Guitar Speed Lesson – Mastering Vibrato
Blog / 04/18/2013

Guitar Speed Lesson – Mastering Vibrato By Tennyson Williams, Author of The Essential Guide To Guitar Virtuosity   A wise man once told me when I was younger, that playing guitar is all about the small things. Boy was that guy ever right. Too many guitarists in this day and age stress over accomplishing elaborate techniques, and yet even if you do master them, at the end of the day what is guitar playing all about? if you said soul, or something close to that then you’re right. In order to have that flavor in your playing, you also need to spend a good amount of time working on how you accent certain notes or chords. One of the best friends that a guitar player has is their use of vibrato. Vibrato is one of those smaller techniques that is easily overlooked, yet mastering this type of accent can bring a lot of quality to your playing. When most guitar players do vibrato, they tend to do this side-to-side twist action thing with their fretting hand. This is ok, but then there are two types of vibrato – wide and narrow. Wide vibrato could be thought of as a larger…

Guitar Speed Lesson – Improve Your Bends
Blog / 03/25/2013

Guitar Speed Lesson – Improve Your Bends By Tennyson Williams, Author of The Essential Guide To Guitar Virtuosity   I have mentioned before, just how important the smaller techniques in guitar playing are. In fact, I put more emphasis on these techniques than techniques like sweep picking, tapping, or legato. Accents are what really make a guitarist’s playing shine, yet we tend to not take these accents so seriously. It doesn’t surprise me one bit when an advanced guitar player goes to bend a note, and they are just slightly flat. In fact, it pretty much seals the deal for me. I remember taking a screen writer’s course once, and I’ll never forget how he said that “a bad line at the end of a scene can hang like a *blank* in the wind”. I didn’t want to be too crass here, but you can pretty much fill in that blank. He was absolutely right! Imagine that there are two characters having a very personal conversation on screen. It might look something like this: REBECCA “John, I’m pregnant.” JOHN “Oh my God, I don’t know if I can provide for you or the baby right now!” REBECCA “Sometimes life can…

Self Publishing Your Music
Blog / 03/16/2013

Self Publishing Your Music   When you license your music for use in TV, Film, Video Games, etc.. someone needs to administer the publishing. A question people often ask me is whether it’s better to self publish or to assign your publishing rights to a separate publisher. You DO give up your publishing rights when you assign them to an outside publisher,as well as half of all the royalties each song that is assigned to a separate publisher earns. This is what’s known as the publishing share of performance royalties and it’s how publishers earn their money. But the question remains, is it better to self publish or to work with an outside publisher? The answer really depends on how established you are as an artist and how many contacts in the business you already have. Chances are that if you’re reading my newsletter you are an independent artist who is still trying to break into the business of music licensing. In this case working with an established publisher who already has industry contacts makes perfect sense. You give a portion of your royalties away in exchange for the relationships the publisher you are working with has. It’s a perfectly…

Which is Better.. Keyboard or Piano?
Blog / 03/15/2013

Which is Better.. Keyboard or Piano? Real pianos are great but the one big drawback is you can’t turn the volume down so with a piano you tend to end up playing for the neighbors. With a keyboard you can stick on some headphones and play whatever turns you on – you can experiment, make mistakes and sound silly and play something a thousand times without driving other people nuts. Ideally – have BOTH! If you are buying a piano it is preferable to buy an overstrung piano not a straight strung! How to tell: Lift the top lid of the piano you should see the tuning pins at the top of the piano. If the tuning pins are evenly spaced along the pin block and the strings are all parallel and vertical this is a straight strung piano. If there is a group of tuning pins at the left and a separate group at the right and the strings cross over in a X shape this is an overstrung piano. Also get a tuner to check it out. I bought a piano once that needed to have the wood treated because all the pins (that tighten the strings) were…

Guitar Finger Picking
Blog / 02/17/2013

Guitar Finger Picking By Tennyson Williams, Author of The Essential Guide To Guitar Virtuosity   The finger picking method of guitar playing is one of the most wonderful styles to tackle for any guitarist. So many genres can be played using this approach, and not just classical, yet the approach is typically the same. The key to learning how to do finger picking on the guitar, is to master the four picking fingers of the picking hand. Many exercises are needed to strengthen the timing and flexibility of these fingers, so it is in this article that I offer you a bit of advice and knowledge. The first thing that a developing guitar player should learn is the labeling system for the fingers. The fingers that are used to pluck or pick strings are the thumb, the index finger, ring finger, and the pinkie finger. Each finger carries a Spanish name, and when the names are abbreviated, we end up with P.I.M.A P stands for Pulgar, I for Indice, M for Medio, and A for Anular. Now, regardless of the style of music that you wish to pursue, you must first develop your fingers on some level. Let me provide…

Which Guitar Pick Should I Use?
Blog / 01/14/2013

Which Guitar Pick Should I Use? By Tennyson Williams, Author of The Essential Guide To Guitar Virtuosity   There are so many different styles and sizes of guitar picks, and of course so many different ways to use guitar picks, but some picks work better for certain jobs on the guitar. Let’s take a look at some of these. You have thin picks, medium picks, and heavy picks, and any one of these will do for playing guitar, but it also depends on HOW you want to play guitar. For instance, a lot of beginning guitar players instantly start out with a thin guitar pick. Thin guitar picks work really well for strumming chords on an acoustic guitar, and they also work well for strumming chords fast. The down fall of the thin guitar pick, is that its not very well suited for picking out individual notes on the guitar. Don’t get me wrong, you can certainly do this with a thin guitar pick, but you’re not going to want to try and play anything fast using a thin pick. The other downfall with using the thin pick, is that it produces a strong strumming noise when it brushes through…

Guitar Tab Cheat Sheet
Blog / 11/25/2012

Guitar Tab Cheat Sheet By Tennyson Williams, Author of The Essential Guide To Guitar Virtuosity   If you’ve just started playing guitar, then there’s a good chance that you get confused about a lot of things, and probably quite frequently. Many guitar players who decide that its time to embark on the wondrous voyage of music, start their educational activities by learning tab, or guitar tablature. Tablature is a lot easier to read than standard notation, and in many cases its easier to side read at the guidance of tab. If you’ve just started playing, or have been playing for a while, then you already know this to be true. However, the guitar is a very immense instrument in terms of what you can do with it. Because there are so many techniques and accents available to the axe, naturally there are a ton of tab symbols to denote these actions, so I thought that I would tab out as many of these symbols as possible. This article will serve as a sort of tab legend, and if it helps you, then you may just want to print off for future reference. Before I continue, I really need to explain…

Speed Mechanics For Lead Guitar
Blog / 10/06/2012

Speed Mechanics For Lead Guitar By Tennyson Williams, Author of The Essential Guide To Guitar Virtuosity   It can be a real chore to develop speed in the picking hand, and we all know this quite well, yet one of the biggest problems that most guitar players face, is that they are not paying any attention to the actual speed mechanics of the picking hand. What is speed mechanics you might ask? simple – it is the mechanical functions of the picking hand. Whether you are playing slow or fast, these principles are always in play. When it comes to speed mechanics for the picking hand, there are 4 movements that fall under this category. 1. Rotary or rotation The rotary movement is the simple movement that most guitar players are familiar with. This kind of movement refers to the wrist rotation, which typically comes naturally with alternate picking. If you were to isolate this movement, it would be the simple rotation at the wrist which falls within a span of a little under a quarter circle turn. As a side note, for any beginning guitar player who wants to master speed mechanics on the guitar, this is the best…

Sweep Picking Lesson For Guitar
Blog / 09/03/2012

Sweep Picking Lesson For Guitar By Tennyson Williams, Author of The Essential Guide To Guitar Virtuosity   What Is Sweep Picking? This sweep picking lesson is aimed at the beginner, but it is designed in such a way with the intention of maximizing your efforts. In case you don’t know, a sweep is a way of playing an arpeggio. An arpeggio is when you take a chord and pick out the notes individually. Alternate picking works fine, but if you want your arpeggios to sound fluid, clean, and fast – sweep picking is the way to go. How Do you Do Sweep Picking? As I mentioned before, alternate picking isn’t very efficient for these patterns, so we need something more economical with our movements. Sweeps are like a strum, but very controlled. When ascending through the strings you should use only DOWN STROKES, and when descending through the strings you should use only UPSTROKES. Practicing Sweep Picking For this sweep lesson we will start off with a 3 string pattern and then slowly add a string at a time until we are doing a 5 string sweep. The coordination is very tricky between the right hand and the left hand,…

4 Tips To Make Playing Guitar Fast A Lot Easier
Blog / 08/17/2012

4 Tips To Make Playing Guitar Fast A Lot Easier By Tennyson Williams, Author of The Essential Guide To Guitar Virtuosity   Though these tips won’t bless you with the power of the shredding Miyagi, or help you to channel the late and great Shawn Lane, they may certainly help to take the work load off a bit. I mean, playing guitar fast can be difficult enough. right? Basically, these 4 tips are little ways that you may be able to “cheat” at playing fast guitar, but I wouldn’t put all my money on them, even though a lot of well established guitar shredders do these things as well. In other words, these following 4 tips for guitar shredom can make up a small part of the equation, but are by far NOT the equation. 1. Tune it all out! The standard tuning for the guitar has always been E Standard, and its a very shred-worthy tuning, but it does tend to make for some really taught strings. If you are absolutely sick of the insane tension in your guitar strings, consider tuning down a half step to D flat, or even to a complete whole D tuning. Hell, you…