My personal search for great acoustic guitar songs
When I began my search for the best/great acoustic guitar songs ever produced I began to dream of a time when I was a voracious young guitarists trying to digest everything the radio could spew. Since I started playing guitar a few decades ago, countless acoustic guitar songs have been produced that are perfect for beginners to experience the range of sound that can be produced by the acoustic guitar.
Now I am a little biased and my choices below reflect that. I went for what sounds good (to my ear and taste) played on the acoustic guitar; I also looked at songs that would be a slight (in some cases hard) challenge to beginners but songs that would add value to their repertoire; in fact the following songs if played well would add value to any guitarist’s repertoire. The following list is by no means exhaustive; it is merely my personal search throughout the internet to re-acquaint myself with what has been produced since the 1960s and really, to get back into one of my very first loves; actually the first dream I ever had as a boy of nine years old – of playing in a rock band.
First Ten Classics
1. Tears in Heaven – Eric Clapton
I thought I would start with one of the evergreen masters of acoustic/electric guitar. It has some nice touches in it that will make you sound good.
2. Drive – Incubus
Nice driving rhythm acoustic guitar song that is great to play at parties.
3. I’m Yours – Jason Mraz
When I first heard this song over in Honolulu it took me by surprise; a great song for those beach parties.
4. Californication – Red Hot Chilli Peppers
A nice classic introduction worth learning.
5. Bubbly – Colbie Caillat
OK, I have to admit this song grew on me; nice easy song for acoustic guitar.
6. Classical Gas – Mason Williams
A little harder to master but once you do you wont be able to put it down.
7. Knocking on heaven’s door – Bob Dylan
A great Dylan classic that is easy to play and would be great at parties.
8. Wanted (Dead or Alive) – Bon Jovi
A real classic, couldn’t go past it. Nice distinctive intro known widely – this will put you on the map; not too difficult to play.
9. Blackbird – The Beatles
This is not a song I would normally go for, but I think it is worth trying as it will extend your skill.
10.Come on get higher
A nice easy-going sing-along song that will wrap this first list of ten up.
Second Ten Classics
11. Every breath I take – Police/Puff daddy
A classic from the eighties
12. Stairway to Heaven – Led Zeppelin
Was the measure of a guitarist in the seventies
13. Hotel California – The Eagles
This will stretch you; worth the time it will take for you to master.
14. Sweet Home Alabama – Lynyrd Skynyrd
A widely recognised song throughout the world
15. Layla Uplugged – Clapton
This one you will enjoy, nice change in style
16. Wish you were here – Pink Floyd
Classic Pink Floyd easy to play
17. Nothing else matters – Metallica
Classic Metallica – great sound
18. More than words – Extreme
This is a great song to extend your collection of chords
19. Wonderwall – Oasis
Another distinctive classic beginning riff
20. If – Bread
This is an oldie with a lot of interesting chords and changes for you to master and put together.
Source by Hauiti Hakopa
Guitar jam sessions are a great way to improve your playing skills and your confidence as a guitarist. They can also be very daunting for guitarists who are new to jamming, especially beginners. But jamming is supposed to be fun, and will be if you know what to expect, and go prepared. This article takes a look at what’s involved, starting with the techniques needed when jamming, followed by the different situations in which you can use them.
Part 1: Jamming On Guitar – How To Do It
Basically, jamming is improvising with other musicians – usually one or more people play rhythm parts, to get a beat going, and others improvise solos over the top. A jam may be entirely free-form, or may be based on a particular song or chord sequence. However, although you may not always be preparing to play any specific song or piece, you can (and should) prepare yourself by making sure you have a solid grasp of your instrument. This means practicing chords and scales in various keys, so you’ll be able to play both rhythm and solo parts while jamming. You don’t have to be an expert guitarist to jam, but you do need to at least grasp the basics.
Skills needed for jamming:
- Strumming chords in a variety of keys, with the ability to change chords cleanly. If you’re new to the guitar, start off with the primary chords in the more common keys (such as C, G, D, A, E, F etc), and progress from there.
- The ability to play in time. You don’t have to play complex rhythms if you’re not comfortable with that, but you must be able to keep to the beat. If you’re playing a solo, the rhythm must take priority – in other words, if you come unglued, it’s OK to miss out a few notes of the melody, but you must keep up with the beat. Learn to listen closely to the bass and/or drums – this will help you to stay in the right place, and to avoid being distracted by nerves or other things going on around you.
- The ability to hear chord progressions and follow along. Ear skills are vital for jamming – you can practice by recognising when chord changes happen in the music you listen to, and later by learning to identify the specific chords that are being used. You’ll find that the same patterns tend to recur a lot (especially in popular music), and will eventually be able to recognise them instantly. For more advanced ear training, specialised courses are available.
- Being able to improvise lead melodies. You might not want to do this straight away, which is fine – you can just strum along with the rhythm if you like. But being able to improvise melodies is a key part of more advanced jamming, and requires some lead guitar skills. Scale practice is essential here, as is some basic theory, so you know which notes can be effectively played over which chords.
Jamming step by step
Jamming is by its nature a relatively unstructured process, but if you’re new to it, you don’t have to jump in at the deep end. Instead, you can develop your jamming skills gradually. First of all, you need to know which key the music is in – for simple pieces, this will determine the chords and notes that you will need to be able to play (more complex jams may involve lots of key changes and the use of more obscure chords – try to get experience of jamming with easier songs and sequences first!). Having determined the key, you can decide how you want to participate in the jam, depending on your skill and confidence level. For example:
- Step one – assuming that you’re basing the jam around a song you know or a predetermined chord sequence, just strum along with one strum to each beat using simple downstrokes (or if the pace is too fast – try strumming every other beat, or on the first beat of each bar).
- Step two – strum along, but rather than just using downstrokes, use upstrokes too to play more complex rhythms that blend with what the others are doing.
- Step three – create some simple riffs. These can be repeated with the chord changes, or varied a bit to make things more interesting.
- Step four – try improvising some solo melodies. You can keep them very simple at first, sticking with the notes of each chord, then get more adventurous as your skills and confidence progress.
If you’re playing an electric guitar, you can also experiment with adding effects at any stage in the process, if appropriate.
Part II: Putting It Into Practice – 3 Jamming Scenarios
So, now you have an idea of how to jam on guitar, lets take a look at the main situations in which you can practice your new skills, and how to make the most of them.
1. Jamming With Other People
Jamming in a live environment with other musicians can’t be beat. After practising alone at home every day, it is great to get out and connect with some like-minded others. It also provides invaluable experience if you want to play in a band or other live situation – playing with others requires listening, improvisation and rhythm skills beyond those you’ll normally use when playing alone.
So, what exactly happens at a jam session? This varies, depending on the situation. For example, sometimes people get together to jam over existing songs (or song structures), or they may follow a chord sequence suggested by one member, and tabs or chord charts may or may not be used. Sometimes, as with many free-form jams, there’s no predetermined structure at all, and everyone just improvises based on what they’re hearing. The music may cover various styles (such as jazz, rock, blues etc). If you’re new to jamming, you’ll probably find it easier at sessions that follow a familiar song or chord progression, with simple structures such as three chord songs or a 12 bar blues.
In a group situation, you may be expected to play a specific role during each piece – such as playing rhythm, or soloing. Make sure you stick to your task, but also stay aware of what the other people in your session are doing. Eye contact can be especially vital if you’re all improvising freely (as opposed to following a predetermined structure), as people will use it to signal when they’re about to change chords or rhythms, or finish a solo etc.
You might feel nervous when jamming with others for the first time – this is normal, and you shouldn’t worry too much about making mistakes – they’re inevitable. It will help if you’re playing with other people who aren’t too advanced, or are willing to include some simpler songs in the session for the benefit of the less experienced. Most musicians will be welcoming to newcomers and will hopefully remember how it felt to be new to jamming – if they’re not, find somewhere else to play! If you don’t have musician friends to jam with already, you can often find local jam sessions organised by music stores, pubs and the like – these will sometimes be geared towards players of different standards, so look out for beginner jam sessions to start with.
If you’re unable to jam with other musicians in person, or you just want to improve your jamming skills in between session, you can also jam along with recorded tracks, as well as with tools like a drum machine.
2. Jamming With Recorded Tracks
Jamming along with recordings is the next best thing to playing live. While this doesn’t have the same element of unpredictability, it gives you the chance to practice focusing on developing your own improvisational skills against a constant musical backdrop. You can of course play along with recordings of songs by artists you like – this is a good way to get to know the songs that are likely to be played at your live sessions too.
You can also use tracks that have been recorded specifically with jamming in mind – there are lots of free guitar jam tracks in many styles available online (although the quality does vary a lot), and there are also professionally recorded tracks available for sale at low prices. These often come in two versions – one with a guitar solo included, and ‘minus one’ versions where the lead track is absent, so you can fill it in yourself.
3. Jamming With Software and Other Learning Aids
Another option is to practice jamming with a virtual drummer or bassist in the form of a drum machine or software equivalent. This is an excellent way to develop your rhythm skills, which are vital to effective jamming. Software that allows you to program your own drum or basslines, and/or which is pre-programmed with a variety of presets is widely available online. Some software also offers full backing tracks in various keys.
Source by Sam Marks
We all know Dolly Parton. Singer, songwriter, performer, actress and brilliant business woman.
Always dressed to the nines, not a hair out of place, perfect make up and lipstick – and painted finger nails …. long painted finger nails!
Have you ever watched Dolly play guitar? If so, have you wondered how she can sit down with a guitar and play it without those long, claw-like finger nails getting in the way?
Sure, it's possible to play guitar with long finger nails, classical guitarists do it all the time. But with Dolly, we're talking about daggers, nails that can do some real damage!
For her it's simple. She plays with one finger.
Sounds impossible to those of us who struggle to contour our fingers into all shapes imaginable to form complex guitar chords, but for her it's easy.
She does it by tuning her guitar to an open chord. Quite often hers is tuned to an open E chord.
By tuning the guitar to an open chord she can strum it without any fingers on it, and being playing a full chord – in this case, an E.
Then by placing one finger across any fret and barring those notes, she is playing another full chord.
Let's look first at how to tune your guitar to an open E tuning.
6th string (E) – leave it as it is normally
5th string (A) – tune this string up to a B. Do this by playing the note on the 7th fret of the 6th string, and tuning up the 5th string to match it
4th string (D) – tune this string up to an E. Do this by playing either the 6th string, or 1st string, and tuning the 4th string to match it. In this case the 4th string will now become an "octave" of the 1st or 6th string.
3rd string (G) – tune this string up to a G #. Do this by playing the note on the 4th fret of the 4th string (after this one has already been tuned higher), and matching the 3rd string to it
2nd string (B) – leave it as it is normally
1st string (E) – leave it as it is normally
Now strum all 6 strings of the guitar. You are now playing an open E chord!
Want to play an A chord in this tuning? Just lay your 1st finger across all the strings on the 5th fret and strum.
Want to play a G chord? Simply barre the strings across the 3rd fret.
If you know the notes on the 6th string, then the note on the 6th string at the fret where your finger is making the barre is the root note for the chord you are playing.
One word of caution. When tuning strings up to a higher pitch, you are adding more tension to them and they can sometimes break if you go too high. Always turn your head away from the guitar when tuning up higher than normal, to prevent a snapping string from striking your face or eyes.
When in this tuning, have a little fun and play around with forming chords and discovering new ones.
Here's a hint. In this open E tuning, form an open E chord just like you would in standard tuning and play it. Then lift your fingers off and strum the open strings. Do this back and forth a few times, starting with the open strings chord, then going to the E "shape" chord.
Can you recognize the opening chords for the intro to "She Talks To Angels" by the Black Crowes?
Open E tuning is also used quite a bit for slide guitar as well as Dobro.
I have said before that there are times for all of us that our playing gets a little stale. We feel as though we are not playing anything new, like we're stuck in a rut.
It's times like these when it can be good for the psyche to shake things up a bit, to do something different and off the cuff.
Next time you feel that way, try switching to an open E tuning and let your creative juices flow!
Source by Keith Dean
The Purpose of the Play What You Hear jazz guitar lesson program is to teach the student to, dramatic pause, to play what they hear.
Seriously, the author, Chris Standring, makes a great point that many guitarists learn to master the fretboard through visualizing shapes and patterns. The unfortunate result is that solos improvised in this manner can sound contrived. Chris goes on to say that he believes that many guitarists often have no idea that they do not hear what they play.
About The Author Chris Standring
In the Authors own words, Chris Standring is a contemporary jazz recording artist, after spending 15 years as a touring sideman and studio guitarist in London and Los Angeles. He has recorded for several record labels as an artist including Sonic Images, Instinct Records, Mesa/Bluemoon Recordings and more recently Trippin n Rhythm/V2 records. Chris is successful in the USA as well as the UK, his homeland, and performs there in concert venues annually. His music also appears on many compilation CDs.
Who Will Benefit Most From This Jazz Guitar Program?
Play What You Hear is geared for intermediate guitar players that have at least a basic knowledge of the guitar fretboard as well as some ability to read music.
This instructional course has been designed for enthusiastic bedroom guitarists, college and university music majors as well as working professional musicians who want to refine their jazz skills.
Is This Jazz Guitar Course For Acoustic Or Electric Guitar Players?
Most of the audio examples use an electric guitar but the course is appropriate for acoustic guitars as well.
The Lesson Format
Most lessons contain a written explanation, written music and tabs and audio examples. When appropriate an additional play along version of the audio examples with a back-up band is also included.
This program, in both the CD and instant internet download versions, will work with all Macintosh or Windows PC operating systems.
The Contents of Play What You Hear
The Physical Parts
- (1) CD
- Bonus #1 Jazz Guitar Talk: Great jazz guitarists discuss what it takes to play great.
- Bonus #2 Chord Finder and Ear Trainer
- Bonus #3 Guitar Codex – Find any scale or chord in any key and see it displayed on a fretboard diagram along with clickable audio.
- Bonus #4 Guitar Decoder – Play a series of random notes and the decoder will tell you the name of the chord they form.
- (2) Printable PDF files of all the lessons for convenient reading away from the computer.
The Lesson Categories
- Playing Over Changes
- Phrase Development
- And now to the music – example jazz standard sequences
The Play What You Hear Jazz Guitar Instructional course does not include video. While this is a little disappointing I believe that with intermediate level skills and above this is much less critical.
If you only have a desktop computer then you are bound to practice at that desktop in order to hear the audio portion of the lessons and to use the built in tools. However, included on the CD are printable versions of all the guitar lessons for viewing away from the computer.
The author is a formally educated musician yet is also an in-the-trenches performing and recording guitarist. When I received this course Standring had a Jazz guitar song in the top three on the Jazz charts. In other words, he not only knows this stuff but he lives it too.
While this course is packed with lots of jazz theory lessons it strives to go beyond just learning more stuff. This Chris Standring CD emphasizes playing at a much higher artistic level.
The guitar lessons on CD are extremely well organized and therefore easy to navigate.
There are over 300 well produced audio examples that really bring the written word to life.
Many of the audio examples have an alternate play along version where you play the lead part to a back up band. This nice touch provides a realistic band experience.
The price is especially reasonable considering the significant volume of information included and Chris Standrings experience and standing in the Jazz community.
The Price Analysis:
The CD Version and The Instant Download Version are both priced at $97 USD, as of this writing, and include all of the items mentioned above. The contents of both versions are exactly same.
Play What You Hear by Chris Standring contains the equivalent of 6 months to one year worth of guitar lessons if you were to space them out as if you were taking lessons from a local guitar instructor. A local instructor typically will charge anywhere from $20 to $50 per weekly lesson. Your minimum cost at only $20 per lesson for 6 months would be at least $520.
The choice comes down to:
The Play What You Hear DVD Jazz Guitar Program at $97 or A local instructor at $520 to $1040.
Satisfaction guaranteed or 100% money back including shipping. There is no shipping charge on the instant download version.
The Bottom Line:
This Jazz guitar course offers a way to significantly increase the knowledge and tools at your disposal for improvising solos in almost all situations. But I love the fact that This course does not stop there. There are many guitarists that are technically or rather mechanically developed but few ever cross over into the realm of the artist.
This course does an excellent job of presenting this concept in an easy to understand format at a very reasonable price for such a specialty instructional course taught by a Jazz leader. It is for these reasons that I can easily recommend the Jazz guitar lessons instructional course called Play What You Hear by Chris Standring.
Source by John Mackinnon
Learning to play the guitar may be easy, but there are still good and bad habits that you should always keep in mind. The rules are simple: take note of the following do’s and don’ts so that you don’t waste your time and effort for nothing.
It takes time and patience to play the guitar. If you don’t have these two qualities, you might as well throw your guitar away because it can only bore and annoy you. Investing patience means listening to the song you want to play as frequently as possible. You are trying to get the idea of the song, so it is advisable to really get familiar with the song. Learning to play the guitar means that you have to be able to detail out every melody, pitch and frequency of the notes and patterns of the chords being played. Transferring the melodies to the guitar is easy once you are able to find out how the songs has been produced in the first place.
If you are really interested in learning to play the guitar then you should first master finger variations. You can do it if you are already familiar with the chords as these are the most fundamental knowledge for every guitarist. You cannot even play the simplest melody without the knowledge of guitar chords because these are the basics of learning the guitar. Once you have mastered them, your fingers will naturally follow.
The next thing to learn is strumming. Good strumming will enable you to play the guitar as a rhythm guitarists of a band or as a solo performer, just to amaze your friends. A good musician must be well-balanced and equipped when it comes to guitar skills – that is, he or she must be capable of both plucking and strumming. There are several ways in strumming your guitars and these are usually coupled with patterns to induce variations and style. Learning the correct strumming is relatively difficult because you have to maintain a steady and firm tempo and still be able to follow the melody. You can do this by constantly listening to the song you wish to play. Also, strum the strings according to the type of music – if you are playing jazz music with a too determined (rock style) type of stumming, it will simply sound wrong and it will be easily recognised as a mistake you are making. Because of that you should always get to know the song well enough to know what goes with it and what doesn’t.
If you are a guitar beginner, then you can rely on tablatures as they provide guitarists the finger patterns of the notes without having to deal with too many difficulties of actually figuring out the song on your own. If you are finding it hard to read and study tabs, don’t waste too much time on a single part of the song you just can’t get right – this will just slow you down and that won’t be helpful in your guitar lessons at all, because you need to advance quite quickly in order to stay motivated. It’s strongly advised to break the song down into smaller parts (intro, verse, chorus, solo, outro) and learn them one at a time. There are several advantages of using tablatures. With them, you can learn to play your favourite song quite accurately in a matter of hours or less. You can also learn only the part of the song that you are interested in playing. All the same, learning to play the guitar through reading tabs still requires a lot of patience and effort, but it’s all guaranteed to be worth your while.
Source by Will Griffin
Although the piano is intimidating since it can adapt to play in any kind of musical context, when you discover how to play piano, it could also be an enjoyable activity all year round. Contrary to many beliefs, it is not difficult to learn how to play piano in addition to it being a perfect accompaniment that compliments singers as well as other instruments in addition to having a rich, astounding and well-rounded tone.
Most websites on how to play piano provide the learning basics which would assist anyone willing to learn. The three basic steps followed are: learning how to read the keyboard, learning how to read piano notes and lastly, learning the basics of piano rhythms. Now that you ready to be taught how to play piano, remember the following points:
After making the decision to learn how to play piano, the next step would be to look for the appropriate piano for you. In most cases, since pianos are very costly, it is advisable to purchase a keyboard or digital grands which are ideal alternatives that are relatively inexpensive as compared to the pianos, or to borrow.
After you have acquired the appropriate piano or keyboard, it is necessary to find yourself a teacher who will be responsible for teaching you how to play piano. This teacher could be a piano student, a friend, or a music teacher. In case you are working on a budget, it could be worthwhile to explore some schools or colleges ready to tutor you at a sensible fee.
Finding a piano lesson book could be the alternative to a music teacher. As long as you maintain a schedule that is well structured, no less than 30 minutes each day, this could be a very cheap method of teaching yourself how to play piano.
As you learn how to play piano, ensure that you spend some of your time getting to know everything concerning the piano with the help of your teacher or your piano lesson book. Those things you need to learn include the scales, musical pieces, improvisation, theory, as well as chords. In addition look for a sheet music which should be extremely easy to play. Continue to practice with this sheet music on the piano until the time when you can be able to play that sheet music in the presence of your folks and friends, who should form your initial support and primary critics.
It is important to continue to learn how to play piano without causing injury to yourself. It is with this regard that you must take some time to warm up as you begin each practice session. This ensures that your fingers and you are relaxed. These warm up exercises can be found in some books.
As mentioned earlier, practice is the key to becoming a piano maestro. As the simple adage states, after knowing how to crawl, you can then walk, and after walking learn how to run, the same applies for piano lessons. It is also not possible to produce sounds like those of Billy Joel or Beethoven overnight. Alternately skipping some days as you learn how to play piano is not helpful since it will render your fingers “rusty”. Find one practice method that suits you and make it a routine since practicing more increases your piano playing ability.
Source by Rikther Bedon
Learning to play simple and fun songs on the guitar is easy. Many of my students have learned how to play Happy Birthday in their first lesson. Follow the simple steps below to learn this song in just a few minutes.
Learning to Play the Notes
To play Happy Birthday on the guitar, you first must learn how to play an open string (no left hand fingers pressing the string down to the fretboard). To do so, position your right hand over the sound hole and strike the first string (thinnest string) either with the tip of your right thumb or with a pick held between your right thumb and the outside edge of your right index finger. (You can also pluck the string with one of your right hand fingers by hooking the tip of the finger under the string and then plucking the string to sound the note.) Say “0” each time you sound the note because that is the number for the note played when you play an open string.
Except for open string notes, playing all the other notes requires holding a string down at one of the frets with the tip of a left hand finger. Press the tip of your left thumb to the back of your guitar and arch your left hand fingers so that you roughly make a “C” shape between your thumb and index finger. With the tip of your index finger, practice pressing the first string down against the fretboard with your fingertip very near each of the first four frets (closest to the head of the guitar) but not touching each fret. As you press the string down at each fret, sound the note the same way you did for playing the string open. In order as you play these first four frets, say the numbers one through four because those are the numbers for each of these notes.
Once you have learned to hold the string down at the first four frets to play notes one through four, move up the neck of the guitar and do the same thing with the next four frets. Say the numbers five through eight as you play these notes. Finally, move again to the next four frets and practice sounding these notes. Say the numbers nine to twelve as you play them.
Counting the string played open, you now can play thirteen different notes on that string and say the number for each note as you play it! You now know all the notes for playing Happy Birthday on the guitar. Most guitars are marked with a dot on the fretboard at the fifth, seventh, and twelfth frets, so finding the right fret for each numbered note is not hard at all with just a little practice.
Playing the Song
You will now learn to play Happy Birthday on your guitar in four groups of notes. Use your ear to guide you about the right timing as you play each group of notes. Play the first group of notes (0 – 0 – 2 – 0 – 5 – 4). Play the two open notes faster than the other notes. In fact, you will play the first two notes of each group faster than the other notes in each group.
Then play the second group (0 – 0 – 2 – 0 – 7 – 5). The first four notes are the same as in the first group, so memorizing the first half of the song is easy.
Play the third group next (0 – 0 – 12 – 9 – 5 – 4 – 2). Finally, play the fourth group (10 – 10 – 9 – 5 – 7 – 5). Practice the song until you can play it smoothly on the first string. With just a little practice, you can easily learn how to play Happy Birthday on the guitar by following these steps!
Playing in Other Keys
Because you are playing by fret numbers, you can play this song on any of the strings. Except for the sixth string, which has the same notes at each fret as the first string does, playing Happy Birthday on the other strings changes the song to a different key. You have now learned how to play Happy Birthday on the guitar in five different keys!
Source by Rajesh G, Ph.D.
In this bass guitar lesson you will learn to play a melody with the help of bass tablature. To play melodies is a great way to practice finger dexterity and you can actually play them to your friends!
First we will take a look at a bass tablature staff:
These four lines represent the strings on your bass guitar. We will assume that you have four strings on your bass. The top line represents the first string on your guitar, the string with the highest pitch or the G-string.
On these lines you will find numbers telling you to press down your fingers on the frets. Here is an example:
The number 3 tells you to press down the third fret on the third string and play the note. The number 0 tells you to play the open second string, that is, without pressing down a fret.
In this bass guitar lesson you will play the melody in the second position. That means that you play all the notes on the second fret with your index finger, the notes on the third fret with your middle finger and so on.
I will write down the lyrics to the song Amazing Grace one line at a time. Below every line I will give you the corresponding melody written with tablature notation as previously explained. Let us start with the first line:
Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound
That saved a wretch like me
I once was lost but now am found
Was blind, but now I see
I suggest that you learn the melody by heart and practice it using the previously mentioned fingerings.
Source by Peter Edvinsson