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More Reader Questions and Answers
by Domenick Ginex

Yes it's that time again for more questions and answers from the readers.

QUESTION...

I can read music and construct chords but I can't harmonize a song given only the melody without chords. What is the basic procedure in harmonizing a given melody? How can I know the chords given the musical score of the song? I appreciate very much your help.

ANSWER...

There are a couple of possible approaches that you can use...

The first and quickest method is to locate a copy of the sheet music with the chord accompaniment or even just the chords for the song. These items are very common and available. You can usually find free chord charts for songs on the Internet, either in tabular form or just with the chords written out with the words. Let's use the song "She Loves You" by the Beatles as an example. I went to Google and typed in the following searchphrase...

+ "she loves you" + chords

A list of links came up as a result. I picked the 2nd listing which was the following link:

http://www.fretplay.com/tabs/b/beatles/she_loves_you-crd.shtml

QUESTION...

Hey, how's it going? I noticed the email I got in my inbox today from you for my tips..... I like the idea that I get guitar a tip in my email. But there's a problem. I'm an advance guitarist but far away from pro or probably even rookie but far ahead from beginner. I was wondering if you could give me some tips on speed and sweep picking and posibly using the pinky techneque...... cool.Guitar stuff I already know:

1.chords
2.tapping
3.hammer ons and pull offs
4.slides
5.bends
6.harminics
7.artifical harminics
8.palm muting
9.finger picking
10.all the easy stuff like that above......
I also want to learn the modes or what not?

ANSWER...

Here are my recommendations for picking practice...

Start with the major scale... it can be any key, say key of G in the 3rd fret area of the fretboard. Now, play that scale starting from the G note on the 3rd fret of the low E string all the way up to the G note on the 3rd fret of the high E string. Use all down stroke picking. Next do it again with all upstrokes. Now start with the G note on the 3rd fret of the high E string. Using all down strokes play the scale down to the G note on the low E string. Next do the same with all up strokes.

Ok, now repeat the above exercises using alternate picking (down-up-down-up). Start slow. Then start going faster and faster as you build confidence and coordination. You may want to use a metronome and increase the speed as you get better at it.

Now practice in different keys and in different areas of the fretboard. As you build confidence and coordination with this basic exercise you will see that your speed increases. You can also add a slight circular motion to your picking that can give you some added speed. The most important factor is building the confidence that comes with knowing the fretboard and the scales and training and strengthening your hands and fingers through a lot of repitition.

Sweep picking involves using the same stroke direction to play 2 or more consecutive notes. Many use it in conjunction with arpeggios. So for example you would play the notes of a D minor chord, say D (G string 7th fret), F (Bstring 6th fret) and A (high E string 5th fret). Use all down strokes and play each note individually. Now play the notes in the reverse order with all up strokes. That is the basics of sweep picking.

Hope this helps, good luck with your playing

QUESTION...

Hey I'm learning to play the bass can you help?

ANSWER...

Thanks for the question. Learning the guitar will certainly help you to learn to play the bass, especially with regards to learning the various chord types, how to figure out the notes and chords in a key, also the same scales apply to a large degree

For example, if you were playing a song from a chord chart and you saw a minor 7 flat 5 chord, and you knew what the notes were for that chord then you would play a different bass part than if it was a minor 7 chord. I would actually recommend learning the basics of the guitar (or some other chordal instrument, like the piano) and music theory first and then move on to the bass. Some people think the bass is a simpler instrument to play and so they don't bother to learn the theory and other more in depth items of music and this limits their playing.

I played bass for many years in a band and I loved it. It's a really fun instrument to play especially if you find a drummer that you connect and play well with.

My advice is the following... learn the guitar and music theory. Learn about the various chords and chord types and the notes that comprise them. Learn about scales and how to determine the notes and chords in a key. Learn how to read music and tablature. Learn how to figure out songs by ear. Somewhere in the middle of all that pick up the bass and start applying that knowledge to it. Then buy some bass specific books and learn the various walking patterns (which are based on scales and modes) and other bass specific techniques. You will be way ahead with your understanding and confidence by that time.

Well, that's it for now. If you have any questions, do not hesitate to send them to me. I am always ready to help.


Domenick Ginex is a guitarist living in Tampa, Florida. He has played in several groups in the Tampa Bay area for over 25 years. His website, located at http://GuitarLessonsPro.com, offers guitar instructional information for beginner to intermediate level guitarists.


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