Thursday, August 11, 2016

Open Position Power Chords, Pt. II – 12 Bar Blues

In the June post students were introduced to open position power chords. This month we’ll be plugging those chords into a standard 12 bar blues that students can utilize them.

There is no need to get fancy right away as a straight ahead quarter note rhythm will suffice until students are comfortable with the progression. Using a 12 bar blues for open power chords is a great way to start jamming with students – solo as they lay down the rhythm or add a second rhythm part on top. Next month we’ll take these open power chords to the next level!

Thursday, July 28, 2016

A Journey to Guitarland with Maestro Armadillo

This month I wanted to fill you in on a new children’s book that hit the shelves recently which was written by my friend and colleague Thomas Amoriello Jr. The book is entitled “A Journey to Guitarland with Maestro Armadillo" and is a wonderful introduction to the guitar for youngsters, especially those who like music. 

Inside the book readers are transported to a wondrous place called Guitarland where everything from homes to cars can be shaped like guitars! Their tour guide of Guitarland is Maestro Armadillo - a flying V toting, rock ‘n’roll t-shirt wearing armadillo. The book is not only entertaining, but educational as children learn about the parts of the guitar and how the it works. It is also beautifully illustrated with water color artwork by street artist James J. Kelewae. 

Finally, the book has a “who’s who” of the guitar world lending their name to endorse the book – Brian May, Jennifer Batten, Steve Hackett and Michael “Kidd Funkadelic” Hampton. If you’re looking for a children’s book to get your little ones into the guitar or even read to young students pick up a copy!

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Open Position Power Chords, pt. I

The words “power chord” can really pique the interest of a student if they have yet to learn about them as the name itself implies something pretty fantastic. Power chords are quite simply two or three chords using a root/5th combination played on the bass strings to create a heavier sound and are notated as a “5” chord (ex. A5, G5) These chords have been used in some fashion in all sorts of styles from Freddie Green’s “four to the bar” big band playing to Tony Iommi’s thunderous riffs in Black Sabbath.

One of the things that make power chords so wonderful is the ease in which a student can learn and implement them. Moreover, the easiest way to introduce them is by playing them in open position. The trickiest part for newbies when it comes to playing power chords is only strumming two strings. I recommend that when getting used to them students only apply down strums – they can get more complicated later and integrate alternate strumming patterns.

In the August I’ll be discussing how to apply the open position power chord.