Playing Tips From Rock House

This Q & A comes from the "Ask the Teacher" section of http://www.rockhousemethod.com/. It’s loaded with great advice for developing guitarists. From the fundamentals of playing to sophisticated solos and modal techniques, there are priceless tips to take your skills to a higher plane.
Amps - Combo or Stack from Montana Prekker; Atlanta, GA
Q: Is a guitar amp head the same as an amp … only smaller or is there a bigger difference? I’ve heard the terms combo and stack but I don’t know what these are. I really want to get a new amp but I want to make sure I make the right choice. Thanks!

A: An amp that comes in an all-in-one unit that has one or more speakers as well as an amplifier section is usually referred to as combo amp. With this type of amp, you can just plug in, turn it on, and start ripping it up. An amp head is just the electronics section with no speaker. You need to plug the head into a speaker cabinet to make the sound come from your guitar. This type of amp is called a "stack" because you stack the head on top of the speaker cabinet.

Learning Scales in Multiple Keys, Don Hemmer; Salt Lake City, UT
First off I love your DVDs, they rock my socks, and they are a wonderful source of learning; I have referred your DVDs to many of my friends. I have a couple of questions that I hope you can help me with:

You play the natural minor scale in the key of E in your DVD. I have memorized that scale and all 5 positions as well as mixing the positions together and connecting them like Legos, but when I go to play in another key I get so confused and lost that I don’t know where I’m at in the scale when I’m improvising. Do you have any tips that will help me flow through the scales in any key without getting confused? I always choke and get stuck when it comes to different keys playing the natural minor scale. Please help me.

Do you have any practice suggestions or any suggestions at all on how I can play better leads and feel the solos? I know the natural minor scale in the key of E, but yet I can’t feel the leads and "speak" my solos.

A: Once you know the scales they are the same patterns no matter what key you choose, you just play them on different frets. I suggest that you now focus on the key of A and memorize all five positions in this key, since the two most popular keys are E & A. Here are the frets to play all five scales in A:
1st position - 5th fret
2nd position - 7th fret
3rd position - 10th fret
4th position - 12th fret
5th position - 15th or 3rd fret
Once you have the A and E scales memorized you should be able to get the other keys fairly easy by relation as follows:
B would be just two frets up from A
G would be just two frets down from A
D would be two frets down from E
F is just one fret up from E
As far as "speaking" with the scales, this will take some time and practice. Try playing the scales over progressions and start to use them as creative tools instead of thinking of them as scales. This will get you on your way to making that guitar talk!

Writing Songs 101, What Chords Go Together?Derek Kreider; Austin, TX
Q: I would like to attempt writing my own songs but I need a little help getting started in the right direction. This may sound like a dumb question but could you please give me a list of the chords that would work together in the key of A Major? Your help is greatly appreciated.

A: First, asking questions is not dumb—this is how we learn new information to help us grow! The chords in the key of A Major are as follows:A Major - B Minor - C# Minor - D Major - E 7th - F# Minor - G# Diminished
There is a chord scale that corresponds with any major scale that goes as follows:I - Major 7th, ii - Minor 7th, iii - Minor 7th , IV - Major 7th, V - Major 7th, vi - Minor 7th, vii - Minor 7th b5
The three principle chords are the I, IV & V. You can take this formula and apply it to any major scale to find all the chords that will be in that key. This does not mean that you can’t use other chords to create songs and progressions (most rules have some exceptions) they are just the chords that will fit best.
Have some fun and create a masterpiece!
Hope this helps, John McCarthy Creator of The Rock House Method

No comments: