Wednesday, March 3, 2010

New practise

I played a couple of times in the past week, but did not have so much time to write about it unfortunately. Here is a short re-cap of my experiences:

I picked up playing the Bar Chords. Actually it goes better each time; slowly, but surely. At first I found it nearly impossible to spread my fingers sufficiently to get a proper and good enough sound. As Master Ben advised, I should master this first before moving on to the next topics. But now surely it goes already better than at first. It gets more fun, as the sound is getting better and better all the time. Then, also I get a better feeling for how the sound behaves, when playing different chords and strings.

Typically, this Bar Chord part is really the hardest for me so far, but it seems to realy increase my understanding how to play. Instead of just repeating what Master Ben plays, sometimes I can try to make somthing myself, or trying to play some of the songs that I noted down earlier!

But when I feel really desperate about these Bar CHords, I turn again to the online video's, to check it is really do-able and after some painful time, it should go better and faster!

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Short practise

I just had my next short practise, as I am a bit short on time lately. However, I really want to keep my discipline in playing and learning to master the guitar!!

I continued with warming up a bit, repeating the song I learned and then some of the chords I played at the start of the classes. I still remember pretty much of this and am glad to have written down everything, so I can look it up at all times.

I was at a great concert last Friday (Qua Paso was the name of the band) and there were two guys playing really great guitar. We had seats at the front of the stage, so I really took my chance there studying how they played. What I noticed mostly, is that they used a lot of: BAR CHORDS!!

Just what I have been studying lately and so far definitely the hardest part. For the simple fact that fingers need to be spread wide while maintaining pressure on the this hurts a bit and I need to think all the time how to move my fingers along the strings for the next bar chords. Really great to see this band playing and to get the inspiration for this dificult topic.

And of course, there is always the video available, where Master Ben explains how to play these bar chords in a simple and effective way. What helps also is that the sound of bar chords is really nice. The normal (open) chords do not sound so great on my guitar (BC Rich, basic model), but the bar chords have a realy nice sound. Up for the next practise!!

Monday, February 1, 2010

Interesting class..

Back again, as I didn't have much time to play recently unfortunately. It looks like now I will have some more time, so I really want to get some more practise again this week.

I started today with the class on Bar Chords, as I did not want to go back classes that I covered already before. This specific part is for me a bit more complicated to grasp. That is why it is so useful to have the video's at hand all the time, because Master Ben really demonstrates everything that could possibly cause confusion.

For example, how to position your hand on the neck of the guitar, how to bend your wrist, how to spread your fingers, how far your wrist should go and how to hook in the guitar to your upper body basically. Really useful, next to the obvious and clear explanations. I watched the 6th video , which is longer as mentioned in my previous blog. It will take me some time to master this technique, as I find it hard to AND use my first finger to cover some fret which is more than 1 fret away from my 3/4th fingers. Needs some time...

Especially in the beginning of the neck, where the frets are wide apart, this is not so easy. The last part of the neck is really OK, though. I need to practise my hand position, and this is again where it comes in to be very useful to have Master Ben's video at hand. With this tool you can really see how an experienced guitarist handles this and sets himself up!

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Back to Playing

Hi all,

I just had my next practise; after I had not been playing during some days, due to illness and catching up a lot of work. Now I had a chance to grab my guitar and give it a go.

Picking up where I left off was OK; I practised the songs a few times and it went not so bad. Good that having a few days break does not completely throw me back to level 0!

I decided to pick up my classes with Master Ben again, and not mix it too much with the other instructors. So far I am happy about my result with him; I enjoyed looking at the video's from the different pro's and learned a bit from that, but I concluded that Master Ben is the best teacher of the bunch on this website. His explanations are very clear, his tempo quite high and he aims really at Rock. This suits me best; I like this style. Other people maybe have different preferences and ideas, but for me this works best so far.

Hence, I repeated a bit the 5 lesson, which I still pretty well remembered. From here on, I decided to step it up and go to lesson 6: Bar Chords. These, as Master Ben already commented, are a bit harder to play. They are not really complicated, but my fingers need to be really spread all the time, so it takes some time and concentration to practise this. The lesson is quite a bit longer than usual (almost 15 minutes!) and Ben explains quite a bit about the Bar Chords: why are they important, how to play them, which technique, what to mind (and what not to mind!), and so on.

Luckily the video is splitted into 2 parts; I watched the first and stopped when Ben commented to learn these Bar Chords first. That is what I practised for some 15 minutes more, after I managed to jot down the exact string/fret/finger combinations.

It was really fun, but I need to practise some more. It is satisfying, though, to hear more and more that my efforts produce a sound slightly comparable to music - very motivating! Now I will get some rest (mind you: it is 8PM on Saturday evening here, and now already tired-unbelievable!), as I still feel a bit weak after my illness and busy period, and hopefully will have some time again for playing tomorrow!

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

First Practice in the New Year!

Just had a chance to grab my guitar and log into the website for the very first time this Year for practising. I did not really plan to take so long before the first class in 2010, but somehow I got busier than expected and it was not until now that I could go ahead.

I went straight on to class number 5, where the major chords E-major and A-major is explained. This is a short video of around 4 minutes, but it holds some key information. As Master Ben explained, this is the last lesson about the basic chords and next we will move on the the bar chords. Not really sure what these are, but I am bound to find out soon.

This 5th class I saw before and I jotted down, as I usually do, the strings and frets, but somehow I made a mistake and could not get the second chord right. So, the help of having the video at hand at all times is really great; I could just start up the video and correct my mistake.

It was good to get some practise again and I will try to do some more tonight, after I come home from work.

Thursday, December 31, 2009

Back to Electric!

I yesterday had finally a chance again to grab my own guitar and see how my progress was there. I logged into the website again, grabbing my guitar with a good mug of hot tea, as the winter has attacked in full fury here with snow showers and give it a go.

Playing the electric guitar is a bit easier, I quickly found, as the neck is much less broad, which is why I have a more stable grib and better and wider reach then on the semi-acoustic guitar I practised with in the past days. However, on the semi-acoustic guitar, the chords sounds somehow more natural? Let It Be actually sounds like the original there, while on the electric, thru the overdrive, it sounds much different. Maybe I need to save for a semi-acoustic model as well?

I guess it is more critical on the electric then to play it really correctly and in the right pace to make it sound like the original. Anyway, I moved on with the Internet Course, checking already again Class 5 of Master Ben...L took off where I left it the last time (around half-way), after the major scales. However, the video stopped at 8.42 three times in a row, so I missed the last 3.5 minutes and a new chord (D-major), I think, as he refers to this in the next class (number 6), which I also checked. This class number 6 works fine again, so it is not really a problem for me anyway.

He keeps the pace quite high, which works really good for me, when explaining the next 2 chords. E-major and A-major that are, truly rock-chords, with a great, gutty sounds when played on the electric guitar. Learning the chords goes easier now, even though I prefer to learn them as part of a song.

I also had a chance to look at some of the other teachers on the website; I noticed quite some different approaches. There is Master Gene, who teachers hammer-on technique. I had the idea that this is more for advanced guitarist and I need some more practise before I will jump to his classes.

Paul Alves also has his classes there and his are very good also. He explains very clear, is obviously an experienced teacher, and he knows how he should convey information in a clear-cut way, starting with the basics of basics, which is just what I need as a new guitarist. I will surely look more into his classes!

Then there is Master Dave, who teaches fabulous blues chords. I watched him explaining and demonstrating the 12-chords Blues rhythm and he sure knows how to explain it and motivate students. Also here I will look more often, as this blues does not seem too hard to learn, while giving really a wonderful, deep and inspiring sound.

The other two teachers (Chris-classical and Lorenzo-Bass guitar) I did not look at yet. They teach disciplines which are not my primary interest, but maybe I will check it out in the future. Surely I can pick a useful thing or two up there!

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

X-mas Guitar Playing

As promised, so more input on my playing and practising during the past X-mas. I managed to grab the guitar there for at least 30 minutes a day. This was really good, I had a good chance to further improve on the song (Let It Be), which already goes pretty smooth by now. Also, I developed some thicker skin on my left hand fingers, which is very useful!

On the first day, I managed to go on the Internet and write down the chords of some 4 popular songs that I like (the 2 Johnny Cash songs from my previous post and Lady jane from the Rolling Stones). I picked those because I like them and would love to learn how to play the and they seemed not too complicated. I ended up playing mostly the

The scales I did not practise so much actually, as I focused on learning the new songs. It was a really good practise and for sure next time I have a chance (later this week) I will grab my own guitar to see how I will be faring then. Obviously, I feel confident now that I can move on to the next class. I will still need to improve the scales, but I am getting different chords and songs into my head much quicker now.

Also, changing between the different chords goes faster and faster now, but I still want to improve on this. I will need to for sure, will I want to play better and make the songs sound more real!

Anyway, I realise now that the Internet courses have helped me so much, because they have explained me very quickly and efficiently exactly what is important when learning to play the guitar and also realistically what I should expect. So far, all this came true and I hope I can keep up this pace of learning in the coming days!