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A great day out at Music Live 2009 was had by all today in Birmingham.

Music Live 2009

Music Live is the place all guitarists should go to in the UK.

If you want to spend all day drooling over guitars and kit, this is the day out for you.

If you found out about it to late to go this year keep a look out for it next year.

SGMusic live 2009 2Electric guitar 603

Practise soloing on guitar using the C major scale and this backing track. Using the mp3 player below select the C major scale chord progression and have a go at playing a guitar solo. Don’t just run up and down the scale, try limiting yourself to a few notes from the scale and using rhythmic interest and feeling in your solo.


Tones and semitones on your guitar fret board.

The names of the notes used in music are given below, the notes in brackets are notes which can have two different names but they are the same not. For example A sharp (A#) and B flat  (Bb) are the same note.

A    (A# or Bb)   B    C    (C# or Db)    D    (D# or Eb)    E    F    (F# or Gb)    G    (G# or Ab)

An interval of a semitone is achieved on your guitar by either moving up one fret from your current position or down one fret. For example moving from A  to A# is semitone.

An interval of a tone is achieved on your guitar by either moving up two frets from your current position or down two frets. For example moving from A  to B is tone.



Pic by oddsock

Pic by oddsock

Strum Pluck Strum when trying to get the fingering for a new guitar chord. When learning a new chord shape memorize the chord shape as quickly as possible so that you do not have to keep referring to the chord sheet when playing.

Then put your fingers in the correct positions for the chord and strum the chords, remember on some chords you do not strum all the strings.

Then pluck each note separately, it’s difficult when you strum a full chord to hear if all the string are ringing true or if you have and clunks in there.

Make any adjustment to the positions of your fingers to get each not sounding true and then strum again so you can get used to the sound of the chord when it is played correctly.D chord

pick by yellowline

pick by yellowline

A great article about U2’s The Edge on musicradar.com.

There is an interview with The Edge’s guitar tech and  it’s a really good read.

At  the end is a list of gear The Edge is currently touring with.

If you are a fan check it out.


Some simple chord progressions to practise your guitar soloing over. E & A minor pentatonic. This is a link to some free online backing tracks of simple chord progressions. Once you have learnt the E minor pentatonic and A minor pentatonic scales have a go a creating a simple solo to work over these guitar chords.

Using backing tracks as part of your guitar practise routine can be great fun and really help you develop your sense of timing. There is no greater thing in life than playing with other musicians but sometimes that’s just not practical so it’s time to get out your backing tracks and play along.

Once you have learnt all the different sections in a song it’s time to put them all together and play along.

You can play along with the original track.

You can sometimes buy song books that come with a backing track.

Or have a look round the web and see what you can find.

Even if it’s just a simple chord progression to practise your soloing over.

If you haven’t tried it give it a go.


Play your next guitar solo just using a single string, it’s an interesting exercise.

It forces you to think about the construction of the solo in a different way rather than running out the same old licks you use in the scale patterns you have learnt.

Anything in your guitar playing that forces you to break the patterns you have gotten into is a great way to freshen up your approach to guitar playing.

Give it a try.


Michael Angelo Batio is fun to watch and a real performer. Although this style of guitar playing is not my cup of tea I had the chance to see Michael Angelo Batio play at a guitar show in Birmingham.

He’s a great performer and doesn’t take himself too seriously. Between tracks he had a  good repartee with the audience and was keen to talk about his experiences. He was full of funny quirky anecdotes.

If you ever get the chance to see him play go along even if it’s not usually your cup of tea as I’m sure you will enjoy the performance.

Pic by Aplomb

Pic by Aplomb

A capo clamps over the finger board of your guitar just behind the chosen fret so that it raises the pitch of the open position chords.

 If you put the capo just behind the first fret then when you put the E major open chord shape on the fret board it gives you an F major chord.

This is really useful if you know the chords to a song but the key is too low for you to sing along with. Using the capo you can raise the key the song is in without changing the finger patterns of the chords you know.

pic by matsuyuki

pic by matsuyuki