Tip 6 – Making Mistakes

Tip 6 – Making Mistakes

Tip 6 – Making Mistakes

It happens to all of us at some point:

Getting too wrapped up with not sounding that great sometimes when we practice.

The reason:

It’s the curse of…

Being an adult.

The Curse of Being An Adult

Compare this to the following:

Notice what a child does when they first learn to do things.

Kids make so many mistakes. When speaking, at first they can barely put a word together.

And even after they can eventually say a few basic words, they often make mistakes on the order of the words.

But here’s the reason they improve so quickly:

They don’t care.

Mistakes are an excellent learning opportunity. Don’t be afraid of them as they are a great opportunity for growth.

 

Kids just keep experimenting, making mistakes, falling over, and trying again.

Ironically though, this is the reason kids learn so fast.

The faster you make many mistakes, the more quickly you can learn from them.

Here’s the thing:

Adults are too often afraid of making mistakes when it comes to playing music.

Why is that?

The reason:

Adults are painfully aware of what good music sounds like, having listened to perfectly produced recordings their whole life (with all the mistakes conveniently edited out!)

But:

Young kids don’t have a high awareness of what ‘correct’ sounds like.

This allows children the freedom and lack of inhibition to make a lot of mistakes, to be corrected by their parents and teachers, and thus learn at a rapid pace.

So:

Adopt the child’s mindset in your guitar practice.

 

The Child’s Mindset

Don’t worry too much if something isn’t sounding good (yet). Often daily practice will iron things out if you don’t tie yourself up in knots about it.

If you work on something over the course of a week or two and despite daily practice you’re seeing no improvement, adopt a curious mind – and treat it as
‘a puzzle to be solved’.

When you notice something isn’t improving, make a hypothesis as to what could be the causing the problem.

Then:

Devise an experiment, consisting of exercises or practice approaches that you think could solve the issue. Run the experiment for a couple of weeks and record your observations.

Remember:

Mistakes are an excellent learning opportunity. Don’t be afraid of them as they are a great opportunity for growth.

In fact:

Learning from your mistakes is the key to success on the guitar – or anything else you apply yourself to.

Over to you – What did YOU think of this practice tip? Leave a comment below with your thoughts or tips of your own…

 

Greg O’Rourke

Founder, FretDojo
World Leader in Online Guitar Education

jazz guitar instruction
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Holy Whole Tones Batman! Try This Scale on Minor Chords

Holy Whole Tones Batman! Try This Scale on Minor Chords

Holy Whole Tones Batman! Try This Scale on Minor Chords

Don’t have time to read this post now? Get your Handy PDF Download: Click this link to get a print friendly version of all the exercises in this post for your practice.

► Start Your FretDojo Jazz Guitar Academy Membership here: https://www.fretdojo.com/signup-offer  

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In this video I’ll show you how to use the whole tone scale to create some exotic outside effects on minor chords. This is a continuation on a previous lesson video where we applied the whole tone scale to dominant chords. You can find that video here: https://youtu.be/tOKXuN83B0c  

Thanks for watching and let me know what you think of this jazz guitar lesson via leaving a comment below. 

Greg O’Rourke 

Founder, FretDojo
World Leader in Online Guitar Education

jazz guitar books
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Warm Guitar Tone – A How-To Guide For Jazz Guitar

Warm Guitar Tone – A How-To Guide For Jazz Guitar

Warm Guitar Tone – A How-To Guide For Jazz Guitar

It’s crazy really –

You can have…

  • the best ear in the world
  • the most sophisticated ideas in your solo
  • great rhythm and;
  • have a wonderful expressive phrasing

The list goes on.

But:

If you don’t have a good tone (i.e. the quality of the sound your guitar makes), then none of these elements will truly make an impact.

Here’s the good news though:

It’s not that difficult really to get a good sound on your instrument and create a warm jazz guitar tone. Especially these days with so many good quality instruments and amps.

I should let you know though:

You’ll find a whole spectrum of views on the subject of tone.

Some guitarists are ‘gear extremists’, and will proclaim that the quality of your guitar leads has a serious impact on your sound.

Others (and jazz guitarists especially have often been criticized for this) hardly pay attention to tone at all.

Let’s take the ‘middle way’ though – here’s a few tips from a self-proclaimed guitar gear luddite:

 

Tip #1 – Check with what and how (and where) you are striking the string

I play fingerstyle and use fingernails – so I make sure my nails are polished as smooth as

glass and they have a nice even curve – this has the biggest impact on your sound especially on acoustic instruments. This is one sure way to get a warm jazz guitar tone.

If you are using a plectrum, it should be smooth and of good quality. If your playing sounds too ‘slappy’, try a slightly thicker pick. Resin picks can have a great tone.

Also check where you are plucking the strings – I avoid plucking them too close to the bride which can sound a bit tinny. Side note: I use 0.12 gauge D’Addario XL Flatwounds for a nice thick sound.

 

Tip #2 – Quality of your guitar

More expensive does not necessarily equal better tone.

Your guitar needs to be decent – however the make and model isn’t as important as you might think.

Make sure the action is set appropriately so the strings don’t buzz on the frets. Also check the strings aren’t old.

(Reason: old strings will sound out of tune as you go up the neck).

Whichever instrument you play, choose a guitar of which you enjoy the sound and feel.

More expensive does not necessarily equal better tone – when I picked up my first archtop I tried every one in the store, and the Ibanez you see me playing on my videos was a MUCH better tone than guitars at four times the price.

 

Tip #3 – Tone Knob (especially for jazz!)

Regardless of instrument, if you are playing jazz and want the typical jazz tone, roll your tone knob down quite a bit (I do this even on my archtop) and as I mentioned before, play more towards the neck pickup rather than the bridge – you’ll get that warm, ‘sweet as chocolate sound’. Ooooh yeah.

 

Tip #4 – Your amp (if using an electric guitar)

Here’s the thing:

A good quality amp is actually more important than the guitar when it comes to tone. For jazz, a valve amp can definitely give a great sound, however these days I’m using a Boss Katana solid state amp and get a fantastic result.


Tip #5 – Experiment!

There is no universal ‘good tone’. Experiment with the above and come up with a sound YOU are happy with.

There is no universal ‘good tone’. Experiment with the above and come up with a sound YOU are happy with.

Tone is a very subjective thing, and there is no one right way.

My approach:

Experiment with all the above factors until you settle on a sound which best serves to deliver your musical message, and go with your gut.

Then, record yourself and listen back and evaluate your tone. Rinse and repeat a few times until you pin down a suitable tone.

Be careful though:

Embarking on a quest for the ‘perfect tone’ can be quite a rabbit hole to go down. Near enough is usually good enough – spend a bit of time finding your sound but then turn your attention to the most important bit – actually playing music!

Over to you – what did YOU think of this article on getting a good jazz guitar tone? Leave a comment below with your thoughts.

 

Greg O’Rourke

Founder, FretDojo
World Leader in Online Guitar Education

jazz guitar instruction
Improvisation With The Whole Tone Scale

Improvisation With The Whole Tone Scale

Improvisation With The Whole Tone Scale

Don’t have time to read this post now? Get your Handy PDF Download: Click this link to get a print friendly version of all the exercises in this post for your practice.

► Start Your FretDojo Jazz Guitar Academy Membership here: https://www.fretdojo.com/signup-offer  

► Become a FretDojo Patreon here: https: https://www.patreon.com/fretdojo 

In this video I’ll show you how to use the whole tone scale to create some quirky and unique effects in your jazz guitar improvisations.

This cool symmetrical scale pattern is easy to learn on the fretboard if you know a few tricks to the pattern.  

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Video Sections:

00:00  Introduction
00:44  Ex.1 – Basic Whole Tone Scale On Single String
02:55  Ex.2 – Playing Pattern Across Strings, Single Position
04:08  Ex.3 – Three Note Per String Pattern
07:58  Ex.4 – Extending The Range Of The Whole Tone Scale
09:58  Improvising With Whole Tone Scale Over D7 Loop
11:46  Song Example: Using Whole Tone Scale Over Take The “A” Train
13:24  Wrap Up and Next Steps 

Thanks for watching and let me know what you think of this jazz guitar lesson via leaving a comment below. 

Greg O’Rourke 

Founder, FretDojo
World Leader in Online Guitar Education

jazz guitar instruction
ULTIMATE Fingerstyle Guitar Exercises for All Guitar Styles

ULTIMATE Fingerstyle Guitar Exercises for All Guitar Styles

ULTIMATE Fingerstyle Guitar Exercises for All Guitar Styles

Get the PDF for this lesson HERE: https://bit.ly/2Tnfvrs

In this episode I’m going to show you the ultimate fast path to building fingerstyle guitar technique with these three handy fingerpicking exercises for guitar.

These 3 simple fingerstyle guitar exercises will quickly enable you to develop your fingerpicking accuracy and speed on guitar, regardless of what style of guitar you like to play! Whether you like to play jazz, rock, pop, classical or country, you’ll find this lesson useful.

I’ll also show you the core principles of good fingerstyle technique to set you up for success and so you avoid injuries when it comes to fingerstyle guitar. 

Thanks for watching and let me know what you think by leaving a comment below this video. 

Peace, 

Greg O’Rourke 

Founder, FretDojo
World Leader in Online Guitar Education
https://www.fretdojo.com 

► Become a FretDojo Patreon here: https: https://www.patreon.com/fretdojo

► Start Your FretDojo Jazz Guitar Academy Membership here: https://www.fretdojo.com/signup-offer

 

Before you go…

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•  A step-by-step guide on building core improvisation skills

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What did you think of this jazz guitar quick tip? Leave your comments below…

Peace,

Greg O’Rourke

Founder, Fret Dojo

Innovation in Online Jazz Guitar Education

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