Category Archives: Blog

How Do I Improve My Guitar Playing?

The simplest answer to the question of how do I improve my guitar playing is practice. Yes, we heard these 3 words enough “Practice, practice, practice”. We know and are all guilty of not doing enough. But when we do play or practice, how do we ensure we’ll improve? Is there a strategy how to practice such that it’ll improve our guitar playing?

Of course, there are so many ways to do it. But most of the time, it’s very technical. I believe highlighting those technical requirements stresses more than help. My last post is about setting the right goals to improve our guitar playing and maybe that didn’t help.

So today I want to give you my take how I improve my guitar playing in a very not technical way. You’ll be surprised, a lot of these tips don’t even involve playing. I believe the song, knowing and listening to it is a big key to unlock this. So here are my recommended ways how to improve our guitar playing.

1. Establish Liking Your Basics

Modern western music essentially consists of only 7 notes (or 12 at most). Master these 7 notes., eg. A to G.

Know intimately what is 1,2,3,4,5,6,7 note of a song?

What is Do-Re-Mi-Fa-So-La-Ti?

Learn to like those notes as every scale and chords are built on those few notes.

Also learn your major scale and chords. Enjoy playing them. If you enjoy the basics and use it for the most basic of songs (for example”Ba Ba Black Sheep” or “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star”. You’ll most definitely improve your guitar playing.

Discover the joy of playing your first song

2. Get Your Confidence To Play Way Up

You have to be sure that there is a music or song, you want to play. A lot of players develop a fantasy of wanting to be a guitar player but do not have a song or music they want to play. It’s not sustainable. It is like for example to want to be a teacher but not passionate about imparting anything specific to the students.

The song and music you want to play is key.

Not only that, but that song has to be ‘you’. You have to own the music before you can get your confidence right.

So many times we play other people’s songs and we imagine we can play it like them. But in all honesty, we can’t and shouldn’t be able to.  Our confidence gets affected.

Get your confidence right in that you have picked a song that is personal to you and that you can call your own. And then believe you can bring it out … your own way. And that’s the basis of the confidence you need.

You are not doing to do it any other way other than your way.

3. Invest In Feeling the Music First Before You Play It

Feel the song by studying it. By studying it, I don’t mean with your intellect or your mind. I mean just listening to it and feeling it.

If you know how the song affects you, you will know how to play it to affect other people. Knowing what is the impact you want to bring across is crucial to playing. So invest in feeling the song first.

One of the strategy of learning to play is to listen to as many versions of the song as possible. I’ve listened to at least a dozen version of Autumn Leaves before I learned to play it. And my guitar playing improve as I feel the music I play (with the guitar) with.

So yes, If the song moves me, I’m ready to invest to play it.

4. Ask How Do You Play The Music Without Using A Guitar

Not yet. Hang on to the guitar first. There is one more step that is still not about the guitar playing yet. It’s still about the song and how you play it without a guitar.

Ask yourself how do you play it if you don’t have a guitar? Maybe you can sing it just with a metronome or a beat. Maybe you can accapella it. Or swing to it with just your body.

It is always good to know the tune and able to hum it or sing it before you start to play it. If you have another way of playing it without the guitar, how will you do it.

I always have a cajon, or a rhythm machine or even a metronome ready to play the song without the guitar.

5. Now With The Guitar, How Should You Play It Better

Now, with a song that you know, feel and are able to play without a guitar, you can bring your guitar into the picture.

With the guitar, explore if I should strum it, pick it, or just tap on it to add to the song you already have in you.

This is a tough part as you will explore the chord progression or the notes to the song. You’ll spend time here but if you do the first few steps, you’ll going to improve how you play already by a mile.

6. Play It Like No Other People

With the guitar, just play it like yourself. Don’t try to imitate anybody. Just be yourself and let the guitar be the instrument you were never born with and never had.

Now that you have it, make it a worthy extension of you. Play with your style and don’t let anyone judge you for how you play it.

What do you think? Does the article help you? If so great, if not, how do you improve on your playing?

Setting The Right Goals And Improve Your Guitar Playing

Playing the guitar is itself a great goal. Not many people consider it in a practical world where survival seems to be the primary concern. But just wanting to play well is only the first step, it is important to be clear about what you are trying to achieve specifically. How to improve your guitar playing is as good as the goals you set for yourself.

Here are 6 ways you can improve by setting the right goals.

Set Your Goal Based On Enjoyment Not Ego

Having a goal to play to impress someone or to feel good easily fizzes out.

I remember the group of friends I have when I was younger. Half of them plays because it is a cool thing to do. Besides the guitar, they go for the look, the other half truly love music and play for enjoyment. The latter group is still playing today.

Beyond your ‘rock star’ intention, enjoy it.

Set a goal based on enjoyment. Get into the type of music you want to play. Listen to the music, buy the music, attend the concert and invest in it. A great tip is this phrase that I sue “Get into the rhythm and beat of what you want to play”.  In that phrase is the key to enjoyment because every piece of music has life and it is my humble opinion in the inner rhythm of the music.

Not Just What You Play But How Often You Do It

Your goal is not what you want to play but how often you do it. This comes with if you have a conducive place to play. Setting up your own practice space is the #1 reason I play often.

After finding a good space to play, then commit to a routine that helps you play often. It is better to play regularly for shorter time than irregularly for longer time.  

A good routine is as such “Every morning for 10 minutes”, “Every alternate day for 20 minutes”, Have a weekly schedule of when you’ll play and really get down to it. Having that settled, then look into what you play and have a note-book to journal and record what you play during the sessions you are playing.

Break Your Big Goals To Smaller Ones

This is one of the worst practising habit I developed when I was younger. I would come into practice with a great song I want to play. Then during the practice, I will get discouraged because I couldn’t play it in that one practice session and the next time I play, I come with a different song.

The remedy to this is to break that one big goal of playing that song to smaller ones. One way to work on songs is to listen to the song first and get into the rhythm of it. Then get the chord sequence right. Only after that should you sing or learn the melody (if you are playing fingerstyle). After that, there’ll be difficult parts you should handle at a latter time.

All the above happens in many sessions, not one. I don’t know why I have bought into the idea that you can master a song in one sitting and that has hurt me and I’m glad to share with you the mistake of not breaking my big goals into smaller ones.

Practice Technique But Also Practice Songs

Don’t we all fall into loving techniques and riff. Isn’t it more appealing to tap, pull off, bend and do all those sweeping and shredding. Yes, it maybe more fun to do so but I suggest getting into songs. Set the right goal of playing songs where these techniques and riffs are incorporated into the song than the techniques itself without the context of a song.

When you set the right goal of songs, you invest in your music. Nobody is going to be listening to you play your riffs just by itself. Everybody wants to hear how you play a particular song. So get clear to invest in songs.

To Be As Good As Your Hero (But Not Exactly Like Them)

Your goal isn’t to be an imitation but to be yourself. There is room to imitate but at the end of the day, you should develop your style and be yourself. So don’t be frustrated if you can’t sound exactly like your heroes. They are there to inspire you to be yourself. It is infact, the very reason why you like your hero. They are themselves and not a clone of someone else.

So develop a liking for yourself and who you are musically and what you can offer to the world. Set the right goal of being yourself and not a second-rate of someone else.

Incorporate Learning To Improvise As Part of Your Goal

As you learn songs of other people, you will figure out melody, harmony, chord sequences and song structures. That is important to eventually do play your own music ie. write your own songs. But before that can happen, you should invest in improvisation. By that I mean having the ability to come out with tunes without thinking. Improvisation depends on your hearing and your feel to get the music you have inside of you out.

Set a goal to improvise either through using a backing track or a looper. It will help you develop your musicality and that is a key component to your goal as a great guitar player.

Guitar Pedals To Loop Like B.B King

Enjoy. Do let me know how do you improve your guitar playing? What type of goals do you set for yourself?

How To Write A Song For Beginners

writing songs

Many of us start our learning journey by playing popular songs. These are songs that’s written by others. While it’s a great way to start, it’s not where our musical journey should end. We should in one way or another end with trying to bring the song we have within us out. Today I want to explore “How To Write A Song” for those who are beginning.

Understand the 3 Component of a Song

1. Get The Chord Sequence
2. Compose The Melody
3. Write The Lyrics

Step 1: Pick one way to start and the spend the whole day working on it.

The reason to pick one of the ways above is so that your song has a unique element. That element will gives its a unique flavour that people can remember. Some call it the stickability factor of the song.

Do you know songs with strong stickability factor? I remember my favourite songs either it’s strong melody or riff (Wham’s Careless Whisper), or some interesting or memorable lyrics (Sting’s Russian) or a swinging chord sequence (Muddy Water’s Hoochie Coochie Man).

It’s also a good way to start to get us out of the songwriting rut. I recall many times when I’m dry in my creativity juice, I realise I’m only dry in 1 or 2 of the 3 components and not in all 3 areas. So having to choose an alternative way to start writing a song keeps me fresh and ever ready to write one.

Spend a whole day so you give yourself time to come up with the best of many many you have come up with in that day. Once you have a good chord sequence or a melody or a great set of lyrics, you are ready to move on to the next step.

Step 2: Spend an hour working on the second element

You don’t have to do this on the same day. Give your mind and soul a rest. Attempt this the next day. You’ll find yourself spending a shorter time with it. Your first element is there and has become a strong foundation to guide you. For example if you already have the melody, and your second step is to write the chord sequence, you just work out the chord sequence. It’s more mechanical and is a science than an art.

Or if you already have a strong melody and your next step is to write the lyrics, you fill in words that has the right number of syllable or those with the correct rhyme.

Just get it done.

And the last step is

Step 3: Work out the last element which connects the first two


Ok, ok. By now you maybe wondering, have I tricked you into not teaching you anything because it all seems obvious.

Well, it is. But my response to you is to tell you that writing a song is a creative process. It has a structure but the structure only helps you to hold your creativity. The creative work itself depends on you. So at the end of the day, my 3 steps only will facilitate the creativity that is always in you.

What kind of chord sequence, melody or words that come out of you depends on you, not your teacher.

I hope after teaching you the above structure on how to write a song for beginners, that it will inspire you to attempt to write a song.

Many students (or even intermittent to professional) players never got into getting the song out of their heart. They could play many of other people’s songs but never got to write out their own. And that’s a pity because there’s so much joy for us as it is for our listeners when they get to hear it.

I hope this post will inspire you to want to not just play good guitar but to bring out your song.

Let me know what you think? How do you write your songs? What works and don’t work for you?

How To Be More Musical In 7 Ways

My journey of learning to play guitar has brought me to places of frustration and struggle. In those places, I realised that I’ve been alone, isolated with a set of wrong questions I was asking. The questions weren’t about how to play good guitar (like what chords should I play or how do I bend the strings etc) but it is how can I be more musical? 

Of course being able to play chords or bend strings are important techniques but doing those doesn’t mean we become more musical but on the flip side,  being musical inevitably means being able to play good guitar.

The 2 ways of playing is to #1. Use techniques and methods to play back written music. #2. To bring what is already inside of you out. The first way represent most of today’s music educators and schools. They teach you to excel in bringing out the music that is already written or recorded using very precise and delicate skill. However today I’m talking about how to bring out the music or song we already have inside.

I want to explore how we can be more musical and leaving the being technical to another time. Here are 5 ways we can be more musical.

  1. Train Your Self To Listen

    Perhaps this is unnatural to most people. People like to talk more than listen. Developing this ability makes us more anchored to our environment. It makes us present, mindful and happy to be alive. Developing our ears to listen is about being centred and ready to receive what inspiration has to tell us. It is one will discover the most natural instinct of a human being despite our inability to know how to do it.It is good to sit still for a few minutes and listen. Without being too weird to others, focus on whatever dominant what you hear. It’s likely your own breathing or it could be the constant chatter from many parallel conversations in the room. Play the game of identifying which is dominant. Then listen to it intently.

  2. Recognise the Tonal Center In What You Hear

    Develop your understanding of the 7 Tones in this world. (or 3 or 5 or 12 but I’ll be comfortable knowing the 7). These 7 tones are the tones from the Major Scale. (Ok if its 3, then its a triad, 5 it is the pentatonics and 12 its the whole chromatic scale)Then try to map that understanding to your environment with this question.” What is the tonal center of what you are hearing in your environment? “

    Which one is the 1 note or the root note? Try to hum it. What I would do to make this exercise easier is to say if there’s a soundtrack to where you are and what you are hearing. What key is it? Hum that tonal center of that key. Yes, it may sound like a chant, maybe it is one that brings you back to the center of yourself as your music.

    You can check out and savour that note as the home sound.

  3. Learn To Feel The 7 Notes In the Major Scale.

    There are 12 sounds in the organisation of all western music but 7 are the most important ones. I learned to identify the 7 Notes in the Major Scale from David Reed’s excellent “Improvise for Real”. He describes it as the 7 Harmonic World. I like that because the sound is really like worlds apart if you learn to recognise it. One good way to learn it is to describe how that sound makes you feel. There are 7. You can call it “Do Re Mi Fa So La Ti” or you can call it just 1 2 3 4 5 6 7. I used a known person’s name and map that to the 7 notes based on the personality they have and how closely they match with the sound of the 7 notes. You can do anything to recognise who is who in the Major Scale. Just like today if I blind fold you in the room full of the close people in your life, you will be able to identify them based on the sound they make, you can do the same for the 7 Notes in the Major Scale. It’s only 7 you need to recognise. Yes altogether there are 5 more but learning the 7 should come first and once you learn “HOW TO RECOGNISE TONE”, you’ll have little issue with the 5 more.

  4. Listen Intently How Music Is Arranged All Around You

    If you sit down and be still and close your eyes. You may find sounds around you that you normally take for granted. It maybe a background music playing, or the sound of the road or chatter from conversations in the room. It may be the sound of the fan or airconditioning. If you listen intently, you may hear an organisation. Just like instruments played in a band or an orchestra in a concert, you may hear that arrangement in daily life. After you have noticed the music arrangement around you, incorporate one last instrument. That is the sound within yourself, it maybe the sound of your footstep or the flow of blood in your heart, it may just be your heart beat. Incorporate that into your “daily orchestra”.  Learning to listen like that trains your ear to listen. It makes you more musical because you are identifying ‘music’ in your environment and within yourself.

  5. Hum That Tune That Is In You

    You will find out there’s music and a song in you. Everytime, there’s one trying to come out. It may be from inspiration from above, it may be hidden within you or even a tune you heard a while back but it’s stuck in you. Whatever you have inside, hum that tune. Try to bring it out by humming. It’s not a stressful exercise to force out something that is not there. Sometimes that tune may just be a one sound thing. Master bringing out that sound even if its just that one root note as described above.

  6. Invest In A Musical Instrument

    Now that you have cultivated the music that is IN YOU. It’s time to bring it out. Yes humming and even singing is the way to bring out the music in the more musical you. But often we need the help of an instrument. Getting an instrument like the guitar or the piano and venture into learning where each of the note in the major scale is located on your instrument is the journey. That’s the greatest association you need to make when learning. Where each notes fall on your instrument. This is a journey so take your time and invest in that learning.

    3 Ways To Teach Yourself To Play Guitar

  7. Appreciate Other People’s Music

    One of the most enjoyable thing you can do to be more musical is to listen to other people’s music. I don’t mean listen to it in the elevator or the mall at the background. I mean really listen to it. The art of listening to music has been lost in the advent of the internet and easy streaming of music. That is the reason why I invested in a Turntable to play Vinyl LP. This setup has made me slow down in my listening of music. It takes time to select the LP, take it out of the sleeve, ensure the surface of the LP is clean, carefully put in into the platter and then move the needle to the start of the record and press play. Not forgetting having to clean it every time it collects dust after a period of inactivity. This seemingly long process helps myself to prepare to listen. The sense of anticipation does magic to your ear, helping it appreciate the music that is coming up.

    I began collecting back the titles to the music I hear as a child. And it itself is an enjoyable process, I believe will make you more musical if you choose to do the same.


That’s the 7 ways to be more musical!

When you could let what you hear touch you or connect with you. You are able to keep it inside of you and will be able to reproduce it freely. Being musical is about knowing what you are hearing in your head and then knowing how to reproduce it and bring it out (with or without your guitar).

One you are able to do that, you have succeeded to be more musical. You can continue to work out bring more music out of what is already in you. Music exists in and around us, we just need to bring it out. That’s the nature of creating music and being more musical.

What Guitar To Buy That You Will Not Regret For Beginners

I have had the pleasure of playing so many guitars in all the years I’ve been playing. Nothing compares to the feeling of holding a guitar that doesn’t cost much but has playability and value beyond its price. It is in times like that we are proud of our chosen hobby because anyone getting their beginner guitar is not such a big risk after all.

While it cannot be said when I started 30 years ago, I’m glad that the quality of today’s beginner guitars has improved so remarkably that it is no shame being seen holding a budget guitar no matter what our skill level are.

It’s my greatest joy to recommend the following great guitars that won’t cost an arm or a leg that beginners can buy without regret.

Before I dive in, let me say that I have chosen more branded ones because it will give you better resellable value in any case you want to upgrade. Also such a guitar is worth the while to keep it for life.

Top Acoustic Guitar for Beginners

1. Yamaha FG720/ FG820 or FS720/ FS820

Good for those who for an all round good guitar that is built well and plays well. I will recommend the FS series rather than the FG series for those who like a smaller body and prefer to learn finger-picking. The FG series is more suitable for strummers. I have owned several of these guitars and not one of them disappointed me.

2. Taylor GS Mini

Good for: Kids or those with small hands or someone who just wants something small to travel with. It has a bright and clear sound that is just beautiful finger picked. It has a small body that makes bringing it around a pleasant thing to do.

3. Martin DXAE

Good for those who can afford a bit more for a better quality guitar that retains its value. It’s good first-hand experience of owning a great sound guitar. Playing one always put a smile on my face (and hopefully those who hears it)

Top Electric Guitar for Beginners

1. Squier Vintage Modified Strat

A good old Squier Strat is always a safe bet as the first electric guitar. The Stratocasters is a classic proven designed instrument that is versatile for all sorts of music genre from rock, pop to reggae and blues. To have a Strat is safe but to have one from the Vintage Modified series sweetens it so much more. Highly no regret kind of purchase that will not break the bank.

2. Squier Custom Vibe Telecaster

Both the Vintage Modified and Custom Vibe Strats and Teles are good choice beginner guitars with the latter being just a bit more expensive. I have owned some of them and they are comparable to their expensive Fender counterparts. It is no exaggeration to say that I loved my Custom Vibe Telecaster over my old Made In Mexico Fender Tele when I had both with me. It is that good.

3. Epiphone SG 400

This maybe a surprise to some people but the SG is such a great instrument that I have not experience an electric guitar design that rock so well. It has simplicity in its design, sounds awesome and plays like a dream. It has the type of resonance and sustains that I cannot find in any other guitars. Good for rockers who want to play hi gain music. If the looks bother some of you, I will recommend the Epiphone LP instead but otherwise, the SG is an amazing underrated beginner instrument. It’s so good that I seriously use one to play jazz all the time.

These are recommendations of the type. Of course, they are variations in terms of types of pickups and type of wood, neck radius and all to refine your selection. Well, I think these are secondary for now as getting your first guitar sets you in the direction of knowing what you want/don’t want in a guitar. Anyway, I will be writing on how to select the types of pickups in your guitar and also other things about the type of wood and neck width/radius etc.

Until then have fun and enjoy your process of getting your first guitar. I bet you that if you stick of my recommendation that you’ll not regret it. With its quality, its good enough to keep for life and also it has the resellable value if you decide to let it go and upgrade to a better one.



3 Ways To Teach Yourself To Play Guitar


You want to teach yourself to play the guitar. That’s great. Many people do. But not many people succeed. That is because learning the guitar is a steep slope and they don’t start with a strategy. Without a strategy, we always quit when the going gets tough.

Here are 3 ways to teach yourself to play the guitar. Sorry, watching Youtube is not a one of them. Well, at least not without a system.

1. Learn One Song On Your Own

You have to keep on learning to play one whole song.  To learn one song well is better than many songs in parts. One has a clear outcome, the other really nothing to show but us attempting to show off. And believe me, very few people are impressed by our fancy intros or licks in the middle and a dramatic end. When we can’t even play a full song from start until one, people will think we are an impostor. And seriously we are.

One of the reasons why we don’t learn one song from start to end is because we are not clear about how to choose that song. That song has to be a personal song, one that speaks to you and when spoken or sung represent you. A good way is to ask yourself if the words or melody represent what you want to share to the world.

Pick a good song. The right song and stick to learning one song on your own. A great strategy is then  STEP 1, to learn the chord progression first. Then STEP 2 to learn the melody. If you don’t know the melody well enough, listen to many versions of the same song on Youtube. And lastly STEP 3 is to learn to play the chord progression while singing out the melody or the song.

Having learned one song, you can firmly say that you have taught yourself to play the guitar.

2. Get a Complete Course And Learn The System On Your Own

Some of my most fulfilling learning experiences came from subscribing to a system. Usually it is a paid online course. Some of them are an e-book or a instructional book. The benefit of doing it is that instead of random pieces of information that sometimes contradict one another, you learn the teacher’s method completely. You can easily take a quantum leap in your learning that way. Some of the courses I have taken

  • Kirk Lorange’s Plane Talk.
  • Jimmy Bruno Guitar Institute.
  • Martin Taylor’s Fingerstyle Guitar.
  • Blues Guitar Lessons With Keith Wyatt.
  • Andreas Oberg’s Jazz Guitar and More.
  • David Reed’s Improvise for Real.

The choice depends on the genre of music you are into and what you are trying to learn. Go seeks out a basic course that will teach you how to start playing the guitar. Yes, getting an online teacher is not cheating, it is a great way to teach yourself to play the guitar.

3. Get An Outline of Topics & Use It As Checklist To Learn On Your Own

This strategy has to do with finding an outline of what you should know in order to learn to play. An outline can come from searching for one on the internet to copying the index of a book or just posing the question “What are the important things to cover when learning the guitar?” on a forum.

With that outline, go and be an independent learner to find out how to educate yourself point by point. Go ask a friend, join a forum and pose a “how do I …” question.

Learn from the vast information available on Youtube on your own. A sample outline that serves as a checklist on how to play is as follows.

  1. Anatomy of the guitar
  2. How to hold a guitar
  3. How to tune a guitar
  4. How to read tabs and chords
  5. How to play the major scale
  6. How to strum in rhythm
  7. Learn Major Chords
  8. Learn Minor Chords
  9. Learn Dominant Chords
  10. Find out the chord progression to a song
  11. Learn to change chords in a chord progression
  12. Learn to Play a Song
  13. Learn Power Chords

The above will serve as a checklist for you to explore the areas of playing the guitar more systematically than to randomly select a guitar lesson online. I have to admit that Youtube is truly a wealth of resource. But I should add that only if you use it systematically and I suggest the above 3 ways of systematically teaching yourself how to play the guitar.

Of course getting a teacher is always the best way but if cost is a consideration or you are the kind of independent learner like myself, the 3 ways are more adventurous and a more fun way to go.

What do you think? How did you teach yourself to play the guitar? Please write a comment below. I really like to hear from you.

Check out The 3 Play Good Guitar Foundation or  First Song To Play Guitar

Setting Up A Home Guitar Practice Space

Good guitar playing and tone are bred from home. Your guitar personality should be a result of experiments you have regularly made with the right gear you have in your home guitar practice space.

No, you don’t need a whole room space but just a corner that can be used for daily practice is enough. A place where you can look forward to coming home to practice is worth the effort or cost of setting it up.

Today I’m going to explore how to get the right basic guitar setup for your practice corner for a small budget. Hope everyone can get a chance to enjoy a guitar practice space of their own.

Step 1: Get Your Basic Tone

Your Good Guitar + Your Good Amp + Your Good Effects Loop is the starting point. Have fun and go crazy with getting your signature sound. Yes, most of the time, it is an endless quest. But to be able to seek for that tone is itself an exciting journey worth taking. When you are near, it is very rewarding to pick up your guitar with that that ‘righteous’ tone you that is ‘uniquely you’.

Step 2: Get A Rhythm Station or A Looper

Invest in a good rhythm station. It can be a drum machine, an mp3 player or your laptop playing a track off iTunes. This is so that you can practice on a rhythm track or other interesting ways to play along with a backing track. Better start playing by practicing with correct timing than random practice without. Then, you may find yourself spending longer time correcting the habit.

I recommend using a looper instead. There are many benefits to using a looper as your rhythm station. For an important one, it is a device that will help you learn to play rhythm and also solo equally well. So I suggest to go this route.

Other alternatives are rhythm generating devices that comes in pedals like Digitech Trio or software like Band in A Box or even a good old turntable. They are excellent gears for a highly effective practice space.

Step 3: Get It Connected

Wire up with quality cables because cheap cables are after all, cheap cables. They are usable. But when trouble comes (which can be quite often), the time taken to fix a hiss or a crackling sound is takes you away from the time to practice.
I have in the past invested in a lot of cheap patch cables. I admit I was attracted to them because they came in different bright colours. Who doesn’t think, multicoloured cables will not liven up a dull pedal board? But beautiful coloured cables will rob your joy when one fails and you have to go on a hunt down to identify which one.

Investing in good patch cables such asCanares cables using Neutrik plugs as an example. If you custom make it according to the exact length needed you also reduce deterioration of the signal in the chain.

That’s the general rule about cables is that the shorter the path you create for your audio, the higher fidelity it will be. So use quality cables in the shortest (and hence most economical) way.

Step 4: Set It Up To Record

As your goal is to develop into a musician, you should consider routing your signal to a recording device. It’s good to make music to play-back whether it is a demo or just to hear or evaluate how you sound at the end of the day. It’s a great thing to train yourself to practice ‘play to be heard’.

It helps to just keep it as a simple recorder so that its not too complicated to operate. I’ve been using analogue tape recorders since it’s available years ago. Then I moved to using a computer based DAW (or Digital Audio Workstation).

Today, its as simple as connecting it directly to my Macbook with GarageBand fired up. Garageband is a software that is already bundled when you buy your Macbook.

Step 5: Invest In Good Furniture

As you connect your instrument to your pedal board and then to your amp or your recording device, pay attention to the human connection as well.

Invest in how your body is connected to the space. A good place to seat with the right height connects you to how you play sitting down. I recommend swivel chairs (one that rotates and turns around) to give you better movement. When the rhythm gets you and you need to respond to it, the extra space and bandwidth helps.

I dream of a classy tulip chair, but for budget reasons, right this moment, I am using a Cajon as my sitting place. It doubles up as another instrument to lay a rhythm track I input via a microphone.

Step 6: Invest In Inspiration

Posters of your guitar heroes, decorations or inspirational paintings you can hang on the wall gives you that extra inspiration to play everyday.

What I do is to install a guitar wall hook. It’s not a lot of money but that avenue to have every time a ‘featured’ guitar on the wall helps to inspire me to pick it up and play. I have many guitars but the one that is out of the case and placed on the wall works well for me.
That way I have a corner that not only looks good and also one that enables me to grab a guitar and play it instantly.

It has helped to inspire me to play more. Every few weeks, I change the featured guitar and the rotational system also ensures all my guitars get my attention.

If I find any guitar in my collection never featured, I know its time for that piece to go to someone who will love it more than I do. Hence it’s a space saving exercise to make more space for creative practice and play.

Here you have it, the right gear for your home guitar practice space.

What do you think? How do you setup your home guitar practice space? What kind of gear do you have in yours? 

Simple First Songs You Can Play On Guitar

It’s a myth to think that playing the guitar is difficult merely because a lot of songs you hear over the airwaves were arranged with a band setup.

And because of that it sounds more complicated that it really is as a song. Normally these songs consist of only 3 to 4 chords and If we only learn the chords to play on the guitar and then play them in the right rhythm, we will be well on our way to play guitar that sounds amazing to your friends.

Below are some of the simple first songs you can try to play on guitar. When you get it right, it will sound more difficult to others than it really is. But of course, you will know that its a simple 3 to 4 chord songs and an easy to catch melody.

  1. Wonderful World – Sam Cooke

Check out the Chords

2.  Wind of Change – Scorpions

Check out the Chords

3. I’m Yours – Jason Mraz

Check out the Chords

A Night of Inspiration & Learning A New Song

One of the most favourite thing I do is to be mesmerised and captivated by a performance. Last night I was watching Natalie Merchant with Erik Della Penna supporting her on guitar with of course the rest of the band on Tiny Desk Concerts.

One thing I’m impressed by is Erik’s control and playing that is so fine that it doesn’t overpower Natalie. Erik’s an artiste to know his playing role is to support an amazing vocal talent as Natalie Anne Merchant.

Last night I learned to play the last song on this video “The Weeping Pilgrim”. Love it so much that I have a chance to learn the whole song (yes its simple) in one night of being inspired by wonderful musicians.

What are you inspired by lately? What songs have you been learning?

Remembering Chuck Berry & His Style of Good Guitar

Chuck Berry passed away a few weeks back and the world remembers his contribution to the world of rock and roll.

This video shows the level of showmanship and guitar playing he had to offer to us guitar players. To have Keith Richard playing rhythm to this man attest to his legendary status as the Godfather of rock and roll.

His riffs are his hallmark playing and is recognised and copied everywhere, all over the world.

Eric Clapton says that it has become standard to play rock and roll using his way of double-stops (two notes at once) and to play otherwise sounds thin and not right.

The exercise today for us is to learn double-stops using fourths and fifths and learn to let our solos ring with these 2 notes (rather than 1)… Just like Chuck!

How can you be play better with double stops? What do you think was his style of playing and what attracts you to it and why was it so appealing?