops on adjacent strings because they are easy to play. It all depends on what type of sound you want to go for.

Hendrix style Double Stops

Jimi Hendrix used double stops quite a lot (as do many other blues/rock guitarists). This lick is inspired by the way Hendrix would repeat a note over and over while adding in vibrato (listen to the ending of All Along the Watchtower). This is straight forward when you’re only playing one note at a time but can be a bit tricky when two notes are played. When you play this lick you will need to make sure that both notes have smooth vibrato and the open second string isn’t played. Hit the strings hard when playing the vibrato to get the feel Hendrix would have given.

TMC-05 Hendrix style Double Stops

Tip: Click on the image above to enlarge it

Think about which fingers you should use to play the two notes. Try different combinations to figure out which one feels easiest for you. Different people will prefer using different fingers.  It doesn’t really matter which fingers you use to play the notes as long as all the other strings remain quiet – especially the B string.

Creating Your Own Double Stop Licks

When you can easily play this lick you can start thinking about how to come up with your own licks that use double stops. There are countless ways double stops can be used so just experiment with them until you find something interesting. Start with a basic scale such as the Minor Pentatonic and think about all the different two note positions you can play. Look for positions where you can play two notes using one finger. Those type of double stops are used all the time in blues and rock improvisation.

Lick 004 Pedal tone pull-offs

Lick 004 Pedal Tone Pull-offs

How to use pedal tones in your licks

A pedal tone is when you alternate back and forth between one fixed note and others. For an easy example, if you played the notes: A C A E A F# A C# then A would be a pedal tone. Licks that use pedal tones sound interesting because every time you hear a new note, you are comparing it to the pedal tone. In other words, pedal tones focus on the different intervals between the pedal note and the other notes.

When writing your own licks using pedal tones, try to experiment with different intervals. The lick below uses the open B and G strings as the pedal tone. Pull-offs are used to make the lick sound more interesting. You may notice that the second bar is exactly the same as the first bar, only the string has changed. Normally when you change a lick to a different string you need to adjust it so it still fits in the same key. This example is to show you how keeping the intervals fixed to the pedal tone will give a certain feel to the lick. If you wanted to change how it sounds you can simply change the notes around.

Lick 004 Pedal tone pull-offs

Use a metronome to practice this lick because you want the notes to sound consistent. Don’t try to play it faster than you can comfortably as it will sound sloppy. Build up the tempo with the metronome over time. Once you learn the lick, try changing it slightly to play hammer-ons instead of pull-offs. It will change the feel slightly. Try playing the lick across other strings then try to come up with your own pattern using pedal tones. Keep in mind that the open strings were used just as an example, you don’t have to use open strings for pedal tones – you can use any other note on the guitar.

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Lick 003 Grace Notes

Lick 003 Grace Notes

Using Grace Notes to give your licks character

Adding grace notes to any lick you play can quickly transform the lick and give it a lot of character. If you have come up with a lick but it needs something extra to make it exciting, adding a few quick grace notes can change the feel completely. Grace notes are very quick slides, hammer-ons or pull-offs where the first note played is barely heard.

In the lick below, you can see three grace notes. They look like fast hammer-ons and pull-offs but it’s recommended you try to use slides as well to learn to use both. Try playing this lick using hammer-ons and pull-offs for the grace notes then play it again using slides. Decide for yourself which you prefer the sound of. When you look at the rhythm of this lick, notice that the grace notes don’t interfere with the notation. So a grace note really takes up part of the time the next note is played.

This is a very simple lick so the focus is on making it as interesting as possible using the slides, grace notes and vibrato. Play the lick without any of these techniques and you’ll see how boring it can sound. But start to add in all these extra techniques and the lick starts to become interesting. Once you learn this lick, try coming up with different phrasing and try to add more interesting sections to it. Play around with adding in staccatos and rests.

Lick 003 Grace Notes

Think about which fingers you use for this lick. The lick should flow easily from one finger to the next without any awkward changes. When learning a lick like this one, the goal is to make it as interesting as possible. What if you changed the grace notes around or played grace notes at different times? Spend some time thinking about how you would change this lick to suit your personal style of playing. Thinking along these lines will help you create your own unique ‘voice’ as a guitarist. Repeat this process with any lick you learn and pretty soon you’re going to have a very distinctive sound.

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Lick 002 Simple Funky Rhythm

Lick 002 Simple Funky Rhythm

Learn to create funky rhythms using muted strumming

This simple riff will help you learn to use muted strumming to create an interesting rhythmic sound. This style of strumming is often found in funk and similar styles. The chord used in this riff makes it very easy to mute the strings. Simply lift your fingers off slightly so they aren’t pushing down on the frets but still touching the strings.

When learning this riff, start very slow and count the beat out loud. It’s highly recommended you learn to play this riff with a metronome as it will make sure you learn to play the rhythm in proper time.

After you feel confident playing this riff, you should try to come up with slightly different rhythms and strumming patterns. Keep the chord the same but change your strumming. Change how often you play the chords and when they are played. As an example you could play each chord on every off-beat or you could play a chord every second and fourth beat. Try as many different options as you can think of.

If you have a wah pedal, use it while playing this riff. The wah effect works very well with this riff and can be used to create exciting changes in the sound. Experiment with the wah and how you play it during the riff.

Lick 002 Simple Funky Rhythm

Here are a few things you can try after you learn this simple funky rhythm based riff:

  • Try using different chords and come up with your own chords that fit the ‘funky’ sound
  • Try using different effects such as a wah pedal, phaser, flange, delay, reverb
  • Play the riff at different tempos and think about how the feel changes
  • Try changing the rhythm and adding in triplets to you strumming
  • Try adding some rests and use multiple chords

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TMC Lick 001 Octave Fun

Lick 001 Octaves Fun

Using Octaves in your riffs

This riff is a simple way you can practice octaves and create different melodies by sliding around to different positions. The notes on the sixth string are palm muted to improve the dynamics of the riff. Play the riff without palm muting then play it again using palm muting to understand how it changes the feel of the riff.

The basic idea behind this riff is to come up with an interesting melody by sliding around between different positions. There are four basic positions in this riff so it won’t take long to learn. The overall melody may sound a little strange, but that’s to teach you how certain intervals sound when played. The change from the 9th fret octave to the 4th fret octave has a dramatic sound. If you don’t like the sound of that change, try coming up with a different change. After you can play this riff try figuring out your own riff using the same basic idea.

TMC Lick 001 Octave Fun

TIP: You can click on the riff above to bring up a larger view.

Here are a few different things you can try after learning this riff:

  • Try sliding around using different positions
  • Try using octaves on different strings
  • Try using different intervals instead of octaves (eg: 5ths or 3rds)
  • After you come up with a good sounding riff, try to figure out the chords based on the notes used and play the chord progression.

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Licks and riffs – Improve your playing one lick at a time

Today we will start a new feature on the site to help you think outside of the box and grow as a guitarist. This new series of mini lessons is called ‘licks and riffs‘. As the name suggests, each post will contain a short lick or riff designed to get you thinking about a certain technique or concept.

Unlike other licks and riffs you would find on other sites, some of these licks won’t be usable in your playing. The whole point of all of these licks and riffs is to really get you thinking about music rather than just churning out licks in your playing. In other words these licks will force you to think about why certain notes work when jamming and why others don’t. As a result you will become a better player because you will really understand how to put together original licks that will work.

The best way to stay up to date with new licks and riffs is to like our Facebook page here or follow us on Twitter. Every time a new lick or riff is released we will let you know.

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Stay up to date with new lessons

If you like the lessons available on Tempo Music Cards, you can stay up to date with new lessons and articles easily using Facebook.

Simply visit our Facebook Page here and click like. You will then receive notifications of new lessons and articles in your Facebook feed.

Tempo Music Cards' Facebook Page

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If you like any lesson or article and want to read it again later on, a handy way to keep track of it is by clicking the ‘like’ button at the very bottom of every lesson page. Then you can always find the link to the lesson in Facebook when you want to read the lesson again.


Other ways to keep track with new lessons and articles

If you don’t use Facebook, there are plenty of other ways to keep up to date.

We’re on Twitter so feel free to follow us: @tempomusiccards

On Twitter we keep our followers up to date with new lessons, but we also tweet useful links.

Aaron Matthies (who writes the lessons) is also active on Yahoo Answers and helps out beginners with their questions so if you get stuck with anything, you can either post a question to Yahoo Answers or feel free to ask on our Facebook Page.

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Finally you can subscribe to our monthly newsletter which will send you one email per month covering all the lessons and articles. Subscribe by entering your email address in the top right of the page under the ‘Tempo Music Cards Newsletter’ heading.

Guitar FAQ: How to correct bad habits (Part 1)

In this three part series we will look at how to identify and correct any bad habits that you may have right now. This first part will explain how you can recognize bad habits in your own playing. Correcting bad habits is so important for every guitarist which is why this crucial topic has been spread across three separate posts.

Why you need to correct any bad habits

It doesn’t matter if you want to become an expert player or if you just want to play for fun, you need to stop any bad habits from forming. Even habits that may seem minor can significantly impact your ability to play over time. The main problem with bad habits is that they’re very easy to form and very hard to fix. Nobody is perfect and it’s okay to acknowledge that you probably have some bad habits right now that you may not may not even realize.

The main benefit you will get out of correcting any bad habits is the freedom to play guitar the way you want. Bad habits restrict you and halt your progress. It’s not very fun to have pain in your hand or arm because a bad habit is forcing you to play awkwardly. Take your time to fix these problems and you will enjoy guitar a lot more as well as be able to do a lot more.

How to identify bad habits

Let’s look at a very effective method you can use to identify any bad habits you may have already formed. The method is pretty straight forward – record a video of yourself playing. This doesn’t have to be a great quality video. Any digital camera or even a webcam will do the job.

Set up your camera in front of you and make sure your entire body is in the frame. Make sure you wear a T-shirt or any short sleeve shirt so you can see your arms clearly. Hit record and play for about one minute going through a wide range of material. Do some improvising, play some riffs you know well, try some solos, scale runs and anything else you normally play.

Once you finish playing load your video up on your computer or TV. This is important because you need to watch the video on a big screen to properly see what is happening. Watching the video on the small camera screen or phone isn’t going to help.

Watch the video and for the first viewing just listen to what you’re playing. Think about the below questions while watching the video:

  • Does everything sound the way you expect it to sound?
  • Do you notice any problems with your playing that you didn’t notice while playing?
  • Do all the notes ring out clearly?
  • Was there any string noise or any other noise you didn’t notice while playing?


Ask yourself the above questions about the sound of your playing and the overall feel. This is possibly the most important point because the whole purpose of correcting any bad habits is to improve your playing. If you can pick up any obvious problems in your playing now it’s going to give you the biggest room for improvement.

For the second viewing, really focus on your picking hand. Don’t look at anything else and just keep your eyes focus on what your hand is doing and it’s position. This time think about the below questions while watching your picking hand:

  • Does it look awkward?
  • Does your hand look tense?
  • Does your arm look tense?
  • Do you see any arm muscles tense up while you play?
  • Does your hand lock in position or is it loose?
  • Does your hand float above the strings or do you anchor your hand using one of your fingers?
If you sometimes feel pain in your picking hand, the above questions will help you identify the problem.

For the next viewing, focus completely on your fretting hand. Think about these questions:

  • Do you use your fingertips to fret the notes?
  • How does your pinky move?
  • Does your pinky hide behind the neck or does it stick out in the air?
  • How many fingers do you use? Do you tend to only use two fingers or do you use all four?
  • Does your thumb stick up over the neck?
  • Is your thumb held to the side or does it point up to the air?
  • Is there a gap between your hand and the neck?
  • Does your hand look tense?
  • Does your hand flow up and down the neck or is your movement erratic and jumpy?
Next, keep focus on your arm for your fretting hand. This often reveals many issues that aren’t obvious when just looking at the hand. Think about the following questions:
  • Does any part of your arm seem tense?
  • Does your elbow seem stiff or does it move freely when you move up and down the neck?
  • Are you holding your arm close to your body or is it free to move around?
  • Does the position of the guitar force your arm into an awkward angle?
Finally, have a look at your overall body posture. This is important as it’s often the last thing people think about when playing. Think about these questions while you watch the video again:
  • Are you slouched forward?
  • Does your head hang low as you try to look over the fretboard?
  • Are you sitting up straight with your shoulders back?
  • Is your body twisted with your legs crossed or over to one side?
  • Are your feet flat on the ground?
  • Does any part of your body seem tense?

What to look out for

If you take the time to follow the steps above and critically look at your posture and playing technique, you will no doubt pick up on habits you didn’t even realize you had. If you didn’t find anything wrong with your posture or technique, maybe you need to think about which is more likely: you’re a perfect player or you didn’t look hard enough. Even expert players will be able to find minor problems they can correct. Don’t kid yourself and claim you have perfect technique because the only person who loses is you in that case.

This is an opportunity to prevent any issues before they turn serious. If you recognize that your arms are always tense when you play, unless you correct it now you could end up with serious issues years down the track. Even small issues such as your pinky hiding behind the neck can limit your abilities later on.

Next steps

Follow the steps above and really have a close look at your playing. Play the video over and over and even look at it in slow motion. If you’re honest with yourself and pick up on problems you will be a lot better off. After you follow this advice, save the video and re-record another video in one or two week’s time. Repeat the same steps and see if you’ve made any improvements. The more times you repeat this process the better off you will be. After a few times you will pick up on more issues as you will be able to be more critical on your technique. This is a good thing as it will help you as you go.

The next part in this series will look at various ways you can overcome any issues once you identify them. Give this a serious go and you will be happy you did.

String skipping exercise

Guitar exercises: String Skipping

What is string skipping?

String skipping is when you jump from one string to another string that isn’t immediately next to the one before it. Huh? In other words, if you play a note on the low E string then play a note on the B string, you are ‘skipping’ a few strings. On the other hand, if you play a note on the low E string then play a note on the A string, you haven’t skipped any strings.

Why it’s important to practice

Most beginners run into issues when they need to use string skipping. If you have ever picked a string then realized you picked the wrong string, you know how frustrating it can be. This can be a big problem if it isn’t fixed early. So we have put together a couple simple exercises you can use to help improve your ability to skip strings at will.

Exercise 1

This exercise is very basic but gets the job done. As you can see the pattern is pretty straight foward. The pattern repeats twice then in the next bar it repeats, but starts on the next string across.

String skipping exercise

You can see that each note you play will be jumping across the strings. Start off playing this exercise very slow to make sure you play each note correctly. It’s up to you how you pick the notes (eg: alternate, all down, economy) because the main focus is picking the right strings.

After you can play the exercise well from memory, try playing along with a metronome and increase the tempo over time. The faster you can play this, the more accurate your picking will become. But remember not to rush yourself as the main point is to play accurately.

Exercise 2

This exercise is slightly longer but is based on the same basic idea. This time instead of playing notes on three strings, you are alternating between two strings on far sides of the guitar. This will help you get used to jumping back and forth between two strings. As you can see throughout the exercise, the two strings change so you get used to different sized jumps.

String skipping exercise part a

String skipping exercise part b

You may find this exercise easier than exercise 1 simply because you only need to jump back and forth between two positions where as the other exercise you need to jump across three positions. So if you have trouble with exercise 1, this exercise is a good one to start with. But make sure you practice both exercises as they both help you learn the skill in different ways.

Just like exercise 1, after you feel confident with this exercise, try playing along with a metronome and see how fast (and accurately) you can play it.

A lot of beginners have trouble with string skipping, so if you know anybody who would benefit from these exercises, please click the social media buttons below to share it with them.

Top 6 tips to help you memorize guitar chords

There are so many memory tricks and games you can use to help you memorize all those guitar chords. We will look at ten extremely effective ways to memorize those chords. As this is a site dedicated to using guitar flash cards to learn chords, some of the tips will require you to have the 50 Essential Chords Pack. If you don’t have the pack yet, there are other tips you can still use right now.


1. Using mnemonic devices

Mnemonic devices are little tricks you can use to help you remember chord names and shapes. This is similar to how people remember how many days are in a certain month, you probably learned a song at school. Mnemonic devices are effective because they are easy to memorize on their own. If you did learn the song to memorize the days in each month you probably still remember it now. In the same way it’s really easy to memorize guitar chords using similar tricks.

In this lesson on mnemonic devices you will learn an extremely easy way to memorize the shapes and names of guitar chords. The lesson gives you examples and diagrams to help you understand how to properly use the technique. By spending a few minutes each day thinking about this tip you can drastically improve your recall rate on all chords.


2. The 10 minute method

We have put together a comprehensive method to help you memorize all chord names, positions and to even help you change between the chords faster. As the name suggests, the method will only take 10 minutes every day. The reason for the very short practice session time is because it focuses your attention and helps you remember what you did. If on the other hand you tried to spend one to two hours following the same method, you would burn out and wouldn’t remember anything.

Read about the 10 minute method here. The 10 minute method is also incorporated in our 30 Day Guide which comes with our flash card packs.


3. Learn to work out chords in a key

When you understand keys and how to figure out the chords within a key, it actually makes it easier to memorize each chord because you will know which keys they fit into. For example, if you know which chords work with the key of C Major, then you will understand how each of those chords are related and you will be able to group those chords together. So as soon as somebody says, ‘what chords are in C Major?’ you will find it a lot easier to remember each individual chord.


This lesson will help you understand how chords fit into keys and if you don’t understand the Major Scale, it’s recommended you read this lesson first.


4. Carry one flash card around with you each day

This is a very easy way to memorize chords if you have our Guitar Flash Cards Pack. You simply pick one of the cards and carry it around with you everywhere you go. Keep it in your pocket and whenever you have a spare second simply pull the card out and look at it. Look at the shape of the chord, the chord name, the chord formula, the finger positions, the notes in the chords and imagine holding your hand in the correct position. This is a really easy way to improve your memory without having a guitar with you. The next day you simply pick a new card and take that with you all day. Over time by following this easy tip you will find that whenever you think of those chords your memory will be able to picture the chord shape, notes, name, etc.


5. Just practice strumming between chords

If you ask most guitarists how to memorize all the chords they will most likely respond with, ‘practice!’. There is a good reason for this. Practicing is the best method because when you actually use the chords in a practical way, your brain works harder to memorize them. Every time you place your fingers in the correct positions you brain will be trying to memorize that position. So this tip is simple: pick a few chords and practicing strumming each one four times then move on to the next chord. Repeat this over and over then pick another set of chords. The more often you follow this method the faster you will memorize them. Plus there is the other benefit of improving your strumming and chord changes.


Although the other tips listed here will definitely help you memorize the chords, unless you practice using them you will still have trouble playing. So use a combination of all of the above tips and you will find that you memorize all the chords in a very short time.


6. Use a metronome

This tip follows on from tip 5. Instead of just strumming the chords then changing to the next chord, try using a metronome to force you to play along with a certain tempo. Start the tempo very slow to begin with then gradually increase it until you find it hard to keep up. The reason this is so effective is because it forces you to push yourself to play faster. Every time you challenge yourself to play faster and better, you will improve.


This lesson will help you use the metronome if you have never used one before.



The reason all these tips work is because they each work you in different ways. Some of them get you to think about the chord shapes, some get you to think about the theory behind the chords and others get you to memorize them by simply playing them over and over. The best way to memorize all the chords in the shortest time is to use all the tips above. Using learning tools such as our Guitar Flash Cards and a metronome will enhance your learning. For more tips and hints check out our Tips and Games page.