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Learn To Play Rock Guitar!, Issue #007
June 22, 2010

Well it's been a crazy past couple of months for rock music. We lost Ronnie James Dio, a godfather of Metal, Paul Gray, the bass player of Slipknot, and Peter Steele, Lead singer and bassist of Type O Negative. These guys all had huge influence over their respective genres, and they will be missed. R.I.P.

And let's not forget the near miss Bret Michaels (lead singer - Poison) had, what with a stroke, brain hemorrhage and emergency appendectomy. And the guy goes on to win Celebrity Apprentice! What's more, he's still going through with a summer tour with Poison.

With all this going on, it goes to show that rock music keeps rolling. There are new bands coming out with new music every week, and there's always a need for new musicians to feed the demand for original music. Keep at it, let those that paved the way for all rockers be an inspiration to you.

How often should you change guitar strings?

You might not think much about your guitar strings. I mean, as long as they haven't broken, they're alright, right? Well, no. As you play, sweat and oil from your hands/fingers collect on the strings. Moisture and dust in the air will also collect and gradually dull the strings.

It's amazing how new strings affect your tone. Now this isn't to say changing your strings is going to make you a better player, but it will definitely improve your sound.

There's no hard and fast rule saying how often to change guitar strings, but it's safe to say, the more you play, the more you should change your strings. Wow, brilliant, you probably figured that out on your own! OK, a little more detail is needed, obviously.

Are you a casual player, picking up your guitar once a week or less? Well, you can get away with replacing your strings every couple of months. You really aren't going to notice the string tone going dull as much as if you are playing every day.

Are you playing in a band and gigging one to two times a week? Your strings will start sounding dull after a week of solid playing - time to change 'em! You should probably get a handle on how to set your guitar up with the proper action and intonation, unless you can afford to have someone do it for you.

I've heard that professional guitarists have their strings changed before every show and studio session. This ensures they are getting optimum tone out of their guitars. Of course, they usually have a guitar tech to handle this job, as well as the perfect setup.

So there you have it. Gauge how often to change your strings by how often you play your guitar.

Try Out Video Surgeon

Do you like to hunt for guitar video lessons on YouTube and the rest of the web? Admittedly, there are a lot out, and a lot of them are really good. But unless you've got a good, strong internet connection, sometimes the viewing experience just plain sucks.

Video Surgeon allows you to capture these videos and save them to your computer so you can view them over and over again without the whole video streaming challenge.

Once you have the video saved, you can slow it down to catch all the details of the lesson. Video Surgeon does this without changing the pitch, so it maintains the key of the song, just playing everything slower.

Get a Trial Download of Video Surgeon.

Easy Power Chords

One of the challenges new guitarists face is keeping all those chords straight. It's pretty easy to get overwhelmed with open chords and barre chords, diminished and augmented, SUS chords and 7th chords, etc.

Here's a quick way to start playing guitar chords easily. Try Power Chords. While these aren't considered true chords (most chords are three notes or more), they are enough to get you playing rock songs easily. Power chords can also be called dyads, meaning they consist of two notes rather than the typical three note triad.

A power chord is made up of the root note and the fifth note in a scale. For example, take an A5 power chord. The root note is the A on the sixth string (low E - the fattest string), located at the fifth fret, and the E note on the fifth string (A), at the seventh fret. If you didn't download the power chord chart when you signed up, here's the link: Power Chords Chart

Give it a try. Put your first finger on the sixth string at the fifth fret. Put your ring finger on the A string at the seventh fret. Strum. There, you've played a power chord - the staple of rock music. OK, maybe that's a stretch, but with power chords, it's very easy to begin playing songs.

You don't have to wait until your fingers are toughened up and your fretting hand is strengthened. You are playing recognizable 'chords' and can easily crank out a decent version of your favorite rock songs.

Now keep in mind, I wouldn't quit there. Study chord structure and master the open and barre chords. These are going to add some depth to your playing. If you're ready to progress to learning more about chords as well as guitar scales, you'll want to check out Learn & Master Guitar.

I highly recommend this DVD course developed by Steve Krenz. The instruction is top-notch, the videos and manuals professionally done and the technique is impeccable. Steve is a studio musician in Nashville and earns his living playing guitar - the course is excellent.

Learn & Master Guitar has two editions, the Original and Expanded Editions. The Expanded Edition included 10 DVDs of bonus workshops to really help grow your ability (I happen to own this edition). Learn & Master Guitar is serious guitar training. Order Now!

Well, that's it for this newsletter. Keep your questions coming, and keep rockin' out. Peace!

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